"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Thursday, November 06, 2008

GL of New York Suspends Amity With
GL of District of Columbia

According to a message posted elsewhere by Right Worshipful Jay D. Marksheid, Grand Director of Ceremonies of the Grand Lodge of New York, a dispute has arisen between grand lodges in New York and Washington DC that has ramifications for members of those grand lodges.

According to brother Marksheid's post, as of November 5th, 2008, by order of Most Worshipful Edward Gilbert, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, F&AM, amity between the Grand Lodge of NY, F&AM and the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia has been officially suspended. 
According to the order, the Grand Lodge of DC first issued a charter for a new Lodge in a territory already under the jurisdictions of the GLofNY and GL of Scotland without first obtaining their permission to do so. Further, the charter was issued in the name of several Masons who are under formal suspension from the GLofNY.  According to the GLofNY, both actions run afoul of rules of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America, and of generally recognized Masonic jurisprudence.
At this time, members of the GLofNY may not visit Lodges of the GlofDC nor hold Masonic intercourse with members of the GLodDC, nor permit them to visit tyled NY Lodges.

The dispute regards New York and Scotland's existing lodges in Lebanon and the GLofDC's chartering this year of a new lodge there without first establishing a treaty with New York and Scotland. There currently is no grand lodge of Lebanon, but lodges chartered by both Scotland and New York have coexisted there for decades. The GLofDC has a large Lebanese membership, and granted dispensation to L'Hiram Lodge last year, officially issuing its charter on October 25th at their annual communication.

Other grand lodges will undoubtedly pile on to the dispute to support New York.


  1. Does the GLofNY & the GLofS have an agreement between themselves regarding Lebanon? It would seem to me, that when a nation doesn't have a GL of it's own, then it would be open territory. I am confused as to this issue. Who gives authority to any Masonic body to plant the flag and claim jurisdiction in a foreign country?

  2. SD Freemason, that's my understanding, a place is open territory unless the geographic area has its own GL.

    I don't see why an agreement is necessary if the territory is open.


  3. I'm kind of dumbfounded myself. If there is no GL in that country, then - as Masonic history shows - it should be open for any GL to charter Lodges there.

    Now, if the charter was issued in the name of suspended Masons, there is a real problem and I can certainly understand the GL of NY's position.

  4. I wonder where the GLs will line up or if this is will be relegated to these two GLs.


  5. Personally I believe that the jurisdictional dispute was thrown in to add weight to the suspended members issue.

    I can't imagine how that order could be justified on purely jurisdictional grounds.

  6. Good stuff. Way to shake things up DC.

    Will DC stand up and tell the GL of NY to stick it?

    Let's hope so.

    The Chickens are indeed coming home to roost.


  7. My question is, if this is truly un-Masonic, why didn't the Grand Lodge of Scotland follow suit. No Grand Lodge holds jurisdiction over the area because a Grand Lodge does not exist there. Could the Grand Lodge of DC communicated better...yes, does this call for such extreme measures by the Grand Lodge of NY...no. To the layperson, this seems very un-Masonic of the GL of NY to pursue such a course of action without conferring with the Grand Lodge as a whole.

    I would like to also note, that as Masons we take an obligation to not publicly discuss such issues, so I am a bit amused that this topic is being brought up without the consent of both Grand Lodges and their reputations considered.

    I would caution that in such instances, much information is always left out by these types of posts, and we may not in fact be aware of the full story.

  8. I posted this info because it affects the hundreds of East Coast Masons who regularly travel between New York and DC. I come not to take sides or poke anyone's GL in the eye and go "neener-neener."

    According to the details in the decree, New York established its lodges in Lebanon ONLY after securing permission from Scotland in 1925. If the GLofDC knowingly chartered a lodge with a Master and Secretary who were publicly known to have been suspended from New York, and if they did so with no regard for protocol concerning Masonic jurisdictional treaties in regards to Scotland and New York, then it seems like they were asking for a smackdown.

