Masonic Witchhunts

MASONIC WITCHHUNTS

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
timb001@phmainstreet.com
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”

As we all know, a Masonic Lodge is supposed to be an honorable institution where Brothers are equal and enjoy harmony. Unfortunately, the harmony can be disrupted when two or more Brothers don’t see eye-to-eye on something. Theoretically we are supposed to respect the opinions of all Brothers, right or wrong, and let it go at that. Basically, we agree to disagree. But it is sad when Brothers use the fraternity to push their own agenda and besmirch the character of anyone opposing them.

When I was Worshipful Master of my Lodge a few years ago I was often challenged by my antagonists in the Lodge. I resisted the temptation to lower myself to the level of my detractors and endeavored to rule and govern the Lodge fairly. Whereas I could have dealt with them harshly, the worst I ever did was gaveled one of them to sit down during a lengthy discussion (which occurred only once).

Thanks to my business, I have been fortunate to see quite a bit of the world, meet a lot of people, and have dealt with a lot of corporations. A lot of people haven’t had such experiences and, as such, when they become head of a nonprofit group, such as a Worshipful Master, it represents the pinnacle of their career. And because of this, they become inebriated with power. As I tell all incoming Worshipful Masters, Masonry is a volunteer organization. The Master is a benevolent dictator who should be mindful of his constituency. It is a privilege to sit in the East, not a right. Without the support of the Craft, nothing will happen, regardless of how power hungry you might be. Nonetheless, not everyone shares my view on this and often use their term of office as a reign of terror. I have seen more and more of this happening recently in the fraternity. For example, what happened to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota over their recognition of the Grand Lodge of France a few years ago can best be described as “dirty-pool.” The facts were not accurately reported and the officers of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota castigated.

There have also been recent reports in other Grand jurisdictions where the Grand Lodge officers have used their office to bully their constituents, and to expel or suspend members over trumped-up charges without the benefit of a Masonic trial. This is not Freemasonry as I understand it. I have also seen Worshipful Masters and other Brothers from craft lodges suspended due to political paybacks or because someone simply didn’t like the person. Its pretty scary when we see Brothers digging up dirt on other Brothers, back stabbing, fabricating distortions of the truth, and twisting the interpretation of our rules to suit our personal needs,

Freemasonry is a multicultural, multi-denomination institution, with Brothers who possess a wide variety of personal and professional interests and who live under different socioeconomic conditions. It should therefore come as no surprise that we won’t always love all of our Brothers. However, we should respect their right to exist and treat them with the same dignity we afford all Masons, in a uniform manner. This fraternity, which was founded on some rather sound fraternal principles should prohibit such “witch hunts” from occurring. Anything less is sheer hypocrisy. Freemasonry is not a place for character assassination or to conduct some personal vendetta. It only tarnishes our credibility as a noble institution.

How often have you heard someone say about a person being elected to Master, “Well, its only for one year.”? A lot can happen in one year. Reputations can be ruined, Brothers can be suspended or expelled, and life in general can be made miserable. This is why I still have a problem with the manner by which we elect our officers. I am most definitely not a fan of people “rotating through the chairs.” Instead, we should allow nominations and be allowed to ask about the candidate’s qualifications and motivation for seeking an office.

As the fraternity struggles with membership and finances, I would remind you that now is not the time for alienation or estrangement, but rather how we can best work together as a cohesive unit. We need more Freemasonry and less Masonic Mafia tactics. Finally, I have only one suggestion for those who believe in political domination and control over a nonprofit organization: “Get a life.” –

Keep the Faith.

NOTE: 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 “FreeMason Information”

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~ by Greg on June 2, 2006.

12 Responses to “Masonic Witchhunts”

  1. Nicely said WB Tim: “resisted the temptation to lower myself to the level of my detractors”

    Instead, we should lower our actions to the level of our agreements. And in those areas we don’t agree, we could continue our studies or discussions, keeping our passions within due bounds.

  2. I have been proposing an election (not by acclamation) to the JW’s chair and procession from there on at least… it meets opposition at every turn but the will of the Lodge should prevail.

  3. You should see the rat’s nest here in Iraq.

    I arrived here last year, and set up a Masonic Square and Compasses Club. The Grand Lodge of KY is opposed to these clubs.

    In December 2005, I began a project to re-organize a lodge here. Please see:

    http://www.dcmetronet.com/landseaandairlodge1iraq

    In order for a New York lodge to meet, regardless of location, there must be a New York mason present. I made application to a lodge in Buffalo NY in December of 2005.

    In order for the dual membership to go through, the GL of KY must confirm my membership and status as a Master Mason in good standing.

    Guess what? The GL of KY has been sitting on my request for proof of membership for six months. We cannot have a lodge meeting, until my dual membership is approved.

