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

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Masonic Malcontents?

There has been a lot written of late by a small group of malcontents in freemasonry. These brothers seem to feel that if only freemasonry would change, lock, stock and barrel to THEIR vision, that everything would be cool beans and freemasonry would grow.

The Problem is, their "suggestions" for change involve throwing away pretty much everything that makes Freemasonry, well, Masonic. This includes the Grand Lodge system, the lodges, the ritual, the tenets, how we meet, who we recognize... if all their plans were implemented, we would be something else, but not freemasonry.

They go on constantly about Grand Lodges being "monolithic" and "unresponsive". One of these brothers even recently wrote: Monolithic systems such as Grand Lodges are well suited for mass production operations where everything is the same, but poorly suited to address individual needs. This, I believe, is the true nature of the problem. It's not about the needs of the ego but the spirit of the human being.

The problem is, this is incorrect, a sand foundation for all proceeding arguments, and in itself an ego driven position. These few brothers, and by few I mean less than a hundred (though they are quite vocal) out of, what, 4 million plus Freemasons worldwide, seem to hold the position that they are not bound by their obligation to Freemasonry, that they do not have to work within the system to effect change.

They do not seem to care that the MAJORITY, and by majority, I mean over 99% of all regular masons, do not agree with them and their methods. In one case recently, a lodge voted to surrender its charter, and is attempting to take all the assets of the lodge with them in the process, and have now formed a NEW lodge, without a charter.

This action was handled by less than a third of the members of the lodge who were present to vote, out of the entire membership of the lodge. More disturbing is their actions in moving the building and other valuable assets into an outside charity (in contravention to the bylaws of the law and the constitution of the grand lodge under which they HELD their charter.

The fact that they took this action after having their charter placed on probationary status because of actions they had been, or had not been taking, and the concern of the Grand Lodge over their actions. These men also, at the same time they voted to "surrender" their charter, also surrendered their dues cards and formed a new lodge, without a charter. Of course, these three actions meant that these brothers, less than a hundred of them according to reports, were no longer regular masons.

Ego is the prime cause of this problem, and others like it. In masonic ritual, we are taught that we were first PREPARED to be made a mason in our hearts, then taught to circumscribe our desires, and "wait a time with patience". A lack of patience, and an over riding ego are the prime cause of these types of actions.

They did not attempt anything through gentle acts. I have been following the actions there, and they have been, as far as I can tell, rightly reined in by the grand lodge.

Now they have done what I recommended, vote with their feet. Good for them. The issue I take umbrage with is what appears to be their moving the assets of the Lodge out of the "lodge", illegally by their own bylaws and the constitution of the grand lodge under which charter the assets were assembled, THEN surrendering their charter and taking over the assets to form a "new" lodge.

Sorry, that is not good. If they were honest in their actions, they would all have simply demited from that lodge and gone to form a new lodge and left the charter in place. After all, there are over 300 members of that lodge.

But no, they wanted to have their cake and eat it to (yes, I know, silly saying but there you are). Myself, I have no problem with their objecting to... whatever it was they objected to... following the rules of their grand lodge in not extending even honorary membership to an expelled mason, and not moving the assets of the lodge, wasn't it?

If they had simply done the honorable thing, demitted and gone off to get a charter from somewhere else, or even just forming their own new lodge, I would have lauded and honored them. After all, that is following the dictates of their conscience.

That is NOT what they did, however. They had to make a show, by "giving back their charter", and taking the assets of the lodge WITH them. Not masonic at all, in my estimation.

They should have simply demitted and left the lodge without officers, for the GM to fix however he decided to fix it. That is not what they did, and it is the... other things they did, in association with a rather... untraditional manner of demitting that I object to...

By the way, no one really seems to know what was so egregious about their grand lodge that they just HAD to demit, do they? And no one seems to see anything that they are doing that is different from regular masons the world over... except claiming to be the best masons there are, I mean.

