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Monday, June 05, 2006

Masonic Witchhunts

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
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

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.

Article reprinted with permission of the author and "FreeMason

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