Friday, May 30, 2008

The Rise of Masonic Neo Isolationism

SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL

There is a virus infecting American Masonry. It is called Neo Isolationism. Its general focus is withdrawal, pulling within oneself. It takes many forms - withdrawal from other associations, from issues and from meeting head on any problems. It seeks never to solve anything, denying that any issue or problem exists, rather burying one’s Masonic involvement solely in the study of Masonic symbolism, meaning and philosophy.

NO POLITICS

Politics are distasteful, say the Neo Isolationists. It destroys the peace and harmony of Masonry by its constant arguing and bickering. Therefore, if we just make believe that politics don’t exist and if we outlaw it, then we can be free of this blight on our Fraternity. This is the “Not in my backyard syndrome”. If we need a new prison, OK build it but not in my back yard. If we need a new oil refinery, OK build it but not in my backyard. If we need a methadone clinic or a homeless shelter then by all means let’s have them, but not in my back yard, or anywhere in my community. Put them in the other fellow’s community. If there is Masonic political debates and maneuverings let them be some place else but not in my organization or in my presence. Out of mind out of sight out of existence. If it was only that easy.

This withdrawal is expressed by Masonic Society founding fellow Robert Davis:

<
“The aim of TMS is to publish a respected journal of articles on Masonry and to offer a venue of Masonic light for seekers of light. This kind of venue cannot exist when the focus is on political discord. In the IPS, our experience has proven that when we have placed too much emphasis on political agendas, we have always failed. If TMS offers a debate, it will be a Socratic style of debate; one free from the abusive ramblings of Masons who disrespect other Masons.”


Masonic politics are a way of life in American Masonry because there is no other way to attain preeminence in Freemasonry. What special skills or knowledge does one have to possess in order to be a Grand Master? If our goal is to become more of a philosophical society with less politics why are our efforts of instruction, education, research and study confined to the Brethren at large? How can you build a philosophical society from the bottom up?

Why do we not have benchmarks and standards of education and knowledge requirements for the highest Masonic office? Why do we not insist our Grand Masters hold a Masonic Masters degree or a PHD in Freemasonry? If we made that a requirement then to be Grand Master (and perhaps other Grand Lodge Offices) you would have to be a man of letters and educational accomplishment not just a well heeled politician. A Grand Master and a Grand Lodge so orientated might have far less of the back stabbing political maneuvering and quest for power which we have all come to dread. And instead of being obsessed with money, marketing and membership maybe they would seek to build the Craft by making a quality product that sells itself and takes care of the financial and membership pressures automatically.

LIMIT ASSOCIATION

The Neo Isolationists seek to draw in the circle of association, to limit the contact with others who are different. In so doing they say they minimize conflict and discord. A good recent example of this is The Masonic Society which touts itself as a Research Society. Here is an organization that believes Masonic Research should only be done by Mainstream Masons for their betterment alone. It doesn’t want to get involved with other Obediences because then conflict ensues. Any dealing with politics, issues and problem solving is definitely not allowed.

Freemasons have always held two important foundational tenets from which to operate.
1) A search for truth
2) A commitment to liberty

The search for truth, that lifelong research, then must be free, unlimited, unconfined and unfettered. But the Neo Isolationists have opened up this new research society determined to have their thumb of control dictating the direction that this quest for truth takes. Truth cannot be found by demanding what path the discovery will take. In the pursuit of truth you have to let the chips fall where they may. Trying to structure the investigation by keeping others, who might come up with different conclusions, out only prejudices the outcome and botches the truth. Therefore The Masonic Society is not a research society. Rather it is a Masonic education organization instructing Mainstream Masonry only (and some PHA Masons which it recognizes but not those it doesn’t) and only for the betterment of the same.

The more other Obediences grow and the more Masonic input by non Masons increases the more Mainstream Masonry seeks to erect barriers, put up fences. Just as many Grand Masters want to muzzle individual Masons in their jurisdiction from speaking and writing about Masonry because it is not the official position of the Grand Lodge so also Mainstream Masonry as a whole only wants to talk to itself and nobody else. The result of these actions follows.

