The Other Half Of The Florida Masonic Scandal Tells All

The Beehive presents an interview with Duke Bass Fortesque. This is being presented as opinions of Fortesque and The Beehive, not as fact. Names of the Lodge and any other Florida Masons have been deliberately omitted. Freemason Information welcomes a rebuttal from either the Master of the Lodge or the Grand Master or both and will publish them if submitted.

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Florida Masonic ScandalThose who have been following the Florida Masonic story have read the problem through the eyes of Corey Bryson. But Bryson was only coming to the aid of his friend going through the degrees with him, Duke Bass Fortesque. Bryson kept a low profile and nobody really knew what his faith was until he spoke up in Lodge to correct misinformation in an interrogation of Fortesque. It was then that Bryson revealed that he was a Pagan/Deist and therefore could speak with authority on the subject that he got into trouble.

Fortesque, meanwhile was in trouble already. Fortesque had already come out as an Odinist and he had gone through lengthy questioning of his religious beliefs by the Investigating Committee and others in the Lodge.

The whole religious turmoil was set off by Fortesque’s first degree instructor. He had a problem with Fortesque because he had a personal problem with Pagan religions. “The instructor screamed at me,” said Fortesque. “He disparaged my religion and my wife and her religion (Wiccan).”

“It’s people like you that are responsible for the breakup of my marriage,” yelled the instructor pointing his finger in Fortesque’s face. “Good luck becoming a Master Mason.”

“He was like a Rottweiler who broke his chain,” noted Fortesque.

Fortesque reported the incident up the chain of command leading to a number of phone conversations with the Master of the Lodge, some of them lasting from midnight to 3:00 AM. Fortesque kept asking for a solution to the outburst, while the Master kept grilling him on his beliefs.

“I just asked for an apology,” he said. That’s all he wanted, nothing more, nothing less. To think this whole mess could have been solved by a timely, simple apology from the instructor.

Meanwhile the instructor did call Fortesque and apologize personally but not publicly.

Finally in one of the last marathon phone calls with the Master, the Master offered to bring Fortesque into open Lodge to explain that the whole situation had been resolved, that he was mistaken and it never really happened.

“You want me to diminish my reputation to save this instructor,” asked Fortesque?

“Yes,” replied the Master

That was not unheard of in the Masonic world. When an old timer steps out of line with a brand new Mason, the Lodge will often support the seasoned Masonic veteran. Not that it is right, but it’s done. But Fortesque was not going to knuckle under.

A friend connected him to the Grand Master via the Grand Secretary.

Fortesque explained to the Grand Master the situation that had occurred. The Grand Master, acting as if he already knew the whole story, told Fortesque – OK complaint lodged. But then he said something very bizarre.

“You have a comic book religion,” the Grand Master told Fortesque. “You don’t have to get there (Master Mason).  Masonry is a Slurpee, you can get it at 7-11, “ continued the Grand Master.

The Grand Master then proceeded to interrogate Fortesque. He asked him where his soul goes. Then he told him, “You don’t have a Holy Book. The Great Light is the Holy Bible, that’s why we are Christian only.”We just try, he said, “to be tolerant of other faiths.”

Fortesque retorted, “Why do you have to ask me about my religion. I have survived the petition process, multiple interviews, five background checks, home studies and a ton of questions. I’m not here to change anybody. I’m here to be one of you.”

The Grand Master flatly said “We don’t allow comic book religions. Technically you qualify for Masonry but you should consider resigning and finding another place to get your fraternal kicks, somewhere else better suiting your kind of people.”

Now here is demonstrated for all to see the little mind of the Christian Fundamentalist Freemason. The Brother has a COMIC BOOK RELIGION says the little mind. GET YOUR FRATERNAL KICKS SOMEWHERE ELSE BETTER SUITING YOUR KIND OF PEOPLE.  Now isn’t that the embodiment of Masonic tolerance? Doesn’t that just demonstrate how universal Freemasonry is?

MASONRY IS A SLURPEE says the little mind again. Now how’s that for the essence of Masonic knowledge and esoteric thought?

But that’s not all folks! Here comes the kicker.

That religious edict released by the Grand Master of Florida was not the only edict to come from him. Some months back he issued an edict that stated that if you associated with Prince Hall Masons, if you had a picnic or BBQ with them or attended any function outside the Lodge with them, if you even talked to them, then you would be automatically expelled. This goes way beyond Masonic Communication and Masonic Discourse which is already prohibited. Already on the books in Florida, says Fortesque, is the ruling that if you attend a Lodge out of state where they recognize Prince Hall and if there is a Prince Hall Mason in attendance you must get up and leave immediately or be expelled. And if there is a Prince Hall Mason there and you don’t know it you also will be expelled.

