Tuesday, December 04, 2007

For what it's worth

There's battle lines being drawn,
And nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
And getting so much resistance from behind.

It's time we stop, hey what's that sound,
Everybody look what's going down.

What a field day for the heat,
A thousand people in the street.
Singing songs and a carrying signs,
Mostly saying hooray for our side.

— excerpted from Stephen Stills'
For What It's Worth


I'm frankly disgusted, but not surprised, at the free-for-all that has developed between so-called "brothers" in the comments sections of at least three recent articles on The Burning Taper.

A small army of mainstream grand-lodge-right-or-wrong supporters have descended on this blog like a horde of the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys. The breakaway brothers, in some cases, have responded to the attacks upon themselves and their recent actions with equally caustic comments. No one, including the inaptly named "Objective," has really been objective. Everyone's been pushing their own "party line."

I'm hard-pressed to find even one comment out of some 300 or more so far that is becoming of a Mason. Even in my own most critical of articles over the past two years, I don't think I've come close to the negative, ad hominem diatribes, rants and pontifications many of you have been writing. You've degenerated into chimpanzees, chattering inanely while trying to mark your territories by throwing pieces of shit at each other.

Bro. Arthur Peterson of North Carolina has just drawn a line in the sand against Bro. Brad Cofield of California. If they didn't live on opposite coasts, 2,900 miles apart, they'd probably be duking it out at a local lodge hall.

Bro. Peterson:
"You asked if I would chose Br. Peterson as a mason given the choice, and of course the answer is yes."

Hhhhmmm, Gotta problem with me Brad Cofield?

If you care to address your concerns about me with me personally, like a man would do, I am here.

I stopped posting to blogs, but for you I will make an exception.

So tell me Brad, what is the problem with me?

Fair warning though, I will not handle you with kid gloves. Others have been very patient with you. Some see you as a misguided child. I do not, and won't treat you as such. So, if you care to discuss personality traits, lets do it.

Br. Arthur Peterson
The levels of anger and self-righteousness coming from the entrenched majority old-school blue lodgers is amazing. I haven't seen anything like it before, not even the evening my own lodge went bananas back in early 2005 when I, as Director of Masonic Education, gave a lecture that mentioned our Grand Lodge's rules that sectarian religion shouldn't be discussed in a tyled lodge.

Then, I had gently reminded my brothers that we weren't supposed to be talking about or praying to Jesus in lodge meetings — according to Masonic law and tradition — and a bucket of rattlesnakes was turned over.

Here and now, brothers are up in arms over the fact that other Masons have made unilateral decisions — to start new lodges or grand lodges, or to break away from the established grand lodge system to practice what they see as Freemasonry. A dozen or so of mainstream Masonry's Online Spin Doctors have put themselves on the front lines, 24/7, it seems, to fight for their Lofty Ideals against the Masonic Malcontents.

And the Masonic Malcontents, pressed to the wall by the Spinners' shouts of "unmasonic!," "oath-breaker!," "Goofus!" "thieves!", and "you're no longer my brother!", have fought back, and not necessarily as gentlemen, either.

Even as I write this, another dozen or so comments have appeared on those three articles — none of them especially germane to the original points of the articles. Just more "my Masonry is better than your Masonry" stuff.

Ordinarily, I'd enjoy the attention the Taper is getting. Readership and comments are what makes a blog interesting. The stats programs show readership has nearly doubled in the past few weeks. I assume many brethren have been coming here to learn the latest news about Halcyon and Euclid Lodges and about the new Grand Orient of the United States of America.

It's a shame that now all these new visitors are seeing is the ongoing, same-ol' same ol' bickering of a dozen or so so-called practitioners of Brotherly Love — from both sides.

Disagreement is healthy, and I've encouraged it here since Day One. Masons disagree all the time, about life, the universe, and even Masonry. But we're to do it civilly.

During the Civil War, Masons from both sides of the fight put down their weapons and conversed with each other in brotherly fashion, even if just for a while. I'm sure they acted a damn sight more civil to each other than Masons have here (and on many other forums and blogs) lately.

The Masonic world is watching.

Take a break. Go file charges against yourself for being unmasonic. Or at least spend a few hours in your chamber of reflection. Imagine yourself in your "enemy's" apron. Can you at all understand his point of view? Can you at all understand why he believes the way he does?

Two months ago I wrote that I had become Master of my own lodge. Today I'm promoting myself, to Grand Master of this blog.
EDICT #1
December 4, 2007
  • You will at all times while on this site behave as ladies and gentlemen. If you have a difference of opinion with someone, please express it, but express it with style, substance and grace, not ad hominem attacks or "fighting words." And once you've made your point, move on. Constantly repeating yourselves reminds me of a bunch of clucking old hens.

  • Any use of the word "unmasonic" in any of its forms, or similar word(s), or the accusation against a brother Mason of having broken his oath, shall be accompanied by a copy of charges of said unmasonic conduct you have filed with the Secretary or Junior Warden of the accused brother's lodge. Accusation without formal charges is a Masonic offense.

  • Lighten up.
The comments section of The Burning Taper will be closed for approximately 24 hours (until around 6 pm ET, Wednesday, Dec. 5). Please use this time to go stand in the corner and think about what you've done.


