Brother Mike McCabe Passes To The Celestial Lodge Above

Brother Mike McCabe, a six-time Past Master, passed away on March 13, 2018

You might remember the articles published here on Freemason Information about the Struggles of Mike McCabe with the Grand Lodge of New Jersey and his subsequent expulsion.

You can review them HERE & HERE & HERE & HERE.

McCabe’s longtime friend Rich Baxter had this to say:

Mike McCabe passed away today on March 13, 2018, he was one of my best friends for over 30 years. In our early friendship he took me up to the Grand Lodge in North Jersey for a ceremony – he wanted me to consider joining the Masonic Lodge. I never did join but I always knew that Mike was of the highest standard that a Mason could be, he lived and breathed the Masonic traditions and embraced them. When he saw wrong with this lodge that had shady dealings going on, he reported it. That’s the way Mike was, an honorable man who had character beyond belief. He held himself to a high standard and expected that of others in the Masonic Brotherhood. To be thrown out of the Masonic Lodge was something I never expected that other Masons could get away with. They may have done this to him but I believe the bad karma will eventually come back on them- the cowardice and malice they showed Mike is yet an example that evil and corruption exists in the least expected places. No, the Lodge never voted Mike McCabe back in, but he will always be a good standing Mason and person in my eyes and in the eyes of many who knew him. God bless, Mike, Rest in Peace, my brother.

Mike McCabe

McCabe was expelled from the Grand Lodge of New Jersey on very minor infractions that did not live up to the severity of unmasonic conduct. He also wrote an expose of his Grand Lodge for pulling the charter of his Lodge, Trimble Lodge, after a vote did not go the way the Grand Master wanted. McCabe claimed that the Grand Lodge confiscated the well-endowed funds of Trimble Lodge to bolster its own shortcomings.

McCabe sought a new trial and/or reinstatement claiming the Grand Lodge did not follow its own Constitution, By-Laws and rules and regulations. He never received one, but he never lost his faith in the Craft which he served so well. His many accomplishments in Freemasonry will live on forever and his legacy as a Freemason will shine brightly as a path to emulate.

” I would like to leave you with this thought: The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells, on the sand. The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land. The music stops, and yet — it echoes on in sweet refrains. For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.” (quoted from here).


Reports That The Grand Lodge Of New Jersey Continues To Abuse Its Membership

New Jersey Map

The Lone Ranger writes about the continued abuse of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey. He and his deputies must remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.

It’s a sad day when a number of Masons within a Grand Lodge must go underground to protect themselves.

What gives Super Authority to the Grand Master of New Jersey is a much disputed Landmark which is New Jersey’s Landmark #3 as written in its Constitution. You can see a printout of this below.  See also New Jersey Landmark #7. These Landmarks give the Grand Master absolute dictatorial power to do whatever he wants as long as it doesn’t violate another Landmark. It gives him the power to ignore or overrule any of the by-laws, rules and regulations of the Grand Lodge. What this translates out to is tyranny and abuse of power, whereby Masons live in the threat of being expelled and Lodges live in the fear of being closed if the Grand Master’s orders are not being followed.

GL NJ Proceedings

The following is a newsletter that The Lone Ranger has recently sent out titled IN GOD IS OUR TRUST‏:



The Star Spangled Banner (4th stanza)


My Brother:

We now have over 3,600 Deputy Rangers. Thank you for your continuing interest and unflagging loyalty.  Recently, many of you have written to ask why we are crusading against the Elected Line for the removal of the illegitimate Landmarks 3 and 7 and the restoration of Warren Lodge #13’s Warrant and the restoration of the illegally suspended and/or expelled masons from around the State.

Star Spangled Banner

You might have seen the edicts issued by our new Grand Master. He has re-arrested the warrant of Warren Lodge, in an effort to deprive its members of their building, continuing the unmasonic, and expensive lawsuit against the Masonic Temple Association of Belivdere (Warren Lodge) and has continued the illegal suspensions and expulsion of brothers who have not been given their U.S. Constitutional right and Grand Lodge Constitutional right to a trial. It appears that he is now joined the  “Gang of Four”, now to be known as the “Gang of Five”.

We have been fighting this fight since 2014 and realized that most of you were not “Deputized” when we began, so we are going to review how this travesty has come to be.

The crux of the problem goes back to 1903. The Grand Master had put together the “Wallis Committee”. It was made up of Past Grand Masters who INVENTED Landmarks 3 and 7. You need to know that these so-called landmarks appear nowhere else in any list of Landmarks, recognized or not, anywhere else in the world. To be real Landmarks they have to be of ancient origin, universally recognized and absolutely irrevocable.

They were inserted in the Committee’s report in an attempt to seize absolute power for the future Grand Masters. They would give him the power to do whatever he wanted to do, to disregard the Constitution and By-Laws at will, and to never be held responsible for any of his actions.

In 1903 M.W. Brother Ewan moved that the report of this Committee be received and spread in the proceedings of the Grand Lodge, just as any other report.  There never was a vote to accept them and that was for one obvious reason.

