Bro. Theron Dunn recently posted to his blog a piece called Masonic Malcontents?.
Below is Bro. Jeff Peace's response to Bro. Dunn's article.
Masonic Malcontents: Another Perspective
Bro. Theron Dunn has such a wonderful way of bending both reality and the truth to meet his own needs. After reading his essay Masonic Malcontents? I felt compelled to respond with a more realistic perspective.
Let's take a look at what he says in light of reality and the facts. Theron begins by saying "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."
I have to question this statement in relationship to the reality unfolding in American Freemasonry. The "malcontents" have not asked for any changes. They simply quit American Freemasonry to pursue their own interests. Based on the actual events that have taken place they would appear to have little, if any, concern with the old system. The argument that they are demanding change is simply without merit.
In his second paragraph he states: "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."
While many of the "malcontents" have complained about the heavy handedness of the grand lodges, nowhere have I seen them call for an overall change to Freemasonry. Since each jurisdiction has its own unique rituals, and they change these from time to time (many were drastically changed in the 1920's and the Scottish Rite just re-wrote all of its rituals), the idea that the "malcontents" are calling for changes to the rituals is ridiculous. Nowhere have they said anything about changing the "tenets," or how lodges meet. They have, however, openly complained about the use of recognition to further racism in the southern United States. I feel this is justifiable on moral grounds, and that most of the modern world would agree with the "malcontents" on this issue.
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."Theron shames himself in the above paragraphs by not revealing the whole truth, and only the part he wants his reader to believe. He claims that it's just a few brothers when he has no idea how many have been alienated by the existing system. He also twists the numerical statistics to meet the needs of his straw argument. The present situation is isolated to American Masonry and not the global fraternity of four million. Therefore, we are speaking of about two million Masons. Of these two million American Masons about 98% have not set foot in a lodge in the past twenty years and have no idea what's taking place in their lodges or Grand Lodge. To claim that two million American Masons agree that the present status quo represents their views is a rhetorical fabrication. Of the forty thousand that are actively involved in the fraternity about 30% of those are unsatisfied with the present system. This represents about twelve thousand dissatisfied active Masons.
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.
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.Is "ego" the real driving force in these events? Yes, but not in the way Theron would have us believe. When a Grand Master issues an edict or demand is it by its very nature unquestionable. Is it unreasonable for those affected by such edicts and demands to ask for the reasons and justifications behind them? Should Freemasons, as enlightened men, blindly follow the dictates of one man without reasonable justification? Past precedence has shown that asking for reasonable justifications is met with a heavy handedness by Grand Masters that includes threats and actions of suspension, expulsion, etc. designed to compel a blind submission to his whims and desires. So whose ego is truly driving the problem: that of the common blue lodge Mason or the Grand Master?
Theron even agrees on this point when he says: "If one cannot convince the majority of the correctness of his belief, then it strikes me as the height of chutzpah, ego and hubris...." The same applies to the actions of the Grand Master in regards to lodges and individual brothers. In the case of the Grand Masters they don’t even bother to try and convince anyone of the rightness of their actions or demands. They offer no reasonable justification at all, just "do what I say or else!" Again, I have to ask where is the real source of the ego problem: the Grand Master or the common brother?
With the RARE exceptions noted above, the universal experience has been one of friendship, support, study, contemplation, charity and brotherhood.I would have to disagree with this statement based on the statistical data. If American Freemasonry were truly dedicated to "Friendship, support, study, contemplation, charity, and brotherhood." its lodges would be filled to overflowing at each meeting. Since 98% of the brethren haven’t attended in over twenty years it follows that it must not be the Utopia Theron would have us believe.
While Theron focuses on arguments of ego and malcontents American Freemasonry
continues its downward spiral into oblivion. Perhaps men like Theron could accomplish more if they focused on solving the problems that breed malcontent such as the egos of Grand Masters and other Masonic leaders.
— Jeff Peace
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