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Monday, December 3, 2012

An Open Letter to the Grand Master of Florida


December 3, 2012


Jorge L. Aladro
Grand Master
Grand Lodge of Florida
283 Deer Run Road 
Palm Bay, FL 32909-1182

Dear Most Worshipful Brother Jorge L. Aladro, Grand Master of Masons of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Florida and To All My Brethren in Freemasonry,

I provide this as both an open letter to all Freemasons and a plea to Most Worshipful Brother Jorge L. Aladro, the Grand Master of Masons in Florida.  

On November 28, 2012, Brother Aladro took the step of banning Paganism, Wiccan and Odinism, Agnosticism and Gnosticism.

He provided in a written decision, “...any member of the Craft that professes to be a member of one of the groups mentioned above shall tender his resignation or suffer himself to a Trial Commission whose final outcome will be expulsion…”

Brother Jorge, you have declared here that a man is not even provided a fair trial.  He is tried and then punished.  This is not Masonic.

Most Worshipful Brother Jorge, you are a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor and I likewise share this distinction with you.  As one who has been honored for his work in the quarries of Masonry I must remind you of your several obligations.  

You have solemnly vowed, “[I] will never countenance persecutions, or the reviling of 
others on account of their political, philosophical, or religious opinions.”  You have likewise promised to be “tolerant and of charitable opinion toward all Brethren.”

You have vowed, “I furthermore promise and vow, that I will, even at the peril of my life, help every true Brother if he be persecuted for his religion...."

In justification you have decreed that these faiths are not in keeping with the Landmarks of Masonry.  Ironically, the quotes you provide illustrate the tolerance of Masonry and not the intolerance of your personal decree.  

You quote as justification of your prejudice (your quotes are in red for ease of understanding), “A belief in the existence of one ever living and true God.

I ask you as a Mason to take notice that this quote does not declare the God of Abraham, Christ the Savior, or of the other names assigned by man to Deity.  It specifically provides that a man simply need a belief in God.  It is strongly worded because of what it does not say.  It is sad that any man could read such a tolerant statement and provide such a bigoted response.  We must have the courage as Freemasons to honor the spirit of this Landmark.

You provided “A belief in the immortality of the human soul and a resurrection thereof to a Future Life.

I would argue strongly that this is not a Landmark, but even so a short study of history will provide that you have not listed a single faith in your list that does not ascribe to this belief.  All of the religions you listed profess a belief in a soul.  Paganism is a broad term, but we first hear of the idea of a savior, salvation of the soul, and an afterlife in the so called pagan religions long before Christ was ever known.  This is historical fact, and not philosophical truth, that even the most Christian of archeologist and religious scholars would agree with.

Agnosticism is not a religion, but simply a belief that man is not sure and provides he cannot know for certain.  It is a broad philosophy and there are certainly agnostics who believe in God and an afterlife, but simply do not profess to know the specifics and are courageous enough in their faith to say, “I am sure of only one truth and the rest I give to God.”

A fellow Mason once said, “Knowledge is the most genuine and real of human treasures; for it is Light, as Ignorance is Darkness.”  I beg of you in the Masonic sense Brother to educate yourself so that we can cast a light upon this intolerant darkness you have created.

You provided, “The Volume of the Sacred Law, open upon the altar, is an indispensable furnishing of every regular Lodge while at labor.

Which provides the most glaring example of the spirit of our Landmarks.  The Volume of Sacred law is not given a name here so that the holy book or writings of any faith might be recognized as equally valuable.

Remember these words Brother Jorge, which I am certain you have heard and obligated yourself to, “You must first understand, my Brother, that Freemasonry does not encroach upon the just privileges of religion. The Fraternity does not claim to provide salvation of the soul or entrance into Heaven. It affirms that God exists, that there is benefit in prayer, and that man owes it to himself to return to that Sanctuary which best increases his faith in our Creator—that Omnipotent Being in whom you professed belief prior to joining a Masonic Lodge.” 

You finish by declaring wholesale that devoted Brethren and men who love God with all their hearts are somehow Atheist or libertines, the latter a word I am guessing by your choice you are wholly unfamiliar with its meaning and usage at the time it was first referred to in regards to Masonry.  You provide, “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.

