Monday, May 07, 2007

Arizona Grand Master's edict bans Masons from entering Shrine Temple

On May 4, a brother and reader of Burning Taper sent me information about a "disagreement" between the Grand Lodge of Arizona and the El Zaribah Shrine Temple in Phoenix.

On May 4 I emailed M. W. Bro. Rex Hutchens, the Arizona Grand Master; W. Bro. David Luebke, the Deputy Grand Master; W. Bro. George Stablein, the Grand Secretary; Illustrious Sir Russ Gunther, Potentate of El Zaribah Shrine; and W. Bro. Paul Reynolds, Recorder of El Zaribah Shrine, asking them to clarify and enlighten me on the information I had been provided. I told them that I was working on a story about it for the Burning Taper.

Bros. Stablein and Luebke were the only ones who responded to me.

Neither would provide any information. Both wanted to know my identity and Masonic affiilations. Bro. Luebke said "before I answer your questions" it would be "most useful" to know my name and what lodge I belonged to. I assured them I was a Mason, but I said I preferred not to give my name. I told them I wanted to present the story in a fair light, and since I only had the Shrine's side of the story, I would like to give their side, too.

They did not respond. But neither did they deny the events occurred.

Today I found what I'd been looking for: independent confirmation of the story from a USENET posting. [Update a few hours later: I have now rec'd confirmation also from the brother who originally mailed out the info below.] I have decided to publish the information I have, for the edification of all brothers who may find this of interest.

I would have liked to have presented a behind-the-scenes look at what has caused this riff in Freemasonry, but, as with most of the politicking and infighting that goes on in our Fraternity, people like to make a big stink of things and then say "don't talk about it; it's not good for the fraternity to air our dirty linen."

As I wrote in my unacknowledged second email to to W. Bro. Luebke,
The issue I've asked you about is most interesting, and I'd like to know more, as would my readers. Gone is the time when Masonry can keep its internal disagreements behind closed doors. The minutes of that meeting and comments about it have already found their way to me and to others.

I would simply like to know more, to know if it's true, to know how and why the Page, Az. Shrine Club has displeased the GM of AZ, and any other information you care to share. It's Masonic news, and it will become Masonic history. I'm not making value judgments; I just want to know what happened, as I believe it's news that is of interest to all Masons.

I believe the greatest Masonic tenet is Truth. That's why I'm asking what happened. The story *will* be told, if not by me then by others. If I write about it, I'd like to get it right.
What follows is the original email I received from a brother on May 4. This info was originally posted on a Masonic forum of which I am not a member:
Ill. Sirs,

Below is the wording of an edict from Arizona's Grandmaster given in a meeting April 28, 2007 with the GM, Deputy GM and all but three of El Zaribah's Divan. Following the edict is the minutes of the meeting as recorded by El Zaribah's Assistant Rabban and his personal comments.

Jim Willittes

The Grand Lodge of Arizona
Free and Accepted Masons
Edict No 2
WHEREAS The Grand Master is the Supreme Masonic Authority in Arizona; and

WHEREAS No organization within the State of Arizona whose requirement for membership includes that its members be Master Masons may fail to obey a direct order from the Grand Master of Masons in Arizona; and

WHEREAS The Potentate of El Zaribah Shrine has chosen to disobey a direct order given to him by the Grand Master of Masons in Arizona:

NOW THEREFORE, as Grand Master of Masons in Arizona, I hereby issue the following Edict No. 2:
EDICT No 2 2006-2007
Effective immediately no Mason may enter the El Zaribah Shrine Temple located at 552 North 40th Street, Phoenix Arizona 85008-6442 for any reason whatsoever unless he shall have obtained the written permission of the Grand Master of Masons in Arizona to do so, with the following exceptions:

1. Officers and/or Members of Thunderbird Lodge No. 15 for the sole purpose of obtaining the Lodge's mail and/or removing Lodge paraphernalia from the premises
2. Officers of the Grand Lodge of Arizona in the performance of their official duties.
Given under my hand this 28th day of April, AD. 2007 A.L. 2007
Rex R. Hutchens
Grand Master of Masons in Arizona

Illustrious Sir Russ and Divan:

Results of the Meeting with the Grand Master of Masons in Arizona on April 28, 2007:

Present at the meeting were the Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master, the El Zaribah Potentate, Chief Rabban, Assistant Rabban, Oriental Guide and Recorder.

The first action of the Grand Master was to reprimand the El Zaribah Divan for not informing him that the complete Divan could not answer the summons. Illustrious Sir Russ apologized and explained that one Divan member was out of the country and the other had to take care of a Shrine responsibility that conflicted with the time of the meeting (receiving shipment of Onions).

The second action taken by the Grand Master was to present the Divan with Edict No 2 stating "Effective immediately no Mason may enter the El Zaribah Shrine Temple located at 552 North 40th Street, Phoenix Arizona 85008-5442 for any reason whatsoever unless he shall have obtained the written permission of the Grand Master of Masons in Arizona to do so." There are exceptions, but none of the exceptions would allow Shriners to conduct daily activities in the Temple as Shriners. We were told that if we didn't immediately pull the Charter of the Shrine Club in Page, AZ, the Grand Master would immediately sign and issue the Edict.

When asked to provide justification for ordering the Charter pulled, the Grand Master responded with "Because I said so." When asked to provide further justification as to specific actions of the Shrine Club to merit pulling the Charter, he stated that we gave up the right to ask for justification when our Potentate initially said "No" to his order to pull the Charter.

As a side note, I asked Illustrious Sir Russ later what he really said to which he responded that he said "No without a reason." This was confirmed by Lady Barbara who heard the conversation. Having known and worked with Illustrious Sir Russ for approximately 10 years, I consider a straight comment of "No" to be out of character for him, therefore I believe the comment as he stated, and substantiated by Lady Barb, to be more factual and correct.

The Grand Master further stated that by requesting justification for his order indicated that his decision could be judged. This is indeed the intent of the request since we must abide by the Code of Ethics as stated in Imperial Bylaws 334.13 (pg 91) that refers to Imperial Bylaws 210.7 (pg 37) that gives numerous directives of why we need the appropriate justification to take any action against a Shrine Club, Unit, group of Nobles or an individual Noble. Furthermore, Imperial Bylaws Article 30 (330.1 through 330.4), while applying to the rights of individual Nobles, clearly indicates that our responsibility as the Board of Directors is to insure "Fair Play and Substantial Justice." Without a complete picture of justifications, I'm not sure how we could insure fair play and substantial justice.

During his comments the Grand Master stated that he had spoken with the Imperial Potentate and that the Imperial Potentate had "lied" to him. (I take offense in someone stating that our Imperial Potentate has lied).

After reading the Edict, the El Zaribah Recorder asked if the Grand Master was "denying the right of assembly as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States" to which the Grand Master responded that "he did not have to abide by the Constitution of the United States when dealing in Masonic matters." I find this comment very disturbing in that we are required to abide by the Law of the Land as stated in Imperial Bylaws 210.7 (a) that states: Obey the law of the land and the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the Order, adhering to the spirit as well as the letter thereof." (If a similar comment is not found in Masonic Law, I would question whether the Shrine should be affiliated with an organization that does not have to abide by the law of the land).