WE ARE NOT HELPLESS

We are not helpless, we are men
What lies between us
It can be set aside and ended
Ev'ryday we learn more how to hate
Shut the door
And then we tell ourselves we can relate
Only to the ones who are the same
Yet even they are diff'rent
And ever so they shall remain

All are strangers, all are friends
All are brothers, brothers
Open up, my friend, and learn to hear
For even lying
When it has nothing you should fear
If you cannot let yourself be known
By anyone
Then you are hiding and not whole

All are strangers, all are friends
All are brothers, brothers
We, your children, we would ask you all
Please do not hide your eyes
And listen when we call
We will whisper, shout or make a scene
We are the answer
For we can live the peace we dream

All are strangers, all are friends
All are brothers, oh yeah, oh yeah
Yes, America's children
Are askin' ev'rybody some questions about how it is
Yes, America's children
Are makin' it hard to look them in the eyes
America's children
Are makin' it hard to live lies, you know, whoa, it is
And America's children

Are diggin' that ev'rywhere children
Are diggin' we live on the earth
We live on the earth, we live on the earth right now
Yes, and it's right on, children of the earth, and it's right on
Children of the earth, and it's right on
Children of the earth and it's right on, right on, yeah

This is what has made our nation free
For life is change
And only blind men cannot see
The new order is upon us now
It is the children
They have the wisdom to be free
All are strangers, all are friends
All are brothers

— by Stephen Stills

Image: Carp food

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48 comments:

  1. WS,

    Normally you are more balanced in your remarks: Not one opinion on any of these topics was well reasoned and civil? I beg to differ. I can think of several brothers who's opinions were consistently thoughtful, respectful and civil.

    You're correct that, at this point, comments are not adding value to the debate. And I understand your point. But don't get so bogged down in the bickering that you overlook those who's opinion was presented as fitting a Man and a Mason.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had neither the time nor the patience to wade through 300+ messages. At the time I wrote that, nothing of any value was being added.

    Yes, there were a few nuggets of wisdom presented in a gentlemanly manner among the monkey feces. I apologize to those, and appreciate those, who added something of value.

    — W.S.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is a long tradition of insults being volleyed at others. Perhaps it was done better, but Paine and Voltaire are two of the more notorious ones. Voltaire quite abused his brother Rousseau, and Paine insulted even Jefferson (who felt slighted at least) in his missive on religion.

    Really, by discussing with passion, we are following in the tradition of some of those named-as-honored brethren from the past. In brotherhood, we can recognize that brothers by birth argue on occasion and trade jabs on occasion. This does not diminish the love unless it is allowed to.

    Some say that the 'GL' Masons are being really rough on the others, and the GL threw the first volley. Maybe true, but the first 'volley' came from a member of Halcyon, Tom Coste. People are acting as well as if a 'group of well-organized GL assassins' descended on this blog. I was made aware of this by a post from Jeff Peace elsewhere. I do not know any of the other GL supporters here except in passing. I will NOT support the GL IF it is shown that they acted inappropriately, and have not supported my GL in the past when they've been out-of-line. ANY comments in defense of the GL brethren are instantly vilified as in error, but I KNOW this to be erroneous thinking from observation.

    I agree with Royce above. While I won't pretend that my discourse was civil, I will say that I responded in the manner presented for as the grounds flavor of the debate. I do think it's a little much to suggest 'blood and fire' might result from this.

    Of course, I have said over-and -over that I wish the members of the G.O. the best. Of course, I have been variously accused of lying or being delusional when saying this. The accusation does not change the fact. Of course, what the best is I think no man can say. Jean Jacques Rousseau did say, "We do not know what is really good or bad fortune."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Br Anagram Anonymous;

    My brother, as a child I learned that the old chestnut: Well, HE started it was more often than not certainly not a sustainable position. Sometimes, we need to be bigger men. I write this as someone who has been guilty of sustaining this silly disagreement.

    As I wrote on my blog, there were three issues that created this storm. First was the Halcyon Debacle, Second was the announcement of the renaming/formation of the Grand Orient of the US (have we decided on an acronym yet? I vote for GOoUSA), and the third was one self appointed spokesman for the GOoUSA.

    However, we all, and I MEAN all of us, allowed our passions to get the better of us. The man who acted as a spokesman... wasn't, and we all knew it. Halcyon will play out as it will, our anger/disappointment/disgust etc etc not withstanding.

    And the formation of the GOoUSA? So what? It does not harm us, and frankly, if there are brothers who are so angry at the Regular Grand Lodges that they want to leave, I say: Give them a demit and let them go.

    If the GOoUSA makes them happy, then fine, no skin off our noses. Other obediences form every day, darn near, and fold about as often (then there is the whole Rui Gabirro thing which exists totally on the internet and in Rui's fevered brow, but that's a different discussion). Lets keep the compasses clearly in view and be tolerant.

    These men still want something masonic, and for one reason or another can't live with the regular grand lodge system. Let them find something they can enjoy, what the heck.

    All the actions, sturm und drang and so on surrounding these other obediences will not change or affect the regular grand lodge system a whit, nor should they. Freemasonry has weathered more serious challenges in its over 300 year public history, and is weathering this one as well.

    i do want to offer my apologies for the comments I made that offended anyone, that was certainly not my intention, but I too got wrapped around the axel until I stepped back apace.

