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


Monday, January 02, 2012

Trouble in Arizona

I have received several messages regarding the removal of the Deputy Grand Master Michael Meier by the Grand Master of Arizona, D. Brook Cunningham, on December 26th. I have seen a copy of the letter from the Grand Master, but know no details. The GL of Arizona has had a difficult year. The Senior Grand Warden and the only other elected officer besides the Grand Master himself have recently resigned, as well.


  1. Somehow, I'm not surprised...

    Of late there have been many Grand Lodges having internal issues that, in my opinion, are directly related to over-inflated egos of the officers. Fortunately, these swollen heads generally are deflated before their year is out.

  2. Having spent a little time in Arizona, I know some of these players...mostly by reputation. It seems to me that the Grand Master is ruling that state by fear. He is not well regarded among the men I know, and I have heard many stories about how he never really did anything to become Grand Master...except for politicking.

    As I understand it, all three of the Men who left the progressive line this year were forced out. The first, who is a lawyer and apparently had just finished a huge project for the Grand Lodge, said he had family commitments. My friends who know him said they know he was fired for speaking-out for the brothers in leadership meetings. ...so much for standing-up for what you believe in.

    The second, who was the SGW at the time (the resignation was a few months ago) , was apparently forced-out by this Grand Master. Nobody knows exactly why, but had this Grand Master refused the resignation, he could have preserved some order, and perhaps advanced him if a crisis arose. That opportunity is lost. The resignation, however, is more a sign of that man quitting on his Craft...but that's just my opinion.

    Now to this debacle, and the Grand Master's apparent power grab by firing his Deputy (one suspects whether he is looking to be re-elected because of the power vaccum). It is plain to an outside eye that this guy has no capacity to lead. If he did, he wouldn't have been in a position to have to deal with this problem in such a public and embarassing way. This failure is noticeable all over the Craft in all levels of leadership...from our Blue Lodges to this kind of mess.

    This Grand Master is just another example of a complete failure in the system. But let me be fair, he may have a good reason. The DGM, Brother Meier, might have committed a crime, or he may have done something terrible and heinous that was so offensive, it rose to the level of having this kind of consequence be necessary as a last resort.

    I believe (as do many Arizona Masons) that it's nothing more than ego and power and politics. For a guy who is so loathed and feared by his own brothers to be elected to the position of Grand Master in the first place, is proof of his political savvy. Which, I guess, could be seen as a good thing. But the Craft suffers when the leadership is focused on themselves. Our Fraternity deserves better.

    Hopefully Arizona's Past Grand Masters will put the brakes on this run-away train and sit with these two men. Arizona's Masons elected Brother Meier. Arizona's Masons (at least the ones I talk to) like him very much. They deserve their leaders to act like Men, and they deserve to have those they elect to remain in office.

    This makes me sad for all of the parties involved, but more especially for the craft as a whole.

  3. "Cunning comes to an end, what remains is folly."

    There are many interesting things about the history of Arizona Freemasonry in the last few years that I hope others with knowledge will also help bring to light.

    I.E., forced merging of Lodges - new lodges not being allowed to form, dues raised dramatically to drive off the "unwashed" blue collar dual-member Freemasons, etc.

    So much to say and I don't want to be the only one to say it.

    Can I get a witness here???

  4. I was shocked by this event. I know, like and respect both men. There are many good, dedicated Masons in Arizona's Grand Line. To serve in any Grand Line is not an easy task and they all should be respected for there long and tireless efforts for the Craft. I am made more sorrowful by the comments herein. Have our brothers forgotten that we are linked by an chain of SINCERE affection?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I, Jason Smith, as an Arizona Freemason respectfully request that any further comment to any discrepancies in the State of Arizona be left to the brothers from this state. This is my personal opinion and ask my brethren from elsewhere to please honor this.

  7. "I have sworn upon the Holy altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

    This, my dear Brother Smith, is the reason we bring certain things to Light. Grand Lodges and Grand Officers no longer are able to function in isolation. In the modern age, there is a responsibility to the Craft as a whole, and all can learn from what is said in this blog.

