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


Friday, December 16, 2016

Ongoing: Freemasonry and Sexual Behavior Rule Updates

I'm sure everybody is now officially sick of this.
Grand Masters across the US and internationally continue to weigh in on the actions of the Grand Lodges of Tennessee and Georgia regarding homosexual behavior and cohabitation. Instead of making constant, individual posts about this as they are issued, I am going to try to restrict them all to this one single message from now on, and will try to update it as more occur (if they do). Further, I am listing links below to previous posts about the subject, so the whole story can be followed from this one place. New developments are listed chronologically, so scroll to the bottom of the page to see the latest updates.

If a major action DOES occur, such as one Grand Lodge actually suspending Masonic relations with another, that will, of course, warrant its own post, because it's important enough to affect Freemasons in an entire state or two. But the bulk will be put here.

Hopefully, this will finally put a stop to what may look to some like a constant flood, which is not what I intended. It just sort of kept growing. As I have said, I am no gay rights advocate or protester, but I do have my own strong views about it as regards the fraternity

(And to answer a question posed in several emails lately, no, I am not gay. I have happily been with the same lovely woman since I was 17 - coming up on 40 blissful years. Thanks for asking.) 

I am simply trying to keep up with this story as it unfolds.

The Story So Far...

• 3/14/16: GM of Maine Weighs In


3/17/16: GM of Wisconsin Statement
Yesterday, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin F&AM, MW Franklin J. Struble,  issued a statement that was sent to all lodges regarding the position of his GL on lawful homosexual marriages, and his opinion concerning the suspension of recognition by other GLs. 
Click image below to enlarge: 


3/18/16: Protesters Outside of AASR House of the Temple

A small clot of protesters appeared yesterday in Washington D.C. on the steps of the Scottish Rite SJ House of the Temple. In a town like DC where mass demonstrations are commonplace, this hardly amounted to more than a minor couple of pests. But it was undoubtedly an annoyance to those having to use the main entrance. A local Brother says friends in a nearby apartment building have observed that they seem to "wax and wane and to attract tourists." 

Another Brother reports that when one of them was asked why they were protesting, he replied, "I'm not sure. We were just paid $15 an hour to be here." 

(Hmmm.  Ever hear of Crowds On Demand? Because that's exactly what this sounds like is going on.) 

Nevertheless, it was trumpeted as a triumph by the  organizers.

From the MasonBigotry website today:
Demonstrators were on scene at the Scottish Rite Supreme Council in Washington, D.C to demand that "Sovereign Grand Commander" Ronald Seale immediately cease awarding degrees to members of the discriminatory lodges in Georgia, Tennessee and elsewhere who openly ban gay and African-American members. By awarding degrees to these members, they are essentially discriminating against the black and the gay communities because they are UNABLE TO JOIN the masons in the first place and obtain the first three degrees needed to receive Scottish Rite degrees. Though this may sound like a complicated issue, at the core of it is the fact that since African-Americans and gays are unable to join these lodges, that any dealings with them to legitimize them are supporting the discrimination. If Mr. Seale does not wish to do this, he could decide to award the first three degrees to African-Americans and gays in the discriminatory jurisdictions. If he does not take either step, he is part of the bigotry. The protests will continue until this matter is resolved--this issues [sic] is far too important for the typical Masonic inaction and pontificating. 


3/21/16: Nashville TV Story on Upcoming GL of TN Vote

WKRN, the ABC affiliate in Nashville has picked up the story about the GL of TN's upcoming vote on Thursday to remove the  sexual behavior wording from their code

Read or watch it HERE.


3/22/16: New Grand Lodge of Georgia Code Published with Homesexual Ruling 

Many Masons, both inside and outside of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, have asked what the exact wording was of the Grand Master's Edict #2015-4  that was upheld and became Masonic law in the subsequent annual communication of the GL of GA in 2015. 

Here is the new rule, officially printed as 77.108.1 in the newly published Georgia code book for 2016:


3/22/16: National Public Radio's 'All Things Considered' Picks Up  TN Story

The sexual behavior rules in the Grand Lodge of Tennessee's upcoming annual meeting on Thursday moved to the national stage today with the airing of the story on National Public Radio's evening news program, All Things Considered.

To read or listen,  CLICK HERE.


3/23/16:  More Nashville TV Coverage of TN Grand Lodge Vote Airs

Nashville's Fox TV affiliate, WZTV-17, has also picked up the story about the vote on Thursday by the Grand Lodge on Tennessee as to whether or not to strike the sexual behavior language from their code.

