Saturday, November 26, 2011

GL of Michigan Withdraws Recognition of Shrine

The Grand Master of Michigan, MW Frederick E. Kaiser, Jr., has withdrawn official recognition of the Shrine there, and it has been declared clandestine and illegal. Michigan Masons may not attend tyled Shrine meetings in that state.

The problem stems from a Mason who was expelled by the Grand Master in July allegedly for pleading guilty to a crime punishable by incarceration of one or more years, and per Michigan's Masonic rules. Unfortunately, the Elf Khurafeh Shrine and the Imperial Shrine (Shriners International) in Tampa didn't agree and kept the suspended Mason as a full member of the Shrine. A slight complication: he's the current Potentate. He had pled guilty to possessing and operating gambling devices, and probably won't be sentenced until February. However, since he did plead guilty, the GM expelled him. The Shrine did not.

So.

From the GM's letter of November 23rd:

The expelled Mason, by action of Elf Khurafeh Shrine, headquartered in Saginaw, Michigan continues to be a member and Potentate of that Shrine. Elf Khurafeh’s action to retain him was subsequently upheld by the Imperial Potentate. This situation exists despite the reputed requirement that a member of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of
the Mystic Shrine (Shriner’s International) must also be a Mason in good standing.

Discussion was initiated with the Imperial Potentate, and counsel for the Imperial Shrine. The Grand Lodge of Michigan explained its position, and requested that the Imperial Potentate reconsider his decision, given information previously unavailable to him. Unfortunately for all concerned and with heavy heart, I must state that no modification of
his position, nor of Elf Khurafeh Shrine’s, has occurred.

Elf Khurafeh Shrine and the Imperial Potentate have failed to adhere to their own Shrine law, by retaining a non-Mason in their ranks. They have also failed to honor their obligations under Michigan Masonic Law. Therefore, acting under §3.10.2.2 of Michigan Masonic Law, the Grand Lodge of Michigan hereby withdraws formal recognition of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriner’s International) as a Masonic organization in the State of Michigan. The relevant sections of Michigan Masonic Law are as follows:

§3.8.2: Any and all organizations, associations, or persons within the State of Michigan, professing to have
any authority, power or privileges in Ancient Craft Masonry, not fraternally recognized by this Grand Lodge, are
declared to be clandestine and illegal, and all Masonic intercourse with any of them is prohibited.

§8.1.2.9: All Master Masons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Michigan who hold membership in
Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine are forbidden to attend tiled Shrine meetings when there is in
attendance a suspended or expelled Mason.

It is therefore my order that no Mason who holds membership in a Michigan Lodge, or in a Lodge chartered by a recognized Grand Lodge who resides or sojourns in Michigan, may (1) attend any nonpublic function of any Shrine in Michigan or (2) have any Masonic interaction of any kind with any Shrine organization in Michigan. Furthermore, no Shrine function or activity will be afforded a special privilege not afforded any other unrelated organization that is allowed to use a building dedicated to Masonic purposes, or on the grounds of a building so dedicated.

Violation of these provisions by a Mason under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Michigan is punishable by charges of un-Masonic conduct.


Arguments with Grand Masters don't generally turn out well.


63 comments:

John Benton said...

Oh wow. His Gould potentially be the start of a big blow up depending on how its handled by other parties. It'll be an interesting story to follow.

Thomas said...

To quote Barretta: "Don't do the crime if you want to be in Shrine...."

E C Ballard said...

The meltdown continues...

Eoghan

Nick Singelis II said...

1.) The Potentate of Elf Khurafeh is not convicted. If you're not a Lawyer, Google "Black's Law" dictionary.

"The terms conviction and convicted refer to the final judgment on a verdict of guilty, a plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere. They do not include a final judgment that has been deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed, or otherwise rendered inoperative."

The Potentate was not convict. He has not had his trial and has may other options within the legal system.

(2) Fred Kiaser and all who write or speak that this man is a convict commit Slander and Libel.

(3) Fred Kiaser will go down in history as the GM who had the largest settlement and who had to reinstate the Mason he kicked out.

(4) In my opinion this is all because Elf Khurafeh had a Circus in Lansing and the Masonic Circus put on by a PGM went out of business.

Unknown said...

If you are convicted or plead guilty, you should RESIGN of your own accord. This should have never been allowed to get this far. Sad really.

Brian Crowder

Charles E. Martin said...

I am not a lawyer, and I do not understand the intricacies. I do believe that a person should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Charles E. Martin

Chris Hodapp said...

He pled guilty.

Devils Advocate said...

According to the Michigan Offender Tracking Information System, the individual in question submitted a plea to the felony charge of Gambling Operations and was sentenced on 2/16/2011.


John

Chris Hodapp said...

Thanks for the clarification. I thought it was NEXT February. So he is guilty AND sentenced.

