In my opinion, the launching of this book is a special event for two reasons. First of all because it is the very first book, by Thomas Jackson, translated into Romanian. Secondly, because on September 14th, Tom has reached the age of 84 – and this was one of the reasons why I chose this date for launching the volume.
Thomas Jackson is well known and much respected mason around the world. The most important leaders of the Grand Lodges in the world are asking for his advice. He is a true Masonic encyclopaedia. Was initiated in Freemasonry in August 1963.
Thomas Jackson was Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania between 1979 and 1999. A year before his withdrawal from this position as Grand Secretary, in 1998, he founded the International Conference of Regular Grand Lodges – a world forum which meets every 18 months in various places on the Globe. One of the rules is that this Conference does not have two consecutive sessions on the same continent. I’m saying this to highlight the globalization and the amplitude of Thomas Jackson’s vision. With equilibrium, tact and wisdom he knew how to deal with situations arising from various causes, from ignorance to excessive pride, which could lead to unpleasant international circumstances, very difficult to repair.
Tom is honorary member in 39 Grand Lodges around the world, in 20 he was decorated with Grand Honorary Rank. He is Honorary Grand Master of 12 jurisdictions – Grand Lodges.
Why Thomas made me the honour of accepting me as the editor of his book? Because he is Honorary Director of my magazine, Masonic Forum, since 2004. The support I received from Tom made the possibility to have an international Board of Honorary Directors for Masonic Forum Magazine: the Grand Masters of Italy (Gustavo Raffi), Germany (Klaus Horneffer) of Israel (Chaim Henry Gehl) and Switzerland (Alberto Menasche) and top Masons, involved in the study of Freemasonry, e.g. the former editor of Scottish Rite Journal, the official journal of the Supreme Council Mother of the World in Washington (John Boettjer) and Trevor Stewart, a scholar, member of the United Grand Lodge of England, and this was happening years before the Romanian Masonry has received the UGLE recognition.
What do you find in this book? I have to tell you that it is not an esoteric book, Tom himself stating this. It is a collection of texts published in The Pennsylvania Freemason, the official journal of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. At the end of the book are some of his speeches not related to Freemasonry, but which help us to understand his personality, gained through his dedication to Freemasonry and to Boy Scouts of America. Tom declares in the book’s preface that over the years, his idealism has tempered in the fire of reality. I quote: “Much of my early thinking and writings tended to concentrate upon the subject of how great the Fraternity was. Now, I tend to write and speak more frequently on my concern over our losing that greatness. While I will always remain an idealist, I now regard myself as a pragmatic idealist.”
Let’s see a short recording of four and a half minutes, in which Thomas Jackson talks about his book.