True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Broom Named Harmony

There is a brother on one of the few Masonic Forums I do not post on who is always on about his “broom named Harmony”. He wields this “broom” to sweep away any discussion that in his opinion, creates discord or “disharmony”. The fact is, the use of this “broom” actually creates dissention, and drives away good men.

The “broom” he uses is intimidation, censorship, and outright banning of people who do not toe his line in the sand. The fact is, he uses this “broom” to sweep away any opinion at variance with his own about what is “ok” to talk about. It is this “Conformity or Coventry” and that is why I am writing today about his broom.

I will not name the brother, or the forum, as it is really unimportant. I use his “broom” only as a metaphor for what seems to be a challenge today. Masonry is about freedom, to think, to talk, to act, to chose, yet there are those who, in favor of something they call harmony, are willing to shut down conversations.

Why and how did this come about? How can a fraternity, dedicated to freedom, come to a place where that very freedom is curtailed in the name of something called harmony? There is but a single word to describe it, and it is, unfortunately, simply fear. Fear of having your cherished world view challenged, fear of different thought, fear of other facts, fear of change.

Yet, as freemasons, we should be able to examine any issue, thought or problem, openly, as intelligent men. Benjamin Franklin wrote that intelligent men should approach issues with an open mind. That means we should hear out all sides, weigh the facts, then make a rational decision.

Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the American way these past few decades. “Debate” seems to have gone from rational examination to demonization. The process no longer seems to be one of the exchange of ideas, but one of demolishing your opponent, of crushing them, not only on the merits of the argument to hand, but also personally, and often professionally.

Masonry, fortunately, gives us a way to learn from each other, to exchanges points of view, to discuss issues on their merits, as brothers, circumscribing our desires so that we can meet on the level and act by the plumb. When we meet on this basis, as masons, we should be able to discuss any issue, no matter how contentious, without resorting to the tactics of personal destruction.

Experience demonstrates that most people that have opinions about issues, but if we act as brothers, as adults, as men and of course, as masons, we can share and learn from each other. When we act as masons, there is no reason to use the broom named harmony, because real harmony exists, and there is no need to sweep things under the carpet.

Instead of a broom named harmony, freemasonic principles offer us the methodologies to work together.

Keeping Charity in mind, we can remember that our brothers are never villains, by keeping brother love in mind, we can remember that our brothers are our friends, and that they have only our best interests at heart, even when we view the world differently. Keeping prudence in mind, we can chose our words carefully, and remember that our brothers are doing the same.

Keeping all the tenets of Freemasonry clearly in mind, we can speak openly and freely, so that even as we disagree, because men of good will can and will disagree in a most friendly manner, we can remain brothers. Most of all, we should recall Masonic tolerance, so that as we deal with our brothers, we listen to what they are saying.

It is our differences that make us whole, not our similarities. If we keep that in mind, we will have no need of false harmony, created only by sweeping our differences under the carpet. We can join of differences, and by understanding each other, understand ourselves. To use a Masonic metaphor:

When polishing a stone, we do not use a smooth stone, but a rough stone, that by rubbing the two together we end up with a smooth surface, a perfect ashlar.

May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Theron, can you say "hypocrite"?

You've banned several brothers from your own forum for disagreeing with you and your yes-men. Of course you "justify" it by claiming they were in engaged in personal attacks against your yes-men. The last person you banned in this manner was banned for throwing the words of one of your yes-men back in his face. It's okay for your yes-men to call others names, but not okay for someone to say it back to them.

You banned Jeff Peace a while back for refusing to take the abuse your yes-men threw at him night and day.

You banned BC2006 because he was living proof that brothers in your beloved Grand Lodge of California had stabbed a lowly Entered Apprentice in the back. (Can you say "cover-up too"?)

You sit pretty high in the saddle and talk a good talk, but at the end of the day you're worse than those you oppose. You say one thing and quickly point the finger at others while doing the exact same things your attack them for doing.

Maybe you should consider coming down off your high saddle and realize that you're no better than any other man.

Anonymous said...

There a great deal more to it than a TO lodge.

Anonymous said...

R. u Dunn,

Happy to see you got off your form of transport above...

Galen Dean said...

Well, I'll try this again; this post might show up twice due to technical issues.

Bro. Dunn,

Your article seems to have struck a nerve with at least one of your posters. Since they posted annonymously, I can't determine if it's one or more.

Anyway, your perspective is very accurate. Just look at some of the people that spoke up after the 9/11 attack. They claimed that if we would just understand and accept the perspective of the terrorists then we could be friends with them and not have such a misunderstanding.

Such a stance does reveal fear of disagreement. Fear of thinking critically, fear of change, fear of new ideas or actions. Additionally, as you pointed out about debates, we no longer look at it as an exchange of ideas, but a war that must be won at any cost, even personal attacks.