I ask you, if you were a Past Master, Master or Warden, would you have voted to give the future Grand Masters the powers of an ABSOLUTE DICTATOR? Of course you would never do it. Obviously, that Grand Master realized it would never go anywhere and he wisely did not call for a ratification vote.

For the next 111 years Landmarks 3 & 7, hereafter referred to as “unlandmarks”, were not abused and caused no problems, with one exception that will be reviewed in a future newsletter. In 2012, less than Grand Master Glenn R. Trautmann started the persecution of the brethren of Warren Lodge because one of his cronies did not like the results of that lodge’s election. He vacated the legal election of the lodge and suspended and/or expelled some of the membership without the trial that is guaranteed by our Constitution. In 2013, less than Grand Master Dorworth, hereafter referred to as “Dorworthless,” arrested the warrant of Warren Lodge and filed a lawsuit that is aimed at the confiscation of the Masonic Temple Association of Belvidere’s property and funds. ((a recognized, legal New Jersey Corporation) This lawsuit was continued by less than grand masters Sharpe, Montuori, and yes, our new less than grand master Kaulfers (shame on you).

Let’s look at the history of Masonic Landmarks:

In 1858, Albert G. Mackey, the foremost Masonic writer of his day, was the first to distinctly enumerate the landmarks of Freemasonry. His “An Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry and Its Kindred Sciences”, published in 1874, lists the 25 Landmarks of Freemasonry. This and other Mackey books became and have continued to be, the recognized authority.

Our current Elected Line and it’s smarmy, subservient legal counsel, better known as the “Evil Legal Beagles”, falsely claim that the powers given to the Grand Master in New Jersey Landmarks 3 and 7 are legitimate because they have existed since 1903. How lame can they get? They can’t even provide any proof of any kind or type showing that these Landmarks were ever voted on, either singly or in their entirety, during the 1903 Grand Lodge Annual Communication. They claim the were voted on in less than past grand Master’s Sharpe’s Annual Communication, but if you were there, you know that was a joke, as he had his “henchmen” walking around the Grand Lodge taking names of anyone who opposed his arrogant rant on the Lone Ranger and his Deputies, and then proceeded to ask that those who agreed with him please stand.You know that there was no discussion and that was NOT a vote. Oh, yes, didn’t the report that less than past grand Master Sharpe had his Grand Historian, Grand Instructor and “Evil Legal Beagle” contrive state that Landmarks could not be voted on, because anything that can be voted in, can be repealed?

They are five spoiled little boys who claim that their fairy godfather gave them special dispensation to do whatever they want to do with or without their parent’s permission. It is nothing less than a naked power grab. In the past they would have gotten away with this abuse because there was no way for us to find out what they were up to. More importantly, there was no way for those of us who had learned what was going on to exposed their abusive disregard of our Constitution. It is the INTERNET that has made all of this possible. The Internet is their second worst nightmare; we are their first.

They have used this lie to usurp sweeping powers to disregard any and all parts of our Constitution. In recent years many brethren have been suspended and expelled without the due process as put forth in our Constitution. Warren Lodge is still under attack by our Grand Lodge. Will you be next? Will your lodge be next?

Just because this mistake has existed for the past 111 years there is no reason, real or imagined, to perpetuate this disgusting abuse of illegitimate powers.

Nowhere in Mackey’s or any other publication on landmarks is the Grand Master given the powers that are enumerated in New Jersey’s so-called Landmarks 3 and 7 as stated in 1903 Wallis Committee’s Landmark Report. It just is not true. As you will read below, the Grand Master’s powers are clearly limited to the recognized landmarks 5,6,7 & 8. 

The 1903 Annual Communication would never have adopted these landmarks because they are in direct violation of Landmark 25 (reproduced in its entirety for you to see the truth):

The last and crowning landmark of all is, that these landmarks can never be changed. Nothing can be subtracted from them – nothing can be added to them – not the slightest modification can be made in them. As they were received from our predecessors, we are bound by the most solemn obligations of duty to transmit them to our successors. Not one jot or one tittle of these unwritten laws can be repealed; for, in the respect to them, we are not only willing but compelled to adopt the language of the sturdy old barons of England, “Nolumus leges mutari.” (English translation: “We do not want the laws to be changed.”)

The time has come to demand our Grand Lodge to correct this grievous situation. If the Grand Master and the Elected Line still wants these so-called unLandmark Powers, then they must prove how they can be considered as they are not listed anywhere else or recognized by any Grand Lodge anywhere in the world.