    Thanks W.S. for your patience and leadership! We may not always agree, but that is not important. As long as we can still call each other brother, we are working under the trowel correctly.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bro AA states"
    Maybe true, but the first 'volley' came from a member of Halcyon, Tom Coste."

    really?
    How so?
    How can one claim to know where the first "volley" stemmed from?

    pretty presumptious to have that fact and to throw it out there?

    And where was this first "volley" lobbed?

    ReplyDelete
  6. sorry I'm back....
    but the idea in amongst all these posts, how someone feels they have a stat counter, to KNOW who allegedly "volleyed" the FIRST shot?

    can you let me know where this deduction came from to single out an one individual as the instigator? Which thread did this Tom Coste throw the first volley?


    After WS had just sent all of us to our rooms, Bro A A still points a finger at another to blame this situation on 1 person?

    For an individual to be able to wade through this pile of masonic garbage thrown around and come out with "Tom Coste" as the "first volley" person in all this?

    I look forward to the explanation of how Tom Coste is the Big Bad Wolf in all this.

    I know Brother Coste is a proud man and will own up to anything he is guilty of, so I would love to see where he is the guilty one here, and I will get hi to apologise, for throwing the first volley?!

    ReplyDelete
  7. remember the frog from the popeye cartoon:

    "Bluto did it, Bluto did it"

    Put a frog in olive oils ice cream

    the frog kept saying it like a mantra"Bluto did it, Bluto did it"

    same as "tom coste of halcyon did it, Tom Coste of Halcyon did it"

    say it enough times it may become reality.

    and the only person to refer to Bro Tom Coste as just "Tom Coste" has only been Theron. So AA, are you an alias for Theron?
    Casting stones so soon after recess?

    Thanks WS for opening up the coents, but same ole same ole..
    firing shots out of the gate!
    sweet
    AA, peace out, I believe it is?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Welcome back, my friends, to the show that apparently doesn't want to end.

    As a libertarian, I'm predisposed to simply sit back and watch the verbal carnage you guys seem about one step away from again.

    But as a Mason, and as the operator of this blog, I've got to take the High Road and provide some direction here.

    * Please keep it civil.

    * Please address issues, not people or personalities. Try to add new information to the discussion.

    * Reply with the same decorum you would if you were in a tyled lodge. Everyone here is your brother or sister, whether they are Masons or not. Treat them with dignity and respect. (I know this isn't always easy — believe me, I've had to slap my own fingers a few times for what they wanted to type about and towards certain visitors here.)

    If something you read here, in my articles or in someone else's comments, makes you feel like heatedly lashing out in response, put down your mouse and step back. Take a short break. Go get a cup of coffee, or have a smoke, or take a walk, and spend a few minutes THINKING about the other person's position. THEN come back and post your reply — minus the personal attacks.

    Thanks.

    — W.S.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "and the only person to refer to Bro Tom Coste as just "Tom Coste" has only been Theron. So AA, are you an alias for Theron?
    Casting stones so soon after recess?"

    No, I am not Theron. Tom Coste referred to himself as Tom Coste in the post I refer to (the exclusion of the word 'brother' was my own). Yes, to my mind it was Tom Coste who started it with this post in this thread http://burningtaper.blogspot.com/2007/11/halcyon-lodge-letter-to-former-halcyon.html:

    "Glory to the Grand Lodge of Ohio who purportedly disobeyed the rules and ate the fruit of knowledge.
    the initiatic path is always, or often, about disobedience.
    Brother Tom Coste
    Halcyon Lodge
    (thanks bro fred for the kind words)"

    Of course, a bit of facetious editing on my part, although the meaning is identical. Like WS, I have not gone through the hundreds of posts on this site that I rarely visited until Jeff Peace pointed it out to me.

    That particular thread, which is arguably the thread in question, it was the aforementioned post by the aforementioned individual that started everything, but judge for yourself. My conscience as my will, is free.


    Brother Jean-Jacques Rousseau writes; "Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong."

    ReplyDelete
  10. "AA, peace out, I believe it is?"

    You really must stop, as I am forcing back a grin here. Yes, it is my words and the words of any number of my hippie friends, but now they belong to you as well. I mentioned Tom Coste as an example ONLY when WS claimed 'those GL guys started it' (sorry about the imperfect and lazy paraphrase WS). I do not care who started it, and admittedly I was as willing a participant as any. On the other hand, I do not think anyone has done anything wrong in the discussion.

    It really is unfortunate that we must discontinue this discussion, as I found it to be very fun. On the other hand, this is as good a point as any. There was no harm done, and the bad blood was already there or it would not have arisen. Better to get these things out in the open rather than hiding them in our regular and irregular hearts.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bro AA, that is exactly what we tried to do in Cleveland, shine light on a situation that had not seen the light of day for eons.

    You see how that turned out.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Brother Tom Coste's quote of this is the ONE post you choose to focus on, to pick out, out of all this garbage.

    here is the quote Bro AA refers to as the shot that started all this:
    "Glory to Eve who disobeyed the rules and ate the fruit of knowledge
    and also to her grand-grand-grandson... Tubalcain.
    the initiatic path is always, or often, about disobedience."
    Brother Tom Coste
    Halcyon Lodge
    (thanks bro fred for the kind words)



    So this a "volley" as you call it?
    Boy, if a statement like that is what YOU call a volley, I am sure not going to verbally spar with you, if that saying above bothers you enough to single it out?


    i am truly sorry Bro AA if Tom Coste's evil remark against GL's there set this off.