NO ISSUES, NO PROBLEMS, NO HOT TOPICS

Join a Masonic Yahoo Group or one of the many Masonic Internet Forums or anywhere on the Internet Masonry is discussed and you will find that any issues, complaints, problems or hotly contested subjects are banned from discussion. Once again the Neo Isolationists are trying to narrow the scope of consideration. They want to limit debate and ban certain topics. Well the topics banned are usually unresolved problems that are crying for some leadership to help solve them. Instead they are being swept under the rug all in the name of harmony. What’s left is a bland sterilized Masonry free from the hard work of conflict resolution.

Instead of meeting the issues, problems, complaints, wrongs and hurts head on it is so much easier to make believe they do not exist. All one has to do is ban them and poof they are gone!

Ignoring situations that need to be addressed, problems that need to be solved only exacerbates everything leading to festering sores. Frustration leads to anger that in the end needs to get vented. Yet all these sites and groups and societies are saying – NOT HERE!

Mainstream Masonry is in denial. It thinks that racism in Lodges, expulsions without a Masonic trial, Institutionalized Charity, shutting down private Masonic websites, mandating One Day classes, spending most of the budget on marketing Freemasonry and little on improving the quality of the Masonic experience, muzzling Brethren from talking and writing about Masonry, denigrating women, banning alcohol, pulling charters from successful Lodges, rigging elections and generally jerking Brethren around are problems that will solve themselves. And don’t anyone dare to bring these topics up anywhere. Instead of signs that read “IRISH NOT WANTED” we now have printed rules everywhere that say “NO DISCUSSION OF RECOGNITION & REGULARITY” and all the rest of the above which the Moderator will tell you about when you try to broach a controversial or political topic.

Some of the great minds in Masonry have come together on these groups and societies. But they do not want to get involved with anything that is the slightest bit controversial. Nobody wants to do anything.

The frosting on the cake was the recent expulsion from the Craft of Past Grand Master Frank Haas of West Virginia. There should have been a hue and cry of foul play. Instead no discussion was allowed anywhere. The only place I saw anything about it was on Masonic Blogs which have become the underground media of Freemasonry. Nobody wanted to get involved. That’s their problem said most Masons I quizzed on the subject. We cannot interfere in the workings of another Grand Lodge, they added. The policy of one Grand Lodge always accepting and never criticizing any actions of another Grand Lodge is just a pitiful tradition.

Have you any idea how Prince Hall Masons feel when an organization like The Masonic Society says that any Mason in amity with Mainstream Masonry can become a member? That means that Prince Hall Masons that have been recognized by Mainstream Jurisdictions can join but those who have not been recognized cannot join even though there is no difference in the Prince Hall Masonry between the recognized and unrecognized? Have you any idea how that society has insulted such a great woman of letters as Margaret Jacob when told she can submit writings but never be a member?

Mainstream Masonry is becoming smothered and extinguished by its own traditions and by refusing to think outside the box. It is paralyzed to act. Surely the Conference of Grand Masters could appoint a Blue Ribbon Committee to draft recommendations in all these areas that nobody will touch. Then a conference of Masonry could be called all across the United States admitting all Obediences to hash out inter cooperation inside Mainstream Masonry and also outside with other practitioners. This of course would be the opposite policy of The Neo Isolationists. Instead of withdrawing into one’s nice little warm and safe cocoon, opening up and coming to grips with reality would be the rule of the day. Perhaps all these great Masonic minds that are involved with these Masonic groups, Internet forums and societies could put their heads together to actually solve something instead of putting on blinders and burying their heads in the sand.

If Freemasonry does not police itself, and that is every regular practitioner, - Mainstream, Prince Hall, Co-Masonry & Female Masonry - then the government will step in and do it for them. Do not let the Neo Isolationists lead us to that.

19 comments:

The Palmetto Bug said...

Squire; You seem to have a fascination with TMS. Let them boys be. They're causing you no harm and they're not hurting your positions in regards to Freemasonry.

POLICOMM said...

Thank you for providing the Squire an illustration of his point.

Constructive criticism should be welcomed by the Craft and its members, not quashed (or shamed).

The idea that perhaps the TMS should have a broader scope, that it discriminates, and that its neo-isolationist approach is perhaps not the best way to go is an ok thing to put out for discussion.

You and I don't even have to agree with him. He is not causing them any harm unless you think that suggestions that things could be done differently is bad.

Them boys are going to play in their sandbox. The question may be that if their sandbox is relevant if it doesn't engage the larger society in its dialogue on something relevant to us all.