When questioned about the ramifications of the edict and El Zaribah Shriners' commitment to continue to care for the 1200+ children we currently have in the hospital system, the Grand Master stated that the burden of responsibility would be on our shoulders since all we had to do to keep El Zaribah open was to abide by his order and pull the Charter of the Shrine Club in Page.

The Grand Master did state that once the Charter is pulled he would provide the justification for his order, but that his mandate must be obeyed first before providing justification. In other words, we would have to act strictly on the order of the Grand Master because "he said so."

The Grand Master also stated that the removal of Shrine property from the Masonic property in Page, AZ was not the issue. Obviously, we have been operating under a false perception that the issue was a question of cooperation concerning this Shrine property, which now is clearly not the case.

The Grand Master stated that the Grand Master was the ultimate authority in all Masonic matters over Scottish Rite, York Rite and Shrine activities and could not be questioned. (This clearly demonstrates that the Grand Lodge of Masons in Arizona operates under an absolute dictatorship).

The Grand Master stated that if the Edict was issued it would be continued by the next Grand Master to which the Deputy Grand Master confirmed that he would reissue the Edict upon taking office. The Grand Master also stated that the next person in line (Senior Grand Warden) would also reissue the Edict.

The Grand Master stated that once issued and the mailing sent to every Mason in Arizona, and that before the Edict could ever be retracted, that El Zaribah would be responsible for the cost of the mailing and the cost of the Guards the Grand Lodge would put at the El Zaribah Temple to enforce the Edict.

Numerous additional requests by Divan members for justification other than "I told you so" were declined by the Grand Master. We tried to explain that we have a responsibility to act in the best interest of our Nobility and not just blindly follow the direction of one person. This fell on deft ears.

The Potentate requested until Wednesday, May 2, 2007, before providing an answer to the Grand Master's order and the Grand Master issuing the Edict if we did not abide by his order. While the Grand Master was prepared to issue the Edict immediately, he agreed to the Wednesday deadline, but cautioned us that if the Charter of the Shrine Club in Page had not been pulled by Wednesday, the Edict would be issued.

The meeting was concluded.

My Personal Thoughts: [the personal thoughts of Jim Miller, Assistant Rabban El Zaribah Shrine Phoenix, Arizona]

While I'm very concerned about the impact that our actions might have on the Children in our hospital system, I don't believe we have a choice in the matter. For the betterment of the Shrine (and maybe in some way to Arizona Masons), I believe that we have an obligation to take a stance. I believe that we must look at the long term implications of this current situation. As I see it, if we do what the Grand Master wants without insisting on additional justification other than "1 told you to do it" that we open up future directives that the Grand Lodge could issue be it lawful or unlawful. In other words, conform to the reality that the Grand Lodge is a dictatorship and we have no say as to our own operations. This clearly indicates that the Grand Lodge could suppress the Shrine in Arizona. I truly wish that the Grand Master would work with us in this matter (all we are asking is some justification, other than "I told you to do it," for taking action against the Lake Powell Shrine Club, but it is very apparent after yesterday's meeting that the relationship between the Grand Lodge of Arizona and El Zaribah Shrine has been severely damaged. While I believe that we have acted in the spirit of cooperation, the Grand Master has no intention of recognizing that cooperation. His only goal is that we accept him as the absolute authority and abide by every order that he issues without questioning the merit of the order. This clearly shows that the Grand Lodge is operating under absolute authority that cannot be questioned and has no intention of trying to cooperate with anyone outside the Grand Lodge.

These are my personal observations, thoughts and belief. I'm very interested in what the rest of you think and the direction we should take. I believe that the actions we take are going to have a very long term impact on the Shrine. I don't relish that responsibility and do not take our actions lightly. Let's try to make sure that our actions are consistent with Shrine Law and in the best interest of the Shrine in general and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Yours in the Faith,

Jim Miller
Assistant Rabban El Zaribah Shrine Phoenix, Arizona
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  1. I'm not taking a side here, as I don't live in Arizona, and know not the facts in either side of this issue.

    I would like to point out, however, that the right of assembly is contained within Article 1 of The Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is NOT the "law of the land", but, rather, a list of limitations of the powers of government.

    Unless otherwise explicitly stated in civilian law of the U.S., Arizona, or any of the local laws in force over the area in question, any person or non-governmental body may issue rulings, orders, or edicts that conflict with Constitutional guarantees.

  2. I wonder if this is the first step in the larger divestiture of the Shrine from Freemasonry.

    I think what John is saying in the comment above is true, they cannnot block their meeting together, but the question of "can they meet as Masons" is the broader question. If they choose to meet under the charter of the Grand Lodge of Arizona, then they must, as the by-laws state, adhere to the Grand Masters edict.

    I really think this is only the first steps into the abyss. What a shame.

  3. Nothing surprises me anymore.

    I was particularly amused by the statement” “the Grand Master responded that ‘he did not have to abide by the Constitution of the United States when dealing in Masonic matters.’” Someone needs to remind our leaders that THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE! This is a club. We are all volunteers who are giving of our time, talents, and money freely. Geesh, you give a guy a fancy apron, funny hat, or archaic title and all of a sudden he thinks he can do whatever he wants.

  4. I just can't believe the attitude some people get when you give them a little power. This is all the more reason why Grand Masters should not be janitors and electricians because they do not have, generally speaking, the life experiences to operate an organization. That is to say, just because someone has a lot of free time to attend a lot of meaningless meetings for years and years does not make them a leader

  5. Dictatorship... Strong word... But it's partially accurate, isn't it?

    It's the same in our lodges... We elect our Worshipful Masters but once the elections are done, they are in charge and we have to obey them. Of course, we can petition the DDGM or even the GM as a recourse if something happens in our lodges but Freemasonry is not a democracy.

    That's how I was taught anyway.

  6. Nothing surprises me, either! We are eating our young it seems. Now we have the Grand Lodge of AZ calling the Imperial Sir a liar. I can see a day when all affiliate bodies split on their own and stand or fall on their own merits. It'll be a sad day, but when these guys (whomever is in a leadership position) work against the betterment of the body they represent it is no different than a CEO or CFO feathering their own beds to the detriment of the company they lead. I wonder if this edict could be challenged in a court of law? They are stifling "freedom of assembly" and "free speech" supposedly. Anonymous- I agree with you! Funny hats and aprons, archaeic titles and a little power ..

  7. i don't get it...

    i'm still fairly new to masonry, but i have already seen the politics involved between the same lodges within the city - it's a shame, as it's not exactly what I think of when hearing the words "brotherly love."

    then again, we all promised to follow the general laws and edicts...

  8. The military members are not allowed to disobey an order unless they deem it "unlawful" which in this case, given the facts as I see them here, appears to be what is happening here.

    It truely is a sad we have let our fraternity digress to this.

  9. wwsmpkSounds like a little mind with no recourse to legitimate reasons for doing what he is doing... and even a smaller capacity for meanigful arguments. Sounds like "Georgia Mentality"

    F. Roy Dean-Schlipp

  10. Have any of you stopped to consider the fact that the GM may be withholding details regarding this situation in order to fulfill one of his Masonic Obligations? Knowing the GM personally, I can attest to the fact that he does not do things out of spite. Rather he is most likely acting out of what is best for the Fraternity.

    I find the comment suggesting that the GM is not a leader humorous as well. A quick Google search would confirm this is not the case. He is successful both inside of the Craft and in the business world.

