On Monday January 31st at 1:00pm, only ten days before Bro. Jack Buta was expected to be elected the Society’s President (he was the only person on the ballot and the organization allows for no floor nominations), the President, Terry L. Tilton, issued the following letter as a referendum to remove Bro. Buta from office.
To: The voting members of the Executive Board
In the past day, our First Vice-president Jack Buta has aired private correspondence between Board members without permission, called for a division of the Society based up untrue or unfactual statements, and openly challendge the intergrity of the your President and our Soceity officers. Under any circumstances this constitutes insubordination and derilection of duty.
Ed Halpaus has moved to ask for the immediate resignation of Jack Buta as First Vice-president and I have seconded this motion. I am asking all Board voting members to respond with a “yes” or “no” vote to this motion. If and when we have three votes in the affirmative I will correspond with you privately to determine our next action.
I am deeply saddened and chagrined to have to accept this motion two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. It was my most fervent hope to have an orderly and peaceful transition. Jack has obviously chosen to not allow that to happen.
Terry L. Tilton, FPS, President 2009-2011
The Philalethes Society”
He was removed from office by a 3 to 2 vote of the Executive Board of the Philalethes Society. Those voting for Dismissal were Terry Tilton, Ed Halpaus, and John Cooper III. Certainly if the charges alleged by Tilton were factual then the motion had merit, but were they?
See Masonic Leaks for the rest of a rather long story with many attachments.
The Beehive has received a tip from an anonymous source in the know that the Conference of Grand Masters through unknown financial sources is privately picking up the Philalethes’ Society financial shortfall and this is the reason for all the ballyhoo about keeping the books secret.
The conference of Grand Masters has become increasing alarmed of Masonic Leaks and the up and coming Foundation Of Universal Freemasonry. Derek Gordon ( Masonic Wiki [now archived]) and Stephen Quest have become thorns in the side of Mainstream Masonry and are being taken seriously enough for their organizations to be mentioned in COGM’s annual report. Perhaps Mainstream Masonry feels a bit stronger now that it most likely has finished what the 2007 Philalethes coup failed to accomplish thanks to Nelson King.
Does Mainstream Freemasonry have a psychological problem? Has it grown like the Catholic Church to be too big, too unwieldy, too bureaucratic and top heavy with hierarchy? Is there an explanation for the continuous jockeying for power and never ending horror stories emanating from the Craft? Perhaps we should put Mainstream Freemasonry on the couch for a moment.
If we take a look at what is of paramount importance to those active in the Craft will we come away with a disappointing conclusion? It seems to this author that what is foremost in the mind of the average Freemason today is title and rank and advancing into the hierarchy into a position of power and therefore prominence. Should not the emphasis be on instruction, learning and then living Freemasonry? In a previous article the Beehive laid out a formula of what Freemasons should be in pursuit of. It looks like this:
But in order to achieve the benefits of Freemasonry that we know is a way of life and a society that can further our personal development, we need to place our time and effort into learning and studying the Craft and then applying it into our daily lives. If this, then, is the highest calling of Freemasonry what in the world are we doing with a bloated bureaucracy that is more concerned with money and power? Have we grown so large that our leaders are only proficient in administration, not in teaching and disseminating the philosophy of Freemasonry?
In essence what we are asking here is what is more important, the philosophy or the structure? Once again we are right back to the example of the Catholic Church and how it dealt with the pedophile priest problem. In the beginning the Church covered up and hushed up the problem. It said that the problem was to be kept in house. And it further iterated that no matter what the Church had done, no matter what evil was within its ranks, that the first and foremost duty was to protect the Institution to ensure it lived another day. Protecting the institution meant keeping the civil authorities out of church business, telling the abused to just shut up, grin and bear it and to keep the mess out of the media, to avoid all publicity so that the general public would not realize what was going on. That might have worked had the Church actually policed itself and solved the problem itself. Instead it just transferred the abusers from one post to another, attempted to rehabilitate rather than punish and remove the offenders and in many cases just turned a blind eye to the whole situation.
But like a pressure cooker where the heat is never reduced, sooner or later the lid blows off and then it becomes a nationwide scandal. In the end that hurt the Church the most as the full blown scandal cost the Church the respect of the public never mind millions of dollars. Church property had to be sold to pay for huge court verdicts. All because the Church put the institution ahead of human beings.
And in the end the Church had to change its ways. It realized that it must cooperate with civil authorities, that it must institute programs within the Church to screen for abusers, that generally it must seriously alter its approach to the problem.
The Beehive has received much criticism from past stories exposing the wrong doings of Mainstream Freemasonry. Why do you keep writing about Freemasonry’s problems, exposing its faults? Are you trying to destroy Freemasonry, they wail? Masonic problems should be kept in house and dealt with internally. Letting the public know our shortcomings is traitorous.
Sound familiar? It is the same approach that the Catholic Church took initially with its pedophile problem. Bury it, hush it up, keep it in house and let Freemasonry solve its own problems without involving the courts and civil authorities. And once again it might work if Freemasonry was really serious about policing itself and getting rid of those who are ruining the good name of the Craft. But alas, like the church, it refuses to act. We cannot even criticize other jurisdictions never mind mess in their affairs to correct their wrong doings. You see the rules count more than people. And the institution of Freemasonry must, above all mans, be protected. The abused Masons? You see they need to just grin and bear it for the good of the Craft.
I have a good Canadian friend very active in the Craft. He has risen to eminence in Blue Lodge, York Rite and elsewhere. I run a lot of thoughts and concerns by him for his view. It is helpful to solicit the opinion of one who is on the outside looking in. Early on he seemed to be on the side of Grand Lodges and handling problems internally. But upon further investigation and the proliferation of one horror story after another he changed his view. It seems as if Freemasonry in the States is becoming dysfunctional, he says. Maybe the answer is to do away with the Grand Lodge system altogether, he advises. And that is a very radical solution coming from a very Conservative Mason. But when you think about it, where are most of the horror stories coming from – individual Craft Lodges or Grand Lodges? And couldn’t a Masonic Lodge function very well without being a member of a Grand Lodge? Perhaps, then, we could return the emphasis on the practice of Freemasonry to its philosophy not its politics.
And as to the question of whether publicly exposing Freemasonry’s faults will lead to the decline of Freemasonry, the answer is quite evident. If Freemasonry will solve its own problems internally there is no need for an expose. But since it refuses to do so then the scenario will follow the path of the Catholic Church. The failure to police itself will lead to problems becoming worse and worse and more frequent. One day the lid will blow off and the civil courts will mandate reforms Freemasonry will not do on its own. And then the person to blame is not he who speaks the truth but he who covers it up and turns a blind eye. Freemasonry has only itself to blame for the mess it is in.