So, lets go back to the "monolithic" comment. In the United States alone, there are over 90 REGULAR Grand Lodges. I do not follow the actions or philosophies of other obediences, so I will not include them in this discussions, or speculate on them. These 90 REGULAR grand lodges follow a tradition that goes back to at least 1717, a set of traditions, tenets, rituals and philosophy.

Now, all men see things in different lights. That is the essence of working together, and is most masonic when we can set our differences aside and work together. If a brother sees, or thinks he sees a need for change in masonry, whatever it is, it is most masonic that he discuss it with his brethren and either convince them he is correct, or, recognize that his vision is not shared and move on.

If one cannot convince the majority of the correctness of his belief, then it strikes me as the height of chutzpah, ego and hubris when he turns around and claims that the GL is therefore wrong, evil, corrupt etc etc etc, when the fact is, if the majority of his brothers do not agree with him, that HE might be out of step.

Freemasonry is a democracy, at its core, and modern freemasonry is no different. Convince the majority of anything, and you, and they, will prevail. The only MONOLITH in freemasonry is the brethren.

Then we have comments like: If one truly believes in Freemasonry, but the monolithic structure inhibits their spiritual growth, they will become deeply unhappy and confused as to the nature of their unhappiness. Eventually the realization will come to them that it is the limitations of the monolithic structure that holds them back morally and spiritually in their quest for self-discovery.

This type of comment confuses me, because every brother, EVERY brother, can work to effect change in Freemasonry, IF the change is really necessary; AND, more importantly, every man is free to demit from Freemasonry if it does not fulfill his "spiritual" needs. NO MAN, however, is free to stand back, as the antimasonic elements do, and throw rocks at freemasonry because it does not exactly match their "needs".

Some of these brothers use unmasonic, antithetical methods in their efforts to effect change. Some start new "masonic" bodies, clubs, rites, etc., that are not in keeping with true freemasonry. Sometimes, these brothers are even removed from the body masonic because their actions are so disruptive, negative, and unmasonic. Its a sad thing, but it happens.

Fortunately, the number of men that so violate their obligations, masonic teachings, masonic philosophy and masonic tolerance are few. As with any organization, some men join with a misunderstanding of what Freemasonry is... and isn't. When they find out that Freemasonry isn't a bowling club, or a pool hall, or a gym, or a bar with a club grafted on, they become unhappy.

The majority of masons worldwide find the craft to be what it claims and holds itself out as: An ancient and honorable fraternity of men, with a faith in the supreme being, however they define him, a sense of community, of brotherhood, and a need, a hunger, for more light. As one who has traveled the world and seen lodges across the face of it, met and worked with brothers of all races, nationalities and creeds, the glory and beauty of freemasonry is clear.

With the RARE exceptions noted above, the universal experience has been one of friendship, support, study, contemplation, charity and brotherhood. The philosophy of freemasonry is intact, as are the fraternal, social and moral ethos for the taking. Is all sunshine and light? No, Freemasonry, like all organizations, reflects the society in which it grows.

The warmth of masonic light is there, the brotherhood, the family and the knowledge. We are taught as Masons to be tolerant, to be gentle, and to work as brothers to achieve our noble ends. These few men, these errant brothers, are not the cure for Freemasonry's "ills", they ARE an ill, for they have set aside the trowel for the setting maul... and we Masons all know who wields the setting maul, and what the result of one fellowcraft's use of it resulted in.

As masons, we are called to tolerance, fraternity, and to whisper good counsel to our brothers when they have fallen from the path. There comes a time, however, when all good masons must, failing to bring about a reformation through kind, gentle remonstrations and whispered good counsel, must turn our backs on their antics and say, this far, and no further.

A good lodge has been destroyed by following the pied piper, and it seems another is on the brink of the same foolishness. Ego, thy name is NOT Freemasonry. The TRUE name of Freemasonry is FRATERNITAS, and the true secret of freemasonry is brotherhood.
May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us.

