Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wilmington #804 Masonic Symposium

The event is getting closer and there are still some tickets left, I do foresee this selling out! The event is in New Wilmington, PA September 20th 2014. We not only have four great speakers we will also have the hosts of the Masonic YouTub...e show "The Masonic Roundtable" doing some taping for their show. Tickets can be ordered at the link below or if you prefer to pay by means other th an credit card please email
This is a first event of its kind in the western PA and eastern OH area. Hope to see you there!
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Five Fellowcrafts and Old Fort Niagara

Freemasons can be referred to as traveling men, and when we travel the common direction we travel as we all know is east. This time I decided rather than travel to the east as I have done on many occasions to speak, lecture, or in my studies to figuratively travel to the east, I received a kind invitation from a Brother to travel north. So, I and two other Brethren from my Masonic district decided to travel north to Youngstown, New York on May 31st to attend a rather unique and exciting event. I must say it was well worth the trip for multiple reasons such as meeting and making new friends, seeing a very historic location, witnessing a third degree in a different jurisdiction and most importantly forging new relationships with Brethren we may in any other circumstance than Masonry may have never met. It was a truly wonderful day!

            Youngstown, New York is the home of the very historic Old Fort Niagara which sits at the mouth of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario and is the oldest operating Fort in North America with an active U.S. Coast Guard Station literally right outside the wall of the historic part of the fort. Today the historic part of the fort which is a registered National Historic Landmark and is a privately owned not for profit organization is open year round with the exception of a few national holidays. For more information on touring the Fort please see

            The event I had the pleasure of attending was for a picnic followed by five Fellowcraft Masons being raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason in colonial dress by all in attendance inside the main building on the third floor of Old Fort Niagara. These five lucky Fellowcrafts were from the Lodges of Niagara Orleans District of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York Free and Accepted Masons. As most of us have already experienced and will never forget our own third degree nights, these five lucky Brethren will most assuredly never forget theirs either. With around ninety Brethren in attendance, including several Grand Lodge Officers we sat down to witness what was for me a very interesting and unforgettable evening. This was the first time for me to witness a third degree in a jurisdiction other than my own, let alone to see it done in colonial dress which added very much to the so it was especially interesting, however if you are reading this in hopes of learning the differences between my jurisdiction and New York’s as far as the third degree is concerned you are going to be let down because like any good Mason I will not go into details. I will say this much, the difference in cast size as well as the added drama the New York third degrees contain for me was rather incredible, what a beautiful ceremony it was. Even though I have participated in many Master Mason degrees in my own respective jurisdiction, it was quite a welcome learning experience watching another jurisdiction put them on.

            So, what the heck does all this have to do with Old Fort Niagara? Previous to this experience the only Masonic connection to the Fort I had ever heard of was during the Morgan Affair, and out of respect for the Grand Lodge of New York as I was enlightened by a Brother whom was a great deal of help in my writing this article, it is forbidden for any New York Mason to discuss the Morgan affair and for the record no New York Mason has to me, so that is as far as I will go on that topic. If you are interested in learning about the Morgan Affair and don’t know much about it feel free to scroll through my blog at where I have written about that particular incident, you can also see my source list for the post and take it from there on your own. Now, on to answer the first question at the top of this paragraph, what do the Masonic Third degrees being put on at the fort have to do with the fort and what is the Masonic significance of this? Coincidentally the Old Fort Niagara has a lot of Masonic history tied to it over its three hundred plus year history and what I have found with the great help of Brother is only a scratch on the surface as much of the Masonic history pertaining to the Fort itself is locked away from the general public, mainly because most of it is original documents that have a great deal of age and need to be handled carefully. One day in the near future I hope to make the trip up there again to have a look at some of these and perhaps write another article or more on this somewhat forgotten history for not only my own personal education but for others as well. The following is just a start to the ties that Old Fort Niagara had to the Craft of Freemasonry and I am deeply indebted to Brother Jason Buckley, the Interpretive Programs Manager at Old Fort Niagara, another Brother that I had the pleasure to meet and befriend, without his assistance I would not have had access to the following information.


