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


Friday, August 10, 2012

Montana Grand Master Removed

In Montana today, at a Tribunal in Billings, four Past Grand Masters removed the sitting Grand Master, Tom Duffy. I have no other information than this at this point. Can anyone provide more details? No gossip, just the facts please.


The following came from a trial observer in Montana:

"Our code provides that a Grand Master must be tried for abuse of power, or unmasonic conduct if at least 5 sitting Worshipful Masters file charges with the Junior Past Grand Master. A week after our Grand Lodge Elections and Installation Grand Master Duffy appeared at the Grand Lodge Office and informed the Grand Secretary that he was removing him from office immediately. There was an announcement sent out (on orders from the Grand Master.) and after reviewing the code, and within a week of the event, 9 Sitting Worshipful Masters filed five charges of Abuse of power and unmasonic conduct with the Junior Past Grand Master. As required by code the JPGM assembled a Tribunal of himself and 4 other Past Grand Masters, served notice to the Grand Master and set the date for the trial. The trial was held on August 10th, and each side was allowed unlimited time to present their arguments. The arguments and closings actually took just over 2 hours. The Tribunal deliberated for about a half an hour and returned a verdict of guilty on all five charges. The code is specific. If found guilty of any of the charges, the only penalty is removal from office. The Grand Master was removed from office immediately. The entire trial was recorded by a certified court recorder, and transcripts will be released at some point."

I have received messages from brethren on both sides of this event, but this seems to be the most dispassionate description of events.


A document was forwarded to me concerning this action that is posted officially on the Grand Lodge of Montana website, with the statement of the MW Grand Master Thom Chisholm, dated August 25, 2012.

It can be seen at http://www.grandlodgemontana.org/forms/Grand%20Masters%20Message.pdf


  1. The fact is they completely ignored the code on what the Grand Masters power are and removed a man that was protecting the interests. That is all I will say, but I am leaving Montana Masonry over this. Anyone in the jurisdiction of Florida willing to take on a brother? My parents live there, that is why I am choosing Florida.

  2. Sadly, this kind of mean spirited vindictiveness within the insulated walls of the craft is almost distinctly an American phenomenon. Only in the profane World are we to expect to find men who live to find fault with one another and relish in the fall of great men from grace. Where is the brotherly love in all of this? It is out of balance, a reflection of the fact that many do not understand the work of a Mason.

  3. This is is a very dark day for Montana Free Masons. Mark Binkley

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I had the Honor and Privilege to serve as co-council to GM Duffy today in his Trial. When you are up against a retired Superior Court Judge from California. Who can convince everyone to leave out 5 main words of the code; even though they are written in the code, you can't win.

    I thank GM Duffy for this privilege and honor and respect the man greatly. He is and will always be a mentor to me.

  6. Having been privy to the entire sequence of events, I can tell you that there were only three facts in the preceeding posts. Among the major errors, the tribunal was composed of 5 not 4 PGMs. Of the "opionions expressed, I agree, it was a sad day for masonry.

    The facts are what they are, and certainly not close to the web postings I've been reading. The entire trial was recorded by a court recorder and transcripts will be available to those who want the truth, not the spin.

    Blake Gardiner

  7. When did this occur? ... per the tupelomason.blogspot.com the Grand Master was removed on or about March 6th, 2012.

    I think the actual post & discussion has since been removed, but original post still shows in a google search.

  8. I see from the SUMMARY OF THE 146th ANNUAL COMMUNICATION, Duffy was elected as GM June 2012. ... This is most confusing of dates by the tupelomason.blogspot.com

  9. A very sad day indeed for Masonry.
    - Barry

  10. I have updated the entry with a description of the events from a trial observer.

  11. I am fortunate in knowing a big percentage of the Brothers involved in this. I have not talked with them, and therefore I have no basis to form an opinion of who is right and wrong or if anyone is. In the absence of information rumour takes over. As I don't know with any certainty the whole truth I will shut the hell up until the facts, from all sides, have been presented

  12. I am a member of a WBrother Tom's and am out of the state due to the military. I know nothing of this incident until today, but I will say WB Tom is someone we all wish to emulate in life and fraternally. This is deeply saddening and I stand behind him without knowing the specifics. He is that good of a man and brother. Lastly, our fraternity is based on brotherly love and I can't help but think there was a much better way of handling whatever event occurred than removing our Most Worshipful Grand Master.


Your comments will not appear immediately because I am forced to laboriously screen every post. I'm constantly bombarded with spam. Depending on the comments being made, anonymous postings on Masonic topics may be regarded with the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers, as far as I am concerned. If you post with an unknown or anonymous account, do not automatically expect to see your comment appear.