New Jersey Grand Masonic Temple
New Jersey Grand Masonic Temple

The other 24 Landmarks are enumerated herein. They are reproduced in their entirety as they were originally published in 1858 (1924 edition) in the attached file:

  1. The modes of recognition are, of all the landmarks, the most legitimate and unquestioned…
  2. The division of symbolic Masonry into three degrees is a landmark that has been better preserved than almost any other…
  3. The legend of the third degree is an important landmark, the integrity of which has been well preserved…
  4. The government of the Fraternity by a presiding officer called a Grand Master
  5. The prerogative of the Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the Craft…
  6. The prerogative of the Grand Master to grant dispensations of conferring degrees at irregular times….
  7. The prerogative of the Grand Master to grant dispensations give dispensations for opening and holding Lodges…
  8. The prerogative of the Grand Master to make Masons at sight…
  9. The necessity of Masons to congregate in Lodges…
  10. The government of the Craft, when so congregated in a Lodge, by a Master and two Wardens…
  11. The necessity of every Lodge, when congregated, should be duly tiled…
  12. The right of every Mason to be represented in all general meetings of the Craft…
  13. The right of every Mason to appeal from the decision of his brethren, in the Lodge convened, to the Grand Lodge or General Assembly of Masons…
  14. The right of every Mason to visit and sit in every regular Lodge…
  15. It is a landmark of the Order, that no visitor unknown to the brethren present, or to some one of them as a Mason, can enter a Lodge without first passing an examination according to ancient usage…
  16. No Lodge can interfere in the business of another Lodge or give degrees to brethren who are members of other Lodges.
  17. It is a landmark that every Freemason is amenable to the laws and regulations of the Masonic jurisdiction in which he resides and this although he may not be a member of any Lodge.
  18. Certain qualifications of candidates for initiation are derived from a landmark of the Order…
  19. A belief in the existence of God as the Grand Master of the Universe….
  20. Subsidiary to this belief in God, as a landmark of the Order, is the belief in a resurrection to a future life…
  21. It is a landmark that a “Book of the Law” shall constitute an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge.
  22. The equality of all Masons is another landmark of the Order.
  23. The secrecy of the Institution is another and most important landmark…
  24. The foundation of a speculative science upon an operative art…

Now that you know the truth. There are two more topics that will be reviewed for you in future newsletters. The first is the truth about the continuing persecution of Warren Lodge #13. In the meantime, think about these questions:

  • Have you wondered just how much of our money has been spent on this lawsuit?
  • Was the money for the lawsuit or the suit itself authorized by the members of Grand Lodge at any emergent or annual communication?
  • Grand Lodge has to have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000, yet there is no accounting for it in any budget Grand Lodge has faked in the past 4 years. Maybe it is time for a real audit?
Lone Ranger

The second and latest in Elected line abuse of powers is the secret creation of the now infamous Grand Lodge of NJ Ashlar Fund, Inc. Again, we ask:

  • Did you vote for its creation?
  • How much was Acacia Lumberton Manor actually sold for?
  •      Where is the money invested?
  • How much interest has it earned?
  • Have you seen an audit?
  • Do you really believe it cost $75,000.00 to set up that corporation?

Thanks to the Internet and a small group of dedicated Deputy Rangers, the Elected Line and their sniveling underlings are no longer to do whatever they want to do without us learning of their dirty deeds. We will keep you informed.

Grand Master, we are watching every move you make; you cannot hide

Sincerely and fraternally,

Philo Publius

Mainstream Dichotomy


The ramifications of the Florida Masonic religious ban reach far beyond the borders of Florida which we will point out momentarily. But first it is worthy to note that other gross violations of Masonic conduct by Florida Brethren have existed for years without any disapproval or reprimand outside the Sunshine State.

For years I have heard of stories of how African American Mainstream Masons from New York (and elsewhere) who were snowbirds spending 6 months of their year in Florida were treated. The Beehive has recently consulted with three Florida Past Masters to verify this practice and ask if it was still in force.

When a “Black Man” appeared at a Florida Lodge for visitation carrying fully accredited papers and knowledge from another Mainstream jurisdiction, the Florida Lodge would refuse to open or if already opened would immediately close. The “Black Man” would then be admitted inside the Lodge room where some explanation for this procedure would be offered by the Master, such as the candidate failed to show up tonight so we have cancelled the degree work. Then a Past Master would rise to give a Masonic education lecture. The Lodge remained closed as long as the “Black Man” remained in the building. The information I have received and verified through three Florida Past Masters is still going on and is the unwritten policy of the Grand Lodge that no man of color ever be allowed into a Florida Mainstream tyled Communication, certified Mainstream Master Mason or not.

To the best knowledge of this author no Grand Lodge or Grand Master in the rest of the American jurisdictions has ever publicly scolded or criticized this Florida practice even though it is widely known to be going on.

So what hope do we have that any other jurisdiction will take any action against Florida’s latest religious ban? But they should.

Suppose you are a Vermont Freemason and a Wiccan who wants to visit a Florida Lodge while on vacation. Chances are good that you will be denied admission. Suppose that you are a Vermont Freemason and your job transfers you to Florida. So you join your new Grand Lodge and demit from your old one. You happen to be an Odinist ignorant of the recent Florida religious ruling. Now the Grand Lodge of Florida will expel you and under the good old boys mutual agreement to honor all things another jurisdiction does, Vermont will not let you be reinstated there. You are now on the outside looking in.