    At least he did not call anyone names or make unfounded accusations in that post.
    I still adhere to my duties to my country before an obligation to an extra curricular, volunteer made up group with questionable leadership.
    America=due process.
    Peace out Bra

    ReplyDelete
  13. Brother A A,
    I am truly sorry if I have made you feel that my statement was in any way meant as a "shot" at anyone or any system. Another Brother had passed it along to me and I felt it was applicable in this situation.
    In no way was it meant to inflict or inflame any type of feces slinging back and forth.

    It is a pleasure to read your wisdom, Bro A A.
    I will continue to read the BT as always and look forward to your masonic discourse with the others.
    Thank You Brother A A for pointing out to me my compass slippage,per se...
    S&F
    Bro Tom Coste
    Halcyon

    ReplyDelete
  14. "shine light on a situation that had not seen the light of day for eons."

    EXACTLY what I am objecting to; people acting as if, simply because we happen to have the fortune or misfortune to belong to a regular lodge, that we do not have the 'light'. To which I reply emphatically that you do not know what you speak of. I have a portion of that light as every man, woman, child, beast, or plant has. Each man's heart is different.

    Masonry does not own the light, as no other religious or ritual organization does. It only shows you how to flip the switch, but the light belongs to EVERYBODY and every individual holds, at least, a part of that light.

    If nothing more specific, that has been my beef the entire time. Perhaps I took too great an offense, but it does seem an extreme offense when people do not know my heart, or even I'll suggest the heart of all the GL members.

    As I've said before and continue to say, I wish the members of Halcyon the best. That 'best' is likely something none of us can predict from this point, as it's paradoxical to our understanding.

    That 'one point out of all this garbage' was the FIRST post in response to the Halcyon post, and the point where it started for me. If we celebrate Eve's 'breakin' the rules', then it is not a stretch to celebrate the GL officers for the same.

    My ONLY point of contention is that regular brethren have the light, including some GL officers. That is ABSOLUTELY and UNEQUIVICALLY true, as I have seen it in GL officers as recently as this week and feel it with an inflamed passion within myself. Travel well, and I do wish you the best. I maintain the best may well be paradoxical and not be what either side currently predicts, if brethren on both sides of the issue maintain a willingness to accept it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Brother Coste,

    It had nothing to do with what you said, and feel no remorse for your words. It had much to do with how I took it, as is reiterated in the previous post. I'll admit to some medically-related issues that cause me to over-react on occasion, but refuse to make that an excuse. I take full responsibility for what I have said, even when in reflection I reject my own words. ;,) Thank you for the considered words and travel well.

    ReplyDelete
  16. 2 Bowl Cain;

    Tom Coste did not "fire the first volley". I never said or indicated that he did. I personally dislike this "anonymity" as folks tend to do and say things when they think they are "hidden" they would never dream of doing with their name and face attached.

    Now, who is at "fault"? Who cares? We are ALL at fault in this... we have all allowed ourselves to get wrapped around the axel of this non issue.

    If you are a member or want to be a member of what the regular grand lodge system considers to be clandestine, then go for it. Just don't try to sell your choice to others. On the other hand, if you are really unhappy with your grand lodge, then by all means, LEAVE.

    I love my freemasonry. I love my grand lodge and my brothers (oh, some irritate me to be sure). I am not Pollyanna, I can see there are some problems, but the honest truth is, California is VERY progressive.

    We are offering Masonic Formation, which is a comprehensive education system for the lodges, support materials, programs, Ideas, classes, methodologies etc. We are not only allowing traditional observance type lodges, but encouraging them and assisting them.

    Therefore, the Grand Orient holds absolutely no interest to me, because what they "offer" I am getting in my lodge and grand lodge, AND I am still a regular mason, in amity with the majority of the freemasons in the world.

    So, there is no reason to be angry at the GOoUSA. If you like it, go for it, just know what you are giving up to go with it, and if its worth that sacrifice, then by all means... join.

    As for Halcyon... well, I will watch the Grand Lodge of Ohio and wait for the courts to rule in its favor. Since I am not a member of a lodge in Ohio, there is nothing I can do, other than be disgusted by the apparent and seemingly fraudulent actions of the former trustees of that building.

    There is a chance I am wrong about Halcyon, and I am man enough to admit it... I am basing my opinion solely on the words and actions of Mr. Miller, not on Tom Coste or Brad Cofield or Jeff Peace or...

    In the end, its NOT about me changing them, freemasonry is about me changing me.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Bro. Theron Dunn:

    Well done. I think you hit the nail square in the head. I think nothing else needs to be said.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Bro Dunn,
    I am not "selling" anything as you claim.

    You state" If you are a member or want to be a member of what the regular grand lodge system considers to be clandestine, then go for it. Just don't try to sell your choice to others. On the other hand, if you are really unhappy with your grand lodge, then by all means, LEAVE."

    Again throwing labels that matter in your small masonic world.

    I have and did leave as you say, why point out the obvious again?

    you postes a long piece and I am glad to see yo change yourself for the better.

    Finally "acknowledging" women as masons, how big and open minded of you.

    Finally "acknowledging" brothers of different, unrecognised organisations. How nice of you.

    So I am glad to see you changing yourself. Those longs posts you throw up are more about you trying change others than yourself, or you would feel the need to be so long winded, but so be it.

