2 Down, 19,998 to go: FL Grand Master Quantifies the Purge

Corey Bryson who was forced into resigning from the Grand Lodge of Florida because of his Pagan/Deist religious beliefs has written some follow up information in the new blog he has started, Musings Of A Pagan Mason. This sheds further light on how radical fundamentalist the Grand Master of Florida really is. Here are some excerpts from Bryson’s blog:

Concerning Fighting the Charges:

“Not one Officer of the Lodge reached out to me and said this, either before or after my resignation. I spoke with the Jr. Warden who delivered the Ruling. He made it emphatically clear to me that if I fought the Ruling, I would be expelled from Masonry for life. There was no other option. The Lodge WOULD NOT come to my defense. I spoke to several Past Master, who told me that I should resign, leaving myself with the opportunity to come back at a later date.”
 
 “Personally, I spent about 24 hours determined to go down swinging, fighting this atrocity with my last breath. Then I remembered my Obligation, which indicates that I am obliged to obey the laws and edicts of the Grand Lodge. I’m a pretty straight-forward kind of guy. Those who know me well will tell you: if faced with a decision to do the easy thing or do the right thing, I’ll do the right thing. I’m not trying to claim perfection, because I surely am not that. I make mistakes, and have been known to screw things up royally, like anyone else. I just have a personal sense of honor and integrity that prompts me to do the right thing even when no one is looking.”
 
“I didn’t have the option of hiding behind my lodges “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I was already “out.” I was “out” with the officers of my lodge before I was accepted for the 3 Degrees of Masonry. I also know that the Grand Master was aware of me before his visit to our lodge on 10/25. Now, don’t make the mistake of assuming that I disagree with the choices of other Brothers indicated under this Ruling. I hope they stay hidden during this (literal) witch hunt and until the nastiness ends.”
“I took my friend Brother Odinist out to dinner last night. It seems strange referring to him like that, because a man is much more than his religion or creed. It was his request to address him as such, though. In the end, that title is why he was required to leave FL Masonry. My Brother was quite upset, borderline depressed with the current injustice. You see, his class was scheduled to be raised last night, and as far as I know the remaining Fellow Crafts were. Along with the Ruling about Proscribed religions, the Grand Master of Florida Jorge L Aladro also ordered that Bro. Odinist’s progression be halted immediately. He was not allowed to wait a week, be raised, and then resign. Even the acceptance of his petition was deemed invalid.”
 
 “While talking over things, we discussed a conversation that we had with a Lodge Officer. This officer stated that during a meeting, the Grand Master made the statement that there are approx. 45,000 masons in the State of Florida. He went on to say that there should only be 25,000, because they were the only REAL Masons. It was said that there are 200 individuals suspected of being of the proscribed religions. Doing the easy math, if the Grand Master can root out all of the Pagans, Wiccans, Odinists, Agnostics, and Gnostics, he still has 19,800 slots to fill.”
 
“This all begs the question, who is next? We can only guess at that. Will the next statement proscribe Hermeticists, Rosicrucians, Kabbalists, Unitarian Universalists, Deists, Hindus, Jainists, Sikh, Sufi, Buddhist, New Age, New Thought, Esotericists, or Thelemics? Or maybe there will be a list of Denominational churches that a prospective or current Mason will be required to be a member of. It seems a slippery slope once a tolerant and enlightened society, as Masonry is supposed to be, starts to limit their degree of religious tolerance.”
 
“Will it be the Gay Masons? After all, one could assume that homosexuality is a moral abomination to the Grand Master. Thus any Gay Mason would automatically be unable to uphold the Grand Masters idea of the Moral standards of Masonry.”
 
 “Since we are on the subject of “Sexual Immorality”, what about those who are having relations with someone whom they are not married to? Will they be the next Masons on the chopping block? By any standards of fundamentalist or mainstream Christianity, fornication is immoral. Would that preclude a man from becoming or remaining a Mason? Maybe there should be a “no shacking up” clause in the digest.”
 
“What about those with criminal convictions? I know that they would normally preclude a man from becoming a Mason, at least until his civil rights are restored. But what about the plethora of ignored offences. The most common seems to be DUI. Will that get you kicked to the curb?”
 