The Palmetto Bug said...

Squire,

It took a minute or two for something to hit me. By calling it "Neo Isolationism," I assume that you are of the opinion that the Fraternity has not, in the past, been primarily isolationist in its operations. Has not the Fraternity always been a society that believes in isolationism as regards certain aspects of its practices? I say that is has. There is no "neo" involved here.

You have no right to tell your neighbor who he must allow in his home as a guest. This line of thought extends to TMS, GLs, and individual Lodges. Though I'm hoping that I have misinterpreted, I have come to the conclusion that you are of the opinion that everyone has the right to participate in Masonry. I must totally disagree with any such notion. No one has the right to be a Mason, to join any of the other appendent bodies, or to become a member of any research society (the exception being those state research bodies under the direct control of a GL).

cookslc said...

Actually, I have found that US Freemasonry is moving away from isolationism. It has begun embracing PHA Grand Lodges to the extent that in some cases it is the State Grand Lodges which have made overtures to their PHA counterparts. Less than 25 years ago the Grand Lodge of Utah forbade men of the majority faith of that State to join the fraternity and the other US Grand Lodges were complicit in this exclusion, yet that has changed as well.

It has been argued that this new society engages in censorship. Not true. I've seen no limitation on who can publish in its pages or subscribe to the journal (Though admittedly I'm not quite sure why membership rather than just subscriptions were necessary anyway).

Further, the comment that "American" Freemasonry has politics implies this is not so in other obediences. I can assure you that such an implication is most incorrect. The slight about who can become a Grand Master is disappointing as it paints all who hold this office with the same brush.

The Burning Temper said...

A "broad brush" is the only tool in the Squire's tool box.

Honestly, the TMS has been his obsession for almost a month now, in spite of several of his friends in previous trying to calm his apparently shattered nerves. Teh overwhelming majority of mainstream and PHA Masons alike have rules about irregular Masonry, but the Squire just isn't going to get over that. A new organiztion that doesn't follow his personal brand of inclusiveness will never be acceptable to him. Which sounds an awful lot like a fellow who is mad because nobody consulted him first.

After three of these colossal screeds and undoubtedly hours spent composing them, I would think you had all of this resentment out of yiur system. Spending your life shouting "Nobody asked MY opinion about it!" used to be reserved for barroom pontificators. Unfortunately, the internet now gives every crybaby a hill to howl from. There are plenty of Masonic forums wheree you can hang out with every boy and girl who belong to irregular Masonry and find lots of appreciation for your "bold stance". But, you'r loosing your credibility every day with these public tantrums. And that's sad. Your smarter than that, Fred. TMS is NOT the enemy, and neither are you. Why your still out playing defense I can't figure out.

cookslc said...

It has also been indicated that by having meetings at Masonic Week, the society will somehow be controlled by Grand Lodges. Actually, it appears there was only one Grand Master at Masonic week this year, and that from the smallest Grand Lodge in the US.

Discussions of recognition or regularity not allowed? It seems I can't get away from them, and they are usually involving the same arguments, responses and people. More heat than light is generated. The appropriate place to resolve this is on the GL floor with legislation,not in another diatribe in the 'net.

It is indicated that it was inappropriate for other GL's to w/hold criticism regarding expulsion of the PGM of WVA. It is incorrect to say other GLs do not sometimes criticize. However, when other GLs threatened withdrawal of recognition of MN a few years ago, they were the ones criticised for interfering in the affairs of another GL, even though acts of recognition are by definition external relations. Some withheld criticism of WVA because the facts aren't known and the Masonic appellate process had not been utilized.

I am not quite sure what banning alcohol has to do with the subject. If there has been denigration of women, then either Masonic or civil charges should be pursued. If an election has been rigged, then Masonic relief should be sought.

The argument that the government might some how regulate us is, to my mind, bordering on hysterical and without merit.

There are arguments to be made regarding this society, but the hyperbole which is put forth discredits them.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

was,it not a past tradition of freemasonry that the Grand master was elected for one day and one meeting? Then after that he goes back to his regular position?

Today the grand Master pimps around the state, lodge to lodge, district to district, hospitality room to hospitality room, gallon of gas after gallon oof gas all equates to expenditures towards non charitable events at the expense of the brothers.

