Healing The Hurt And Moving On

The Old Guard just doesn’t get it.

The young Masons do. There is a cancer in Mainstream Masonry and it is in need of chemotherapy and radiation. The cancer is the capricious use of unbridled power by Grand Masters across the land.  Oh, not all of them govern their Lodges in such a tyrannical manner but enough do to sully the name of Freemasonry.

But the Old Guard is turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the problem as they tell us: Number one if it is out of their jurisdiction it is none of their business.  Number two bringing problems out in the open and publicizing them only destroys Freemasonry.  And number three there is a process in place in most Grand Lodges to address grievances and the vote of the entire sitting Grand Lodge can overturn bad policies and remove bad Masons.  So what’s the beef?

The Catholic Church has had a problem with pedophile priests. And they used to have the same Old Guard mentality. If molestation occurred in another diocese than it was not the business of congregants to mess in another territory. Bringing the problem out into the open would allow the press to have a field day with the church and destroy it.  And above all the Church must be protected even if doing so causes human suffering. And there was a grievance policy in place to address problems.

Why can’t we just keep it in house, so say the Freemason Old Guard, so say the Catholic Church Old Guard?  Just keep your mouth shut and we will reprimand the abuser and fix the problem.

But what about the people who were abused?  In the case of the Church, what about the children who were traumatized by being violated by those who were supposed to be their protectors? Did the Church provide them therapy to help them return to a normal life?  Did the Church comfort them and counsel them? Did the Church bring the matter to justice and provide the afflicted and families with closure?

NO, NO and NO. The Church could not admit any wrongdoing on the part of its clergy lest the Church come under attack and be diminished or destroyed. Above all, at all costs, the Institution had to be protected against anything that would hurt it. So it was necessary to declare the stories of Priest abuse unbelievable.  Later when overwhelming evidence to the contrary was unmistakable, the Church demanded that there be total silence and would not help those abused for fear of admitting them right. Don’t you dare go to the police or civil courts the molested were told.

Oh the shame, the human suffering that was not attended to.  All those children sexually molested, entire families traumatized, the abused judged as guilty and the abusers left to run free. Oh the shame of it all!

But the course of action by the Church to hush it up and try to handle it internally without allowing the civil police to investigate and attorney generals to prosecute and the press to publicize backfired on it. And when it all came out into the open it was that much harder to deal with and that much costlier to settle with the abused.

Mainstream Masonry is following the same path. It thinks only of the Institution and the good name of Freemasonry not on the unjustly and unfairly expelled Brethren who have been libeled, slandered and abused – and kicked to the curb in the process. What about David Lettelier? What about PGM Frank Haas?  What about Mike McCabe?  What about Derek Gordon? What about the thousands of other Freemasons who are the victims of Grand Lodge abuse? Do they not deserve to have their good name restored, for justice to prevail, to be reinstated wherever they want to continue their Masonic journey? They are human beings with feelings and emotions. Why must they be forgotten and unsupported, left to flounder on their own after having done nothing wrong?  Do we care about human beings in Freemasonry?  Do we care what’s been done to these men?

Oh the shame of it all! Freemasonry is so wrought with rules and regulations that it cannot permit itself to right a wrong.  Yet Justice is one of the four Cardinal Virtues.

Not only will Freemasonry not stoop to aid the abused, it will even criticize those who try to help themselves. It’s, “We can’t mess with somebody else’s problem.” Really?  Is that what the Volume of Sacred Law on our altars tells us? “How dare a Freemason take his case to civil court.” “It is not healthy for Freemasonry to air its dirty laundry in the public venue.” Hush up, be silent.  We don’t care about you we just want to make sure that nothing besmirches the good name of Freemasonry – at all costs.

So what is an unjustly punished man to do?  What course of action has he left? Where can he turn? Who even gives a dam?

And if he should sign on to continue his Masonic journey in unrecognized paths, how is he treated? Is his life not one of scorn and ridicule for finding company with those “irregular,” “clandestine” folks? What Freemasonry wants is for him to pass quietly into the shadows while it regards him as a leper.

