Let's Make a Difference

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    I just sent this email to numerous Freemasons, including sitting Grand Lodge Officers.

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    Brethren,

    I would like to share a little history about the website that I, along with Past Master Joey Moss, founded years ago. A couple of months after I was initiated back in 2008, I thought it would be wonderful to have a discussion forum for the numerous Lodges in our District, but unfortunately participation was virtually non-existent nor was I fully aware of the politics involved within Freemasonry. Mind you the Craft isn't flawed, we Masons are. That being said, I finally found a handful of Brethren who supported me in my endeavors and many of them have put their dues cards on the line and have lost them.

    I've witnessed first hand Brethren host BBQ's and other discussion forums, only to have their very comments printed out and submitted to Grand Lodge for the purpose of disciplinary action, even though they were made under the pretense that all comments made to remain between Brethren. So much for "being on the Square".

    Yet we push on.

    When it comes to recognizing our Prince Hall Brethren, I've received emails stating that if "you like ni**ers so much, join them". The last time I attended a "District 35 Breakfast Club" I heard "I wouldn't vote for a ni**er". That's not Masonry, which is why I haven't attended a breakfast since. If you hate "ni**ers", join the KKK and leave my beloved Craft. As I've said many times, we love to teach the work, but we're poor at implementing those important lessons that all Masons should follow.

    I've invited every Grand Master (past and present) to participate on this site, yet none have accepted, at least publicly. Ironically, when I was Master of my Lodge, my Past Grand Master was more than willing to shake my hand and be there for photo-ops. Yet we push on.

    I was asked by my current Grand Master to serve as DDGM. I received the papers, submitted them and weeks later I received a phone call stating that "a mistake was made, someone else had already been chosen". Yet we push on.

    Right Worshipful Secretary Tommy Guest once labeled us "Anti-Grand Lodge", but after he received my response to his comment, I was quickly issued an apology.

    Can we make a difference? Absolutely. If there's one issue that's dear to my heart, it would be extending visitation rights with my Prince Hall Brethren. I will not back down on this issue. It has occurred in many Jurisdictions with great success, although it's rare in the South. Let us, as Texas Masons, set an example. To those Grand Lodge Officers in line for the Grand East, do you want a year that actually means something? Do you want to break down a barrier that has lasted for hundreds of years or are you content on recommending resolutions that will leave little to no impact? Are you going to be a risk taker or one that is complacent with business as usual?

    To my Brethren who are members of the Prince Hall Grand Line, are you content with the business as usual mentality? Should we allow hundreds of years of mis-trust to interfere with recognition? There WILL be racists on both sides and we will endure times of trial, yet so have other Jurisdictions. If racism rears it's ugly head, that will give us ammo to address it. Would Brethren from both sides support a merger? Of course not as each of our respective Grand Lodges have a lineage dating back centuries.

    That being said, I want Freemasonry in Texas to fundamentally change as it would send a ripple effect throughout the South. I'm not just talking about our Jurisdiction, but numerous ones. If Texas made the change, I guarantee you that other Jurisdictions would follow. Here are some statistics from the little website P.M. Joey Moss and I founded back in 2008:

    www.masonsoftexas.com
    72,593 Posts
    5,873 Members

    The Official Masons of Texas Facebook:
    9,829 Likes

    Why would Brethren voluntarily fund a website, described by their Grand Secretary as "Anti-Grand Lodge" without hesitation, not to mention members of Prince Hall? I would presume that having their voices heard by thousands of fellow Brethren would give them the incentive to. As far as I am concerned, I don't need an official title or a Grand Lodge approval to get the message out. I hope that our respective Grand Lodge Officers will step up and make a difference.


    Blake L. Bowden

    - Past Master of Gonzales Masonic Lodge No. 30 A.F. & A.M.
    - Administrator of Gonzales Masonic Lodge No. 30 A.F. & A.M. Facebook Page
    - Administrator of Masons of Texas
    - Administrator of Masons of Texas Facebook Page
    - Administrator of Freemason Connect Facebook Page
    - Administrator of the Freemason Connect Android/Kindle/iOS Mobile Application
    - Co-Administrator of The Sanctum Sanctorum
     
  2. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Let's see what happens!
     
