GL of Louisiana withdraws recognition of GEKT

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by texanmason, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Agreed!
     
  2. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    What I expected to happen -

    GL announces expulsion. KT announces suspension until the copy of the paperwork arrives. Certified copy of paperwork arrives. KT announces expulsion.

    I am puzzled why the suspension step did not happen. I think (hope?) pulling recognition was a direct result of this expected step being skipped.

    I am also puzzled why the current MW GM was so impatient. Patience is the first lesson taught to us before we ever set foot in lodge.

    I am further puzzled why a man so heavily vetted by our fraternity would engage in a personal feud of this sort. While there must be more to that story, I have gratitude that I am not aware of the rest of that story. It must be the sort of story that once I hear it I would want to undergo several types of ritual cleansing to try to get away from its stink.
     
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  3. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    To borrow from Pogo: We have met the enemy, and he is us.
     
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  4. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    If you read the document linked near the beginning of the thread it shows a big mess in the GL of Louisiana. The subject of this series of events was not the only PGM expelled and many revisions were made to the by-laws of the GL, specifying things a GM can't do alone as they require a vote of the GL.

    I am also "in the dark" so to speak, of what the actions were that caused these reactions, and wish to remain so.
     
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  5. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    This is the problem we have created, or at least inherited, with our system. Everyone wants to be sovereign, but everyone wants to stick their thumb in the other guy's pie.

    I know of a situation where a man had plural memberships in two different states; he did something that was completely legal but against the Masonic code in State 1; he got expelled; State 2 said that's ignorant and didn't expel him because it was perfectly legal and not against their state code; a big peeing contest ensued. When the heads of bodies want to measure whose is bigger, it's the membership that suffers because the rank and file doesn't know what to do.
     
  6. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Hopefully.
    Lol!
    I believe that this, or a similar situation, occurred between the Grand Lodge of my home state, WV, and the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
     
  7. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    Not sure about other jurisdictions but in PA we are bound to not only follow the Constitution, rules, edicts and by-laws of our GL and Lodge, but those of any Masonic Jurisdiction we find ourselves working under.

    In the above case if a PA MM did something against the rules of his "secondary" GL, he automatically violated the rules of the GLof PA, regardless if that action would not have resulted in discipline in PA.
     
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  8. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    I could do that through visiting PHA lodges.

    I'm an Illinois member and Illinois recognizes all PHA jurisdictions that have local recognition. It's called blanket recognition. I have no idea which PHA states return that recognition but presenting myself with my Illinois dues card I would find out.

    I'm a California member and California invites mutual recognition to PHA jurisdictions that have local recognition. But California is not careful about inviting them all. The last time I read the list two were missing, Delaware and New Hampshire. Now that Florida recognized maybe the ones that fell through the cracks will be remembered. I've bugged the Grand Sec office CC some grand line officers about Delaware and New Hampshire each year.

    I'm a Texas member and I can't even find a Texas recognition list. All I know for sure is we have local visitation, no longer with extra paperwork. Technically if I visit PHA somewhere I may well violate Texas rules and not even be able to figure that fact out. To be blunt, the fact that Texas does not publish a list tells me I should not care any more than they do.

    I could travel to Delaware and visit a PHA lodge there presenting only my Illinois dues card. Doing so would violate the California list. Maybe also the obscured Texas list.
     
  9. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Interesting!
     
  10. texanmason

    texanmason Registered User

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  11. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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  12. texanmason

    texanmason Registered User

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    For anyone who needs the text, but can't access Facebook, here you go. Please forgive any OCR-related errors.


    TO: GRAND OFFICERS, PAST GRAND COMMANDERS, CONSTITUENT COMMANDERY COMMANDERS AND RECORDERS

    My brothers and fraters:

    In light of our Most Worshipful Grand Master's Edict 2018-2, I wanted to bring you up to speed on what has transpired recently between the Grand Lodge of Louisiana and the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA and what it means for the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Louisiana.

