Florida Masonic Scandal

The Other Half Of The Florida Masonic Scandal Tells All

The Beehive presents an interview with Duke Bass Fortesque. This is being presented as opinions of Fortesque and The Beehive, not as fact. Names of the Lodge and any other Florida Masons have been deliberately omitted. Freemason Information welcomes a rebuttal from either the Master of the Lodge or the Grand Master or both and will publish them if submitted.


Florida Masonic ScandalThose who have been following the Florida Masonic story have read the problem through the eyes of Corey Bryson. But Bryson was only coming to the aid of his friend going through the degrees with him, Duke Bass Fortesque. Bryson kept a low profile and nobody really knew what his faith was until he spoke up in Lodge to correct misinformation in an interrogation of Fortesque. It was then that Bryson revealed that he was a Pagan/Deist and therefore could speak with authority on the subject that he got into trouble.

Fortesque, meanwhile was in trouble already. Fortesque had already come out as an Odinist and he had gone through lengthy questioning of his religious beliefs by the Investigating Committee and others in the Lodge.

The whole religious turmoil was set off by Fortesque’s first degree instructor. He had a problem with Fortesque because he had a personal problem with Pagan religions. “The instructor screamed at me,” said Fortesque. “He disparaged my religion and my wife and her religion (Wiccan).”

“It’s people like you that are responsible for the breakup of my marriage,” yelled the instructor pointing his finger in Fortesque’s face. “Good luck becoming a Master Mason.”

“He was like a Rottweiler who broke his chain,” noted Fortesque.

Fortesque reported the incident up the chain of command leading to a number of phone conversations with the Master of the Lodge, some of them lasting from midnight to 3:00 AM. Fortesque kept asking for a solution to the outburst, while the Master kept grilling him on his beliefs.

“I just asked for an apology,” he said. That’s all he wanted, nothing more, nothing less. To think this whole mess could have been solved by a timely, simple apology from the instructor.

Meanwhile the instructor did call Fortesque and apologize personally but not publicly.

Finally in one of the last marathon phone calls with the Master, the Master offered to bring Fortesque into open Lodge to explain that the whole situation had been resolved, that he was mistaken and it never really happened.

“You want me to diminish my reputation to save this instructor,” asked Fortesque?

“Yes,” replied the Master

That was not unheard of in the Masonic world. When an old timer steps out of line with a brand new Mason, the Lodge will often support the seasoned Masonic veteran. Not that it is right, but it’s done. But Fortesque was not going to knuckle under.

A friend connected him to the Grand Master via the Grand Secretary.

Fortesque explained to the Grand Master the situation that had occurred. The Grand Master, acting as if he already knew the whole story, told Fortesque – OK complaint lodged. But then he said something very bizarre.

“You have a comic book religion,” the Grand Master told Fortesque. “You don’t have to get there (Master Mason).  Masonry is a Slurpee, you can get it at 7-11, “ continued the Grand Master.

The Grand Master then proceeded to interrogate Fortesque. He asked him where his soul goes. Then he told him, “You don’t have a Holy Book. The Great Light is the Holy Bible, that’s why we are Christian only.”We just try, he said, “to be tolerant of other faiths.”

Fortesque retorted, “Why do you have to ask me about my religion. I have survived the petition process, multiple interviews, five background checks, home studies and a ton of questions. I’m not here to change anybody. I’m here to be one of you.”

The Grand Master flatly said “We don’t allow comic book religions. Technically you qualify for Masonry but you should consider resigning and finding another place to get your fraternal kicks, somewhere else better suiting your kind of people.”

Now here is demonstrated for all to see the little mind of the Christian Fundamentalist Freemason. The Brother has a COMIC BOOK RELIGION says the little mind. GET YOUR FRATERNAL KICKS SOMEWHERE ELSE BETTER SUITING YOUR KIND OF PEOPLE.  Now isn’t that the embodiment of Masonic tolerance? Doesn’t that just demonstrate how universal Freemasonry is?

MASONRY IS A SLURPEE says the little mind again. Now how’s that for the essence of Masonic knowledge and esoteric thought?

But that’s not all folks! Here comes the kicker.

That religious edict released by the Grand Master of Florida was not the only edict to come from him. Some months back he issued an edict that stated that if you associated with Prince Hall Masons, if you had a picnic or BBQ with them or attended any function outside the Lodge with them, if you even talked to them, then you would be automatically expelled. This goes way beyond Masonic Communication and Masonic Discourse which is already prohibited. Already on the books in Florida, says Fortesque, is the ruling that if you attend a Lodge out of state where they recognize Prince Hall and if there is a Prince Hall Mason in attendance you must get up and leave immediately or be expelled. And if there is a Prince Hall Mason there and you don’t know it you also will be expelled.

This comes on the heels of information from Georgia where four Mainstream Masons were secretly expelled for talking to Prince Hall Masons – talking like, “How’s the weather?” See the source here.

Fortesque was going to go ahead and remain anyway but somewhere between “technically you qualify” and a couple of days afterwards the Grand Master decided to rule  that all Pagan religions were banned.

The Junior Warden, a lawyer, drew up an official letter of resignation where it was stated that he did not meet one of the perquisites to be a Freemason. Yet the Lodge refused to give Fortesque his money back.

