Mainstream Grand Master Of Florida Expels Wiccans And Others

The Grand Master of Florida’s decision number 3 can be found on the Grand Lodge of Florida website.  The text of the document appears, as transcribed, below.

The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of
Free and Accepted Masons of Florida

Jorge L. Aladro
Grand Master

 Contact info omitted

November 28, 2012

RULING AND DECISION NO. 3

The  question  has  arisen  if  certain  religious  practices  are  compatible  with  Freemasonry,  primarily Paganism, Wiccan and Odinism, and secondarily Agnosticism and Gnosticism.

Article XIII – LANDMARKS AND CERTAIN LAWS OF FREEMASONRY

Section 2. The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Florida hereby recognizes, as being Landmarks of Freemasonry, the following:

(a)  A belief in the existence of one ever living and true God.
(b) A belief in the immortality of the human soul and a resurrection thereof to a Future Life.
(c)  The Volume of the Sacred Law, open upon the altar, is an indispensable furnishing of every regular Lodge while at labor.

Regulation 1.02 Masonic Law is a rule of fraternal conduct, and applies only to the moral and fraternal rectitude of its members. It is based upon the law of Divine Revelation, therefore, any covenant, affirmation, declaration, assumption, prescription, or requirement derogatory thereto, or in conflict therewith, is void. Hence the precept, “a Mason is bound by his tenure to obey the moral law.”………….

Excerpt from THE CHARGES OF A FREEMASON

THE GENERAL HEADS, VIZ.: – I . OF GOD AND RELIGION.

I. CONCERNING GOD AND RELIGION

“A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious libertine.”……….

Therefore, as Grand Master, it is my Ruling and Decision that none of the above mentioned beliefs and/or practices are compatible with Freemasonry since they do not believe or practice one or more of the prerequisites to be a candidate for Masonry listed above.

Further, any member of the Craft that professes to be a member of one of the groups mentioned above shall  tender his  resignation or  suffer himself to  a  Trial  Commission whose final  outcome will  be expulsion since there is no provision to allow anything contrary to the Ancient Landmarks.

Furthermore, Freemasonry prohibits the change of any of the Ancient Landmarks, and its members admit that it is not in power of any man, or body of men, to make innovations in the body of Masonry.

Your Humble Servant and Brother,

Jorge L. Aladro, Grand Master

                                                    ”Be A Leader; Make It Happen”                                                  

This edict applies to a particular Brother. Full story to follow.

The original document from the website:

Or, you can download the original PDF document as published on the site.

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.

63 Comments

  1. I am not sure I understand your line “un-Masonic Mason”? Our oaths clearly state “A SUPREME BEING”. While I have no ill will toward any man for his religious beliefs, I believe that Freemasonry is quite clear as to what it requires of its membership. The prequel to the first degree obligation really sets the stage and while I will admit that I am not as learned as many other brothers with regards to religion, I always took and accepted that our principles was based in the belief of ONE supreme being. Wicca clearly does not adhere to this.

    So what is un-Masonic about a Grand Master asking Brothers to adhere to their oaths or resign?

    If there is more to the story as you allude then share it before you make derogatory comments and allow all of us the opportunity to examine the facts. Even though you may feel the Grand Master has acted poorly does not give you the right to shirk your own obligations. Give the man his due. Being a Grand Master is not an easy task.

  2. I am certain that I will not be alone in asserting that the various Liberal Masonic obediences operating within the United States would be happy to accept any such masons that the Grand Lodge of Florida thinks unfit. Given that they have to demonstrate the courage of their convictions far more than those practicing more “mainstream” religions, it would seem to me that they would make better not worse masons. Besides, most of us in Liberal Freemasonry are more in touch with the metaphysical and Hermetic aspects of the craft than any mainstream Grand Lodge would be. I’d encourage any finding themselves thrust out of the GL of Florida, to feel free to contact me. They might find a happy alternative to mainstream masonry. And as I note, lest you be concerned about Liberal masons, don’t believe what they say down at the Grand Lodge, whenever we feel irregular we use MiraLax, and we’re not at all clandestine about using it.

