An Idaho Mason has been found guilty in a Masonic trial for being associated with a new, irregular and unrecognized lodge in Boise. Krispen Hartung was tried by Boise Lodge No. 2 on August 13th for un-Masonic conduct, after disclosing his position as the new Venerable Master of Praxis Lodge F&AM of the Grand Orient of the United States of America.
Praxis Lodge was established last year, and meets in a local movie theater. They currently claim to have ten members.
Hartung was a regular member of Boise Lodge No. 2, and had attempted to demit last year. However, he still desired to retain his membership in the Shrine. Since membership in a regular, recognized lodge is a requirement for the Shrine, he tried joining Idaho Research Lodge No. 1965, as a way of satisfying the requirement. Research lodges are not, as a general rule in the U.S. (or anywhere else), considered as anything but special purpose groups that also require membership in a regular lodge under their chartering jurisdictions. So, when Hartung applied a second time for a demit this year, there was a delay while his lodge and the Grand Lodge of Idaho AF&AM considered their own positions. Rather than grant a demit, they called for a Masonic trial. Hartung was in violation of Idaho Masonic law as soon as he affiliated with Praxis.
While Hartung gave an impassioned defense of his position, he was found guilty and expelled. Membership in mainstream Masonic organizations is partially predicated on a belief in a Supreme Being, with a volume of sacred law on lodge altars, male only, no discussion of politics or religion in lodge meetings, and honoring the sovereignty of a grand lodge's territory within its agreed upon borders. The Grand Orient of the USA does not require any of these longstanding Masonic stipulations to be adhered to. By its very nature, Hartung's membership in a newly constituted lodge from a foreign jurisdiction immediately placed him in violation of his obligation.
The GOUSA is affiliated with the Grand Orient de France, which is unrecognized by the overwhelming majority of mainstream Freemasonry worldwide. Mainstream Masons should know that the Grand Orient of the United States is attempting to spread across the country, and the Internet has made it easier for them to disseminate their message. Despite their claims of a long heritage, the GOUSA is just over two years old, and received a treaty and patent from the Grand Orient de France in June 2008.
If you are not a Mason, and are looking to join the Freemasonry that is recognized the world over as regular and the legitimate heir to the traditions of the lodges that formed the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717, click here to find the regular, recognized grand lodge for your state or region, as well as links to the historically African-American grand lodges of Prince Hall Freemasonry. Be aware that membership in groups like the GOUSA does not allow you to travel and visit more than a tiny handful of these new lodges, and that the overwhelming majority of the world's Masons will not regard you as a legitimately recognized member. Only you can answer for yourself how important that is to you.