Thursday, September 06, 2007

'To provide those solemn services....'

I've been looking around on various Masonic forums lately, and I see an awful lot of Masons accusing each other of violating their obligations about this or that. One brother was attacked as an oath-breaker for having a website that had "profanity" on it. Another was called to task for supposedly saying too much online about a ritual. United Grand Lodge of America members are often singled out by others who claim that by creating, or joining, the UGLA, edicts and obligations were being violated. Masons trash Masons, and then Masons trash back, and then the original trashers shout "oath-breaker!" It's quite a circus sometime.

Since many grand lodges have rules that say you need their permission to visit an out of state lodge, or to even communicate with a brother in another state, we're probably all guilty of violating that one.

I wonder how Georgia Masons in particular, and all Masons who read this blog in general, feel about the regular violation of the following Masonic "rule of etiquette." While this comes not from the Grand Lodge of Georgia's Code Book but from their Book of Masonic Etiquette, I'd suggest this rule, based on a time-honored Masonic tradition of not speaking about politics or sectarian religion in a tyled meeting, has as much "force of law" as any other law, edict or rule promulgated by the Grand Lodge of Georgia. What do you think?

I recently posed this question on a thread called "Georgia Masonry" at LodgeRoomUS.
Pages 49 and 50 of the Grand Lodge of Georgia's Book of Masonic Etiquette say:
Freemasonry is a fraternity. It is not a religion. Its member are presumed to be religious and it operates on the highest and best moral principles taught by all the great religions. But direct or even indirect reference to one's religious preference in a prayer, though inadvertently often done, or the display of a particular religious flag in the confines of a Masonic Lodge, are breaches of good manners and the spirit of Freemasonry, if not of the law itself.

It would be immaterial if all present at the Lodge meeting were all of the same religion and sect, yet this would seem rare and unlikely.... These things are pointed out that we may avoid the violation, in spirit as well as in fact, of one of the most important tenets of Freemasonry.... Our practice seems to show that we are fully aware of the injunction with reference to politics; many do not appreciate fully how our inadvertences in prayer strike some other of our brethren....

For Masons in Lodge to indulge in or practice any form of religious sectarianism is to risk the destruction of the Craft as surely as would be the rule against the discussion of partisan politics in Lodge or participation in partisan politics by the Lodge itself.
In light of this, how do you view the constant violation of this principle by numerous Georgia lodges, when they use the opening lodge prayer to proselytize for Jesus, asking him to save souls through intervention in our lodge meetings? What about "advertising" for local church revivals, etc., during the time when brothers are invited to stand and speak?

In several lodges I've attended, the prayers are extremely sectarian.

In private discussions with certain individuals who like to pray long and hard to Jesus in lodge, I've been told, "You're right, but that's just the way I pray, and I ain't gonna change."
Update: Less than two hours after I posted the above question on LodgeRoomUS, in a thread called "Freemasonry in Georgia", one of the many heavy-handed admin/moderators of that forum, ICHermes, who bills himself as "Sovereign Grand Thrice Illustrious High Grand Supreme Commander with Cheese," shut down the thread with these words: "Look, we are not going to debate the Grand Lodge of Georgia. This discussion is over."

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  1. Remeber brother,
    Some masons at that forum will run with rumors and specualtion as if it is facts.
    One of the mods accused an Ohio Lodge and its GL of stuff that transpired in a different state!?
    No apologies, no banning, just he was allowed to delete it later, realizing he just falsely implicated a lodge and a GL and it's officers, but it is all cool when a moderator spouts off with falsehoods.

    Another Brother asked questions about GLoGA policy for not recognising PHA's, and I guess his line of questioning wasn't up to snuff, so he was "warned".
    But dixie throws out false hoods regarding Brother peace and his shady dealings with the GLoGA, but that is ok..

    But once actual facts were displayed in regards to Brother peace's plight, to clear up the Flasehoods spread by dixie, the thread was closed.....

    Yes WS, it is a sad state when such is the norm, and polar views get slammed and censored....

    remember how one thought it cute to give your blog a funny name, but when a funny name was given to this brother in retaliation, it was unmasonic and breaking rules, etc....

    the rules of the forum should be: "Do as I say, not as I do and you will have no problem here"

    someone should put a tent over that show.............

    What they do not understand is brother uzi has been involved in many PHA raisings and has a problem understanding racism within our fraternity.
    he feels it goes against the tenets of freemasonry as a whole, he works for NASA, so he is not dumb, but I guess his line of questioning was too much for some masons.........

    Oh well, WS, what is one to do?
    Keep plugging along trying to keep freedom of thought and expression alive and well!

    Tom Coste

  2. Calling "oath breaker!" is a kind of Masonic Godwin's Law.


    I like that one. I might have to use that line.

  3. Be sure you credit it to Robert. Otherwise, you'll be stealing from a brother, and we'd have to shout "Oath-breaker!"

    — W.S.

