My postings to The Burning Taper have been scant lately. I've had business and personal issues to deal with, and frankly, lately my interest in Freemasonry has waned a bit.
It's now been over a year since I was ostracized by my “brothers” in my local blue lodge. Only a couple have I kept in touch with, and they were friends before I was a Mason.
As I was thinking of writing this article — about how I feel today about Freemasonry — I read an email backchannel that was sent by a Mason out West to a blue lodge secretary and to the Grand Master of Texas, informing them that one of their members had recently been arrested in a sting operation involving solicitation of sex from a minor.
That brought back memories of my experiences in my own blue lodge in 2005, when a member pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor in my hometown.
As then-webmaster of our lodge's website, I posted the news online (pursuant to Georgia Masonic Code, which states that information of that sort should be publicized to show the community that the lodge doesn't tolerate such behavior), and met with a torrent of criticism from my lodge brothers saying, “You can't put that online!” They didn't want the lodge, or the child exploiter's father, a Past Master, “embarrassed.”
As Junior Warden, it fell to me to “be in charge” when the lodge finally voted — remorsefully, as if it was the lodge's fault — to bring charges of unmasonic conduct against the brother who was by then a registered sex offender.
As JW, I signed the paperwork that led to the Masonic trial. The offender, and his Past Master Big-Shot-in-Town father took offense at me personally for having written up the charges, though I had never even met either one of them. Neither had attended a lodge meeting in years.
The full story can be found in parts 1-4 of “Small Town Freemasonry.”
Eventually, in a great imitation of Don Corleone, the father succeeded in having bogus charges of unmasonic conduct threatened against me. He even attended the meeting where another Past Master (who is in line to be Georgia's Grand Master in a few years) stood and accused me of unmasonic conduct for posting the information online. No official charges were ever filed, just threatened, to keep me “in line” until my term as Junior Warden officially ended in December, 2005.
Though of course advancement to the next chair is not guaranteed, here in the South, it's virtually assured. I've seen some most unqualified men advance to the East just because “it was his turn.”
Naturally, before all this happened, it was assumed I would become Worshipful Master when “my turn” came.
But at the election last December, I was unceremoniously dumped from the line by a vote of 27-4. The Godfather and the Heir to the Grand Master's Chair had called in their markers... brothers I'd never seen showed up to vote against me. (I'd missed only two meetings in three-plus years; I knew all the “regulars.”) I was also “deposed” as Director of Masonic Education, a position I'd held with pride for a couple of years. I was replaced by a “team” that could be controlled — a pig farmer who thinks of himself as a minister of God, and a new brother I had helped raise about two months before. I can only imagine the education those two have provided this past year since I've been gone.
It was a given that the Powers That Be didn't want me to come back to lodge meetings after that, and so I haven't.
Tuesday, December 11, is another election, the one I'd looked forward to for years, the one where I would most likely have received the honor of serving as Worshipful Master for 2007.
Ain't gonna happen.
I assume the Powers That Be (unaffectionately remembered as Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, plus Big Daddy and his pal Bro. Heir to the Grand Master's Throne) are still running things at the lodge, making sure they have their yes men in the Chairs and on their committees.
Same as it ever was.
“Making Good Men Better,” my ass. More like “Making Good Men Stop Attending.”
Image: The state of Masonry in the southern United States today — empty and devoid of any real meaning
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