    If we look at the other side of the coin, I think we will discover that the members of the Divan of that Shrine Temple did in fact act out of line. There are formal procedures to follow inside of the Craft and they ignored that fact.

    Take a moment to calm down and reassess this situation.

  11. shrine don't need you pussy masons
    gm's are power hungry little men

  12. Here's what it looks like to me:

    - The Grand Master asked the Shrine to pull a charter without explaination.
    - The other officers of the Grand Lodge agree with this action wholeheartedly.
    - Edicts issued by the Grand Lodge must be obeyed by Masons within that jurisdiction.
    - The Shrine refused to pull the charter without an explaination.

    I don't know the laws of Arizona -- or of Michigan for that matter -- when it comes to "due process".

    The key questions, to me, are:
    - Are concordant bodies answerable to the Grand Lodge?
    - Why doesn't the Grand Lodge work with the Shrine Officers and share the information they have with them?

    If the answer to the first question is "yes", then the Shrine needs to reconsider its position. The answer to the second question may be "none of our business" (as one of the Anonymous comments said).

    Masonic Traveler seems to have it right, although I'm not convinced that the Shrine is going to be divested from Masonry any time soon.

  13. A few years ago, a similar rift developed between the AAONMS and the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, which apparently is 1 of only 2 Grand Jurisdictions in the US that still maintains a strict prohibition against the "sale and/or distribution of alcoholic beverages."

    Masons in Arkansas are prohibited from engaging in countless occupations, including any jobs offered by alcoholic beverage manufacturers, wholesalers, or distributors, working in (or owning) a vineyard, working as a bartender or a wine steward, owning a restaurant that offers wine or beer with meals, working as a clerk in a liquor store, etc.. Masonic law in Arkansas dictates that even holding a license to sell liquor, as might a restaurant owner, disqualifies the holder thereof from membership in the Masonic fraternity.

    As it happened, a long-time brother from an Arkansas lodge was found to be employed at a liquor store owned by his wife (the name of the store was "Mary's Liquor"). A few other brothers were sent to the store to purchase alcoholic beverages from him specifically, and those purchases were used as evidence when he was charged with un-Masonic conduct and summonsed to a "Masonic trial" at his blue lodge.

    The brother didn't deny working in his wife's liquor store, and didn't deny selling liquor to other Masons, including the ones sent by the lodge. He claimed, however, that because the store belonged to his wife, and the license to sell alcohol was in her name, he wasn't in violation of Masonic law. Needless to say, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas didn't see it that way, and the brother was declared "guilty" of un-Masonic conduct, and immediately expelled from the fraternity.

    The brother was also a member of the Scottish Rite, Valley of Little Rock, as well as the Scimitar Shrine Temple in Little Rock. Those organizations were notified of the brother's expulsion by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, and they were instructed to follow suit by expelling him as well. Both did as directed, but the brother appealed his expulsion from the Shrine to the Imperial Potentate.

    Since the expelled brother hadn't violated any Shrine laws, the Shrine's appeals board recommended that he be reinstated, and Imperial Potentate Robert Turnipseed ordered the Potentate of Scimitar Temple in Little Rock to reinstate him. Apparently, some dissatisfied brother at Scimitar Temple then notified the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, and a "showdown" between the Imperial Divan and the Grand Lodge of Arkansas ensued.

    The Grand Master of Masons in Arkansas issued an edict to all Master Masons in Arkansas, instructing them to immediately resign their memberships in the AAONMS, or face permanent summary expulsion by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas from all Masonic organizations. The Grand Master, Grand Secretary, and other Grand Lodge officers, reportedly even made a show of renouncing their own AAONMS memberships, and burning their Shrine paraphernalia behind the Grand Lodge offices in Little Rock.

    Not wishing to escalate the hostilities, Imperial Potentate Turnipseed relented and issued a directive ordering the Potentate of Scimitar Temple to follow suit with the expulsion. He then humbled himself by sending a letter of apology and fealty to the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, and the Grand Master of Masons in Arkansas responded by rescinding his edict. He also ordered that a copy of Imperial Potentate Turnipseed's letter be placed in the "Digest of Laws" of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, where it still remains today as a warning to anyone who might otherwise dare question the absolute power of a Most Worshipful Grand Master.

    The "guiding force" behind the Grand Lodge of Arkansas is its Grand Secretary, James Weatherall, a Past Grand Master from the early 1990s, who became Grand Secretary immediately after passing through the "Grand Line." During his tenure as Grand Secretary, he's overseen a decline of approximately 50% in Masonic membership in Arkansas, yet at the same time, he has managed to increase his salary and compensation package by approximately 400% (the exact figure is difficult to determine because the Grand Secretary won't allow his salary to be disclosed to the membership, as it always was prior to his administration).

    Even after the "difficulties" with the Shrine had been resolved, Brother Weatherall refrained from renewing his Shrine membership. Instead, the master manipulator shrewdly held out until the Imperial Potentate sent a delegation to Little Rock to present him with a certificate of appreciation, and a complimentary lifetime membership!

    Lest anyone think that the influence of Brother Weatherall in Arkansas is minimal, it should be noted that until recently, he served as Chairman of the "Conference of Grand Masters of North America." Although its existence remains unknown to most "ordinary" Masons, the "conference" is an affiliation of Masonic cronies who are accountable to no one, yet covertly control "mainstream" Masonry in the US, and "Masonic recognition" throughout the world. Official membership is restricted to Grand Masters and Past Grand Masters, although all sorts of other Grand officers are typically taken along to the conventions as annual vacations at the fraternity's expense (the 2007 convention was held at a Hilton hotel in Portland, OR, and the Grand Lodge of Arkansas had at least 6 members in attendance).

    As is echoed in the recent edict and remarks from the Grand Master of Masons in Arizona, many Grand Masters influenced by the Council of Grand Masters of North America, have widely expressed their view that "Masonic law supersedes federal and state law," and "it's a greater accomplishment to become Grand Master of Masons in a state than it is to become Governor of a state."

    The express position of Grand Lodges under the influence of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America, is that Masons willingly give up the usual rights of American citizenship, including the right to "freedom of speech," etc., in exchange for their Masonic membership. Such Grand Lodges maintain that Masons who choose to freely express their constitutional and/or "God-given" rights, cannot do so and maintain their Masonic affiliations. It's surprising how few Masons are aware of that policy, but it's even more surprising how many silently go along with it.

    Those who may be considering joining a Masonic lodge, should be aware that if they do, they'll eventually be required to swear an oath to "conform to and abide by the bylaws, rules, and edicts of the Grand Lodge" within whose jurisdiction they may be. None of their Masonic brothers will explain to them that the "edicts" they blindly swear to obey, are the past and future whims of individual men who are often vindictive, corrupt, and morally bankrupt.

    Those who are "shocked" that many Grand Masters in the US are morally bankrupt, are the same ones who are probably "shocked" that recent Presidents of the US have been caught lying. The fact that most politicians are liars who are continually trying to advance their careers, and the President is the highest ranking politician in the land, should be a good predictor that he's the biggest liar of all, yet a lot of people naively fail to connect those dots.

    In all systems that reward corruption, those who are the most corrupt will ultimately rise to the top. That's the situation in American government today, and it's even worse in American Masonry because of the secrecy and shame that prevails. The unscrupulous "leaders" want to maintain secrecy to conceal their corruption, and the few men of honor and integrity who know what's really going on, are too embarrassed and ashamed of their own naivety to blow the whistle on it.