Marv said...

The Shrine's decision to retain the person in question should have nothing to do with the semantics of conviction for a crime. The Grand Master expelled this person, therefore, he is no longer a Mason in good standing and is ineligible to be a Shriner. The person should have been expelled from the Shrine pending a challenge of the GM's decision at the Annual Communication in June. If the expulsion decision were over-turned, then the person should be reinstated to both groups.

Tom Hathaway said...

Even that may not be the whole truth. If the guilty plea was in abeyance, the charges may be dropped or reduced following the completion of a sentence. I understand that there is some sort of hearing in about six weeks. The results of which the Imperial Potentate has been advised by his legal team to wait for prior to taking any action.

I suspect the presence of some sort of complicated plea deal. If that is the case did the Grandmaster act too early?

Wilson D. Brott said...

I don't know any of the facts of this case. However, if he is already listed on OTIS, then he has either plead guilty or been found guilty at a trial, and has been sentenced for a felony offense. He would not appear on OTIS if he had not yet gone to trial or entered a plea and been sentenced. Misdemeanor offenses do not show up on OTIS. Even if he is pursuing his appeal options, he would still be considered convicted at this point.

Etay said...

The following link should provide all inquiries with the facts as they were presented to the public domain:

http://bit.ly/svhmw7

A white lambskin apron does represent something.

Raev said...

To Nick Singelis II - The potentate pled guilty and has been sentenced by the state of Michigan. He is also listed on Michigans OTIS (Offender tracking information center).

The GM was in the right for expelling the man in question. The GM was in the right for taking a stand when the Shrine did not follow their own rules. It's tragic - but it is what it is.

Bobby Mimmo PM said...

There have been rumors that the Shrine wants to remove the requirement that their members have to be Masons first, before they may be Shriners.....this may be the perfect seq-way to that.I hope not but seems cut and dry that a convicted felon would no longer be a Mason in good standing and thus not eligible to be a Shriner any longer, This puts the Mason requirement issue directly on the table

edwmax said...

2 questions:

Did the Potentate have a Masonic trial as GL of Mi Code indicates (sec 8.4.1.1; or was the trail circumvented by the GM's order?

Has the Potentate filed an appeal to the GL? If he has, per Code Sect. 8.6.12 he is a 'Mason under Charges' and is not expelled or suspended.

Sam Lee said...

I see this as another step towards the end of the requirements that you have to be a Mason in order to be a Shriner. The Imperial Shrine in their infinite wisdom several years ago removed the "Rites" as a requirement. This was the 1st step to sever themselves. With this action I see more Grand Masters maybe declaring the Shrine as clandestine. I have a problem with the Shrine casting a bad name on Masonry because of the profane thinking all Masons are like the "drunk" Shriners. Way to go Grand Master of Michigan.

DYNAMIC David Cab said...

According to 8.1.2.6 (pg 207), a Brother who will not endorse the moral theories of Masonry...and who declares he will not be bound by its solemn obligations, ought to be expelled from all the rights and benefits of Masonry.

If a member of the Imperial Shrine must be a Shriner according to Imperial Law, then any Mason expelled, ought not be allowed Shrine membership.

Also, the GM may expel for crimes with sentences of one or more years. Read 3.8 Supremacy of Grand Lodge

DYNAMIC David Cab said...

According to 8.1.2.6 (pg 207), a Brother who will not endorse the moral theories of Masonry...and who declares he will not be bound by its solemn obligations, ought to be expelled from all the rights and benefits of Masonry.

If a member of the Imperial Shrine must be a Shriner according to Imperial Law, then any Mason expelled, ought not be allowed Shrine membership.

Also, the GM may expel for crimes with sentences of one or more years. Read 3.8 Supremacy of Grand Lodge

Tommy Desmond said...

GL is within its bounds to stop recognizing the Shrine, however, to determine it "clandestine" is an entirely different thing. The only thing that makes the Shrine Masonic is the requirement that Shriners be Masons. There is no Masonic work in the Shrine. Once the GL ceases to recognize the Shrine, their jurisdiction ends, and they have no more right to tell Masons they can't be Shriners than they do to tell Masons they can't be a member of the VFW. They can't have their cake and eat it too.

Personally, I think this is the foolish political pandering of short sighted old men. This is a horrible time in Masonry to start a penis measuring contest and it's just going to serve to dissuade new members more and more from getting involved.

Michigan is a very Shrine-heavy state. The GL might get some unintended consequences. I've heard the rumblings of many Brothers moving their Blue Lodge membership out of Michigan over it. Fred definitely upset a lot of people. It also sounds like political suicide.

Both sides are acting immaturely and there's no mortar anywhere to be seen. It's embarrassing.