  3. John Schnitz

    John Schnitz Premium Member

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    Our Gracious God will have his hands upon this.

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  4. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Great letter Brother. I will continue to watch to see what happens. I know we haven't any problems in Oklahoma since visitation was enacted. As a matter of fact we have had some functions that were hosted by PHA Lodges and the main guests were GLoO Officers. Once WB Jim Tresner did a speaking event at one PHA Lodge that was attended by over 100 Masons both PHA and "mainstream". I think that when it does happen we will witness a lot of great things happening throughout your state.
     
  5. dwntwnsb

    dwntwnsb Registered User

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    What ever happened to the resolutions a few years ago where they were looking into this issue?
     
  6. Preston DuBose

    Preston DuBose Registered User

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    That's what I was wondering. Didn't GL receive a petition from PH for full visitation rights? Where do things stand? Is this still "stuck in a committee"?
     
  7. Ashlar76

    Ashlar76 Premium Member

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    Great work Brother. Inspiring letter!


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  8. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    I'm pretty sure it was reported at GL this year that GLoTX was ready to move forward, but that the PH GL had pulled the plug. But maybe someone that went can clarify?
    I know it go further complicated by the complaint from the GL of Ivory Coast though.
     
  9. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Got a kick out of this when i checked my email today. Very nice. Keep it up.
     
  10. NickGarner

    NickGarner Premium Member

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    I received the email as well and was duly inspired. Keep up the good work!
     
  11. Billy Jones

    Billy Jones Registered User

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    Now thats some good stuff!!!
     
  12. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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  13. Ashlar76

    Ashlar76 Premium Member

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    Yes it would Bro Blake. I seen that in another thread and feel the same way. Boy, it will be a GREAT day when we can post an article up about that happening in the great state of TX. A GREAT day indeed!


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  14. 6229 MAC

    6229 MAC Registered User

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    Any Fool can criticize, condemn and complain; but it takes character and self-control to be forgiving and understanding!
     
  15. NickGarner

    NickGarner Premium Member

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  16. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    This is just one of many positive responses I've received:

    "Brother Bowden, I say "Yeehaw! " I was raised in 2008 in a Prince Hall military lodge while serving my 15th year as an active duty Soldier in the Middle East. My father was raised locally at a Texas AF&AM lodge. We are told that the only way we are allowed to have Masonic conversation would be if I renounced my beloved lodge and turned back back on the brothers who have always been there. Then I must petition their lodge with guarantee that it would be accepted this leaving me as a traveller without a home. This is ridiculous."

    If visitation were permitted, it may open the door for Brethren who are members of the Grand Lodge of Texas to attend Lodge (PHA) while serving overseas.
     
  17. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Here are some of the responses I've received:

    The Bad
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    I've been told to join PHA if I love them so much
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    I was told by a Past Master "If you want to remain a Mason, my first suggestion is to simply keep your mouth SHUT! That is what many of the Grand Jurisdictions have done - it is a purposeful act of "no response".
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    The Good
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    "Well said Brother..."
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    "Thanx for the good read Bro!"
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    "Bro. Bowden, I 100% agree. As you may know from our past meeting years ago, I live a block away from a lodge that won't be named, but will not visit due to the last time I was there. I witnessed two qualified, upstanding and morally right, of lawful age freemen denied PETITIONS because they weren't the "right" color. They never even got a chance to be balloted and I walked out the door.
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    "Brother, amazing email. I agree with you 100%. I was also raised in 2008. Maybe we are the new breed that can change the old ways."
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    "Brother Bowden would you mind if I pass this along to some of the guys from my lodge I think that they would not only like your article but also appreciate the changes that need to be made in our beloved craft."
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    "It's a long road Blake. Several years ago I was involved with a Masonic website in Indiana. We had a grand master who should never have ever been a gl officer. This man had spies read everything on the discussion forum and several members were suspended for their opinions. It got so bad Chris Hodapp got suspended defending these Brethren. The next Grand master restored these men but for several their love of Freemasonry was gone. The website was ordered shut down and we lost a really great resource. The. Incident drove us underground with a secret invitation only website. This website grew into the group "the Knights of the north" and eventually the Masonic Society."
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    "Very well stated Bro Blake. I continue my support for your efforts AND your vision."
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    "Greetings Bro Bowden, I have been a member of your MOT site for a while and I must admit I love the fellowship of the craft far and wide. Once I read your email at first I had a long drawn out reply to what was said however now I feel that my reply would be better greeted if I just say. Thank you this is well thought out, and I truly feel the love from one of the principle tenets of Masonry. I too, hope that in the state of Texas we can come to a stop of all the racism on both sides of the fence. Personally I'm not one of those whom are racist, I'm prejudice I dislike stupidity passionately and with that all ethnic backgrounds are covered. (Lol) I with your approval will pass this email on to some like minded Prince Hall brothers that I know who in return may have the same feelings. Once again thank you."
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    "Brother Bowden, I am honored to have been sent this message. I stand with you in your efforts to unit our craft with those of Prince Hall Masonry. I have many friends whom I grew up in class as well as sports who belong to F&AM. We consider ourselves brothers to the marrow. We have often discussed that when it's our time in the east to implement a bridge of fellowship between our lodges. I'd love to help you in any way."
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    "Brother Bowden,I say "Yeehaw! " I was raised in 2008 in a Prince Hall military lodge while serving my 15th year as an active duty Soldier in the Middle East. My father was raised locally at a Texas AF&AM lodge. We are told that the only way we are allowed to have Masonic conversation would be if I renounced my beloved lodge and turned back back on the brothers who have always been there. Then I must petitiin their lodge with guarantee that it would be accepted this leaving me as a traveller without a home. This is ridiculous."
    --
    "Thank you for your honestly Blake. Sometimes I get sick by the hypocrisy of brothers following the craft. It's almost as hypocritical as some of my fellow Christians can be."
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    "Thank you Brother for all your work. When your doing something, those that choose to do nothing will be your greatest critics."
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    "Right on WBr. More power to you! If I can ever do anything for you just ask. It's a rough and rugged road."
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    "Thank u brother I'm in full support of visitation and recognition that was a great letter my lodge was one that had a few brother come over to us pride of the south 324."
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    "Well said brother. Would love to meet you one day if I ever get out your way or if you swing by San Antonio."
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    "Brother, this message is much needed & may our brethren be inclined to adhere. My Grandmaster has always said to me, "a Lodge can not be torn down from the outside. It is done internally. " Thus is the case with masonry as a whole. Thanks Bro. Bowden. May TGAOTU reward you most handsomely."
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    ""Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies." -Robert Kennedy. One of my favorite quotes because it is a universal truth."
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    "Great message"
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    "You mentioned that the Craft is not flawed, but we Masons are. Too true. We are all Brothers and it is our obligation to offer what guidance and instruction we can. But the institution, more specifically The Grand Lodge of Texas, has demonstrated an astonishing willingness to tolerate, and at times even to further, attitudes that have no place at all in our Fraternity. Now that I've finished venting, Blake, please let me say that I have always been impressed with the Masons of Texas forum, both technically and Masonically. You and those who assist, have done a first rate job in providing an on-line platform for Masons (from all jurisdictions) to gather and share thoughts and concerns. I applaud your diligence, here and with "the system", in your pursuit to bring about some badly needed changes. Do keep up the good work, Brother."
    --
    "Nicely written my brother! It is really sad that there are still a few bigots in our fraternity who have never put to heart the teachings in Masonry. Probably they were dozing off during the first degree lecture that they missed the explanation of what brotherly love is."
    --

    As you can see, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive.
     
  18. Michael Neumann

    Michael Neumann Premium Member

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    This is the very issue the WM that raised me suffers from. Joint visitation would greatly enhance our Masonic experience.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  19. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

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    Blake, if something adversely affects your membership in the GLoTX because of your decision to speak for what is RIGHT AND MASONIC, no worries, Brother..............at that point, the Brotherhood at large should be made aware, and THAT Brother who made that cease and desist order to you can have his Office or position made available for replacement because of the VOTE........I hope we can get this foolishness resolved Masonically, while preserving harmony in the Brotherhood........however, sometimes, the beehive has to be disturbed in order to remove the DRONES.....................VINCE
     

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