    I do disagree that Lodges cannot be forced to merge. It is done through manipulation. One set of Lodge officers is much easier to manipulate once the deed is done. New Lodges can also be prevented from forming through manipulation.

    One major element missing in this discussion is the nature of Freemasons residing in AZ, it being a retirement state. especially the Sedona area, where the Grand Master lives. When the Traditional Observance movement started a few years back, some thought it was the cat's meow. No problem with that, of course, but instead of incorporating a TO lodge into AZ, there is a desire to transform AZ Freemasonry to a more elite group. No problem with that of course, but there is if done at the expense of those who wish to practice their Masonry more on the level. When a small group of elite Masons quadruple the dues of their Lodge, which is attended by many dual members from other states, and those members are not allowed to form another Lodge, they cease to be active in the Fraternity.

    I guess 30 or 40 Masons in northern AZ wanting to practice Freemasonry in an atmosphere free of pretention is not reason enough to want to obtain a Charter.

    I write this in memory of many exemplary Brothers who were wronged in past and walked away after a lifetime of Masonic service rather than seeing their beloved Craft in such a state including Brother C.L, Brother D.L., Brother S.Q., Brother D.S., and many, many others.

  8. As an E.A. learning the Craft in Arizona, I find the fact this letter was printed in its entirety before it could be read before many of the lodges in the state as part of the official communications is disturbing. On top of that the comments here does not conform to the tenets I'm learning as an E.A. Perhaps it has been many years since many were E.A.s but it would do the craft well to remember those lessons and bring a bit of harmony to the craft. Plus anonymous posts in my opinion is cowardly and must be treated with suspicion. There is no end to cowans and eavesdropping and we must conduct ourselves with the decorum we use inside our lodges outside and most importantly in front of the world. These are my opinions and should be read as such, blessings to you my Brothers.

  9. Brother Chris, theory and practice are two different things, and that is at the core of what is being discussed. I notice that you do not have a verifiable email contact, so how do we know exactly who you are, or the true motivations behind your own post? I do however, admire naive idealism. Learn these lessons well, my Brother, because the future is in YOUR hands.

  10. I have used my real name, I belong to Huachuca Lodge 53 in Sierra Vista and would be glad to sit down with you at any point to discuss my "naive idealism". I guess in your estimation i haven't lived a life before the craft and know nothing of how to conduct myself. I believe that you are entitled to your view points but in my opinion it does nothing to further our personal reputations or that of the craft to make disparaging remarks anonymously like cowards especially about another brother. Do you wonder why we have problems keeping and attracting "good" men? We are suppose to hold ourselves apart but by doing so we must hold each other accountable. How can peace and harmony reign if we are tearing each other down? Plus we have a right to know who is making negative statements against us would you not agree? Again "Hiram" I think many need to re-learn the lessons of the first degree.

  11. This really gossip at this point. I don't see a reason to wash this laundry on this board. The details are sketchy at best and to make assumptions is just wrong. Kindly, move to something else for communication. Thanks! Bro. Al

  12. Brother Al, standby for details. The Grand Master has, shall we say, ” been persuaded to explain himself”, and has sent another letter out to the Lodges. For technical reasons, it may take a few days to be submitted to this venue.

    Perhaps the Seafaring Man would care to elaborate the real reason why there was such disagreement between the GM and the former GJS regarding the re-writing of the Arizona Masonic Code. There is a game being played out here that involves much more than just the removal of the DGM or the resignation of the GSW. The endgame may very well be good for Arizona Freemasons in the long run, but how the game is played is just as important as the desired result. In Freemasonry, the way the game is played is our reason for being.

    Brother Chris, you are within your rights for admonishing your ‘older’ brethren for not heeding the lessons learned in the degrees. The bigger picture here is that the contributors to this blog are also within their rights for admonishing Grand Officers for not heeding the lessons they learned. Had that been the case, this thread would never have gotten started and there would be no controversy. Feel free to email me.