I think the bottom line result will be the Shrine removing Masonic membership as a requirement at new Imperial and they will expand their membership into other groups like Elks, Moose and KofC.

edwmax said...

Sorry ... the top of the GM's letter of Nov.23rd, 2011 answers my question about an appeal. It states an appeal was file and referred to the GL Committee with their report to be presented at the next GL session.

Per GL of Michigan Code, under section 8.6.12 the accused mason stands as a 'Mason under Charges' until the Committee report at the next GL & action by the GL.

Matt Shelton said...

edwmax - As I understand it this was a sentence based on 8.1.3.3 regarding when a Brother is convicted of any offense that is punishable by 1 year or more in prison. The Potentate pleaded guilty to a felony count that is punishable by a year or more in prison, and while he has not yet been sentenced (I have a feeling that he is playing ball with the Attorney General to convict the ring leaders for a reduced sentence), he CAN be sentenced to a year or more and is therefore able to be sentenced under this Blue Book Key. Under 8.1.3.4, he has an appeal to the Grand Lodge, but, that will not happen until June 2012 when Grand Lodge meets as only the Grand Lodge in Session can overturn any Grand Master's action. Whether someone agrees with the decision or not, he is at the present time expelled and therefore ineligible for membership in any organization that requires Masonic Membership as a prerequesite.

Matt Shelton

Peter & Anne-Marie, Running Away from Home said...

If the AAONMS insists that an expelled Mason may continue his membership, I have a used Fez for sale!

Pete Arnold PMx3
Windsor, CT

edwmax said...

@ Matt Shelton

per the offender tracking information on the MI website. http://mdocweb.state.mi.us/otis2/otis2profile.aspx?mdocNumber=797447

He has about 66 days left on his probation. It appears he has already been sentenced.

kingtbone said...

Do I have my facts straight:

Noble Hatch elected as OG in dec 2006
Installed as OG in 2007
Charged with the crime May 16 2007
Relected and Progesses through the chairs 5 years.
installed as potentate Jan 2011
Gets Probation / Fine FEB 2011 - (one yr tell Feb 2012)
Expelled by newly installed Grand master in July 2011 ?


Questions ?

Was there ever any shrine charges filed before being expelled ?
Did His Lodge Kick him out or the grand lodge ?
Why did the GM at the time of conviction not file the charges ? Or the previous 4 GM "s


So no elections this year for any michigan temples units or clubs per this edict ? As far as that goes no shrine business tell may of 2012 when the new grand master is installed.

I guess the 8000 shrine masons in michigan do not mater to the GM. Surprised he did not ban any activity with thw jester too ! ( I guess he really did technically)


Craig

Matt Shelton said...

@edwmax -- Thanks for the update. I certainly hope that this situation gets ironed out soon. This is not the first time a Grand Lodge has withdrawn recognition of the Shrine, it happened in Arkansas several years ago for the exact same reason. In Michigan, the actions of a Grand Master become Masonic Law automatically, unless overturned by a vote of the Grand Lodge at the end of his term. As such, there is no appeal from the decision of a Grand Master except to the Grand Lodge in Session. The main issue being that, because the Shrine requires a member to be a Master Mason in good standing, there can be conflicts between the Grand Lodge Laws of a particular state and Shrine Laws. Not being a Shriner, I am not familiar with Shrine Law, but Michigan Masonic Law expressly forbids Mason's from attending a tyled Shrine meeting if any Mason not in good standing or any non-mason is present. If the MWGM in Michigan is in error for the expulsion of the Brother, that cannot be determined before our 2012 Grand Lodge Session and all bodies requiring Masonic Membership (in good standing) as a prerequisite have no choice, but to abide by the MWGMs ruling until the next Grand Lodge. If they don't, they put thier members' Masonic standing in jeopardy. Assuming that the current edict is followed as written, it will, in effect shut down the Shrine in Michigan, as no business meeting will be able to legally take place. If Masons attend, they can be placed on Masonic charges and non-Masons are not eligible to attend the meetings as that is in violation of Shrine rules.

Simple solution is to remove the Brother in quesiton from Shrine membership until at least the next Grand Lodge Session.

Matt Shelton said...

@Craig -- Your timeline is only slightly off. While the investigation and charges happened in 2007, it was not until 2011 that the Brother pleaded guilty and was thus considered "convicted". While I do not know if any charges were filed in the Shrine, it was at the point of his having pleaded guilty that the Grand Master was informed and took action to expel him from the Craft at which point, the Shrine, upon being notified, should have taken the same action as he was at that point no longer a Mason in good standing and not eligible for Shrine membership. Action was not taken prior to 2011, as until the Feb 2011 plea of guilty, he was not considered convicted and the Lodge and MWGM would have been premature in filing charges prior to that point. I am not sure at what point the plea deal was brought to the Grand Lodge's attention. It may be that it did not happen until after the 2011 GL Session. It could also be that a Lodge trial was held between Feb and that the MWGM simply chose the sentence although I don't believe that to be the case.

kingtbone said...