If one wants to look backwards for tradition, where are the lines drawn? How far back are we to go?

keep up the good work bro Squire..

I believe Harmony is the result of the cancelling out of opposing forces.

keep opposing brother!

Traveling Man said...

What we have here are two conflicting freedoms. One for the TMS to freely assemble and govern themselves the way they see fit, and the other is the good Squire's freedom of the press in airing his views on this blog.

I admit, I can't see what the big deal about TMS is. If we want Freemasonry to be free, don't these folks have a right to organize their group as they see fit, or do they just have a right to form their group the way others *think* it should be done.

Where's the tolerance?

Traveling Man

Squire Bentley said...

They have the right of course to do what they want. But is it a good choice and is it in the best interests of Freemasonry?

And is any crticism of anything Masonic deemed to be unbrotherly? Goodness I do not want the power to tell TMS what to do. What I do want is the right to be critical without someone saying that is unMasonic.

I have not pounced on anyone who has posted comments that are severly critical of what I wrote. They are entitled to their opinion and I will always freely air anything that is not hate speech.

But to characterize me as a vitrolic old man who spreads discord and hate on purpose is going too far.

The Burning Temper said...

Fred said:
"Masonic politics are a way of life in American Masonry because there is no other way to attain preeminence in Freemasonry. "


Sez you. I say they shall know us by our actions. And from what I'm hearing, guys like the Knights of the North have influenced a lot more Freemasons than any Grand Master or Shrine Potentate. I have known plenty of outstanding men in my lifetime who have made excellent GMs, who have NOT played the backstabbing politics you want to tar them all with. Sure there have been political reptiles, but they are in the vast minority in my neck of the woodz.

Fred said:
"How can you build a philosophical society from the bottom up?"


In a volunteer organization with new leadership elected every year? A hell of alot easier and more successfully than you can from the top down.

Fred said:
"If we made that a requirement then to be Grand Master (and perhaps other Grand Lodge Offices) you would have to be a man of letters and educational accomplishment not just a well heeled politician."


Along with paying them next to nothing and requiring them to take a year or more from their jobs to be GM fulltime. And from this diminished pool of talent, how many do you think will qualify under these requirements? Andd who is to decide what those 'educational accomplishments' should be? And who do you want running a multi-million dollar volunteer organization, an eggheaded academic with alphabet soup behind his name or a successful businessman who may have had none of the 'educational accomplishments' you specify?

Fred said:
The Neo Isolationists seek to draw in the circle of association, to limit the contact with others who are different. In so doing they say they minimize conflict and discord


What part of "best work or best agree" do you not understand? And your term "neo isolationists" is a true howler - Masonic regularity and recognition is almost 300 years old as a concept. There's nothing "neo" about it.

Fred said:
"A good recent example of this is The Masonic Society which touts itself as a Research Society."


Touts? There ARE a research society. It's right there in their job description. 'Touting' would be if they claimed they were the best one, the biggest one, or the only one out there.

Fred said:
"Here is an organization that believes Masonic Research should only be done by Mainstream Masons for their betterment alone. "


Thats not what tehy say at all, and you know it. So you are just lying now.

Fred said:
"But the Neo Isolationists have opened up this new research society determined to have their thumb of control dictating the direction that this quest for truth takes."


Again, that's not AT ALL what they say they are doing. They are limiting voting membership to regular, recognized masons. Anyone may contribute, anyone may subscribe. And your depiction of them as some kind of research Gestapo, squashing heretical thinkers is simply assinine.

Fred said:
"The more other Obediences grow and the more Masonic input by non Masons increases the more Mainstream Masonry seeks to erect barriers, put up fences."


Don't make me spew all over my keyboard. paper tigers like the GOOFUS with eight guys meeting in a Starbucks constituting a lodge is scarcely a threat. And it's almost hilarious that when regular masons who like mainstream FM defend its practices in print, they are instantly labeled as tools of evil Grand Masters (of worse, the SR-SMJ!), instead of just dedicated men who believe in the organization they joined.

There have been bogus Masonic groups claiming to be the one true path for 300 years, usually frought with schisms, internal backstabbing, fights over who will be the one, true Supreme Hirophant, and eventually vanishing. The internet just gives these insignificant groups the appearance of being more important than they could ever be in real life. The only thing mainstrream freemasonry has to fear from them is that they will dupe an unsuspecting candidate into believing their snake oil salesmen before he finds out he's been swindled by an impressive website.

