Why a post about the local lodge? As I was researching the history of the county and the various non-profit organizations, I came across the Facebook Page, the Nashville Lodge website and a link to a rather in-depth history (1851-1962) of the lodge. The following statement in the history caught my interest:
The history of Nashville Lodge #135 F & AM, Nashville and Brown County are so inextricably intertwined that in many cases they are one and the same.
Beginning with the creation of Brown County State Park in 1929 which led to the creation of a small tourism industry, and from an economic standpoint, the economies of the Town and County are not “one and the same.” Nashville (population around 1,000) is dependent on tourism. Tourism benefits the state through the generation of sales tax. It also benefits businesses that rely on tourism but the average employee wage is among the lowest in the region and state.
The county (population around 15,000 and projected to decline through 2050, is funded primarily by income and property tax. The majority of the workforce commutes outside the county for the better-paying jobs. The county also attracts a significant number of retirees. This has allowed for a county tax policy of low property and high-income tax. This policy is becoming unsustainable per a study conducted by a group of master’s degree students from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA):
- Report: Local taxes, job options need further scrutiny, By Sara Clifford/Brown County Democrat, Tuesday, May 16, 2017
- United Way ALICE Brown County Report Information on households that earn more than the federal poverty level but less than the basic cost of living for the county. Nashville at 54% has the highest score compared to the townships and conservancy.
My curiosity led me to a little research on the history of Freemasonry. During the research process, I did learn that my fraternal great-grandfather was a Mason as was my maternal grandfather. I am not aware that any of my cousins became members. My father’s side of the family was Catholic and the Catholic Church does not support membership in the masons.
- 1990 – 116,000 members / 514 Lodges
- 2015 – 56,000 members / 399 Lodges
Grand Lodge of Indiana (1818-2018). Indiana has over 50,000 Masons in almost 400 lodges throughout the state, and they represent men from all walks of life. Masons learn to be better husbands, better fathers, better brothers, and better citizens.
Masonic Myths. What the Freemasons consider myths are considered as truths by some and has inspired many conspiracy theories which have been made popular by author Dan Brown in his books Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol and his latest book, Inferno.
Christopher Hodapp, author, “Freemasons for Dummies” stated that the Dan Brown books has led to an increase in membership. These books have also led to a surge in “destination tourism” at the locations identified in the books. Examples:
- Dan Brown’s Inferno: Florence hopes for a tourism miracle
- Barcelona locations in Dan Brown book Origin
The design of the Maple Leaf (Brown County) Music Center was also interesting and includes masonic themes. There has been no coverage yet on the design features of this venue.
- You must believe in a Supreme Being.
- You must be male.
- You must be joining of your own free will.
- You must be of lawful age. Depending on the Grand Lodge, this can be anywhere from 18 to 25.
- You must come recommended by at least two existing Freemasons from the lodge you’re petitioning.
- You’ll be asked other important questions down the road, before you’re allowed to join a lodge:
Are you unbiased by friends and uninfluenced by any mercenary motives? Don’t apply for membership if you think you’ll be using your membership card to get out of a speeding ticket or to network for your business.
Do you have a favorable opinion of Freemasonry? You should have a desire for knowledge and a sincere wish to be of service to mankind. If you’re merely curious about what goes on behind locked doors, just read the rest of this book.
Do you agree to follow the rules? Nothing especially scary here. Health clubs and city parks have the same requirement.
2018 NETFLIX: Inside the Freemasons. The history and future of the Freemasons, a fraternal order steeped in both secrecy and tradition. There are an estimated six million Freemasons in the world. It was started 300 years ago, the first lodge was the United Grand Lodge of England.
Conflict of Interest. An issue that was raised in England is should Freemasons be required to disclose membership if they undertake some public role, (police, politics, lobby journalists, justice). The intent of the disclosure is to assure the public that there is not a conflict of interest. Freemasons are free to disclose their membership.
- Feb 25, 2018. Public discussion of Freemasonry must be an open one – on all sides, Paul Chadwick. Complaints about Guardian articles from the United Grand Lodge of England led me to the conclusion that they are not as secretive as is sometimes assumed, or as open as they should be
- Sep 27, 2016. 2016 London mayor says a compulsory register of Masons in the police would be illegal under human rights law, Adam Lusher, The Guardian.