But how will Florida know what your religion is, you ask? That’s easy. The good old boys network has established the rule in most American Grand Lodges that before embarking outside your jurisdiction you must first receive the permission from your Grand Lodge who will contact the Jurisdiction you are going to for you. Now when it happens that you are going to a regressive, tyrannical regime like Florida, West Virginia, Arkansas and others the Grand Secretary there will ask the visiting Brothers skin color and his religion. If you think Freemasonry is Universal, think again. Maybe in other parts of the world but not here.

While Grand Masters across the nation may be keeping their mouths shut rank and file Brethren are not. Some objectors have set up a Masonic Landmark Restoration Community Facebook Page  – and here is a letter being circulated from that site that pretty much explains the problem:

On November 28, 2012, the Grand Master of Florida, the Most Worshipful Grand Master Jorge Aladro issued a Ruling and Decree stating that participation in alternative religious belief systems, “primarily Paganism, Wiccan and Odinism, and secondarily Agnosticism and Gnosticism” were not compatible with Freemasonry.

This ruling, known as Ruling and Decision No. 3, further states that any Freemason “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”.

As Freemasons, we are not defined by our religious or spiritual practices; rather, we are defined by our character and our work. While spiritual beliefs may augment or act as a catalyst in our path as men and Freemasons, it is ultimately an inner voice that guides us on our quest towards improvement and self mastery. That inner voice is an expression of the Divine, which we, as Freemasons, recognize and accept as such. Without belief we can never be Freemasons, as our very institution demands it in both written and spoken word. As Dr. Mackey stated so eloquently in the NINETEENTH Landmark;

“A belief in the existence of God as the GRAND ARCHITECT of the universe, is one of the most important Landmarks of the Order. It has been always deemed essential that a denial of the existence of a Supreme and Superintending Power, is an absolute disqualification for initiation. The annals of the Order never yet have furnished or could furnish an instance in which an avowed atheist was ever made a Mason. The very Initiatory ceremonies of the first degree forbid and prevent the possibility of so monstrous an occurrence.”

We also recognize that God has many names and is worshiped in many ways. The Masonic Institution is not a religion; however, it expects each Brother to follow his own faith. Furthermore, the Masonic Institution imparts that the method of worship is sacred to each individual and ought never be judged or constrained by others, most especially a Brother Mason. Finally, belief in God ought never be confused with methods of worship. The religions and spiritual practices identified as “incompatible with Freemasonry” in Ruling and Decision No. 3 all demand belief in a Supreme Power; which in turn satisfies this most important Landmark.

At this point, you may be asking why a Freemason from the Grand Lodge of Vermont is so concerned with the affairs of another Grand Lodge. There are a number of reasons for this and I would like to outline some of them here:

– In the “Ceremony of Recognition of the Flag” we are reminded that we “worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience” because of the freedoms accorded to us, which are exemplified by our National Colors. Ruling and Decision No. 3 violates the Masonic spirit of religious tolerance as it’s celebrated in this Ceremony. If left unchallenged, this poses a moral dilemma for all established Free and Accepted Masonic Lodges in the United States. This country was founded on religious freedom and many of the builders of our country were Freemasons who understood firsthand the tyranny of religious preferences.

– In the Middle Chamber Lecture, we are taught about the universality of Masonry. We may have jurisdictional boundaries, but we are all Brothers nonetheless. Therefore, when we see that a Brother is in distress, it is our duty to help. At least two Florida Freemasons have, with great reluctance and deep regret, turned in their dues cards and resigned from Masonry by Order of the Grand Master of Florida, in accordance with Ruling and Decision No. 3. Theirs is a deep sense of abandonment and sadness after having successfully petitioned for admission; been accepted by unanimous ballot; and been regularly initiated into our Fraternity. They not only passed the requirements as specified in the NINETEENTH Landmark; they were also open when pressed on their religious and spiritual pursuits, despite the fact that established protocols dealing with religious tolerance prohibited that type of questioning. These distressed Brothers are blameless and have been unjustly removed from a fraternity that they still desire to remain a part of.

– Vermont Brethren are guaranteed by the FOURTEENTH Landmark the right to sit in all regular Lodges when sojourning out of State. For any Vermont Brother who subscribes to any of the prohibited religions or beliefs, he may find himself turned away from Lodges that fall under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Florida. This also jeopardizes relocating Brothers with similarly prohibited religious or spiritual beliefs. Though they may have dedicated their lives in service to the Craft in Vermont; they will have their petitions rejected by the Grand Lodge of Florida for their “incompatible” religious beliefs.