Oh the same of it all!

But as the numbers of unjustly and unfairly expelled Masons grows the unrecognized avenues available increase.  All those Masons in power bemoan the continued rise and popularity of so called “bogus” Freemasonry. Yet it is the very same who help create these alternatives by purging their Grand Lodges of everybody but ass kissers.

Well unrecognized Masonry may be taking on a new respectability. In a recent issue of the Phylaxis Magazine we can find these words?

“Within the Craft of today, ‘regularity’ is of the same substance as religious ‘salvation,’ and more dependent on the magical effects of ‘belief’ and ‘faith,’ than objective considerations. No Mason can provide one definition for regularity without setting aside excuses to account for the numerous cases which would fall outside of the definition.

“They are the same ‘mental muscles’ as are required to articulate the anhypostasis-enhypostasis formula, that are employed to concatenate and articulate the formula for ‘regularity.’ The most honest definition for regularity, which would survive and ‘test’ without caveat, would be to admit that regularity is whatever the sovereign in question says it is, and that one sovereign can not pass upon the regularity of any other; they can only either extend or withhold recognition. It requires one to lay aside commonsense notions to rely on some ‘authority,’ which supersedes reason.”

“Due to the fact that all grand lodges are sovereign, there is no outside ‘authority’ to which any GL owes any deference; likewise there is no basis for any one grand lodge holding another accountable to any particular set of rules or regulations. Except ‘political’ and other types of pressure, the only retribution that one GL can enact against another is to withdraw ‘recognition.’ The complaint is often voiced regarding a grand body not following ‘established’ or ‘agreed upon’ rules, but the fact is that there are very few ‘treaties’ or ‘agreements’ actually in place between grand lodges, and thus the notion that there is some ‘established law’ that binds all Masons is fanciful at best. Neither the Regis Manuscript, Anderson’s Constitution, Mackey’s Jurisprudence nor any other expression of ‘Masonic Law’ is binding upon any Mason individually unless his grand lodge has officially accepted such as binding.”

“For example, like in Christianity, where a man does not receive ’salvation’ as a result of any good deeds or service to humanity, but through his faith that Jesus the Christ is ‘the Lord;’ within Prince Hall Masonry, regularity is not achieved through diligently pursuing the Masonic Principles, but that it is through the ‘blessings’ or ‘authority’ of the Grand Lodge of England, (Scotland or Ireland) that regularity is achieved. This formula for regularity is a ‘witch’s brew,’ used as a ‘strong arm tactic’ to abrogate the Doctrine of Assumption, and force any new Masonic organization to require the assistance of other regular bodies in order to achieve a ‘legitimate origin,’ and ergo ‘recognition.’”

“The Doctrine of assumption is a convention within the natural law which codifies the concept of ‘free will’ and the right of self determination which are inherent within humanity. It was through this doctrine that the first grand lodges, England, Scotland and Ireland were formed. Simply stated, this doctrine would permit any group of men to form any type of lodge or grand lodge whenever and wherever they should so choose. It is this same doctrine which validates African Lodge No. 459’s actions in ‘copying’ its English charter to be shared with other lodges, and for eventually declaring sovereignty in 1827 to ‘legally’ issue charters to lodges thereafter. The only legitimate question that any GL can put to another after it is formed is whether to extend or withhold recognition.”

“Once you consider all the of the ‘hoops’ an organization must jump through in order to get ‘recognition’ without the imprimatur of England, Scotland or Ireland, only an irrational ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ could support any expectation of achieving the designation. For these reasons, many non-Prince Hall African American bodies, several of them over 100 years old and still in existence, have ‘by any means necessary’ fabricated histories which could cause an unsuspecting prospective member to ‘believe’ them ‘recognized.’ Still many others have resigned to ignore or otherwise forego the coveted distinction, and relying instead on the Doctrine of Assumption and the merits of their practice, have formed ‘spurious’ Masonic organizations.  Although the ability to claim regularity is a ‘big deal’ within Masonry, it is difficult to state any actual benefits that flow with the designation besides ‘bragging rights’ and the fettered right to visit other regular lodges.” (1)

So we have across the nation thousands of expelled Masons, many of whom were treated unjustly and unfairly. Yet Freemasonry proposes to do nothing about stopping the continuing Masonic purges nor offer any solace for the expelled. Not only will it not stop the injustices but it even refuses to speak out against Grand Lodges who are acting un-Masonically. Mainstream Freemasonry refuses to police itself.