    So again, I am not selling anything, I have never mentioned GO USA as being some end all be all group. Others may have, but not me sir.


    So focus on me, my decisions and comming to grips with there being a huge masonic world out there, outside of America and UGLE.

    I now also have the ability to tell the racists GL's they have no place in our future, a unified brotherhood!
    So Mote It Be

    ReplyDelete
  19. Are were talking about the Masons or the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutherans? You guys are supposed to be the example of brotherhood to the world, or so I read. Where's the brotherhood in all of this?

    One group wants a Grand Lodge while the other wants a Grand Orient. What's so incompatible about this?

    Then you want to fight over the old building in Cleveland. Why? Did it occur to any of you that sharing the building would be a better idea than fighting over it? The thing looks HUGE! I bet it sits empty most of the time.

    Do you guys hate each other so much that you can't share it?

    Here's my take on this. The Grand Lodge Masons see themselves as holier than anyone else. The Grand Orient Masons see themselves as freedom fighters. Both groups claim to be Masons, and Masonry is supposed to about brotherhood. If you can't figure out how to be brothers with each other, how are you an example to this rest of us? If you can't share the old lodge then how can you teach others how to share the world?

    This is the ultimate test of Freemasonry. It's your chance to prove your claims (both groups).

    Show me something that's real, not just words. Show me how to be a brother so that I can become one.

    If you can't do that one simple thing then why should I want to be a Mason?

    In a few weeks I'll be submitting a story about all of this to my editor. I'll let you guys decide how it ends.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Objective said...
    Are were talking about the Masons or the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutherans? You guys are supposed to be the example of brotherhood to the world, or so I read. Where's the brotherhood in all of this?

    One group wants a Grand Lodge while the other wants a Grand Orient. What's so incompatible about this?

    Then you want to fight over the old building in Cleveland. Why? Did it occur to any of you that sharing the building would be a better idea than fighting over it? The thing looks HUGE! I bet it sits empty most of the time.

    Do you guys hate each other so much that you can't share it?

    Here's my take on this. The Grand Lodge Masons see themselves as holier than anyone else. The Grand Orient Masons see themselves as freedom fighters. Both groups claim to be Masons, and Masonry is supposed to about brotherhood. If you can't figure out how to be brothers with each other, how are you an example to this rest of us? If you can't share the old lodge then how can you teach others how to share the world?

    This is the ultimate test of Freemasonry. It's your chance to prove your claims (both groups).

    Show me something that's real, not just words. Show me how to be a brother so that I can become one.

    If you can't do that one simple thing then why should I want to be a Mason?

    In a few weeks I'll be submitting a story about all of this to my editor. I'll let you guys decide how it ends.
    End quote

    your right, we are all jerks, you should just go join the rotery or the elks or the odd fellows, something like that, would be a much better fit for you.

    As for the building, it has a rightful owner, plain and simple. Should I be allowed to set up the Boy Scouts of the USA and expect for the Boy Scouts of America to just let me use all of there buildings and stuff they they bought and paid for?

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's that arrogant holier than thou attitude that's a real turn off to most people. I believe this is one of the reasons why men are breaking away from the Grand Lodge Masonry and forming new bodies.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Objective said...
    It's that arrogant holier than thou attitude that's a real turn off to most people. I believe this is one of the reasons why men are breaking away from the Grand Lodge Masonry and forming new bodies.
    end quote

    What was it that was arrogent or hollier than thou?

    ReplyDelete
  23. "your right, we are all jerks, you should just go join the rotery or the elks or the odd fellows, something like that, would be a much better fit for you." - Gregg

    Your use of sarcasm in an attempt belittle me instead of providing an answer to my inquiries is indicative of your arrogance and contempt towards legitimate questions.

    "As for the building, it has a rightful owner, plain and simple. Should I be allowed to set up the Boy Scouts of the USA and expect for the Boy Scouts of America to just let me use all of there buildings and stuff they they bought and paid for?" - Gregg

    Your self-righteous claim that the building rightfully belongs to the Grand Lodge in the absence of any real evidence would be considered "holier than thou" by most.

    If the issue were as cut and dried as you claim your Grand Lodge could have easily obtained a summary judgment in the matter. Since this did not happen, it is reasonable to conclude that the courts found reason to question the Grand Lodge's claim to the property.

    Also, being sarcastic and rude to a person that is interested in membership in your fraternity shows a lack of social etiquette.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You know what, it is really simple and I have told you several times now.

    Go down to your local lodge and talk to the brothers of the lodge that you might be joining. Plain and simple.

    What we say or do here means nothing, I would venture that less than 1% of the masons in the world are represented on any internet entity.

    If you can't go down to your local lodge and find out what the brothers that you would be sitting in lodge are like, then quit wasting our time.

    Your not a member of any masonic organization, you obviously know nothing of or forms, customes, laws etc, until you do, why don't you leave it to the members to argue amongest themselves if needed instead of trying to judge us.

    And yes it is ok for brothers to argue, I do it with my blood brothers as well.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I did visit a lodge a few miles away from my home. It was a group of nice elderly men who offered me a membership application and gave me a small brochure on Freemasonry. I was also offered an application for the Odd-Fellows because they meet in the same building and many of the members belong to both.

    They told me that Freemasonry is primarily a charity for the benefit of children, and that they have several youth groups in the area.

