Masonic Anti-Intellectualism A Crying Shame

Discussion in 'Masonic Blogs' started by Squire Bentley, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Squire Bentley

    Squire Bentley Premium Member

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    Raymond Walters and Chaz like this.
  2. Raymond Walters

    Raymond Walters Premium Member

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    your recent article caught my attention...

    I have experienced and commented on Masonic hypocrisy for 20+ years, and have consistently been painted as the bad guy for the improper conduct of others, such as this Mason experienced as well.
     
  3. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    I think there are a few different aspects at work here.

    1) True anti-intellectualism
    2) True bigotry
    3) A young, impatient man
    4) A potentially biased man

    To be fair, none of us know his FULL story, nor can we, but judging based solely off of what he is written, I see two gripes. First, that he was seeking the mysteries and deeper meaning and it was just a social club, and second, that while people claimed to open-minded, they truly were not.

    Regarding him seeking deeper meaning...I call BS. He was initiated in January 2016, and by the time he demitted (and we don't know when that was, but it had to be prior to November 2018) he had received all 3 blue lodge degrees, 29 additional SR degrees, about half of the YR degrees, and had become a Shriner. That's like a man sprinting from one end of the library to the other and then complaining that he didn't learn anything from all the books he just ran past.
    Now, that's not to say that there isn't an air of anti-intellectualism in some circles of Freemasonry, but if you won't slow down to actually digest what you've already been given, then I don't want to hear the complaints.

    In terms of bigotry, the examples that he gave are regarding the posting of anti-immigration and anti-Islamic material on social media. I don't know exactly what the posts were, but particularly in terms of the immigration matter, it is possible to have different opinions on these political matters that are based on factors other than bigotry. Was he viewing differing opinions objectively, or just reacting defensively?
    Again, that's not to say that there aren't bigots and outright racists in Masonry; I've seen it first hand. But I've also seen men declare things as unMasonic the second it differs from their own opinions regarding how a person should act.

    In short, I feel the topics being brought up are legitimate, but the claims of this individual do cause me to scratch my head a bit.
     
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  4. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    Analogies are usually suspect but I think yours is spot on, brother.
     
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  5. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Now this is going to be taken wrong but this is my personal opinion.

    The reaction of hanzosbm is typical of the reaction that many white people give when a ethnic minority makes a complaint. The gentleman made a complaint that stated his reason for leaving the craft and it was broken down, questioned, and quietly joked about.

    The fact that he joined other rites was not the issue. The issue was that once he joined he found that nothing was talked about other than basic business. This problem has been the cause of membership decline. We are asked what we are in search of and the answer is given but once raised we find out that the training slows to a trickle or stops. The WM, who is supposed to give a block of instruction either doesn't do it or talks about something in the constitution. Many of the WM's don't take the time to learn more about the lessons inculcated in the several degrees. The situation that he explained has happened to me many times and it's caused a lot of issues because I can discuss bills and eat with my wife but I joined because I was promised training in the mysteries that would help me to improve myself. I had to be talked into staying many times because of frustration that I felt. Tell me, how long should he have waited? Nothing was being explained at the meeting. After awhile you start to lose faith in the organization that promised to show you how to better yourself. There was a Short Talk Bulletin written about the esoteric meaning of the cabletow. The lodge didn't uphold their side of the contract.

    Now, many will ask what does this have to do with white people. Since the Reagan presidency, many so called conservatives have used your tactic to downplay the complaints of others. They have been called bleeding liberals, left leaning socialist and other things. The brother in the article was Islamic and was never really accepted. I know that we are all men but we promised to be accepting of all people. I have seen overt bigotry between black and white brothers get out of hand. I imagine that his treatment was worse considering the current social climate. Many times we emulate Cain instead of HAB. We should not look for reasons to question the decision of a worthy brother but should look into the matter and resolve it.

    That young man is part of the future of our craft. Our demographic is getting older because the young men are not being given even the most basic guidance on how to search for the answers that they were promised. That 24 inch guage could be used for other things if all the craft is going to do is talk about business.

    To quote Lincoln, "A house divided can not stand". Once inside masonry all are supposed to be equal. This doesn't happen.

    More will join, more will leave. Eventually the foundation cracks and the house falls. Do you want to be a part of the last generation of the craft? The law of diminishing returns states that at some point we reach that level where the decline can't be stopped. We are getting closer to that point.