  3. Wicca is actually another blanket name under the larger blanket name of Paganism (think a subcategory of a main category) and includes theologies based on a single diety and/or multiple dieties.

    Likewise with Hinduism but I see no problem with them.

  4. TIME TO BE PATIANT—DONT THINK WE KNOW ALL THE FACTS YET—AS FAR AS ATHEISTS —IN KNOW A LOT OF SO CALLED MASONS IN THE STATE OF ARKANSAS THAT HAVE BROKEN THERE OTHES TO GOD—THEY DO THE DIRTY WORK FOR THE GRAND LODGE OF ARKANSAS—I BELIVE IN GOD—-HAVE NO PROUBLEM SAYING SO TO ANY ONE—BUT THATS BY ACTION ALLSO—ROBERT BURNS POEM—-I WOULD BE AN ATHEIST 10 TIMES BEFORE I WOULD HIDE BEHIND GODS COLORS TO DO MY DIRTY WORK—NOT EXACT THE WAY HE WROTE IT BUT THE MEANING IS THE SAME—THINK ABOUT IT

  5. Bruce Morin: “I always took and accepted that our principles was based in the belief of ONE supreme being. Wicca clearly does not adhere to this.”

    Trinitarian Christianity does not, either, when viewed from outside of its own adherents.

    And, if you’d care to read some of the sources on Wicca, like Gerald Gardner, he pointed out, in _The Meaning of Witchcraft_ (pg 27 of the IHO press version, I believe) that witches believe that beyond their God and Goddess, there is a Prime Mover.

    Surely, if Hinduism counts, then such a belief would.

  6. One Supreme Being? My Hindu Brethren whom I initiated and passed in my Lodge in the past two years would be very confused about that. I think that all the above, other than perhaps Agnosticism, would pass the “Supreme Being” test.

  7. Br. Gene-o (shudder) – we know where this is going to go:
    The GM will say, in clarification, that of course he doesn’t mean that Masonry in Florida is only for Christians, he’ll allow that Jews and Muslims are okay (and, if he’s generous, Hindus) … and he’ll portray that statement as being a magnanimous one, at that.

    There are a majority of Masons, I would suggest, who honestly think that if it isn’t one of the big three, it ain’t fittin’.

    And you know all those Wiccans are devil worshippers, or tree-worshipers and non-believers in a supreme being, no matter what they say to try and skate by.

    Never mind that Gerald Gardner, in _The Meaning of Witchcraft_ pointed out that witches, while having a God and a Goddess, believe there is a prime mover, a higher being, beyond them – we ll know he was lying, right?

    My worry is that this will spill over into other GLs because of the hoopla, and those GLs will issue similar ruling without doing any investigation, and more Brothers who weren’t affected by this will be.

    Thank the All that at least one New England state GL ruled on a similar situation in the mid 90’s – some may be safe, there.

  8. A man is required to profess a belief in a Supreme Being in order to be a Mason. All those religions mentioned do indeed uphold a belief in a Supreme Being. Evidently, it is not the same Supreme Being the Grand Master of Florida believes in. However, that is not his business. We are not a religion. We don’t get to dictate to the Brethren what their beliefs must be. Not ever. Why do you think we’re not allowed to discuss religion in lodge? Besides, throughout the United States we have Brothers who are Hindu and Muslim. India is LOADED with Freemasons who *gasp* are Hindus! The Grand Master of Florida stepped out of line on this. Religious Orthodoxy is not part of Freemasonry’s requirements for membership.

  9. Brother Morin I have been meaning to address your comment but have been on overload for a few days.

    You say, “I always took and accepted.” In other words … in my opinion. But it is not what you think or perceive or what your opinion is, it is what is fact that counts.

    Some jurisdictions only require a belief in Deity. Others require a belief in a Supreme Being. Still others require an adherence to Monotheism. I have not heard the phrase ONE SUPREME BEING used before but I am open to learning. You need to go to your Grand Constitution and find out exactly what your Grand Lodge requires. Don’t think, know.