Matt
Thanks for the reply. I just find it hard to believe a member of the temple could continue to move up the chairs knowing that this legal action was pending. I just would figure someone would bring this up as an election issue and Run against the man.

When is the GM's term up ? Is it may to june ?

Seems like the previous GM sat on this in FEB, March , April, and the current GM in May ... expelling him in June.

I just feel sorry for all the hard working Shrine masons that have worked so hard for years to finnaly get their positions as leaders of the organization and have it all put on hold.

As a complete outsider this looks a little fishy ...


Craig

Matt Shelton said...

@Craig -- the next GL session is scheduled for June 2012. I too feel badly for the members of the Shrine who are now negatively affected due to the failure of thier leadership to take the appropirate action. I only hope that all of the members of the Shrine in Michigan take the time to contact the Imperial Potentate and demand that he remove the member from the Shrine. I can't speak to what delay there might have been by any of those involved. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I hope that the current Grand Master took action as soon as he was informed. I can imagine that, as this involved a sitting officer of the Shrine, there was some reluctance on the part of those that knew him well to take any action before absolutely required in the hopes that he would be cleared of the charges. The fact that they continue to not take the appropriate action has led to this tremendous mess and I'm sure will cause plenty of confusion among the Lodges as they read this edict at thier next meeting. I would guess that more than half of the membership is not yet aware of this at all.

kingtbone said...

Matt

One last comment.
From my experience in our shrine, The imperial does not EVER want to get involved in solving what is a local temple problem. I think it is wierd how everyone is blameing the shrine for lack of doing anything when this should of been taken care of in February at his local blue lodge level or at the the local shrine temple... not imperial and the grand lodge.

There was an easy solution. At the December stated meeting the cheif rabban, outer guard, OR ANY NOBLE, should deny the potentates entrance for the lack of credentials.If he was not removed then the GM can send out his eddict . Carry on with the needed buisness and elections the Noble is removed. Everybody is happy End of Problem ! This would of resolved itself in a 2-3 week window.. Now we will have hard fellings amongst all for months if not years ! No one wins .

Craig

Matt Shelton said...

@Craig -- Well said!! I cannot speculate as to if the local lodge took action or why the local shrine refused to take action after the Brother was sentenced to expulsion. Now, however, it affects all Masons in Michigan and not just those local groups. Let's hope that those in leadership positions, be they local, state or international, now step up to the plate, do the right thing and restore the harmony between these groups.

RON said...

http://mdocweb.state.mi.us/otis2/otis2profile.aspx?mdocNumber=797447 here is a link for those who wish to see about CRAIG HAYES HATCH , And Google "Black's Law" dictionary Doesn't hold true on this. The link is from Michigan Gov.

edwmax said...

@Matt …. Basically I agree with your assessment above. The Imperial could have made a better decision, but his reasons were his to make. An interesting situation is that Hatch could be restored at the next GL session, thus making the sentence/edict mute. So now does his Lodge have the sole say-so of restoration, or because the GM superceded the trial does the restoration itself becomes a question of the GL. … Ultimately, the GL will have to decide this one-way or the other (if a petition for restoration is submitted). … Now another interesting section of the Mi Code is that of sec 8.1.3.8 which states in part ….” but if an offense was committed years ago and the fact of the commission of such offense has been notorious and the conduct of the Brother committing it has been free from censure, the charges for the old offense should not be considered.” If the Potentate is released from supervision in February, then this will be the situation at the time of the GL in June. A vote by the Mason’s Lodge to restore along with a petition to the GL to restore and/or decided who has the say-so of restoration; the Lodge or GL. This will put everything in place to put and end to the mess. That GL session is going to be interesting …

Stoney said...

To start I am a Man, Mason, and Shriner!!! I think the guilty parties should stand up for what they have done… I am a young MAN and have dedicated a lot of time to all originations and promoted the Masons and Shriners to lots of young people. I will say through the years of my service that I come to a conclusion that it is only a club that needs money, and loves to fight with each other all the time. I joined to meet new friends and socialize with different people.
Now the Question about what is going on in MI, why would you hold all masons/ shriners responsible and why don’t you seek out the dark ones that are responsible for this? Wake up Brothers you’re going to just be part of history if you keep on the same path. In the United States you have to think about surviving, not destroying the organization and in a state that holds a lot of members then good luck. I understand the laws and appreciate the actions and holding people accountable. I think it is past the time to promote Shriners to the young generation but maybe it is time for a change?
Come together and live for a long time or fight and just be part of a failing Fraternity!!!
From a young man that has traveled the world and helped a lot of people from different walks of life. I don’t know everything but I have an open mind!
Mason/Shriner from MI (or am I?)

kingtbone said...

well by the court documens his probation was not " one or more years " .... So does the GL rule apply ?