    I inquired about Masonic education and was told that the degrees and lectures were the only Masonic education.

    I asked them to describe what I could expect at a typical meeting and was told that they meet for cold cuts and tea an hour before the lodge meeting. At the meeting they open their lodge and conduct business and then go home.

    I felt that they were honest and sincere with me in every way, but it appeared to be more of a retirees club than an organization dedicated to self improvement or learning.

    I also called and spoke with the secretary of the local Shrine club. He repeated most of what I had been told at the lodge but said I would have more fun in the Shriners.

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  26. Will I ever have a day free of Wizard of Oz references?

    Ever?

    Good day, sir!

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  27. Objective; it just goes to show you; every lodge is different. Doesn't sound like our lodge at all. Still, a description as opposed to an experience are miles apart, even in the lodge you describe. The lodge I joined was like that, but with effort and dedication that is turning around. It's exactly that opportunity to improve things that has made the lodge strong again. Of course Shrine is more fun. You can drink, for one thing. You can also dress like a clown. Sounds like fun, but not what I signed up for.

    If fun is what you want, I don't think Masonry on either end is for you at all. It's not what it's about.

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  28. I never said that I was looking for fun. That is what I was told by the secretary of the Shrine.

    It's strange to me that you have to be a Shriner to have a beer in Grand Lodge Masonry while in the Grand Orient alcohol is available at the lodge level.

    It appears that Grand Lodge Masons are trying to rise to the level of Grand Orient Masons. According to your own claims your lodge was not a place of learning when you joined and that you are improving it.

    As a potential member why would I join a lodge that needs improvement when I could join one that already has what I'm seeking? I think this is a reasonable question.

    If I'm going to pay my money to join an organization, shouldn't it already be what it claims? Why should I pay for something that I have to rebuild? It just doesn't make any sense.

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  29. Objective,

    Please tell us what state your in.

    Also, GO masonry in the US is about 1 week old.... how could one attempt to "rise" to something that is a week old.

    And the lodges in the UK tend to have bars in them, it is just in the US that the aversion to be allowed to drink in blue lodge exists, and in some jurisdictions that prohabition has been lifted..

    And Europe never had prohibition, that seams to be a uniquely American Invention to be afraid of Alcohol.

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  30. Dear Objective:

    Please, please petition the GOofUS and forget about us Regular Masons. We’re obviously not on your intellectual plane. “We’re not worthy …”

    If you did a little research into the history of American Freemasonry you would understand why there is no alcohol in our lodges, unlike European lodges. And you’ll learn how and why the A.A.O. N. M. S. was created. Hint: Freemasonry during the Temperance Period.

    Besides, even in European lodges you’re not going to be sipping on a Bud Lite while at Labor ANYWAY. And nor should you want to!

    I’m pretty sure that you won’t have a problem drinking at a GOofUS lodge though, I understand they have meet at TGIF Fridays every 2nd Tuesday.

    Now that you shared with us your experience at a Regular Lodge, please share your experience with a GOofUS lodge. Let us know how the phone call went.

    How it is that the several-hundred-year-old Grand-Lodge System is trying to rise to the level of a week-old Grand-Orient System?

    You sound like one of these “ME Generation” kids today. To be a Regular and Upright Mason takes work! Not only improving yourself; but all Mankind, and more especially your Brothers in Masonry.



    To the Brethren: Do not suffer your zeal for the institution (of Masonry) to lead you into argument with those, through ignorance, may ridicule it.

    Peace.

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  31. Gregg,

    Why does it matter where I live? I live on the east coast.

    I know that the GOUSA is only a week old but Grand Orient Masonry is over two centuries old according to what I have read. GOUSA is an extension of already existing traditions.

    Your Traditional Observance lodges openly claim to be imitating continental European Masonry, of which the Grand Orient of France appears to be the oldest.

    Anagram openly claims that he is having to rebuild his lodge to such standards.

    I'm listening and interpreting everything you guys are telling me. I've visited one of your lodges. I will be visiting a Grand Orient of France lodge on my next business trip. I feel this will give me the opportunity to see both before making a decision.

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  32. Metatron,

    When I see posts like yours it sends a clear message of what I can expect in one of your lodges.

    I will be visiting a Grand Orient lodge in a couple of weeks. They didn't mention anything about going out to TGI Fridays. I'm supposed to meet them at their lodge building.

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  33. "Your Traditional Observance lodges openly claim to be imitating continental European Masonry, of which the Grand Orient of France appears to be the oldest."

    The UGLE appears to me to be the oldest, whereas the G.O. came slightly later with the help of the UGLE. It does not matter though; older does not necessarily mean better.

    "Anagram openly claims that he is having to rebuild his lodge to such standards."

    I 'openly claim' to help others join our lodge with a free and willing heart, and openly invite them to further light. I feel no 'have to', but rather a 'want to'. I am by no means doing it alone, and we are by no means looking to the European lodges as a template. Our history is quite aged, thank you, both locally and in the nearly three-century-old UGLE. My brethren are young, old, and in between. Much of what occurs here is done with the aid of the older brethren as well as the younger working in conjunction. Yes, some of the older brethren often wish for the status quo. Many are willing to help out for the good of the order, and I admire them for sticking it out as long as they have. They have offered us a rich heritage to build upon. It is up to us to take it forward.