However, back to the dissenting poster, I have to assume that he is not a Mason, otherwise he would have whispered good counsel in your ear and sought to reconcile the difference of opinions instead of making a public display over his disagreement.

Theron Dunn said...

My Brother;

You don't have the courage of your convictions to sign your name, so I must assume you are simply ignorant of your claims. I have not banned anyone for disagreeing with me, that, brother, is at best, self deception.

I have only personally banned one brother, that is the one who signs himself as Tubalcain420, and he was banned because his personal attacks on other posters was no longer acceptable. A vote was taken among the mods, and it was UNANIMOUS that he be banned.

Jeff Peace was banned by popular acclaim for personal attacks after many many warnings. Brad Corfield was banned for personal attacks, again after many warnings. No one has been banned for having differing opinions, and I am sorry that you are so self deluded that you cannot see that personal attacks have no place in freemasonry.

We not only allow differing opinions, Lodgeroom US encourages differing opinions. We learn nothing in an echo chamber.

I am one of the first to say it loud that Jeff Peace is a brilliant man, a learned historian, and well versed in masonic tradition. None the less, I disagree with his conclusions, and his methods. That being true, Jeff will also be the first to tell you that I have always defended him, fought for his right to speak, and supported him on the various forums, so far as I could do so and keep MY obligations.

Slandering me because you cannot circumscribe your own passions is not very masonic... and of course, posting anonymously isn't much of a surprise, either.

Anonymous said...

Theron,

You are not being honest with your comments. Let's look at the facts.

1. Tubalcain420 was banned after repeating the slur thrown at him by Bro_Peterson. (Bro. Peterson is one of your yes-men.) If it was wrong of tubalcain420 to throw the "pig" comment back at Bro_Peterson, wasn't it equally wrong of Bro_Peterson to make the slur to begin with. If you are fair and just why isn't Bro_Peterson banned too?

2. When it comes to Jeff Peace all one has to do is read through your forums to see that he was being attacked by multiple yes-men and acted out of self defense. Why did you let your yes-men attack Jeff Peace but expect a different response from him? You claim to love differing opinions but yet those who differ with you are banned at lodgeroomus.

3. BC2006 is similar to Jeff Peace. He was also being attacked by your yes-men but you banned BC2006 instead of your yes-men.

I just read through your forum since the banning of tubalcain420. Almost every post is how stating how great you are and how much everyone agrees with you. I didn't see any dissenting opinions. How could there be when you have banned those who disagree with you and your yes-men.

The "mods" are merely yes-men. When you claim there was a vote to ban people it's almost laughable. It was vote by people who already agree with you.

Where freedom of speech is allowed, and where true representative democracy is present, there will always be dissent. Since dissent is absent from the lodgeroomus forum one can only conclude that neother freedom of speech or true representative democracy are present.

What if you actually did those things that you claim? Well... I believe you would have to have mods from both sides of the debate present (not on sided as it is now). You would have to treat your yes-men just as you do others. If they are engaging in personal attacks then they should be banned too. Of course this type of upright and just behavior requires a real man with true self confidence to implement and maintain. Are you that kind of man Theron? I guess the next few days will tell the tale.

BTW, the fact that I choose to publish anonymously in no way diminishes the truth of what I am saying. To claim that it does is a weak defense of your own actions.

Theron Dunn said...

Well, Anonymous, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, no matter how wrong headed it may be. Facts are that there are many the disagree with me that are allowed to post openly and freely.

What is not allowed is personal attack. If you cannot see that Jeff, for instance, was allowed to post for a LONG time while making personal attacks, and the Br. TC has done nothing BUT post personal attacks, then you must be reading a different forum.

As for my mods being yes men, you should take that up with them. I have 13 moderators and two admins, all of whom have their own opinions, and freely post them. Ted and I have had our moments, for instance, yet I made him a mod, because he is active, intelligent, and maintains his masonic perspective.

I do not have any yes-men, so I do not see how I could do as you suggest. Every brother is treated the same, mods, admins and posters. Every brother posting maintains his masonic composure, and if, on occasion, he slips, well, we tend to whisper good counsel rather than trash brothers online. Its the brotherly thing to do.

And since you do not have the courage of your convictions, to actually sign your comments, you are simply demonstrating for the public that reads these comments that a) you are not speaking truth and b) that you do not have the courage to stand up and look me in the eye and state your slanders.

If I were truly the ogre you are claiming, your comments would have vanished, since here I can control whether anonymous posters are even allowed, and whether a post even sees the light of day.

The fact your posts are here, and that I take the time to respond to your defamatory comments demonstrates my courage of convictions... AND I sign my name to everything I post anywhere.

Only a coward will not sign his name when making accusations. My brother, are you really a coward, or have you just not though through the actions you are taking?