I just hope for all michigan mason's and all mason across the country, this doe not end up in a civil court...

Craig

docmopar said...

This was premature and still in negotiations. Whoever leaked this was irresponsible in their duties. I have received correspondence stating that Shrine International and Blue Lodge are trying to work this out. Why should ALL Shriners suffer for the mistakes of an individual. The man in question should just resign, for the good of the order, OR since he never served jail time, just probation, make him a member in good standing, otherwise thousands will suffer over this edict.
Respectfully, Paul D Perry

docmopar said...

On Nick Singlis ll's comments:
The man went to trial in Feb 2011 and plea bargained. He was sentenced to 1 year probation ending 02/2012
Since this is public records, I looked up him, and his trial record so I would have the FACTS. It took 3 years from arrest to trial. He paid a hefty fine. Now, the question is, what to do for the good of the organizations. Have him resign? or make him a member in good standings after he pays his debt to society in Feb.
Respectfully, Paul D Perry

RL Hays said...

I see a lot of interest in my area in becoming a shriner. On the other hand very little in becoming a mason. a lot of people join the mason lodge here only to become shriners. My feeling is that if the shrine decides to not have masonry as a prerequisite and allow other fraternal orders to join this will only hurt the blue lodge. My lodge has been forced to raise dues every year due to declining membership while the shrine is in need of a larger building.
RL Hays

BmacD said...

These things come up rarely. They are usually settled by cooler heads when the dust dies down. Simple facts are GM can expel - seems justified he expelled a confessed and convicted felon.
The Imperial Potentate needs a lesson in Masonic Law. All Masonic organizations must comply with and abide by all the rules and regulations of the Grand Lodge of the jurisdiction they are in. A visitor to MI would have to abide by not only with their own state but also MI rules and regs.
This could reach much farther if MI decided not to recognize Grand Jurisdictions that continue to recognize the Shrine.
As a side note this is the Shrine my father joined in 1942 and was a member until he passed away in 2000. I belonged to the Shrine here in LA but dropped my membership when they quit supporting the Rites. My observations are that there is much less friction between Shrine brothers that are members of a rite than those who just jumped from blue lodge into the Shrine and haven't benefited from the additional teachings of brotherly love they learn with continued participation in their Lodge and Rite.
Brett Mac Donald,
Scottish Rite 33 - York Rite KYCH
Covina, CA

Matt Shelton said...

@edwmax -- Off topic, but I've been waiting a few days for my forums.mastermason.com account to be activated. Can you assist?

Inspector5 said...

@RL Hays, Why do you assume that having less Masons that are not interested in being Masons in a Masonic lodge would be a bad thing? True, it will mean less "dues payers" but I think it would result in a stronger craft. I am not criticizing Shriners with this comment, I am just saying that if a man isn't interested in being a Mason then maybe he should not be one.

Tony said...

I am a Master of a Wisconsin Lodge and a Plural member in the UP i am also a member of BEJA shrine i will still attend Shrine meetings as Wisconsin has not passed this judgement. i am sure the Elks Lodge would be more than happy to accept Shrine into there Organisation. It is sad that this has become such a mess from someone i have no idea what is really going on. I have an idea why not isolate this Shrine from being in the Grand Lodge of Michigan versus punishing all the other Shrines in the state. The Shrine are now at odds with the there community. This is really bad taste i will predict that the fall of many local lodges will happen as many members will with draw membership when there told now they cant be in the Shrine the grand lodge has finally done something on the good side made it able to prove and pave the way to become a Shriner with out being a Mason. I am stating as of right now i am going to push for the Upper Michigan Northern LP to have its own Grand Lodge Since there are many Differences like this event that have nothing to do with what we are doing affecting us and telling us we now are enemy's over two boys that have high ranking title.

What ever happened to believing in the Supreme Being i can see clearly Grand lodge likes to cast the first stone versus doing less extreme measure in saving face.

If anyone is interested in forming a Grand Lodge for the Northern LP and UP that govern it self and work in cooperation much like Prince Lodges with Michigan Grand Lodge.
As this event if left unchecked will destroy and decimate Masonic lodges in the UP that are anchored to the Shrine and with most of the lodges being on the edge of having enough people to be there that have the only reason to stay members to be shriners this will divide everyone.

my name is Tony you can email me at tpool90@gmail.com and help save the Upper Michigan and Northern LP from suffering in this disciplinary action.

Thank You
God Bless

Wayfaring Man said...

Tony,

If you are a regular Mason, you took an oath to cheerfully conform to the rules and regs of your Grand Lodge.... and now you advocate splitting off and forming your own Grand Lodge?

Do you believe that is in keeping with the oath you took?

Warbard said...

