Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Everything is perfect in American Freemasonry

This morning Burning Taper received this letter from a purported Grand Master:

Brethren,

I’m here to say that everything is perfect in American Freemasonry. We have some of the finest and most capable of leadership of any organization in the world. The rumors you may have heard about there being a decline in membership are all entirely false. Freemasonry is stronger than ever.

Our enlightened leaders are hunting down the bad apples among us — the men who are disrupting the bliss and harmony we know as Freemasons. They are being removed from among us. In the spirit of maintaining our perfect brotherhood and to speed a return to our blissful state the Grand Master in his infinite wisdom is doing away with such silly formalities as trials. After all, we know these men are guilty so why bother with trials? A quick end to this will return bliss and harmony to our perfect Order.

There is also another foul rumor circulating among the Craft which is so dubious that it doesn’t even warrant a response but I shall mention it in passing. Some of these evil ruffians have suggested that there is racism in certain Grand jurisdictions and that men of color are not allowed in their lodges. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Our perfect organization is open to all free and honorable men regardless of color. In the jurisdictions in question they simply have not found any free and honorable men of color to allow into our perfect order. This is not a problem but proof of the perfection of our system. Never doubt, my brothers, the integrity of this institution because we are all bound together by the same obligations to one another.

My brethren, you must always keep at the forefront of your mind that Freemasonry is an institution of equality and that all Masons meet upon the very same Level. All Masons are equal and you should never question this fact. It is only that some of the greater men among us are ever so slightly more equal than others. This is another proof of the perfection of Freemasonry throughout the ages.

You can all rest soundly knowing that everything is just and perfect in our perfect institution, and do not worry yourselves in the least over these specious lies and rumors. Go back to your gentle work and we will take care of everything for you.

—I. A. Crook, Grand Master

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40 comments:

  1. is that I A Cook?
    or I'm A Crook?

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  2. Someone from the United Grand Lodge of America posted this on a forum. Must be from the UGLA.

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  3. I find it slightly ironic that two anonymous posters are more concerned with who wrote the letter than with its contents or what it is implying about conventional Antient Freemasonry.

    — W.S.

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  4. I fear these men have turned to practicing something other than Freemasonry, for every word out of their mouths seems to be filled with bitterness and spiteful revenge.

    Is it possible that they are fast becoming the very enemy they decry?

    How can they speak of Brotherly Love while at the same time critizing the integrity and intentions of the other Brethren, as if seeking to spur on an Exodus from the Fraternity instead of a Conversion within it. Thinking that the tree is bearing no more fruit, they have decided to attempt to chop it down and use it for wood to build a small house, destroying the possibility of leveraging the precious seeds of the tree which does indeed have fruit on it, if you look close enough.

    Yes, there is hope of a tree, if it be chopped down, it will sprout again, and that its tender branch will not cease. But this may not happen if the tree has been deliberately poisoned.

    The Degrees of Freemasonry carry with them powerful egregores from time immemorial. These sacred convergences of energy have been carefully cultivated for centuries by our Brethren, whether they know it or not. And I am here to say that they are still available in mainstream Masonry, and I defy anyone who says otherwise, because I have felt them for myself.

    I do not know if a schism can ever tap into and maintain these egregores: perhaps so, but (and I think it is more likely) perhaps not. Without them, it can never be Pure Ancient Craft Masonry, so far as to enable it to carry on for centuries and communicate the true Masonic secrets from generation to generation.

    But then, I guess that isn't what these folks are looking to be.

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  5. Jeff... you're a delusional moron. The 'Antient' Grand Lodges are stealing you guys blind.

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  6. Anonymous:

    Ad Hominem attacks from behind the cloak of anonymity are not an effective way to make your point. Why is it necessary to call people names, when you can just make your point, instead?

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  7. Scott,

    I'm sorry. I guess nobody told you that Ad Hominem attacks and character assassination is now perfectly acceptable among Masons. Yep! It's true. The Grand Masters of the 'Antient' Grand Lodges layed the foundation for this new Landmark. You gotta love those guys. They are so smart.

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  8. Gentlemen,

    Are there any Masons here among us?

    As Bro. Scott says, ad hominem attacks express no real point. Say what you will about others' ideas or comments, but please say it with at least the due respect one human owes another.

