Suriya and the Light of Freemasonry

This short piece comes from Sanjay Mandaiker on the heels of recent editorials on the differences and disputes between Freemasonry and Catholicism.  From those differences, he suggests another path of discovery and consideration from a far off tradition for most in Freemasonry.

I have noticed that some of our Brethren are not at ease with religion and Freemasonry, in my opinion this arises when one confuses religion with the religious institution that represents it, for all religions in their basis are much like Freemasonry sowing the path of spiritual development in the minds of the masses.

Suriya the Sun godSuriya the Sun god of the Hindus (सूर्य Sūrya, the Supreme Light) is depicted on a chariot drawn by seven horses; these steeds are interpreted as the seven days of the week.

To me it goes far beyond this shallow meaning, in most religions and for that matter Freemasonry, the Superior Being or God, is represented by light, so let’s say Suria or the Sun is that light.

Another common aspect between religions is that man was made in the image of God so what’s the difference? Let us say there is a prism in between us so on one side is light, “God”, on the other the rainbow, “Man”, represented by the seven horses that draw the chariot, and the seven colors of the rainbow.

Based on this presumption let us assume the different colors are also different religions or paths that lead to the “Light” or “God”. Say your path is green (chosen simply because as it is in the center) and you are far away from the prism, the color you will notice is blurred, this signifies one does not understand one’s own path because of its width. Even while looking at it from the horizon we see only green because of this we assume it is the only path that exists and can become fanatical about following this path. As we start progressing on our journey towards the Light the color gets clearer (better understanding) but also narrower and we start to perceive a tinge of blue on one horizon and yellow on the other, continuing we find that to stay on our path one foot is in the blue the other in the yellow, yet the colors become more and more distinct, till finally we tread on all seven now narrow to a point and keeping their clarity merge back through the prism to become Light.

Is this not the reason we should not tolerate but respect our differences, is this not what all religion and Freemasonry are based on and therefore brethren let us individually merge our personal beliefs. Sharing ones thoughts via freemasonry could be a better use of this truth, compared to simply wondering how our religious intuition will judge us. If it works for you it’s good, it’s as simple as that to me. Maybe truth is a more appropriate word to describe this convergence of spiritual paths.

Sanjay MandaikerSanjay Mandaiker, (Master Mason Lodge Universal Charity 273, Royal Arch Mason, Mark Mason, Secret Monitor, and 18th degree India Rose Cross) has been a tour guide based in India for over 20 years. He combines his extensive knowledge of Hinduism with Masonry to bring a truly unique traveling experience for masons and non masons alike. For masons recognized by the UGLE visits to a Lodge will also be included. Esoteric Travels allows you to be led through India by a brother.

Our Intolerant Society

Freemasonry is one of the most misunderstood institutions on the planet. It is not a religion, charity, political action committee or cult. It is simply the original fraternity whereby members congregate to enjoy friendship, morality and brotherly love. Despite this, people are suspicious about their motives and have accused the Masons of everything from starting World War I to the Kennedy assassination. No, they are not trying to secretly commandeer government. Heck, they have trouble organizing a picnic, let alone the world. Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret, but before I do, you should understand in order to join the Masons you must possess a belief in Deity (in a Supreme Being). Because of this, no atheist or agnostic can join the Masons. I have personally sat in Lodge with members representing every religious denomination imaginable, all enjoying peace and tranquility. Now for the secret: discussion about religion and politics is forbidden in a Masonic lodge. This is done in order to maintain the harmony of the Lodge.

It’s interesting to see what a little tolerance can do. Instead of squabbling over theological or ideological differences, Masons sit as brothers looking for ways to cooperate and understand each other. I’ve discovered a little tolerance can go a long way. It’s a pleasure to know men who are my political and religious opposites. You gain invaluable insight as to their interests and perspectives on life. We learn from each other. It’s actually quite refreshing to speak on the level without fear of retribution. The fraternity proves it is indeed possible to have civil and respectful discourse, but certain rules of decorum have to be observed.

Outside of the Lodge, there are no rules or decorum. In the real world of today, it has become commonplace to make scurrilous claims designed to attack the integrity of another. It wasn’t always like this though. Although we understood differences existed between ourselves, there wasn’t a public venue to comment. Thanks to the advent of easy-to-use social media, where a wide variety of disparate personalities and interests meet and pass public communiques, decorum and cordiality have been replaced with venom and hostility. People will say things in such venues they would never dare say face-to-face. Such discourse is changing our society and makes for heated arguments. Nobody is immune from this, including yours truly who has been duped into reacting upon having his nose tweaked. Even those of us who do not use social media are affected as they will undoubtedly encounter a person influenced by such technology.