My dear Brother Jorge, no title, throne, or position that man can attain brings with it an unquestionable knowingness.  There is not assimilated gnosis that occurs with the gavel of Grand Master.  So in that regard I ask you to pray and meditate upon your decision.  It is un-Masonic.  Worse it shows a certain ignorance of the faiths mentioned and cast a negative light upon the Fraternity, which you were charged in your Entered Apprentice degree never to do.  

I ask you Brother Jorge to immediately reverse your decision.  I ask you to pick up a book and read about the faiths you have ridiculed with your decision.  I ask you to ask for forgiveness from the Brethren you have harmed with your foul decree and say to them that even in power there is error.  Level yourself with them and asked their pardon.

So that you might some resources to begin your quest, I have provided them at the end of the list letter as a post script.  I do not pretend Brother Jorge that I am enlightened.  I am human and full of failure.  But, in my failures I have found strength, because with each of them Christ grows within me because he, in his infinite wisdom, has planted a lesson.  

I ask that you allow this situation to become as God would want it to be, a chance at growth, wisdom, and reflection.

Sincerely,

R∴W∴B Cliff Porter


P.S.

My Brother, please keep in mind describing any religious belief is precarious.  Just as no Christian closes his eyes and imagines God in exactly the same way, so too, no one man can speak for any of the faiths you have struck out against.  In general terms, however, in the Wiccan faith we find:

A belief in a Supreme Being.  God is all and within all; all are one God.

Incarnation of God on earth in the form of spiritual energies

A creative God who created the Universe and is one with it.

A belief in an afterlife either through reincarnation or much like the Judaism, a kind of less defined knowing that there is something but it being less defined than the Christian heaven with a mansion and so on.

A salvation that teaches humans can attain spiritual balance and harmony with each other and nature. “Ethical choices are influenced by a belief that one is rewarded or punished within this or after this lifetime for one's choices and an ethical code to do no harm.”

For further research into Wicca I recommend www.beliefnet.com and Modern Wicca: A History From Gerald Gardner to the Present by Michael Howard.

As far as Paganism goes, that is a broad term.  The term pagan was created by the Christian church to demean all other faiths outside of Christianity and imply that the practitioners were poor and uneducated.  

However, I recommend the study of the Egyptian pantheon as it is one of the most famous of the now pagan faiths.  You will be surprised to find a belief in God, a belief in a Father, Mother, and Son trinity.  Within the trinity the father or son are killed, they raise again, and rule over both the earth and the afterlife.  There are some who believe the lord’s prayer of the Christian faith were taken from a collection of text that exist on both papyri and on pyramid walls now referred to collectively as “The Egyptian Book of the Dead.”  You may access this online or by reading my favorite translation “The Egyptian Book of the Dead” translated and edited by Wallace Budge.

I think you would benefit as well from reading Samuel Angus’ definitive collegiate work called, “The Mystery Religions” wherein you will be shocked at the origins of Christian practice and worship.  In the same vein, but less textbook and more edgy is Timothy Freke’s and Peter Gandy’s, “The Jesus Mysteries.”  

In regard to Gnosticism.  

Gnosticism is the oldest provable form of Christianity if you use the dating of known Christian text.  I believe there is no greater explanation than that of the source and many of these text can be read at www.earlychristianwritings.com

If, however, you prefer a good book, then I recommend Gnosticism & Early Christianity by Robert M. Grant, The Gnostics: Myth, Ritual, and Diversity in Early Christianity by David Brakke, and The Psyche in Antiquity:  Gnosticism and Early Christianity by Edward F. Edinger and Deborah A. Wesley 

I do not profess to know much of Odinism or Astarte, but I do know that Odin is viewed in much the same way as Christ.  The allegorical savior of the world against the evil nemesis and trickster named Loki.  It shares many similarities with a faith in Christ and pre-dates the Christian religion.  I would not be so quick to judge it.




44 comments:

Bro. N.S. Jack Ruby said...

If ever there was an opportunity for shedding Light on a subject, this is surely it.