    I think the points made in this letter, however tongue-in-cheek and/or sarcastic, are that, in the opinion of the letterwriter (and probably many others), the Antient lodges and/or Grand Lodges have:

    1) tried to silence men of conscience who have spoken up against what they see as wrong practices within Freemasonry, making use of intentional slander, innuendo and illegal expulsions;

    2) perpetuated racism into the 21st century while claiming to be a fraternity "uniting all Mankind";

    3) set up certain men to be "more equal" than others, through giving Past Masters votes in Grand Lodges and through a self-perpetuating line of command in the Grand Lodge which effectively keeps alternative or opposing viewpoints forever silenced.


    — W.S.

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  9. A delusional moron? I'm not exactly certain, but I think that just serves to prove my original point.

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  10. We don't need a bunch of mystical mumbo-jumbo clouding the real issues that face Freemasonry. When I read posts about "egregores" it's easy to just jump to the next relevent post.

    The post that referred to you as a "moron" expressed my thoughts as well.

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  11. So Jeff can use "egregore" correctly in a sentence, and he's the moron?

    Jeff was addressing one of the real issues in Freemasonry: he sees brothers carping at each other out of spite and bitterness. We apparently have some "mainstream" GLs that have not worked hard enough to bring their minds into the 21st (or the 20th!) century. But we also have brothers who, in their bitterness about the mainstreamers, choose to display their own brand of spiteful rhetoric.

    Jeff's point was that in spouting bile at each other, we all undermine the foundation of what brought us into the fraternity in the first place.

    The Tao of Masonry

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  12. It looks to me like the Grand Lodge of Georgia is where all the bitterness started. The longer it goes on the more nasty and bitter the dispute becomes. Maybe the Grand Lodge should try to work things out with these brothers and retore peace and harmony. Think of how much Masonic energy is being wasted over this.

    Freemasonry needs these brothers as much as they need Freemasonry. We can all work together if everyone will just stop fighting long enough to talk.

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  13. I’ve had to sit back and witness this from day one. Since that time my lodge has lost almost all of its officers and virtually ever young man we had. I haven’t said anything because I kept hoping that someone in the Grand Lodge would have enough common sense to see it for what it was, but that hasn’t happened.

    This whole thing boils down to a personal dispute between PGM Buster Horne and Bro. Jeff Peace. They got into it at the Scottish Rite over Masonic education. Jeff apologized to Buster but that wasn’t good enough. The RRCG flourished and that made Bro. Horne mad and he set out to destroy it and have Jeff expelled. He pressured Grand Master Garner to declare it clandestine and expel all of the members. Al felt guilty and tried to give them a way out but by then everyone was mad and it didn’t work.

    The truth is the RRCG was a great idea that proved itself in Georgia. Buster should have just let it go but his pride was wounded.

    Now that the truth is out can someone from either side of this mess step up to the plate and work things out?

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  14. The RRCG also personally attacked MWB Horne and the AASR on its website as well as on Tracingboard.com. I believe that the bridges were nuked a long time ago.

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  15. I seem to be hearing Ruffians yelling from the adjacent rocks and caves, rather than Brethren clothed in white gloves and aprons craving an audience with King Solomon. The Anonymous (or more than one Anonymous) person here would at least gain a sliver of credibility if they could back up their words with their identity.

    I too understand UGLA as the direct result of a quarrel between Jeff Peace and his Grand Lodge. It was born in bitterness.

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  16. Let's keep it honest. Bro. Horne went after them in public at a Scottish Rite meeting and then travelled around to the Atlanta lodges claiming they were clandestine. The postings to the web were a result of what Bro. Horne did and not the other way around.

    The RRCG was a group of young Masons who became the victims of Bro. Horne's bitterness towards Jeff and eventually all of the young guys.

    Jeff and the other brothers were very active Masons. How fair is it that they should have been treated so poorly as a result of an argument with Bro. Horne? I'm sure every brother has had his fair share of disputes with others. This amounts to making a mountain out of a mole hill.