13 comments:

giovanni lombardo said...

Do never surrender and fight from inside.

"We shall overcome!"

Widow's Son said...

Do you not see the irony — or is it hypocracy? — in your own words?

You wrote: "As masons, we are called to tolerance, fraternity, and to whisper good counsel to our brothers when they have fallen from the path. There comes a time, however, when all good masons must, failing to bring about a reformation through kind, gentle remonstrations and whispered good counsel, must turn our backs on their antics and say, this far, and no further."

This is precisely what the "malcontents" did, at first — attempt "reformation through kind, gentle" acts... but after meeting repeated oppositions, had to say "this far, and no farther," and then take matters into their own hands.

Widow's Son
BurningTaper.com

Theron Dunn said...

Not at all hypocritical... the actions they have taken are entirely, in my opinion, unmasonic. The only silver in this otherwise dark cloud is that they are no longer regular masons.

They did not attempt anything through gentle acts. I have been following the actions there, and they have been, as far as I can tell, rightly reined in by the grand lodge.

Now they have done what I recommended, vote with their feet. Good for them. The issue I take umbrage with is what appears to be their moving the assets of the Lodge out of the "lodge", illegally by their own bylaws and the constitution of the grand lodge under which charter the assets were assembled, THEN surrendering their charter and taking over the assets to form a "new" lodge.

Sorry, that is not good. If they were honest in their actions, they would all have simply demited from that lodge and gone to form a new lodge and left the charter in place. After all, there are over 300 members of that lodge.

But no, they wanted to have their cake and eat it to (yes, I know, silly saying but there you are). Myself, I have no problem with their objecting to... whatever it was they objected to... following the rules of their grand lodge in not extending even honorary membership to an expelled mason, and not moving the assets of the lodge, wasn't it?

If they had simply done the honorable thing, demitted and gone off to get a charter from somewhere else, or even just forming their own new lodge, I would have lauded and honored them. After all, that is following the dictates of their conscience.

That is NOT what they did, however. They had to make a show, by "giving back their charter", and taking the assets of the lodge WITH them. Not masonic at all, in my estimation.

They should have simply demitted and left the lodge without officers, for the GM to fix however he decided to fix it. That is not what they did, and it is the... other things they did, in association with a rather... untraditional manner of demitting that I object to...

By the way, no one really seems to know what was so egregious about their grand lodge that they just HAD to demit, do they? And no one seems to see anything that they are doing that is different from regular masons the world over... except claiming to be the best masons there are, I mean.

As I noted in my blog, I do not care if they object, or try to work in the system to "fix" whatever it is that they think is "wrong". All we saw was them fighting against the authority of their grand lodge.

Not very masonic, not very useful, not very honorable. But hey, that is just my opinion based on what I can see from what they post and do.

And to answer your question, no, I do not see it as hypocritical, especially seeing as I specifically stated I have no problem with brothers that want to make changes.

Thanks or asking brother.

Meantime, I would not be averse to publishing anything they would like to say about their grievances, the ones that were so bad they had to quit... but they won't do that. I know this as I have asked the MASTER of that lodge to do so.

He declined.

Timothy Bonney said...

Well said Brother Theron!

Anonymous said...

A few questions for you Bro.Dunn.

1. Have you ever sat in their meetings?
If the answer is no, then how can you sit there and speculate?

2. How do know how many members they have? Have you seen their roster?.

3. And how many on that roster are suspended for non- payment of dues.?

I remember hearing something a few times and it goes like this.

You are not to palliate or agravate the offenses of your Brethren, but in the decision of every tresspass against our rules you are to judge with candor, admonish with friendship and reprehend with justice.

I have have yet to see you practice this charge on anything you have written on this issue.

Maybe you should reread your charges before you play judge, jury and executioner in your own mind.

The only people who know exactly what is going on will handle it period. Not you and your speculation.