Bro. N.S. Jack Ruby said...

If ever there was an opportunity for enlightenment, this is one which many should avail themselves.

Ken said...

Brother Cliff, I wholeheartedly agree with you. The actions of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Florida are offensive to the very ideas of Freemasonry. I applaud your stance and stand with you in hopes that this act of bigotry will be reversed in short order.

Anthony M. said...

I stand behind your position 100%. Being married to a self-professed Wiccan, I understand first hand the prejudices faced. I seem to recall something about freemasons being tolerant of all except intolerance itself.

Anthony M. said...

This subject hits very close to home for me. I have personally defended men in our fraternity who identify themselves as being of "pagan" faiths. I support your opinion 100%.

Daniel Bast said...

I AM IN DISBELIEF THAT A SITTING GRAND MASTER WOULD MAKE SUCH A RULING. This needs to be confirmed as factual and if is found to be real, a petition needs to be filed by the members of the Florida jurisdiction and an immediate reversal should be demanded. Pshaw!

Michael said...

I cannot agree with couple of things: on agnostics and implying that belief in immortality of human soul is not a landmark. We are not Grand Orient, there is no agnostic option, never was, never will be (unless we change definition of agnosticism somehow, in my definition that is exactly an irreligious libertine). Immortality of human soul - yes, one can possibly try to argue that it is not a landmark, but in the American Craft it is, as evidenced by a question to the candidate in the petition. It is also explicitly stated in the ritual and in prestonian lectures.

Therefore, I think the point could have been made better. In addition, look, you can believe in One Almighty Dishwasher - this is not it... there is a line somewhere.

On the other hand the GM remarks about gnosticism are a bit ridiculous, he could use further education on some of the roots of the Institution and where Ancient Mysteries come from.

And to quote old charges which were forgotten in this particular ruling:

But though in ancient Times Masons were
charg’d 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 an
true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by
whatever Denominations or Persuasions
they may be distinguish’d; whereby
Masonry becomes the Centre of Union,
and the Means of conciliating true
Friendship among Persons that must have
remain’d at a perpetual Distance.

Jim K. said...

A well considered and enlightened reply to this situation. I propose the following: If our Brother withdraws this contraversial order we would agree to say no more about it, and to consider it simply a mistake unworthy of future discussion. In other words, forgive and forget.

Travis Shores said...

Forgive and forget? sure ...pending a Masonic trial hosted by any interstate affiliations this Grand Master has. Many of you know my mind on this matter. It is incomprehensible that a Grand Master, charged with upholding the sacred tenets of the fraternity; in a position of absolute authority and assumed knowldege, could ever issue an order so undermining of everything Freemasonry is founded upon. Well drafted Bro Cliff. You are much kinder in words than I have patience or inclination to be with matters like this.

MP said...

but in the American Craft it is, as evidenced by a question to the candidate in the petition.

Not all US GLs, even among those currently recognized by UGLE, have a line about immortality of the soul on their application.

Even so, to mention it suggests that Wiccans and Odinists, to name two of the religions pointed out, do not believe in the immortailty of the soul.

A brief investigation into the beliefs regarding Valhalla (for Odinism) and the Summerlands (for Wicca), would show this to be incorrect.

8a6f2128-3d8c-11e2-802f-000bcdcb471e said...

This action raises an issue that has always troubled me.

The Swedish masons prohibit non-Christians from joining, yet are accepted by the UGLE and other Grand Lodges as fellow masons.

Isn't this just as much a violation of the Landmarks?

Erik Arneson said...

Here's a link to my reaction to the Florida mess:
On Religious Intolerance in Florida

Dan said...

Brother as usual you beat me to the punch. One point in addition to make is the fact that many of the lessons presented were exemplified in the several degrees of the Scottish Rite... Sad and one wonders if the Right Worshipful shall reconsider this proposition. However, given the past histories of Florida Masonry of that I am aware. . .

Rev Bob Smith said...