The Tennessee Grand Lodge of Masons is considering ending its ban on gay members.
 The Masons could vote on the change Thursday.
Matthew Johnson is among the mason who hope the change is made.
"Freemasonry as a whole in the vast majority of cases does not discriminate against homosexuals but we do in Tennessee and in my opinion that's not in line with Freemasonry," said Johnson.
 The issue of gay members came to the forefront last year when the Masons suspended Mark Henderson and Dennis Clark.
Henderson says his lodge knew they were a same sex couple but no one questioned it.
 That changed when the couple got married.
"We're upset about it because there's a lot we put into it to begin with as far as our time our talents and even our funds," said Henderson.
Henderson says he's not sure if he'll come back to the Masons if the organization repeals its ban.
 Chase Geiser is among those pushing for the change.
Geiser demitted from Tennessee's Lodge in protest of the rule.
 "I think it has the potential to change lives for the better and therefore society for the better but I can't. It's unconscionable for me to be a member of an organization that discriminates on the basis of sexuality," said Geiser.
Fox 17 reached out to the Masons Grand Master for comment but that call was not returned.

To read or watch the story, CLICK HERE.


3/31/16: MWBro. David Perry, Grand Master of California, issued a letter via email today, clarifying his reasons for suspending Masonic relations with GLs of Tennessee and Georgia. It reads, in part:

I suspended recognition of these grand lodges for two reasons. First, their actions are a violation of the General Regulations of Freemasonry. Second, their actions threaten the reputation and good standing of our grand lodge. In late February, I met in person and separately with the grand masters of Masons in Georgia and Tennessee. In these meetings, I learned firsthand what was occurring in their jurisdictions. I also used these meetings to explain how the actions of these grand lodges were affecting the Grand Lodge of California. I based my actions on what I learned in these meetings. 
The actions of these grand lodges violate the General Regulations of Freemasonry because they impose a particular religious (if not also political) view on the fraternity. This particular view is not one on which all men in this country agree. No regular grand lodge may do this. Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723 and the requirements for recognition make this clear. All grand lodges are sovereign, but under our California Masonic Code, each must adhere to the General Regulations for us to recognize them. Further, the actions of one sovereign grand lodge can affect other grand lodges, as has happened in these instances. 
Within weeks of the actions by these grand lodges, the Grand Lodge of California was the focus of protests and our community partners began to question their association with Freemasonry. Protests took place in front of our Grand Lodge building during the World Conference, at public facilities where we were conducting ceremonies, and at schools and universities where we have established important programs. Our grand lodge was disinvited to public activities as a result. 
Believing that something is wrong, but being reluctant to do anything about it, subjects Freemasonry to a certain understandable scrutiny by Masons and the public. In suspending recognition of these grand lodges, we make it clear that the actions of these grand lodges are wrong and that the Grand Lodge of California does not condone these actions. 

The whole letter is available online HERE, and includes links to supporting documents.



4/1/16: The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan F&AM, MW Richard D. Wisely, issued the following statement concerning Tennessee and Georgia yesterday to be read at all stated meetings in his jurisdiction:

(Click to enlarge)

Also on April 1st, MW Bro John C. Green, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of AF&AM of Canada in the Province of Ontario, issued the following statement to members in his monthly communique:
"Recently, some of you have heard about the significant activities of the Grand Lodges of Georgia and Tennessee who recently decided to exclude men from the rights and privileges of Freemasonry on the basis of their sexual orientation. Let me assure you that this Grand Jurisdiction does not agree with such actions. Membership in Freemasonry in Ontario is based on the integrity of an individual under the qualifications with which we are all familiar ie. free born , mature age and well and worthily recommended. The important values or tenets of Masonry are brotherly love, relief and truth. 
The important values of a member of our craft should be tolerance and understanding. Brethren, I want you to consider living the fundamental principles you professed when you became a Mason."


4/13/16: GM of Washington Issues Statement

The Grand Master of Washington F&AM, Most Worshipful Donald G Munks, issued the following statement via the official "Freemasons of Washington" Facebook page:
One of the many lessons we learn in Freemasonry is that it is the internal, not the external qualifications that should recommend a man to be made a Mason. As to additional qualifications, those are clearly defined in the Washington Masonic Code, Section 18.02 ~ 
Every petitioner in order to be eligible for the degrees of Masonry must:  
A. Be at least eighteen years of age,
B. Have the senses of a man, especially those of Hearing, Seeing and Feeling,
C. Be a believer in a Supreme Being,
D. Be capable of Reading and Writing; and
E. Possess no disability in his body that would render him incapable of conforming reasonably what the Degrees respectively require of him. 
The recent actions by the Grand Lodge of Georgia and the Grand Lodge of Tennessee to exclude men due to sexual orientation and premarital cohabitation have cast an unwanted pall upon our beloved Craft, and are contrary to the wisdom of those who long ago forbade the interference of religion and politics from the administration of our Fraternity. It is well to remember that “a Freemason’s Lodge is the temple of peace, harmony, and brotherly love; nothing is allowed to enter which has the remotest tendency to disturb the quietude of its pursuits.” The actions of these Grand Lodges have disrupted that quietude.  
While I as your Grand Master acknowledge the Masonic sovereignty of Georgia and Tennessee to govern their own Jurisdictions, I disagree wholeheartedly with their actions as they are divisive in nature and codify an intolerance that is contrary to our Masonic principles. The Jurisdiction of Washington believes that Freemasonry is indeed the true import of the three great social treasures – Fraternity, Liberty, and Equality. Furthermore, the Jurisdiction of Washington welcomes & values the talents & capabilities of all men who meet our qualifications for membership. The design of Freemasonry is to UNITE men of every sect, country, and opinion; and to conciliate true friendship among those who would otherwise remain perpetually at a distance.  
We are stronger for that diversity.