This comes on the heels of information from Georgia where four Mainstream Masons were secretly expelled for talking to Prince Hall Masons – talking like, “How’s the weather?” See the source here.

Fortesque was going to go ahead and remain anyway but somewhere between “technically you qualify” and a couple of days afterwards the Grand Master decided to rule  that all Pagan religions were banned.

The Junior Warden, a lawyer, drew up an official letter of resignation where it was stated that he did not meet one of the perquisites to be a Freemason. Yet the Lodge refused to give Fortesque his money back.

Fortesque was only 5 days away from a Master Mason. He pleaded with the Lodge to let him be raised as a Master Mason and that if he did he would resign right afterward. But the answer was no, resign now or be expelled automatically.

Fortesque had a dream, a dream where he was going through the steps of his Grandfather’s rise to 32nd degree Freemason and that along each step of the way he connected to his beloved Grandfather. If he could be raised to the degree of Master Mason and be allowed to resign perhaps he could apply to another state for acceptance and thus continue his dream.

“The Grand Master prejudicated my expulsion, “says Fortesque. “He wanted to be sure I could not petition elsewhere in Freemasonry.”

And here we have the essence of the little minded Fundamentalist Freemason. For you see its one thing to prohibit a certain belief system in your Grand Lodge but it’s another to stick it to the one you do not want to make sure he cannot apply anywhere else. It’s one thing not to recognize another Grand Lodge and prohibit your members to sit in a tyled Communication with them. It’s another to expel them for saying hello in the grocery store.

This vindictiveness, this thought that I have to bury you, shun you, spit on you, curse you and hurt you because you do not agree with me is something that is tearing this country apart. And it is something that not only doesn’t belong in Freemasonry, it is something that Freemasonry is supposed to be above, to have solved, to have created a society where men of different religions, politics, creeds, cultures and economic status can coexist peacefully in a Lodge under the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

Fortesque, an admitted Odinist & Tribalist, is now getting linked to White Supremacy. That’s a way for his detractors to spread hurtful rumors about him.  “I am about family and community,” answers Fortesque as he rejects any connection with any kind of discrimination, especially White Supremacy.  Anybody that knows him realizes that this is just a cheap shot.

VENGENCE IS MINE says the Grand Master. And vengeance he got for Corey Bryson and Duke Fortesque resigned from Freemasonry together.

After resigning they held court on the front steps of their Lodge for 3 ½ hours. “No one could refute what we had to say,” reports Fortesque. “We made our case every time.”

But none would stand up for them, either. “I have to believe what I am told,” said many a Brother of the Lodge. “I have to follow my Grand Master.”

Fortesques says of that, “They are all in self preservation.” And he doesn’t feel any anger towards the Brothers who are staying and knuckling under. He just wishes another jurisdiction would offer to take him in. He just longs to continue his dream.

There remains but a couple of observations to be made about this whole nasty business.

First, those who filled the comments section on the previous articles with tsk, tsk corrections that the Grand Master of Florida had nothing racial to say so how dare I attribute such characteristics to him, I don’t want to hear it. As I have reported previously in Confederate Masonry anti Black and Christian only go hand in hand. The Grand Master of Florida demonstrates this quite readily. But he is not the only one. Talk to the Mainstream Grand Masters of Georgia, West Virginia and Arkansas among others and you will get the same spiel. Yet doesn’t it seem very incongruous that the Black Christian God and the White Christian God aren’t the same in the eyes of these Grand Masters?

Too many Brothers have been armchair quarterbacks, interpreting each individual incident rather than connecting the dots of all the developments. As The Beehive has said before, we need to learn the lessons of Mike McCabe, Gate City Lodge No 2, Frank Haas and Derek Gordon. We need to see the big picture and stop running around with blinders on.

Secondly we need to reiterate once more that Grand Lodges are out of control and that Masons caught in the throes of rogue regimes are powerless to halt the tyrannical use of Grand Lodge power. Grand Lodges today are no longer even bothering to obey their Constitutions and By-Laws.

American Mainstream Masonry must find a way to discipline itself or wither and die on the vine because today’s younger generation and today’s seekers looking for peace and harmony in a righteous setting, a purpose for living and a way to look at life that is uplifting and meaningful, will not join an organization with racial and religious discrimination. It’s as simple as that. Think about it.

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About Fred Milliken

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and former Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.

Comments

  1. Just goes to show you if you disagree with a Grand Master you are out. I have to laugh at those Brothers who say well if there is something wrong with a Grand Lodge all the Brethren need to vote at Grand Lodge Session to correct what is wrong.

    None of these arm chair quarterbacks has ever lived in Noth Korea or say Iran. Try being a leader of reform there. It was only a year ago that citizens of Iran rose up in protest and most of them are now 6′ under. Look at the carnage in Syria.