Really!! this blind one sided view of this G.M. shows that he does not know what it is to be a Freemason in addition should be forced to step down or he puts his resignation in of breaking his obligation to his fellow brethren. This is an embarrassment to himself and to Freemasonry people already think not to highly now confusing people even more with something like this.. Anyway to judge someone like this is wrong Mason or not. What no one voted in your lodge on this you can’t make your own rules like that this does not make you a leader it makes you a FOOL., in that alone makes me wonder if this is real? Freemasonry has key factors that believe it or not have Wiccan, pagan older than most faiths as well as other parts of ALL faiths within it but Freemasonry is not a religious order I think people forget that. There is so many none mason like factors also uneducated facts that are wrong in every way mistake or not.. I can’t say this so nicely like Cliff Porter did he did a good job explaining but me I’m so upset with this it’s not even funny. But then again I don’t think this is real. If it is its just plan pig headed A dismissal of office with a reversal is in order here.

Don Cole Harvey said...

Since reading Bro. Aladro's ruling, I have been dumbfounded and quite concerned. Did I make a mistake in joining this fraternity?

How could someone of his stature in Free and Accepted Masonry have evolved to such thinking?

The response from Bro. Porter is excellent! I hope this ruling is retracted to restore my faith in the rulers of Freemasonry.

Brother Thomas said...

Where has this Grand Master lost his own soul - He as certainly lost the light by which Masons work. He brings shame upon himself and Freemasonry in Flordia. We are lucky that good men of these faith have anything to do our fraternity - it's bad enough they have all the Christian stuff thrown in their face all the time,now we say they are not good enough to give of their time and money -

irreverentreverend said...

It is well past time that the Craft rise up and reclaim itself. Several Jurisdictions have been brought to near ruin by the ignorance and arrogance of certain Brethren who believe themselves infallible because they have been elected Grand Master. In CT the Grand Lodge has actually asserted itself to be a religion-- in direct defiance of the Landmarks. At least six GM's of CT have outright insisted that their Obligations no longer apply to them because they were GM's. Yet we sit idly and continue to elect on e fool after another. This must stop. Brethren, consider carefully whom you elect. And in cases like this the whole Craft should demand this GM be deposed or recognition by ever Grand Lodge should be withdrawn.

Don V said...

Anyone doubting whether this is true, please, you may confirm it by visiting the GL of FL website... I am the sitting JW at a Lodge in FL and according to this Rulingand Decision, I am to resign immediately... I refuse to do so, along with a great number of my brothers... Please, read the Ruling and Decision, and if you are against it, help your brothers out, and let the GL of FL know how you feel... Thank you, my Brothers...

cfcurtiss86 said...

This ruling by Florida's GM is digusting, ignorant, and wholly un-masonic. RWB Cliff, your response is spot on. Thank you for shedding light on this, for your efforts, and for standing.up.for those who may not have a voice. I also.appreciate the reading list you provided so all who read this.can grow in knowledge and understanding.

Frederic L. Milliken said...

More Masonic Purging Florida Style

http://www.freemasoninformation.com/2012/12/more-masonic-purging-florida-style/

E C Ballard ஃ said...

A view from afar...

http://hedgemason.blogspot.com/2012/12/landmarks-and-exlax-freemasonry.html

LVX said...

Brothers, I have set up a Facebook page to try to coordinate activities to bring pressure on the Grand Lodge of Florida:


https://www.facebook.com/MasonicLandmarkRestorationCommunity

mairon monteiro said...

So mote it be, When I first heard of these atrocious charges i knew right of the bat that this is not freemasonry, when I was being investigated the first question they asked me was"Do you believe in a supreme being". from my understanding and especially that i've applied these words before wich is well documented in the tools that i use everyday The Supreme Mathematics and 120 lessons, I've know to be right and exact. That if you would look at those two words supreme-is simply upmost and being-means to exist. I know for a fact that this is exactly why its asked in that manner. Freemasonry is an universal thought that is processed in all of our endevours, using tools to create equality overall. P.E.A.C.E

mairon monteiro said...