The TWENTY-FIFTH Landmark of Freemasonry demands that ALL Masonic Landmarks remain inviolate; that no one may add, subtract or modify in them in the slightest. Ruling and Decision No. 3 has indeed modified them by adding a religious qualifier that excludes men from the Fraternity – including previously raised Master Masons. This is in direct violation of the spirit and letter of these Landmarks. Interestingly enough, the Grand Lodge of Florida published following passage in the official publication titled, “Booklet No. 1: The Lodge System of Masonic Education”:

“To the same effect is the ancient law forbidding that a candidate or Brother shall be questioned as to his particular mode of religious faith and also that no sectarian matters shall intrude within a Lodge. Just as it would mean the ultimate destruction of Freemasonry if it were to make itself over into the hands of a political party, so would it mean its death sooner or later to surrender itself to one particular religious Faith or belief.”

In summary, the act of qualifying religious beliefs as a prerequisite to petition for membership, or, remain a member of the Grand Lodge of Florida puts the Grand Lodge of Florida in a state that is incompatible with the principles and Landmarks of Regular Free and Accepted Masonic jurisdictions in the United States.

It is my hope that the Grand Lodge of Vermont can assist our Brothers in Florida by petitioning the Grand Master of Florida to reconsider and repeal Ruling and Decision No. 3.

Should this petition go unheeded by the Grand Master of Florida, then I respectfully request that the Grand Lodge of Vermont withdraw Official Recognition of the Grand Lodge of Florida, as their modifications on the Landmarks of Freemasonry puts them into a branch of Freemasonry that is fundamentally different than all established Regular Free and Accepted Masonic Grand Lodges in the United States.

Thank you for taking the time to read this note.

With every best regard, I remain,

Brother Joseph Netzel
Worshipful Master
Friendship Lodge #24 F & AM
Charlotte, Vermont.

Florida Mason Bro. Mark E. Kolitko-Rivera on his Masonic Blog  – Freemasonry: Reality, Myth, and Legend™

-has written a resolution that he will present to the next Florida Grand Session for repeal of Rule No 3. I hate to burst his bubble but the Grand Master is not going to allow that to get to the floor of a Grand Lodge Session.

But this brings out a larger overriding issue that The Beehive has been trumpeting for years now. And this is how can you have two totally different types of Freemasonry under one roof (Mainstream) in the same country? We have the progressive, philosophical Grand Lodges of The North and West versus the regressive, tyrannical Grand Lodges of the South and East. They are so radically different that one could say the other is not really practicing Freemasonry. You do not find this dichotomy in England or Canada or Australia nor even in Prince Hall here in the States. If you travel across Canada from British Columbia to Nova Scotia you will find that Freemasonry is just about the same wherever you go even though its ritual may differ. But a Mainstream Mason from California would be shocked at the way Masonry is practiced in West Virginia and a Mason in Arkansas would be shocked at the way Masonry is practiced in New York.

We have a big problem in American Freemasonry, namely racial and religious bigotry within the Fraternity. And the sad part is that nobody within Mainstream wants to do anything about it. They all cling to the tradition of not messing with somebody else’s business. Whatever another jurisdiction does it’s not for me to meddle with, they say. But it is. What one jurisdiction does reflects on the whole fraternity and right now a few Confederate Freemasons are giving Masonry a black eye. They are ruining it for everybody.

The Beehive calls this “States Rights Freemasonry.” Civilly States Rights as it applies to civil rights and basic human rights was over ridden by federal power when President Eisenhower sent troops into Little Rock. Then that “new way of thinking” was augmented by the work of Martin Luther King.

Perhaps today Mainstream American Freemasonry needs its own Eisenhower and Martin Luther King, men bold enough to initiate the change needed and damn all the rules and regulations that prohibit it.

Freemasonry wherever it exists in the United States, no matter the Obedience, has no right to abridge the Civil Rights and the First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution of its members.

There are a couple of solutions here that would not be hard to do. First any Progressive Grand Lodge that feels that another jurisdiction has violated the principles of Freemasonry and is practicing rogue or bogus Masonry can remove recognition of that jurisdiction. All it takes is some intestinal fortitude.

The second solution is one that addresses the seriously fractured operations of U.S. Freemasonry. While Canada has 10 Grand Lodges for its entire country the United States has 51. This opens our highly mobile society in the Information Age to too many fiefdoms of often feudal power making American Freemasonry indefinable.  There is no oneness, sameness or cohesiveness to it, no universality. Not even the Landmarks are uniform in Mainstream U.S. Freemasonry. There is no such thing as American Freemasonry. And that doesn’t cut it for this high tech, highly mobile, diverse, multicultural, giant of a nation we have become.

It would solve a lot of problems if Mainstream Masonry in the United States were to adopt some common structure, rules and practices. A National Constitution could accomplish these ends without giving up state sovereignty.

Many a Mason across the nation has been heard to lament that nothing seems to get done. Problems are being recognized and solutions offered but reforms never get passed. Meantime correctable situations go from bad to worse. The reason for this can be traced to the basic flaw in most jurisdictions of having just one year terms for Grand Masters. Grand Lodge officers spend years campaigning to get in line and then when they finally reach the pinnacle of power they become a lame duck leader 6 months after taking office. There is not enough continuity to institute any long range planning. There are too many struggles for political power and not enough programs for long term development. Becoming Grand Master becomes a feather in one’s cap, a prestigious accomplishment of honor and power, a badge to proudly display but not a means for long lasting good government.