Furthermore, those young men do not have to explain anything to you or anyone else who is not involed.

Good luck to the brothers from that lodge.

It may work out or it may not.

And finally from what I have gatherd, I don't think these guys give two hoots what you think.

Step back, count to ten and think about this.

So mote it be
North Star Lodge #638

Theron Dunn said...

First of all, I have not named a lodge or a person in relation to this issue. Have I sat in lodge with them? Nope, wouldn't care to, any more than I would attend a co-ed lodge, and for pretty much the same reasons.

Everything I have posted is based upon their own claims and statements. They noted they moved the assets of the lodge out and into an "outside" charity. This is in contravention to the bylaws and constitution of the grand lodge under which they held their charter when they took these actions.

As for roster and members and so forth, I know what they have posted on the actions they took to run out the "old fogeys", their membership numbers, and the number of active brothers.

All this is out there on LRUS and other forums, by their own hand. And my COMMENTARY is based entirely on their own claims and statements.

So, can you point to one statement that I made in my blog that is factually incorrect? And if so, how can YOU be sure, seeing as I have not named any lodge, grand lodge, state, city, or brother?

For all you know, I am talking about a little lodge in Clearwater, Florida. I'm not, but the lodge itself is unimportant, the actions these men have taken is illustrative of the minority of men who arrogantly think they know what is best for a fraternity of over 5 million men that is over 300 years old.

Period.

Anonymous said...

Again Theron, when YOU enetered into this game, it was very late and unfortunatley it was apparently at the end.

So, can someone who missed the first 3 1/2 quarters of a football game really commenton the WHOLE game?

Logic, which is taught in the Fellow Craft degree, would ay no.

Theron quote"As for roster and members and so forth, I know what they have posted on the actions they took to run out the "old fogeys", their membership numbers, and the number of active brothers."

If just raising dues is considered "running off old fogeys", WOW. No slight of hand tactics there.

RAISING DUES = Running out the old fogeys?



Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.
Author: Thomas Jefferson
Source: found among his papers after his death

Bro Thomas Covenant
The Ur-Lord

Theron Dunn said...

Lord Thomas Covenant;

i recognize the allusion, by the way... to the most hated character in science fiction. You don't like yourself much, or what???

As for the lodge in question, you keep going sideways. Please actually, oh, I don't know, READ my blog? I do not care about the lodge in question, really. As long as they work within the rules, or, if they cannot, quit.

Instead, they tried to take the lodge and its assets WITH them, which they, the members in question, do not have a right to. And, as I noted many times, I am more than willing to sit back and watch as the GM reconstitutes the lodge and moves the assets BACK under the control of the lodge.

Also, as I noted, if they were sincere in their intentions, they would simply have demited from the lodge. Period. The rest is drama, and seemingly an intent to be "in the face" of the grand lodge.

Unworthy, in my estimation, of the
"high" calling to which they are laying claim.

Just my opinion.

Oh, and for the record, one of the brothers of the lodge in question specifically claimed to have participated in actions DESIGNED to drive away the "old fogeys" who were standing in their way.

Not very masonic for men claiming the high moral ground. When you claim to be highly moral, you have to ACT like it. You have to ensure that your actions and words do not cast doubt or shadow on your actions.

Other than that, they done good.

However, the point of the article is NOT that lodge.

Anonymous said...

Theron:"Oh, and for the record, one of the brothers of the lodge in question specifically claimed to have participated in actions DESIGNED to drive away the "old fogeys" who were standing in their way."

could you elaborate on those actions in question? I would love to know what they were.

or has a brother of that Lodge fed you false info to run with it?
remember your confusion between Ohio and Ga.s problems, laying claim to the fact the a brother of said lodge fed you stuff about the gL o Ohio, which turned out false, so how can we trust you or your informant, when you and they have been wrong in the past?

Clarification would be cool.

Brother Thomas Covenant
The Ur-Lord

Theron Dunn said...