    No one has come forward to say whether the GLofDC attempted to negotiate a treaty with new York or Scotland, so that is unknown. IF New York's lodges have been languishing in Lebanon, and IF DC attempted to negotiate in good faith, and IF there's another side to the suspended NY Masons winding up with a DC charter, and IF New York is trying to flex its pecs in what is really a small matter in the grand scheme of things, then New York using the Nuclear Option may have been an unnecessary escalation. If, however, this was DC's version of General Tony McAuliffe telling the Nazis who wanted him to surrender at Bastogne, "Nuts," then I suspect we're in for an ugly skirmish.

    As for BC's message above, there are no chickens coming to roost in this matter. Masonry has rules. And when Masons and grand lodges violate the rules they set up for themselves, it is scarcely an event worth celebrating.

  9. Nathan wrote:
    "Personally I believe that the jurisdictional dispute was thrown in to add weight to the suspended members issue.

    I can't imagine how that order could be justified on purely jurisdictional grounds."

    Except that jurisdictional treaties have existed since the colonial period when GLs of England, Scotland and Ireland would agree to share jurisdictions in foreign lands. All of it hinges on the desire to retain recognition and regularity and some semblance of civility when chartering lodges in countries that have no GL of their own.

    Case in point is the Grand Lodge of India. Lodges chartered by the GLs of England, Scotland and Ireland dotted the landscape of India, all coexisting since the 1700s by longstanding treaties between the three bodies. And then India decided to form its own GL in the 1960s, and that it wanted to remain in amity with the overwhelming majority of regular, recognized, Anglo-Saxon derived Masonry, the organizers negotiated a treaty to take in the lodges of the three GLs actively at work in the country.

    Again, there is much more to this story than is being aired in public, and it's not my intention to get digs in at anybody here. But this event has the possibility of major escalation if other GLs decide to do a dogpile on DC. remember Minnesota and the "France Question" and the GLs that had no dog in that fight who nonetheless decided to clobber Terry Tilton and the GL of Minnesota over what was nobody else's business.

    This is a pissing war between NY and DC, and I REALLY hope everybody else stays clear of it.

  10. I note that in the Summer 2008 issue of The Empire State Mason, the official magazine of the GLofNY, the following statement was printed on page 14 as part of the proceedings of the annual communications of May 29th, 2008:

    "The Committee on Masonic Jurisprudence concurs with the Grand master's order of suspension of El Merj Lodge No. 8, under the District Grand Lodge of Syria—Lebanon."

    I have no idea if this action is part of this same dispute.

  11. There is a Grand Lodge in Lebanon, and has been for a while. Grand Lodge Bet-El.


    You are correct Mr.Hodapp, institutionalized Freemasonry does have rules. Many of those rules are stupid. This is the case of petty fighting over stupid rules.


  12. Chris, you wrote:
    Case in point is the Grand Lodge of India. Lodges chartered by the GLs of England, Scotland and Ireland dotted the landscape of India, all coexisting since the 1700s by longstanding treaties between the three bodies.

    Treaties? Really? Where does it say this?

    Prior to the formation of a Grand Lodge where I am, both England and Scotland warranted Lodges in the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia in the 1870s and there were no treaties.

    Remember, too, in the 1700s, there were not three bodies. There were four. England had two Grand Lodges for well over 50 years and I can't picture them affixing their approval to the same document.

    As for Nick's comment, by jurisdiction generally stays out of these kinds of internal matters. In the old days, the reviewer in the proceedings would comment on them, as would be natural, but that was about it.


  13. It all boils down to economics fellas. Just lead your nose throught the yellow brick road and soon you will find an answer. Did the GLofNY, the GLofDC or the GLOS communicate with the GL Bet-El prior to doing anything? Oh, I know, the GL Bet-El are Franco-Phone Masons and we all know the French have cooties.

    Well, in the spirit of lending a helping hand the M.E.A.P.R.M.M. Washington State has been working through the night to establish a Temple in Beirut.


  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Bug,
    Since when did your opinion have any effect on what I do or do not do? I will tell you what, I'll even make you a deal. The day you pay all of my bills and put food on my table is the day you can tell me what to do.

    Sound good?