4/18/16: Grand Master of New Hampshire Issues Statement

The GM of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire issued a statement on the issue on April 16th (Click images to enlarge):





5/11/2016: Somebody Didn't Get The Memo

I was poking around on the web today and came across a current website for a recognized lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of Georgia. The page has been regularly updated, but somehow the following note still exists under "How Do I Become A Mason?":
Can homosexuals be Masons? 

Yes, and there are homosexual Masons. 
There is, in this instance however, the additional consideration that some men may view homosexuality as being immoral, i.e., that homosexuals are not men of "good character". This is generally not due to any specific prejudice but rather due to religious belief (depending on how one interprets St. Paul, for example).  
There is no official Masonic stance on the matter so, in practical terms, the determination of whether homosexuality is a moral or biological (or neither) consideration, as in society in general, is apt to vary by lodge. 





5/17/2016: Immediate Past Grand Master of Indiana Addresses GA and TN Issue

From the immediate PGM of the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, William A. Reiners'  address to the assembled Worshipful Masters at Indiana's Annual Communication today:

"The current relationship between the Indiana Grand Lodge Jurisdiction and all other Jurisdictions remains intact, but the actions of Georgia and Tennessee have caused California and Washington D.C. to suspend fraternal relations. Sectarianism, the placing of ones belief’s ahead of others in a group including Masonry, has been one of the areas prohibited in the Lodge from the beginnings of organized Freemasonry. As Grand Master, I have determined there is none of the language found in Tennessee or Georgia requirements for membership in our code. Any good man, and coming well recommended, is not disqualified based on race, ethnicity, religion (so long as he believes in a supreme being) or sexual orientation. Remember, after the investigation, there is the ballot; I would hope no Mason would vote against a worthy petitioner for any of the above reasons. They are not a Masonic offense. 

"Fifty years ago I attended the national meeting of my college fraternity. The main question was to lift the rule that all members had to be white and Christian. It was a far different time, but brothers, for the whole country, put their personal feelings aside, and the ban was lifted. I cannot believe that in a way, I am still engaged in a similar problem today. "
A similarly worded statement by Reiners appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of the Indiana Freemason magazine. In that, he added:
"This issue personally pains me, because I am friends with both the GM and immediate  PGM of GA and TN. I know each are good Masons, but in my opinion, PGM Hastings has inserted sectarianism into his Lodges. His actions were upheld at their Annual Communications in March [sic]. As I said, when I was installed, younger Masons are, for the most part, color-blind as well as accepting of gays."



5/30/2016: Phony Protester From San Francisco World Conference Event  Reveals They Were Hired

Davy Rothbart who was a participant in the gay rights protest at the World Conference of Grand Masters in San Francisco last year reveals that their group was not exactly deeply committed to their cause. In fact, they were hired by an outfit called Crowds On Demand, who specializes in providing phony crowds for political causes, celebrities, or anything else its clients want to make seem to be "important."

Rothbart tells specifically about the Conference event in detail in an article in The California Sunday Magazine.

As I crest the hill at California and Taylor, I see elegantly dressed older couples streaming into a palatial white building. Photographers and TV news cameramen swarm around each pair, while a reporter blocks their path, bombarding them with questions. Getting closer, I realize that this isn’t a TV reporter — it’s Adam wielding a reporter’s hand-held mic.

“What’s your opinion on the Georgia edict?” he shouts at a couple in their 70s who veer around him, making a beeline for the front door.
“No comment,” the guy says. “We’re from Greece.”
“No comment?” Adam shrieks, as they duck into the building. “What are you saying? Greek people can’t stand up against bigotry?”

He spots me and comes over to say hi, making note of my lateness. Breathlessly, he gives me a hurried orientation. This is the California Memorial Masonic Temple, where Masons have gathered for their annual world conference. Recently, the Georgia grand lodge passed a bylaw — known as the Georgia edict — prohibiting homosexuality among its members. Our job? To pose as a TV news crew, confront Masons as they arrive for the opening gala, and challenge them to take a stand. “Just watch me for a few minutes,” Adam says. “You’ll figure it out.”

Sprawling camera crew in tow, Adam intercepts the Masons and interrogates them as they struggle to rush past him. Most ignore his questions, but now and then a couple stops to talk. “It’s a state’s rights issue,” a courtly, silver-haired man from Florida tells him. “Do I agree with what they’re doing in Georgia? No way. But one of the main things about Masons is, we don’t interfere with other chapters.”

Adam inches closer to the guy, raising his voice. “If you don’t agree with it, isn’t it your duty to stand up and say so?”
The guy shrugs. “I’m not a lodge master.”

Adam goes berserk or, as I observe him more closely, puts on a controlled show of going berserk. “What an embarrassment!” he shouts. “Listen, I go to the Equinox gym in Santa Monica. If the Equinox in Boston bans gays, I’m damn sure going to do something about it!”