    Next find out what Wiccans believe. The Wiccans I know claim they do believe in a Supreme Being who they commonly refer to as “The One” or “The All.”

    If you will take a look at the next story you will find that the Brother for whom this religous edict was written was a Deist. Where is it in the traditions of Freemasonry that a Deist does not qualify for membership? Go back to the American Revolution and you will find many Deists who were Masons.

    And why is it our duty to interrogate a Brother on the particulars of his faith once he has declared a belief in Deity?

  10. Actually, according to the recognition commission:

    3.Adherence to the Ancient Landmarks � specifically, a Belief in God, the Volume of Sacred Law as an indispensable part of the Furniture of the Lodge, and the prohibition of the discussion of politics and religion.

    It does not specified, said God. Unfortunately the GM decisions are usually taken as law and their may be those that feel the need to silence their beliefs in order to remain Masons in FL!

  11. Good for you, Brother, and a man’s faith is his own affair. It is not for us to interrogate ANYONE.

  12. When I prepare candidates, I always ask if there are any atheists and explain why I ask that. That will be the beginning and end of the subject. I will never participate in a witch hunt. I know pagans and they do believe in a higher power.

  13. Well done, Brother. The behavior of this GM is appalling and repugnant…but to me, not a surprise. This same level of institutionalized intolerance drove a brilliant Mason away from the Craft in the early 1990’s. A Brother I brought to Masonry via the military lodges in Europe returned to the US and found work in FL. During his first visit to a US lodge, he was approached by members and asked if his military lodge was “one of those Lodges that allowed n*****s in”….he left and never returned. I, too, found the racial intolerance to be repulsive – American Freemasonry infected with small-minded bigots – and did not attend Lodge for years. I returned to the Craft in Colorado and am proud to say my Lodge’s altar is crowded with Volumes of Sacred Law. I count among Lodge members Catholics, Protestants of numerous denominations, Jews, Muslims, Pagans (Wicca, Odinist, Druids), Taoists, Hindi, Buddhists, Gnostic Christians, and Druze.

    To all Brethren: Remember the words of St. John: The Light shineth in the Darkness, but the Darkness comprehendeth it not.”

    Let’s support our Brothers who are being persecuted and pray common sense and the True Light of the Craft prevails.

  14. Gnosis is Greek for Knowledge and might just be the secret meaning of the letter G. The Germanic guttal word we use for the deity may be of later times. In the early years of Christianity there was great debate over whether Jesus was of God or a God. the a God side won at the council of Niciea and elected Jesus not just a God, by through a veichle invented at the Council of Nicea called the Trinity, elected Jesus God or The God.
    Even many devout Christians secretly accept that Jesus and God are two different things, in fact Masonry demands it, given that we claim to accept those of other faiths who believe in a diety. Those on the losing side of the close vote at the council of Nicea, who think Jesus is merely of God not a God, were called the Gnosistics. Many Masons may well be Gnostics and not Gknow it.

  15. I believe Mackey made that same point in his “History of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders”

  16. Just to put a historical perspective on things, Sir Winston Churchill was a Druid. Would this disqualify him from being a Mason in Florida? Which makes me wonder how many more of the 10,000 Famous Masons would not be eligible to be Masons in Florida because of their Pagan or non-Abrahamic religious affiliations.

  17. Of course I agree with the general condemnation of this decision, but for the sake of accuracy, I would like to point out to brother John Lawrence that Winston Churchill was a member of the AOD which was a masonic-like fraternal order whose members were overwhelmingly Christians. In fact, most members were masons and in 1886, well before Churchill would have joined, the majority of the non-masons within the order were expelled. This “druidism” should not be mistaken with any form of pre-christian “celtic” religion original or revived.