    Theory and reality often conflict. It’s nice to know what in theory is supposed to happen. But those of us who live in the real world know how it really operates in reality – and that goes double for Freemasonry.

  2. Duke Bass Fortesque says:

    Worshipful Nelson Rose,

    To my knowledge you are the first and only Mason in the Florida jurisdiction to put into action your words, to take your obligations seriously, and the first Mason in Florida to believe his brotherhood is more important than his dues card. Though I am saddened that your beliefs of right and wrong has gotten you tossed out of the fraternity that you love I am heartened that there may be real Masons still living their deeds in this state. You stood up for what you knew needed addressing and didnt flinch when you were cut-down upon the battlefield that is now our Masonic juridiction without flinching. I had belonged to the 2nd most populated lodge in Florida and not a single soul stood up for Corey or I. And yet you, a Brother I have never met, did not shrink from the hazard and charged the hill. Let it be known, Brother Nelson, that I proudly clasp your hand in fraternal brotherly love and call you my Brother with head held high. Wassail!

    Duke

  3. @PM Nelson Rose What a shame. Please accept my condolonces. To know that our GM is referencing Wikipedia is beyond my comprehension.

    The following is the letter I sent December 6th:

    RE: Ruling and Decision No.3

    Grand Master Jorge Aladro:

    I find myself in a most saddened state after reading your letter and ruling concerning Pagans, Wiccans, Odinists, Gnostics, and Agnostics. This cannot be an exhaustive list as the discussion of all religious beliefs would consume a lifetime of study; surely we have not devoted fair analysis to these subjects. Historically, we as Freemasons do not write lists to exclude religions from petitioning our doors (except, rightfully, Atheists); in fact, our Brothers have escaped religious persecution in our halls around the world! This defies the core of Masonry. Just one example, as I intend for my communication to be brief and pointed; Brother Benjamin Franklin, a Deist and exemplary Freemason, what is your ruling on Deism?

    Brothers and petitioners should not be diminished to a religious title. I find myself without. Moreover, I find Truths from multiple sources; particularly elements of Gnosticism. My relationship with God is sacred, binding, deep, and everlasting. When I knocked on the doors of Freemasonry, I well knew the requirements – and having a religious appellation was not one of them. Respecting the Landmarks of Freemasonry, aforementioned in your letter Article XIII – LANDMARKS AND CERTAIN LAWS OF FREEMASONRY Section 2, I submit (again) to the existence of one ever living and true God, a belief in the immortality of the human soul and a resurrection thereof to a Future Life, and took my obligation on the Holy Bible. I chose to take my Oath on this VSL as I find it consecrated, but am without the Christian title. I assure you, my conscience is unequivocally clear with my Obligations.

    I conclude: It is not the business of the Grand Lodge of Florida to interpret religion. The Lodge’s job is to propound the questions, and conversely, the petitioner to try his conscience and answer honestly. I find your conclusion terrifyingly inconsistent with our Craft’s prolific teachings. I implore you to reconsider, ask the pardon of the Craft, and create a positive experience from this lapse in judgment. Let us show the world the beauty of Masonic Brotherhood under your guidance rather than unwarranted exclusion.

    All my love for the Craft and FIAT LUX!

  4. condolences*

  5. On the Level says:

    Brothers, the last thing the Craft needs is dirty laundry exposed to the world. Imagine if Fox or CNN got a hold of this…. it would take years to undo…. I implore everyone to say no more of this publicly….we are supposed to keep to ourselves…remember your O…….n? This needs to be worked out in a circumscribed manner….

  6. On the Level says:

    Brothers, the last thing the Craft needs is dirty laundry exposed to the world. Imagine if Fox or CNN got a hold of this…. it would take years to undo…. I implore everyone to say no more of this publicly….we are supposed to keep to ourselves…remember your O…….n? This needs to be worked out in a circumscribed manner….

  7. Brother, the ruling from the Grand Lodge of Florida was public. Anyone can access it from the glflamason.org. In your scenario, the media would have an unfettered hay day in the absence of earnest responses.

  8. Brothers, the last thing the Craft needs is dirty laundry exposed to the world.

    Horse hockey – let’s just sweep it under the rug and allow bigotry to continue.

    That same attitude is what has allowed the Jesters to get away, for so long, with being involved in human trafficking.

    I seem to remember a certain Cardinal in the greater Boston area doing the same sort of PR protection.

  9. Duke Bass Fortesque says:

    Here is the Blog from Brother Corey who is making serious and interesting points for the craft to consider, postulate, or at the very least, assist a Brother in making informed decisions: http://musingsofapaganmason.blogspot.com/

  10. Brother Duke,

    It is my pleasure to stand behind you. The bastardization of Freemasonry being perpetrated by the Grand Lodge needs to stop or Freemasons will need to seek other means to practice this ancient and noble art.

