Friday, August 25, 2017
Arkansas Update...Sort Of
I have deliberately steered clear of the situation in the Grand Lodge of Arkansas for many months. That's not because everything is fine and dandy there now, but for a variety of reasons. Brethren from both inside and outside of the jurisdiction keep contacting me privately and asking what's happening there. I have shut up about it publicly and hoped Arkansas' Freemasons could solve their own internal problems internally. If they have no desire to storm the Little Rock Bastille, I have no real desire to be their Jean-Paul Marat from five states away, and nor should anyone else. I was also giving their current Grand Master Carl Nelson his opportunity to sweep up the shattered glass and patch up the wounded, or just go on shooting even more on his own, or something in between. Finally, Arkansas brethren should have the opportunity to find their own voice and either demand transparency and open honesty, or to create it on their own without my further unneeded carping.
That has happened to a small extent. For the contra side, there is the spoof 'Arkansas Grand Lodge' Facebook page, which has kept up a steady stream of expulsion and suspension news, court documents, and inside information unavailable anywhere else. It's the one with the Popeye profile photo, NOT the Grand Lodge seal. The page seems to be the principal gathering point for those watching things unfold. (Not to be confused with the authentic, official The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Arkansas FB page, which mostly just posts degree and meeting announcements—but strangely, NOT any reminder or announcement of an emergency, tyled "emergent" meeting at a North Little Rock Baptist church, scheduled for September 9th, which only lodge Masters, Wardens, and Secretaries will be permitted to attend.)
Another newer website, Arkansas Grand Lodge F&AM Awareness, seems to be primarily dedicated to releasing the public court and state government documents.
Be aware that both of these sites are run by detractors of the Grand Lodge and are, for obvious reasons, hosted anonymously by their authors. It's up to you as to where you decide to get your information from, but Arkansas Masons should at least be aware they exist. They both appear to be run by current, not expelled, members of the fraternity in Arkansas and have not as yet posted incorrect or false documents that I have been made aware of.
It's up to Arkansas Masons to decide on their own whether things have improved there or not. I have no real bead on it from here and no vested interest either way. However, I will simply say that the spoof Arkansas Grand Lodge Facebook page yesterday morning posted the above photograph. He pointed out that it comes directly from the official Grand Lodge of Arkansas website, under the topic heading, "What Is A Mason?" The photo is still there as of this afternoon.
According to the post, approximately 50% of the Masons in the photograph have currently been suspended or expelled.
What IS a Mason, anyway?
Just as an observation, that photo above? It vanished from the official Grand Lodge of Arkansas F&AM "What Is A Mason?" web page two days after this posting.