 British Military Lodges on the Niagara Frontier

The 5th Regiment, Northumberland Fusiliers Lodge. Very little is known about this lodge, except that they did have a Masonic Lodge when stationed at Fort Niagara.  In 1784, this lodge’s charter was transferred to the 48th Regiment.

The King’s (8th) Regiment, The King’s Own Lodge

This was the first British Military lodge established by the Grand Lodge of England (modern), on February 15th, 1755, as lodge No. 255. It later became No. 195 in late 1755; No. 156 in 1770; No.124 in 1780; No. 124 in 1781and finally No. 112 in 1792. When this convened at Fort Niagara, it was the military lodge to meet in the province of Ontario (later Niagara County of New York State). There is documentation of it meeting at Fort Niagara in the years 1773-75, 1778 and 1782-85.  It was the first military lodge to join the Provisional Lodge of Quebec in 1770.   An interesting side note, Joseph Brant the great Native American leader and orator was known to attend this lodge when he was at Fort Niagara on several occasions. 

The 10th Regiment, Lincolnshire Lodge

The 10th Regiment had two military lodges; No. 299 by the Grand Lodge of Ireland warrant, August 3 1758, and No. 378 by the Grand Lodge of Ireland Warrant, November 5, 1761. Records indicate that several members of No. 299 transferred to No 378. By 1765, Lodge No. 378 listed 27 members on its register.  The 10th regiment was stationed at Fort Niagara for the 6 years preceding 1774.  They were slated to return to England but were instead sent to Boston.  They stayed in North America until late 1778.  In the meantime they served in several battles during the American Revolution.  Including 1775 Lexington, Concord, Boston, Bunker Hill: 1776 Halifax, Staten Island, Long Island, New York, White Plains, Forts Washington and Lee, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Brandywine, Germantown, and White Marsh; 1778, New York.

The 6oth Regiment, Royal American’s Lodge

We know that the 60th Regiment received its charter in 1764 and was the first military lodge to meet in Detroit.  We also know that may of its members were stationed at Fort Niagara, we do not however have any record of this lodge meeting at Fort Niagara, it is likely that they attended as visiting brethren while at Fort Niagara.

This was just a bit of the Masonic connection to Fort Niagara, imagine being raised to Master Mason in such an important and historical place. I truly hope that the fortunate five Brethren raised on this occasion will come to learn and appreciate the significance of not only the history they participated in that day but also come to appreciate Masonic history as a whole. If we cannot learn and adapt from our history we are doing a great disservice to our fraternity. This was only the second year in a row that the Brethren of Niagara Orleans district have put on this event, plans for next year are already in place to hold the same type event at the end of May 2015 and I for one am definitely going to make the trip again. It was well worth it to not only see an important part of our countries military history but Masonic history as well.

As for military history the fort has undergone multiple transformations during its three hundred plus year history throughout many battles and wars while literally hundreds of other military forts across the continent outlived their usefulness. Over the long history of the fort is was occupied by three differing countries. France beginning in sixteen seventy eight used the fort as they were the most prominent in the area and by accident they controlled this area which was quite important because of the waterways it was connected to which was all of the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence River all the way to the Atlantic ocean. To the French their main opposition came from the most politically powerful group of Native Americans, the Iroquois. The main building that the above mentioned degrees took place in was called the “House of Peace” and completed in seventeen twenty seven and also referred to as the “French House”.  The fort was also controlled by Great Britain and now the United States. To say this fort has seen a few battles is an understatement of the largest variety, it has seen and been in use during every battle in the northeast part of our country, two of the most well-known being the war of eighteen twelve as well as the civil war. The fact that this incredible place is for one still standing but in such great shape speaks volumes of its caretakers over its long storied history and we are lucky to still have the ability to visit this national treasure. I highly recommend to any Masonic history buff or anyone interested in learning more about the history of our country to make this a stop and spend a day at this highly enlightening place. If you are a Freemason keep an eye out for the 2015 activities planned by the Brothers of Niagara Orleans district.