    Back to the topic at hand. Lebanon does have a Grand Lodge. It is called Grand Lodge Bet-El. It works in the French AASR and Modern Rite rituals. They are a member of CLIPSAS and thus they are recognized by those jurisdictions.

    This is not meant in anyway to be confusing. These are the facts. Some may not like them, but they are what they are.

  16. BC: I deleted my comment that referenced you after realizing that I had mistakenly used your real name. That is not my style and for that I apologize.

  17. A message has been sent from the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of new York, clarifying the ramifications of the Grand Master's decree concerning the GLofDC:

    To: All Officers and Members of Masonic Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge F & AM of the State of New York

    Dear Brethren:

    For further edification and clarification of Most Worshipful Grand Master Edward G. Gilbert's Decree dated the 5th Day of November 2008 appertaining to the resolution withdrawing official recognition of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia and its constituent Lodges; be advised that in compliance with this resolution all members and/or officers of Masonic Lodges warranted, chartered and/or granted dispensation by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York are prohibited from holding any Masonic intercourse with any Lodge warranted, chartered and/or granted dispensation by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, and/or officer or member of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia.
    As such, no member of this jurisdiction may visit, attend or participate in any Masonic function, event, meeting or communication regardless of its being tiled or public that is called, hosted or sponsored by a Lodge or Lodges, or District or Districts of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia or called, hosted or sponsored by the said Grand Lodge. Further, Lodge or Lodges, or District or Districts under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge F & AM of the State of New York are prohited from admitting into their respective meetings or communications any officers or members of any Lodge warranted, chartered and/or granted dispensation by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, knowing him or them to be such.

    Lastly, all New York Masons are prohibited from attending any meetings and/or events hosted by concordant or related Masonic bodies or organizations, whereby officers or members of any Lodge warranted, chartered and/or granted dispensation by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia are known to be present.

  18. As more of the details of this situation come to light, New York may find that grand lodges around the country wind up siding with DC, and not the other way around.

  19. BC,
    The Grand Lodge Bet-el was self-proclaimed in 1992, some 67 years after the establishment of New York's District Grand Lodge, and well over a century or more after the Grand Lodge of Scotland's.

    The Grand Lodge Bet-el has aligned itself with the philosophies of the Grand Orient of France, as its website declares, carrying the "banner of the Absolute Liberty of Conscience." Which is, as we all know by now, code for not requiring a belief in a Supreme Being. Like it or not, agree with it or not, such a requirement is a cornerstone of Anglo-Saxon-derived Freemasonry. So no US or UK mainstream GL will be recognizing it anytime soon.

    BC wrote:
    "Well, in the spirit of lending a helping hand the M.E.A.P.R.M.M. Washington State has been working through the night to establish a Temple in Beirut."

    I needed a big laugh today, and you provided it.

    Just as a side issue, I find it hilarious that you continue to use the photo of the very mainstream Grand Lodge of Philadelphia's Egyptian room on your M.E.A.P.R.M.M. blog site, implying that it's your lodge room. Perhaps it is, in your fertile imaginings.

    I find it equally hilarious that the Grand Lodge Bet-el website has links to the Shrine and to the Scottish Rite Journal. If mainstream Freemasonry is so hoary and mean and wrongheaded, how come those who want no part of it seem to want to ally themselves with it's achievements?

    BTW, Grand Lodge Bet-El is not the only grand lodge at work in Lebanon besides New York, DC and Scotland. There is Orient du Canaan, established in 1979, and La Grande Loge des Cèdres, which appeared about the same time.

  20. Mr.Hodapp,
    I know, I know. Since GL Bet-Al is
    "aligned" with the GOdF they aren't "real" Freemasons, right? Really, dont you ever grow tired of these petty politics? Just a little bit? How, in any way do they lead to personal enlightenment?

    I dig the Egyptian lodgeroom that is found at the GL of PA. Nope, never made any secret of it. In fact, if it where possible I would love to replicate it, and use it for my master bedroom I love it so much. I have never stated, no, not once that it is an M.E.A.P.R.M.M.
    lodge room. Now, can I be responsible for the way everyone chooses to interpet everything? I am sure you would say I am. But, the truth is all one would have to do is ask, and they would know my answer.