    As I see it, the choices readily available to most American Masons today are as follows:

    1. Continue pretending nothing's wrong, while virtue and morality continues to die.

    2. Resign your memberships and wash your hands of the whole dirty situation.

    3. Grow a backbone and start living up to your obligations! Stand up for what's right, regardless of the consequences, just as you were taught by the example of Grand Master Hiram Abif! Don't believe the lies that fill your ears, observe the truth that meets your eyes! Attend your lodge(s) and the annual sessions of Grand Lodge in your state, then VOTE at every opportunity to take Masonry back from the political establishment that's been running it into the ground for the last 40 years!

    Option # 3 above is undoubtedly the most difficult, and the majority of Masons who've chosen it in the last several years, have been expelled or expunged from the fraternity. The corrupt Grand Lodges and Grand Masters probably couldn't silence everyone, however, if everyone stuck together to do what's morally right, regardless of the callous "edicts" and "directives" they've been issued.

    Just because a Grand Master has exploited a political system to get to the "top" of his Masonic heap, doesn't mean he's always right, and it doesn't mean Masons should follow his orders when they know in their hearts they're wrong. If lives depended on it, as they sometimes do in wartime military situations, it might be different, but Masonry isn't life, and nothing that's ever done in lodge is so urgent that lives depend on unquestioning obedience to absolute authority.

    I don't believe that's the "Masonry" for which any of us signed up.

  14. I guess I need to ask my question again --

    1.) Have any of you stopped to consider the fact that the GM may be withholding details regarding this situation in order to fulfill one of his Masonic Obligations?

  15. The anonymous brother and friend to the Arizona Grand Master wrote:

    "Have any of you stopped to consider the fact that the GM may be withholding details regarding this situation in order to fulfill one of his Masonic Obligations? ...[H]e is most likely acting out of what is best for the Fraternity.

    "...If we look at the other side of the coin, I think we will discover that the members of the Divan of that Shrine Temple did in fact act out of line. There are formal procedures to follow inside of the Craft and they ignored that fact."

    Has it occurred to you that a high percentage of the post-Watergate generation doesn't accept the "trust me, I'm doing this for your own good" method of management anymore?

    And how can we "look at the other side of the coin" to see that El Zaribah Shrine Temple "act[ed] out of line" when no one will tell what they did to earn the GM's wrath? Without knowledge of what's really going on, how are we to determine if the GM is truly acting in the fraternity's best interest or if there's a petty vendetta going on?

    What did the Page, Arizona Shrine Club do to incur such anger that the Grand Master banned all Arizona Masons from entering the Shrine Temple? Why does he want that club's charter revoked? Why will telling us that violate his obligations? If some member or members of the Shrine acted unmasonically, why is the GM punishing the entire club or the entire temple instead of conducting Masonic trials of the actual members who misbehaved?

    Americans have an inherent distrust of leaders these days, and rightly so, not just in government but in other areas, too. Many Masons have learned the hard way not to trust their unelected Grand Lodge leaders. With this never-ending "can't tell you" attitude from our "more equal than others" gold-chain-wearing leadership, the fraternity is going to continue to splinter and break apart instead of mend and heal.

    — W.S.

  16. Holy moly!!! If bullshit like this doesn't wake up the sheeple, nothing will. A wet log Mason is a wet log Mason after all. No amount of flame will create a spark, just a bunch of musty smelling smoke.
    The Shrine should break away, after all it has more in common with The Moose than Masonry. Come to think of it, Mainstream BS Masonry has more in common with the Moose and Elks than it does the ancient Craft. Well, the food isn't as good. :)

  17. An anonymous writer above writes:

    "Freemasonry is not a democracy. That's how I was taught anyway."

    It's strange that a Mason would say such a thing, and seem to support the idea. Perhaps therein lies a part of the problem with American Masonry today.

    Most American Masons are proud of their heritage; they like to wave the American flag, recite the "Pledge of Allegiance," and revel in the significant number of American presidents and patriots our fraternity has produced. Indeed, America is the greatest, most successful democracy the world has ever known, but to be "undemocratic" in America, is truly to be un-American.

    Too many Grand Masters in the US today claim the same absolute powers within our fraternity that kings and dictators have claimed throughout history, yet they've forgotten that monarchies and dictatorships have produced records of almost universal failure.

    In a nutshell, it's a clash of cultures. On the one hand, most Masons like to believe their votes count, and they're proud of the fact that the democratic principles of Masonry in the 1700s, became the building blocks of our great democratic society.

    On the other hand, Masonic leaders today claim absolute power to do anything they want. Perhaps that attitude might be more justifiable if Masonry had a history of recent success like that of Microsoft or eBay, but considering the American Masonic decline that's characterized the last half century, should Masons really feel inspired to stay the course?

    Personally, I'm tired of pretty lies and petty excuses; I want leaders who can demonstrate their abilities by producing positive results. I want to see increases in charitable contributions, increases in member education, increases in member retention, and increases in applicant interest. I don't want to see more of the same, when the recent history of our organization is littered with failures, financial distress, and utter disconnect from the real world.

    If Masonry has moved away from the democratic principles it once exemplified (and it clearly has), it's moved in the wrong direction, at least in my opinion.

  18. This surely must make evreyone here happy to see that total destruction of Masonry is happening so it can be re-invented into what ever the rebels want it to be. That still aludes me but I guess we will see the real reasons for chaos out of order..............

  19. Brother Miller:

    You write about the Shrine situation in Arizona:

    "...[we must]conform to the reality that the Grand Lodge is a dictatorship and we have no say as to our own operations. This clearly indicates that the Grand Lodge could suppress the Shrine in Arizona."

    In fact, it is a military-style dictatorship. In such dictatorships the General can enter a lodge and fire the Worshipful Master. A General can appear at any barracks or any fort and "fire" any man he sees!

    Can you imagine the US President going to your town mayor's office and trying to fire him? There would be hell to pay! But I digress.

    Depending on which state we examine, Shrines *and* Grand Lodges are guilty of the same tendency toward arbitrary decision.

    I have never seen groups so prone to "bring charges" or "expulsion". I've been in lots of groups less cohesive than the Shrine or freemasonry, and I've seen virtually *no* charges or expulsions. Freemasons just don't seem to play well with others.

    Digests and constitutions have to be written that specifically restrict this kind of behavior by Potentates and Grandmasters.

    But I don't think the Past Potentates and Past GM's will ever allow it.



    Not from within, but at the top!

    If you really think you can get change in Grand Lodges or in the Shrines, there is only one place to look:

    The Past Potentates and the Past Grand Masters. That's it. You are only a Potentate or Grandmaster for one year.

    But you are a "Past" leader for the rest of your life! These men represent the "center of gravity" in masonic leadership. No one works that hard to become a retired officer unless they want to do something with that experience afterwards.

    Why does it take so long for masonic bodies to achieve reform? Because we all have to wait for enough Past Grandmasters to DIE!

    If you reach the past officers at the highest level... you have a chance at reform. If you don't, just roll over and go to sleep.


  21. It's amazing to see such hyperventilating and rending of garments when we know next to nothing about the pertinent facts. May I politely suggest that we need to get a grip already?

    Since the charter was pulled, I assume that the GM provided the the explanation he promised.