  11. As a senior DeMolay, I say that Masons were the 2nd greatest influence in my life (second to my parents and close relatives).

    Sadly, the Fraternity is dieing and the current Grand Lodge I live in is doing nothing to fix it (Texas). The reality is that the membership is not growing at the rates of deaths. Your average attendance at most Lodges are down. There are exceptions, but they will not allow us the resources to continue as we have for hundreds of years. We need to promote our organization and adapt to the modern times.

    I do not claim to have answers or solutions to these difficult problems. I have ideas. But any sort of change falls on deaf ears by those in charge. Our society is very different, and if we want to be relevant, then we have to change.

  12. Duke Bass Fortesque says:

    Worshipful Nelson,

    I hereby would like to bestow upon you the honor of entry into the newly founded clandistine order of “Slap the Bull”. It is with great Brotherly pride and admiration that I bestow this order or Fraternal Fortitude upon you for the following reasons:

    For harboring and putting into action your fearless Masonic convictions without hesitation.

    For attempting to save a Brother(s) whom are clearly in distress from their own leadership and chain of command.

    For bravely attempting to swade a brother (M.W. Aladro)from his power hungry folly without persoanl fear of meglamaniacalretaliation keeping you from standing upon the knowledge in Masonic Light safely kept in your own heart.

    For Standing on time honored beliefs and striving to keep them in their purest known forms for the benefit of the craft.

    For your willingness to put brothers and the craft ahead of beliving that your dues card was more important than your actual living brothers.

    For you willingness to openly expose this great harm and cancer to the craft your love, honestly, and civilly in hopes that the craft at large will wake up and take appropriate actions.

    and finally, and most importantly, making long your C-T without making an excuse of its shortness in order to avoid putting your Obligations from theoretical postulations and into real demonstrable action.

    *There are no dues to this order. there are no membership lists. there are no qualifications beyond that of standing up with a brother(s) when wronged by dissalusioned leadership or corrupt leadership openly and without hiding behind excuses. Two benefits exist for the Order of Slap the Bull: 1-the pride alone for doing the right thing when it is easier to ignore wrong-doing and 2-if you witness such an notable act of Fraternal fortitude yourself you will bestow this order upon another/others.

    So say we all!

    Duke

  13. Duke Bass Fortesque says:

    In esoteric theory… Although one person slapping the bull will have little to no effect save the bull goring said person, scores of hands will have effect if they are determined and without fear. In the service during survival training they taught us an acronym wich I would like to pass on to you at this crucial moment in Masonic history (being made).

    F.E.A.R = False Evidence Appearing Real

    Here are some false evidences which have been brought up to my attention in these recent months.

    The craft is powerless to the GM… when in fact he only has said power because the craft allow it. I am not speaking of the digest. My personal vote at this time is for the GM of FLorida “the Vote of No COnfidence”.

    That true fraternal brotherly bonding no longer exists in Florida… I am beginning to see the real fraternity starting to arise from its long slumber. Instead of the cowardice wait-and-see policy evident state wide all of us are beginning to hear the distant drums or real Brothers standing up and uniting agaisnt long-suffered heavy handed leadership.

    An interesting conversation I had with a brother from Austrailia in which he brought to light something I had never even considered.

    “Why are American Masons not following their historical convictions?”

    Now I thought the conversation was going in probably the same direction as you the reader are thinking. but then he continued with this shocking realization:

    “Your Masonic fore-fathers broke away from the crown politically and idealogically because of the unstoppable tyrany by the King of England. Now why would you blokes go and fight a war for Independence, begin your brand of Masonry without official charters in pubs and houses drinking any libation you cared to glogg down, and then go and base your new Masonry on the same flawed system you lost so many lives to throw off your blooming backs?!? Why would your Masonry not reflect what your Masonic fathers labored so diligently for? Why is not your Republic reflected in your practices? After all, you were all considered clandistine for some years until others recognized your good work. Have you chaps forgot about that little event in the Boston Harbor? perhaps you need to return to the pubs and talk things out a bit. Your Americans after all, stop acting like a gaggle of nancies!”

    Interesting points all…

  14. Duke Bass Fortesque says:

    A challenge to you…. after I sitting here thinking about what my Austrailian Brother and I spoke at length about. Go and re-read the Declaration of Independence but this time think about it Masonically as your eyes fall upon the words written in earnest times the likes of which may be upon us again.

    Here is a link: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

    My humble appologies for three posts in a row. It must sound like the soapbox I am standing upon. I dont have a computer so I had to do what I could while borrowing my wife’s netbook from her job.