It is a sad, nay tragic when Freemasons believe that they are Shriners first. It is apparent that those Grand Jurisdictions are lacking in the proper teachings of Freemasonry when legal maneuvering of wording trumps what everyone knows is the right. Mr. Craig Hatch gave a plea of guilty; that is the end of it. I read Imperial's reply letter and they are way off base and need of a proper change of course. Simply put, Imperial is a NO GO and better get with the program because the blame and fault lies clearly with them in their disrespect of the Grand Lodge of Michigan. Poor form and it is sad that I do not hear more Michigan Brothers defending their Grand Master, who is clearly in the right to put a stop to Imperial's game of posturing for time; they gave him no choice. MW Fred Kaiser is not alone as you may wish to believe and frankly after reading some of the postings here, for being Masons some of you seemed to have forgotten, or are sadly out of touch with, what it means to be a Mason. A good Shriner is a great Mason and anyone who do not get this is missing the whole point completely and probably needs to get out of both. I admonish each of you to take the time and remember whence ye came.

Tony said...

I am replying to before comment would it be in the best interests of Masons to form a Grand Lodge of Northern Michigan?

I believe it would. Reasons be that Northern Michigan has a much different way of life and thinking than the People who live in the Southern part of the state. There was at one time a strong but unsuccessful movement to have the UP and part of Northern Wisconsin become its own state called the state of Superior just because of these differences. If there was to be a Northern Michigan Grand Lodge it would make people and masons in the North, Easier to get along with as well as boost Activity in the lodges as the Laws and rules are very close to Grand lodge of Michigan but are more shaped for the masons for the Northern part of the state. This would only affect Blue lodge everything else would stay the same which is what most of the Aging membership would like. A Majority of the Members are older in the Northern Michigan area. It is very possible to have 2 Grand Lodges for example there is a Prince lodge is there not.

Did you know that 15% of the maps printed don't even have the UP of Michigan on them! That is a fact in how people from the southern part of the country think and feel about the UP and some times northern LP of Michigan.

These are reasons why i think it would be better for all Michigan masons to have 2 Grand lodges this action would not separate Masons but create an better feeling as well as the ability to reduce costs for both lodges.

This would also attract Masons to come back to Michigan and be active in Lodge. The talk i have been hearing from Many Northern Michigan Masons that are not Officers are there switching the membership to Wisconsin over the GM ruling as this is not the first time a GM from the LP has over stepped there authority this happened with Eastern Star a number of years ago a GM said this is the way it will be or i am not allowing Blue Lodge masons to be in Star. There are many other examples that are not very Masonic as in the Belief and Oath i have taken as a Mason that have Happened in Grand Lodge of Michigan which may be very acceptable in the Southern Parts of the state but not in the Northern Parts.

I have the benefit of being part of Wisconsin as well as Michigan.

These are just my thoughts on ways to save and bring new Life to Masonry and avoid embarrassment in which Michigan members feel about Masonry after this action by GM of Michigan over stepping His authority with Shrine not His actions about the person in question tho.

Wisconsin is rocking as new members are coming in more and more new life and activity compared to Michigan Lodges i think what ever Wisconsin is doing should be looked at. And Wisconsin Accepts Shrine

Some of you may think this is not very masonic in how i think or type but i believe it would eliminate allot of the underline feelings people have about Masons from the North and from the South. We all meet Brothers on the Level but we dont always think on the Level that's when we Part on the Square . We are still human and to error is to be Human.

Devils Advocate said...

Tony,

I have a question for clarification purposes of my end.

How did the Grand Master overstep his authority? I see the claim you are making but am curious under what basis you are making your claim or is it more of an opinion.

Thank you,

John

Tony said...

John

It is my Opinion like anyone else.

But if i was Grand Master and i said anyone who goes to the church of Scientology is an atheist and there for all masons that go to that church are no longer members and band. With out going threw the process of appeal and waiting to the next Grand Lodge meeting that would be over stepping my authority.

Yes a Grand Master can make a edict that concerns emergency decision if it affected the Grand Lodge in a Legal matter that would affect the peace and harmony of all lodges. But with what the GM did he jumped the gun and did not allow for due process proper time and the next meeting when Grand Lodge meets he can put out a message to all lodges of what is going on as in this mason is in question and is put on notice and write a communication to shrine that he is in violation of membership under Blue lodge and they have until the next Grand Lodge meeting to take action and conduct there own trial And file the proper paper work until then.

His dictation has broken Harmony among all lodges which is in direct violating of the oath i took.

With due process and the year to pass it would have been more acceptable for all Masons to hear this and voice there opinion represent there lodges and how it would have affected all Lodges and what this would do Financially as well as to members moral and what would happen.

I know personally that there where people interested in joining blue lodge that are Elks members. But after hearing this it chased them away and they want nothing to do with Masonry now because there only interest to be masons was Shrine.