    The M.E.A.P.R.M.M. doesn't have any "lodge rooms" anywhere. We, the Brethren make up our Temples. We don't pass through the West Gate, we are the West Gate. Our lodgerooms go wherever we do, that is part of the great beauty of the Rite we practice. It is remarkable really.

    Now, back to the topic at hand. You can state Mr.Hodapp that Lebanon does not have a national Grand Lodge that you like. That may be true, it would appear that way. But, and please follow along here; what you stated was that Lebanon has no GL, that is simply not the case.


  21. Brad,
    I never said anything about Bet-el not being "real" Masons, so don't put words in my mouth. I said they were unlikely to be recognized by mainstream Freemasonry anytime soon.

    What I tire of is tiresome and predictable sniping from breakaway Masons who take every opportunity to barge in and remind everybody how wrongheaded my fraternity is. We get it. We got it a long time ago. We don't need threads hijacked to keep your personal complaints alive. You have a blog, so why not stick to your own soapbox?

    As to your use of the GL of Pennsylvania's photograph, no, you're not responsible for the way anyone interprets things, unless you deliberately misrepresent yourself and your 'organization' as something you're not, but if you are going to steal a photo for your website, you might give credit where credit is due. And thanks for finally admitting that M.E.A.P.R.M.M. is imaginary.

    It is indeed remarkable.

  22. Hodapp,
    Because the M.E.A.P.R.M.M. places
    no value in physical buildings it is imaginary? OK, whatever you say. That is something I can deal with. If your fraternity had taken the same approach, it ight not be drowning in debt the way it is now.

    The GL of Washington state has no physical GL building. Does that make them "imaginary" too?

    Just curious.

  23. Wait, we just get to make them up?



  24. Brad,
    This is an adult swim. I'm done with you here.


  25. Brad,

    Since M.E.A.P.R.M.M is not Freemasonry, why do you continue to post on Masonic blogs? You have every right to your esoteric/philosophical beliefs but it seems to me that you just want to stir things up in areas where you really have no concern or interests by your own admission on numerous occasions. There must be occult/magical blogs out there where you would feel more at home than a Masonic blog. Serious men want to discuss Masonic issues, not Pseudo-magical practices, astral projection, black magic, and the like. M.E.A.P.R.M.M is about as Masonic as Crowley's OTO. Nothing wrong with that, just not Freemasonry.

  26. Brethren,
    We're not talking about Brad or his organization here anymore. I wish him well.

  27. Well,

    I am a D.C. Mason and I am saddened by this news because I have many friends who are New York Masons, in fact, the Brother who signed my petition for the degrees of Freemasonry was a New York Mason, and he's a dear friend in Masonry.

    Well, I'll let our Grand Lodges work this issue out, as I'm sure they will.

    Masonry will survive and continue to flourish and prosper, it always has, and always will.

    God bless you all and God bless my New York brethren and my Brethren from Washington D.C.

  28. I am saddened by this recent turn of events. I visited a DC lodge in October before this edict was issued and I was considering affiliating with a lodge there. I have many friends in the DC GL including the GM. I hope NY comes to its senses soon or I will probably resign my lodge in NY and affiliate in DC.

    Ron Fish

  29. I have been puzzled at how any Freemason who was issued a demit of good standing by his old jurisdiction(NY) can be suspended for anything by his old jurisdiction after the fact, in that he demitted to another jurisdiction(DC). I do hope that saner heads will prevail, and I do agree with Bro. Hodapp, that there is more going on here than stated publicly, and we need to look behind the veils to get the truth!

  30. Can a Grand Lodge truely suspend a Brother who is not a member of that Grand Lodge? I think not!
    Such is the case with New York's claim.

    It is my understanding that the two Brethren in question are members in good standing (and Past Masters) of lodges within the Grand Lodge of DC and had been granted Demits from their affiliated lodge in Lebanon (Under GLNY)four and six months respectively prior to the action of the District Grand Lodge of New York in Lebanon. If the Demits were granted, then they are no longer under the jurisdiction of any New York Lodge, so how can they be suspended?


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