The RRCG’s Erasure in Georgia

I want to preface this piece with some words from Illustrious Brother Albert Pike. His words are little understood today, but still hold true for many:

“That Masons do not live up to the teachings of their Order proves only that they are men; that, like other men, they are weak with the frailties of feeble human nature; and that in the never-ceasing struggle with their passions and the mighty circumstances that environ us all, it is often their lot to be discomfited. If the doctrines of Masonry are good, they of necessity have their effect, and are never taught in vain. For not in vain are the winged seeds of Truth ever sown; and if committed to the winds, God sees to it that they take root somewhere and grow.”

Recently, something has been brought to my attention that both concerns and bewilders me. People with whom I have become closely acquainted were summarily ejected from their Blue Lodges and affiliated organizations by order of the Grand Master of Georgia, without justification or trial. I was shocked and dismayed, but curious what could have lead to this event.

The RRCG (Red Cross of Gold) was created as an adjunct group of Freemasons meeting to get more out of their fraternity. Originally founded by a small group of brothers in 1999, they did not meet as a lodge, per se, but instead as an educational social club. Following in the footsteps of Masons from long ago, they assembled together to do what Freemasonry teaches us to do: experiment, discuss, and build on ideas. In short, these brothers were innovators.

In 2005 the club began to grow rapidly, adding more brothers who wished to informally assemble for the purpose of looking deeper into Freemasonry. The membership came chiefly from one lodge, but brothers from other Georgia lodges (and other states) began to join as well. Most of the brothers were also members of the Scottish Rite. Ultimately, the RRCG had a growing following in Georgia Freemasonry.

In an attempt to legitimize RRCG as a formally recognized organization, the leaders approached the Grand Master of Masons in March of 2005. They supplied the records of their activities, their rituals, and a copy of their evolved constitution. The Grand Master, with a vow of open-mindedness, promised to review it. The review timeline came and went. The Grand Master also requested a list of the RRCG‘s membership. In good faith, the leadership turned over the Rite’s list with the Grand Master’s promise that it would not be used against them.

Several weeks became several months and then in August, 2005 an edict appeared on the Grand Lodge of Georgia website proclaiming, “Any organization(s) within the State of Georgia (to include any Internet organization(s)), or individual members or affiliates of said organization(s), purporting to be Masonic or purporting to confer or exemplify any type of or resemblance to a present or ancient Masonic degree or degrees, that is (are) not recognized or accepted by this Grand Lodge is (are) hereby declared clandestine.” This edict was allegedly then passed without presentation to the open body of the Grand Lodge, and was hidden in the written proceedings of the Jurisprudence Committee.

In November letters were sent to many of the members on the roll of the RRCG. The letters speak for themselves, renounce RRCG, or be STRICKEN from the rolls of your lodge, Grand Lodge, Scottish Rite, Shrine, and any other Masonic body affiliated with the Grand Lodge. These letters were sent via both certified and regular mail.

The problem here is that being stricken gives no recourse for a Masonic trial. Not one of the individuals who received this letter were given the opportunity to defend themselves through the process of a Masonic trial. None of them were given the opportunity to discuss the adjunct group they had created.

Renounce or be stricken! My understanding is that few renounced. Not only had the Grand Lodge of Georgia singled out a group of men, it had summarily voided their affiliations and memberships with every other Masonic body. These were groups that all of these brothers had put time, energy, and service into. Yet they we stricken — erased — without explanation, reason, or trial.

The reasons for this are numerous and speculative. Any presumption of “why” is exactly that. One plausible theory is that the Scottish Rite felt the fear of competition from the RRCG and leaned its considerable weight on the Grand Lodge to influence its decision to label the RRCG as clandestine. This same conspiracy goes back to an issue with the Shrine in a struggle for control of the “Further Light” encouraged to be sought after in Freemasonry. An expanded theory fears the Rite taking the role of a Grand Lodge over America, similar to the United Grand Lodge of England.

Whatever the conspiracy, the justice deserved these brothers is unfulfilled. They were ejected from lodges that they cherished and loved. But it was not the end of their Masonic careers as they still meet as Masons, clandestine or otherwise. They meet now under the Grand Lodge of America, which is itself, a fledgling organization. This new body has awakened a new spirit in their Freemasonry that offers a promising future. They deserve their justice.

Footnote
I am not a member of the GL of Georgia, and do not profess to know their values. The story below was told to me over the course of several months earlier this year. The facts I do have are listed within the text. In defense of the GL of Georgia, they have not posted anything publicly about this, nor have I received a rebuttal from them. I will, however, open this forum to them on this issue should they wish to comment. The business and affairs of a lodge are the lodges own, and not the business of outsiders. The intent of this is not to air an organizations dirty laundry, but to tell the story of individual Masons who were erased.

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~ by Greg on April 19, 2006.

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