    Brother David Hill
     
  6. LK600

    LK600 Premium Member

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    I'm not sure I am qualified to know whats typical of many white people, nor many Black people, nor any other race. I don't personally like generalizations based on skin tone.

    I agree with this all day and twice on Tuesday. This is so common among Lodges regardless of branch.

    Honestly, I believe the number of Brother's capable of entering into these conversations to convey the forms of desired information has dangerously decreased.

    After awhile, you realize they are not equipped to entertain aspects they either promised or eluded to, at which point the individual needs to make a choice. But the point is valid, and existing Brother's need to decide who we are and make those changes required.

    Sorry, I'm much more akin to light beige than white, and being thus, it does not pertain to me. ;)

    I completely agree again, and would add not only (about to generalize) do we not provide answers, we don't even entertain the questions. Mostly... we exist to pay bills, and it should be the other way around. I've decided what level of Masonic existence I want, and will move forward in that direction until I make a dent or get kicked out.
     
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  7. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Brother LK600, you have earned my respect. The "light beige" comment had me rolling. You have shown that you can have levity in a conversation without being mean or condescending. I have a gift for you and I love your website.
     
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  8. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    What makes you think I'm white?
    And I think it might be wise to avoid stereotyping and making generalizations about our brothers based on the color of their skin.

    Naturally, you're free to disagree with my assessment, in fact, I encourage it. But let's look back at what the brother actually said. He cited racism and bigotry as reasons for leaving, and perhaps he simply decided to omit examples as unnecessary (and I'm not saying otherwise).
    What I was referring to was the only time he DID give an example:

    "I was also discouraged as I saw the brethren who would smile in my faces but would later post Anti-Islamic and Anti-Immigrant posts on their social medias."

    This is what I was talking about. He says that he perceived racism based on the social media posts of Masons that contained what he believes to be anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant posts.
    Living in San Diego based on what is currently happening in the news, I can assure you that there are a great number of views on immigration. And while there might be some who based their opinions on race, immigration is a far more complex issue than that. My point was that someone can have an anti-immigration viewpoint without being racist.
    Regarding the anti-Islamic posts, I didn't see them, so I couldn't say. And that is why I specifically pointed out that true bigotry WAS a factor.

    I have outlined my points concerning this man's rapid movement throughout Masonry without bothering to slow down and learn the lessons he was taught, yet he still complains and claims he is a victim of anti-intellectualism. This is what has caused me to call into question whether his other complaints were entirely legitimate, or if they too were following his pattern of biased viewpoints based on perceived slights.

    I don't know the answer to that question, and I stated as much in my original post, but that's not going to prevent me from raising the question.
     
  9. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Race has a lot to do with it. That border has been there since America was taken over by Europeans. If you are not Native American then you are a immigrant. We can go back to the Cointelpro situation of the 60's and 70's regarding the early Civil Rights movement. To the 50's and the Communist under McCarthy. The Japanese during the 30's and 40's. These are just a few examples of racism. I would ask you to walk in our shoes for awhile. An inniocwnt man was killed in Alabama because he had a gun and a light beige. Afterwards the Police department went ooops!! But the man is still dead. Same in Dallas and in St. Paul but that one was my cousin and he had a concealed carry license. We have open carry in Texas but I would not dare to carry my legally purchased weapon.No one has an issue with those immigrants when they are picking or cooking their food. Check out this website to see what their lives many time become once they get here (https://www.zonta.org/). Or this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Codes_(United_States)
    or this: https://www.thirteen.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_people_wells.html.

    So if you didn't see them then they must be lying? Using that logic, why should anyone believe anyone? And who's truth is correct. The problem is that no one in the lodge was teaching. Maybe they do in your lodge but that is quickly becoming the exception. In my first two years I went through the YR and SR and learned more on my own then has been taught in any house. I should have been taught by those principle officers but I ended up knowing more that them because I have 2200 books on masonry that I reference often and I love History. Don't say he went too fast. Say that he was failed by his lodge.
     
  10. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    Well brother, you seem to have some very strong opinions about who I am and what I think and what my background is.
    Since you have come to these opinions without having ever met me and knowing nothing about me, I don't anticipate that anything I say will change your opinion.
    With that said, I'll virtually shake hands and part ways.
     