    Duke

  15. Three excellent posts in rapid succession. Thank you for the light and thank you for the “Slap the Bull” honor :)

    Freemasonry needs an overhaul. We DO NOT need Grandmasters with absolute power and we do not need archaic institutions that take away from the close fellowship of when men met on the level with beer mugs instead of gold collars. we’ve lost our roots big time. Think about it, if religion and politics were off limits – how did that tea get dumped into the harbor?

    There is a way to put the FREE back into Freemasonry. My email address is nelson.rose@yahoo.com and I can divulge a little more :)

  16. Easy. The Sons Of Liberty were not a Masonic Lodge and therefore could discuss politics and religion and then go dump a bunch of tea into the water.

  17. Easiest solution to this problem would be to do the right thing. Strata Masonic trial and boot the GM out. Redact all the BS calls he made, and rein in the members without delay. It won’t happen because it’s easier to just wait till the end of that officers year.

  18. Duke Bass Fortesque says:

    Well… (and I speak in irony in case my words do not reflect my intent)

    Let us all just bury our heads in the sand and say with uplifted hearts that this will pass! There is nothing wrong with Florida Masonry and the Grand Lodge is in fine order reflecting the will and desire of the craft in this Grand Jurisdiction. Somebody will do something about this althtough it is not neccessary for the mythical “them” to actually exist. The traditions are true and unaltered from the colonial days and we should never listen to those Nay-sayers who point out such nonesense. I not only welcome the GM’s ruling I believe that it is a true and fair ruling. I should have never been allowed into Masonry because I refer to the GAOTU by a name different than the rest of FLorida does. I think that the GM is correct and fair. All of Florida should be Christian and White… What is that term that they use for FLorida Masonry now? Confederate Masonry? The mere odasity I had by believing that the brochures handed me regarding acceptable beliefs accurately reflected reflected Florida Masons was a complete irrisponsible thought on my part. After all, I served in the Military and could defend Lady Liberty and am now permenantly disabled because of it, passed the background checks and found NOTHING, passed my interviews at the lodge, passed the home visit by three brothers who raved about my wife and I’s sincere hospitality, and I was well recomended by those in law enforcement… what was I thinking? I do not qualify to be a Mason in FLorida! I am unworthy and now that I see that I am not worthy to recieve more light in my life I understand what a real FLorida Mason is… Do you?

  19. Robert – in FL there is no way to “boot out” the Grandmaster. However, when his term ends he can be brought up on charges and then we shall see how the trial commission (controlled by Grand Lodge) deals with it…

  20. Michael Staggs says:

    Brother Duke, I know this situation is disparaging. You have my utmost sympathies and my respect for your service to our country and the Craft. I am a Jew and understand all too well the overreach of some Christians, but do not think for one second that the fact you call the GAOTU by another name concerns or troubles the majority of your brethren.

    There are people of all stripes here speaking out in defense of you and what you have endured. This is not a Pagan vs. “Abrahamic faiths” showdown. It is the story of a Grandmaster who has never learned the basics of Freemasonry and is attempting to force his personal views onto this venerable organization.

    I stand beside you, Brother. If I were in your state, I would inform the kangaroo court that, as a Jew I study Kabbalah, which can be considered gnostic and thus puts me at odds with this edict and with this grandmaster’s vision of Freemasonry. Unfortunately, I am not in your state. I can only do so much from another jurisdiction.

    But, be assured, there are those of us that stand with you and support your rights to your own religious beliefs and methods of worship because we understand the value of religious tolerance and freedom.

  21. Duke Bass Fortesque says:

    Brother Staggs,

    I whole heartedly appreciate your suuport and kind words. Thank you.

    I am concerned for my Jewish Brothers here in Florida. I have spoken to a few of them and it is not going unnoticed that the Jews may be next after we Pagans have been purged from the Florida books. I believe this concern to be a legitimate feeling for them and also a formidible force to be reckoned with. Technically the gnostic jews and catholics should turn in their dues cards per ruling number three. After that I believe that Grand Lodge will go after our Brothers in the Shrine, Scottish Rite, and the members who are gay. In some ways I believe that the craft in whole are in such shock that FL GL would go this far that they are not bracing themselves for the “next logical steps” of ALadro’s final solution. Being quiet and waiting isnt working though the majority of the craft still adhere to that dangerous “wait and see” doctrine. So much damage is being done to the level that I am beginning to hear talk about whether or not Florida can even turn this ship around and put it back on course before the FL reputation will be generationally lost in the eyes of Masons everywhere outside of this Grand Jurisdiction. There is not a single GL officer willing to display a semblence of courage because, GAOTU forbid, they do anything to jeapordise thier dues-card! FL as a whole only cares about their dues-card especially agaisnt a Brother Mason. Until this sick and disturbing lust-affair of FL Masons with the peice of paper they carry in their wallet (close to their second mistress *cash*) ends there will never be any true correction of events, no sincere appologies, no reversals of rulings, no reconciliation between the GL and the FL craft, nor any world-wide general acceptance of FL Masons as real brothers aside from the outward pleasantries.