So mote it be, When I first heard of these atrocious charges i knew right of the bat that this is not freemasonry, when I was being investigated the first question they asked me was"Do you believe in a supreme being". from my understanding and especially that i've applied these words before wich is well documented in the tools that i use everyday The Supreme Mathematics and 120 lessons, I've know to be right and exact. That if you would look at those two words supreme-is simply upmost and being-means to exist. I know for a fact that this is exactly why its asked in that manner. Freemasonry is an universal thought that is processed in all of our endevours, using tools to create equality overall. P.E.A.C.E

joe-max-23 said...

From "The Mother Lodge" by Rudyard Kipling:


We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
An' Saul the Aden Jew,
An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An' Amir Singh the Sikh,
An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
The Roman Catholick!

We 'adn't good regalia,
An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
An' lookin' on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as infidels,
Excep', per'aps, it's us.

For monthly, after Labour,
We'd all sit down and smoke
(We dursn't give no banquets,
Lest a Brother's caete were broke),
An' man on man got talkin'
Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
Of the God 'c knew the best.

So man on man got talkin',
An' not a Brother stirred
Till mornin' waked the parrots
An' that dam' brain-fever-bird.
We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,
An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,
With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
Changin' pickets in our 'ead.

Mitch Goldstein said...

My indirect rebuttal of the GM of Florida's unmasonic decisions: http://theoblongsquare.blogspot.com/2012/12/spirituality-vs-religion-in-masonry.html

Kevin Hataley said...

'Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divine within, by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy, by one, or more, or all of these - and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.' Swami Vivekananda

John Wallace said...

I am Texas Mason and I happened to be visiting a lodge in FL last week. I was stunned when the Secretary read the letter and even more surprised when about half of the lodge members applauded the decision. After being introduced as a visitor I asked the WM to allow me to retire. I said that I was one of the above and no longer felt welcome in the lodge. A sad evening and the shortest visit I have ever made to a lodge.

Duke Fortesque said...

I am (the) Odinist(&tribalist)directly mentioned in MW Aladro's edict. I cannot convey in words how numb I am that a lodge of men calling me brother could simply allow me, their brother, to be thrown away. Tonight I was supposed to be raised and I am heart-sick thinking about it. The lodge officers were told to "arrest" my progress immediately. This move was to prevent me from becoming a Master Mason and dimiting to another state within my 10 days I was given to resign or suffer expulsion. In my heart I am still a Mason simply "at Large" in the world with no home or lodge. I am only a FellowCraft, or was, and being so new to this I have no idea if there are other ways to enter mainstream Masonry through another state or country. I spent several hours at the lodge before I handed in my petition being very open and honest with the officers and members attemopting to see if this was going to be a good fit for the lodge and myself. I became beloved by all in short order and the number of Masons "garunteeing" me that there would never be a problem with my religeon I cannot count. in the end, every single promise made to me was broken. I have suffered for months with religeious persecution within the lodge and just when I thought it was over... this. Aladro and I spoke on the phone about a month ago in which we had a very civil, frank, and open conversation in which he was going to step in and help me resolve an issue within the lodge in which the Master of the Lodge had utterly failed to resolve and indeed made much worse than it really was. Aladro then asked me about my religion as someone from my lodge had alegedly called the GL and told them that I had a "comic book" religion. When he said that I nearly fell over. Aladro said that he had to investigate the matter so he grilled me for some time about my beliefs. Did I have a single supreme God? yes. what is his name? the All-Father but you may know him as Odin. Is he real or a story? uh... he is real. Do you believe that you have a soul? yes. will it endure after you die? yes. where does it go when you die? to one of the many halls depending upon my deeds and worth. do you believe in many gods? I recognize that there are many gods both in my believe structure and everyone elese's. I believe that there is a Jesus and you subscribe to him. in my own way I follow the All-Father. Do you have a Holy book to swear upon the altar? I have many books and am sure that one would suffice but I have no problem swearing upon the old testament section of the Christian Bible as I had for EA. so you dont have a single Holy book? uh... no and neither do you for the Bible is a collection of books by different authors spanning a great distance of time. If you are asking me if anyone has taken the time to collect all of our books and verbal traditions and combine them into one tome like the Bible I am unaware of it.