Fortesque was only 5 days away from a Master Mason. He pleaded with the Lodge to let him be raised as a Master Mason and that if he did he would resign right afterward. But the answer was no, resign now or be expelled automatically.

Fortesque had a dream, a dream where he was going through the steps of his Grandfather’s rise to 32nd degree Freemason and that along each step of the way he connected to his beloved Grandfather. If he could be raised to the degree of Master Mason and be allowed to resign perhaps he could apply to another state for acceptance and thus continue his dream.

“The Grand Master prejudicated my expulsion, “says Fortesque. “He wanted to be sure I could not petition elsewhere in Freemasonry.”

And here we have the essence of the little minded Fundamentalist Freemason. For you see its one thing to prohibit a certain belief system in your Grand Lodge but it’s another to stick it to the one you do not want to make sure he cannot apply anywhere else. It’s one thing not to recognize another Grand Lodge and prohibit your members to sit in a tyled Communication with them. It’s another to expel them for saying hello in the grocery store.

This vindictiveness, this thought that I have to bury you, shun you, spit on you, curse you and hurt you because you do not agree with me is something that is tearing this country apart. And it is something that not only doesn’t belong in Freemasonry, it is something that Freemasonry is supposed to be above, to have solved, to have created a society where men of different religions, politics, creeds, cultures and economic status can coexist peacefully in a Lodge under the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

Fortesque, an admitted Odinist & Tribalist, is now getting linked to White Supremacy. That’s a way for his detractors to spread hurtful rumors about him.  “I am about family and community,” answers Fortesque as he rejects any connection with any kind of discrimination, especially White Supremacy.  Anybody that knows him realizes that this is just a cheap shot.

VENGENCE IS MINE says the Grand Master. And vengeance he got for Corey Bryson and Duke Fortesque resigned from Freemasonry together.

After resigning they held court on the front steps of their Lodge for 3 ½ hours. “No one could refute what we had to say,” reports Fortesque. “We made our case every time.”

But none would stand up for them, either. “I have to believe what I am told,” said many a Brother of the Lodge. “I have to follow my Grand Master.”

Fortesques says of that, “They are all in self preservation.” And he doesn’t feel any anger towards the Brothers who are staying and knuckling under. He just wishes another jurisdiction would offer to take him in. He just longs to continue his dream.

There remains but a couple of observations to be made about this whole nasty business.

First, those who filled the comments section on the previous articles with tsk, tsk corrections that the Grand Master of Florida had nothing racial to say so how dare I attribute such characteristics to him, I don’t want to hear it. As I have reported previously in Confederate Masonry anti Black and Christian only go hand in hand. The Grand Master of Florida demonstrates this quite readily. But he is not the only one. Talk to the Mainstream Grand Masters of Georgia, West Virginia and Arkansas among others and you will get the same spiel. Yet doesn’t it seem very incongruous that the Black Christian God and the White Christian God aren’t the same in the eyes of these Grand Masters?

Too many Brothers have been armchair quarterbacks, interpreting each individual incident rather than connecting the dots of all the developments. As The Beehive has said before, we need to learn the lessons of Mike McCabe, Gate City Lodge No 2, Frank Haas and Derek Gordon. We need to see the big picture and stop running around with blinders on.

Secondly we need to reiterate once more that Grand Lodges are out of control and that Masons caught in the throes of rogue regimes are powerless to halt the tyrannical use of Grand Lodge power. Grand Lodges today are no longer even bothering to obey their Constitutions and By-Laws.

American Mainstream Masonry must find a way to discipline itself or wither and die on the vine because today’s younger generation and today’s seekers looking for peace and harmony in a righteous setting, a purpose for living and a way to look at life that is uplifting and meaningful, will not join an organization with racial and religious discrimination. It’s as simple as that. Think about it.

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. I was sickened by the details of the edict….but these latest details are infuriating. How this person can consider himself to be a Mason is beyond comprehension. So not only is a religious bigot violating the tenets of the Craft, he is declaring it to be Christian! This would come as a shock to the brethren of other faiths outside the US. This, on top of the blatantly racist decrees regarding PHA.

    The mind boggles at the ego, arrogance, and disposable nature of this individual.

    How could another jurisdiction help these victimized brothers, without them having to move to another state?

    WB R. Gregory Starr

  2. I don’t see the problem. I mean, it’s not like we live in a country that was founded by people seeking to get away from religious persecution or anything. Who cares about that whole “…leaving their particular Opinions to themselves…” thing. Nobody actually pays any attention to those pesky ancient charges. Why even give it any thought?

  3. I wish I could be surprised at this, but having a number of Pagan and Wiccan friends and having a Pagan daughter, I’m all too familiar with this pattern. At first I was surprised by finding bigotry and prejudice in Masonry, but now it’s clear that, despite the claim of “making good men better”, Masons are by and large no better than anyone else.

    I agree that American Freemasonry is going to have to pay more than lip service to “the brotherhood of men” and the legacy of democracy, egalitarianism, and tolerance we like to claim. In my opinion, if the Masonry of today was what the colonists of 1776 had to work with, the United States of America as we know it would never have existed.