    I wish I knew what the problem was with Square and Compasses clubs, but the GL of KY is thoroughly opposed to such clubs.

    I am disappointed.

  4. The sad fact is that new masons are not being taught Freemasonry. They are being guided by self serving members of our Fraternity for their own misguided ideals. For me, I re-read the opening and closing charges of my Florida work. It explains all.

    Thanks W:. Tim for your article. Bullseye.

    RGH

  5. Most awesome article Brother Tim!

    RE: The [Worshipful] Master is a benevolent dictator …

    Observation: No, this is what some WM’s would like to have us believe. In truth, the WM is just an overworked servant who get’s the last word by virtue of his position but he does not get the last action if his Lodge Brothers do not support him.

    RE: … we should … be allowed to ask about the candidate’s qualifications and motivation for seeking an office.

    Observation: If a Brother knows who’s up next at bat, what’s preventing him from talking with this Brother anyway?

    Keep up the good job Brother Tim!The Light you share is great from where I sit.

    LM

  6. WB Tim, your article is dead center. When I ran into this situation I sternly reminded the brothers all to remember and practice what they learned thru taking their obligation at the alter.It helped me to keep my focus during my term in the East.

  7. Bro. Tim,
    Right on the mark with your comments! Maybe our leaders who call themselves master Masons will read this article and look in the mirror. Keep up the good work!

  8. Nominations bring about politics, politics is something best left out of a Lodge. As they go through the chairs, if you have an interest, you can get to know them by asking pointed questions from time to time, and basing your decisons upon the answers they provide you.

    Bob Johnson

  9. Very insightful article. I agree with you 100%.

  10. It is nice to see that this is an issue all over and not just in one area, or by one group of masons.

    The corrupting influence of absolute power is evident in all bodies occupied by humans. We as Masons are supposed to aim for higher values and principals than others, but as we are indeed human, many of us fall prey to this drug.

    At 33, I consider myself a young mason. Unfortunately, I have witnessed these same witchhunts occuring not only in my own lodge, but in our building’s governing Temple Board, downward through many sub committees.

    Consistantly, the underlying current that is causing the disruption, difficulties or animosity is a person’s own ambitions for whatever goals they are striving to attain at that time. I hesitate to call these people down as I truly do not believe they are bad people, or that they have bad intentions. Just the opposite, in most of the situations I witnessed, they truly believe that the course they are on is one that will produce the best results for their lodge or body.

    Did most of these men set out with “power and control” thoughts in their minds? I think not. They probably began just as we have with ideals and ideas on how to make things better and plans to implement them. I would bet money that they ran into the same resistance from the “Old Guard” that they themselves are now showing. That a lot of their work and progress was a sole effort because they received no support from those holding the reins at the time.

    I can understand the reluctance of these Masons to steer away from the paths they have worked so hard to lay, and to show vehement animosity to anyone who would dare tell them that their “baby” should be handled differently. It would be difficult to be told that your plan, which has taken years to see fruition, is flawed. It is much easier to denounce the “offending” brother than to try to see his point and find a way to integrate new idealogy.

    And that my brothers is my point. You want to see change…(Yes, I know..Change??? whats that??)…then get involved, stay involved, get your friends involved and those brothers of a like mind. When the chips don’t fall your way, pick up your cards and get back to the table. Keep at it. The only way to get things done is to make them popular at the local level. Many brothers will join in with those who they are most familiar with and trust. The more they see you, the more they will agree with your ideas.

    And remember one thing most of all. When you reach the East and travel beyond, remember the young man in the North holds the same values as you, took the same oaths as you, and has not yet been corrupted in his thinking as you have been by the trials you faced, but is still fresh faced with enthusiasm and invigorated by the unknown. He is probably unaware of the political and personal strife which underlies many lodges. His only concern is trying to understand the work, getting to know the great people all around him, and how he can help to make this great institution better.

    In case you forget the feeling, gentlemen, we all started off this way. Some have just lost their way.

    So, strive to keep your intentions pure, hold your friends close and welcome strangers with an open hand.

    Stay the path Brothers.

  11. I’ve been and am at the receiving ends of some “witch hunts” because of being vocal about hypocrytical actions by elders that went unchecked. Trying to change from within almost got me tossed out and my name in the fraternity is not the same for taking a stand. Blah Blah Blah……….I could go on for ever…….
    Nothing will change until full elections are held for our leaders, as long as appointments decide who our leaders are, then NO CHANGE!
    sorry to be so cynical

  12. I agree, but the reverse is also true. I have had a witch hunt launched against me and and those who supported me when I was Master for opposing the will of the Lodge when that will went against the virtues we try to inculcate.

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