            I would personally like to thank Brothers Jason Buckley, RWPDDGM Bill Green and Kevin Jester for not only the invitation to witness this incredible event but for also aiding me with bits of information to make this article possible. Brethren working together for a common goal is a beautiful thing and I am proud they decided to assist me as well as proud to not only call them Brothers but friends as well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Franklins Little School and Masonic Education

The majority of the population in colonial America lived along the coastline’s  for simple reasons being that it was where the chances for employment, social gatherings, churches and you guessed it, it was where most of the early Masonic Lodges where located. In this period, and as the populations moved westward the only chance a man or child had at an education was limited to mainly three things, 1) they took apprenticeship in a trade, 2) They were educated in biblical teachings through the church and 3) the Masonic Lodge. Unless you were from a wealthy family, these were the main ways an everyday average person could achieve any education at all. The Brethren of the early Lodges were slowly realizing how their Masonic education was affecting the world around them for the better. “As early as 1732 the Masons became vocal promoters of free public schools in the colonies. Freemasonry was slowly laying down the foundations of our American system.”[1]
If the men were getting an education through their association with the Masonic Lodge or from the association with a Freemason why couldn’t their children get a better education? Why should a formal education be reserved for only the wealthy, why shouldn’t all children have the privilege to be educated, after all look what good and what a huge impact a Masonic education was doing for the communities during this time. “The Lodges sought to civilize, to teach manners and decorum, to augment the order and harmony of civil society. They taught men to speak in public, to keep records, to pay taxes to be tolerant, to debate freely, to vote, to moderate their feasting, and to give lifelong devotions to the other citizens of their order.”[2] “ To no order in society is the encouragement of schools and the advancement of knowledge more valuable than to the fraternity. The liberal arts and sciences were formally taught in Lodges and Brethren imparted instruction to their children and others than was found in any except Masonic families.”[3] Why wouldn’t this be a desire of those Freemasons? These Masons would not have been upholding their obligations by merely doing nothing, so as any good Mason should do they moved to assist in the movement for a free public education for all children based on what they were learning, all by spending in only mere hours in a Lodge room per month.
One of the earliest schools of the colonial days, that is now known as the University of Pennsylvania is a school that was a product of Brother Benjamin Franklin’s actions in aiding in the betterment of the education of the public. I think it is safe to say that Franklin had no idea his simple little school would develop into one of the most respected Ivy League Universities in the country from its humble beginnings. It started out as being different from all others even though its influence was confined to just the area of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. “It had no counterpart in
Europe and had no religious motive.”[4] Students in attendance of this school were of Latin Grammar school age; or in present terms, of high school age, however unlike its counterparts Franklins school had the intention of not only preparing its students for college but for normal life as well. This took place in 1749 and was known as the “Publick Academy of Philadelphia.” The interesting thing about Franklin’s new school was that its counterparts were Harvard, William and Mary, Yale and Princeton, which at the time were geared only for the educating of the clergy rather than educating their students for everyday life in subjects such as business, public service, and general education of the seven liberal arts and sciences. “The curriculum advanced by Franklin included navigation, surveying, agriculture, and the spoken languages of the day, natural history, chemistry, physics, government, and history.”[5] This initial curriculum over the mid eighteenth century was gradually forced to mold as the time progressed but, “his school is pointed to as the first American Academy, which was the transition institution from the Latin Grammar school and the English grammar school to the modern high school.”[6] Franklin’s school eventually became the College of Philadelphia, and is now known as the University of Pennsylvania once it was made a private school in 1791 after the revolutionary fervor had finally died down. “The eighteenth century was an incredible time for both the University and for the young American Republic. The University saw rise to the first medical school in the colonies in 1765 when John Morgan organized a medical faculty.”[7] To the school. Some of our new countries earliest law lectures under its brand new government were given in 1790 at the University. By the end of the first half century of the school it had been educating the leadership of not only its own school but for the new nation as well, nine signers of the declaration of Independence and eleven signers of the Constitution were associated with the University in one way or another. One of the most coveted Ivy-League Universities in the country, as well as Americas first High School and University came to be all because one Freemason saw the importance of an equal education for all, a man that knew that if our soon to become country was to succeed it needed to have educated, wise citizens for this to be possible. One of the most popular and recognized Freemasons of all time felt so strongly on this that he included in his farewell address, Brother George Washington states. “Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”[8] The Father of our new nation, a man that fought so hard for so long to see that we had a free country under our own rule knew that if the country was going to survive, education of its people was crucial to making this happen.
Brethren the above was just a small portion of a much longer research paper I wrote a while back. The reason I decided to shorten it and tweak it a bit for this month’s article is very simple. The Founding Fathers of our nation and in this case Brother Benjamin Franklin knew very well that in order for the dream of a new nation to succeed, its citizens must be educated for it to prosper. The early Lodges also knew that education was a necessity in order to become better men. Education is one of the main principles our Fraternity was founded upon.