  4. I have to say, that Odinist, Wiccan, matters NOT!It shouldn’t anyway. In a lodge, the Holy book displayed is the one of the candidates faith. We had to run across the street once to the library and borrow a Koran. I can’t believe the arrogance, and religious intolerance of the GM of Florida. I feel for these guys. The fact is, our founding fathers were Deists, the natural religion, acknowledging God and intelligent design. I myself am a Christian Deist, meaning I believe in God, but I believe Jesus to be a human teacher. I am accepted in my lodge wholeheartedly! It sounds like the correlation to White Supremacy belongs to the GM/Grand Wizzard of Florida and his cohorts, and not to these two gentleman.

  5. Sadly, none of the men on either side are masons. It takes more than ritual to understand what masonry is about. And it takes more than the title of Grand Master to undo what Masonry has been learned by study and reflection. Sadly all involved push against all that masonry stands for.
    It truth, Masonry extends beyond what books can teach or that can be taught by ritualistic catechism. To understand masonry you have to understand nature and all that is our universe. Today, sadly Freemasonry has become a social supper club and a means for many who see to wield power can achieve it. Who is qualified to sit in judgement on any man? Yet there are those on both sides who believe they have all the answers. Again feudalism rears it ugly head among the brethren as it has so many times in the past. Publicity is sought by those, not who seek real justice, but by those who also seek to arose the power of pu8blic opinion for their one cause. The real education of Freemasonry will soon go underground as we growing toward a powerful media who seeks to dumb down the masses. And judging from the last few years, have done a great job of it. When men again seek knowledge for the benefit of all men and lose the selfish desires, then will masonry again rise above the muck to again lead mankind to the right path of life.

  6. I noticed this article on a Dutch internetgroup and I am horrified with this story. Clearly the GM did not understand the meaning and the goal of our fraternity. Being a mason for almost 20 years I learned to exept every man whatever believe he has. Main point is that nobody knows what we are doing here, why we are alive and what our purpose is in life. The only thng we know is that we are born on a certain time and that we will leave this world once. In the meantime it is our goal to make something with our lifes and every mason makes his own choices, wether he will be a cristian, a muslim or be a man without any organised religion. People who think that freemasons can only be members as a cristian, don’t understand the meaning of our brotherhood. They play the game we desperatly try to avoid: make war, not peace. Building on our own stone is exepting every man and learning of his (or her) ideas and ideals so we are able to make our decisions better! I really hope the fraternity in the united states will stand up against this GM and will handle this!!

  7. The fact remains that an injustice both in terms of a serious lapse of Masonic standards and plain human decency has occurred. Duke Bass Fortesque and Corey Bryson deserve better. There are REAL masonic obediences which are prepared to assist them in their masonic journey. Unfortunately from everything we are reading here, it appears clear that the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Florida can hardly been judged a legitimate body of masons. Not only has the leadership failed to demonstrate any understanding of the principles of Freemasonry, but it would appear that the majority of the membership are lacking the courage of their convictions.

  8. don’t blame the GM – blame the brothers, who put him and his cohorts into power, blame the brothers, who sit in lodge and do not take a stand! Grand Lodge is to serve and not to dictate, if all brothers would react properly, the problem will be solved within months, because not king can rule a country without a people!

    sadly the tenants of freemasonry are widely dead in US Main Stream GLs

    Brother Max Strohmayer


  10. This is rediculous…. The GM of Florida should be removed from office for breaking his obligations. This is the cancer in Freemasonry and it must be removed.

  11. Those discussing religion in an open lodge are in violation of Masonic law. Asking anything more than a belief in a higher power is also unMasonic. However if you choose to espouse your beliefs to the “old guard”, Ye reap what ye sow. This is why you don’t discuss religion in a lodge.

  12. I am a Pagan Mason in the Washington DC area. I was always very open about that during all of my interviews, and afterward as well. No one in my lodge has a problem with my belief system, and I occasionally get asked to explain particulars of my beliefs by my brothers. I welcome these questions, as it gives me the chance to explain to them that we are not what many uninformed people believe us to be.

    Having said that, this entire affair makes me ashamed to admit to being a Mason. The Grand Lodge of Florida clearly doesn’t believe the same principles that I was told hold true to all Masons. Either my lodge lied to me during catechism (I do not believe this to be the case) or the Florida lodge has completely lost touch with the meaning of Masonry.

    Until just now I was unaware of the prohibition against even saying hello to a Prince Hall Mason in the State of Florida, and this new information sickens me. My lodge regularly has Prince Hall Masons in attendance, and we work together with their local lodge on many of our community projects. We are all members of the same community after all.

    Right now Masonry itself is in jeopardy. We need to do all that we can to encourage people from our entire community to become new members, not to disgust them. The Florida scandal is just one more nail in our own coffin that did not need to be there. As Masons, we are supposed to be enlightened, or at the very least striving toward enlightenment. I do not see this happening in the State of Florida. I’m afraid that they have lost their way.

  13. Come out to California and we’d be happy to call you Brother. I have an Odinist as a Brother in my Lodge and he is one of the best ritualists I’ve ever seen as well as as a wonderful family man, friend, and Mason. My mother Lodge is in Florida and it really makes me sad that the Grand Master of FL would abuse his power to impose HIS beliefs on others. It’s like the whole West Virginia debacle all over again. I really hope this situation gets resolved quickly because we are going to lose a lot of wonderful Brothers who deserve to be in the fraternity.

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

  15. There is the issue of brethren from other jurisdictions visiting Florida lodges. What happens with them? Will part of the investigation be the Tiler’s Oath and “What religion do you adhere to?” This is insane.