    What was his reasoning?

    And, why did the Shrine leadership initially decline to obey it?

    Until those are answered there is no use for such hysteria.

  22. correct, sit back and let staus quo continue unobstructed..
    have faith all, our leaders know what is best.
    drink some more cool aid and look over here instead....

  23. Has there been an update as to why the GM did this or are we still speculating?

  24. Are not Freemasons speculative masons?

    Of course we're still speculating. The Grand Master won't give his reason.

    — W.S.

  25. just an FYI: "Masonic" e-communities are quickly banning anyone for talking about this. GL buttlickers like Theron Dunn are making sure that the word doesn't get out on this, you have all been warned :-))

  26. Uh, oh.... The word is out already....

    Maybe a graphically-adept brother can make an icon to put on our blogs saying "Banned by Mainstream Masonry!" or "Your Grand Lodge forbids you from reading this blog."

    Of course, I'm still fond of "WARNING: This blog has heretical tendencies."

    — W.S.

  27. I'm sorry, but I see a really blatant double standard here. Lord knows I'm no fan of monomaniacal Grand Lodges. Anybody who's informed should know full well that there can be and are Grand Masters who act like little tin dictators. That's a matter of record.

    That said, it really cracks me up that the very people who are calling this GM to the carpet via hysterical language and unsubstantiated hype, are the very first people to goose-step and seig-heil blindly behind the Shrine. The people who accuse others of being GM boot-lickers because they question the Shrine's questionable portrayal of events, are the very ones obediently and unquestioningly servicing the Shrine in like manner.

    Please, it's so obvious it's embarrassing.

    Call me an idealist, but the one thing I insist upon always is consistency.

    For my part, I will not be surprised if it turns out that the GM went beyond the pale here, because it's happened before; there's nothing new under the sun.

    And for that same reason I will be equally unsurprised if it turns out the Shrine drove him to it by fomenting a p**sing-contest with him, wag-the-dog style.

    Honestly, at this point I don't know why the Shrine doesn't just drop its Masonic affiliation requirement and be done with it.

  28. A few facts:

    1. Rex Hutchens is a Scottish Rite lackey. The Supreme Council paid for him to study the Kaballah and write "Bridge to Light," "Pillars of Wisdom" and "A Glossary to Morals & Dogma". He has been bought and paid for.

    2. When Ralph Semb was head of the Imperial Divan in Tampa Fred Kleinknect (Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite) instructed his SGIG's to hand out white hats to buy Shrine votes. Bro. Semb found out about the plot and in that same year (1999) the Shrine stopped requiring Scottish Rite membership.

    3. Of the three most influential Grand Lodge Masonic "lobbyists" the York Rite is almost powerless and losing members faster than anyone else.

    4. If the Scottish Rite could force the Shrine out of Masonry then it would be the supreme lobbyist and exert tremendous control over the Grand Lodges.

    5. Consider what one PGM had to say recently, as reported by Bro. Tim Bryce. "As long as the Sovereign Grand Inspector General is allowed to run our Grand Lodge, and we have Grand Masters looking for a white hat, they will listen to whatever he wants, and we will have censorship of everything that would limit his influence. His exact words are, 'Grand Masters Govern for one year, I Govern forever. I am the Grand Lodge.'"

    6. If the Scottish Rite (SMJ) gains absolute power then no Mason will have a say in anything going forward. The Sovereign Grand Inspector Generals are appointed to office for life and cannot be removed. The Grand Commander is elected by the Supreme Council which is made of life time appointed SGIG's.

    7. The future of Freemasonry now hangs in the balance. If you think you have a dictatorship today then just wait until the Scottish Rite has absolute power.

  29. My Name is Theron Dunn, and I find it interesting that a "brother" mason would write the followiing:

    "Anonymous said...

    just an FYI: "Masonic" e-communities are quickly banning anyone for talking about this. GL buttlickers like Theron Dunn are making sure that the word doesn't get out on this, you have all been warned :-))
    Wednesday, May 09, 2007 3:44:00 PM'

    Seeing as I am none of the things he describes, nor did I ban anyone for speaking their mind. IN FACT, as Br. Peace will attest, I have stood by him and supported his right to post materials that I 100% disagree with, because he is a brother. Anyone accusing me of buttlicking and banning that does not have the intestinal fortitude to SIGN their post, is hardly masonic, and hardly, I guess, worthy of taking seriously.

    I guess I made the mistake of taking a cowan for a mason somewhere... but FYI, I have not banned anyone from any forum for over a year.

  30. Brother Theron,

    I apologize to you for whoever made those remarks about you. I was surprised to see it said, as I have always known you to be a good and true brother in my online discussions with you.

    I don't like ad hominem attacks on this blog, but neither do I like acting as censor.

    — W.S.

  31. Regarding Grim Reaper's comments about the Scottish Rite controlling Grand Lodges, I offer this factoid:

    A notice at the bottom of the the Arizona Grand Lodge website states that the site is hosted by the Arizona Scottish Rite.

    — W.S.

  32. Ahh.... Now I know why the name Rex Hutchens sounds so familiar!

    He's the guy who wrote "A Bridge to Light," the cheap paperback the Scottish Rite chose as a substitute for Albert Pike's "Morals and Dogma" about 15 or 20 years ago.

    Prior to that, every newly-minted 32nd degree Mason was presented a hardbound copy of "Morals and Dogma," which is reputed to be the most widely published and least read book ever printed. A typical edition is about the size of an average dictionary, while "A Bridge to Light" is a dumbed-down version that's about the size of a "Reader's Digest."

    To their credit, the Supreme Council finally realized they were wasting money (and trees) giving new members books they couldn't (or wouldn't) read, and they've now saved the Rite a bundle in printing and shipping costs as a result of their substitution.

    Perhaps that should be counted as a "win," but it's unfortunate that average Scottish Rite Masons no longer possess sufficient intellect to understand the moral lessons they're taught, without someone having to explain them in such an elementary way.

  33. Bro. Theron Dunn, has always been fair and reasonable with me. I am unaware of him kicking anyone out of any forum for speaking what they honestly believe.

    I can only assume that this poster has him confused with someone else.

    While Theron and I disagree on many things when it comes to Freemasonry, he has always respected my right to voice my opinions without banning me.

  34. The Americanized Scottish Rite IS NOT FREEMASONRY. It never has been nor will it ever be the slightest semblance of what Freemasonry is.
    This so-called appendant body should NEVER have been given permission by the American Grand Lodges in the 19th Century to even come into existence.
    The AASR is without a doubt the greatest con ever perpetrated on Freemasonry.
    Take heed my Brothers, the day will be upon you when the Scottish Rite will replace Craft Masonry and shall control all of Freemasonry in America.

  35. I think everyone should just keep their powder dry and wait until the facts come out. I too don't think the GL's have necesarily served us well but they are our governing authorities in each state for Masons. If you don't like that you should join some other group. nBy the same token the Shrine isn't all skittles and beer either. I have had to handle situations that cost me a LOT of time and money that resulted from P***ing contests in the Shrine. Potentates also seem to think they have dictatorial powers and don't ask questions either.

  36. "If you don't like that you should join some other group."

    I have a better idea... why don't the brown nosers like you leave and give the fraternity back to the real men?

    I paid my fee and my dues. I am a Freemason. I have a right to vote and tell the Grand Lodge exactly what I think.

