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


Sunday, January 22, 2023

Members to Grand Master: The Eyes of Texas Masons Are Upon You

by Christopher Hodapp

NOTE: The original version of this story contained editorializing on my part as to the speculated motives for bringing charges on the floor of the annual session during installation. I have had some clarification of what transpired since the story first broke and have removed my original, erroneous suppositions. My apologies for misinterpreting why it happened. Bear in mind that my initial objection was – and remains – over the theatrical aspect of bringing charges in the presence of wives and families on a public YouTube broadcast, which I still believe was improper.
I have also corrected an erroneous reference to video evidence that documented an incident at the Grand Lodge building in Waco, not the Scottish Rite Temple as originally posted.)

The Grand Lodge of Texas AF&AM's annual session was held this week in Waco, Texas, and new grand officers were elected and installed. Outgoing Grand Master Brad Billings has been succeeded by MW G. Clay Smith, Grand Master for 2023.

An attempt was made on Saturday to deny installation to the elected Grand Junior Warden, James Rumsey. Just as the new Grand Master, G. Clay Smith, prepared to proceed with the installation ceremonies for the incoming grand officers for 2023, he was handed a sheet of charges to be brought against the incoming Grand Junior Warden. A public video of the event (which has since been removed from YouTube) showed Smith immediately stumbling through a previously prepared, scripted acceptance of the charges he had just been handed.

Curious. This was clearly not exactly spontaneous.

According to multiple sources, charges had originally been filed against Rumsey during the tenure of GM Billings (I've since been told what those charges were about, and the incident was recorded on security cameras at the Grand Lodge building in Waco). Despite clear video evidence, GM Billings 
dismissed them without action or trial. 

The timing on Saturday was cleverly planned: the “new” charges were handed to Grand Master Smith immediately after he was installed as GM, but before the rest of the installation ceremony started. The move was purportedly a last-ditch, Hail Mary attempt to block Rumsey’s installation after he was overwhelmingly elected to the GJW position. 

A point of order was immediately raised by outgoing GM Billings, objecting to the fact that the new GM could not accept said charges during the installation because the assembled representatives of the state’s lodges are themselves “the Grand Lodge” when it is in session: it is up to the assembled Grand Lodge to accept charges during that meeting, and a GM can only act in its stead when the session is closed.

The Grand Lodge session was officially at refreshment for the duration of the installation, and this attempt at scuttling the new GJW played out in the presence of wives and families, while a video camera publicly broadcast everything on YouTube. That, in my opinion, was a terribly improper way to handle the situation. 

GM Smith declared that the matter would be dropped for the moment, to be discussed in Executive Session instead, and the installation of Rumsey proceeded without further interruption. 

The supportive roar of the crowd was thunderous.

My understanding of Texas code is that charges against a Mason in that jurisdiction must be presented at the Stated Meeting of his lodge, where they are read and accepted. The lodge Secretary then forwards them to the Grand Secretary's office, where they are presented to the Grand Master for his decision to accept them or not. If accepted by him, they then become official charges and can proceed to a trial.

Tweetbook, Snaptwit and Facespace and other (anti-)social media lit up all weekend with comments from Texas Masons who are double-plus-un-pleased by this little drama. This may be a bumpy year in the Grand East of the Lone Star state, and it started to hit chuckholes before it even officially started.


  1. Any idea as to what some of Billings' ideas were that were not popular? They must have been very unpopular, or at least angered enough people to pull off child such a childish stunt.

  2. Grand Craft politicking.... will it ever end... i honestly don't know why anyone bothers

    1. What Scottish Rite video is in question with him on YouTube?

    2. There IS NO Scottish Rite video. The security video of the original incident was from security cameras at the Grand Lodge building. The initial story of the cause of Rumsey’s injury which was that he had tripped over a curb at the Lee Lockwood Scottish Rite Library and Museum as he was leaving the Grand Chapter Convocation/Grand Council Assembly Banquet on Thursday night. This story was changed repeatedly by those who are also shown in the original video and had knowledge of the actual incident. People need to calm down and remember the teachings of this Fraternity and not those of Animal House.

    3. Anonymous... why hide behind that label? So if there are witnesses to newly elected Grand Lodge officers imbibing on Lodge property in March of 2022 (hypthetically speaking)... should they be brought up on charges as well? I mean, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

  3. "According to multiple sources, charges had originally been filed against Rumsey during the tenure of GM Billings, but their GL Jurisprudence Committee had dismissed them."