Two cops barrel over, a burly male and a spike-haired female. The male cop says, “Hey! You guys can do whatever it is you’re doing. That’s your right. But knock off the swearing! There are kids around.”

Adam wasn’t really swearing, and there are no kids in sight. Left momentarily speechless, Adam allows the Florida Mason to hurry up the temple’s front steps.

Adam turns to me. “All right,” he says. “You got the idea?”


8/6/2016: California Cryptic Masons' Illus. GM Responds To Georgia and Tennessee Situation

The California Grand Council's Sword and Trowel magazine for the month of August features Most Illustrious Companion, Grand Master William Price’s letter to all California Cryptic Masons re Grand Master David Perry’s Edicts on Tennessee and Georgia.

(Click image to enlarge)


10/25/2016: Homosexual Ban Remains In GL of Georgia Following Vote at Annual Communication


12/17/2016: National Grand Lodge of France Withdraws Amity With Georgia and Tennessee Over Homosexual Rules


3/5/2019: Former Georgia GM (Douglas McDonald) Resigns From Fraternity


  1. Watching this from the other side of them planet. Ive been taught and raised on the idea that freemasonry is accepting of all beliefs and spirituality, as long as you have a belief in the GAOTU. A man's sexuality shoild not even come into the issue as far as my masonic upbringing has shown me. This issue seems to be focused on pushing an abrahamic point of view on particular members. Similar to the issue a couple of years back of excluding druids and wiccans in another jurisdiction. I as a man and mason, accept responsibility for my actions, I dont see a GL as no different, other GLs are turning away from them, this should be a message that a poor decision has been made. It should be a signal to pause and reflect, instead it seems it seems angst and conflict (just like on reality TV!) Is the way to resolve this.

  2. Brother Hall, well put. The Wisconsin pronouncement has contributed to more confusion, as well as some humor:


  3. In answer to quesitons, each jurisdiction handles attempted illegal attendance by those in grand lodges not recognized differently. This is the recent California ruling, keeping in mind that 409 was frequently copied so the warning about Scottish Rite and Royal Arch would recur:

    Under §409.020 of the California Masonic Code, a California Mason may have Masonic
    Communication only with Masons of a Masonic Lodge chartered by or holding allegiance to our
    California Grand Lodge or to a Grand Lodge recognized by our Grand Lodge, with certain
    exceptions. Under §100.055 of the California Masonic Code, Masonic Communication is any
    communication involving the esoteric or secret portion of the work and lectures in the three
    degrees of our California ritual. It is the part written in code in our approved California Cipher.
    Communication includes spoken communication (such as exchanging a word) and physical
    communication (such as giving a sign).

    As a result of the suspension of recognition of The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons
    of the State of Georgia and the Grand Lodge of Tennessee F. & A. M., a Georgia or Tennessee
    Mason may not attend a tiled meeting of a California Lodge, and a California Mason may not
    attend a tiled meeting of a lodge under the jurisdiction of one of these two Grand Lodges. There
    is one exception. A Georgia or Tennessee Mason may attend a tiled meeting of a California
    Lodge if he is also a member of a California Lodge or a member of a lodge in another
    jurisdiction which our California Grand Lodge recognizes. While the Mason who belongs to
    both a California and a Georgia Lodge may keep his Georgia membership, our rules prohibit him
    from attending a tiled meeting of any Georgia Lodge. The same rules would apply for a dual
    member of both California and Tennessee.

    Special rules apply when a California Mason attends a recognized lodge outside California. In
    that circumstance, a California Mason may attend a tiled meeting of that lodge even though a
    Georgia or Tennessee Mason is present. ... Outside of a Masonic lodge, there are only two Masonic
    Organizations to which a California Mason may belong whose tiled meetings include any
    communication involving the esoteric or secret portion of the Ritual: the Scottish Rite and Royal
    Arch. The same rules described above for lodge attendance therefore apply to attendance at a
    Scottish Rite valley or a Royal Arch chapter meeting. A Georgia or Tennessee Mason may not
    attend a tiled meeting of a California Scottish Rite valley or Royal Arch chapter, and a California
    Mason may not attend a tiled meeting of a Scottish Rite valley or Royal Arch chapter in Georgia
    or Tennessee.

  4. Where this is going to get nasty is when a gay Mason from, say, Wisconsin attempts to go to lodge in, say, Tennessee--and the Tennessee lodge does not let him attend because he is gay. My guess is, nobody in GA or TN has thought this part through.

    1. How would they know him to be gay unless he tells them. My advice would be that if that mason really wants to visit a lodge in those areas then maybe he could keep silent about it.

    2. So basicly what your saying is that a gay mason should lie if asked of his sexuality?

    3. Made all the more difficult in an age of Facebook friends, life event, and photo sharing - as in the Tennessee situation. Online photos of the two Brothers' wedding wound up damning them at the GL level.