    Freemasonry is only a dictatorship so long as we allow it, and I think we've allowed it for far too long.

  37. "... why don't the brown nosers like you leave and give the fraternity back to the real men?"

    So, anybody who doesn't agree with the Shrine's portrayal of events is a "brown noser" and isn't a "real man."

    Some Brother you are.

    Keep up the good work here, Brother. The more I hear of this distinctly unmasonic, "my way or the highway" crap, the more obvious it becomes who the guilty party probably is.

  38. "I too don't think the GL's have necesarily served us well but they are our governing authorities in each state for Masons."

    Anyone who says something like what is written above is a brown noser by definition. You admit the GL's haven't served us well but advise us to keep following them down the path to destruction simply because they have always been the "governing authorities."

    If you want to rush headlong over a cliff with them then please do so. The rest of us will evaluate our options and decide for ourselves what is the best course of action.

    It's pretty clear to everyone that the present system is a failure. Let's change it before it does anymore damage than it already has.

  39. As a Shriner I think we need to leave all this craziness. Let's face it the Grand Lodges have become every janitor's dream. In real life these guys sweep floors and report to their boss. Freemasonry has provided them with the opportunity to be the boss of a multi-million dollar fraternity when they lack even basic business experience. This is how we slowly arrived at where we are today.

    Masonry has become so low brow even the local business people shun it and join organizations like the Lions Club.

    The Shrine has a future, especially with the large numbers of baby boomers now entering retirement, while the Masons have doomed themselves to be a relic of the past.

    Write the Imperial Potentate and make your feelings on this issue heard!

  40. "Anyone who says something like what is written above is a brown noser by definition."

    No, that doesn't make him a brown noser, it makes him a loyal Freemason who takes his oaths seriously.

    "It's pretty clear to everyone that the present system is a failure. Let's change it before it does anymore damage than it already has."

    Here I can agree with you. Nobody doubts that change has to happen, and that there is much wrong with the Grand Lodge system today. But here in the real world, change will only happen over time and from within. That's life. The Shrine has two options: be proactive and get its own men in the grand lodge line so they don't have to worry about a petty control freak in the Grand East, or just do away with the Masonic membership requirement. For all kinds of reasons, that is the better option, in my opinion.

    When you stamp your feet, bang your cup on the highchair and call good brothers names, all you achieve is to make yourself look like a would-be renegade who has greater allegiance to the Shrine than to Freemasonry. People will judge your message accordingly.

    Honest to God, sometimes I think today's Masonry is filled with guys whose chief objection is not that Freemasonry is a dictatorship... but that they don't get to be the dictator. It's depressing.

  41. Call me a name! Say what you want about my voice! If we (all of us) disagree but stop WORKING to reform or change that which we deem as a problem, than what are we doing? If we break down these organizations, what will come from the ruble? This is my first comment here and I don't point a finger except to myself. And I ask one question. "How do we change these things through the WORK?" That is why we meet, right.

  42. Maybe we need less organizations so that we can focus on the one that is most neglected yet the foundation of it all: the Lodge.

    In my opinion the Grand Lodges serve the interests of the Scottish Rite, Shrine, etc. and forget about the Lodges altogether.

    If we get rid of all the powerbrokers then maybe we can focus on Masonry again.

  43. An interesting thread on this topic that you might want to read has developed at LodgeRoomUK.

    — W.S.

  44. Has it ever been decisevely revealed what the Page Shrine Club's transgression was?

  45. Brethren,

    I was not aware of a “problem” until I received my copy of the GM’s Edict # 2. After spending time going though the blog entries I can only guess that liquor may have been involved – time will tell.

    The bigger point is the AZ Grand Lodge 125th Annual Communication will be held 5/31 to 6/2 in Flagstaff. This will be a time when as a member of an AZ lodge, you and your lodge brothers can instruct you GL representative(s) on business topics, discussion and ultimately who to vote for as your GL leaders for the ensuing year. When the “truth” comes out or the situation is up for discussion, your lodge representatives can by prior direction, agree with the GM actions and elect the proposed slate that supports him, or should your lodge disagree with the GM, the handling of the situation, the outcome, the power struggle, then elect an alternate slate of officers!

    GM’s do not just “ascend” to their position they are ELECTED. The AZ lodges hold the key to who will be ELECTED, exercise that right, make your collective voices heard on the issue at hand. Should the gavel prevail on limited or no discussion for this topic, then that should be taken into consideration and vote accordingly.

    Submitted in brotherly love for this organization that I have been a member of for 29 years.

  46. According to a post on the Three Pillars forum, Arizona Masons have now received letters from the Arizona Grand Lodge advising them of the Grand Master's edict against Masons entering the Shrine Temple.

    — W.S.

  47. I think its time that the grand
    lodge come off its high horse and
    live up to the constitutions and
    ancient charges of our craft.
    Forget about this power play of
    sorts and start acting like true
    freemasons. Did you forget your
    obligations or did you lie on your

  48. It seems to me there are two different issues at hand, one of which is whether or not the Grand Master in question had "justification" for his directive. Unless popular opinion has the power to sustain or overrule that decision, however, what purpose is served by discussing our own opinions about it?

    As I see it, the greater issue is whether or not Grand Masters actually have legitimate authority to proclaim and enforce such directives. Personally, I don't think they do, but I'm sure that all 51 presiding Grand Masters in the US, and all of their cronies will undoubtedly disagree.

    Power is like money, and it's human nature to snatch and grab as much of it as possible. In a word, it's greed. Turn most people loose in a vault filled with cash, tell them that no one's going to stop them from taking as much as they want, and see how much is left. It won't be long until they take it all, and the greed for power is exactly the same. Unless it's diligently guarded, sooner or later someone will take every last vestige of it!

    Of course, countless arguments can be made about the merits of monarchy and oligarchy as opposed to freedom and democracy, but those arguments are irrelevant to the issue of which system actually prevails in American Masonry today. Regardless of the reasons, either our Grand Masters have legitimate unlimited authority in the fraternity, or they don't.

    If they do, then "rank and file" Masons had just as well admit they've lost control of their union. If not, then the honest and honorable men who remain, need to start living up their obligations and standing up for what's right, before Masonry is too far gone to save!

    It doesn't make sense that an organization that operates the way American Masonry does today, would have enjoyed the support and patronage of so many of the greatest freethinkers and patriots of freedom and democracy our world has ever known.

  49. I've read all I can stand and can't go another day without speaking up. This is going to be long and I apologize if you read it in its entirety and do not find its value.

    For the record, so you know my standing in this issue, I am an Arizona Mason, I am personally familiar with the current M:.W:.G:.M:. and, though not currently active, an initiate of the El Zaribah Shrine and past President of one of the Club bodies.

    All that aside. I present the following for your consideration:

    1) Freemasonry is not, has never been and is not intended to be a democracy. We exercise demoractic functions under the contraints of By-Laws and a Constitution but we are not a democracy and anyone who thinks it is or should be needs to hit the dictionary and try to fully understand just what a democracy is.

    2) This country (The USA in this context) is also not a democracy. If you have trouble with this concept I ask you again to study up on "democracy". Pure and absolute democracies do not exist in any successfully functional form of trade, business or government.

    History illustrates that governing by the vote of 50.1% with absolute freedom from restraint fails to maintain focus and drive. they tear themselves apart.