If you are reading this magazine and article it is safe to say that you do have a desire for improving yourself and expanding upon your Masonic education, seriously why would you waste your hard earned money on a magazine like this if you didn’t? Now as I begin to close up this article I have to ask the million dollar questions……what happened? Are the majority of Lodges not realizing that in order to prosper, just as our young nation did we must be educated to make that possible? For the future of this Fraternity we must not only educate ourselves and live up to our obligations and as the saying goes, “let us practice outside, these lessons we have learned within.” Brethren I do not have all the answers and I never will but there is one thing I am absolutely certain about and extremely passionate about and it comes from not only my own personal experiences Masonically speaking but from some very close Brothers of mine as well, as we often chat and discuss Masonic issues. Masonic Education is the key to our Fraternity’s survival! Whether you’re a member of a Traditional Observance Lodge or a regular Lodge does not matter. Each man has his own tastes and preferences, but the main point no matter what type of Lodge you belong to that I will pass on to all of you is that if this Fraternity as a whole, no matter what Lodge you belong to does not do more to enlighten and teach a Masonic education our Fraternity will eventually become meaningless and die off. My example for this point…. look at the Lodges that are nothing more than business type meetings, I know we have all seen one somewhere. Have you ever noticed the difference in attendance between that type of Lodge and one that regularly has good educational and enlightening programs? The difference is astronomical and we also have to realize, and I can say this from experience being a Lodge mentor and from observing different Lodges when I travel to speak and give programs. The younger generation that is coming into the Fraternity desire the education and thrive on it! Let us be all be smart enough to take advantage of this and not only teach them but further our own Masonic educations for the betterment of this Fraternity that we all love.

[1] Solomon’s Builders by Christopher Hodapp ©2007 published by Ulysses Press, page 108
[2] Living the Enlightenment, Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth Century Europe by Margaret C. Jacob ©1991 by Oxford University Press, Inc. page 23
[3] Revolutionary Brotherhood, Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840 by Stephen C. Bullock ©1996 The University of North Carolina Press page 148
[4] Our Public Schools by William E. Givens 32° KCCH and Belmont M. Farley published 1959 A.A.S.R.,S.M.J. page 14
[5] Our Public Schools by William E. Givens 32° KCCH and Belmont M. Farley published 1959 A.A.S.R.,S.M.J. page 14
[6] Ibid page 14
[7] A Brief History of the University of Pennsylvania, an essay by Steven Morgan Friedman 1998
[8] Farewell Address by George Washington 1796

