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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

South Carolina PGMs Disher and Pearson Stripped of Scottish Rite Honors


by Christopher Hodapp

Brethren from South Carolina are reporting that Past Grand Masters Cal Disher and Jay Adam Pearson have been stripped of both the 33rd degree and Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH) by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite (SJ).

Both PGMs remain as 32nd degree members in good standing.

The two past grand masters were at the center of controversy earlier this year when Disher expelled PGM Michael D. Smith from the fraternity. At the time, PGM Smith was serving as the Lieutenant Grand Commander for the Scottish Rite, and SGIG for South Carolina. Smith was reinstated to the fraternity after a tumultuous annual communication following the surprise election in April of PGM Ronald C. Mitchum (2005-07) to serve again as Grand Master for 2021-22.

Illus. Michael D. Smith subsequently died on November 17, 2021. After his death, there can  be no sense of closure to this story, no satisfaction in telling it, no wry sense of just desserts dished out, or justice satisfied. Only sadness for the careers of Masons who become victims of leaders who forget the very lessons our Craft tries to teach us all.

23 comments:

  1. Partial justice is better than no justice at all.

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    1. I don't think that it was a matter of justice, but rather that of character. The Supreme Council is rightfully concerned with the character of those who are invested with Scottish Rite honors, such as the KCCH or IGH. IMO of course. The very best to you.

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  2. Tragic; I would love to hear Pikes opinion on all this conduct.

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  3. When will we all learn that grand titles, mean nothing. The highest honour one can have is the title 'Brother'. If I could change anything in the world of Freemasonry, I would change only one thing, that being all honourific titles cease upon the end of a term in office. Regardless of your "illustrious rank" you would only be addressed as Brother afterwards. We need to supress our egos to fufill our obligations as Freemasons.

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    1. I would not change a thing my Brother; why labor in darkness? Honors and titles are means by which brethren can be recognized for their service, but the true gift is in how they openly act once they receive such honors. You would never be exposed to their inner and true disposition without such public and personal accolades. Respectfully speaking, my Brother.

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    2. The beauty is that regardless of any achieved or bestowed title, "Brother" is always appropriate for any Freemason.

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    3. I agree with you Jim. We are all Brothers.

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    4. I agree. We are all Brothers.

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  4. Thank you brother for your words. Our purpose is to better one another by bettering the craft by bettering ourselves. The story of these events has been followed by so many people, both within and without. I fear far too many jurisdictions are looking for guidance, structure, or a future from grand leadership who have forgotten the necessity and value of every brother in his growth as a mason -- or perhaps worse, simply don't see far enough past their own interests to provide what the brethren need. Instead, we find a saga, that lends itself far too well to allegory. A story which plays out when leadership fails to ensure temperance at refreshment, maintain peace and harmony among the brethren, all while setting the craft to labor with good and wholesome instruction. These conditions lead to irreparable harm to the fraternity. This story of personal grievances, interests, and short sightedness that we've watched unfold; so many years of labor to have so great and good a collection of broken columns. I suspect, for a good number of us, this feels like it could have played out in the lodges we call home.

    Andrew L. Randell
    PM∴ Travis #117

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  5. Sounds good everything derive. Indiana does not adhere to landmarks.

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  6. These frequent incidents illustrate the leadership problems, which not only involve personal relationships but are reflected in the failure to deal with the loss of temples and closing of lodges.

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    1. Such is the challenge of any institution. Mankind is good at the corruption of any organizational structure because it is the simplest means by which power or control can be had. Freemasonry is good about the inculcation of such awareness and does put into place sound lessons in its prevention. But Freemasonry is not, nor has it ever been, immune to such machinations. Awareness and openness is truly the key in its prevention. The best to you my Brother.

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  7. Dear Sovereign Grand Commander & SGIG, Most Worshipful Sir,

    I am one of the Past Masters, Master Mason, appointed by Most Worshipful Brother (MWB) Cal Disher, to serve on the Trial Commission regarding Most Worshipful Brother (MWB) Michael D. Smith.