  16. These same things are taking place in Georgia except that it is being carried out by secret committee. Georgia now allows for expulsion with charges or trial. Thanks to a new innovation in the Masonic Code Masons can be expelled by being placed on a list created by the Jurisprudence Committee. They are notified after the fact.

    This makes it less public and more convenient to get rid of anyone they choose. Another “benefit” of this new method is that it makes it difficult to know who has been expelled, and since it is without any official charges there is no way to question why.

  17. Jeff, you are the only one reporting about the expulsion of those in GA. You were expelled for creating a clandestine group and creating your own degree. You then wen out to form Goofus which is a clandestine body. You have no credability.

  18. One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
    The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

    Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

    “Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”

    “Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.

    “Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”

    Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”

    “This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”

    “Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.

    “Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”

    So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

    Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

    “You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”

    The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back.

    “I could not help myself. It is my nature.”

    Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.

  19. How much of this has even been discussed in the lodge? Discussion of religion or politics is a universal Masonic offense. Or at least it used to be.

  20. I have not been an MM for all that long (raised in 2009), but in my short time, I have seen some bad stuff; so, I am not terribly surprised by this.

    I became distressed each and every time I witnessed an event such as this (this is the most blatant act of malevolence I have seen yet). It is like a daggar, as living the Masonic lifestyle is very important to me. I imagine it is also important to others. I am sure the vast majority of my brethren feel as I do about living a life of Masonic Virtue, and holding it sacred. It just saddens me when brethren consciously act against these values.

    If there ever be a Brother that actually believes that the whole of Masonry will one day be comprised of only one type of man, I say that Brother is truly lost.

    Yes, I choose to endure these things. I believe in the value of Masonry that much. I believe in it for what it helped me to be. I also believe that it doesn’t own my own heart (or soul). Based on what I have seen in my short career, I walk on checkered tile, possibly finding myself on the dark side, without the benefit of a Lodge, or the caring of my closest brethren, one day. I simply have to follow my own conscience (or what I perceive to be God’s will for me).

    I hope that these two men are reunited with their desires, and also urge them both to follow their own consciences, which are far more important than any privelidges, rites, rights, or benefits, anywhere. It is the internal qualfications that make a man a Mason.

  21. There is no such thing as a “universal Masonic offense.” Each jurisdiction is sovereign. Quit spreading the myths.

  22. Is there a GL or lodge in another jurisdiction that would be willing to accept me back into a blue lodg? I understand that there are challenges for both a lodge that would accept me and on my end also but I truly do not believe that the challenges are insurmountable. If I had a blue lodge then I would be able to continue on with my Masonic journey and also be able to petition admittance into the Scottish Rite as my grandfathers were. If there be such a GL or Blue Lodge out there willing please feel free to contact me. Thank all of you for the innumerable encouraging words of hope. Those words come at a very needed time and I again have hope.

  23. Masons in Florida are also in shock. This should not be a representation of Masons in Florida. I guess I should be expelled from Masonry. Although I have never attended tiled communications with a Prince Hall Mason, I meet them frequently. I worked in a pawnshop where many were customers looking for rings or regalia. Members of our Lodge have supported our local Prince Hall Lodge with donations of needed supplies. Recenty at a fast food joint, as I was opening my car door and a MAN recognized my various trunk plaques of the appendent bodies I am affiliated with and told me, “You have alot of light on your car.” I asked him if he was in a Prince Hall Lodge and we gripped. I guess I blew my Masonic career without knowing it. I was a Roman Catholic my entire life but around the age of 40 converted to my own religion. I’m a Buddhiscipalian and would be proud to fall on my sword for religious, racial, and God given basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I feel the Grand Lodge of Florida has become a clandestine GL and should not be recognized until more lucid thinking men are at the wheel. Now that I have stated this for the GM to see, I may also be looking for another State to continue my dedication to the Craft.

  24. It is sad that affairs in Florida have come to this. In Arizona, we faced a Grand Master that assumed authority and powers that were not granted to him in our statutes. We stood against him. Many in the Masonic community chastised us (and continue to do so) for our “unMasonic conduct.” However, time has proven that our protest was valid and just.
    (see https://freemasoninformation.com/2012/06/this-time-right-beat-might/ for more information.)

    Ultimately, it is by the consent of the brethren that Grand Masters and Grand Lodges are able to rule. It might be a scary thing to throw off the yolk, but otherwise, the Brethren consent to be ruled in that manner. I hope and pray that the Brethren of Florida, and anywhere that Masons are being held back from true light, will look at the state of Masonry in their home jurisdiction and take the actions necessary to take back the Craft.

  25. This appears to be a deliberate act ment to kill Freemasonry. I learnead a long time ago, long before I was initiated into the craft, that it is an amalgamation of the remnants of the ancient mystery schools not made extinct. Pythagoras was a Pagan for cryin out loud. The pagan roots of Freemasonry exist in every opening and closing of a Lodge. Without violating my oath I will go out on a limb as THE SUN illuminates the principle officers. DUH! I blame the dark sorcerers of Rome. Again.

  26. Brothers Fotesque and Bryson,

    I hope that you read this. And I hope that you consider what I have to say.