Thanks to electronic communications, where we observe the thoughts of others, we have sharpened our personal sense of social and ideological right and wrong, thereby accelerating the rift between us. One side sees our country as half-empty, and the other half-full. To illustrate:

Liberals pound on conservative doctrine, and vice versa.

Atheists ridicule people over their religious beliefs.

Politicians spin lies and deceit against their opponents. Negative advertising is now the norm, not positive.

Gays argue with straights over lifestyle.

Our divisiveness is now in full bloom for all the world to see. Our common sense of right and wrong is cloudy at best and we no can longer agree what kind of country the United States should represent. Not surprising, one side or the other will not not be happy, which is why I worry about the fallout from the November elections. It is impossible to elude.

We have gone from respectful discourse to a society intolerant of the other person’s point-of-view, thanks in large part to technology. It’s too bad we cannot all sit in Lodge together and speak on the level.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director ofM&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Fred Milliken,Freemason Information,The Beehive

The Ultimate Masonic Lesson

Recently I had the joy of instructing a class of our newly raised Master Masons.

Going over “what’s in the book” is vitally important and we did that. But equally important is to teach what is not in the book, what is not part of the curriculum per se.

peace-dove-and-globe (1)

For me that means teaching the new recruits that Freemasonry is a non judgmental, non confrontational, tolerant, peace loving fraternity. That doesn’t mean that we will accept evil, immorality or injustice. What it does mean is that as Masons we need to refrain from criticizing another lifestyle, another culture that is legitimate and acceptable in the eyes of God.

Every Lodge room is a haven of peace where harmony prevails and where no harm should come to any Brother. Nor should any be subjected to racism, slander, cussing, berating or other vulgarities.

As Masons we check our guns at the door. We also check our argumentative attitudes, the chip we may have on our shoulder, the cause du jour we may be promoting and the path of immortality we may believe is the one and only true way.

That does not make us a bland, superficial society, however. We stand firmly by the religion common to all faiths. Freemasonry is not a religion but it does promote and instill in its members those tenets of morality common to all religions without prescribing a particular path. It also stands foursquare for justice. Just looking at the Four Cardinal Virtues – Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice should give anybody an insight into the character of Freemasonry. For this reason we talk about the Universality of Freemasonry.

This is the ideal of Freemasonry. Ideals sometimes get sidetracked. Such has been my criticism of some Southern Mainstream Freemasonry that blackballs African Americans, non Christians and foreign speaking people. Freemasonry was never organized to be an all White, Christian only, Protestant only, English speaking only, born in America society. It is inclusive of all peoples of good character who profess a Faith.

Practiced as it should be, Freemasonry brings together Brothers of different races, religions, creeds, cultures, economic circumstances and political persuasions all under one roof. It brings them together in the pursuit of truth, peace, justice and brotherly love and affection. It’s not what divides us that is important, it’s what we have in common as children of God, a God, however interpreted, who wants us to recognize the fact that we are all one and that in His eyes we are all His children, that is of the utmost importance.

The lessons of the Craft are not complete until we have instilled in each and every Brother that the Lodge is an oasis of peace, that harmony and accord are its modes of operation resulting in a universal society where we are all one.

Is Mainstream Masonry Primed For Another Morgan Affair?

The Deepening of Fraternal Intolerance & Autocracy

There is a disturbing trend that has come back into American life.  It is the return of INTOLERANCE. We can see it all across society in religious, political and fraternal settings.

In the religious realm I can think back to the post 911 prayer service held in Yankee stadium shortly after that terrorist attack. Religious leaders of various faiths, and within Christianity various denominations, gathered to lift up our concerns to the Almighty. The opening prayer was given by a Lutheran minister, Missouri Synod. The next day he was brought up on charges of excommunication by his church because he had participated with other faiths together on the same platform. This was considered a sin of religious pluralism, considering all faiths as equal.

Pope Benedict has slammed the door on a wink-wink disapproval of Freemasonry, going back to a full-fledged excommunication for Masonic Catholics.

In today’s society if you say the word God or display religious symbols you are accused of being offensive. Many Americans today believe that there is a right not to be offended. Yet what is offensive about another being different? Another person’s choice may not be my choice but I can certainly live with and even rejoice in celebration with other cultural, religious and political persuasions without feeling a need to eradicate them. Perhaps that is why I am a Mason.

If American society does not prohibit the open display of religious dress anywhere why does it feel necessary to prohibit religious expression of another nature? And why is that expression offensive? As a Christian it does not trouble me to witness a Hindu or a Muslim publicly praying and using the religious symbols of their faith. I rejoice that they love God. I have no desire to shut them up.