      All of that said, the Tennessee rule has been in place for 30 years and Dennis was a PM in his lodge, so he certainly had encountered that rule in their Code at some point. It's doubtful it was a surprise. But both he and his partner had been properly investigated by the lodge many years ago when they joined, the were visited in their home at the time, nothing was hidden, and the lodge members had no objections. Obviously, there's been a lot of ignoring going on for quite some time.

      Bad rules don't just go away on their own - they need to be properly removed from our Codes and other documentation. Note the recent furor over the discovery that the Grand Lodge of Florida's state Articles of Incorporation filed in the late 1800s still still contain wording that they are a white-only organization. These kinds of vestiges of the past (that were not at all unusual at the time they were enacted, in most cases) need to be fixed or we all deal with the consequences.

  5. How will they know he is gay? Would wearing a rainbow colored tie with a suit in GA and TN be grounds to be denied admission to a lodge as a visitor. Would a gay brother from another jurisdiction visit the lodge and admit in lodge he is gay get him booted? Of course they have not thought it thru, they are living in the 18th century and nit sure how to deal wth modern times.

    1. From the Indiana Blue Book of Masonic Law:

      "Reg. 42.010. The Moral Law. The Moral Law of Masonry, founded upon the First Great Light, is the highest law known to man, and it is not in the power of any legislative body to legalize that which is morally wrong so as to make it proper and right for any Mason to practice."

      Added in 1859. Guess what was going on in the US government in 1859. And Indiana wasn't even a slave state.

    2. The entire Masonic world will be looking with enormous interest on the meeting of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee. Very seldom has a grand lodge meeting had the prospect of such profound consequences for the entire fraternity.

      It would not be overly dramatic to say that those voting at the meeting are to a great extent determining the future of the fraternity.

    3. Worse case Tennessee and Georgia become unrecognized by the entire fraternity. I do not see this as a bad thing and look at it as Freemasonry attempting to get it's house in order at long last. If the southern holdouts decide to go it alone and become clandestine so be it. It is sometimes necessary to amputate a limb to save the patient.

  6. Well done Brother Chris, having this quagmire in one post is much better. Thank you.

    1. Monumental work in getting much of the traffic in one place, and echo the thanks. Four blocks from the White House we now have this:http://www.masonbigotry.org/ Friends in an apartment house nearby say it seems to wax and wane and to attract tourists.

  7. Bro. Chris,

    I appreciate your efforts to provide comprehensive information on this, and to be clear about your own views. It's regrettable that others have questioned your own sexual orientation to the extent that felt it necessary to publicly declare it. Since when should a brother only stand for the rights and dignity of others if he shares some identity with them? Peace.

  8. by Hershel Butts, Past Master of Mt. Juliet Lodge in TN.


    1. Dear God. As if we're not already getting enough bad press because of this.

      By the way, why is a Mason making political statements while speaking as a member of the fraternity?

      Dave Brown
      Garden City Lodge, Newtonville, MA

  9. The grand master of Michigan, like the grand masters of Wisconsin and Utah, is one of those bystanders willing to deplore conduct but do nothing: and of course doing nothing about Michigan's recognition of racism and discrimination. Empty eloquence. And he will continue to recognize grand jurisdictions that prohibit Jews and African lodges headed by homicidal dictators.

    1. Brother Paul,

      I am extremely offended by your public accusations against a brother Mason. I would encourage you remember your obligation.

      I am though curious which of the 110 foreign jurisdictions recognized by the Grand Lodge of Michigan are not recognized by the Grand Lodges of California and DC, I'm assuming based on your accusations you have lists from all three states.

      Br. Rich Pratt
      Senior Warden
      Golden Ark 595
      Tayor, Michigan

  10. Worshipful Brother Rich. I always admire and respect your insights and I hope you and I will be long lived friends. In this last post, I see another possibility. Since there is no supreme court for Freemasonry, each Grand Jurisdiction polices the others, largely with the consent of each other. I see the Most Worshipful Grand Masters of California and Wisconsin, planting meaningful stakes in the ground with a message attached that says, "These acts are contrary to the principles of Freemasonry." The rhetoric is ratcheting up incrementally. What is most obvious in its absence is a cogent and resounding response from the good Freemasons from within Tennessee and Georgia--a chorus of voices joined together so clearly and brightly that no one will misunderstand their intentions. We all agree what is happening in Tennessee is an absolute mess. The Grand Masters of California and Wisconsin are excellent thought leaders by giving us Master Masons of Tennessee and Georgia air cover while we come together, first to understand and then to respond to these irregular actions by our own respective Grand Lodges. And please allow me to be clear, because I'm confident that the Grand Masters of both States are watching this blog. We, the good Brothers of the State of Tennessee and the State of Georgia have met and will continue to meet together until we as good men can understand where our Fraternity went off the rails and how to correct the course. We firmly believe that if we do not take action, our Grand Lodges will suffer further loss of recognition or be declared irregular altogether. (For those watching, Please, do not send me threats of additional Masonic discipline. It's a bit late in the game to be throwing flags.)