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

1st Annual Masonic Educational Symposium

The first annual Masonic Educational Symposium, hosted by my Lodge, Wilmington #804 F&AM Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania will be held on Saturday, September 20th 2014.  Starts at 9:00am and will last most of the day. The speakers for the event are Bro. Charles M. Harper Sr., author of Freemasonry in Black and White. Bro Juan Sepulveda of Sepulveda Fine Art as well as the Winding Stairs podcast and his new project the YouTube Masonic show called The Masonic Roundtable. Bro. Adam T. Osman, PM Master Masonic Scholar and author of Earning Freemasonry, a One Day Class Redemption. Lastly myself, Shawn M. Gorley, Master Masonic Scholar, Book Review Editor for Bonisteel Masonic Library, Editor for Lewis Masonic and author of Freemasonry Defined, Using History to Understand the Fraternity. 
Also be advised that each presenter will have their respective books and artwork for sale at this event.
The speakers at this event are currently huge educational movers and shakers within today’s Freemasonry. The presentations are going to be open for Q&A and discussion is highly encouraged! It is intended to be a day to learn from the presenter as well as from the attendees as well, this will not be a boring all day sitting on your butt listening to presentation after presentation type of day, it is to encourage learning, visitation and Brotherhood. Several breaks will be offered during the day. The seating is limited to 100 brethren, no sales at the door. It is open to EA and above in a non tyled setting. Cost per person is $30.00 which will include all of the above and I saved the best for last, our Lodge is known across the State for serving the best meals at meetings, we will have three full meals included in the cost of the ticket, we don’t do cold cuts and cheap cookies! Everything will be homemade and there will be plenty of it so don’t go away hungry! Breakfast will be donuts, coffee, juices, eggs and bacon. Lunch will be a variety of home made soups and chili provided by the lovely ladies of the local church and dinner will be prime rib and diced potatoes prepared by a Brother that owns a butcher shop and catering company.
Brothers I am highly excited to be putting this together and hope to meet and converse with many of you, it will prove to be an amazing day!
Tickets are sold in advance only in order to properly have enough food as well as to keep it small enough to promote visitation among attendees.
To purchase tickets via the internet please visit
For those Brethren that would prefer to pay by other means than credit cards over the internet, as well as any questions please email
We are not using and Lodge funds to put this event on, I have personally decided to foot the startup costs of this event using the profits stemming from my book Freemasonry Defined, Using History to Understand the Fraternity
Checks and Money Orders are accepted and please make them out to Shawn M. Gorley and mail them to 2645 Garner Rd. Edinburg, PA 16116
1959905_322262707932228_1052770187_nFor those that live far away and would need overnight accommodations please look for hotels in the Sharon, Hermitage, and New Castle Pennsylvania areas.
Thank you Brethren all and I hope to meet many of you at this event

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Newest review for Freemasonry Defined is out, it will also be pulished in the February edition of The Working Tools Masonic Magazine, Check it out!Newest review posted here

To purchase a copy of the book please click on this link,Purchase a copy of Freemasonry Defined here,

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Review for the Book

New Review in from Robert Herd, Editor of Living Stones Magazine.
"Bro. Gorley has written a truly valuable book worth a read by any level Freemason. We Freemasons being the lovers of history that most of us are, many should find his book... most fascinating, for contained within the pages are numerous historical tidbits and stories many of which I didn't know. Bro. Gorley's down to earth, personal approach to the writing makes it a comfortable, quick and easy to read, but don't be mislead, the content is anything but simple. Bro. Shawn formulates through his collection of historical accounts, stories and facts an overall perspective of Brotherhood, Fraternity and Intent that more convinces the reader of his opinion. You will enjoy, as did I the events, facts and stories as they unfold." This review is published in the January 2014 issue of Living Stones Magazine. To purchase the paperback please visit
For the kindle version please see
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Friday, December 20, 2013

