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


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Oklahoma Masons Withdraw Recognition of GL of Arkansas


THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED AT 12:30AM 11/11/2018:

Oklahoma Masons have just voted to withdraw recognition of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. Late this evening I have received several messages out of the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma that took place in Guthrie today. 

The vote was overwhelming: 558 Yes to 179 No. 

The Grand Lodge of Oklahoma VERY briefly withdrew recognition of Arkansas before  in 2016 by an edict of their then-grand master, but that quickly lapsed and amity was restored that same year. The Grand Lodge of Kansas also suspended recognition of Arkansas earlier this year.

The continuing saga with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas F&AM is too complex to explain simply here. According to reports from Oklahoma tonight, the principal justification for the withdrawal of amity has been an ongoing lack of due process for Arkansas Masons, which has made it difficult if not impossible for their former members to seek membership in other states. Reportedly, the final nail in the coffin today was an impassioned speech by a Medal of Honor recipient from Arkansas who begged Oklahoma to take this action.

The "Yellow Book" of Oklahoma's 2018 Reports and Resolutions is available online, and contains a summary of the situation on page 34, and the Resolution voted upon today, which reads in part:
Since 2012, the Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Arkansas is known to practice removing members of the Craft from their jurisdiction who have not committed a masonic offense (e.g., cannot be a Shriner and an Arkansas Mason), and without due process (in essence, no right of appeal of sentence, or other remedy for grievances permitted). The basic due process of law is a citizen's right, guaranteed by the U. S. constitution (Fifth Amendment, ratified September 25, 1789; and Fourteenth Amendment, ratified July 9, 1868), and cannot be excluded under the guise of a trial process of a sovereign fraternal entity.
As no remedy has evolved over the past six years and none is foreseen, the committee recommends the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of the State of Oklahoma suspend recognition of the Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of Arkansas, until the provision of due process of law is provided for by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas; and that the Grand Secretary notify their Grand Master accordingly.

Should the Craft adopt this recommendation the following impact would take
effect for Oklahoma.
First, no impact would be felt on the interactions of the Adult and Youth Orders, as Oklahoma and Arkansas Masons would be performing their roles as Masters Masons in their Adult and Youth Orders capacity, and they would not be involved in a tyled Masonic Lodge.
Second, no impact would be felt on the interactions of an Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite or York Rite functions, as they also meet in the role of their Order. They may meet in a Lodge facility but not in the tyled recesses of an ancient craft Lodge.
Lastly however, an impact would be felt with Oklahoma and Arkansas Masons meeting in each other's tyled recesses of a lodge.
Meanwhile, little information has managed to trickle out of Arkansas over the last 18 months or so. A Facebook site run by an anonymous Arkansas Mason continues to report that their trial commission retains its 100% suspension and expulsion record. I remain more than willing to print any communication, explanation, or response here by the Grand Master of Arkansas or their members at any time. 

This story will be updated if new information becomes available.






UPDATE 11/20/2018: DOCUMENTS ADDED

Click images to enlarge.







5 comments:

  1. A friend of mine of more than 40 years membership in Arkansas says that he no longer attends because those he "sat next to and counted as friends have been heaved over the side". So much for the comfort of comradeship and fraternity in later years. In Little Rock, a fraternity without brotherhood.

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  2. PGM Holder bumped a chain of dominos 3 years ago. The chain had already been set up by previous events and policies, but largely ignored until then. The second domino in that chain has now fallen. We masons do things slowly, but once started, we don't change course readily.

    Who's next and when?

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  3. Then sanctions against the "grand lodge of New Jersey" ought to be coming aannnyy dayyy now.

    Jay

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great, it is about time someone looked at what AR GR had done to good masons.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Has the Arkansas GL gone on the record about this? These are very troubling allegations and I'd like to hear from their side too.

    ReplyDelete

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