Fred said:
"Ignoring situations that need to be addressed, problems that need to be solved only exacerbates everything leading to festering sores. Frustration leads to anger that in the end needs to get vented. "


And vented, and vented, and vented some more. No ssolutions, mind you, just venting and venting and venting. Put up or shut up. Build something to be proud of, instead of tearing down what others have. Back up your mouth with some real successes. Otherwise, your just a miserable old crank, no better than the buzzards row everybody cries about. Identify, propose, implement, examine results. That's the way problems get solved. Seems like all I ever hear is the "Identify" part. Over and over. Doesn't that Pamper ever fill up?

Fred said:
"Mainstream Masonry is in denial. It thinks that racism in Lodges, expulsions without a Masonic trial, Institutionalized Charity, shutting down private Masonic websites, mandating One Day classes, spending most of the budget on marketing Freemasonry and little on improving the quality of the Masonic experience, muzzling Brethren from talking and writing about Masonry, denigrating women, banning alcohol, pulling charters from successful Lodges, rigging elections and generally jerking Brethren around are problems that will solve themselves. "


That is the worst kind of generalizatiuon and BS I've read in a long time. "Mainstream Masonry" doesn't "think" anything of the kind, and YOU KNOW IT. Are there bad GMs? Sure there are. between mainstream and PHA GLs, there are about 90 new ones moving into office every year. They can't all be gems. Instead of pissing and moaning and writing little manifests on the web, pick up a shovel and get to work. The crybabies will all squeal, "You can't work from within. We tried that." Sounds alot like "In MY year..." Yeah. "In MY year, we went out and burned out 32 degree hats in the parking lot!" Dig and youll find out these whiners who fled mainstream masonry never could play with the other kids and cry and cry because they can't run the show their way.

Fred said:
" “NO DISCUSSION OF RECOGNITION & REGULARITY”


If only THAT were true.

Fred said:
"Have you any idea how that society has insulted such a great woman of letters as Margaret Jacob when told she can submit writings but never be a member?


No. Have you asked her? I'm guessing shes no madder than she is at not being able to join the Philalethes Society. Or the Phylaxis Society. Or your lodge.

Fred said:
"Have you any idea how Prince Hall Masons feel when an organization like The Masonic Society says that any Mason in amity with Mainstream Masonry can become a member?"


well, I don't see a whole lot of proactive lobbying by PHA FMs in my state for recognition from my GL. To my knowledge, they've never asked out GL for recognition.And as I underatsnd it, in most states where PHA IS recognized, they OVERWHELMING disallow intervisitation, and certainly no joint memberships. There are faults on both sides, and both have to work at it.

Now Fred says:
"They have the right of course to do what they want. But is it a good choice and is it in the best interests of Freemasonry?"


For three substancial blog entries, you have made it crystal clear you don't believe a word of that. They seem to have some obligation to do things your way. And you have made it real clear that it is you who decides what is in the best interests of Freemasonry. Anybody who differs with you just doesn't get it. Itz a Fred thang.

I look at that list of TMS fellows and see name after name of guys whos work I have long admired, who have made real achievements in the fraternity. Not just mouthing off and throwing rocks, but really worked in the quarries. I've read their books, I've heard them speak, I see their comments on the internet. They have built well, as far as I can see, and they share their successes with the fraternity. And after all your endless noise about "guarding the west gate" (if I see that stupid phrase one more time, I think I'll hurl), when a group of mainstream and PHA masons form a group and do just that, guard their west gate, you decide they're jackbooted storm troopers.

Now Fred says:
"Goodness I do not want the power to tell TMS what to do."


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA! LOLOLOLOL!

Retch.

That's hilarious.

Think of all the typing you need not have done had you really believed that.

Now Fred says:
"But to characterize me as a vitrolic old man who spreads discord and hate on purpose is going too far.


So there's this pot. And one day he meets this kettle walking through the kitchen. Startled by the experience, the pot suddenly flips his lid and screams in alarm, "Hey! You're BLACK!"

Charles Tirrell said...