FOX News reports:

A federal judge has ordered a Texas school district to prohibit public prayer at a high school graduation ceremony.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s order against the Medina Valley Independent School District also forbids students from using specific religious words including “prayer” and “amen.”

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Christa and Danny Schultz. Their son is among those scheduled to participate in Saturday’s graduation ceremony. The judge declared that the Schultz family and their son would “suffer irreparable harm” if anyone prayed at the ceremony.

Judge Biery’s ruling banned students and other speakers from using religious language in their speeches. Among the banned words or phrases are: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”

He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program.

“These terms shall be replaced with ‘opening remarks’ and ‘closing remarks,’” the judge’s order stated. His ruling also prohibits anyone from saying, “in [a deity’s name] we pray.”

Should a student violate the order, school district officials could find themselves in legal trouble. Judge Biery ordered that his ruling be “enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District official (sic) and their agents.”

One can wonder if instead of freedom of religion we are now being forced fed freedom from religion.

And as we go from the religious to the political arena we hear that many Christian Evangelicals that would like to vote Republican in this year’s Presidential campaign will refuse to vote for Mitt Romney because he is Mormon. Now no one is asking Evangelicals to convert to Mormonism nor are they being flooded with Mormon religious doctrine. Yet they perceive Romney to be a personal threat from the mere fact that he will be making governmental decisions guided by what they view as from a heretical moral basis.

Meanwhile, even after all the assurances of a new age of non confrontational politics, those running for office this year are practicing the politics of personal destruction on an unprecedented scale. Millions more dollars than usual are being spent to trash the other side. If you think about what has been done to Barrack Obama, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, we can say that we truly are in the era of gangster politics.

Freemasonry need not copy the intolerant, autocratic, divisive ways of the profane, but it has.  Mainstream Freemasonry has in direct contradiction to the principles and virtues of this gentle Craft which is all about bringing people together and of people of different cultures, religions, education, political persuasion, means and races coming together in peace and harmony.

Fraternally we have seen in the last 50 years an unprecedented increase in Grand Lodge power leaving the local Lodge little self autonomy. Grand Masters in some jurisdictions have been able to make many far reaching decisions without the vote of the body as a whole while at the same time violating their Grand Constitutions and by-laws with impunity. This consolidation of Grand Lodge power has followed two avenues.

1)  Grand Masters will add into their Constitutions and by-laws provisions whereby they are the sole authority over all decisions made in their jurisdictions. Whether they do this by a vote of a Grand Session or just strong arm these changes directly into the Constitution makes little difference. Once endowed with such great power, they become answerable to no one.

2) Next they insert into the Masonic Obligations of their jurisdictions that all members of their jurisdiction must obey the Grand Lodge without question. No matter what the Grand Master does it becomes a direct violation of your Obligation to refuse to obey it.

Now the deal is sealed. You have sworn onto God that you will do whatever the Grand Master asks you no matter what it is. And failure to do so will be considered unmasonic conduct punishable by expulsion. There are some that say that even if you were to leave Freemasonry, demit, and not come back, that you are still bound by the wishes of your jurisdiction’s Grand Master.

So when you object to the Grand Master lying, cheating and stealing you are tried and convicted of unmasonic conduct and expelled. When your Grand Master says that you cannot write about Freemasonry, that you cannot talk to other jurisdictions and Obediences about Freemasonry, that you cannot put any Masonic information on Facebook or Twitter, that you cannot E-Mail other Brothers in your jurisdiction, you are required to obey or get booted out. And the justification for your dismissal is that you violated the Grand Lodge Constitution and by-laws and your Obligation.

Yet there is nothing inherent in Freemasonry that would force you to surrender your Civil Rights and the freedoms that you enjoy by right of being an American citizen as spelled out in the Constitution of the United States. Freemasons have always been tolerant “free-thinkers.” They have been the bastion of liberty and freedom, opposing both an autocratic government of monarchies and an oppressive church. The present day style of Masonic government is directly opposed to the principles of the Enlightenment from which it sprang and endorsed.

For the latest example of a long line of shenanigans by Grand Masters see:  http : //

None of this is possible without having the power of an enforced monopoly. Mainstream Masonry is a monopoly because it has declared itself to be one in the “Right of Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction.” Having eradicated all competition, Mainstream Masonry can proceed under autocratic rule without challenge.

Nevertheless competition is still there. And the way that Mainstream Masonry deals with that competition is to label it irregular, clandestine and heretical. Through the years it has tried to force that view on others by using the power of the civil courts.