Its one thing to make comments anonymously, though as I note, I discount anonymous posts, but to make false accusations, when the record is available to anyone to see: www.lodgeroomuk.net/bb and then not have the guts to sign your name to them... well, its not only unmasonic, its, in my mind, pretty cowardly.

its the kind of nonsense I would expect to see from any of the tin foil hate brigades. Is that truly how you wish to be seen by the world?

For myself, anonymous attacks have no value and no substance. I stand by my words with my name, as I post nothing that I will not stand behind 100%. My name and honor are all I own, so I carefully consider before posting... since I do it in my name, not in the dark behind an anonymous "shield".

Errol said...

Censorship is such a strong word. My thinking is that you were never censored. The brother wielding the "broom of harmony" didn't keep you from writing, he just told you not to do it in his house. As a co-owner of said board with said brother, we are fully justified in choosing who we want to participate in conversations with us. We have never censored anyone, or deleted posts. By my account the last Mason censored was William Morgan. The difference is that we are honest and upfront about this. As a result, the 600 plus members of this forum feel comfortable voicing their opinions. Even here on this blog, I see that comment moderation is enabled. Am I being censored?
Jeff Peace has a new forum. I see that to join, it must be approved by him. Wow, I must be getting censored. Now I've seen now all of these "brothers" attacking you for this and that. You banned this on and that one. BC2006, TC420, JP, all deserved to get kicked off these forums, not to censor them, but because they have been censored or need to be censored, but because they act like asses, and need to be shown to the door. The difference Theron, is that I have no problem doing this before it escalates into a dog fight is all. Oh and I will sign my name, unlike the others here that seem to like to drop turd bombs and run

Theron Dunn said...

Wr. Wrrol;

It was not me that I was concerned for. I use this brother as an example, and yes, it was censorship. When subjects are banned because that brother does not like them, or does not agree with them, and brothers are banned for discussing subjects, that is censorship.

And censorship is ok, if that is what you want on a forum. I simply noted that it is not in keeping with masonic principles to censor subjects in that manner, and then CALL it harmony.

It is NOT harmony, any more than jailing your opponents creates peace in a theocracy like Saudi Arabia or in Cuba. It is something, to be sure, but it is not harmony, and it is not masonic.

As masons, we came together as a philosophical society in the beginning. Our early brother masons did not shy away from the tough subjects, nor ban them. They embraced them, worked through them, and became better men because of it.

To ban and censor issues you do not agree with is hardly harmony, and I found it then and continue to find it a delicious irony when someone claims to wield a broom they call harmony to sweep away dissension from their view of political correctness.

I also find it unmasonic, which is why I chose to use it as an example of what is wrong, as a way of demonstrating how we can get back to what it right.

We should not fear the opposing voice. We should embrace it, even if we disagree with it... in fact, especially if we disagree with it. You cannot grow as a man and as a mason if all you do is hide and sweep away anything you do not like.

Errol said...

Theron,

UnMasonic is a strong word as well. One that I personally do not use. To me you are using the term censorship and banning like it is a mob hit or something. Were you censored, we would not be having this conversation right now. I'm sorry, but when a brother causes dissension and hard feelings, or just intentionally pisses someone off, in my house I have the right to show them the door. I can also say with complete certainty that I have never banned a person from a forum for their points of view, but more the vehicle that they use to deliver the message. Simple as that. That is not un-Masonic, but in my opinion common sense. But then again our approaches are different. I refuse to let anyone, especially a brother Mason deliver a message, no matter how important, or how much I believe in it at my house, when they have to do it in i manner that is offensive

Br. Arthur Peterson said...

Br. Dunn,

I find it difficult to offer a dissenting point of view, as I am supposed to be your yes man.

However, I shall try to put one out there anyway.

While we are given great tools to aid us in acting Brotherly towards one another, even Masonry knows there are certain subjects that will snap the most tempered compasses in two.

This is why discussion of religion and politics is not allowed in lodge.

Some things are better left undiscussed, swept under the tesselated pavement if you will, so that we can meet as Brothers under the illusion of harmony.

In my jurisdiction, besides politics and religion, any subject that might creat disharmony is not allowed in lodge.

Who decides which subjects are forbidden? I guess the sitting master if he should see a subject start to become disharmonious.

Br. Arthur Peterson

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that these anonymous "brothers" continue to play the victim, yet have no evidence that they themselves are innocent of all charges.

From what I have seen, they have caused more trouble and that is why they are all banned. Plus, they have nothing that revolutionary or progressive to add to anything--except how today they add a new victim martyr to their funeral roster.

Their fate is of their own doing--not anybody else.


Bro. Hermano Rubelo

Anonymous said...

my hero!

Anonymous said...

Wow, how did my name come up in this? I can say and I do honestly believe that there is a double standard. Arthur Peterson can say whatever disgusting thing comes to his mind and he will continue marching right along.

Errol, you and I have co exsisted on the MFOL for quite a while. Not bad for me being such an "ass" and all.

God Bless

BC 2006

 
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