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An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One)

November 1, 2015

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 9.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Five)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: November 1, 2015

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,844

ISSN 2369-6885

Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp

Abstract

An interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp. He discusses: geographic, cultural, and linguistic family background; pivotal moments in personal life leading into freemasonry; the “grand design of being happy” and “communicating happiness” in freemasonic theory and the freemasonic tradition; “Man Know Thyself” based in one maxim from ancient Greece, and “Three Great Principles,” namely: “Brotherly Love,” “Relief,” and “Truth”; Thales of Miletus, of the Milesian school of the pre-Socratics; Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, and a possible adaptation from Thales into the Christian tradition; principles’ influence on the engagement of freemasons with the larger Canadian culture through the three Great Principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth; and freemasons’ self-definition as a “way of life.”

Keywords: Anaximander, Anaximenes, freemasonic theory, freemasonic tradition, freemasonry, grand design, Grand Secretary, Jerry W. Kopp, Thales.

An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes and citation style listing after the interview, respectively.*

1. In terms of geography, culture, and language, where does your family background reside?[3]

My family background has no masonic connections whatsoever, I am of German origin and I’m originally from Saskatchewan.

2. What seem like pivotal moments in personal life leading into freemasonry?[4]

I was in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 31 years, and became good friends with a couple of Freemasons that I worked with in the Mounted Police.  I like what I’d seen from the two individuals and decided to make an application.

3. The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons states their one aim, as follows, “To please each other and unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.[5] What equates to the “grand design of being happy” and the means of “communicating happiness” in freemasonic theory and the freemasonic tradition as per the tradition of The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons?[6]

The Grand Design is God’s Will.  His design is to have happy people.  We teach Freemasons to be of the Characteristics of what God expects us to be.  Communicating happiness, of course, which means is to always communicate in a happy way and forget the negative.

4. The aim continues with the phrase “Man Know Thyself” based in one maxim from ancient Greece.[7],[8] Freemasonry contains foundational principles, the “Three Great Principles,” namely: “Brotherly Love,” “Relief,” and “Truth.”[9],[10],[11] What does each great principle mean in theory and practice?

“Brotherly Love” of course, is for each of us to care for each other.  “Relief” to provide whatever relief is necessary.  In some cases, it might not be monetary.  In some cases, it might be simply to visit.  And “Truth”, we need to be truthful with each other.  “Man know thyself” is actually a quotation that comes out of the Bible in the Book of Timothy.

5. Do you think this might come from Thales of Miletus, of the Milesian school of the pre-Socratics, which pre-dates the Christian faith?

Run that by me again.

6. In the pre-Socratics, before Socrates and the Christian faith, there was the Milesian school of philosophy, which is probably the oldest in the Western tradition. There was Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. Thales thought the world was made of water. In that, some quotes are attributed to him such as “nothing is excess” and “know thyself.” Do you think that might be an adaptation from Thales into the Christian tradition?

I have no doubt in my mind that it has a great deal of connection.   I think that if you look at the Buddhist faith.  Much of the Buddhist faith is, really when you stop and look at it, is exactly what our God, our Creator has given us and that’s what Freemasons should live by as well.

7. How do these principles influence the engagement of freemasons with the larger Canadian culture?[12] With the three Great Principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth, you provided some examples, but those remain particular examples. I mean a general stance of freemasons towards the cultures in which they happen to find themselves, and how those principles influence a freemasonic stance in the culture in which they find themselves.

Freemasonry fits into every Culture, Canadian culture or whatever.  It may not necessarily be accepted by all cultures. It is certainly by those who are acquainted with Freemasonry and what Freemasonry stands for, which is really a continuance of our spiritual beliefs in God and practising and living by it. But some cultures may not accept us at all.  And if their culture within our country, like they may be Canadians, but they may not be true Canadian Culture.  Somebody comes from the Middle East.  They may have some differences with us.  Although we do have a lot of Muslims, particularly Muslims, who belong to our Fraternity.