Today, more than ever, as Mainstream Masonry feels the pinch of a declining membership, we can see the vitriolic attacks that it makes against others who desire to practice their version of fraternalism. Prince Hall Masonry, Female Masonry, Co-Masonry are other avenues of Masonic expression that Mainstream Masonry continues to persecute. Then there are a whole plethora of knock offs and copycats that adorn the landscape for which there is even greater derision.

Any Masonic website that features anything but the Mainstream line is ganged up on and trashed. Name calling and even threats by Mainstream Masons can be read on Masonic Forums and Masonic Yahoo Groups and on Masonic call in radio programs. Trash your non Mainstream Mason. Stick it to him! Try to hurt him any way you can. GUTTER FREEMASONRY!

Consider the fact that some Mainstream Masons attempted a coup d’état of a Masonic research and educational society open to more than just Mainstream Masons and when that failed they pulled out in mass and opened a competitive copy cat society but restricted it to those in amity with the Mainstream Conference of Grand Masters.

What happened to live and let live? What happened to let the best man or woman win? WHAT HAPPENED TO TOLERATION? Why must all competition be eradicated? What is wrong with someone doing it another way? Why is a Mormon or a Female Mason a threat to anybody’s way of life?

A good position can be made for Freemasons of all different Obediences restricting themselves to attending a tyled Masonic Communication of their own jurisdiction only. But there is no good reason for not enjoying joint ventures outside the Lodge room and of breaking bread together, of living together the Masonic way of peace, harmony and respect for each other.

Freemasonry has prided itself on two key factors for generations, one, that it is tolerant and two, that it is universal. Mainstream Masonry is neither.

The sad fact is that Mainstream Masonry never learned its lesson from the Morgan Affair. Not to learn from history is a crime. To repeat history is a tragedy. Mainstream Masonry may be resigning itself to a death wish.

More of the fight of Kentucky Masonic homophobia

Kentucky Grand Lodge SealBack to the drawing board on the virtues and vices of Moral Turpitude, this time woven again with the Grand Lodge of Kentucky Masonry where it is being tangled in with the moral law.

“…these charges are retribution for speaking out about the discrimination that I experienced…”

Reported in late 2010, Kentucky Masons slapped down the open disdain for gay masons in a vote made in the Grand Lodge session.  The vote would have, if passed, made Kentucky Masonry a pro-family state that recognized only marriages between a woman and a man. The proposal, you might remember read like this:

“Freemasonry is pro-family and recognizes marriage as between one man and one woman. Any other relationship is a violation of the moral law and therefore unmasonic conduct. Homosexual relationships, openly professed and practiced, are a violation of the moral law and therefore unmasonic conduct. No openly homosexual Freemason shall be allowed to retain membership in this grand jurisdiction.”

The change to the Grand Lodge constitution failed, and a more open and diverse Freemasonry prevailed.

Until now…

On the heels of the failed change, charges have been brought against the brother who was then Master of Right Angle Lodge in Winchester, Kentucky.

John Wright, the brother who was for a time at the heart of the storm, has a Masonic trial set for April 8th on Masonic charges that were filed against him in the weeks following the statewide Masonic same-sex marriage referendum.

The change sought in the constitution came in 2010 when Wright and his wife filed for divorce when he realized that he was gay. As Wright started to open up about what happened, he says, in an October 20th 2010 article on article that “news of my sexual orientation spread … like wildfire,” which has lead to some Kentucky Masons to declare Homosexual relationships, openly professed and practiced,[as a] a violation of the moral law and therefore un-Masonic conduct. Saying further that no openly homosexual Freemason shall be allowed to retain membership in this grand jurisdiction.  The measure failed, and things settled down.

Reported today, March 24th 2011, in is that membership of openly gay Masons is again being challenged as charges have been brought against Wright on the claim that he “violated the sanctity of his marriage” and “deserted [his wife] due to his homosexuality.” with another charge which alleged that Wright “revealed privileged Masonic Communications” because he talked openly about it.

The one charge said to of had no probable cause was that Wright had violated the Grand Lodge constitution because “he had openly forsaken his belief in God … by refusing to obey the Moral Laws in declaring his homosexuality which the Moral law declares as an abomination to the law of God.”

What’s most interesting is that the charges were brought by fellow Masons of neighboring lodges, not Wrights home lodge of Right Angle.

When inquery was made at the Grand Lodge by the articles author, Grand Secretary Joseph R. Conway declined comment.