Lodges with one year terms for Grand Masters tend to be governed by a cadre of Past Grand Masters. That’s where the real power lies. It is these leaders that choose the next Grand Master or the next entry into a progressive line.

The Beehive recommends that those Masons who are members of tyrannical, rogue Grand Lodges should add a dual membership with another Grand Lodge in the nation, preferably a progressive and enlightened Grand Lodge. Vermont would be a good choice, but there are others. In this manner Masons might be able to shield themselves from arbitrary expulsion at the whim of Grand Masters. Those Brethren in Arkansas, West Virginia, Florida and other Confederate Masonry need to have protection from their Grand Lodges. Dual or plural membership would be that safety valve although there is no guarantee that if your primary Grand Lodge expels you that your secondary Grand Lodge would not follow suit. But if the expulsion was not an egregious offense but rather a tyrannical excuse lacking merit, then it is hard to believe that a “fallback” Grand Lodge would do the same.

One thing is for sure, if Mainstream Masonry continues down the road it is going without making some major reforms it will self destruct. Many jurisdictions have only half the membership they had 20 years ago. American Freemasonry is wounded, bleeding and suffering. If it doesn’t swallow some medicine soon it will shrivel up and die, the remnants being only an idea on the Internet.

American Freemasonry would do well to heed the words of Abraham Lincoln.

June 16, 1858

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.

We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.

Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.

In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

American Mainstream Freemasonry must choose one way or the other. Will it be the White only, Christian only Freemasonry of the South and East or will it be the enlightened, progressive acceptance of diversity and universality of the North and West? Will it be Grand Masters who follow their Constitutions and open their Grand Lodges to shared government by consensus or will it be a Grand Lodge where the Grand Master is Pope and dictator who can thumb his nose at his Constitutions?

A Masonic House divided against itself cannot stand.

Sometimes in life you have to think outside the box no matter how long it has always been done one particular way.

Mike McCabe Versus The Grand Lodge Of New Jersey – Part 2

One might be inclined to ask why Mike McCabe is being so persistent in trying to get an appeal for his case, an appeal the Grand Lodge of New Jersey is trying to stonewall?  Why doesn’t he just let it go?

Read Part 1, and Part 3.

McCabe tells us:

“I once sat in a Camden County courtroom and heard the attorney representing the Grand Lodge successfully argue that neither a Masonic Lodge nor the members of a New Jersey Masonic Lodge were entitled to be treated fundamentally fair by the Grand Lodge. I sat there and wondered what type of organization had I devoted 20 plus years of my life to, to find out that is how they view me? No Brother I know ever knocked on the inner door, expecting to be treated as a second class citizen.”

Another good reason would be the actions of his Grand Master in regards to his Lodge, Trimble Lodge. That Grand Master forced the three Lodges which met in the same building (worth several million dollars and co-equally owned) to merge. Trimble Lodge was one of the three and was very well endowed thanks to the generosity of several of its deceased members.

Each of the Lodges held meetings and votes were taken. The members of Trimble Lodge and one of the other Lodges voted overwhelmingly against the forced consolidation.  After the results of Trimble’s vote was announced, 49-2 against the proposal, the District Deputy acting under the instructions of the then Grand Master, walked up to the East, picked up the Lodge’s Charter and stated that Trimble Lodge was closed.

He left with the charter while the meeting was still in progress.

McCabe then provides us with an explanation of why he thinks that the Grand Lodge of New Jersey is out of control.

On December 1, 2004, Trimble Lodge went to court to obtain an injunction against the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge to prevent this forced merger.  This legal action was only taken as an act of last resort, so as to permit the affected lodges the time needed to attempt an amicable resolution of the underlying issues with some members of Ionic Lodge (and Grand Lodge).  It would have also afford those lodges the time needed to present the another side to these issues at the appropriate Grand Lodge forum, where actual facts could be presented and hearsay, distortions and misrepresentations could be refuted.

During the course of the court hearing, the presiding judge asked the attorney representing Grand Lodge a question something along the lines of Is a Masonic lodge entitled to be treated fundamentally fair (by either the Grand Lodge or Grand Master)? The Grand Lodge attorney’s reply was NO. The judged then asked If the members of a Masonic lodge were entitled to be treated fundamentally fair? The Grand Lodge’s attorney responded that the members of a Masonic Lodge “Are not entitled to be treated fundamentally fair”.

As to the motivation of New Jersey Grand Lodge in acting this way it could be pointed out that the Grand Lodge had committed itself to donating a significant amount of money towards the upkeep of the Battleship USS New Jersey of which Grand Master Ryan is a Trustee) Also it appears that the Grand Lodge was taking heavy losses in its various financial investments.  It could be speculated that Trimble Lodge’s money was Grand Lodge’s financial bailout.