Besides from my understanding Blue lodge owns no Buildings there renters and they have building associations they meet in. so his ruling would not affect Shrine anyways as far as meeting place.

As myself i am a Wisconsin Mason as well as Michigan. I am a BEJA Shriner and i will still fallow Wisconsin GM rules when going to Shrine so Technically i am not disobeying or violating my oath to the GM. When i go the Green Bay i am totally a Wisconsin Mason When i am in Michigan i am a Michigan Mason But if i was not a Michigan Mason i would be a Wisconsin mason in Michigan and Wisconsin Rules fallow. See what will happen if this is not corrected in some way to bring Harmony. UP Masons will more than likely move there membership to Wisconsin or Canada so they can keep everything the way there used to and bring Harmony back to there Lodges. Since being a Shriner is not dependent on being a Michigan mason just a Master Mason from any recognized Grand Lodge.

This is what concerns me. If this conflict with Shrine sticks other Grand lodges may not be recognized by Michigan Grand lodge in the coming years. that is why i suggested as well as others who have talked to me at forming a Northern Michigan Grand Lodge to preserve those ties. As that is what is scaring allot of Masons i talked to if there willing to let Shrine go away over one person then what is to say that Scottish Rite or York rite, Jobs, rainbow girls Demoly, Eastern Star is immune from dictation and fear of the wraith of the GM. I personally will not put up with it i would rather not belong to a Org. that expects you to be a slave to it than give up my personal Harmony.

This is how i Believe, God and Family come first then your Job then Church fictions and then Extras likes Blue Lodge. If Blue Lodge starts to effect any of the other it is time to quit. And if i am worrying about where and when i might go that might effect my membership with Blue Lodge this is affecting my personal Harmony with my family and God and not acceptable.

Tony said...

Hello everyone I just got back from the lodge meeting the letter shocked everyone every mason there was worried if they should even come to any lodge shrine meeting again until shrine is ok. I did hear some talk after that the Elks lodge is looking more and more attractive to go to over Masonic. Which is what I thought would happen driving members to go else where its going to be some really hard months forward I Hope we have enough to keep form or even do anything. It really rocked the boat. I know some of you will say its just a bump in the road but fact is with out shrine we will not be able to keep blue lodge going. If shrine changes and let's other non masons in that will put blue lodge on life support with an order to pull the plug. I think adding Elks to Shrine would be most excellent. As I was told just hours ago there are some women thinking of joining blue lodge in Michigan. The bilaws prohibit that but as we now know Elks where men only too until a case was filed against the Elks. Needless to say Blue lodge of Michigan is now at War. It's going to be a bumpy ride. Please comment

MattCourtney said...

Craig Hatch: Man, (former) mason, Shriner, and strip club owner.
Regardless of this mans character, it is clear MWGM acted appropriately.

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2009/02/tavern_on_the_green_clubhouse.html

Matt

TexasMason32 said...

Brother Nick Singelis II I greatly respect you and the effort you give to masonry and the shrine and you are in Michigan so can you explain your post because the Potentate did plead guilty and was senteced ? BTW nice radio program i think it is a great tool in membership

Ricky Cox

Houston said...

I for one am not happy that inexperienced masons can now become Shriners. What was the point of joining masonry to simply skip the years of learning to rush to the Shrine for fun and sun?

Secondly, if I were forced to choose between blue lodge or Shrine it wouldn't take me a split second to give away my fez.

Lastly, rules or not, what man of any personal dignity would want to be a part of an organization that bends its high criteria for the sake of increased membership...ergo more money.

The day the Shrine accepts non-masons is the day I leave, and the day the Shrine begins it's fast decline to has-been status.

humped camel said...

The shrine is failing, reaching out for dues payers only. The El Hajj clubs are victims with the holy mother shrine attitude.

T said...

All of you poeple who are commenting on this matter who do not know THE BROTHER involved if all the facts need to stay out of it he has not been FOUND GUILTY of anything and is and will always be a good man

T said...

For one thing The Potentate was not convict of anything and no matter what happens he will always be MY BRTOTHER the vewis of 1 should not be forced on all which is just what the GM is doing here the The Potentate is and will always be a good man

T said...

I would just like to say this, The matter with The Brother involved just needs to go away, whenever I see a group of 5 or more masons together at least 2 of them are still talking about this. They all need to know depending what happens He can charge them with un masoinc conduct for talking about them in this matter. Yes it is a problem but it is being dealt with so drop it and let it go.

Warbard said...

I do not believe so. Craig Hayes Hatch pled guilty to a five-year felony for operating illegal casinos and admitted to evading law enforcement. The Michigan Grand Master says he is not a Master Mason and that's good enough for me.