  11. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Now you know how I and many have felt for a long time. It doesn't feel too good, doesn't it. ***Virtual Handshake****

    Brother David Hill
     
  12. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    There are failings here on both sides-
    Racial generalisations... well that’s another thing isn’t it- I’m fortunate to be in a very multicultural lodge and I work on the assumption that meeting on the level means putting aside the divisions of the outside world beyond those specifically mentioned, once you start pulling the worlds woes into the lodge you are disrupting the harmony of the lodge and should retire.
     
  13. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    You are correct about generalization. Unfortunately I have seen the worst in people who are supposed to be using that gavel. We have become an organization of polarized extremest, brothers spouting extreme opinions on the issues of the day. Many have forgotten what they promised their Supreme Being what they would do. There's a reason why we are supposed to use the VSL of the candidate but many do not know the reason. This problem is occurring in both PH & MS and has helped create brothers who pretend to be improving themselves during the meeting but will go back to their old lifestyle on the way out of the lodge.

    Our government has made it clear that it is acceptable to have extreme opinions but we are supposed to be peaceful citizens.

    To close, I will say "Brothers, remember your oath" or you may get to the pearly gates and get a rude welcome. It's not good to lie with your hands on the VSL. That's called blasphemy.

    Brother David Hill
     
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  14. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    With all due respect Brother, but your posts have made the same generalizations based on skin tone that you have called out in others. You can't have it both ways with calling out such behavior while you do the same. But you are correct that we all should be rising above it and we absolutely should call out any racist behavior we encounter in the Craft and excise it from the organization. I know this becomes difficult in some jurisdictions where it seems the discrimination is institutionalized and sanctioned by the GL. It baffles me how we have jurisdictions that don't recognized some PHA still. I get it, Brothers of color have been given the shit end of the stick for a long time and we need to work hard to make sure that does not continue. But your posts make it obvious you have a political ax to grind as well and I can't help but wonder if that colors your opinion. And let's be honest, they are all politicians acting like politicians do. None of them are saints!

    I have cheerfully sat in many lodges in different jurisdictions for decades with many men from many diverse backgrounds, faiths, ethnicity, and political leanings. And I do not believe the racism is as widespread as some would make it out to be. We are all working to overcome our own personal prejudices and the vast majority of the Brothers I have come into contact with admirably work to apply the tools they have been given as MM to smooth their own personal ashlars. Though I understand if your local Masonry behaves in such a reprehensible manner how it can seem like the a larger proportion of the Order is rotten and even to assume that even more behaves that way. But if we see racism everywhere, it becomes easy to justify our own racism as a push back. To quote Nietzsche, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” I'm not saying you are wrong in your views Brother Hill, I understand them and I am just as frustrated and let down as you when I see someone who claims to be a Brother behaving poorly.
     
  15. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    But I didn't. I have lived and witnessed everything that I have said. I am 61 and my soul has been stained by those experiences.

    You confirmed one of the biggest issues when you stated that you didn't believe that racism was widespread. I wish you could walk in my shoes for one day. You would quickly find out that it has gotten worse.

    You say that you sit in a diverse lodge. How many times do those diverse people visit each other at home?

    Brother David Hill
     
  16. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    I am sorry that your life experience has contained so much racism brother. And I understand how it has jaded you and wouldn't try to invalidate your pain. All I can offer is that there are still good men out there and there is hope for the Craft. We have to believe that and strive to make it real every day. Otherwise, what is the point.

    As to socializing outside of Lodge, yes. On a regular basis. But I know many areas as well where the only interaction is on Lodge nights, so I know what you are talking about.
     
    Bro. David F. Hill likes this.
  17. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Winter, we have met upon the level and parted upon the square. SMIB.

    Brother David Hill
     
  18. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    My mentor is a sikh, I’m a white boy and my charge is from Ghana it’s a beautiful thing- in the outside world I never would met these guys, sounds like it’s still a big problem in your jurisdiction Bro Hill-
    Here in my jurisdiction it just doesn’t seem to be an issue and the world is bigger than the USA.
    Take action and bring them up on charges.
     
  19. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Yes. I live in Texas.

    Brother David Hill
     
  20. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Yeah-
    I’ve never been to Texas and I don’t think I will either but my impression is that its not really the world leader in acceptance.
     

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