  11. Our obligations includes the commitment to universal brotherhood which does not discriminate on the grounds of race and religion. All three grand lodges recognize southern grand lodges that are racist, and recognize grand lodges such as those in the Scandinavian countries that will not accept Jews. The statement by the Grand Lodge of Michigan does nothing to change the fact that gay brethren from Michigan or other states except California and the District of Columbia grand lodges are excluded from Tennessee and Georgia. Rather than accusations, these are statements of fact. If we were a scientific society such discrimination would be bad, but in our case it is even worse because our purposes include fraternity and fellowship that seek to bridge differences - that is a fundamental purpose of masonry. The Georgia and Tennessee situations are only part of the problem. Neither the District of Columbia nor California have dealt with the recognition of racist grand lodges, nor have the other grand lodges.

    1. Paul, I came across this bit on the GL of New York's Wikipedia entry, and was intrigued. I had never heard of it before - perhaps you have. Do you (or anyone else) know what came of this policy after the two year extension?

      Here it is:

      "In May 2012, at its Grand Lodge Session, GLoNY had approved the findings of a Special Committee which has determined that certain Grand Lodges, notably those following the Swedish Rite, restrict their membership to members of the Christian faith. As a consequence of this, the members of the Grand Lodge of voted unanimously that non-Christian Masons living in these Grand Jurisdictions will not come under the exclusivity enjoyed by said Grand Lodges. A notice was sent out to all Grand Lodges with which the GLoNY is in amity, that the GLoNY will recognize as Regular any Lodges opened up in these territories by any other regular Grand Lodge. Furthermore, the committee's tenure was continued for an additional two years in order to determine if further measures need to be taken."

  12. Brother Clark, while the situations in Georgia and Tennessee are attracting attention (and currently Florida too), there are other problems. For many, many years there have been grand lodges that for all practical purposes exclude African Americans. Additionally, recognition of Prince Hall lodges has a separate but equal flavor and is not the end of the story. When the southern grand lodges discriminate, the bodies such as the Scottish Rite are de facto segregated, and that of course now means that gays are excluded as well from the various collateral bodies in Tennessee and Georgia, as the first three degrees are closed to them. As long as the northern grand lodges recognize grand lodges that discriminate, they are supporting the discrimination. This applies as well to recognizing grand lodges that will not admit Jews or indeed men of other religions than trinitarian Christians. And it involves recognition of grand lodges in Africa, such as the Gabon, where the grand line are simply leaders of the ruling party in a dictatorial state. All of this unfortunately compromises all of us if we tolerate it.

  13. Brother Rich, The grand master of Michigan is saying that it is awful what is going on in Georgia and Tennessee, its un masonic, he deplores it, but he isn't going to do anything about it.

  14. I am a PM of a lodge here in Tennessee. I will be getting out. This type of Grand Lodge power and religious thinking is not Unlike Germany around 1932. My mother barely got out alive.

  15. I am a past master of a lodge in Tennessee. I will be getting out because what going on now in this great brotherhood is just like Germany in 1932. I was taught to treat all people equally. My mother nearly did not make it out alive just because she was Jewish. We must recognize all people on a equal bases or this great brotherhood is doomed.

  16. While I am not a man in my dotage, I am 65. I have a multi-generational family history in Masonry here in California. My family had to join "Jewish" lodges because of religious discrimination. My lodge was refused rental of a certain facility because of our predominantly Jewish membership. It is with this background, that I applaud my Grand Lodge for standing up against discrimination. In my 30 years as a Master Mason, I have never been more proud of my fraternity.

  17. By now, well over a half dozen Grand Lodges have been shocked by the actions taken by the Grand Lodges of Tennessee and Georgia. The shock is apparent both in the US and overseas. The MWGM of California twice detailed the reasons he suspended relations with these Grand Lodges and explained why excluding good men because of their sexuality while introducing sectarian religion into our practice is an innovation that no regular Grand Lodge may do. Surely, the Grand Lodges of Tennessee and Georgia must also realize that they have abdicated their absolute sovereignty over their territory because they have closed their doors to good men due to immutable qualities, most notably, race and sexuality. Arguably this is more than sufficient to cause Grand Lodges to suspend relations with the GLoT and GLoGA. But what more must a Grand Lodge Free & Accepted Masons do to be declared irregular? Isn’t this enough? And if it’s not, how much more do you need? It’s food for thought.

    Setting aside the question of regularity, can anyone explain what prevents a regular Grand Lodge from allowing us to operate lodges under dispensation in Tennessee and Georgia since these Grand Lodges are not accepting blacks and gays? Clearly, the Grand Lodges of Tennessee and Georgia don’t want us. The Grand Master of Tennessee made every Past Master literally stand up and be counted for voting to amend the constitution to remove discriminatory language. The Grand Master then allowed the assembled brothers to jeer and shout off-color names at those who stood up for equality. Clearly, this was not a vote; it was a forced public shaming. Maybe the Grand Lodge of Tennessee has all the Freemasons they need. Perhaps the Grand Line would enjoy fewer in attendance. It certainly seems to be the case and they are certain to get their wish. Are there any Grand Lodges who would be willing to add our names to their rolls?