  18. I get a somewhat different impression of the AOD from this:

    Modern Druidry by Jennifer Emick
    “In 1781, an Englishman named Henry Hurle founded the first neodruid order, which he called the Ancient Order of Druids (AOD). The order was based largely on a Masonic style infrastructure, and admitted only men. The AOD had members with distinctly different motivations. One group was composed of mystics who encouraged spiritual exploration, while the other preferred a nonreligious, “benevolent society” not unlike today’s Rotarians. The group splintered, with one becoming the United Ancient Order of Druids and the other the Albion Lodge of United Ancient Order of Druids of Oxford. The latter group claimed descent from a mythical ancient druid order, Mount Haemus Grove, and its initiates included Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The former group continued much unchanged and still operates today.”

  19. It is most interesting the timing at which this happens; right after Thanksgiving and at a time when our lodges are undergoing their month of elections. Most of us will not speak out now, because at the end it is the main duty of the WM of a lodge to maintain harmony within his lodge and this, at such delicate times, will surly cause disharmony. However, let me give you an insight into a Floridian Mason’s mind, which is the mind of many that are as well repulsed by such attack to our Masonic Landmarks.

    I myself belong to the judo-christian tradition. One of the things that brought me to the lodge was a further spiritual need and points of view different from those my own tradition has taught me. It is after all part of the life of a traveling man to learn from his travels. I have to say that the craft provided me what I was looking for. It was the strong bond, that cement which unites us into one edifice which is so strong and such a fertile ground that I understood it’s secret: that strong circle of fellowship. In my travels down the Masonic years, I have met Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Gnostics, Druids, Hinduists and many other faiths. From such brothers, I have met different faces and moods of the GAOTU and through them I have been able to put together the puzzle of the “self”. The teachings of my older brethren of tolerance and compassion have taught me to become one with mankind, specially my brothers Masons, and helped me understand that Freemasonry is not a religion but it is religion. It is in such a way that it doesn’t only give you the blue light shining through a piece of stained glass but it gives you the whole stained glass window. What would be the the Sephardic Tree with only one emanation after all?

    What makes a mason is a religious man; not a fanatic man. What makes a mason is not one religion but many or all at the time: a man with his heart open to other truths which will eventually release his hoodwink to see the whole stained window, instead of only a color.

    This kind of sad events my brothers, are usually remembered forever but don’t last forever. Such is the law of karma, or of correspondence of the Hermetic tradition, or the simple will of TGAOTU to at some point will straighten a branch that grew away from sunlight. Stay put brothers… this will eventually be resolved.

  20. Options

    Duke Bass FortesqueMasonic
    I am the Odinist that was forced to resign or face expulsion. My brother Corey and I resigned together in a dignified manner despite our lodge making us castaways and unworthy. Tonight my class was raised without me. I feel lost and overwhelmingly numb. I am a fellowcraft Mason “at large” without a blue lodge. For the record I am a tribalist and NOT a supremest as some slanderous person(s) have attempted to spin doctor the facts. I believe in the All-Father, I believe my soul is enduring beyond transmigration and that it will dwell in one of the Great celestial Halls. My crime as stated in the letter I was given was that when the MW Aladro spoke with me on the phone (grilling me about the specific details of my belief system) that I stated I was an Odinist. Ironically, over the phone, the GM told me that although he disagreed with my religious inclinations that I had met the requirements. So what happened between the phone call and my receiving a letter “arresting” my progress to Master Mason? Aladro also commented to me that I should consider a different fraternity better suited to my kind of people. Ufdah… I don’t believe I can suffer any more FL Masonic religious rigidness.

  21. By Duke Bass Fortesque

    I am the Odinist that was forced to resign or face expulsion. My brother Corey and I resigned together in a dignified manner despite our lodge making us castaways and unworthy. Tonight my class was raised without me. I feel lost and overwhelmingly numb. I am a fellowcraft Mason “at large” without a blue lodge. For the record I am a tribalist and NOT a supremest as some slanderous person(s) have attempted to spin doctor the facts. I believe in the All-Father, I believe my soul is enduring beyond transmigration and that it will dwell in one of the Great celestial Halls. My crime as stated in the letter I was given was that when the MW Aladro spoke with me on the phone (grilling me about the specific details of my belief system) that I stated I was an Odinist. Ironically, over the phone, the GM told me that although he disagreed with my religious inclinations that I had met the requirements. So what happened between the phone call and my receiving a letter “arresting” my progress to Master Mason? Aladro also commented to me that I should consider a different fraternity better suited to my kind of people. Ufdah… I don’t believe I can suffer any more FL Masonic religious rigidness.