Fred Said:

"Mainstream Masonry is in denial. It thinks that racism in Lodges, expulsions without a Masonic trial, Institutionalized Charity, shutting down private Masonic websites, mandating One Day classes, spending most of the budget on marketing Freemasonry and little on improving the quality of the Masonic experience, muzzling Brethren from talking and writing about Masonry, denigrating women, banning alcohol, pulling charters from successful Lodges, rigging elections and generally jerking Brethren around are problems that will solve themselves. And don’t anyone dare to bring these topics up anywhere. Instead of signs that read “IRISH NOT WANTED” we now have printed rules everywhere that say “NO DISCUSSION OF RECOGNITION & REGULARITY” and all the rest of the above which the Moderator will tell you about when you try to broach a controversial or political topic."

SB has once again played the "if you disagree with me then you're a bigot" card. This is truly sickening. About two months ago, I wrote a blog post about recruitment and stated that I don't think "McMasonry" was a good idea, because I didn't support forced recruitment, marketing campaigns and one-day classes. This is a topic that had nothing to do with racism or hate speech, only disagree with a current approuch to Masonic Recruitment. For this post, SB left this comment.

"Your use of the term McMasons is derogatory and a put down which regulates your position to one of "hate speech". Is it necessary in your promotion of your point of view to degrade those who do not believe as you do. I find such similar degradations to be: "nigger", "kike" and "wap". You do not have to make your point by putting down innocent participants."

It appears that in the promotion of his point of view SB must label dissidents as bigots and racists, even though racism has nothing to do with it. This is a typical "straw-man" argument. He can't discuss his position civilly, nor can he construct a sensible argument, so he relies on comparing those he disagrees with racists as a way to defeat them.

Everyone please be careful, the Omnipotent Grand Marshal of Anti-Racism is here and will stamp "hate speech" onto anything that doesn't conform to his opinions and beliefs. Let's see how long this comment exists before it is deleted for being "hate speech".

Unity is not the same thing as uniformity!

Charles

The Palmetto Bug said...

burning temper; It is well known in some circles that Squire and I don't see eye-to-eye (that's an understatement). However, I want to make it clear that I feel some of your most recent comments were over the top.

charles tirrell; If Squire said those things in reply to a post of yours, then he deserves everything you just handed back to him.

cookslc said...

It was said:
Today the grand Master pimps around the state, lodge to lodge, district to district, hospitality room to hospitality room, gallon of gas after gallon oof gas all equates to expenditures towards non charitable events at the expense of the brothers

cookslc: I will accept it is such in your jurisdiction. In my mother jurisdiction, the gallon after gallon of gas is paid for by the GM. The three corn beef meals in as many days are paid for by him. The spaghetti dinnners? Paid for by him. DeMolay and Job's Daughter's don't have hospitality rooms, yet he attends those events as well.
And yes, some of the time and gas goes to charities.

If this is not the case in your jurisdiction, you are complaining in the wrong venue. Propose legislation at your Grand Lodge Communication to reduce the GM's allowance.

Traveling Man said...

Squire Bently wrote" "But is it a good choice and is it in the best interests of Freemasonry? And is any crticism of anything Masonic deemed to be unbrotherly?"

I happen to think it *is* a good choice, and it is in the best interest of Freemasonry.

I also do not think unbrotherly to criticize. That was my point. If you have the right to associate with whom you choose, and to voice your opinion; then why not they?

It is in the best interest of Freemasonry because they are giving voice to what they are passionate about; as are you. There is nothing stopping you from forming a research society of your own, is there?

If you have a better plan, put it into action and compete in the marketplace of ideas my Brother. Then we'll see how many bees go to which hive....

Traveling Man

The Millennial Freemason said...

I think the problem is growing pains; Masonry is began to grow into a new a slightly different group. It doesn't mean that Masonry is losing itself or separating itself completely from debate, only that different generations are trying to change or hold their positions in the Fraternity. The Craft is learning to adapt and the pains we feel now will hopefully subside. I know it seems Pollyannish but this Fraternity has continued for many centuries, and our shoulders should be strong enough to weather these changes.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

Burning Temper states: " Along with paying them next to nothing and requiring them to take a year or more from their jobs to be GM fulltime. And from this diminished pool of talent, how many do you think will qualify under these requirements? Andd who is to decide what those 'educational accomplishments' should be? And who do you want running a multi-million dollar volunteer organization, an eggheaded academic with alphabet soup behind his name or a successful businessman who may have had none of the 'educational accomplishments' you specify?"