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  34. Objective, your mind is clearly made up. I wouldn't join anything I thought was a 'cult' either, nor would I want to sit in lodge with people I considered liars or deluded. Given that you seem to think all these things by your words, it is well you should join something else. Since it seems the G.O. has use for people that consider other Masons deluded liars who belong to a cult, it sounds like a good group for you. Enjoy the G.O. with blessings and hopes for further light on your journey.

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  35. Anagram,

    What I have discovered is chaos and discord. What many Grand Lodge Masons are claiming on the web is not true of what I found at the local level. Some of them have started traditional lodges to try and improve the situation.

    Your Grand Masters expel their members at will and don't allow them to offer any defense. I have a difficult time understanding what any of you would tolerate this kind of behavior. It's juvenile.

    There is also the racial issue that bothers me.

    My interest in Freemasonry is spiritual and philosophical. I think there are some Grand Lodge Masons that want the same thing, but they are engaged in a fight with their leadership. I believe Halcyon is an example of this.

    The Grand Orient seems to offer everything I want already. They know what they are and what they believe. They answered all of my questions and even pointed me towards some books to help me attain a better understanding.

    I think it's kind of crazy that you can't work together. They were open to working with you but you refuse to work with them. This just doesn't make any sense to me. Why fight with people who would work with you?

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  36. Objective:

    I wish you well, and hope you find the Light you are searching.

    Please lighten up though, I'm just making a point with some humor.

    I'm curious, can you tell us where this GOofUS lodge is located (city, state) and how far you have to travel to get to it? Are there any GOofUS in your locality? Something to ponder...

    Peace.

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  37. I ask your state, so I can check on specific codes, pha recognition etc...

    Every GL has seperate rules, and how they do things...

    The things your speaking of when you speaking ill of GL's does not hold true for all of them. In some it does I agree, and I have been vocal in my belief that it is wrong.... but your painting everyone with a brush that doesn't fit.

    You also seam confused, GL masonry came from England. The GO is just a GL by a different name and it was formed by the English GL's. The oldest existing grand lodge is the UGLE, it is the same gl that has been in existance since 1717, yes there was a merger with another GL that was formed and a name change, but it is still the same.

    Sort of like other companies that change their names, that doesn't make the start date of the company revert to the name change.

    but as I have said before as well, you seam to have made up your mind. so do as you will.

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  38. "I think it's kind of crazy that you can't work together. They were open to working with you but you refuse to work with them. This just doesn't make any sense to me. Why fight with people who would work with you?"

    Who says we can't work together? We can't sit in lodge together, just as I can't sit in an Elks lodge. We could sell raffle tickets together, though. We can do good together.

    The racism issue bothers me too, but the brethren in those jurisdictions are working to change that. Patience IS a virtue. I have faith in my brethren that they will rectify their own errors of their own free will and accord. I applaud all those that have done so, and the others cannot help but follow suit.

    As for the GLs, nobody has been able to show that the GL is more powerful than the individual lodges. IF the individual lodges as a whole did not want the particular brethren 'removed', do you think they could have removed them? I don't think so. Our jurisdiction has disagreed with the GL and the lodges prevailed. I highly doubt that if the individual lodges disagreed with this decision that it would not have changed.

    My intent in Freemasonry was to receive the tools to aid in my research of philosophy and spirituality. I have never been disappointed in my search for further light.

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  39. Anagram,

    Have you seen Masonic-Crusade.com?

    It sure looks like you guys can't even get your act together internally. The lodges voted to change the rules but the Grand Master overruled them. Based on this it would appear the Grand Lodge/Master has all the power and lodges have none.

    Same situation with the expelled Masons. Expelled by edict and not justice. Shouldn't the lodges have a say in this?

    Don't lie to me by claiming "nobody has been able to show that the GL is more powerful than the individual lodges." There is plenty of evidence to prove otherwise. Do you ever use Google?


    Gregg,

    It is mu understanding that the Grand Lodge where I live is not racist, but they work with Grand Lodges that are racist. That doesn't lend much moral credibility to the situation.

    Yes, I understand that Grand Lodges and Grand Orients are the same thing but have chosen to use the terms to distinguish between them for the sake of discussion.

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  40. "Don't lie to me by claiming "nobody has been able to show that the GL is more powerful than the individual lodges." There is plenty of evidence to prove otherwise. Do you ever use Google?"

    How does Google show that? I wouldn't lie to you. Still, "Nobody has been able to show that the GL is more powerful than the individual lodges." You say 'Google', I say that the brethren can easily knock down the GL, and you'd have to show an instance where the brethren-at-large disagreed on a majority scale failed to knock down the GL. No website shows that, and I would be greatly intrigued to see any such website. I suspect it does not exist.

    "It sure looks like you guys can't even get your act together internally."

    I do not see how one site talking about one specific event in one GL out of dozens shows how the brethren-at-large in that single, autonomous jurisdictions shows your assertion.

    If you are here to just tear down regular Masonry, which it certainly seems to be your purpose, I find no further purpose in this discussion other than vague entertainment value, and that is diminishing with your repetitiveness.

    You are right that regular Masonry has nothing to offer you. Go with G.O. However, Freemasonry has something to offer many, many brethren. You see the glass as more than 3% empty, I see it as better than 95% full. Perfectly willing to let you keep your misguided notions, as you won't listen to objective reason.