From Darkness to Light

          From darkness to light is a term that is familiar to all Freemasons.  We all hear the words, “you have been brought from darkness to true Masonic Light” at a certain point in our in our journey to become a Brother in the fraternity of Freemasonry.  On that journey it is explained to us exactly what that term means, Masonically speaking.  In this article I would like to share with you an instance of rising from darkness to Masonic Light that has completely changed a man’s life as well as the lives of his family members.  This story has been told to some, and their responses to the story I heard things like; this is so inspirational, what an amazing story, a great example of a true Freemason rising from the darkness and one of my favorites from a very close Brother and friend in which he responded “Wow, I was extremely jealous of this guy, but now that I know the story behind it I see him as an inspiration not a man to be jealous of.  I have shared a part of this story in my new book “Freemasonry Defined, Using History to Understand the Fraternity.”  However I would like to share it with the readers of this magazine in the hope of helping a Brother out that may be in a similar situation as well as to show what a positive impact Freemasonry can have on a man and his family’s life.

            The story begins some years ago when this man was waiting to be given the Entered Apprentice degree.  He was new to the town that the Lodge was located in but knew his recommender quite well and trusted him.  That first night and since the soon to be initiate had no idea where the Lodge in this town was located was told by his recommender to meet at his house and he could follow the recommender to the Lodge.  Well, the candidate waited and waited and the recommender never showed up at the agreed upon time.  Just as the candidate was about to give up and go home he tried one last time to get a hold of his recommender and to his surprise he succeeded.  The recommender flat out apologized and said that he had completely forgotten about meeting him at his house.  Needless to say the candidate was initiated after arriving thirty minutes late to the meeting.  He reluctantly continued on to be raised to the sublime degree in this particular Lodge were he felt and was treated as an outsider that was new and not “one of the boys.”  This man was raised in what I like to call a “Mason Mill” where there main focus is to initiate as many members as possible.  On each of the three nights he attended his was one of six degrees given on each occasion.  Upon receiving the title of Master Mason before this gentleman departed for home he asked one of the members of the Lodge if there were any books to read about Masonry and the response was “No there are no books, everything is strictly mouth to ear” the funny thing was this was well after Pennsylvania started printing their ritual.  Needless to say, because of the way he and the other new Brethren were treated he never returned to a Masonic Lodge until much later in this story.

            A couple years later the man I speak of moved away from the area back to his hometown due to a job.  While working at his job he was involved in a very serious vehicular accident that almost killed one person and left himself in a perilous situation barely able to walk because of a seriously injured back and spinal cord.  This Brother faced years of recovery and surgery to repair his spine.  After the accident the Brother learned he had lost his job, between that and the realization that his life will never be the same and the worry of income for his family he fell into a very dark place emotionally speaking and it wasn’t helping that he was restrained to a bed for months on end because of the pain.  One day his wife who was very supportive suggested he find some activity to occupy his time and take his mind of the dooming situation and bought him a tablet with internet access in hopes that this would help.  One day he stumbled across the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania’s web site and was navigating his way around it, he came across a link for the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge.  To him this was great, he was not only a history enthusiast but he also learned that there indeed were books on Freemasonry.  He enrolled in the Academy and soon began reading books and learning about the Fraternity he was a part of but not necessarily impressed with.  The more he read and reported on his views and what he learned from these books the more he was amazed at what the Fraternity was actually about.  As he progressed through the Academy he realized the requirements got harder and he could no longer just read and report on books to keep progressing, he had to write Masonic articles suitable for publication, make presentations on Masonic topics and attend Academy meetings in able to finish and earn the status of Master Masonic scholar.  So, one of the first things he did to earn credit with the Academy was write an article and turn it in.  He got a full credit with the Academy for the article and was told by a board member of the institution how much he liked it and was impressed by it, so the Brother decided to submit said article to one of the monthly Masonic Magazines he came across and to his delight the article was published.