    First, Masonry is and always will be a personal journey. Each of us is working to perfect our rough ashlars and to complete that temple not made with hands. Each of us began this project *before* we began our Masonic journey; it was the pursuit of light that brought us to Masonry, not the other way around.

    The reason why I point this out is to let you know that, though the study of Masonry helps a great deal, it is still entirely possible for both of you to continue on your journey without a lodge. Acacia grows on all hills.

    However, I ask that you consider using this to make a real change. Obviously not all Florida Masons know or condone how you have been treated. Just as not all Florida Masons agree about the Florida Mainstream Grand Lodge’s stance to our Prince Hall brothers. So, please consider joining the Florida Prince Hall. If the mainstream wishes to speak to you more about this farce, then they will first have to rescind the forbiddence to speak to Prince Hall masons. If they wish to speak masonically, then not only will the forbiddence have to be revoked, they would also have to recognize the PH as regular.

    In other words, you still have fellowship and brotherhood in Masonry while putting what seems to be critically needed pressure on the Florida Mainstream Grand Lodge to wake up and smell the 1970’s. Once they do that, then it is possible that the lodges of Florida will see greater participation from the younger generation (read, the guys that will keep Masonry alive 20 years from now).

    This is an opportunity to create a great deal of change for the better. However, it *will* require strength from you. As I pointed out earlier, you are free to pursue any path to light that you choose. I ask that you help our errant brothers in Florida while on this journey.

    Please think it over.

    Steven Warner
    Anchorage Lodge 17
    Anchorage, Alaska

  27. I am an EA in Florida and this entire situation has troubled me deeply. I Most troubling is the lack of wisdom, restraint and adherence to the Landmarks on the part of the Grand Master.

    Nevertheless, although I believe that there always has been and always will be a place for pagans et al. within Masonry, I do not believe that Masonry is the place for activism of any kind. If we cannot check our (controversial) opinions at the door then we need to reflect more deeply upon the use of the Compasses in our lives.

    It is indicated that the instructor called Brother Fortesque and privately apologized prior to Brother Fortesque involving the Grand Lodge. Brother Fortesque stood at a crossroads. He could have accepted the apology, moved forward and both he and Brother Bryson would be members in good standing today.

    Instead, he demanded some kind of public apology or retribution. He chased the issue up to the Grand Lodge level. It appears to be that neither Brother Fortesque nor the Grand Master have fully applied the use of the Compasses nor adhered to the importance of allowing Worshipful Masters to maintain harmony within their Lodges.

    If a brother belongs to a controversial religion (q.v. Odinist) a controversial political party (q.v. Socialist) or a controversial social group (q.v. gay) he must be realistic and face the facts that he is going to rub elbows with Brothers who have the same deep prejudices that many Americans (especially Floridians) possess. It is wise to be circumspect. This is why we are taught never to discuss religion or politics in the Lodge. Social and political activism property belong in the streets, on Facebook, in Washington and in the blogosphere. I do not believe the Lodge is the proper place to wage such battles. The Lodge is the place where we are compelled to lay down our weapons.

    Perhaps Fortesque naively believed that Freemasonry was a haven for occult philosophers. Alas, the Craft is composed of men from all walks of life and of all beliefs: Southern Baptists, Mormons, Catholics, Muslims, Wiccans, Buddhists, Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, racists, gays… we all dream of belonging to a fraternity of like-minded men with whom we see eye to eye but that is not the reality of the Craft. Freemasonry is where we learn to call those Brothers those with whom we may disagree even on some of the basic questions of life.

    Based on this blog post, I suspect that Brother Fortesque, his instructor and the Grand Master all failed in this regard. Each of these men share a little of the blame. I pray that we find healing. I pray that all of us learn to reach across the (artificial) divisions that cause such contention and that we may all learn that harmony and Brotherhood are more important than the satisfaction of our egos.

    I do not believe that Freemasonry is the proper place of pagan activism. At the same time, it is most certainly not the place for an inquisitorial witch-hunt. All faiths have been persecuted at one time or another. We must learn to be sensitive to this and to treat other faiths as we would have others treat ours.

  28. Ufdah…

    and the “spin doctors” continue their quest to interject falsity, rumor, and well-sounding advice that is as misplaced as it is malignant in intent (Light Seeker). It is this exact passive aggressive behavior that is a matastisized cancer in Florida, evident to all except perhaps… to Florida. Light Seeker may be seeking light in Masonry but is in fact not seeking any “light” in critical facts that all but render his verse empty. He made a few assumptions to which to base his comment (or rebuttal as it were) and I shall dispell it all with a simple wave of the facts of the matter. It is a shame that he never contacted anyone before penning his trivial verbosity in which case his posting would either never seen the light of day or perhaps it would have taken on a more enlightening tone. and here we go simply with a few facts:

    Neither Brother Corey or I ever spoke about religion in lodge to any other Brothers as our personal relationships with the GAOTU as it is not propper. That and we had no time for it working for months in the kitchen serving our fellow brothers.

    Only the lodge officers were aware of our personal beliefs to which we were sincerely assured would never be an issue or brought up.

    We both were and our well beloved in the lodge for our character alone and the craft as a whole were shocked and dismayed to learn that the ruling was about us as the craft as a whole had no clue of our beliefs. why? because we focused upon Masonry and not our personal expressions of gratitude to the GAOTU.