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  17. Jeff,

    Those that hide behind the cover of Mr. Anonymous don't even take ownership of their own words! At least you put your name to your posts. To say that the venom is coming from the UGLA... I havent read one single post that was not verifiable. This post was tongue-n-cheek and was quite humorous when viewed in perspective. The only ones who might find it non-flattering might be some of those Blue Lodge GL's.
    This is just a sarcastic play on the real issues facing many GL's.
    No... you don't reconcile with folks that stab you in the back, Masonically.

    Darren

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  18. I don’t believe any of this will be resolved until the air has been cleared and the facts made available to everyone. This whole thing has become a big secret that’s not to be discussed, but by not discussing it the situation only gets worse.

    Bro. Horne may be guilty of being prideful and allowing his pride to interfere with his judgment, but he is as much a victim of this as Jeff and the other guys. Unfortunately, Buster was lied to by three people about Jeff, the RRCG and Sandy Springs Lodge. All of these brothers had a motive and something to gain. Isn’t that the way it always works? Rick Longnecker, Ed King, and Larry Hicks convinced Buster that Jeff was up to no good and Buster reacted by attacking Jeff. Rick saw this as a way of buddying up to Buster in order to move from KCCH to 33rd. Larry saw Jeff as a threat to his position in the Valley of Atlanta because Jeff knew more about the degrees than he did. Ed King wanted to settle his long running fight with Jeff on the Philalethes forum by having him expelled.

    Jeff has continued to believe that Buster was the source of his problems but what he didn’t know was that Buster had been to lied to. After today I’m sure he will find out.

    I’m going to continue posting more details on this mess until someone throws in the towel and starts acting like a Mason.

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  19. Bro. Secretary, what do you expect us to do? Jeff and Brian did everything they asked and then the Grand Master issued the stupid edict and refused to even speak to them or any of us. How can you expect us to resolve anything when we can't even have a discussion with them?

    The one question I would like to have answered is why Grand Master Garner wouldn't let us have a Traditional Observance lodge in place of the RRCG. I know this was brought up but he didn't even bother to respond.

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  20. GL officers are infallable, admitting any wrong doings would be a chink in the Almighty GL's.
    The same way the chruch for hundreds of yeras, through the sword, maintained the earth was flat, while claiming to have divine right and knowledge.

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  21. How many of you know anything about Masonic grandfathers? An understanding of them is important in the case of the RRCG. In Georgia every Grand Lodge officer was appointed to the grand line by someone. The brother who appointed you to the grand line becomes known as your “Masonic Grandfather.”

    MW Bro. Albert Garner’s Masonic Grandfather is MW Bro. Buster Horne.

    It’s important to understand this relationship when you consider what happened to the RRCG. MW Bro. Garner issued the edict against the RRCG, not because they were clandestine, but because MW. Bro. Horne called upon him to return a favor.

    Was this Masonic or in the best interest of Masonry is Georgia or was it purely personal? The answer lies in another series of events that have since been shrouded in secrecy. Secrecy is the essential element that holds this house of cards together.

    Bro. Horne thought is would be easy to have Bro. Jeff expelled quietly by filing charges against him in one of the lodges to which he belonged. This backfired when the lodge refused to hear the charges because they saw them as being politically motivated. This forced Bro. Horne to seek another way of having Bro. Jeff expelled.

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  22. If you will recall I said that Bro. Horne had been lied to about Bro. Jeff and the RRCG. The effects of these lies wouldn’t be felt until a specially called meeting of the Scottish Rite Membership Committee. Ill. Bro. Leonard Buffington, the Masonic grandson of MW Bro. Albert Garner and Sovereign Grand Inspector General of Georgia, called this meeting for the purpose of hearing the proposed plans of the Membership Committee. In attendance were Leonard Buffington, Albert Garner, Buster Horne, Grand Master Tommy Blanton, Jeff Peace and the rest of the Membership Committee.

    Bro. Jeff gave a presentation about the proposed changes the committee was recommending. During his discussion of the Masonic Code of Georgia and the requirements for forming new lodges Bro. Horne stood up pounding his fist on the table and pointing to Bro. Jeff calling him a “liar.” Bro. Jeff and the rest of the brothers at the meeting sat silently. Bro. Horne then went on to say that the requirements mentioned by Bro. Jeff were not true. Bro. Jeff said that he was simply quoting from the Code book. Bro. Horne once again said he was a liar.