8. Freemasons might demarcate their practice through self-definition as a “way of life” as opposed to a religion.[13],[14] Although, freemasonry remains open to individuals from “all nationalities, religions, occupations and ages.”[15] [Emphasis added.] What sets freemasonry apart from religion and alternate ways of life?[16],[17]

First of all, each Mason is to practise his faith.  Whether he is Hindu, Christian or whatever have you, we are set apart in that we’re not a religious organization.  We teach the principles that God has given us, but were very much spiritual.  Now, having said that, in many cases, we find that our Brethren who may not have been religious in their life may have their faith strengthened by being a freemason and then becoming a religious person.  You know it has my case, it has strengthened my belief of God and his principles.  Because we focus in more on the teachings of God than perhaps transfers into some of religions, really.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Grand Secretary, The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons; Retired Member, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

[2] First publication on November 1, 2015 at www.in-sightjournal.com.

[3] RWBro Jerry Kopp (2012) in The Alberta Freemason, describes, in brief, some of Kopp’s background:

“Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of Alberta RWBro Jerry W. Kopp hails from Loon Lake, Saskatchewan, and was born on 15 March 1948 to immigrant parents from Czechoslovakia. He grew up and was educated at Loon Lake….In May 1970 Brother Kopp joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and took his training at “Depot Division” of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Training Centre in Regina. His first posting took him to Drumheller…Brother Kopp attained the rank of Sergeant and retired from the RCMP on 31 October 2000 with almost 31 years of service…He was transferred to Milk River in January 1978 and affiliated with Century Lodge No. 100 at Milk River. During a 10-year posting in Edmonton, Brother Kopp became active in Freemasonry by visiting many of the Edmonton and area Masonic Lodges. While in Edmonton, he was a member of the joint RCMP/Edmonton Police Service Master Masons Degree Team…Brother Kopp affiliated with Strathmore Lodge in 1991 and was Worshipful Master in 1995, 2003 and in 2011. He was the first Worshipful Master to serve a second term in the history of the Strathmore Lodge…In the fall of 1995 Brother Kopp was elected as District Deputy Grand Master for the Dinosaur District. He served this office in 1996–97 under Most Worshipful Brother Basile Costouros as Grand Master…On 1 November 2000, he was hired by the Grand Lodge of Alberta as Assistant Grand Secretary and was invested as Grand Secretary in June 2001. Brother Kopp continues to be a very active ritualist in his Lodge and in other Lodges that may require assistance.”

Please see The Alberta Freemason. (2012, January). RWBro Jerry Kopp. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/AbFM/ABF1201.pdf.

[4] Please see Freemasonry. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/order-of-Freemasons.

[5] For further information, The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons 2015) states:

“Freemasonry is a way of life and is composed of people of all nationalities, religions, occupations and ages. Freemasons believe in truth, tolerance, respect, and freedom. Anyone may petition to be a Mason so long as they meet a few requirements. Freemasons believe in “making good men better” which implies that its adherents should seek continual improvement and growth. A maxim in ancient Greece, “Man Know Thyself”, has echoes in modern ceremonial Freemasonry and implies the importance of learning about self, for by becoming a more enlightened and principled individual it is most probable that a person will in turn be a contributing citizen to their society. It is important that a Mason be a good family member, friend, neighbor and employee. Freemasons believe in living a life of positive contribution and to the building up of self, society and the world. Masonry is not a substitute for a person’s chosen faith but rather supplements faith, spirituality, life and living.”

Please see The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/.

[6] Please see The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/.

[7] “Man Know Thyself” comes from the tradition of ancient Greece, possibly, from the earliest philosopher in the Western tradition within the Milesian school.  A man named Thales of Miletus, along with Anaximander and Anaximenes in the Milesian tradition too. Bear in mind, the Encyclopedia Britannica entry states:

“No writings by Thales survive, and no contemporary sources exist. Thus, his achievements are difficult to assess. Inclusion of his name in the canon of the legendary Seven Wise Men led to his idealization, and numerous acts and sayings, many of them no doubt spurious, were attributed to him, such as “Know thyself” and “Nothing in excess.” [Emphasis added.]

Please see Thales of Miletus. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Thales-of-Miletus.

[8] Please see The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). What is Freemasonry?. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/freemasonry.html.

[9] According to The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons, “brotherly love” means, “Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.” “Relief” means, “Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care – not only for their own – but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.” Finally, “truth” means, “Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.” Other principles, or beliefs, include “truth, tolerance, respect, and freedom,” but do have partial containment in the other great principles too.