    Schools, Families, Churches and Businesses all have leaders for a reason. Sometimes they do not do their job but to operate in any semblence of efficiency and constancy, any body larger than a pep squad must have leadership with directoral authority. Limitations must exist and machineray must exist in order to reign in the runaways but a pure democracy they are not.

    3) I have seen references to the illusion of their being two classes of Masons in certain jurisdictions. Truth be told, there are! But its not a matter of true class distinction as in "us and them" its the distinction between participants and non-participants. If you voluntarily do not step up to lead you had better be prepared to accept the leaders you are given. If you do not show up to vote on your officers, do not complain about their service.

    If you have ever sat quiet when the WM asks if there is anything to add for the good of the Craft and you had opinions, suggestions, observations or criticisms and did not voice them, you have no right to criticize and bellyache now.

    I have voluntarily not pursued the Oriental Chair of a Blue Lodge because in my opinion, being a good Master is a full time job and I am just now reaching a time in my life where I might begin to think that I have the time to take even a half-hearted attempt at it. Knowing that this is my lot because I voluntarily joined the lodge and in learning its mechanisms I elect to stay on and pay for the privilege, I offer what suggestions I come up and I vote when I believe that I have an informed and educated opinion. If I don't believe that I am suited or qualified to render judgement then I stay out of the way and allow those closer to the issue to guide me. If it goes sour it is as much my fault for not getting involved as it is those who actually dropped the ball.

    You vote for your officers. Your officers govern the Lodge. YOur WM's drive the Grand Lodges. If you don't like it then do something or get out. Help fix it or ride quietly but if you are going to complain and second guess and do nothing more constructive than lob anonymous insults from the wings then I urge you to stop wasting your dues, reconsider just why you carry that dues card and take your efforts somewhere else.

    In a world where Lodges receive attendence in the 10 to 30 percentile of membership at any one meeting, do you realize how easy it would be to assemble an equal or greater number of similarly disatisfied Brothers and, assuming you can get them to show up, remember how to participate in the opening and then voice your opinions and vote, you could turn your Lodges in the direction you currently so expertly believe they should be going. But sadly for most that is just too much effort.

    For the man who says that is too hard or its an uphill battle or that you'll never win against the establishment...three words for you; Boston Tea Party (with all due respect for my English Brethren who might be reading, no offinse intended).

    4) From the day you were initiated you have had access to the bylaws and constitution of both your Lodge and your Grand Lodge. If you did not go and read the fine print and if you did not seek clarification on points you did not understand, if you did not make the effort to fully and completely comprehend the nature and function of the body you just pledged yourself to, shame on you.

    If you have ever served as an officer in any Masonic body and still have not sat down and studied all the governing docuemnts, histories and jurisprudence of the body, shame on you twice.

    If you have followed any part of this thread and have read this post this far and have not read or at least plan to read the governing documents of your Lodges and Grand Lodges, either accept your position as docile follower or take you hat and find another hobby. This one is not for you.

    5) Participation in a Lodge of Freemasonry is not a right. It is a privilege. One that we ask, hell, beg for and pay hard earned coin to be allowed to participate in.

    I've ranted and vented far too long. If you made it this far, I appreciate your tolerance.


    Ken Ottinger
    S:.M:. Grand Canyon Council #280
    Allied Masonic Degrees, 2007

  50. I respect the right of the GM to act on behalf of masonry in his jurisdiction.

    I would respect my GM more if he stood up and took a stand by stating: All masons of my jurisdiction will not have any masonic association with masons from the jurisdiction's who refuse recognition of Prince Halls. It is un masonic and un brotherly. So, until you act upon the level and recognise your equal counter parts, we cannot have masonic relations"

    period. take a stand. Like the GM of Arizona. Act on behalf of masonry, not bigotry.

    remeber the GL o Minnesota?
    all over maybe recognizing the Grand orient of france or whatever?

    I feel it is a worse thing to have masonic association with racists than atheists.
    my $.02

  51. The little tiff with the Grand Lodge of MN was over the Grand Lodge of France, not the Grand Orient of France. The Grand Lodge of France is not an atheist organization nor is the Grand Orient though the Grand Orient does allow atheists as a matter of freedom of conscience.
    Atheism, by the way, is not immoral, it is just stupid though it is not contrary to the harmony of human civilization. Rascism on the other hand is contrary to harmony in our civilization.
    Just saying

  52. > Allied Masonic Degrees, 2007


    A member of the Allied Masonic Degrees (an elite and shadowy "invitation only" Masonic organization) who isn't even a Past Master.

    If a man can't work his way through the chairs in his own blue lodge, I wonder what he could have done to warrant a private invitation to such an elite group?

    Tell us, brother, what HAVE you done?

  53. > Allied Masonic Degrees, 2007
    >A member of the Allied Masonic >Degrees (an elite and >shadowy "invitation only" Masonic >organization) who isn't even a >Past Master.
    >If a man can't work his way >through the chairs in his own >blue lodge, I wonder what he >could have done to warrant a >private invitation to such an >elite group?
    >Tell us, brother, what HAVE you >done?
    >Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:50:00 >PM

    First, please have the decency, courtesy and courage to introduce yourself and sign your challenge. Normally I disregard unsigned challenges out of hand but you've made assumptions that should be put to rest. You also don't identify whether you are a Mason or not. Knowing this would tell me and some of the readers of this blog more about what you point of reference is. Are you a disgruntled Brother or former Brother who gets his kicks from anonymous from trying to inflame otherwise staid debates? or are you an interested non-member you simply doesn't fully understand the Craft and therefore is acting partially our of ignorance?

    1) I never said that I haven't worked through the chairs. Only that I have not Mastered a Blue Lodge. Through 20 years in the Craft I have served in every chair except the Master's. Some elected, some in extended pro tem conditions but serve I have. You made the assumption that since I was not WM that I did not work through the chairs.

    2) I have also served in appointed positions in Research Lodge, as well as Royal Arch, Council and Commandery in two States and on AASR degree teams.

    3) Because the AMD is research oriented, I would believe that it is my association with other research oriented Masons in Research Lodge, Philalethes, QCCC and Scottish Rite Research Society that prompted someone to recommend me to the AMD. I never asked as who actually presented the recommendation was not important since I knew most of the other Council members from other activities.

    3) By what standard do you assign the term "shadowy" to the AMD? AMD information, both official and independent commentaries are readily available online. Degree descriptions, histories and many officers lists are all available.
    Just how is the AMD any more "shadowy" to non-members than say, the ongoings of the employee lounge at Motorola? Unless you belong there or are escorted as a visitor you won't be allowed in the door. If you ask about the activities, some I'll tell you about but others are only the business of the participants. The same as your employer's offices and your own living room.

    "Shadowy"? We often meet in restaurants and I signed my name with my affiliation so those interested would know that I am taking an active part in the Craft and not just a career sideliner (which I admit to being from time to time when time and funds are limited or work intrudes)

    So now that I've answered you question, who are you and what have you done? Fair is fair? I'm not challenging you to defend yourself, I am honestly curious. What brings you to this blog?

    My motives for my post are fairly transparent; call to task those who complain but offer nothing and to call attention to the need to dispell any misconceptions about Masonic government and its members.

    What are your motives for being here and posting your question? What did you hope to accomplish by
    asking, no demanding, more from me?