    Grand Master Blanton then asked for the Code book. After reading the sections in question he handed the book to Bro. Horne. Bro. Jeff had been correct in his statements about the Code and was not lying. Bro. Horne then sat silently and never offered an apology or explanation for his outburst.

    It’s important to realize that at no time did Bro. Jeff raise his voice or act inappropriately at this meeting. He simply did his job and left.

    Bro. Jeff has kept some secrets too but I’ve never understood why. I think it’s time these become known as well. Jeff was the appointed Fellow to the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite. He was also the newly appointed line officer to the Lodge of Perfection. Bro. Horne was the Personal Representative to the SGIG. Without warning or reasons for his actions Bro. Horne removed Jeff from both positions. It was one of the most ruthless and petty acts I have ever witnessed at the Scottish Rite. Bro. Horne didn’t stop there he followed up by stopping all Masonic education at the Valley of Atlanta.

    It wasn’t long after this that Bro. Jeff was called on the carpet by Ill. Bro. Leonard Buffington, SGIG, for failing to show up at the meeting with Ill. Bro. Seale in Florida. Jeff explained to him that Bro. Horne had removed him from the position of Fellow.

    Bro. Horne was running his own personal agenda and keeping it a secret from the Sovereign Grand Inspector General. Like I said earlier, this house of cards is held together by many secrets.

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  23. There are two things that bother me about this situation.

    One is that is seems as if none of the men - Masons all - seemed to be able to overcome their own pride, and in so doing allowed the situation to spiral out of control. All that stuff that we learn as young Masons about "whispering good counsel" and about acting with "affability" and "tolerance" took a back seat to the egos of everyone involved. That, to me, is a damned shame.

    But a bigger shame, in my opinion, is in the actions of the GM Garner. It's easy for me to say this from the ignorance of the situation and with my butt parked in a comfy chair 1,000 miles away, but Garner had a responsibility to check things out for himself as Grand Master, especially because of the volatility of the circumstances. Just as a lodge is run by the Worshipful Master and not by the Past Masters, so should the Grand Lodge be run - that is, managed - by the Grand Master. To allow Past Grand Masters to influence him to that degree is virtually an abdication of his duties.

    Shameful indeed for all Masons.

    The Tao of Masonry

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  24. It appears that MW Bros. Garner and Horne formed a conspiracy against Bro. Jeff and the brothers of the RRCG, but they were too smart to leave themselves that exposed. MW Bro. Garner tapped Bro. Ed Tante, a Columbus attorney, on the back and asked if for his assistance. Bro. Tante was well rewarded for his cooperation by being made Mason of the Year by MW Bro. Garner at the Grand Lodge communication in October. It was Tante who wrote the edict, established the timelines, and prepared all of the letters and forms to be used against the young brothers.

    Bro. Horne only had one last thing to manage before the conspiracy would be complete: he needed to get the edict approved at the annual communication of the Grand Lodge. As Chairman of the Jurisprudence Committee he hid the edict inside a lengthy document that he new would be approved without being read by the attending brethren, which in fact it was. Now all that was left was to issue the letters and forms.

    It’s important to understand that MW Bros. Garner and Horne side-stepped the Masonic Code in issuing the edict in the way that they did. The RRCG had formally requested recognition by the Grand Lodge and this was never denied. It couldn’t be denied because they had met all of the requirements. Instead a vague edict never naming the RRCG was sent out that declared all unrecognized bodies to be clandestine. The formal request by the RRCG for recognition was never brought before the Grand Lodge as required by the Masonic Code.

    The young Masons were well within their rights to refuse to sign the forms sent to them demanding they declare their guilt. These brothers were innocent of any un-Masonic conduct.

    There’s more to this story yet…

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  25. Tom, you know I thought this whole thing was about pride and ego, especially when it concerned Jeff Peace. Now I’m beginning to see things a little different. I never knew Jeff was so involved in working to help turn things around. Ed told me he had never held any position in the fraternity.

    We should all be ashamed of what happened in Georgia. I don’t know about you but I would have refused to sign a confession of guilt too if I thought I was innocent. To me this isn’t about the RRCG as much as it is the un-Masonic conduct of Grand Lodge officers against brothers without a way to defend them selves.

    Bill

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  26. When you step back from this situation and contemplate its meaning to Freemasonry and Masonic jurisprudence you come away with a few interesting thoughts.