"Br. Thomas"

First of all, if you are interested in the source comments, look on the LRUS. I have no intention of engaging in a discussion about their past actions.

Second of all, believe me, don't believe me, it is of no consequence to me.

Third, the question I asked the Halcyon brothers was based on unequivocal comments made by a brother of that lodge in a phone conversation. I know him pretty well, and he was not shy about his claims.

Based on the actions of Halcyon, acting as if the Grand Lodge did not matter and the claims of a man that he was a dues card holding member of that lodge since August of 2007, I asked if it were true.

The subsequent actions to straighten out Halcyon's activities, and the fact they never voted the man in as a dues card holding member, NOR as an honorary member of the lodge, shows the Grand Lodge and Grand Master were in no way constrained in acting.

You can believe or not believe the source, again, I know what the man said, and I sat on it for at least six months, watching to see, by their actions, if it were true. When their actions seemed to indicate an unusual independence, I asked the question.

Of course I did not believe it, but because the man had told ME it was true, I began to worry that he had made similar assurances to the brothers in Halcyon Lodge. Due and timely notice demanded that the question be asked publicly.

The master of the lodge categorically denied it, which demonstrated that they were not operating under a false flag, but rather, an, in my opinion, excess of arrogance and a shortage of brotherly love and charity.

Just my opinion based on observation.

The plain fact is, "Thomas", these men are no longer masons, having violated their obligations, so their antics are no longer a concern of mine. I will wait a time with patience and watch as the Grand Lodge of Ohio fixes the mess these men have left behind.

Lastly, if you had read my blog, you would see the point was NOT Halcyon Lodge, but the actions of men LIKE these, who put their ego and arrogance ahead of their obligation as Master Masons.

Widow's Son said...

Bro. Theron wrote: "The plain fact is... these men are no longer masons, having violated their obligations, so their antics are no longer a concern of mine."

It's not a fact at all. And you're not the judge or jury. It's not your place to say they are not Masons.

Nor does violation of an obligation automatically make a Mason "no longer [a] mason." If that were true, you'd long ago have ceased to be a Mason, as would most of us, for violating one or more of the obligations. Have you never violated the one about speaking "evil" of a brother Master Mason?

Why is it that whenever someone raises the issue of not following a grand master's least whim, there are shouts of "you violated your obligation!" but yet they/we/I often ignore violations of other items on the list?


Widow's Son
BurningTaper.com

Theron Dunn said...

My brother;

As I note in the footer of every page of this blog, I speak ONLY for myself. Based on their actions, and the letter just now published by W. Ken Miller, former master of Halcyon Lodge, they are guilty of, at the least, in my opinion, unmasonic conduct.

They surrendered their dues cards, and have formed a clandestine lodge, attempting to use the assets of their former lodge. IN MY MIND, and based on my observations, I am not sure I can consider any of them to be masons any longer.

But that is just me.

As for your contention about violating our obligations, please brother, you cannot speak for me and my actions. I am not speaking ill of a brother, seeing as they have, of their own free will and accord, surrendered their membership in the Grand Lodge of Ohio, and violated their obligations... to darn near everyone.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mister Former Brothers aka the Masonic Malcontents: Greetings from the other side. The bottom line is this, you let your ego's get in the way of good order, discipline and tolerance. This is not not the upright Mason we were taught be be. The entire membership of the lodge is not represented in your actions, or even a simple majority otherwise it would not happen at all. Yes, we did not sit in lodge while they committed conspiracy against the fraternity. Yes, we agree that they took what was not their working tools, charge and ritual from the Grand Lodge of Ohio. Yes, we agree that your actions will result in expulsion from the Fraternity that you once belonged. Now as cowans and eavesdroppers, we cannot not communicate with you Masonically. Please do not misrepresent the fratnity and slander Masons, your former Grand Lodge or your former brothers ever again. Go in peace mister peace. So mote it be.
Fraternally,
/s/
Hiram

 
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