    Ken Ottinger
    S:.M:. Grand Canyon Council #280
    Allied Masonic Degrees, 2007

  54. Bro. Ken,

    I like your long post and think it is the right path for some Masons, especially where it is possible. Unfortunately, in jurisdictions where you are not allowed to bring legislation to the floor of the GL without approval of a body of PGM's and where the PGM's have a meeting to determine who will enter the GL line, it simply isn't possible to work within such a system without a revolt.

    One of the things I see taking place thanks to the Internet is that many brothers are beginning to see the differences between Grand jurisdictions. In Georgia the brethren have little or no say in what happens. If you question the system then you will be expelled or erased. This behavior is largely driven by deep racial hatred that can and will result in violence towards those who stand-up against it.

    I can point you to some brothers who have experienced this (not me personally).

    I think positive changes in the Craft will happen, but it may happen differently in different jurisdictions.

  55. Ken Ottinger writes:

    > First, please have the decency, courtesy and courage to introduce yourself and sign your challenge.

    I never "challenged" you in any way; I simply asked what you'd done to warrant an invitation to join an elite Masonic group. If you hadn't wanted to talk about that, you could have just signed your name (or not) and skipped your AMD affiliation.

    > you've made assumptions that should be put to rest. ... I never said that I haven't worked through the chairs. Only that I have not Mastered a Blue Lodge. ... You made the assumption that since I was not WM that I did not work through the chairs.

    The only "assumption" I made, was that you were telling the truth when you said you'd never served as a Worshipful Master. By definition, a Mason who's advanced through various officer's positions in a blue lodge and eventually served as Worshipful Master, has "gone through the chairs." One who hasn't served as a Worshipful Master, hasn't "gone through the chairs," regardless of what positions he's held at various times. If you're a Masonic scholar, you already know that, so why attempt to twist the meaning of the phrase?

    > You also don't identify whether you are a Mason or not. Knowing this would tell me and some of the readers of this blog more about what you point of reference is.

    My "point of reference" is irrelevant; truth doesn't need to be "tailored" to fit different people, it is what it is! I've told the truth, and if you intend to tell it too, it shouldn't make any difference who's asking questions or reading this blog.

    > By what standard do you assign the term "shadowy" to the AMD?

    By the standard that it IS "shadowy." You could pick 10,000 people at random from the general public, or 100 Masons from any average blue lodge in the country, and not more than 2 of them would say they've ever heard of the "Allied Masonic Degrees."

    > Just how is the AMD any more "shadowy" to non-members than say, the ongoings of the employee lounge at Motorola? Unless you belong there or are escorted as a visitor you won't be allowed in the door. If you ask about the activities, some I'll tell you about but others are only the business of the participants.

    So what you're saying is that the AMD is as "off limits" to regular Masons, as the inner facilities of secure major corporation are to the general public, right?

    It seems to me that the AMD, like all other "invitation only" clubs within Masonry, is really just an elitist clique of title seekers and power brokers, who fancy themselves being "higher class" than the average brothers of the craft. If that perception is wrong, why should membership be by invitation only? Why not at least "consider" petitions from all brothers who express an interest?

    > So now that I've answered you question, who are you and what have you done?

    You never even came close to answering my question! You tried to make it sound like you were answering, but you were really just making carefully crafted political statements. You named several other elitist groups to which you belong, but that didn't tell anyone what you did to earn an invitation to the AMD, or any similar elitist group.

    Since you claim to be a member of several invitation-only "Masonic research societies" (and I'm sure you probably are), perhaps you could tell the readers here exactly what sort of "Masonic research" you've done. Have you located the final resting place of Grand Master Hiram Abif? Have you discovered the real "lost word" of a Master Mason, so that the rest of us can learn whether the Scottish Rite or the York Rite is really "right?" Exactly what sort of "research" are you doing, and if it's so secret that you can't tell the rest of the craft, why should such organizations as yours continue being part of the craft?

    > My motives for my post are fairly transparent;

    Yes, they are. Your post was created to effect "damage control" by obfuscating the issues and promoting today's "official party line." Your demand for identification is an attempt to intimidate anyone who questions the direction the fraternity is going, and thereby prevent discussions from becoming too insightful and/or revealing for those who are controlling Masonry from "behind the scenes" today.

    > What are your motives for being here and posting your question?

    I want Masons everywhere to realize the truth about what's going on in "mainstream" Masonry in the US today. I want them to see the way the fraternity has been hijacked by people covertly working from within groups such as the AMD and other "orders within the order," while the majority of regular Masons fail to realize what's happening.

    > What did you hope to accomplish by asking, no demanding, more from me?

    I never demanded anything from you, although I did invite you to tell the readers here what you did to earn an invitation to the AMD. Since you seem to be rather coy about that, I wonder if it's more likely that you're a brown-noser, or that you've devoted your life to the charitable service of mankind.

    I'm not making any assumptions, but I am starting to wonder.

  56. Brethren,

    The AMD shouldn't be the focus of a witch hunt. It's pretty easy to get "invited" into the AMD. :-)

    If you want to be concerned about a "shadowy" side order then it should be the 33rd degree Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction. They exercise real power over many GL's.

  57. So what you're saying is that the AMD is as "off limits" to regular Masons, as the inner facilities of secure major corporation are to the general public, right?

    Interestingly, this is exactly what the Anti-Masons say about Masons.

    It's difficult enough fighting the prejudice and ignorance of those outside the Craft. Must we have the same kind of ignorance and prejudice among our own brothers?

  58. Okay, all has been quiet since 5/17. Grand Lodge sessions have been in session will be ending today. Will the brothers who did not attend GL now find out what what the Edit was about? Find it interesting when going the AZ Grand Lodge website it says "Coming" - is this signaling a "break" with the AZ Scottish Rite who I believe hosted the GL site? Looking for the answer to these and ???

  59. The new Grand Master of Arizona has decided not to renew the Edict #2 that restricted all Masons from entering El Zaribah Shrine Center. The Edict #2 ended effective June 1, 2007. The El Zaribah Shrine Divan had a very positive meeting with the Grand Master and the Deputy Grand Master. We plan on supporting each others activities and have regular meetings between the Grand Lodge and El Zaribah Shrine Divan.

    Russ Gunther

    Potentate 007

    El Zaribah Shriners

  60. Why would a person call anyone asking for information and a story and refuse to give his name and his credentials? I wouldn;t give information to a person who refuses to tell me who he is. Any can say "I assure you I am a Mason" and not be. It is unfair to expect an answer based on a deceptive phone call. Most associated with the "hide a name" are pushing an agenda and are not seeking truth ut another angle to attack Mainstream Masonry. A Mason has no reason to hide his affiliation but should be proud of it. Readers should beware of these types of groups and blogs that claim to be Masonic/Masons but hide their names and Lodge Affiliations. It is very odd to me..Many points will be rought out by this group as to why they do not sign their names to their posts. I respectfully disagree

    Manny Blanco,PM
    Moreno Valley Masonic Lodge # 804
    Moreno Valley, CA
    Grand Lodge of California.

  61. You seem to want to start something on a thread long dead. So why is that?
    What does it accomplish to beat a dead horse?
    As long as attacks continue be aware to be attacked.
    Your esteemed masonicinfo attacked my Mother who passed away last week so what does that make you and the other MSM WHO ATTACK AT WILL?



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