    Motives:

    Bro. Jeff was working to make Georgia Freemasonry enjoyable for young people by trying to understand what they wanted. He worked hard to build a more youthful membership at the Valley of Atlanta. He did the same thing at his lodge. His motive was to build a better Freemasonry in Georgia.

    The members of the RRCG wanted more Masonic education and a better Masonic experience.

    MW Bro. Horne was motivated by misinformation and pride.

    MW Bro. Garner was motivated by peer pressure.

    Everyone else involved had something personal to gain from it.


    Jurisprudence:

    The RRCG did what was requested of them. They submitted their materials and met with the committee appointed by MW Bro. Garner. MW Bro. Garner instructed the committee to not reveal or discuss anything with the members of the RRCG. He kept everything a secret that should have been made available not only to the members of the RRCG but to the Grand Lodge of Georgia. He acted both inappropriately and ultimately un-Masonically.

    The brothers from the RRCG should all be immediately reinstated and receive an official apology from the Grand Lodge of Georgia.

    The conspirators, including the Past Grand Masters, should all be brought up on charges in their respective lodges for gross un-Masonic conduct to include defaming the good name of Master Masons, failure to negotiate in good faith, and conspiracy against brother Master Masons. There is more than enough evidence in the form of emails to prove beyond any shadow of doubt that they are guilty of all of the above.

    Should they be expelled? I leave that up to your personal judgment and that of the Georgia Trial Commission.

    It is my opinion that this type of behavior by Masons towards other Masons is at the root of our present membership problems. If we continue to allow this type of behavior to go unpunished then we will reap the results of our own apathy.

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  27. This my final post. Before I finish I must also address Bro. Peace’s sarcastic web page about MW Bro. Horne. When did it happen and why?

    The web page in question came after MW Bro. Horne called Bro. Peace a liar, removed him from the Lodge of Perfection line, and secretly took away his status as a Fellow to the Supreme Council. These events, however, did not trigger the creation of the web page.

    Each year the Valley of Atlanta holds a meeting for all of the newly made members. Supposedly this meeting is to learn what they would like to see at the Scottish Rite and how they believe things might be improved. Each year the answers are pretty much the same and nothing is ever done to address the issues. Bro. Horne was late for this particular meeting and showed up towards the end. He read the list that had been created which included things like –

    More education
    Take the degrees more slowly
    Plan events for young Masons

    After reading the list of recommendations MW Bro. Horne told the group that all of these things had been tried before and failed, and that they were a waste of time. As he was leaving one of the new brothers yelled to him and said, “Are you looking for quality or quantity?” to which MW Bro. Horne replied, “Quantity.”

    Bro. Peace took offense at this remark and published it on his web site. It was removed about eight hours later after a brother whispered words of counsel in his ear.

    At a meeting with several Past Grand Masters, including MW Bro. Horne, Bro. Peace apologized for his actions and the apology was warmly received and accepted by all, including MW Bro. Horne. A few months later Bro. Peace had lunch with MW Bro. Horne and again apologized for his earlier actions.

    All of us have done things that we regretted but usually our pride comes between us and remedying the situation. Bro. Peace conducted himself like a Mason by overcoming his pride and doing what was right as opposed to what was easy.

    MW Bro. Horne used his influence as a Masonic grandfather to carry out a personal vendetta. I’ll leave it up to your judgment whether or not this should be viewed as acceptable conduct for a Mason of his stature.

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  28. Brothers,
    you think you have problems in Ga.?
    If you were to know all that has gone on, and is going on in Arkansas you would not belive it!
    Laws are being broken by the current members of the Grand Lodge, and several Jr PGM's. They are making up the rules and laws as they feel that will benifit them.Plans to expell more are in the works, DDGM's are holding practice trials for expelling anyone who will speak up!
    There have been over 20 expulsions of good and true Master Masons, not only not by the by laws, but without benifit of legal trials.
    Any good mason would not belive what has taken place! Unless you can see first hand, you would say "impossible", but is is, and has! Should this continue, I fear that Masonry in Arkansas will soon not longer be!