What it does do through the Rite of Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction and by other means is to maintain a Mainstream monopoly on Freemasonry in each state. Monopolies in business are notorious offenders. Keeping out competition is the essence of maintaining control and being able to operate without being responsible or answerable or held accountable to anyone, most especially the little people.  What better way to do this than to declare all other formations of Freemasonry in that jurisdiction clandestine and irregular and thus refuse to recognize them. But the day is coming when the government will step in to regulate Freemasonry and the public, especially prospective candidates, will not care about such distinctions.  What they will care about is how well an organization they choose to belong to operates and whether it does so in a legal and moral manner.

(1)  Prince Hall The Christ, by the Ruffians, The Phylaxis Magazine, Third Quarter 2010, pages 14-15.

Posted in The Bee Hive and tagged , , .

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 Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.


  1. First and foremost – I am NOT familiar with the ‘abuses’ alluded to; nor am I aware of what has happened with ‘David Lettelier, PGM Frank Haas, Mike McCabe or Derk Gordon. I come from a masonic family (my involvement, although Eastern Star and White Shrine) = 4th generation. So, I do NOT take your comments lightly.
    The first thing that goes through my mind, however, is this is a VOLUNTARY organization. ‘To be one, ask one.” A person does NOT have to seek membership, nor do they have to go through the degrees and they certainly do not have to continue their membership. I’m therefore puzzled why there would be civil suits.
    (I am also a member of the Elks, and I believe BPOE By-laws state member MUST go through ‘process’…not civil court.)
    I concede there are very probably things that could be changed, but I’ve also on occasion felt we need more of the ‘old-timers attitudes’. There IS something to be said for tradition.
    In closing, I reiterate I do NOT know the specifics of items alluded to. I also can’t offer an opinion as to whether there should be some changes 0r the members with heartburn need to simply find another organization to pick apart. F&AM (Shriners, Star, Jesters, etc.) all exist primarily to do ‘good works’ and that should be the focus.

  2. Wow…. It’s just, by it’s own definition, a Fraternity. Just join an “irregular” lodge and quit pouting….

  3. Who is pouting??? I have not seen anyone pouting. The brothers who were named have not been actively complaining and whining. Each time one of them says anything they appear to keep from throwing knives at those involved in their issues. In fact one of those brothers was recognized with an international award from a well known Masonic organization not too long ago. We continue to cover our eyes because the light hurts when we see it shining upon such malice in our fraternity. Pushing brothers to “irregular lodges” does not resolve the problem does it? It appears the previous commentators want to continue to cover up the issues.

  4. Agreed,
    I was a “mainstream” brother who left due to conflicts of conscience and got involved with an “irregular group.” I along with several others were sold on how different and better things were going to be. They weere not and several of us resigned from the organization.
    The grass isn’t greener on the other side in most cases, and more often than not you sacrifce a lot of the benefits you had.
    The Fraternity, having said that, is not going to change in our lifetimes brothers. Too many of the ww1 and baby boomer generation are directing it.
    Stephens proposal isn’t a new grand lodge, its a federation of lodges governing themselves how they see fit. It is an interesting idea and deserves a little time to see how it develops before we attack it.

  5. As a “boomer” with many younger brothers in my lodge,I,for one,am extremely greatful for the “old guard” who has kept our craft alive and taught me it’s secrets. As a 50 year young man it has been wonderful to help initiate,pass and raise many young men [ages 18-40] while learning from my older brothers .[ages 65-100]Truly one of the joys of the fraternity is this brotherly love that allows us to cross age[and all other]lines and spend our time together as masons.