Florida Masonic Scandal“What is the new standard of tolerance to be? How picky does the Grand Lodge of Florida have to get in order to reduce their numbers by nearly half? Even trying to make myself think like a bigoted, intolerant fundamentalist I can’t come up with much more than this list. I’m sure there are other population groups targeted, but only time will tell who they are. Maybe the next Ruling will shed some “light” on that subject.”
 
“As for myself and Bro. Odinist, we will keep on keeping on, fighting the Good fight for the True Masonry we love. We are both hoping to find a home after this time of adversity. We both believe in the ideals of Masonry as we know them, and as shown throughout history.”
Florida has a tradition of being a favorite Native American Indian area. I am wondering if the Grand Master of Florida would accept a Native American Indian who practices traditional Indian spiritual worship? One thing is for sure, Florida Masons aren’t smoking any peace pipes yet.
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About Fred Milliken

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and former Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.

Comments

  1. ole Blake says:

    There is a reason for a secret ballot and a reason that it must be unanimous. Not wholly based on character or religion but on the peace and harmony of the lodge. Anyone in any organization that goes against the mainstream of that organization is truly asking for trouble.
    Why do we have two or three party political systems? Why is there more than one religion. Because people are different. One person joins a group and then says to the group “I am not quite like you, I have my own way of doing things”
    There may be some in the group that agree with his way, and some that don’t. That it the start of a splinter group centered around the the way of the newcomer or different thinks. We all see what we believe are injustices, but then we are not standing in the shoes or have to minds of other who view the same thing and see no injustice. Like beauty, most justice is in the eyes of the beholder. Murder, theft, rape, are all things we can agree are detrimental to humankind. Beyond those, it is simply a matter of personal belief. Apparently the Grand Master of Florida see things differently then the brother who resigned. He and others have a right to that viewpoint. We may not agree but it is his right to make rulings as he sees them, Now if enough people believe he was wrong, you can oust him from office. You just have to make you case stronger than his and have ore folks on you side. For the most part Masonic Brother in the United State are Christian. They too are entitled to their viewpoint If the pagan brother believe himself to be in the right, then by all means let him broadcast his woes and maybe if enough of the rank and file believe his view correct. Something can be done about.
    Unless one can muster support for his cause, you might as well just spit into the wind.
    If you want to see who your real friends are, ask then to stand with you in the face of adversity.
    Regards
    ole Blake
    PM #35 Georgia

  2. J Alexander says:

    I think we can draw some nice analogies from these lines from Martin Niemöller:

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

  3. Well Ole Blake here we are again debating the same points. You feel that racial discrimination in a Lodge is permitted if a Black man is disrupting the harmony of the Lodge. And if one has a religion that disrupts the harmony of the Lodge than its perfectly permissible to discriminate against that person also.

    However harmony of the Lodge does not trump morality and legality. First comes what is legal and moral regardless of the harmony of the Lodge. Saying that illegal and immoral action is permissible because it keeps the harmony of the Lodge intact is un-Masonic and is very upsetting to TGAOTU.

    Racial, religious, cultural and other discrimination cannot just be another opinion. It does not hold equal weight with non discrimination just as injustice is not equal to justice. One cannot say that injustice is permissible in order to provide harmony in the Lodge.

    Harmony in the Lodge pertains to the actions of the Lodge always being of general agreement and the decorum of the Lodge reflecting Masonic etiquette. It does not allow the Lodge or any individual Mason to violate Civil Rights or the Moral Law in order to avoid discomfort. Freemasons pride themselves on their toleration of diversity. Those that would make the Craft exclusive rather than inclusive are not practicing Freemasonry.

  4. Greg Starr says:

    I am still disgusted by both the ruling of this Grand Master and by the utter lack of knowledge of American Masons about our own origins.

    The Craft is not exclusively Judeo-Christian. Period.

    Brethren in certain jurisdictions can try all they want to turn the Craft into an extension of their church – but such brethren only delude themselves and bring shame upon the Craft. (Bro. Johnson’s comments appear to be of this school.) If any Brother in any Lodge to which I belong made such a statement in Lodge, I would file Masonic charges. If you want to only associate with Christian Masons, fine. Keep it in the Commandery where you are free to commemorate your “interpretation” of the Templars.
    The great Masonic writers to whom we turn for education and guidance (Wilmshurst, Pike, Mackey, Newton, etc.) would be shocked to see such an edict, then would be waiting for the punchline. Sadly, the joke is on the Craft in Florida.

