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


Monday, March 14, 2016

GL of Tennessee Responds To CA and DC

In the ongoing war of words between US Grand Lodges, MW Phillip Dwight Hastings, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee has today issued edicts and letters "suspending fraternal relations" with the Grand Lodges of California and the District of Columbia. 

Actually, the edicts and letters are slightly different, in that the edicts both say he is "suspending fraternal relations" while the letters say he is "suspending recognition," which are slightly different in meaning, according to some observers. I don't have my  copy of Roscoe Pound handy, so I will simply advise all Masons who may be affected by the various edicts flying between, at this point, Georgia, Tennessee, California, DC, and Belgium, to contact their Grand Secretaries to determine what impact these actions may have on dual memberships and sojourning restrictions, especially regarding visiting appendant and concordant bodies.

One aspect of the matter in Tennessee that came up in GM Hastings' letters was that the bans against homosexual activity and co-habitation without benefit of marriage in Tennessee's code date back "for over 30 years." Clearly, the only reason it has become a public issue now is that it is being used to bring charges  and subsequent suspensions against two Tennessee Masons for the first time in recent history.

At this time, the edict of the Grand Master of Tennessee is still in effect banning public discussion of the 'sexual behavior' topic, including doing so much as clicking the "LIKE" button on Facebook, so  I urge the Brethren in that jurisdiction to take special care in what and where you post. 

Their 2016 Grand Lodge session takes place March 23-24.


UPDATE: As an example of my comments about clarifying with Grand Secretaries as to the effect these types of edicts have on lodges and individual Masons, the following message was sent to lodge Secretaries by the Grand Secretary of the District of Columbia:

Dear Brother Secretaries, 
A word of advice in regards to the possibility of visiting brethren from Georgia and Tennessee to your Lodge.
 Any individual Mason is welcome to sit in your Lodge.
Not Permitted to Sit in Lodge:- Grand Lodge Officer (Elected or Appointed)- Lodge delegations- Grand Lodge delegations

Jeffrey D. Russell, PGM
 , Grand Secretary 
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington, DC
UPDATE 3/16:

Images of the edicts and letters are being now posted elsewhere today, so I will merely pass them along.  Click images to enlarge.


  1. The Grand Lodge of Tennessee presumably makes clear to candidates that cohabitation is banned except for those heterosexuals in Holy Wedlock, and a Masonic offense prior to the marriage sacrament and an offense for the widowed and divorced as well.

    The grand lodge surely does not ignore one part of the obligation and enforce another?

    Do the Shrine or Scottish Rite intend to require candidates to obey these rulings? Are all Scottish Rite Masons when they reaffirm their obligations to Masonry able to give their sacred word that they will remain celibate outside of Holy Wedlock? Members of the Shrine, Star, Grotto, etc,?

    Either the obligations and their reaffirmations are enforced or they lose all credibility.

    And as for everyone else. There is no ambiguity about the interdicts. Members in these states are on solemn oath to be celibate outside of marriage and to affirm they are heterosexuals.

  2. Doubling down on that bigotry, I see. WTG, TN Bros.

  3. How can you withdraw recognition yet still allow visitation? I don't see how they will achieve the desired affect with such half measures. TN and GA need to be cut off period.

    1. Wow free masonry has really changed.

    2. The founding fathers of this country would have stood by these rules. I guess as the morals of the society decline so should Freemasonry decline its morals? These rules have been in place for decades. Why the fuss now?

    3. These rules have been there for decades and understood for hundreds of years. Should Freemasonry debase its morals whenever the morals of the society decline in order to keep current?

    4. This precise argument was used to justify the ban on interracial marriages.

    5. Actually, Curtis Phibbs, there is scant evidence that the founding fathers would have cared about a Master Masons marriage preferences. If you have a source to cite, I am interested to read it. The founding fathers wrote extensively about liberty, equality, and human flourishing and also about oppression, redress

    6. Stupid just stupid. It is obvious that liberalism has infected the majority of American Masonry. If a group wants to exclude ANYONE for any reason why should some self righteous "mason" from an entire different culture give a crap? I am a Mason in one of "those states" that all you New Englanders and west coast types seem to despise so badly. I don't really care. If my state turns Masonry into some sort of liberal social experiment then I will gladly leave the fraternity but for now I guess I will only attend in my state or a few others.

    7. Mason from California.Sat May 11, 12:27:00 AM 2024

      I am not speaking for the Grand Lodge of California. However, I am a Mason from California who disagrees with you.

      I would also love it if these Grand Lodges would communicate and work towards reconcilliation. I would love to visit lodges in Tennessee and Georgia.

      Here is my issue. In my state we welcome men who happen to be homosexual into masonry. They are my brothers. We are all traveling men.

      If your lodge chooses not to welcome homosexual men into masonry, that is none of my business. We disagree, but I respect you enough not to force my opinions onto you.

      My concern is that you may not welcome a brother of mine who happens to be honosexual, into your lodge! So the issue, from my perspective is not who the brothers in your state welcome into masonry, but that the brothers in your state may not welcome all of my Californian brothers into your lodge as equals.

      I think it is reasonable for a Grand Lodge of brothers to say that if you do not welcome all of us on the level, then we will not recognize you and your GrandLlodge as official brothers.

      But, I would also hope that our Grand Lodges would communicate with each other and find a way to use the tools of masonry to build a better relationship.

  4. What about those states where same sex marriages is now legal? How can two gay men be legally married and be denied membership in a Masonic lodge? What about those gay brethren who are afraid to come out? What about those brethren are assumed to be gay but aren't gay but thought of as such? What about gay brethren who visit a lodge in GA and TN and then post their experiences on the internet and later admit they are gay. Will they be brought up on charges? Where is this fraternity going with the declining membership?

    1. The State does not have jurisdiction over a church or other entity outside of the constitution of that State, this is by law. Germany can not make laws for Americans and neither does the State have jurisdiction to change the moral code of an institution which had its constitution long before the State had its constitution.


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