  13. The bigger picture here is that the contributors to this blog are also within their rights for admonishing Grand Officers for not heeding the lessons they learned.

    The "contributors" certainly do when they they stand as a man and honestly stand behind their statements as themselves and not as anonymous mud slingers. A false name, created just this month when this thread started, and an anonymous free email account do not make you a trust worthy or valuable "contributor" to this blog. You should not that above where you entered your posting, Chris has stated:
    Kindly sign your comment posts. Anonymous postings on Masonic topics have the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers, as far as I am concerned, and may be deleted.

    Richard Muth, PM

  14. TROUBLE IN ARIZONA - The Real Truth

    I'm actually surprise that many of you haven't taken time to call any one of the Grand Lodge of Arizona Grand Line Officers prior to posting on freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com. If you had, much of what is being said would not have been written. How many of you actually know the truth? Those of you who post such gibberish should be ashamed. If you are a Mason, do you not remember your Masonic Oaths? Go back and reflect upon them, then think long before you post anything without first verifying the information. If you would like to communicate with any of the Arizona Grand Lodge Progressive Line Officers, please see http://www.azmasons.org/.

    For the record, please know that NONE of the Arizona Grand Lodge Officers, elected or appointed, other than Brother Richard McNeill has resigned their positions. Brother McNeill was not forced out by anyone, including the Grand Master as a few of your might have us believe. If you have a desire to know why Brother McNeill tendered his resignation, get a hold of him and stop all this speculative nonsense! You all have better things to do than comment on things you know nothing of.

    The previous letter, the first letter that was posted was apparently done so by a disgruntled individual, and I doubt that he is a Mason otherwise he would not have posted the letter. If you really want to know the truth please see the letter from Arizona's Grand Master D. Brook Cunningham below.

    EGO has nothing to do with what is currently taking place. This Grand Master, D. Brook Cunningham doesn't do anything just for the hell of it. Every decision he makes is done with the utmost care, and his decisions are made for the "good of Arizona Masonry". Get to know Most Worshipful Brook, and you too will know him.


  15. I thought I heard a giant "sucking sound" but I don't believe it was NAFTA jobs headed for Mexico.

    Let's see, that's a good idea. Call the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge business office and ask for the real low-down. Ya, that's the ticket. They'll tell ya. Or call W.B. McNeill. He will of course tell you exactly why he walked away from many years of dedicated service. You really do not have to make the call because we all know he just wants to spend more time with his family, right?

    Sounds to me that the intended audience for this comment is the general membership and is meant to diffuse questions from the naive and inexperienced. It's good P.R. for the out of state Brothers as well.

    Let there be no misunderstanding. The intended audience for the submission of the document are those Brothers who will be voting at Grand Lodge this year.

    I do agree that it is indeed regrettable that things have gotten to the point that this all needs to be made public. I would not agree that this all it stems from a disgruntled "individual". So, please tell me, Northern Arizona Master Mason, the source of the document leak and all the contributors to the blog who obviously seem have intimate knowledge of the facts are just "disgruntled" malcontents?

    Golly sakes alive, Batman, why would that be the case?

  16. Chris is right and even though this post is old, I feel compelled to comment. The comments here reflect poorly on the craft. Had I seen it prior to completing my own journey, I may have reconsidered my path. I think the personal courage Chris showed, by speaking out when he perceived a disparity between the tenants of Freemasonry and the behavior shown here brings great credit upon himself and his masonic mentors. I stumbled upon this while searching for perpetual membership information. If I could stumble on it, so could those who are interested in becoming Masons and it may sour them toward the craft. To those who may stumble upon this thread; If you've suffered through all of the above comments, please don't think all masons are this way. We are not. Find a good lodge and find a good mentor. Take your vows seriously and don't let the words be "just words". We, together, can be better.


Comments will not appear immediately, so be patient. I am forced to laboriously screen every post because I am constantly bombarded with spam. Anonymous postings on Masonic topics have the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers as far as I am concerned. If you post with an unknown or anonymous account, do not expect to see your comment appear.