    We seem to forget: the Grand Lodges exist for the purposes of administration. The Craft lives and breathes in the Lodges.

    I am going on 26 years as a Master Mason. I have sat as an officer in Europe and in the US. I have seen my share of asinine edicts. This one, however, violates the very core of the Craft and seeks to disenfranchise worthy Brethren based on a determination this GM is woefully unqualified to make: what great effort of research or study has he conducted to make these claims? Is he a theologian? An expert in Masonic jurisprudence? A renown author, writing on Masonic history and philosophy?

    Being elected to the Grand East does not equate to being declared an Adept. I have seen GM’s who can’t even open or close a Lodge, whose knowledge of Masonic history and philosophy would not fully occupy a discussion during a morning coffee break, or that view the ritual as just some old-fashioned words that are an impediment in getting men into the Shrine. Men whose egos take center stage and whose minds are corrupted by the vainglory and hubris that results when the unworthy are thrust center stage and surrounded by sycophants. Bureaucrats in gold-trimmed aprons. Men whose legacies will pass either unremembered into history or will leave a residual stench of infamy.

    I have also known GM’s that are models of Masonic virtue, distinguished men with brilliant minds in possession of a ravenous desire for wisdom and learning; men who stand in humble awe of the great responsibility placed on their shoulders and who have never forgotten the true dignity of being a Mason first and foremost. These men would be respected and welcomed in any sanctuary of the Mysteries, regardless of the period in history. True Masons, true laborers in the quarries. The embodiment of Solomon. Brilliant lights whose term of office brings Light and Knowledge to their Brethren and whose legacies are worthy of being enshrined in marble and praised across the ages.

    The standard is whether or not the Candidate believes in a Supreme Being. A binary question, requiring a Yes or No answer. The actions of this GM is beyond foul and just another example of why we must guard the West Gate and we must stop pandering to those who condemn us, consider us to be “spooky”, or in any other way try to insert themselves into our business. This GM’s decision is no different than if he decreed only registered Republicans could be members.

    Is the AASR still allowed in FL? Why? Its rituals are rife with paganism, gnosticism, and other beliefs not in keeping with what appears to be a Fundamentalist view of what faiths are acceptable. If this GM is a member, he had better resign immediately.

    But there is hope, Brethren. The Craft has survived the Inquisition, the Morgan Affair, the Death Camps, Stalin, Franco, and other petty tyrants – I am sure the Craft will survive this one as well. There is an old prayer: “May G-d grant those to whom he has given a little power the wisdom to use it.”

    If you must condemn another’s faith, then yours is weak.

    WB R. Gregory Starr
    Colorado

  5. Greg Starr says:

    Follow-up: The Bro. Johnson noted in my post was in reference to a Brother who felt non-Judeo-Christians should be welcome, as long as they keep their opinions to themselves. He signed his name and Commandery, not his Lodge.

  6. I personally find the actions taken by the Grand Master in Florida sad for many reasons, yet very telling.
    Telling in the fact that individuals have the ability to climb to the highest offices of Freemasonry without really understanding the underlying philosophy of Freemasonry (yes there is a philosophy).

  7. Brad Cofield says:

    Bro. Corey, you either need to take this to the media big time. help create an independent lodge movement in your state or simply shut up about it.

    why do I say that? Grand Lodge Freemasonry sucks. Bottom line, it’s a group of racist, misogynist rednecks on one side and elitist, objectivist profiteers on the other.

    The fact is, grand lodges own nothing. This is the truth. They don’t represent Freemasonry as a whole anymore than the Vatican represents all of Catholicism. Freemasonry isn’t trademarked. They don’t have the ability to ban you from FREEMASONRY for life, they can only ban you from their own stupid club.

    Build a better mousetrap, go to the media and expose this clap trap for the bigoted fraud that they are. Now, are you going to take this as an opportunity to burn this whole archaic, corrupt institution to the ground or preach to the choir and fade away? The choice is yours.