Duke Fortesque said...

after this lengthy conversation Aladro told me not to worry that I had passed the requirements and not to worry. I would have to say that in that statement he lied to me directly. there is just no other way to look at it. Aladro even went so for as to tell me that when he got done with the lodge that I would not be welcome there and if I wanted to go to another lodge to call his cell phone first and he would ensure a smoothe transition. I told him that I didnt want trouble but peace and I didnt understand why people couldnt just leave my religion alone, after all, were not suppose to talk about it in lodge right? about a week after this conversation a driver struck me off of my motorcycle. I have recovered from the physical trauma but my drivers license is suspended until my slight brain damage can heal and be assessed. I am having trouble with the insurance and the insane bills coming in and the fact that I have to ask for a ride to go anywhere. My brothers at the lodge and Masonry has been the only thing holding me mentally together! now I am hurt, bitter, confused, and jaded regarding Masonry in Florida. I was told to wait because in 6 months a new GM will enter and "may" overturn the edict. But here is my question on that... so I stick around and have to re-petition a lodge and start all over at the beginning as an EA... okay thats a tough road but what about the next year and the year after that? Will my "worthiness" to even be a Mason be a question every time FL gets a new GM? This is insane and not was I was promised or told. Too much drama, not enough action. Its funny becuase I did everything asked of me. qualified through my home visit, my lodge interview, background check, worked every fundraiser, worked in the kitchen every wednsday, came nearly every morning and made coffee and helped the secretary were ever I could and yet I am now unworthy to become a Mason because I was told there was nothing that I could bind my obligations to such as... being a Christian. nice. Thank you Florida for a complete waste of my time, money, efforts, and assistance I offered you all these months. Allow me to appologize for sounding angry. I am but not towards any of you.

Anthony Mongelli, Jr. said...

Bro. Porter, this is quite a wonderful letter. Please accept my gratitude for writing it, and I am sure that a good number of Brethren feel the same way. This entire debacle is quite demonstrative of the fact that the wisdom of one bearing lofty rank and title must not be presupposed.

Fraternally,

Bro. Anthony Mongelli, Jr.
http://theblazingstart.blogspot.com/

Jesse Slater said...

I am extremely glad to see vocalization against this un-Masonic act by the GM of Florida. Hopefully, it is made right with haste.

Greg said...

I am still disgusted by both the ruling of this Grand Master and by the utter lack of knowledge of American Masons about our own origins.

The Craft is not exclusively Judeo-Christian. Period.

Brethren in certain jurisdictions can try all they want to turn the Craft into an extension of their church - but such brethren only delude themselves and bring shame upon the Craft. (Bro. Johnson's comments appear to be of this school.) If any Brother in any Lodge to which I belong made such a statement in Lodge, I would file Masonic charges. If you want to only associate with Christian Masons, fine. Keep it in the Commandery where you are free to commemorate your "interpretation" of the Templars.
The great Masonic writers to whom we turn for education and guidance (Wilmshurst, Pike, Mackey, Newton, etc.) would be shocked to see such an edict, then would be waiting for the punchline. Sadly, the joke is on the Craft in Florida.

We seem to forget: the Grand Lodges exist for the purposes of administration. The Craft lives and breathes in the Lodges.

I am going on 26 years as a Master Mason. I have sat as an officer in Europe and in the US. I have seen my share of asinine edicts. This one, however, violates the very core of the Craft and seeks to disenfranchise worthy Brethren based on a determination this GM is woefully unqualified to make: what great effort of research or study has he conducted to make these claims? Is he a theologian? An expert in Masonic jurisprudence? A renown author, writing on Masonic history and philosophy?

Being elected to the Grand East does not equate to being declared an Adept. I have seen GM's who can't even open or close a Lodge, whose knowledge of Masonic history and philosophy would not fully occupy a discussion during a morning coffee break, or that view the ritual as just some old-fashioned words that are an impediment in getting men into the Shrine. Men whose egos take center stage and whose minds are corrupted by the vainglory and hubris that results when the unworthy are thrust center stage and surrounded by sycophants. Bureaucrats in gold-trimmed aprons. Men whose legacies will pass either unremembered into history or will leave a residual stench of infamy.
(continued)

Greg said...