In fact, it is more than good enough because I have great concern that the brethren are so wound up about the legal system that they are failing to acknowledge that he already admitted to un-Masonic behavior by his plead of guilty.

This is not about the preponderance of the evidence, it is about our pursuit of both Morality and higher standards and his own admission of failure and unworthiness. Ill words spoken of such a man by other Masons is warranted because of such a fall from grace. He is not a Mason, nor was his actions those of one and he confessed to this when he admitted to his own guilt.

I just wished that Mr. Hatch would of been considerate of the rest of the brethren nationwide and would have chosen to do the right thing and step aside so that this blemish would not have stained both this, our gentle Craft and the Shrine.

http://mi.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164--251681--,00.html

L. Goodlesky said...

After reading thru the comments and letters from the GM and Imperial Potentate it appears to me that the Potentate of Elf Khurafeh has plead guilty, plea held inabayance. This means, at least to me and according to law, has NOT been convicted. The GM has received inaccurate information or him or his advisors have misconscrued the defination of guilty to fit their purpose. One becomes guilty upon being sentenced for a crime, not when charged or pleadings are pending. GM please re-consider your edict and conform to Black Law dictionary.

T said...

Finally Someone else who understands the law and will not convict a man based on the information he has been given or heard and you are right he has not been FOUND GUILTY of anything

Todd A. Kennard said...

I am a Michigan Mason. I specifically joined to be a part of the charitable work and eventually become a Shriner. I was deeply impressed as a child when a poor kid I knew needed expensive medical care. The Shriners helped save that kid's life. That kid is now a doctor.

I wonder if the GM and Imp have lost sight of the core Masonic values of Faith, Hope & Charity and how their actions affect not just a bunch of men playing dress up but the community they are an intricate part of. I make light of the ritual in the face of cold reality.

The Shriners do important work for the community. In fact, they help those losing faith, regain it, those without hope see it, and those lacking charity, find it. When I hear how this situation may put the Shriners out of business, I think of a father to a little girl with no hair due to intial cancer treatments and just found out his insurance will not cover the bone marrow treatment that has a good chance to save her life. Where can he turn ? While we cannot help everyone, time and again you hear how the Shriners put on one of their "silly" shows for fund raisers to help kids just like that dying girl.

The only silly show is the ongoing contention between men not in that life or death situation. The situation can be resolved in any number of ways that preserve Masonic fundamental goals. I urge Masons to campaign against ignorance and help bring more light to the GM of Michigan and the Shriner's Imperial. - Todd A. Kennard Attica / Imlay City #295

sheltonmr said...

Brother T, I can appreciate your position on the matter. There are many who might disagree witht the position that the MWGM has taken. The fact remains that, at present, a plea of guilty has been entered in a court of law and the MWGM is the final authority as it regards interpretation of the Blue Book. Unless and until the MWGM's decision is overturned by the Grand Lodge in session, the former Brother is not a Mason in good standing. If the MWGM's decision is upheld, the only recourse is application for reinstatement in his Lodge after completion of any sentence that may be imposed by the Court. The Blue Book does not require a conviction or a finding of guilty in a civil court for Masonic charges to be upheld. That, of course, can be changed, but until it is, we have to live within our existing Masonic laws.

Matt Shelton, PM
Pontiac #21

Thomas Larsen said...

Well I don't know that particulars of the case. I do know that the Master of a Grand Lodge has the final word and that word is law. I think a few brothers should look in their laws and constitutions books. How the brother got there is not the question. He deserves his just due as do all brother but the Grand Master has authority over all regular masons in his area, there should be no argument.

Thomas Larsen said...

Brother T, One must hold true to the ideals of Freemasonry in ALL aspects of their life. Good deeds alone are not sufficient, if you commit a criminal act ( understand the former brother plead guilty). When Masons are convicted of crimes it reflects on all of us and starts to reinforce in the minds of those that do not know any better that we are all bad people. A Crime is a Crime. When we look the other way for some Brothers and kick out others, what does that say about the organization? What does that say about they authority of the Grand Master? That is not the rules we swore to follow. You don't look the other way because you like the guy and he does good things when it suits him. There are few acceptable excuses for committing a crime, one that is not just against the people of Michigan but against all brother Masons. We have an obligation not only to uphold and respect the law of the state but to also uphold Masonic law. Either that or we are just what some like to think we are.

mody said...

kudos to the Grandmaster of Michigan for his assertiveness in widrawing recognition to the shrine temple org,brought about by their inaction to suspend a member who was expelled by the Grandlodge.,Which constitute an insult to the power and authority of the grandlodge over appendant bodies.I do remember about 3 decades ago here in Manila Philippines when an arrogant shrine divan was not permitted by our Grandmaster to conduct ceremonials here in manila.they were forced to do it in manila Bay.
VW M.gonzalesPm,PDDGM GLP