What duties are SO important as a Grand Master that they NEED to take a year off from work?
What exactly is being accomplished by this?

Why not eliminate the postition, and use it for the 1 time a year at Grand Communication?

Why is a GM needed all year round? Travelling?

Does it make a difference whether or not a district gets a visit from the grand master?


If a man has a successful track record a schooling and work and family, he would probably make a good GM, but a incompleted education, mediocre work resume and divorced, does that qualify a man as a leader of men?


Tradition has it that a grand master was needed for 1 meeting and that was it?

why change that age old tradition?

cookslc said...

Can you provide a cite for the "age old tradition" of a grand master only serving one day? It hasn't been the case for over two hundred years.

cookslc said...

While somewhat bellicose in tone, the question of what a GM does is a good one. A member of my mother jurisdiction once quipped that he makes sure Lodges and Masons behave. There is always an element of truth in any good joke. While it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, it may include the following:

1. Interpretation of Code when GL is not in session (can a dimitted Mason sign a petition; is an EA entitled to a Masonic trial; what happens if there is an objection to the progression of an EA).

2. CEO of a corporation, including administering the Grand Lodge funds, investing, drafting and proposing a budget, adherence to budget, authorization of expenditures, signing checks, requests for funds from trustees, employee salaries and benefits, approving vendor contracts, supervision of buildings and property.

3. Sitting on the boards of Grand Lodge charities and other boards as an ex officio member.

4. Attending and speaking at the annual meetings, installations, supreme visitations, and fund raising dinners (love that spaghetti) of youth and appendant bodies (and yes, it is remarked upon if the GM is not there).

5. Visiting Lodges may be required by Code or custom.

6. Reviewing the books of Lodges may be required by Code.

7. Approving bylaw changes; dispensations to change meeting locations and dates, hold elections and installations out of time, delay proficiency requirements of Masters

8. Instituting & overseeing GL programs to help Lodges and members, including training in ritual, secretarial duties, treasurer duties, other officer duties, instituting or approving publications (Code, cipher, handbooks, history), internet presence.

9. Overseeing the annual communication, including rental of the hall, provision of meals, hotel rooms, transportation, welcoming guests, light, sound, cameras

10. Appoint committees required by Code (jurisprudence, grievance and appeals, finance, fraternal relations, youth, publications, ritual)

11. Appoint officers and provide training.

12. Conduct funerals

13. Conduct Lodge installations

14. Try to head off disciplinary violations ("Ï'm going to find out who cast the black ball.)"

15. Keep the Masons'ladies happy.

Again, if you don't like what your GM is doing, propose legislation at GL that will stop it. Complaining here really does no good. It won't change anything, not even your level of satisfaction with the fraternity.

Oh, and the GM of my mother jurisdiction has an advanced degree and a 28 year marriage, mostly through the long-suffering of his wife.

The Burning Temper said...

I now see that Fred has become a moderator of a Yahoo group that has appropriated TMS' name, apparently to intentionally "have fun" at TMS' expense.

I suppose all of teh usual irregular suspects will pile on and have a ball for a few weeks until the novelty wears off. Not exactly internet vandalism, it comes mighty close, and is perhaps the most juvenile reaction to TMS I've seen yet.

Just tear down, throw rocks, and have a good laugh. I guess if you had a can of spray paint, you guys would tag them too.

This sure is real Masonic behavior. All of you irregular, unrecognized "Masons" surrrrre are great examples to the rest of us. I can;t wait to see what great acheivements come out of this latest bunch of yahoos, but with every new action you only convince mainstream Masons that your off the deep end.

Or is this new little band of misfits just providing more "constructive criticism" in an effort to whisper good counsel in the ear of those poor misguided TMS fellows? "Scuse me if I find it to be just one more childish tantrum.

Fred, you just seem to be spiraling into some weird place I never would have believed.

BTW, how does your Texas PH grand lodge feel about you having all of these kumbayah moments with irregular masons? And you never did really answer those questions about whether you think the Phylaxis Society or the Philalethes Society is discriminatory by not allowing irregular masons to be members. Come on , Fred. If teh TMS guys are a bunch of ogers, surely those other societies are too.