(continued from first post)
I have also known GM's that are models of Masonic virtue, distinguished men with brilliant minds in possession of a ravenous desire for wisdom and learning; men who stand in humble awe of the great responsibility placed on their shoulders and who have never forgotten the true dignity of being a Mason first and foremost. These men would be respected and welcomed in any sanctuary of the Mysteries, regardless of the period in history. True Masons, true laborers in the quarries. The embodiment of Solomon. Brilliant lights whose term of office brings Light and Knowledge to their Brethren and whose legacies are worthy of being enshrined in marble and praised across the ages.

The standard is whether or not the Candidate believes in a Supreme Being. A binary question, requiring a Yes or No answer. The actions of this GM is beyond foul and just another example of why we must guard the West Gate and we must stop pandering to those who condemn us, consider us to be "spooky", or in any other way try to insert themselves into our business. This GM's decision is no different than if he decreed only registered Republicans could be members.

Is the AASR still allowed in FL? Why? Its rituals are rife with paganism, gnosticism, and other beliefs not in keeping with what appears to be a Fundamentalist view of what faiths are acceptable. If this GM is a member, he had better resign immediately.

But there is hope, Brethren. The Craft has survived the Inquisition, the Morgan Affair, the Death Camps, Stalin, Franco, and other petty tyrants - I am sure the Craft will survive this one as well. There is an old prayer: "May G-d grant those to whom he has given a little power the wisdom to use it."

If you must condemn another's faith, then yours is weak.

WB R. Gregory Starr
Colorado

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...

Actually, in the Florida Digest of Masonic Law, the sitting Grand Master is not subject to discipline by the Grand Lodge (Regulation 5.10). No American Masonic jurisdiction recognizes the authority of any interstate affiliation to hold a Masonic trial.

But there is a larger issue here. We will get nowhere by venting spleen at the Florida MWGM. That will merely engage the usual social processes prevalent in organizational life: circling the wagons; rejecting the critical message in favor of protecting the administrator; and so forth.

Let's just work to get this Ruling and Decision No. 3 rescinded, and be happy at that. It's the effective way.

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...

Yes, of course it is. But no one wants to go up against a time-venerated GL that goes back centuries. Especially if the bias here favors Christians.

OldPM said...

why hasn't anyone taken this to the media? This is religious discrimination. It also may affect the military members as DoD doesn't allow it's members to participate in organizations that discriminate

AK said...

Excellent work Brother! You may also find my reply at sprigofacacia.tumblr.com.

Petrovich1248 said...

Beautiful work, Cliff.

Corey Bryson said...

... and the view of this story from my perspective...

http://musingsofapaganmason.blogspot.com/

Chip Powell said...

Thank you, Brothers. As I was first raised in Ann Arbor Fraternity 262, and later further enlightened as MRS 32nd Degree in the Valley of Lake Worth, I was most concerned about my home state, Florida. My AAF 262 Bretheren guided me to this blog, as I was concerned 'I' had missed something in my education.

Good feeling that Freemasonry is, in fact, alive and well in the Fellows.

AK said...

http://sprigofacacia.tumblr.com/post/38262318603/pm-in-florida-expelled-grand-masters-source

Okezie Nwabueze said...

I will say, look in the nature; look at the outcome of your science so far, and look into the bible, without bias but with the mind of one who wants to be enlightened, and know the truth. You will know that the word of God in the bible is true. Repent and be bone again, so u would not perish.

Burx Norrod said...

Greetings Brother Cliff - I just stumbled upon your blog, and will continue to follow it as you are no doubt one of the movers and shakers of the Fraternity today.

The only question I would have for you in posting this open letter to the GM of Florida, is did you contact him first with these thoughts and whisper good counsel in his ear before subjecting him to this public humiliation?

I no doubt (along with probably 99% of the Craft) agree with you on this subject matter ... but the GM Jorge may have had a moment of philosophical error and may have come around after being informed of it.

I don't have nearly the time to dig into the entire story, but nonetheless am extremely appreciative for the enlightenment you're bringing to Freemasonry, and am purchasing your new book from Amazon!

Sincerely & Fraternally,

Burx Norrod
Burx@live.com