    There was never any “activisim” of any type at any time by Brother Corey and I unless you would like to account for the numerous house volunteering for just about everything under the sun within the lodge including fund raisers.

    The instructor appologized privately the day before our cohersed resignations. I did not use any form nor manner of activism of any sort. All I desired was an act of civility with a handshake, a simple “I appologize for my behavior” , and let the matter dissolve entirely as I have no axe to grind.

    Perhaps it is that Florida lodges are filled with enough spin doctors, such as Light Seeker, that their intolerance is justified to themselves as an act of their faith. Perhaps more brothers who comment with such conviction should do so but first attempting at least a small measure of contact or research before posting words that will nullify the points they are trying to make. I can only hope that Light Seeker meant well and that in his heart he truly wished to make the craft a better place for all but simply forgot to follow the mantra of the writer… research, research, research. If this is the case then I wish him well and have no harsh feelings for him whatsoever, however, if he is part of the spin machine or even just feeling like he can passivly-aggressively promote his faith system, then that is a matter entirely unto itself.

  29. Hi Duke,

    Maybe I posted too quickly. I’m sorry for being a jackass. I don’t know everything that went on. I made assumptions based on what I read on various blog posts. You are absolutely right that I should not comment on things without research and knowing all the facts… especially since I don’t you personally.

    From the posting I read it sounded like the instructor had apologized to you and that you later on brought the issue up with the Grand Lodge. I misinterpreted what I read. I apologize.

    Everyone I’ve spoken to disagrees strongly with the Grand Master’s ruling and I only (anecdotally) know of one person who agrees with it. I’m not trying to justify or make excuses for him or spin things in his favor. I was wondering out loud why the issue couldn’t be resolved at the local level. It is sad that we can’t rely on a Grand Master to handle disputes fairly.

    In a perfect world, there would be Grand Masters who are chosen for their wisdom and forbearance; men who can be relied upon to foster harmony; men we can look up to as role models and who inspire us.

    As with any organization, there is a difference between what it is meant to be and what it actually is. I am still in the midst of learning what Freemasonry actually is in today’s age. It’s no secret that there is a “culture war” in our country and also a struggle between sincerity and cynicism. I think you and I are actually on the same side of that struggle.

    I’m sorry

  30. Light Seeker,

    Apology gratefully accepted. No issues. Just know this, everything on the blogs are quite literally the tip of the iceburg. If I so choose I could let loose with so much information as to render Florida masonically inert, however, I am a jovial good guy by nature and only seek to keep my honor intact with the least amount of effort of force necessary.

    I will never will speak of any secrets nor betray trusts as my word is solid. I am a Mason, at large, without a current Blue Lodge home, however, I hope to reintegrate within mainstream Masonry within someother jurisdiction as none I speak with have any facimile of hope that Florida will correct this matter within the next decade. Though I hope that Florida could right its own ship, I believe the damage done (and continuing to be done) is more than Florida Masons can heal and make good within the forseeable decade. Besides, as I was told in no uncertain terms that even if the next GM overturns the ruling in reference that persons such as Corey and I will never be “safe” as any FL GM may initiate like rulings every year effectively never allowing any FL pagans to feel “at home” or “safe” in their home BLue Lodges. Heart-wrenchingly sad for those of us this directly hurts, disrupting our lives, and through calateral damage hurting our supportive families. I have several PM’s that are willing to speak on my behalf and vouch for my character and person at any moment. I believe this fact speaks clearly for itself.

  31. Freemasonry is more pagan than Christianity. Any normal thinking person can see this who has gone through the degrees or even just sits through an opening or closing of a Lodge.

  32. Freemasonry is more pagan than Christianity.

    That’s the cart pulling the horse, James. Christianity and various pagan practices pre-date Freemasonry by a couple of millenia, give or take a few centuries.

  33. I stand by what I said. Christianity is less Pagan than Freemasonry. But all of these things are deeply rooted in Paganism.

  34. Actually the first lodge rooms predates Christian writing. Diogenes the Mason was inscribed over a tomb in Pompeii 14ad. Inside was an altar and several masonic tools. This predates Christianity since the gospels were written at the earliest 28 years after Jesus’s death.

  35. Light Seeker tries to make all sides equally wrong. This does a great disservice to two Brothers who kept their mouths shut and did not bring up their religion in any conversations. When you try to blame everybody equally you diminish the true problem, perhaps in an attempt to wash it away in a sea of – everybody is to blame, so nobody is to blame.

    This tact does a great injustice to justice. Bryson and Fortesque did nothing to demean the Grand Master. Yet the Grand Master took it upon himself to openly declare that Fortesque had a “comic book religion.”

    Not posted in the story was the fact that the Instructor was brought up on charges and a Masonic Trial would have taken place if it had not been aborted by the Grand Master, which he had no right to do. Clearly the sentiment within in the rank and file was with Bryson and Fortesque.

    What Light Seeker seems to have glossed over was the fact that the Master of the Lodge demanded that Fortesque announce in open Lodge that he was mistaken, that the incident with the Instructor never happened. Now it was not possible to accept any apology because the outcome had been predetermined by the Master.

    By declaring everybody is equally to blame Light Seeker has essentially pronounced that no one is to blame. But if you really look at the story closely the Grand Master has much more culpability here than the new recruits.

    The one Mason who could have been kind and conciliatory but wasn’t was the Grand Master.