One thing was for sure, the fact that the Grand Master over ruled the votes taken by the Lodges and mandated a merger by edict requiring all Lodges to turn in their Charters with one new Charter granted for the creation of a new Lodge also contributed to McCabe’s persistence in battling Grand Lodge.  Once again he tells us:

“An American’s most precious Civil Right is the right to vote and the right to have the results of that vote recognized, regardless of the final outcome.”

Keeping all this in mind, McCabe started to do some deep digging which has continued after his expulsion. And what he found explains how the Grand Lodge of New Jersey can get away with acting as it does.

He found that in 1902 the Grand Lodge of New Jersey’s committee on Masonic Jurisprudence (the Wallis Committee) was charged with identifying “the ancient landmarks of Masonry” and reporting “what those landmarks are, as applicable to the Masonic law of New Jersey”. The Wallis Committee submitted a report that borrowed from MacKey’s 25 landmarks, ignoring some and combining others. It submitted 10 Landmarks for consideration by the Grand Lodge, one of which was entirely new and not found elsewhere in Masonic tradition. Landmark No. 3 stated:

“The Grand Master…may suspend, at his pleasure, the operation of any rule or regulation of Masonry not a ‘landmark’…suspend the installed officers of any Lodge, and reinstate them at his pleasure, and is not answerable for his acts as Grand Master.”

In one stroke of the pen the Wallis Report vastly expanded the scope of a Grand Master’s authority while at the same time making much of the Grand Constitution worthless, null and void. Nowhere in the entire text of Mackey’s seminal work, “The Landmarks, Or The Unwritten Law,” or in his complete 25 Landmarks, is any language found that remotely suggests that a Grand Master has that type of unrestricted authority granted by the “Landmarks.” Nor can one find this Landmark in any other Grand Lodge in the United States.

The acceptance of a Landmark should not be taken lightly. For something to be a Landmark it must me universal and have existed since time immemorial. Something dreamed up in 1903 to increase the power of Grand Masters does not meet the criterion of being a Landmark.

Sometime after 1903 these 10 Landmarks were inserted into the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey and for any number of years Grand Masters have used Landmark No. 3 to do whatever they wanted and to rule and govern in whatever manner they so desired.

Application of Landmark No. 3 over rules provisions in the Grand Constitution that were there long before it was.

“The Grand Lodge shall have power…to make all by-laws, rules and regulations not inconsistent with this Constitution.’ (Section 2-18).

“A Lodge cannot deprive a Brother of his Civil rights.” (Section 29-27).

But Landmark No. 3 is inconsistent with the Constitution and does deprive Brethren of their Civil Rights.

How is this Landmark reconciled with the General Regulation?: “You admit that it is not in the power of any Man or Body of any Men to make innovations in the body of Masonry.”

grand-lodge_of_new-jersey-2It can’t and it has increasingly been used to deny due process, suspend or expel members at will, and overturn the results of votes taken by the Brethren.

McCabe remarks, “That one important issue that has been completely ignored is the primary purpose for any Constitution.  That is to limit or restrain arbitrary authority.  Landmark No. 3 eliminates that restraint.”

In 1983 Past Grand Master Rutledge, an attorney, was brought up on charges of theft, tried and found guilty at his local Lodge. However, the Grand Lodge stepped in and said that a local Lodge cannot decide the punishment process in the case of a Past Grand Master, and moved the penalty sentencing phase to the Grand Lodge level. Rutledge objected and took his case to the civil courts, all the way to the New Jersey Supreme Court. On May 10, 1983 the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in Rutledge v. Gulian that “Landmark 3 explicitly authorizes the Grand Master to intermit any rule or regulation other than a Landmark.”

The court’s precedent setting ruling, upheld both the primacy of New Jersey’s 10 Landmarks, and the Grand Master’s authority in dealing with the organization’s internal controversies.

If that was the end of the story it would be bad enough and perhaps prompt us to suggest that the Brethren of New Jersey meeting in Grand Session should change their Constitution. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish with a Grand Master who rules with an iron fist and who has the power to overrule and negate any votes taken by the Brethren.

But that is not the end of the story. McCabe dug deeper and he found New Jersey Grand Lodge’s dirty little secret.

In July of 1983, only two months after this Supreme Court case had been decided, the Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA) published its revised Sixth Edition of Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry – As Adopted, Followed or Undecided by the Fifty-One Grand Lodges of the United States.

New Jersey’s then Grand Secretary supplied the information to MSANA and McCabe checked with Richard Fletcher, director of MSANA, to ascertain that no additional information had been added since 1983 nor any revisions made. After listing New Jersey’s 10 Landmarks the Grand Secretary of New Jersey added this note:

“Our records from 1903 show that the report of the Committee was received and adopted, but nothing in the report recommends that adoption of the ten Landmarks reported. We have adhered to them even though there was no official acceptance by the Grand Lodge.”

So New Jersey’s 10 Landmarks including Landmark No. 3 were never voted on and thus were never legally accepted by a majority vote of the members of the Grand Lodge meeting in Grand Session as required by its Constitution. They were just inserted into the Constitution without approval.