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  29. I used to think the UGLA was about a gigantic ego trip but now I realize it's about brotherhood. These guys stuck together through some very bad circumstances. I don't think the brothers in my lodge would have stood behind me if it meant losing their membership. As a young Mason this is the kind of brotherhood I want and need in my life. Do I have to quit mainstream Masonry to find it?

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  30. Hey Josh, I stood up for some brothers who were being hosed by GL, when word got out that GL was going to come a Knockin' to the Lodge, the seceratary and treasurer, both PM's plus another, bailed on support, and basically said "good luck", we told you to stay out of that other lodge's problems.

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  31. There is one other set of facts that everyone should know about what happened to the RRCG in Georgia. This is to demonstrate how the conspiracy started falling apart due to the efforts of Bros. Peace and Roper to expose the Grand Lodge in the public forum.

    All of the members of the RRCG were not expelled at the same time nor were they treated equally. Letters and forms were sent out to some of the members in November of 2005. These brothers were expelled in December. The next round of letters went out in the early spring. By this time MW Bro. F. Ray Jackson was receiving hate mail and phone calls from the lodges. The RRCG members were defiant in refusing to sign letters admitting their guilt. In an act of desperation MW Bro. Jackson offered these Brothers the opportunity to write their own letters and not use the provided forms. He begged them to just write that they had quit the RRCG, but he didn’t find any takers.

    To avoid having to deal with the embarrassing situation of being refused repeatedly and having to admit that the RRCG was more important to these brothers than their membership in the Grand Lodge of Georgia, he simply dropped the entire issue. None of the brothers who received letters in the spring of 2006 were expelled.

    This creates an interesting situation where “justice” was not applied equally to all of the brethren involved, and may open the doors to litigation.

    It is now clear that the conspiracy against these young Masons did not turn out as expected. By standing firm against the conspirators the young Masons forced the Grand Lodge of Georgia to abandon its plans. The planned third series of letters and forms to the remaining RRCG members were never even sent out.

    Looking back at the situation Georgia Masonry lost some of its best young Masons. The Grand Lodge lost its battle against the RRCG and was forced to retreat by men who refused to be intimidated or coerced. This should be a solemn reminder to all of us that the Grand Lodge only has the power that we are willing to give it.

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  32. Dear Bro. Secretary,

    We were never "expelled". We were simply made to "disappear" masonically. We were "erased" from our lodge rolls. We were made to appear that we never existed. This is what happens when the Grand Master can't masonically expel someone without a trial. So, to keep this from going to trial, and having some embarrassing situations of the order made public... The grandmaster just made an edict (illegally) and made his problem black sheep disappear.

    Darren

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  33. Brother secretary,

    I forgot to say... BRILLIANT POSTS!!!

    Darren

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  34. mmmmmmmmmmmm, if one is expunged from the records, that mean you were never a mason, which in turn means one could not have been unmasonically expelled?

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  35. Hey I just heard Buster Horne was asked to resign as Personal Representative to the Valley of Alanta.

    Way to go RRCG! We got progress in Masonry in Atlanta!!!!!!!

    You guys have done more for Masonry since your were kicked out than ever before. Keep up the good work.

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  36. Tubalcain,

    Yeah...I guess you are right. Expunged...Expelled... Whatever... Since I "never was a mason"... I should be able to go and re-petition a Blue Lodge. Haha!!
    All kidding aside... reading the Anonymous post after yours...It's not cause for celebration...It is really sad that so much has had to come to pass to expose the issues in Masonry in Georgia and other states. And I am afraid it will only get darker before we are able to see the light. There was a time that I might rejoice in the news of resignations and such...But I only feel sorrow. Masonry will move forward because of brave souls like those that formed the RRCG and UGLA. But the cost will be great for honorable Blue Lodge brothers who are seeing this transpire.

    Darren
    United Grand Lodge Member and "Expunged" Blue Lodge Brother

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  37. they should be thankful the guilletine has been outlawed!
    The attitude isn't just in Atl, I see it up north, whether it's race or "control/power", it is a nasty vibe that permeates the fraternity, in my neck of th woods.
    Except if you don't ask questions and are satisfied with the status quo.

    I sat on the sidelines after being raised asking myself" is this it?", i firmly believe I joined under false advertisement.

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  38. cluck, cluck, scratch...scratch, cluck, cluck, scratch...
    Sounds more like a hen house to me.

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