  22. Michael Staggs says:

    Brother, in your response you have invoked the Holocaust and Hitler’s Final Solution. 11 million people lost their lives in the Holocaust including 6 million Jews – 1.5 million of them children.

    You have been thrown out of a fraternity – not treated like an animal and eventually put to death in barbaric and inhumane fashion. I feel your analogy is a poor one and belittles what the Holocaust actually was.

    That being said, the rest is speculation. What has been done is a scar upon the Craft and I hope it is remedied without further disgrace.

  23. Duke Bass Fortesque says:

    Brother Staggs,

    It was not my intent to offend you or any. If I have done so, I appologize in earnest. Forgive me.

    That being said, such speculations were made about the current state of affairs here in FL and many, just as you, throw it into the legend of rumor and shrug it off. It turned out not to be speculation but unprovable fact and now history. I applaud your eagerness to rebuke something I wrote with such gusto and stated facts. My own people were tortured and converted by the sword suffering so many different autracities to a human by the Catholic Church and that evil hero Charlemagne. Do not believe for one minute that you are the only people who know of horrid times. The American Indian, the Toltecs, Myans, Aztecs, Celts, and many others share this harsh memory. You and I share that in common and as such we both can be outspoken in our dislike of injustices. I may not be a Jew, but niether are you from the pre-Germanic peoples that now are Scandinavia. However, we are both brothers. We support each other or not. We share commonalities or not. We agree or agree not to. But I applaud your spirit and now ask, if you feel this way as you have writtin, what are you willing to do for your own concience sake? The answer is uneeded or wanted. It is purely a question every Mason with knowledge of this should ask themselves in the privacey of their own thoughts. Stand, run, hide, or ignore. We all have choices to make which are right, wrong, or show indifierence.

    Again, Brother Staggs, I ask your forgiveness if I have given a moment of dissagreeable feelings.

    Duke

  24. Michael Staggs says:

    By all means, Brother, tell me about what Charlemagne did within the lifetime of your grandparents. Tell me the percentage of Swiss put to death in the last 60 years. Otherwise, you are speaking of something you heard from history books that has not even remotely touched your life or the lives of your friends.

    If you were a black man, then you could start the conversation. If you were a Native American, a resident of Darfur…but you are a white man who probably grew up with Christian parents and knows little of hardship. So please, stop sitting in a position of white privilege belittling tragedies that do not affect you in the least.

    Ill chalk this up to youthful follies, but please don’t keep speaking until I think Brother Aladro is onto something.

  25. Stags, your being an overly sensitive and pretentious ass. I’d cool it on jumping on someone’s back even after they apologized. I’d drop it completely. No likes the guy who looks through the newspaper for something to get offended by.

  26. John, your post was barely legible. I get the gist of it, but I will say that continued belittling is not an apology. Comparing what happened 60 years ago to something that happened well over 1,000 years ago, the death of 11 million to the death of thousands, etc. and somehow pretending it was just as bad…. it’s not an apology. It’s ludicrous.

    It’s also not the first time I’ve heard such from an Odinist. I’m not going to speculate on his character or yours, but will say that this incident brings up reservations for me. Darfur…what happened to the Native Americans… Slavery… these are recent tragedies with long-lasting repercussions that are at least on the same playboard as the Holocaust. But, you really can’t expect me to take it as anything but offensive when a white American male tries to claim he is in the same boat because thousands of people were killed over 1,000 years ago whom he cannot name, has no real relation to other than possible ancestry, etc.

    I’m bowing out of this conversation.

  27. I’m glad. Your comparing deaths to deaths. It doesn’t matter when these things happened. If 1,000,000 people died 100 years ago or a thousand, it has the same impact. Again your being over sensitive. There were two lines of apology in Dukes letter. I don’t see where he belittled anything or anyone. If your basically just going to keep a record of offensive trigger words let me know how I fair here in explaining who you are at this point.
    You are looking for the worst in people – Whether you know it or not, you are operating under the assumption that people are bad. You identify with a certain label or something you identify with and you are ready to pounce on anything or anyone who knowingly or not makes comments about this thing you identify with. This doesn’t mean you should accept abuse from people who are insulting you or your way of life. You have a hair trigger personality and go into offended mode at the drop of a hat. Which leads us to the next thing.