    As you know, a prominent Sir Knight holding office in the Grand Encampment was suspended in 2017 but subsequently reinstated by the Grand Lodge delegates with a reprimand. He was again suspended in 2018 and was subsequently expelled by the Grand Lodge delegates earlier this summer. Despite the Grand Lodge's action, the Grand Encampment refused to recognize that the Sir Knight in question was expelled, to remove his status as a knight Templar, or to remove him from Grand Encampment office.

    Since that Grand Lodge session, I have worked with others to mediate the issue of that expelled knight's status as a Knight Templar. Shortly after the Grand Lodge session, our Grand Lodge sent a letter to the Grand Encampment informing them of the Sir Knight's expulsion. The Grand Encampment did not reply. Several weeks ago, I spoke by telephone to the then Grand Master of the Grand Encampment, Duane Vaught, explaining the situation with the expelled Sir Knight and suggesting that he respond to the Grand Lodge's correspondence. Again, no reply was received by our Grand Lodge. Before the Grand Encampment's triennial conclave, the Grand Lodge sent yet another letter to the Grand Encampment explaining the seriousness of this situation and that our Grand Master Martin Reinschmidt was contemplating withdrawing recognition of the Grand Encampment. No reply was received. The Triennial Conclave of Grand Encampment went forward, where the knight in question was recognized as a Sir Knight and an officer of the Grand Encampment and given full honors as said officer and even seated as the Right Eminent Grand Warder of the Grand Encampment.

    Against this backdrop, Grand Master Reinschmidt issued his edict derecognizing the Grand Encampment.

    Finally, several days AFTER leaving office, former Grand Master of the Grand Encampment Vaught responded to the Grand Lodge, claiming he was too busy to respond earlier, purporting to remove me from office as Grand Commander, and claiming to have recognized the expulsion of the Sir Knight in question, despite having seated him as an officer in the Grand Encampment Triennial.

    Needless to say his letter was too little, too late.

    First, in my judgment our Grand Master Reinschmidt was perfectly justified in taking this action. Templary, just like all appendant bodies, operates in Louisiana at the pleasure of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. We must always remember that the Grand Lodge is supreme in all things Masonic and we owe Masonic allegiance to it first and foremost If the Grand Lodge determines that a brother should no longer be a brother, then that decision applies to all of masonry, whether it be blue lodge or appendant body.

    Second, as to Sir Knight Vaught's accusations and letter, I am saddened at the vindictiveness of Sir Knight Vuaght. He had a chance to sooth troubled waters but instead chose to pour gasoline onto a fire.

    Sir Knight Vaught claimed that he was entirely too busy to respond to Grand Master Reinschmidt's letter of AUgust, 15, 2018. Yet, he failed to mention that the Grand Lodge sent a letter on July 11, 2018 to the Grand Encampment, informing the Grand Encampment that the knight in question had been expelled. Neither Sir Knight Vaught nor anyone acting on his behalf responded until the latter part of August.

    Sir Knight Vaught took issue with the fact that I did not order a trial to commence against the Sir Knight in question in his local COmmandery. First of all, Grand Encampment law provides that, "If a Commander within whose jurisdiction an offense is committed shall refuse or neglect for thirty (30) days to proceed against the offender, and the offender is a member of such Commandery, the Grand Commander may order such Commandery to proceed." (Emphasis supplied. See Section 8 of Disciplinary Rules) There was simply no requirement that I mandate such a trial to proceed.

    Further, a careful reading of Section 83 and Section 97(c) of the Grand Encampment Disciplinary Rules reveals that it is indeed the province of the Grand Encampment to arraign and try elective or appointive officers of the Grand Encampment for unknightly offenses, as is the case here. In other words, since the Sir Knight in question was an officer of the Grand Encampment at the time of the conduct, the Grand Encampment has exclusive jurisdiction to try the Sir Knight in question, not his local Commander and not the Grand Commandery. To that end, the Grand Lodge of Louisiana notified the Grand Encampment by letter dated July 11, 2018 that their officer had been expelled. Yet the Grand Encampment took no action.