    Point of Order: the Texas GL Jurisprudence Committee has no authority to accept or dismiss Masonic Charges, that power rests solely with the Grand Master. While he may have relied on input and advice from the Texas GL Jurisprudence Committee, then-GM Billings declined the charges.

  4. This small but stubborn group must not want our Craft to continue, by the way they are acting. It's no wonder out numbers continue to shrink.

    1. I am a 20+ year Texas Mason in good standing and a PM. This kind of action is enough for me to say the heck with and say good riddance.

    2. I decided to demit because of the shit leadership in Texas Freemasonry. Raborn Reader is a prime example of that, along with this grand master.

  5. Brian Dodson PGM, PR to the valley of Houston states before a trustee meeting at the valley, that they were going to get people to run against Rumsey on the floor, if that failed charges would be presented ASAP. He also spoke about trespassing Rumsey from the Valley of Houston as well. If Dodson is in on it which would also mean his best buddy Wiggins PGM SGIG is on it. Because of what it is in nature that they are mad at Rumsey about.

    1. Speaking of trespasses, seems as though the video mentioned shows a game of "Shots and Ladders". It's all fun and games till someone breaks a leg

    2. I wound love to hear the details of that meeting. Please email me at thewestiswatching@protonmail.com if what you say is true then there must be accountability.

  6. The video is still around. Plenty of brothers downloaded it and have it saved because we knew exactly what was going to happen to it.

    1. Does anyone have a link to this video or send it to me privately?

    2. Is there a link that could be privately sent?

    3. I would love to get a copy of the video. If anyone would care to forward it to me I would be very grateful.


  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I won’t pretend to know law, this I won’t cite any. However, this attempt at scuttling RW Rumsey is more than that. This was an attempt to lessen PGM Billings and the Grand West. Texas Masons are a strong and proud group. We will not stand for this. I understand the charges, however, then MWGM Billings dealt with it as he saw fit. The Grand West
    Supported….that should’ve been it.

    Texas Masonry will remain strong. While this may sting a bit, I think it was a good/bad thing. Now we know who we’re dealing with.

    1. And if it's shown that Jim Rumsey trespassed on Grand Lodge property, brought alcohol onto it, and verbally abused an employee or members of the Grand Lodge, will you stand for that too?

  9. I wonder why this get published but not a peep from chris on the past year of Suspensions of grand lodge officers and Past Grand Masters without trial by the DC Grand lodge

  10. Looks like a group of masons have set up a website to publicize Grand Lodge of Texas actions. https://texasmasons4truth.com/

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. At approximately 3:40pm, on Saturday January 21, 2023, the Grand Secretary received
    Masonic Charges against R ⸫ W ⸫ Jim Rumsey, who was previously elected and installed
    as Grand Junior Warden earlier. The charges, which were signed by three Past Grand
    Masters, allege that R ⸫ W ⸫ Jim Rumsey, while then serving as a District Deputy Grand
    Master at Large and as a member of the Committee on Work : (1) did conduct himself in a
    way to bring reproach upon this Grand Lodge and to bring discredit and disgrace upon
    Masonry and to reflect unfavorably on the good name of Masonry; and (2) consumed,
    possessed, and had in possession intoxicating liquor on th e premises of the Grand Lodge
    Memorial building.
    Finding the charges to be proper and in legal form, I accepted the charges against Jim
    Rumsey, a sitting Grand Lodge Officer, pursuant to Articles 641.1 and 641.3 of the Laws
    of the Grand Lodge of Texas (LG LT).
    As provided for in Articles 667 and 669, these allegations are hereby referred to the
    Committee on Grievances and Appeals and they are directed to conduct a disciplinary
    proceeding as provided for by law. Pursuant to Article 670, they will report th eir findings
    and recommendations to this Grand Lodge. The findings of fact, recommendations and
    the report of the Committee on Grievances and Appeals is due to this Grand Lodge no
    later than the start of the Grand Annual Communication. The Committee will m eet at
    10:00am on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at the Masonic Grand Lodge Library and
    Museum of Texas in Waco (aka The Grand Lodge Memorial Temple), to conduct its
    disciplinary proceeding.
    Further, as provided for in the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas,
    I suspend Jim Rumsey
    from the functions of the office of the Grand Junior Warden pending the Masonic
    Disciplinary Proceeding as the charges allege official misconduct and violations
    involving moral turpitude. (Art. 660 LGLT).
    Since the report of Grieva
    nce and Appeals Committee will be submitted to this Grand
    Lodge and Article 672 provides that this Grand Lodge shall render judgment, I request
    that the Masons of Texas refrain from discussing the particulars of this investigation and
    eventual Masonic Disc iplinary Proceeding unless and until their testimony is sought by
    the Grievances and Appeals Committee, a Commissioner that I may appoint, or the
    parties through their respective counsels. This will assist in the prevention of bias and/or
    prejudice of thos e members of Grand Lodge who might be asked to render judgment.
    Failure to respect this request may result in the disqualification of that member of Grand
    Lodge from deliberation, and/or possible charges being filed. (See Art. 508.36 LGLT).
    G. Clay Smith
    Grand Master