Please see The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/.

[10] Please see The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). What is Freemasonry?. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/freemasonry.html.

[11] The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). What is Freemasonry?. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/freemasonry.html.

[12] According to What is Freemasonry? (2015), on the relationship of freemasonry to society, it states:

“Freemasonry demands from its members a respect for the law of the country in which a man works and lives. Its principles do not in any way conflict with its members’ duties as citizens, but should strengthen them in fulfilling their public and private responsibilities. The use by a Freemason of his membership to promote his own or anyone else’s business, professional or personal interests is condemned, and is contrary to the conditions on which he sought admission to Freemasonry. His duty as a citizen must always prevail over any obligation to other Freemasons, and any attempt to shield a Freemason who has acted dishonorably or unlawfully is contrary to this prime duty and the teachings of Freemasonry itself.” [Emphasis added.]

Please see The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). What is Freemasonry?. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/freemasonry.html.

[13] One can find an indirect description of this ideal in statements peppered throughout the thorough and concise contents of the website. For instance, What is Freemasonry? (2015) states:

“Freemasonry is: Kindness in the home, honesty in business, courtesy in society, fairness in work, resistance toward the wicked, pity and concern for the unfortunate, help for the weak, trust in the strong, forgiveness for the penitent and, above all, love for one another and reverence and love for God.

Freemasonry is a way of life.”

What is Freemasonry? (2015), in addition to the previous quote, says:

“Freemasonry is composed of people of all nationalities, religions, occupations and ages. Freemasons believe in truth, tolerance, respect, and freedom. Anyone may petition to be a Mason so long as they meet a few requirements.

Freemasons believe in “making good men better” which implies that its adherents should seek continual improvement and growth. A maxim in ancient Greece, “Man Know Thyself”, has echoes in modern ceremonial Freemasonry and implies the importance of learning about self, for by becoming a more enlightened and principled individual it is most probable that a person will in turn be a contributing citizen to their society. It is important that a Mason be a good family member, friend, neighbor and employee. Freemasons believe in living a life of positive contribution and to the building up of self, society and the world. Masonry is not a substitute for a person’s chosen faith but rather supplements faith, spirituality, life and living.”

Finally, the same article describes the difference between the freemasonic way of life and religious way of life, especially with regards to their compatibility – freemasonry and religion, as follows:

“Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. It has no theology and does not teach any route to salvation. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God. Although every lodge meeting is opened and closed with a prayer and its ceremonies reflect the essential truths and moral teachings common to many of the world’s great religions, no discussion of religion is permitted in Masonic meetings. The one essential qualification means that Freemasonry is open to men of many religions and it expects and encourages them to continue to practice his religion and to regard its holy book as the unerring standard of truth. The Bible will always be present in a lodge but as the organization welcomes men of all faiths, it is called the Volume of the Sacred Law. Thus, when the Volume of the Sacred Law is referred to in ceremonies, to a non-Christian it will be the holy book of his religion and to a Christian it will be the Bible.”

Please see The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). What is Freemasonry?. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/freemasonry.html.

[14] The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). What is Freemasonry?. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/freemasonry.html.

[15] The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). What is Freemasonry?. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/freemasonry.html.

[16] The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). What is Freemasonry?. Retrieved from http://www.freemasons.ab.ca/freemasonry.html.

[17] Please see Freemasonry. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/order-of-Freemasons.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Kopp J. and Jacobsen S. An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal [Online]. November 2015; 9(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Kopp, J. & Jacobsen, S.D. (2015, November 1). An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One)Retrieved from https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): KOPP, J. & JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 9.A, November. 2015. <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Kopp, Jerry & Jacobsen, Scott. 2015. “An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 9.A. https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Kopp, Jerry & Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 9.A (November 2015). https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/.

Harvard: Kopp, J. & Jacobsen, S. 2015, ‘An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 9.A. Available from: <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/>.

Harvard, Australian: Kopp, J. and Jacobsen, S. 2015, ‘An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 9.A., https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Kopp, Jerry, and Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 9.A (2015):November. 2015. Web. <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Kopp J. and Jacobsen S. An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part One) [Internet]. (2015, October); 9(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/11/01/an-interview-with-grand-secretary-jerry-w-kopp-part-one/.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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