    You do not give people the benefit of the doubt – You are so busy obeying your knee jerk reaction to be offended that you take no time to understand what people are saying. You do not take the time to see if what the person said may have sounded a certain way, but he or she didn’t mean it how you took it. You do not take the time to reflect on it in the right context. You decide to be offended. Even if you go through the motions of asking them about their comments, you don’t want to understand usually. You are trying to get them to admit they are a bad person and apologize for something they didn’t say or mean. Once you enter this mode, you are prosecution, judge and jury of the hastiest court on earth.

    You are feeding on the drama – When someone who is easily offended flips the switch, they are engaging in a self-defense mechanism, and in a weird kind of way, are fueling a fire relating to something they associate with their identity. You have become a psychological pyromaniac. By getting all heated about that thing you identify with, you perceive you are fighting a noble fight in defense of the label / identifier, whether or not there is a real attack. Once the switch is flipped, it’s about the drama. The drama makes you feel closer to the label or identifier you embrace. At some point, the “bad” person who triggered you may explain his comments and they may be completely harmless. This doesn’t matter to you, It’s about being offended now. It’s about feeding the drama.

    That’s my take. And on that, I’m also done.

    John

  28. Well said. I’ll second that!

  29. “I’m glad. Your comparing deaths to deaths. It doesn’t matter when these things happened. If 1,000,000 people died 100 years ago or a thousand, it has the same impact.”

    I’m not even going to try to reason with someone who would make such a statement. Have a good day.

  30. Are you saying some lives are worth more? Or have more impact?

  31. Michael Staggs says:

    John, you appear to be trying to make that distinction – especially by saying 4500 people who were killed over 1,000 years ago has exactly the same impact as 11 million people who died 60 years ago. For that to be the case, the 4,500 would have to be worth vastly more as individuals.

    If a human life is worth a human life, then not only is 4,500 nowhere near 11 million, but it’s different than 4,501. Most people would consider New York being wiped off the face of the earth to be far more of a devastating tragedy than a bus station exploding. Add to that the fact the bus station exploded 50 years ago and New York was wiped off the face of the map yesterday and no one would have a difficulty saying the 8 million people in New York dying was worse than the hundreds in the bus station.

    What happened in the life of Charlemagne does not affect people today in any great way. You can’t recall the names of those killed, you cannot tell personal stories from their lives, you experience no real sense of loss from the loss of any of them. They are too far removed in time to noticeably affect your life. However, your grandfather is a different story. He had much more of an effect on your life because of the proximity of his lifetime to yours. The loss of your grandfather had much more of an impact on you and who you are today…just as his character and life did.

    It seems to me like this type of reasoning is used by people precisely to belittle the Holocaust and other tragedies. It gives people a way to say “Oh! We’ve suffered just as much!” even when they have suffered nothing and have lived a life of privilege.

    The loss of those 11 million, including 1/3 of the Jews in the world (6 million of 18 million…there are roughly 6 million Jews in the US today)is palpable to the communities and families that have lost them. They have pictures, mementos, memories, family stories, etc. of these people and their lives. To even assume that is comparable to the death of faceless people 1,000 years ago is to completely belittle and negate the pain and loss experienced today by those who are still affected by the tragedy.

    Do you honestly realize how many people are walking around today without brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, cousins, etc. because of the Holocaust? Yet, you want to say your loss at something that happened over 1,000 years ago to people that may or may not have been kin to you but lived in the same area that your ancestors did (one you’ve probably never lived in yourself), or practiced a religion you’re trying to practice in modern times.. but you read it in a history book… Are you honestly trying to say that’s comparable to people who have lost family members?

    That completely lacks reason.

  32. Mike, look brother, I see where your coming from. The reason that your and others are affected by the Holocaust, is because we lived in an age of documentation. Without documentation of such tragedies (pictures, films, logs, records etc.) the feeling would be just as fresh, but not as emotional. These things affect everyone. In the time of pagans being killed, I was not specifically referring to the one incident. I was making a broad base statement to the affect of all deaths at the hands of people who are not tolerant of people of different faiths and cultures. I was never affected by tragedies like these. My family came over into the Jamestown settlement. We fought in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Those are the only things I can remotely claim as something I was affected by. And today, I harvest no hate for Britain, also when folks mention the Brits in the war, I don’t blow up. Nothing was belittled ever. A guy makes one refderance to “The Final Solution” and your going off. At this point, I guess your not going to see my point, and I’m not going to see yours. In any case were still brothers and I respectfully will agree to disagree wih you and (virtually) shake hands. Furthermore as always , the Internet makes this cable tow pretty long. If you ever need assistance, I’ll be around. Respectfully , John

  33. I find myself having to virtually gavel the 2 of you down. You are talking past each other. You are both right and Michael my Brother, no one with any shred of dignity would downplay the Holocaust. The Brother was merely making a point that the Jews are not the only people that have suffered. The crux of all of it is simple and very Jewish:

    Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a states:

    “FOR THIS REASON WAS MAN CREATED ALONE, TO TEACH THEE THAT WHOSOEVER DESTROYS A SINGLE SOUL… SCRIPTURE IMPUTES [GUILT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD DESTROYED A COMPLETE WORLD; AND WHOSOEVER PRESERVES A SINGLE SOUL…, SCRIPTURE ASCRIBES [MERIT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD PRESERVED A COMPLETE WORLD.”