  13. That dip 5hit GM suspended him anyone. I got a notice via email about it.

  14. Texas appears to be the latest in a series of high-level suspensions and expulsions over the last few years; TX, DC, SC, and AR come to mind. This "brutal" justice is amplified by GMs with massive power and limited time to use it. It's hard to know whether the motives are closer to altruistic preservation of Craft traditions or to settling scores in an alley after school,

    Is this a recent phenomenon or are current events like these amplified by the nearly instantaneous communications of social media? Perhaps our brethren of 1973 or 1923 or 1873 were just as brutal in seeking revenge, but had more privacy to "bury the bodies."

    --S. Brent Morris, PM

    1. Brent, you might be interested in this article https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0268270 It certainly seems as though social media is a breeding ground for intolerance and sites have found it beneficial to pander to the most intolerant of their users. Not so much about “burying the bodies” as the uninformed being able to chime in without really understanding or caring about the true issues.

  15. Collusions and political factions by grand line officers and PGMs! We would never tolerate such shenanigan's here in Arkansas!



    WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 3(b) of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Texas permits the Grand Master to call a Special Communication when "the interests of the Craft require"; and

    WHEREAS, Article 166 of the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas prohibits new business from being

    discussed at the Annual Communication once the Installation has commenced; and

    WHEREAS, Masonic Disciplinary Charges against a Grand Lodge Officer are a private, business matter for which the Grand Lodge has exclusive original jurisdiction pursuant to Article 641; and

    WHEREAS, M:.W:. G. Clay Smith, immediately upon being installed as Grand Master, publicly announced in Open Session of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas Masonic Disciplinary Charges against R:.W:. Jim Rumsey, such session being open to the public and attended by members of the public and which was contemporaneously broadcast and made available for later public viewing on the Grand Lodge's YouTube channel; and

    WHEREAS, M:.W:. G. Clay Smith's actions were calculated, preplanned, and scripted as evidenced by the script he read announcing his acceptance of the charges; and

    WHEREAS, M:.W:. G. Clay Smith's actions in the Open Session Installation appear to have brought

    discredit upon Texas Masonry, constituting a potential violation of Article 508.2; and

    WHEREAS, on January 30, 2023, M:.W:. G. Clay Smith caused to be published to all Texas Masons a letter asserting that R:.W:. Jim Rumsey had been accused of "violations involving moral turpitude," when said statement was patently false, constituting a potential violation of Article 507; and

    WHEREAS, the January 30, 2023 letter has also been published on the publicly accessible portion of the Grand Lodge website under the Grand Master's Blog section, constituting another potential violation; and

    WHEREAS, Article 36 of the Laws of Grand Lodge of Texas provides that the Grand Master may be

    suspended from office for sufficient cause; and

    WHEREAS, sufficient cause may exist to suspend M:.W:. G. Clay Smith from the office of Grand Master because he may have disregarded the Grand Lodge's Order of Business, discussed private business in Open Session, and other sufficient reasons as discussed herein;

    NOW, THEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED the undersigned representatives of this lodge demand that a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Texas be called as soon as possible, and upon not less than thirty (30) days' official notice to the constituent lodges, for the business of considering the suspension of M:.W:. G. Clay Smith from the office of Grand Master pursuant to Article 36 of the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas.



    (month), 2023, by a majority vote of the members present.

    Lodge No.

    held on


  17. Well we’ll Lucy you’ve got some Splaning to do!!

  18. Want to know more history about Isidore Dyer grand mason 1850


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