    Establishing a regular lodge U.D. would allow us regular Freemasons to enjoy fellowship and fraternity as true Brothers and continue the good work of Charity as Brothers within our communities. It is insufficient to affiliate with a lodge beyond the length of our cabletow. What is more, we crave the fellowship and brotherly bonds that we enjoyed before those in our Grand Line severed them with disharmony. Indeed, the district chairman is still tenaciously pursuing “Dennis’ Sympathizers” and threatening them with masonic discipline. These good men aren’t sympathizing with me; they just want their Fraternity back and they no longer see the Grand Lodge leaders as legitimate. Yes, Brothers, it is hard to ask the question but I think we need to have this conversation; Is there still a regular Grand Lodge to be found in Tennessee and Georgia? We need to answer this question soon because the Grand Lodge of Tennessee has resorted to using punishment rather than harmony to maintain control.

    If we can decide that there is no longer a regular Grand Lodge operating in Tennessee, what prevents us regular Freemasons from affiliating with a regular Grand Lodge that does not jeopardize our careers and reputations by its actions? We and hundreds of regular-minded Freemasons are trapped behind state lines and are unprepared and unwilling to be abandoned by our own Grand Lodges. How then, do we find our way back to the Light?

    1. Mr.Clark I agree with you 100%. I have asked for a demit in writing to my Lodge. Have not heard back from them yet. I guess that it has to go to the Grand Lodge or get voted on by my Lodge before I get my demit. I am with you that I sure would like to have a place to go and meet brothers on equal playing field with out all this mess going on. I was a Past Master and this is just making me so bitter. But as you have a made a point there is no where I can go once I have dimitted. I am 70 years old so going to another state join is impossible. There are so many rules that another Grand Lodge would have to pass just to give us the right to join their Grand Lodge without opening up another can of worms. Any ideas from so good brothers would be welcomed.

  18. The MWGL of WA has also weighed in: https://www.facebook.com/freemasonwa/posts/1285804194780506

    1. Thanks. I updated this long (and growing) post literally just minutes before you commented.

  19. The PGM of Indiana is so right!!!! But I am a old mason and have demited
    from my Lodge over this. Have not received my demit back from the Grand Lodge yet and it has been over a month since it was voted on in my Lodge. Maybe they have found out I have been discussing this issue on here and will be suspended. Really at 70 years old I really could not care less. The Grand Lodge of Tennessee is just a big embarrassment to Freemasonry as a whole.

  20. Any updates? Or has the thing been successfully swept under the rug?

    1. Things are in a lull right now. Haven't heard of any further purging going on (interestingly, no charges have been brought or expulsions made yet of co-habitating heterosexuals, despite the rule). The annual communications of Georgia come later this year, and Tennessee's isn't until next spring. As they get closer, there will undoubtedly be resolutions introduced to expunge the rules. Whether such attempts succeed or not remains to be seen.

    2. The current GM of Georgia, Drew Lane, has expressed a "don't ask, don't tell" mentality. He seems to be balancing not wanting to alienate the older members of the GL, who support the rule, and the undoubted renewed PR storm that enforcing it would bring. It is not the most honest of tactics, but I've been assured by many PMs that it's incredibly Masonic.

  21. The founding of university lodges will only work if the problems such as racism are solved, because college administrations are increasingly apprehensive of affiliations,even informal, that involve association with controversy.

    1. I just feel that outside of a few isolated areas this is really a non-issue. Certainly in the Ivy League states, the mid-west, and the west coast, racism in Masonry is a non-starter, with limited situations locally. All GLs everywhere have officially stated that racism is off limits in their jurisdictions - even though we are all aware that lodges continue to practice it in places. But the outward image of the fraternity is that it's not condoned. So I think that particular issue is not really an issue with university lodges.

      In any case, these lodges aren't set up as on-campus organizations anyway. They are always off-campus, and simply seek out students, staff, faculty, and alumni as members. They have been fairly successful in the US and the UK (UGLE has 55 of them so far in their Universities Scheme), and I haven't really seen problems. The brief dustup at Harvard was isolated to on-campus groups, no the Harvard Lodge was really not a part of that crackdown.

    2. As for the gay issue on college campuses, again, the university aligned lodges so far are all in places outside of Tennessee and Georgia, which can easily be pointed to as being denounced by many if not most other GLs. And in those two states, there are strong movements afoot to change the rules in the coming annual communications. No other GLs have tried to pass similar rules, probably because of the worldwide reaction against them by the rest of the Masonic community. The problems you are mentioning just haven't materialized, and I honestly don't think they will.

  22. Time will tell whether the various issues will hasten decline and prevent growth. My opinion is they will in a serious way

  23. Regarding the Swedish Rite, it does not persecute anyone nor does it bar visiting rights to "Regular" Freemasons (Jewish or otherwise).

    The Swedish Rite is a 'Christian Rite' from top to bottom and holds a unique place in the Masonic World. Why on earth would any AVOWED Jew want to join a strictly Christian Order? What purpose would this serve?

    Scandinavian (the Swedish Rite) Freemasonry has a very unique and totally different historical development from that of America and the British Isles.