  22. Dear Jay,

    You and your brother are welcome in the more civilied precincts of Liberal Freemasonry. I also noted that another brother recommended you contact the Prince Hall Lodges for membership. The point is that there are civil and intelligent masons who are willing to support you and give you a home. Feel free to contact me at any time, if you want to talk about what alternatives exist or just to talk.
    My email is eoghan.ballard@gmail.com or you can contact me through the Hedge Mason blog. We consider you a mason in good standing.

    Eoghan Ballard

  23. Now, I know my opinion will be shared by probably none in the Florida Lodges, but if Mainstream Floridian masons had any sense of justice, they would demit en masse and shut the sucker down. That would show they really are masons, because if you stand by and let this just happen, in my book you are neither man nor mason. It might just be the wake up call mainstream masonry is looking for. Otherwise, proceed into the past.

  24. That would show they really are masons, because if you stand by and let this just happen, in my book you are neither man nor mason.

    The problem with leaving the order over the matter of religion, just like a few years ago when some Masons suggested leaving the order because of alleged racism, is that you leave nobody who can change the organization from within. Most organizational change (and not just in Freemasonry) happens because progressive-minded members work inside the organization itself to shed light and bring change through precept and example. Yes, leaving sends a message, but in the long run, it’s more important for right-thinking people to work toward having the organization as a whole move in a better direction.

  25. That makes sense, in theory. In practice, there is no change happening. People are leaving in dribs and drabs and the mainstream institution is dying a slow death. A large, unified action would make a real statement and force change. As it is, a lot of people try making sense, as you have, and no change ever takes place. Sorry, Tom, you make sense, just not progress. It comes down to whether masons will do something other than sticking their heads deeper in the sand. So far, I hear a lot of what sounds from here like burrowing.

    Blessing to you, my brother.

  26. Tom Accuosti says:
    The problem with leaving the order over the matter of religion, just like a few years ago when some Masons suggested leaving the order because of alleged racism, is that you leave nobody who can change the organization from within.

    1) So going back a number of years if you were in Hitler’s Germany you would recommend staying to try to change things. If you buck Grand Lodges they fight back and they play dirty

    2) You can change Freemasonry from without. You can opt out to another Order – Prince Hall, Co-Masonry – your choice. Then you can write, blog, post on Facebook and Masonic Forums changes and actions that Brothers could take if they so desired to reform the system.

    The problem with today’s Mainstream Freemasonry is that the Grand Lodge system as it governs Freemasonry now is an overpowering bully and it takes no prisoners. Grand Masters in jurisdiction after jurisdiction can enter a Lodge and expel you on the spot without a Masonic trial and pull the charter of a Lodge and close it down – just like that! And it is being done over and over again across this nation.

  27. Duke, come look me up on FaceBook. I run a Masonic group there where you have MANY supporters!

  28. I am sorry this happened to you. It is a black mark against Florida’s GM and a stain on Freemasonry in the state of Florida if they do nothing about it.

  29. “Our oaths clearly state “A SUPREME BEING”. .. “our principles was based in the belief of ONE supreme being. Wicca clearly does not adhere to this.”
    Wicca adheres to – or deviates from – monotheism every bit as much as Trinitarian Christianity, and for exactly the same reasons.

    Yes, brother Morgan [shudder], we know where this will go. I just wish some of these religious bigots would be consistent. A belief in a Creator is ok, but a G-d and G-ddess is not, but a Father and Son AND Holy Spirit is ok again. So, if your belief looks like it has one or three deities, that fits, but if it looks like your belief sees two aspects of deity it is anathema?

    Oh, wait! I have it. Odd numbers of deity are good, even numbers are bad. Is that it?

  30. How about that other Masonic Landmark….the one where we’re not supposed to discuss religion in the Lodge?

    Just out of curiosity, when did the Grand Lodge of Florida merge with the Vatican?