  8. Bro. Starr:
    I very much appreciate your perspective & zeal, but I would suggest that you re-read Bro. Johnson’s post at:

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=25683662&postID=3968894570078955066

    A careful interpretation of his writing should reveal that his comments were intended to be facetious or perhaps sarcastic.

    Without going into a lot of background & personal testimony, let me just say that I am ready for GLs around the US & the world to begin withdrawing recognition from Aladro’s organization.

  9. I will note that while, as a representative of Liberal Mixed Freemasonry, I have taken some of the starch out on the Grand Master of Florida and have offered my criticism of his decision as have others, responsible Liberal Freemasons do not wish to characterize mainstream Freemasonry as purely negative nor as our enemy.

    We may have our differences, especially in terms of our approach in relation to esotericism, religion, as we take an inclusive approach to both alternative religion and atheism, and we oppose racism and gender bias where ever we encounter it. That being said, we do not paint all of our brothers in Mainstream Freemasonry with a single brush or a broad stroke. There are many good men in mainstream Freemasonry. We can see this by the extent to which those same brethren are objecting to this injustice.

    We also recognize that there needs to be room in Freemasonry writ large for all male lodges, all female lodges, and mixed lodges. We are happy to be at peace and have amity, even with those obediences which, due to their gender orientations will not allow full visitation. We are not seeking enemies.

    I myself may criticize aspects of mainstream masonry, especially their approach on history and on membership requirements, but as a Liberal Mason, I want to see Mainstream Freemasonry survive and strengthen. I admittedly see the only way they can do this is to become, at least in part, more like us, but none the less I wish to see all obediences improve their conditions.

    The Hedge Mason, and at least those obediences within Liberal Freemasonry which I seek to represent cannot agree with statements that seek to dismiss all of Mainstream Masonry or its members as corrupt or degenerate. Such ugly generalizations are as unmasonic as the actions of Bro. Aladro which they seek to decry.

    As an outsider to the Mainstream system, while we will never see eye to eye on all matters, I none the less see the need for us to assist in bringing healthy and positive change. I hope for a day when words such as “irregular,” “clandestine,” and “bogus” are relegated to the history books and the vast majority of mainstream masons can recognize that just as different religions may be legitimate so too different approaches to Freemasonry deserve equal respect. It serves no good to be guilty of that to which you object.

    I certainly cannot expect that were I to order our Brother Corey to do as I say or “shut up” that I could be viewed as anything other than the same sort of bigoted tyrant that Jorge Aladro has demonstrated himself to be. Not all Liberal Freemasons are irresponsible and offensive loudmouths.

  10. ronald chasteen says:

    BROTHER BLAKE—–HAVING BEEN EXPELLED BY THE GRAND LODGE OF ARKANSAS WITH OUT A TRIAL—FOR LIFE—MY SO CALLED MASONIC FRIENDS TO MUCH OF A COWARD TO SAK GRAND LODGE FOR A TRIAL FOR ME KNOWING WELL THAT I WAS FRAMED—YOUR ON THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT—TRY IT THE OTHER WAY—NOT TO BE NASTY—IM NOT THAT WAY—BUT YOU DONT HAVE A CLUE—-I WILL FIGHT THIS THE REST OF MY LIFE–THE GRAND LODGE OF ARKANSAS HAS SLURED MY NAME AND REALY GODS WORD–

  11. Thuban Etoile says:

    This type of injustice of principle requires a revolotion and it appears to be a Judeo-Christian agenda which is an anathama to Freemasonry. The Grand Master is the one that should be forced to resign. I am thoroughly appalled at the blatant disregard for the very principles Freemasonry was founded upon. Not only is this clearly a ‘witch hunt’ of the Inquistion but they have become the very Monsters they were trying to escape from, this is not religious freedom! It is a Black Spot, a shame on Freemasonry. The organisation will die and become just another church of lies.

  12. Everyone that’s commenting and reading should take due notice and contact their respective Grand Lodge to share their sentiments.

  13. It seems to me that the easiest and least dramatic solution to the problem is for one of the other mainstream Grand Lodges to simply offer these Masons membership in their jurisdiction. Yes, it may violate a few rules, but a little common sense could resolve this matter quickly.

    Then, when the smoke settles, and Florida has a new Grand Master, these Masons could return to their respective lodges.