  4. Please note, that your question, that you claim was the cause of the closure of the thread was repeated in another thread which has not been closed. I notice you don't go back and fix that little misconception.

  5. Read it again, anonymous. Nowhere do I assume causation. I didn't say the thread was closed because of my question. I was pointing out that the probability of my question being answered on that thread had dropped to zero.

    Since that time, the person I had asked the question of has resurrected it on another thread on LRUS, and not only he but others have offered good commentary about the issue.

    — W.S.

  6. Ok, enough with the half truths. I am Theron Dunn, and I am an admin on the Lodgeroom US ( No one has run with rumors, as Tom claims, and while I am critical of the content of this forum (the blogs owner is critical of masonry, so no mason can be critical of its content???), the owner and I have, using masonic principles, come to an understanding.

    The REASON we are not discussion the Grand Lodge of Georgia, or allowing it, is because the central character in all of this discussion has been banned for once more telling the mods to... well, I won' repeat it.

    Since he cannot defend himself, or expand on point, or answer questions, it seems unfair to talk about him. So we stopped the discussion. Further, comments like Tom's above are neither correct or fair. Why then continue a conversation along these lines?

    Further, LRUS is not a urinating spot for those angry with their grand lodge, rightly or wrongly. LRUS is not made up of GA masons. If you want an "I hate the GLoGA because....", GO START ONE.

    As for "accusing" an Ohio lodge, what I did was ask if a rumor, being spread by a MEMBER of that lodge were true. Some brothers got their panties in a tight wad over being asked the question.

    Well, it seems they can make any type of unsupported accusations... see above. As for name calling, the reason that the owner of this blog and I are not in a name calling contest is because we are both smart men, and MASONS.

    We used those masonic tools to reach an agreement... such that the owner of this forum POSTS on LRUS, without being slammed.

    As for Br. Peace... he is not here, and the "falsehoods" being spread, were not falsehoods... they are his understanding of what's going on. Jeff is entitled to tell his truths, as others are to post theirs.

    The thread in question was closed not because "truths" were being posted, or "falsehoods" being posted, but because the central character could not post any longer one way or the other.

    It seemed the most brotherly thing, therefore, to close the thread.

    Now, we are enforcing the rule against slagging a Grand Lodge, and brothers. If anyone wants to post, keeping in mind the restriction not to post anything you would not say in open lodge to a brother's face, feel free.

    However, half truths, posted on a blog, by brothers who are angry because they aren't allowed to act in an unmasonic manner, are not useful to anyone...

    As for obligations, we keep ALL of the obligations in the degrees, not just the parts that are convenient.

    R. Theron Dunn
    Lodgeroom US

  7. Is this not the pry bar that is dismantling the temple one brick at a time?

    We, as a fraternity, get lost in the petty policy adherence and forget that we are to walk as upright masons in all of our many stations.

    Does that mean were angels, no. does it mean were not human? No. does it mean we get our panties in a bunch sometimes? Sure.

    Get over it. Whats the saying: "Judge Not lest ye be Judged Yourself"

    Seriously, these sort of charges and accusations are the things that are dismantling the fraternity, and if they are rampant in the boards, imagine the damage they do in real life.

  8. Theron is covering his butt to avoid be charged with a crime. He claimed that there was blackmail taking place and made accusations. As it turns out his supposed evidence and the "member" that gave it to it to him were bogus. The events he wanted to pin on one lodge and GL took place a thousand miles away and had absolutely nothing to do with that which he claimed. When warned by an attorney he changed his posts and started back peddling as fast as he could.

    The LRUS, like the Three Pillars is nothing more than a bunch of title chasing, back stabbing men that should never have been allowed past the west gate. In other words they're representative of what Freemasonry has become in this country.

    Now they want to cover up what happened in GA. I suspect they have been warned by the GLGA as a GLGA Mason just showed up out of nowhere.

    Being a Freemason in this country is the same as wearing a shirt that proudly proclaims "I'm a hypocrite, racist, bigot and chauvinist and proud of it!"

  9. Theron Dunn Again speaking...

    You claim, falsely, that I changed my posts because I was "Warned by an attorney". You mean threatened, of course...

    this is a typical tactic of folks that have no leg to stand on, and simply want to silence someone.

    However, the TRUTH is the changes were made well in advance of any threat from any attorney. The changes were made because a BROHTER, the master of the lodge in question, made a reasonable request. He stated that since the question had been asked, and answered, if I would consider removing it. He was right, so I complied.

    I do NOT respond to bogus threats from "attorneys" issued via email, especially not email that is not the "attorney's" email account. Especially where no one is damaged.

    Now, I have not said who told me what was happening, but the comment above is probably from the brother who told me, since he alludes to his current "explanation" of "what he really meant" by his comments in his statement.

    No problem, brothers, but since I was asking a question based on a statement made by a member of the lodge in question, and as a publisher I am entitled to ask questions, and as a mason, when I am told something heinous is happening, is it not my duty to ask?

    that seems to be what everyone here is doing... assuming ill and proceeding forward from there. I have nothing to fear, and if a case is pursued, I will of course reveal the brother who told me of this.