Back to the quote from the beginning, Wright says in the article:

“Personally, I feel these charges are retribution for speaking out about the discrimination that I experienced,”

“In my heart, I feel that if I had left my ex-wife for another woman, nothing would’ve been said to me about it, nor would I have been brought up on charges, I know of many Masons in Kentucky who have been divorced and re-married, some several times, and charges were never brought against them for abandoning their spouse by causing a divorce action to be filed,”

Wright’s penalty, if found guilty, could include admonishment, a reprimanded, suspension, or expulsion.

Named in the piece are the 5 Brothers who found his distant actions to be so reprehensible, one of whom is a detective of Jessamine County Sheriff’s Department.

Interestingly, Jessamine County lists the treating of all people with tolerance and dignity as one of their aspects of Law Enforcement professionalism. Apparently, that’s no so the case outside the agency when concerned with a Moral Law.

You can find a complete list of those individuals who brought the charges in the article should you want to send them a note to reconsider their actions.

Or, better yet, send a note to the Grand Lodge of Kentucky to let them know how you feel about the validity of the charges.  This could be a great learning opportunity shaped by the Fearless Campaign to shape LGBT rights going on right now in Congress.  Maybe this is a small step that Masonic leadership can take to empower themselves with the moral courage to do the right thing.

In the mean time, how do you feel? Do you think the charges are in retribution to Wright’s coming out of the closet and his subsequent divorce, or do you agree that he violated some un-coded and multifaceted Moral Law that weaves itself invisibly through our being like smoke but surrounds our decisions like iron?

Whose has the case for the moral turpitude?

The Christian Mason



Is Freemasonry Christian?

“Boy, am I perplexed!” said the young Brother as he sat down on the bench outside of the lodge building. Ferris Thompson, a Past Master who spent most of his time mentoring his younger Brethren was sitting on the bench contently puffing his bent bulldog pipe.

“What has you confused? Not that I’m promising that I can help, but I sure can listen.”

“Well, I just get so frustrated with some of the folks from my church, they really believe all of that stuff about how Freemasonry is evil. It just frustrates me so much because I’m certain that our fraternity has made me a better man.”

“So why are you so upset? If you are happy with Masonry, then damn those who mock it,” Ferris gave a little grin as he took a draw from his pipe. Something about swearing while he gave Masonic advice seemed humorous to him.

“Its just that I know it isn’t evil and I can’t stand them mocking the organization that I love. I tried to show them that we weren’t anything to be worried about, heck I even showed them what idiots those anti-Masonry folks on the Internet are. They just told me that I needed to repent or I’d be condemned.”

“Is that really such a bad option?” Ferris chuckled.

“How can you find this so humorous! This is serious stuff we’re talking about!” The Brother said incredulously. He was quite unnerved and beginning to perspire in the sultry summer evening.

“I apologize for upsetting you, my Brother,” Ferris turned toward his protege and removed his pipe from his mouth in order to initiate a more serious conversation. “Let’s get to the heart of the matter then. Just what did they specifically say to you that makes you so upset?”

“Well, they said that we are not a Christian organization.”

“And we’re not.”

“But, they said we commune with non-believers!”

“Which we do.”

“But…well…they said that we allowed men of other faiths to have their book open upon the altar!”

“And we do.”

“Well…geeze Ferris…are you trying to make me feel better or not?!” The young Brother proceed to mop his forehead with his handkerchief and paced back in forth of Ferris who resumed smoking his pipe.

“Perhaps the real question is whether you believe that Freemasonry is compatible with Christianity or not. I believe it is. I have been a Freemason a long time and a Christian longer. I have never found any reason to believe that Masonry is in conflict with my religion and I enjoy the company of my Brethren from other faiths. When some Christians make statements like those which you have just specified, I think of the story of the four chaplains in World War II. To me, Freemasonry is an organization built upon the very spirit of that story. But it isn’t about what I think, the question is do you believe that your Masonic involvement is compatible with your religion or are you just trying to prove to yourself that it is by arguing with the other members of your congregation?”

The young Brother was silent and sat down on the bench with his hands in his pockets. He stared at the cracks in the concrete. “I guess I don’t know.”

“Well, only you can answer the question which I have just proposed. I might suggest that you forgo attending this evening’s meeting and do a little personal reflection. Perhaps you should meet with your preacher as well. It’s unfortunate that you must deal with this after becoming a Mason, it is best to deal with this problem during the petitioning process, but your personal faith needs to come before the fraternity.”

The young Brother nodded his head. “Goodnight, Ferris. I think that I do need to go home and think a bit.”

Ferris smiled. No matter what decision the young man came to, the fraternity would benefit.

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