  14. @Jeff Peace I humbly disagree. Yes, that option is less dramatic and easy, but I see this as a tragedy against Masonic Principle. Arguably, sitting by got us into this predicament. If there ever was a chance to do something for principle – this is it. Here we have an opportunity to reinvigorate actual Masonic study and practice, while simultaneously challenging the supper-club mentality many Lodges have been degraded to.

  15. @AK I agree with you about standing up for Masonic principle, but I see the first priority being to extend the hand of brotherly love, and provide these brothers with a Masonic home. This conflict could take awhile to resolve. If another jurisdiction gave them a home it would apply pressure on Florida to resolve the matter quickly, while also providing a safe place for those harmed by the actions of the GM..

  16. Some one should check to see if Jorge aldorado is even a united states citizen

  17. Newton Highstakes says:

    Better a fake mason who lives by our tennets, who lets his heart and soul bleed the virtues of tolerance and brotherly love, than a “real” one who does ANYTHING BUT.

  18. Brad Cofield says:

    “Better a fake mason who lives by our tennets, who lets his heart and soul bleed the virtues of tolerance and brotherly love, than a “real” one who does ANYTHING BUT.”

    I get what you’re saying and agree but I would add that living as a Craftsman and working as a Craftsman on lodge not built by hands makes you a real Freemason, NIT membership in any club.

    These Grand Masters and others flex muscles they don’t have, the Emperor has no clothes.

  19. Some one should check to see if Jorge aldorado is even a united states citizen

    The proper response to bigotry is not more bigotry.
    That comment is unworthy of a Mason, more especially one supporting the victims of prejudice.

  20. @Jeff Peace I hear your point and I’d like for these two Brothers to have a Masonic home to continue their journey as well, but I don’t think a Lodge taking them in will affect the ruling in any way. Clearly, based on the details, this Grand Master wants to trim thousands out and would care less if another jurisdiction takes them in. Again, in my opinion, real and effective pressure would be other Grand Lodges rescinding their recognition of the Grand Lodge of Florida. We have to collectively speak up – write to your Grand Lodge!

  21. Political Asylum says:

    So, I’m a Florida Mason. I don’t want to be a Florida Mason any more but I’d like to remain a Mason and perhaps join a lodge that’s out of the state. How do I do that without having to fly to another city 4 times (intro, intiation, FC, MM)? Anyone have any advice on those masons that are looking for Political Asylum? We will gladly pay dues to another lodge that does not dictate to us what people are welcomed.

  22. Newton Highstakes says:

    solid response, mp.

  23. Greg Starr says:

    @PA – the GM edict impacts all lodges in FL…and most jurisdictions require residency in order to affiliate. So, I’m not sure what avenues are open to you.

  24. @PA You could resign with the option of coming back to your Lodge (assuming this is ever undone), do nothing, or make your opposition known. A week has passed and there is no word, no other Grand Lodges have commented. Clearly, in these forums(and others) there are Brothers who are appalled by this, but what from here? I’ve commented prior that the only way I see this being undone is by the GL of FL losing its recognition.

  25. Political Asylum – you could look at the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge of Florida (which is the official PHA GL there).

    The downside is, until the mainstream GL of Florida recognizes the MWUGLoFL, it’s unlike any other mainstream GL will reocgnize them either, so sitting in Lodge outside of Florida would be difficult, outside of the PHA world.

    But I have been told that our PHA Brethren are appalled at this situation, too.

  26. ronald chasteen says:

    WE TALK A LOT ABOUT BY-LAWS—IM NOT SURE GRAND LODGES THINK THEY HAVE TO OBAY THEM–I KNOW FOR A FACT—THE G.L. OF ARKANSAS DONT GO BY THEM—THEY KNOW THAT THE FAKE LODGE TRIAL THAT WAS PUT ON ME BROKE EVERY BY-LAW—HECK THEY INSTRUCTED AND CONDONED IT—THEN REFUSED ME A G. L. TRIAL—YEA—THEY KNOW I CAN PROVE IT——-HMMMM—THEY THINK THIS IS GOING TO HELP MASONRY AS A WHOLE—ALL I SEE IS A BUNCH OF PEOPLE DRUNK ON POWER—BROTHERS—YEA RIGHT–

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