Section 2-23 of the Grand Lodge’s Constitution stipulates that “no alteration or addition shall be made to this Constitution unless proposed in writing, and supported by representatives of five Lodges: and a fair copy thereof, certified by the Grand Secretary, shall be forwarded to all the Lodges under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge for their consideration, until its next annual communication, and such proposed alteration or addition shall not take effect unless there shall be thereof the votes of two-thirds of the members present.”

Ancient_LandmarksConsidering that the MSANA probably took a number of months to compile the data for its publication it is fair to say that the Grand Lodge of New Jersey knew that its 10 Landmarks were not legally adopted while the New Jersey Supreme Court was hearing Rutledge v. Gulian and which was decided favorably for the Grand Lodge of New Jersey based on the validity of Landmark No.3.

McCabe put it this way, “The funny thing is that the Rutledge decision was handed down only a couple of months before the MSANA pamphlet was published (The Grand Secretary along with the elected Grand Line were defendants). I believe that this information would have (could have) changed the entire outcome of the decision had the court known the information divulged in the MSANA Publication 2 or 3 months later.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

A Masonic Bill of Rights

What do you think? Leave your comment at the end of this post.

bill of rights

When you enter the Masonic fraternity you tend to take a lot for granted. For example, that your Lodge will operate like other nonprofit institutions you are familiar with or the general laws and rules of the country and state where you reside. Interestingly, it doesn’t and, instead, marches to its own unique drummer. Aside from the obligations you take as a Mason, you are really not cognizant of the mechanisms of the fraternity or what you are entitled to. This caused me a couple of years ago to start seeking a “Bill of Rights” for the individual Mason. Remarkably, you don’t find very much in this regards. There is of course the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry, but this is more geared towards the administration of the Grand Lodge system. Masonic law differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but it too primarily addresses the workings of the Grand Lodge. But finding a listing of the fundamental rights we should all enjoy as individual Master Masons is another matter altogether. To this end, I have assembled an initial list of rights. I began by examining the U.S. Bill of Rights as well as other comparable documents. I then reviewed drafts of my proposed rights with other Masons whom I respect.

Below is my final draft of the rights all Master Masons in good standing should enjoy.

Masonic Bill of Rights

  1. Freedom of speech. The right for recognized Master Masons to assemble and discuss subjects pertaining to the fraternity in general, and the right of recognized Master Masons belonging to a specific jurisdiction to assemble and discuss subjects pertaining to their governing Masonic body. This includes the drafting and debating of legislation pertaining to the Master Mason’s Craft Lodge and governing Masonic body. Such discourse should be done respectfully and not violate Masonic obligations.
  2. Universal treatment. The right to be treated with equal courtesy and dignity as other members of the Lodge, whether at home or as a visitor, with friendship, morality, and brotherly love. This includes being treated fairly, honestly, respectfully, and helpfully by Masonic brothers and act as such in return; to offer wise counsel to Brothers when needed, and accept such in return; and to promote trust and cooperation between brothers. To avoid discussions in Lodge regarding religion and politics which may disrupt the harmony of the Lodge. Master Masons respect the opinions and dignity of the individual.
  3. Freedom of information. The right to be made aware of the actions and activities of the governing Masonic body of which the Master Mason belongs. This includes full disclosure of financial accounting, the rules and regulations under which the Masonic body operates, all records pertaining to the individual Mason (his own records), the names and contact information of Lodge brothers, and a report on the general administration of the Masonic body.
  4. Freedom to participate. The right to attend all recognized Masonic meetings and related functions while adhering to proper Masonic decorum. To volunteer time and service in support of the Lodge, the community, and the world at large.
  5. Fair trial. In all Masonic prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy, fair and impartial trial, open to all recognized Master Masons, and judged by a jury of his Masonic peers. The accused will be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
  6. Right to vote. The right to vote and ballot on all pertinent issues related to the Master Mason’s Craft Lodge and governing Masonic body.
  7. Right to representation. The right to expect the elected officers of the Craft Lodge to represent the collective interests of its membership, and that the elected officers of the governing Masonic body to represent the collective interests of the Craft Lodges. In no event are the elected officers of the Craft Lodge to usurp the rights or misrepresent the Master Mason, and in no event are the elected officers of the governing Masonic body to usurp the rights or misrepresent the Craft Lodges.
  8. Right to seek further light. The right for a Master Mason to seek out and investigate the secrets, history, and workings of the Masonic Order and to share such knowledge with recognized Master Masons.

I have been over this list numerous times and have been very sensitive to the wording. Nonetheless, I am sure there is an omission I have undoubtedly overlooked or something requiring clarification or improvement. Consequently, I see this “Masonic Bill of Rights” as a work in progress and would welcome your suggestions for improving it.

This list alone should make for some interesting food for thought, particularly for our younger Brethren as they embark on their Masonic career.

Keep the Faith.

Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
This article is a reprint from its original posting on this site.
A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.

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Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.