  6. Do what makes you happy. Freemasonry isn’t “paint by numbers” or “one size fits all.”
    There are always options. Embrace freedom.

    IN LVX,

  7. I don’t have a problem with the system, it works well. If you don’t like it leave, we are a fraternity. No one forces you to join, but when you join you follow the rules. I also hate the idea that so many guys on the web think we should run like our outside Gov. or profane world. Sorry disagree ! We choose who joins and the activities. Starting a bunch of irregular bodies won’t help either, it will just be a bunch of guys you can’t and shouldn’t interact with. I enjoy the fraternity, I admit it needs to turn the clock back and find its roots more and do what it used to do. We can still do all those things even in our modern age. Forcing the organization to change (us men) in directions we don’t want to just to appease a few I’m totally against. The PM/Lodge representatives elect the GM, so it is democratic albeit a older form than most today understand, but it works and the GM only serves a short term anyway. I still see all of this controversy as the anti-establishment generation (my folks age) who have only recently joined, just doing the complaining. Personally, those of that era that messed up our society in the profane outside world, I hope they just quit the Craft before they ruin it. It is great to spend time with all ages and professions this organization allows you to interact with. As long as we don’t ruin our organization thats almost 3 centuries old officially in 2017. I will continue to participate for many years to come in as many bodies possible, so far I’m up to 3-4 nights a week.

  8. Yes, there are some Freemasons (ex-Freemasons) who have been reprimanded, suspended or expelled for violating Masonic Grand Lodge Laws or the edicts of their state’s Grand Master (which they took an oath that they would obey without question). And yes, their feelings were hurt and they were personally humiliated. But, they were not the victims of someone whose actions broke a civil law as was determined in a recent civil court case.

    Fair is fair, but comparing Freemasonry’s Grand Lodges or Grand Masters, who violated no civil laws through their actions, with the Catholic Church and it’s pedophile priests, who committed serious civil crimes against child victims who will be scared for life, is a very unfair comparison.

    Regarding the statement, “But the day is coming when the government will step in to regulate Freemasonry. . .,” I would think the day the government starts regulating Freemasonry will be the first day of the end of Freemasonry. Freemasonry has survived for centuries, only because no civil government has had any control over it.

    Actually though, some governments have regulated Freemasonry. Since 1997, several members of the British Government have attempted to pass laws requiring Freemasons who join the police or judiciary to declare their membership publicly to the government amid accusations of Freemasons performing acts of mutual advancement and favour-swapping. In 1999, the Welsh Assembly became the only body in the United Kingdom to place a legal requirement on membership declaration for Freemasons. Currently, existing members of the police and judiciary in England are asked to voluntarily admit to being Freemasons. However, all first time successful judiciary candidates “must declare their freemasonry status” before appointment. In 2004, Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly, said that he blocked Gerard Elias’ appointment to counsel general because of links to hunting and freemasonry.

    Germany took control of Freemasonry in 1934 when the German Ministry of the Interior ordered the disbandment of Freemasonry, and confiscation of the property of all Lodges; stating that those who had been members of Lodges when Hitler came to power, in January 1933, were prohibited from holding office in the Nazi party or its paramilitary arms, and were ineligible for appointment in public service

    Spain took control of Freemasonry In September 1928, when one of the two Grand Lodges in Spain was closed and approximately two-hundred masons, most notably the Grand Master of the Grand Orient, were imprisoned for allegedly plotting against the government. And again in 1936, when many Freemasons trapped in areas under Nationalist control were arrested and summarily killed, along with members of left wing parties and trade unionists. It was reported that Masons were shot, tortured and murdered by organized death squads in every town in Spain.

    Italy took control in 1924 and declared that every member of his Fascist Party who was a Mason must abandon either one or the other organization, and in 1925, they dissolved Freemasonry in Italy, claiming that it was a political organization.

    And then there was the Soviet Union, Hungary, Japan, Iraq and most Arab countries and others.


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