    So one life matters period.

    Can we get back to the debate about the current day though. You know the tyrannical nonsense going on in Florida.

    By the way – yes, there are a number of Jewish Brothers wondering if they are next.

  34. I am seated. Sorry about all that. Yes back to Florida, I guess Arizona just passed this aweful mess as well, they are making men choose shrine or the lodge. They consider shrine attributing to clandestine masons.

  35. Nelson Rose says:

    Any Grand Lodge that forces Brothers to choose between Grand Lodge membership and Shrine membership does so at their own peril. Many men join Masonry just to join the Shrine. If the trend continues the the AASR may start conferring the first 3 degrees (which I wish they would do) and their would be little need for the Blie Lodges at that point.

  36. Duke, I am offended by your catagorizing all of us into one large offensive group. You know how to reach me. I won’t discuss this fuether on a public forum. Miss you and Corey in the kitchen.

  37. assist me to understand these things
    i am a member of the grand lodge of canada
    i sometimes make trips to the excitable staes e.g. florida arkansas texas and california
    i was the tyler who as instructed by a grand lodge officer admitted a delegation of prince hall masons to a G.L.C. lodge meeting for the purpose of a fraternal visit
    am i now forbidden to enter into communication of any stripe with any person who i may or may not initially know to be a prince hall mason on threat of being denied admiottantce to a lodge in those or other states
    as i was instrumental in returning the WW2 battle decorations, past masters jewellry and other masonic regalia as it was in the possession of the last child of a very black mason who had served as a commander in one of Canada’s regiments of heavy artillery during the battles of that war to the grand lodge of another province am I now liable to have my right to enter such lodges refused
    during my initial interview by the three wise men on being asked if i believe in the existence of . ……. ….. my response of no mortified one of them.having been clinically dead three times in my life has taught me that the concept of the same is merely a convenience for the church of rome true it is recognized a symbolic representation which as far as i was aware had coined the phrase i had on my own found the term Creator more approropraite for my personal use and that term is the base of my own philosophy of faith. it is after having attended several other mainstream religion’s services and one or two other native american religious ceremonies ( at this point of my post I strongly suggest if mebers of the subject grand lodge would allow themselves to consider doing so they may visit a lodge populated by members of a Seminole tribe, i risk offending some on both sides that if during or after such a visit the perception a revision of thinking may be for a while upsetting to thier philosophies but fairly balance should lead to a better understanding of what the gentle Craft is SUPPOSED to be about)that i had the opportunity recognize the term God can have many meanings one of which I suggest is think about what you would like to have done to you then ask yourself if you are prompt to execute the same when others seek beneifit in like manner of you.
    as for the gavel raps heard during the above posts i beleive they can only be seen and heard as a resounding sound not of censure but of request to ask for the writers to give a higher level of consideration to the words ( rough cut stone) they cast at each other as the world’s profane will read them in thier own frame of thought. heaven help the Craft should that occur.
    i invite further comment through this or private interchange. thank you my brothers, W.Bro > J. La Berge

  38. ‘On the Level’ your suggestions sound like P2′s tactics!!!

  39. James,
    Actually, referencing the Boston Tea Party, there was a lodge meeting at the Green Dragon Tavern in charlestown, the meeting went to recess, the tea was dumped into Boston harbor and the members of the lodge didn’t return to the meeting that night.

  40. Old Mason says:

    Written on the wall of a 400 year old Lodge in England (yes, 130 years before 1717) — “Check your tongue, your belly and your lust, the best thing is to enjoy someone else’s madness”.

    This all sounds like someone else’s madness to me.

  41. A mystery to be sure who all the Mohawks were. That at least some were Masons is without doubt.

    December 16th
    The evening of the famous Tea Party. The records of the St. Andrew Lodge show that only five members were present. A note says “Lodge closed on account of few members present.”

    All I’m saying is that The Sons Of Liberty were not a regular Masonic Lodge. Clandestine maybe but were talking about brothers Paul Revere, John Hancock, William Molineux and Joseph Warren instigating at the very most and participating at the very least something that literally had to be done.

    http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/history/boston_tea_party.html

  42. Q @ The Butcher's Block says:

    I’m going get my pound of flesh one way or another.

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