    MWB Michael D. Smith was found guilty unanimously on all charges. This verdict was reached in part by Mike’s own admission of guilt as well as supporting testimony.

    1. MWB Michael D. Smith was asked directly “why didn’t you plead guilty to the charges”. His answer was “because of the penalty, expulsion”.

    2. MWB Jack A. Marler was asked directly “did MWB Mike Smith break his obligation by having the Zoom meetings”. His answer was” yes”.

    If you were on that Trial Commission, how would you find the accused hearing such testimony?

    MWB Cal Disher did nothing more than perform his duties as the Grand Master of South Carolina when he filed charges against MWB Mike Smith. Because MWB Cal Disher did what is required under Masonic Law, you and the Scottish Rite Council rescinded his 32° Knight Commander of the Court of Honour and 33° Inspector General Honorary.

    If anyone should be reprimanded and stripped of their title(s) it should be you for getting involved in matters outside of your Grand Jurisdiction specifically, matters regarding the Sovereign Grand Lodge of South Carolina.

    Fraternally,

    Worhsipful Brother Vincent W Petraroli Ph.D.

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    1. Ok so someone got expelled for going on a Zoom meeting? Is that the basics? And that seems reasonable? That kinda sounds a little crazy-town culty to me or just a craven power grab.

      In short, your defense sucks, and makes you and the rest of the folks who tried (ultimately unsuccessfully) to expell the now late Bro. Smith look like a bunch of jerks.

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    2. It should never have gone to trial. MWB Disher's draconian edicts were far overreaching and short sighted. And his temper, compounded by MWB Pearson's vengeful motives did nothing to eject logical and prudent decisions. South Carolina Masonry is a brotherhood, not a business for OSHA style restriction.

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    3. To answer your question, no, I would not find MWB Smith guilty based on the evidence presented. If anything, PGM Disher is lucky he hasn't been expelled himself. He disgraced the Fraternity, and himself.

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    4. You shouldn't talking about everything that was said outside of that meeting anyway .pay some respect to a BROTHER that gave more than an extreme amount of time towards masonry.

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    5. In a word, rubbish. I find the threat against anyone reporting on the goings-on concerning the matter of MWB offensive, especially from those who should know better. I would remind the MWB that his threats are empty, and similar to those made by petulant children. Sadly, this shows that not everyone in a position of leadership in our great fraternity has the well-being of Masonry in mind.

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    6. True justice was served on 29 April, 2022.

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    7. this did not age well

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  8. I'm a Mason in South Carolina, and I watched this whole tragedy unfold firsthand. I found it heartbreaking and discouraging on so many levels it's nearly indescribable. The honest truth is that there were wrongdoings on both sides and that no one involved is blameless, but there was a way to handle it and a way not to. IMHO formal charges and expulsion was NOT the way to handle it. PGM Disher had many options open to him, but he chose to go to the extreme. The expulsion of MWB Mike Smith was a travesty of justice, and his subsequent reinstatement by the Fraternity at the following Grand Lodge was our way of correcting it.

    Ray Craig
    Worshipful Master
    Dentsville Lodge #398

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  9. This is such a sad story. Ans varieties of it are all too frequent. We continue to decline not just because of demographics or competition with media and new avocations, but through our own numerous failures. Rather than make good men better, we too often wallow in prejudice, feuds, and pettiness. A fraternity without brotherhood has become our style.

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  10. Again with the 'Mike plead guilty' chicanery. Mike plead not guilty. Period. Too bad a PHD isn't worth the salt it takes to understand what Ex Post Facto means. The three ruffians got smacked down by the Craft, as it should be. The AASR stripped the worst of the bunch of their honors, as it should be. See you at the next GL. Until then, quit your confabulated FUD. You are transparent and the Craft has already seen through you, and will continue to do so.

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