    Sir Knight Vaught also vaguely accused me of somehow being untruthful to him and to our Grand Master. Such accusations are baseless and, considering that Sir Knight Vaught failed to make any specific accusations, merit no answer. I can assure you that I and all Louisiana officials involved in this matter have been forthright and truthful in all of our dealings with the Grand Encampment.

    I find it ironic that Sir Knight Vaught would not remove from office one of his own officers who had been expelled by his Grand Lodge without a constituent Commandery trial, but would purport to remove me from office on such unstable grounds with no trial whatsoever.

    In summary, according to Sir Knight Vaught, the current division is all the fault of the Grand Commandery of Louisiana. Sir Knight Vaught's letter to Grand Master Reinschmidt attempted to shift blame to anyone but himself and was truly a regrettable display of leadership.

    Finally, no matter our relationship with the Grand Encampment, we will continue to knight our brothers, continue to enjoy each other's knightly fellowship, and continue to spread the virtues of knighthood throughout Louisiana. As you know, in just a few short months we have developed a website, social media presence, created an award to reimburse Commanderies for expenses made for patriotic activities, and created an endowment to fund pilgrimages to the Holy Land along with an accompany jewel. Our relationship with the Grand Encampment will not impede the progress we are making.

    As to whom the officers of this Grand Commandery are, I have been informed by our Grand Master Reinschmidt that, since Louisiana does not recognize the authority of the Grand Encampment at this time, Sir Knight Vaught's attempted removal of me from office is null and without effect. Thus, your officers continue to be the ones elected to serve you at our most recent Grand Conclave.

    As the youngest Grand Commander in the nation, I am proud to serve and represent the valiant Sir Knights of Louisiana. I look forward to seeing each of you at your inspections and to working with you to grow Templary in the Great State of Louisiana. Faithfully, I am

    Your obedient servant,

    J. KEITH GATES

    Grand Commander
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  13. texanmason

    texanmason Registered User

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    Perhaps, but I'd say he's got just as much of a right as anyone to defend himself, and it seems like there's even more light being shed on this issue.

    Obviously, we have to take a grain of salt with everything, but between MEPGM Vaught trying to throw people under the bus, his refusal to remove an expelled Mason from office (regardless of expelling him from KT or not), this additional letter, and from talking to folks that were present at the Triennial, I can't say that GEKT looks particularly good right now.
     
  14. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    I fully agree with his right to defend himself. But at some point someone has to be the bigger man, and stop fighting via correspondence. I think this continuations makes them both look stupid and unmasonic, no matter who started it. The case seems to no longer be about what or who is right, but instead just pointing fingers and assigning blame.
     
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  15. texanmason

    texanmason Registered User

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    To be fair, he's jumping in fresh, not continuing. Maybe that's just as bad, but now that we have a statement from the MWGM, the MEPGM, and the REGC, the story is becoming more and more clear. To me, it seems increasingly more likely that the MEPGM is in the wrong here.
     
  16. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    .....and so it continues.
     
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  17. texanmason

    texanmason Registered User

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    At this point, I'm wondering who else will jump in. Maybe even du Treil himself?
     
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  18. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    That doesn't stop others involved from being also wrong to various degrees. At vary best all involved are setting poor examples.
     
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  19. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Agreed!!!
     
  20. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    The following is from the Dummies link and is not completely accurate. That casts credibility on the entire explanation. Personally, I am confused as to what this is all about. "A similar impasse occurred many years ago in Arkansas when the Shrine failed to honor an Arkansas Mason's expulsion in that jurisdiction. The result of that action was that the Shrine to this day is no longer affiliated with or recognized by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, and Masons in that state are not permitted to be Shriners."
    The example of Shrines is inaccurate because Shrine has never been an appendant body of Masonry. It is an independant organization based on Masonic principals that (formerly in Arkansas) operated "in amity" with Freemasonry. The original case in question, Shrine did expel the individual in question even though he had been cleared of all charges by both Grand Lodge and Shrine. Another error, Masons living in Arkansas can belong to the Shrine but they cannot be members of an Arkansas Lodge. I live in Arkansas, my Lodge is in Missouri and my Shrine center is in Arkansas.
     
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