  36. From Morals And Dogma…
    “The Mysteries were a Sacred Drama, exhibiting some legend significant of nature’s changes, of the visible Universe in which the Divinity is revealed, and whose import was in many respects as open to the Pagan as to the Christian. Nature is the great Teacher of man; for it is the Revelation of God. It neither dogmatizes nor attempts to tyrannize by compelling to a particular creed or special interpretation. It presents its symbols to us, and adds nothing by way of explanation. It is the text without the commentary; and, as we well know, it is chiefly the commentary and gloss that lead to error and heresy and persecution. The earliest instructors of mankind not only adopted the lessons of Nature, but as far as possible adhered to her method of imparting them. In the Mysteries, beyond the current traditions or sacred and enigmatic recitals of the Temples, few explanations were given to the spectators, who were left, as in the school of nature, to make inferences for themselves. No other method could have suited every degree of cultivation and capacity. To employ nature’s universal symbolism instead of the technicalities of language, rewards the humblest inquirer, and discloses its secrets to every one in proportion to his preparatory training and his power to comprehend them. If their philosophical meaning was above the comprehension of some, their moral and political meanings are within the reach of all… It is not strange that, thousands of years ago, men worshipped the Sun, and that to-day that worship continues among the Parsees and Pagans. Originally they looked beyond the orb to the invisible God, of whom the Sun’s light, seemingly identical with generation and life, was the manifestation and outflowing. Long before the Chaldæan shepherds watched it on their plains, it came up regularly, as it now does, in the morning, like a god, and again sank, like a king retiring, in the west, to return again in due time in the same array of majesty. We worship Immutability. It was that steadfast, immutable character of the Sun that the men of Baalbec worshipped. His light-giving and life-giving powers were secondary attributes. The one grand idea that compelled worship was the characteristic of God which they saw reflected in his light, and fancied they saw in its originality the changelessness of Deity. He had seen thrones crumble, earthquakes shake the world and hurl down mountains. Beyond Olympus, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, he had gone daily to his abode, and had come daily again in the morning to behold the temples they built to his worship. They personified him as BRAHMA, AMUN, OSIRIS, BEL, ADONIS, MALKARTH, MITHRAS, and APOLLO; and the nations that did so grew old and died. Moss grew on the capitals of the great columns of his temples, and he shone on the moss. Grain by grain the dust of his temples crumbled and fell, and was borne off on. the wind, and still he shone on crumbling column and architrave. The roof fell crashing on the pavement, and he shone in on the Holy of Holies with unchanging rays. It was not strange that men worshipped the Sun… Krishna is the Hindu Sun-God. Khur, the Parsi word, is the literal name of the Sun.
    From Kur or Khur, the Sun, comes Khora, a name of Lower Egypt. The Sun, Bryant says in his Mythology, was called Kur; and Plutarch says that the Persians called the Sun Ku_ros. Kurios, Lord, in Greek, like Adonaï, Lord, in Phœnician and Hebrew, was applied to the Sun. Many places were sacred to the Sun, and called Kura, Kuria, Kuropolis, Kurene, Kureschata, Kuresta, and Corusia in Scythia.

    The Egyptian Deity called by the Greeks “Horus,” was Her-Ra, or Har-oeris, Hor or Har, the Sun. Hari is a Hindu name of the Sun. Ari-al, Ar-es, Ar, Aryaman, Areimonios, the AR meaning Fire or Flame, are of the same kindred. Hermes or Har-mes, (Aram, Remus, Haram, Harameias), was Kadmos, the Divine Light or Wisdom. Mar-kuri, says Movers, is Mar, the Sun.

    In the Hebrew, AOOR, is Light, Fire, or the Sun. Cyrus, said Ctesias, was so named from Kuros, the Sun. Kuris, Hesychius says, was Adonis. Apollo, the Sun-god, was called Kurraios, from Kurra, a city in Phocis. The people of Kurene, originally Ethiopians or Cuthites, worshipped the Sun under the title of Achoor and Acho_r.

    We know, through a precise testimony in the ancient annals of Tsu_r, that the principal festivity of Mal-karth, the incarnation of the Sun at the Winter Solstice, held at Tsu_r, was called his rebirth or his awakening, and that it was celebrated by means of a pyre, on which the god was supposed to regain, through the aid of fire, a new life. This festival was celebrated in the month Peritius (Barith), the second day of which corresponded to the 25th of December. KHUR-UM, King of Tyre, Movers says, first performed this ceremony. These facts we learn from Josephus, Servius on the Æneid, and the Dionysiacs of Nonnus; and through a coincidence that cannot be fortuitous, the same day was at Rome the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the festal day of the invincible Sun. Under this title, HERCULES, HAR-acles, was worshipped at Tsu_r. Thus, while the temple was being erected, the death and resurrection of a Sun-God was annually represented at Tsu_r, by Solomon’s ally, at the winter solstice, by the pyre of MAL-KARTH, the Tsu_rian Haracles.