    Finally, from the Swedish Rite's website: "King Carl XVI Gustaf is the High Protector of the Swedish Order of Freemasons". Wow, what a bold in your face proud Masonic statement to make involving a known living political head of state. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Swedish Rite is currently the only one making such a statement! I wish we Americans could say something similar today regarding Freemasonry and the office of the President. Or would we dare?

    The hist

  24. I dont know why a Jew orBuddhist or Muslim would want to join a Christian order, either in Sweden or other countries and jurisdictions that would not initiate them, But Masonry puts forward the idea of universal brotherhood.

    1. The Swedish Rite is old. And just as valid as any Regular tradition. The same as the York Rite. By your logic, we should demand the York Rite take out the sections related to Christianity because it is related to one religion not all Brothers share.

      You and I both know that's the wrong answer. Brethren who take objection to the oath should join the Scottish Rite. The same as here. They are not violating the Landmarks, were they UGLE would not have recognized them.

      Masonry evolves over time. That's the beauty of what we do. We are a chain of speculative Mason's going back to operative Masons for hundreds, if you believe the lower number, to thousands of years. We will continue. We will evolve. It will not be at the rate the profane world would have it go. It will be on Lodge Time.

  25. Just a short tidbit.
    During the time when freemasonry came to sweden christianity was the state religon and no other religon was really allowed so it made sense to make the rite for only christians. The thing is that the swedish rite is a rite that has the high degrees built in so that you are expected to move on after blue lodge (Lodge of St John) and its the high degrees wich are pure christian. Non-christians are free to visit upp to the VII degree.

    There are now blue lodges in sweden under the finish free and accepted masons that has the requirment of supreme being. Its regular and recognized by our GL.

    The kings posistion in the swedish rite is tied to its history. Our current king is the first king since Charles XIII to not be the GM as well as high protector. Neither he or his sons are masons.

  26. Be assured that the majority of Masons in Georgia HATE this legislation, feel that it is contrary to the Landmarks, and think there may have been some chicanery on the way it got upheld this year. Neither I not any of my Masonic friends harbor any of this hatred and animosity. Time to purge the Grand Line, I think!

    1. Chicanery none have spoken of? You make it sound as if the Brethren of Georgia are ruled over by ignorant tyrants appointed by a cabal. We know that is not the case.

      Georgia Masonry does have a bent forwards a much more conservative world view than say California. That's for certain. And there is evidence in the election results and the laws of each state. The fact Masonry reflects that difference should not surprise anyone.

      However, I would like to pose a few questions. If this were 1997, what would be the position of the other grand lodges towards having openly gay members? How about society as a whole? Was it favorable to same sex marriage? Or, even making sexual preference a protected class for civil rights?

      If you answer objectively, it becomes plainly evident society is moving very quickly in this area. If you look at Masonry, three grand lodges from hundreds, have gone on one side, two on the other. The remainder voice middling support one way or another.

      However, as society evolves we must try and keep up. For example, what do we do if a member decides to change his gender? What then? What about someone who legally changes her gender to male? What about one who "identifies" as the other? Must we accept all comers and punish grand lodges who do not? If we accept this blur of gender, have we removed the distinction of male and female? If we remove that distinction and say Masonry is universal to all "mankind," why not women?

      From my point of view, I prefer to let each grand lodge be sovereign and they make their own decisions. We have bigger problems than the squabble between these five grand lodges. If one says this is evident in the membership drop, why then do Traditional Observance lodges do so well?

      And, no, I am not for repeal of any Landmark. Nor will I be affiliated with a lodge that does. I will keep my obligations.

  27. Specifically to the issue of the protestors at the Scottish Rite House of the Temple in DC ----I have to say that as a gay man and a Mason, upon reflection, I don't quite understand the logic of the protestors in this case. I think they misunderstand the nature of the relation of appendent bodies Masonry to the Grand Lodges. If they are going to protest, they should know what it all means. Taking a bus down to Tennessee to protest (where it would be appropriate, IMO!) would be a bit too much trouble I guess, if you are living in DC! ------What they are asking is for Brother Seale to arbitrarily penalize individual Masons who just happen to live those Masonic jurisdictions that discriminate, EVEN THOUGH they might personally not support those policies , which many I am sure do not. I don't even need to surmise in this case, as I happen to have a Facebook friend who is a Brother from Tennessee who seems very supportive of gay rights, even though he is a conservative in other ways. So, unfortunately, I don't think this particular protest makes much sense. ----I would also just add, on a personal level, that as a gay man I always felt utterly respected and liked by Brother Seale, so it seems unfortunate that he is being put in this position. I think Brother Seale takes the deepest Masonic lessons of tolerance to heart, in my extended experience.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. This is a PITA to read all the way through to this point. It basically comes down to one of the fundamental questions of self-identity. And by this I mean SELF and not GROUP. As afreemasons we all must express our faith in Diety and the actual nature of the relationship is overall pursuance no farther. This is part of self identity and to be honest lies outside the realm in mine own opinion of any sort of actual Religious Doctrine that a holy text may comment upon or give guidance towards.


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