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  41. I think it's obvious that the Grand Lodge system has some serious problems. It's understandable that you would be ashamed of these and want to cover them up as best you can.

    You guys probably joined this organization without realizing all of the issues, and now feel compelled to fix them because you are honest and decent men.

    I believe that by covering up the problems you only make them worse, and you reduce your own credibility as an individual.

    It's ok to have problems that you are working to correct, but it's not ok to try and convince the general public of things that are not true.

    That's my problem with Grand Lodge Masonry. It isn't willing to be honest about itself. It's members present an image that isn't accurate.

    You've recently lost at least two of your lodges due to these internal issues. They are very real and not imaginary.

    Why don't you try fixing these problems by working together with everyone? Cut the silly nonsense about clandestine and irregular. Your Grand Lodge could change this overnight if they wanted. It's a game they are playing with you. As an outsider I can see that all too clearly.

    It looks to me like the guys at Halcyon were on the right track until they were attacked by their Grand Lodge. I would have liked to join that lodge.

    Maybe these guys would be willing to come back and work with you? Have you tried to open up to them?

    The same is true for others in this situation. I'll bet they would work with you if you would come down off your high horse and ask.

    All of you seem to love the Masonic fraternity. It looks to me like your pride is standing between you and success. Get over it!

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  42. "I think it's obvious that the Grand Lodge system has some serious problems. It's understandable that you would be ashamed of these and want to cover them up as best you can."

    Understandable; yes. The case? No, it is not the case. I ask you to provide the evidence I asked for. It's understandable if you cannot.

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  43. here is a different analogy for you...

    Think of it like the oil companies.

    They are all trying to find, recapture, process, and sell oil.

    When it is in their best interests they work together, when it is not they compete...

    but regardless. once again, I have asked resonable questions, which have been met with scorn.

    You obviously are not objective regardless of what your calling yourself...

    So be well, I'm done with you.

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  44. " It looks to me like your pride is standing between you and success. Get over it!"

    We are succeeding. It will take humbleness, time and patience. Luckily, my brethren have that if I am lacking in areas.

    It looks to me like your pride and hatred for the fraternity. Take your own advice and get over it.

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  45. lol

    It is an issue of pride.

    I knew it all along.

    Your pride will be your downfall.

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  47. Objective;

    I guess you chose you moniker by contrary... I do not understand your point. If you do not like Regular Masonry, DON'T JOIN IT. Seems pretty simple.

    Yet you post... endlessly, on these comments sections, with nothing but negativity. You are clearly not a mason, so why would your outsiders, negative opinion matter to real masons? I have dealt with antimasonic posters before, and you seem to be cut from the same cloth.

    You do not like masonry, that much is clear, so why do you spend so much time railing about it? If you feel the GO is better, then please, by all means, GO join it.

    Alcyone's Big Brother:

    Uh, wow, you really have a lot of anger going there, and I can understand it. If everyone tried to tell me my masonry wasn't good or valuable I guess I might get irritated too... oh, wait, that's what's going on here...

    My POINT, dear lady, is that while most of my regular brothers do not consider what the Regular Grand Lodges define clandestine to BE masonry, I consider them to be a type of masonry, just not regular/mainstream. Seems to me that is a step in the right direction.

    Yet, you chastise me for... recognizing you as a mason? What, exactly, do you want from us? The Regular Grand Lodge System has defined what we consider regular masonry... just another type of masonry... not LDH, not GOdF, not many things, but regular.

    I have called for all masons to acknowledge each other as masons. I can understand why the grand lodge systems define regularity and acceptability, and while I do not always agree with them, I do support and defend the system, since that is the system I am a part of...

    Now, I do not give a whit about the GOoUSA. That does not make them bad, it just means I do not care about their system. I like my grand lodge, and frankly, the issues they call for are not issues I care about.

    I am really ok that my grand lodge does not recognize or allow intervisitation with women's and co-ed obediences. Any brother that is uncomfortable with the rules is free in the Grand Lodge of California to try to change it... if he can get a majority of his brethren to agree, it can be changed.

    As long as the majority of the regular freemasons WORLDWIDE hold to the traditions of the Regular Masonic System, then it will remain as it is...

    Now, there is a movement afoot in the US that is often characterized as "Traditional Observance". It is spreading, more of these type of lodges are opening and some of the regular lodges are transforming themselves into Traditional Observance type lodges.

    I am in the process of forming one myself. Frankly, 90% of what the GO calls for is incorporated into a TO lodge... though we continue to support our grand lodge and its rules and regulations.

    And frankly, the new membership rate is increasing. We have reached equilibrium with losses, and based on what we are seeing this year, it is likely in the next year new memberships will again outpace losses.

    California is not the only Grand Lodge that is seeing this turn around, so the wishful claim that the GO or LDH or whatever will replace the Regular Grand Lodges is just that... wishful thinking.

    On the other hand, I wish the GO well in their endeavors. I am just not interested in their system or their claims.

    So, why is it wrong to not accept the GO, while it is somehow ok for the GO (and others) to not accept the regular grand lodge system?

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  48. Yes, it's a matter of pride. I am proud to be a member of a group that stood by a brother and offered a helping hand while he was two weeks nearly immobilized in the hospital. I am filled with pride that they have stuck by this brother through the trials of his illness. I will stick by these brethren through think and thin, and will remain proud of them. If it causes my downfall, I can think of no better objective reason.

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