    AROERIS or HAR-oeris, the elder HORUS, is from the same old root that in the Hebrew has the form Au_r, or, with the definite article prefixed, Hau_r, Light, or the Light, splendor, flame, the Sun and. his rays. The hieroglyphic of the younger HORUS was the point in a circle; of the Elder, a pair of eyes; and the festival of the thirtieth day of the month Epiphi, when the sun and moon were supposed to be in the same right line with the earth, was called “The birth-day of the eyes of Horus”… The word Khairu_m or Khu_ru_m is a compound one. Gesenius renders Khu_ru_m by the word noble or free-born: Khu_r meaning white, noble. It also means the opening of a window, the socket of the eye. Khri also means white, or an opening; and Khris, the orb of the Sun, in Job viii. 13 and x. 7. Krishna is the Hindu Sun-God. Khur, the Parsi word, is the literal name of the Sun.

    From Kur or Khur, the Sun, comes Khora, a name of Lower Egypt. The Sun, Bryant says in his Mythology, was called Kur; and Plutarch says that the Persians called the Sun Ku_ros. Kurios, Lord, in Greek, like Adonaï, Lord, in Phœnician and Hebrew, was applied to the Sun. Many places were sacred to the Sun, and called Kura, Kuria, Kuropolis, Kurene, Kureschata, Kuresta, and Corusia in Scythia.
    The word HERI, in Sanscrit, means Shepherd, as well as Saviour. CRISHNA is called Heri, as JESUS called Himself the Good Shepherd.”

    Jesus is a Pagan God, the personification of the SUN! No surprise that(Heri)Krishna and Christ have the same root. Cheers and happy Yule to everyone.

  37. I’m a Jew. My synagogue was started at a meeting held at the local Masonic hall. If I recall correctly, seven of the 13 original colonies had lodges where Jews were founding members. This so-called grandmaster is ignorant and needs to be introduced to actual Freemasonry. He apparently hasn’t found it in Florida.

  38. Brethren and friends,

    I am disgusted by this and embarrassed. I am a Past Master for a Florida lodge and have been to my share of “Grand Communications”. They are pompous and stifling and to some extent laughable. When this edict was issued I contacted the Grandmaster directly in the hopes of reasoning with him. I wanted to be a good Brother who whispered in the ear of another of his failing. Our conversations were lengthy and the GM was not abrasive, but he was also not very receptive. His sources of research were limited to Wikipedia and those of with a remote sense of web culture know that while it is a handy resource – it is also open to public tampering and tweaking.

    As a result of all this, I felt I had reached an impasse and rather than just “sit back and wait until next” like I have done repeatedly to no avail, I sent the following letter to the Grandmaster who has accepted it as a resignation (which when read is clearly not what it is).

    So to the Brothers who feel no one was willing to stand up and fall on the sword – I AM HERE, I AM WITH YOU. I AM YOUR BROTHER!

    Letter to GM:

    December 12, 2012

    To Most Worshipful Grandmaster Jorge Aladro and the Brethren of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Florida:

    Your ruling entitled “Ruling and Decision # 3” dated on 11/28/2012 in regards to religious beliefs and how they apply to Freemasonry is one of deep concern. A religion, or the affiliation of a person with a religion, does not necessarily reflect an individual’s personal beliefs nor should it prohibit them from membership should they be willing to personally submit to the principles of Freemasonry. We spoke at length on Monday, 12/3/2012 and Tuesday, 12/4/2012 and I specifically stated my position that if a man is willing to kneel at the altar, place his hand on the Volume of Sacred Law, and make an obligation to the Brethren while in the presence of the Grand Architect of the Universe, that their personal religion is irrelevant and that the obligation alone is what binds us together as Brethren. Unfortunately you disagreed stating that a person is not being honest with themselves and therefore not a genuine adherent to truth. This is, in my opinion, as assumption on your part and not a quantifiable fact.

    Religious liberty and tolerance are paramount to the craft as per Anderson’s Constitutions: “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. But though in ancient Times Masons were charged in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ‘tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remained at a perpetual Distance.”
    Most Worshipful, you used only this part of the above stated ancient charge: “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.” as defense for your position on this ruling and automatic expulsion. The part you left out, in my opinion, is the most important: “ ‘tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished;”

    This is a selective distortion of our ancient charges and as a result enforces a religious doctrine on the Craft. It is my opinion that the rendering of a decision such as this is unmasonic and a usurpation of the rights of all Freemasons affiliated with the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Florida. The fraternity cannot profess to be a nonsectarian organization if we force tenets which are indicative of belonging to specific sects of religion and exclude general theological and philosophical schools of thought. The most troubling aspect of a decision like this is not just the fact that it was rendered, but that any Grandmaster would even have the authority to render this kind of a decision in the first place.
    Freemasonry is a child of the Enlightenment and as such when a Mason studies the various philosophical discourses that have been produced by men such as Albert Pike, Manly Hall, Baruch Spinoza, Francois Voltaire and several other philosophers, a less rigid concept of theology naturally evolves. It is this process that enables the intellectual and spiritual growth of a man inside and outside of the fraternity. Unfortunately with the stroke of a pen you have now restricted that path and prevent freedom of thought, freedom of inquiry, and freedom of conscience. This is not in parity with the allegorical and esoteric nature of our fraternity and thereby diminishes us to a group of narrow-minded dogmatic men with a limited view of the True Light of Freemasonry.

    Therefore until this ruling is revoked, I regretfully suspend my affiliation with the Grand Lodge of Florida effective immediately. This is not a revocation of my obligation to God or my Brethren as Freemasonry is in my heart and will forever be a part of my identity.

    Nelson Rose, PM

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