    And let the chips fall where they may.

    Until then, the accusations against me are baseless, and show a definite lack of factual information... and a sad willingness to cast the worst possible light on a situation.

    not very masonic.

  10. I would have to say an official Cease and Desist order is a little more than a bogus threat.

    Get real.

  11. Theron Dunn Again;

    Official Cease and Desist? You have to be kidding, right? I got an email from someone purporting to speak for an attorney threatening me...

    I don't take that seriously at all. For several reasons. First, I have no fear of a lawsuit being filed. I have a first amendment right to speak and to ask questions. Its still the United States here, last time I checked. This forum alone is proof that unpleasant things can be written without fear of legal retribution.

    Second, "Official Cease and Desist"? LOL, what, exactly, does that mean? Ok, here is a good one: This is an official cease and desist letter from me to you, telling you to stop falsely representing the issue.

    Feel any better? Feel threatened? Neither did I. "Official" cease and desist... LOL. I can't believe you actually wrote that.

    Third, truth is always an absolute defense.

    Fourth, to successfully sue, someone has to be actually damaged, and those damages must be able to be quantified. WHO was damaged? A "Lodge"? How was it damaged?

    Oh, wait, a member of the lodge informed me that crime was taking place... I asked about it. Lets see... who is responsible... oh, I know, I know... the brother who told me the crime was taking place.

    So, I have nothing to fear... in fact, I found the email not from an attorney to be quite... amusing, really. ESPECIALLY since I had already talked to the master of the lodge in question, and had already taken the actions the master had, as a brother, requested.

    In fact, I emailed him about the humorous email I received while emailing him... so the statement offered as the "Official" cease and desist is also quite humorous since it displays a very deep ignorance of the facts.

    Now, brother, we can continue with this ridiculous exchange, with you making false accusations and false statements, displaying ignorance and unbrotherly threats... which I find endlessly amusing, to be honest.

    OR, you might actually ask yourself the question that you seem to be dancing all around... what active brother in your lodge, quite active as a matter of fact, took that time to tell me that story? And, why, six months ago, did he tell me that story?

    Interesting that question isn't being asked... perhaps you don't want to know, or know that I will maintain the confidence he seems to expect.

    I find it endlessly sad, to be sure, that the act here would be cheering a supposed threat to stop talking, from masons who supposedly pride themselves on asking the tough questions and following their conscience.

    Among some members of the lodge in question is actually statements to the effect that they are not required to follow any part of the obligations they do not agree with... yet when a brother asks questions they find... uncomfortable, their first response is to applaud a supposed threat to shut up...

    I find it very hypocritical, and of course, unmasonic... but that seems to be de riguer here when it is YOUR ox getting gored. It seems that some are very comfortable with slamming anyone that asks questions... very sad.

    But if it makes you feel better and more MANLY that I knuckled under to an anonymous, emailed "Official" cease and desist letter, well, you go on feeling that way then.

    R. Theron Dunn
    Lodgeroom US


  12. FYI...
    The letter was from an Attorney,
    not someone representing one.
    A big difference.
    The secretary of the lodge is an attorney.Fact.
    Just to clear things up.
    Nothing fake or pretended.
    Legit 100%
    The spirit of freemasonry

  13. I hear he is an attorney, but I don't hear it from the attorney. And, as I stated, the actions supposedly demanded had already been accomplished by a simple friendly request by the master of the lodge in question.

    Second, the "Official" letter was NOT sent by any attorney, but by another brother from the lodge.

    Third, you have to be kidding me.

    Fourth, a simple request from a brother carries a lot more weight than any fake threat...

    You guys claim to be the future of freemasonry... if you are, the future is pretty bleak.

    Oh, and my last word on this is that I STILL don't see you actually looking at WHO and WHY a MEMBER of the lodge in questions told me what he did, nor why, instead of answering it, you have run like little girls to hide behind the threat of an "attorney's" "official" letter...

    A brotherly request was made. I answered it. The rest of you guys would rather puff up and play at "winning" when you are really only demonstrating the very lack of brotherly love and affection that seems to be a problem there, if the posturing here about "official" letters are any indication.

    Best take a look at those compasses and review your obligations again... oh, wait, many of the members of the lodge in question claim they aren't bound by their obligations...

    and you worry about ME asking questions. Lets wait until the appropriate grand lodge is done, then you can tell us all about it.

    meantime, you might consider a little less posturing and a bit more masonry in your lives.

  14. Funny,

    I have been hearing all kinds of threats of law suits for the last couple of years, from a Brother that claims he was wronged by his Grand Master, yet have never seen or heard of such a law suit being filed.

    I guess the "new" masonry that some are looking for involves idle threads of litigation. It might work for the uninformed masses, but as masons we should be a little more infomed and not so easily scared.

    Why not quit threatening and start acting like the brother you put yourself up as.


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