  31. I sure hope Brothers in Florida will not just stand idly by and let this happen. That’s how the KKK was able to run rampant down there. I don’t know who first said it, but, “All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  32. Another dark day for Freemasonry.

    My only hope is that the rational brethren in Florida will take a stand and have this shameful decision overturned. Otherwise Florida could become the next Grand Jurisdiction to find itself deemed irregular by regular Grand Jurisdictions around the world!

  33. Oh, wait! I have it. Odd numbers of deity are good, even numbers are bad. Is that it?

    :waves at Bro. Gene:

    Good to know you haven’t lost your sense of humor, brother! Well said.

  34. Oh, wait! I have it. Odd numbers of deity are good, even numbers are bad. Is that it?

    Some religions ARE more equal than others, yes.

  35. While I’ve no personal involvement in this, neither aspiring to become a Mason nor knowing anyone who is, it does concern me as long having been communicant in the Wiccan religion. You know, it’s the easiest thing in the world–and correspondingly as meaningful–to utter some stock catch-phrase like “Supreme Being” or “One God”…and it’s quite another to *live a religious life*, turning toward and being responsive to the Powers that move through our world. With respect, I’d offer for your consideration that it is far more valuable to honor that commitment, that sensitivity, than it is the repetition of catechism or text of any kind. How vain we must be to think the sacred is our private possession, to be taken down from the shelf and displayed–then put back until the next time for use arrives. Blessed Be.

  36. I will say that I am pissed off at some online (predominantly white) Masons who have formed, or are commenting on, the the “Masonic Landmarks Restoration” fb page – they say that FL should be considered irregular over this. And I can’t help but wonder what our PHA Brethren will say when they see some white Masons willing to take a stand over Wicca, when they HAVEN’T done so over the 8 or so GLs that still don’t recognize PHA.

    Frankly, I expect there could be some righteous indignation and bemusement at people only giving a damn when it hits them personally, but someone else’s plight? No big deal.

    What am _I_ doing about it?

    I’m doing no more and no less than I am doing on the Wiccan issue with Florida – I know my GLs have decided that they will not confront the southern GLs over their non-recognition of PHA, because they don’t want to get involved in someone else’s sovereignty – so they won’t do so over an even SMALLER group of men.

    In short, yes, religious bigotry in Lodge is bad, but we (mainstream GLs) have been sticking our heads in the sand over racism for FAR longer than we have ignored bigotry against Wiccans, and that, frankly, disgusts me more.

  37. No. Religions embraced by the GM are good. Everything else is bad. It’s called discrimination, and Brothers in FL need to lawyer-up to put a stop to this. It’s Masonry, not the Klan.

  38. Next time, Br. Bristol, I will try to remember to put a sarcasm tag on my post, as my “more equal than others” line was a reference to Animal Farm

    There are a number of catchlines in that book, specifically “Four legs good, two legs bad” (which Br. Gene kind of referenced on the odd/even comment) and “Somer animals are more equal than others”.

    All of which points back to the situation as being one of idealism leading to leadership by diktak.

  39. Oh I’ve read Orwell many times. I preferred Burmese Days, though Animal Farm and 1984 gave us a LOT to quote. Point remains though….this sort of thing will continue to happen while Brothers let it happen.

  40. I don’t think it is totally accurate to suggest that white masons are only objecting to Wiccans being persecuted, when Fred Milligan and I have both commented upon the injustice meted out to PHA masons both in posts and on our blogs. Fred, who as a white mason is a member of the PHA has posted repeatedly on the subject in the past, and most recently I posted on the subject at the link below: http://hedgemason.blogspot.com/2012/11/rough-ashlar-no-1.html .

    Frat. Eoghan

  41. Whether it’s discouraging Prince Hall Masons from attending non-PHA lodges, making arrogant proclamations about what religions are to be considered valid, or anything of that nature, if it’s being done it equals Masons behaving in a non-Masonic manner. Mason is as Mason does, even if he’s the GM.

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