Mark Koltko-Rivera, Ph.D.
(Author, Freemasonry: An Introduction)
3.11 – Aliens & the Founding Fathers (10.5.11)
“I am a native New Yorker, currently living just outside New York City. However, I’ve also lived for two to eight years each in cities and towns in Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, as well as in Japan (in the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions). For business, I’ve spent weeks at a time in some of the larger North American cities (Boston, Chicago, LA, NOLA, SF, Toronto); I’ve also visited London and Rio. Ultimately, given my various business and personal interests, I may settle in any part of the United States, or elsewhere in the English-speaking world—perhaps even beyond.
Early Years and Education
My parents, Sophie Koltko and Odilio Rivera, were both born in NYC themselves, lived most of their lives in the City, and died in or near the City, as well.
I was born and raised in an area of Manhattan that could be called either the Lower East Side or the East Village (that is, the eastern part of Greenwich Village). When I was a child, my family paid $60 per month for a five-story walkup one-bedroom apartment at 70 St. Marks Place—then, as now, the center of the East Village.
My primary education was conducted at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Elementary School (now defunct), also on St. Marks Place. For high school, I attended Regis High School, an all-scholarship institution on the Upper East Side of New York City. During two summers, I attended the scholarship, invitational, international, leadership development program known as Camp Rising Sun in Red Hook, NY; I later served as CRS staff.
I received my undergraduate degree from Haverford College (near Philadelphia) where I majored in psychology. For three of my undergraduate years, I participated in the official dormitory exchange with Bryn Mawr College, where I took many classes as well, and lived in the tower suite of Rhoads Hall during my senior year.
While in college, I converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“the Mormons”). During my college years, I took time off to serve as a full-time missionary for two years in the LDS Japan Okayama Mission (now divided up among other current missions).
I earned a masters degree, majoring in counseling, at Fordham University—Lincoln Center campus. I received a doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University, working as a full-time psychology intern for a year each at the outpatient mental health clinic of Lutheran Medical Center (Sunset Park, Brooklyn) and at the inpatient Manhattan Psychiatric Center (Ward’s Island Complex).
Since receiving my doctoral degree, much of my work has been in contract research in psychology. (For example, I developed a screen to detect psychiatric disorders on a grant from the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.)
Before and since receiving my degree, I also have done a great deal of teaching, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels (47 course sections of 17 different courses, at last count), at institutions including NYU, the University of Central Florida, Manhattanville College, and elsewhere.
After spending eight years in central Florida, I returned to the New York City area a few years ago. I have been involved in a variety of areas professionally since then, concerning which you may read more through the tabs above.
I am currently divorced. I have four children from an earlier marriage, all now adults with families of their own. I teach Sunday School at my local LDS congregation. I am active as a Freemason. My recreational interests include walking, hiking, biking, strength training, dancing, and many types of cultural events (music, theater, and dance performances; art exhibitions; the spoken word; film). In college I fenced sabre, and I look forward to taking up that sport again. I have hiked a 60-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. I have had sharp objects thrown at me because of my skill at backgammon. My personal library holds over 3,000 books—and yes, I’ve read quite a lot of them.” 
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that became known to the public about 300 years ago, althought its legendary history reaches into the distant past. Masonry has been the subject of both deep admiration and scathing criticism for centuries. In this book, the author addresses such questons as: What is Freemasonry? Why do men become Masons–especially these days? What does it really mean to be a Freemason? How does Freemasonry work? (For example, what goes on at the meetings of a Masonic lodge?) How did Freemasonry begin? What about the dark or scandalous rumors that one occasionally hears about Freemasonry–alleging, for example that Masonry is an anti-Christian, devil-worshiping religion that plots international political conspiracy? What aobut the depictions of Masonry that one sees in the movies (such as National Treasure, or reads in novels (such as The Da Vinci Code? How does one become a Freemason? What are the accurate sources for information about Masonry? Freemasonry does illuminate acutal mysteries, and it has real secrets. However, these are not the mysteries and secrets mentioned in some sensationalistic accounts. This book accurately explains the true nature of the mysteries and secrets of Freemasonry.