            This Brother continued to write many articles and to his surprise, every single one of them got published.  To put it lightly because of the Academy and his articles being published in the magazine, the Brothers life was looking up, he had a sparkle back in his eyes so to speak.  Moving on he knew he had to give Masonic presentations so once he was mobile enough to move around under his own power he began to look for Lodges to visit and hopefully one he could call home.  He made many visits to many Lodges only to discover that the meetings were nothing more than boring business meetings and cold shoulder because he was not familiar with any of the members.  This kept on for months, determined to find a Lodge that he liked and felt welcome in he kept on looking, because he knew in his heart that the Freemasonry he had read about surely had to exist somewhere.  One night he visited a Lodge and immediately knew that this was the one.  He was made feel welcome, every member went out of their way to talk to him and make him feel at home, it was very much like the Freemasonry he had read about.  For the next few months he returned to visit this Lodge getting the same wonderful reception every single time.  Shortly after he put in his papers to fully transfer to his new found Lodge from the “Mason mill” he was raised in.  He was finally in good spirits, at least mentally and emotionally, his body however was still in rough shape.

            For many months this Brother continued to write and have his articles published, give education presentation to his new found Lodge and read about Freemasonry.  One day while on Facebook he saw a request for a Masonic library that also had an online publication asking if anyone was interested in reviewing and writing book reviews for the publication on all new books that came into the library.  The Brother responded to the request and sent along several samples of his previously published article for the library to review before making their decision, he figured what the heck, I like reading books on Freemasonry and enjoy writing, why not?  A few weeks later he got an email that said he had gotten the position of book review editor and was very pleased.  He continued writing, reading and giving presentations for the Academy and the publications and one day he received a Skype call from a gentleman asking if he would have any interest in presenting a video lecture that would be hosted online for the world of Freemasonry to view and he gladly accepted.  Not long after that he was staring down the need to find employment as his doctors told him this is about as your physically going to get, he was going to have back and spine issues the rest of his life along with the arthritis that had set in because of the injury, he slowly started going downhill wondering what he could do to support his family, as the articles, presentations and book reviews did not pay as well as the fact that due to his injuries he could never again continue the career he previously had because of the injuries.  He was at a loss with no idea what to do and getting rejected from job after job because of his limitations.  It all changed one day when he was on LinkedIn searching for some sort of opportunity when he stumbled across a representative of a Masonic book publisher that was looking for a freelance editor.  The Brother thought what the heck I’ll apply, the worst they will do to me is say no.  Surprisingly this person responded to him and asked for some examples of his writing and credentials.  By that time he had achieved Master Masonic Scholar status with the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge, had, numerous book reviews written as well as lectures and had the one lecture posted on a website.  This person from the publisher responded back and explained that they were looking for someone with a deep knowledge of Freemasonry and great writing skill and said that the Brother I speak of was perfect for the position.  The Brother was ecstatic, he finally had a way to earn money for his family.  Shortly after that the Brother finally got around to publishing a book that he had been working on for over a year and a half and his life was looking up.

            Brethren, the man I have written about in this article is me, Shawn M. Gorley.  I did not share this story lightly nor am I looking for any special attention from it.  Those that know me realize I am a very humble man and I don’t go looking to be in the spotlight.  I am just a regular guy and Freemason that tries every single day to be the better man that Freemasonry is helping me become.  I titled this article, “From Darkness to Light” for a very simple reason and I hope you all realize that rising from darkness to true Masonic Light does not just happen when you are going through the degrees, it can happen every single day if you choose to rise from the darkness toward the light and be the best you can.  From the one single decision I made to enroll in the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge up to now the only thing I have done to better myself is stick to the lessons I have learned from this wonderful Fraternity and apply them as much as possible.  This Fraternity has truly changed my life along with the men associated with it.  Yes I have had a little luck along the way to get to where I am today but it never would have happened if I had not done what I did.  I hope that somewhere out there if there is a Brother in a bad spot in his life I truly hope he hears this story and realizes that if I can do it we all can!  After all, I am nothing special, just a man and Freemason like the millions of others out there.  I would like to offer a huge thank you to all of the Brothers and people associated with Freemasonry.  Lastly, this was my story, now it is time to move on and give another Brother the same as I have received from this Fraternity.