No Holds Barred Forum

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by LukeD, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    What are the chances of getting a no holds barred forum much like the one on TSS site? It seems every time discussions arise concerning race, PHA, coed masonry, religion, etc....it gets locked. I understand not everyone desires to be apart of such discussions, but often times people get real answers to difficult questions, or maybe realize they were wrong concerning a matter, and now have the right information. If someone wishes to avoid these discussions, they simply avoid the specific forum. Just a thought.
     
  2. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    I hate the No Holds Barred section at TSS....I have had about 10 guys quite the forum after starting threads in the forum and then getting mad LOL....so beware when you do start the forum here
     
  3. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    It was just a thought. I'm not starting it, I was just seeing if it was a good idea. If it causes people to quit, then it's probably not worth it.
     
  4. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    What is weird is that the people that quit are the ones that start the threads....its a headache...but, it can be a good tool as well.

    It went like wild fire when we first started it, then it slowed to a crawl. About once a year it gets busy these days.
     
  5. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi All.

    I've never been on TSS, but I've seen some unmoderated or inadequately-moderated discussion in other places.

    I don't think that's weird, I reckon it's pretty understandable. Think through the psychology: a guy starts a thread with a particular view or question which he wants to discuss; then various people comment, usually including some abusive opinionated bigots; lots of people get dumped on for disagreeing, but the natural focus is often likely to be the guy who started it, the OP; so the OP is the most likely person to get offended and quit.

    I think a no-holds-barred forum is a mistake on a masonic site, it's an open invitation to unmasonic behaviour. It's all very well saying "avoid that forum", but even quite sensible people get drawn in by important subjects on which they have serious opinions, and by fools spreading ill-informed drivel which desperately needs challenging for the greater good of the fraternity.

    The reality is that a great many Masons have profoundly incompatible opinions on a great many subjects, but we shouldn't be encouraging one another to get into a furious row about such things, we should be promoting fraternal harmony. Therefore I reckon every forum operating in a masonic context ought to be closely moderated as a matter of principle. That doesn't stop controversial subjects being soberly discussed, but it keeps vehement expression within due bounds.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  6. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    I agree that maybe it is an invitation to disaster, but I also feel like a lot of good information is not disseminated to people who are taught the wrong thing, or have an incorrect interpretation on a subject. You hope someone is mature enough to handle constructive criticism, and open to other opinions. A great deal of masonry is teaching us patience and tolerance of others and their ideals/beliefs.
     
  7. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Luke.

    I agree!

    However, where good information has not been disseminated or where something is being misinterpreted, why can this not be discussed politely in a well-moderated forum? I have seen plenty of examples of that right here on MoT. Why do we need a no-holds-barred area?

    I do agree that one would hope a Brother can handle constructive criticism, but sadly it isn't always so. One would also hope that criticism would indeed be constructive, rather than schoolyard name-calling or supercilious put-downs, but sadly that isn't always so either, and especially not when the subject is a sensitive one over which people get heated. As Masons we have ideals, but as humans we have failings.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  8. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Here is why......

    On August 11, 2011 I sent this letter to the GLoTX, AF&AM informing them I was withdrawing my membership. I sent it via mail and email and have confirmation.

    View attachment Membership Withdrawl.pdf


    Today I got home and this was in the mail. The charges that are named are by a what was a good friend of mine whom I met on this forum. The "correspondence" that is referred to is a discussion on a forum much like this one but is by invite only. Keep in mind the MAFIA they speak of is a reference to a what started out as a Degree team and was given to us when we showed up to a degree dressed in all BLACK and was told by a Past Master "You guys look like the MAFIA". It became a Lodge officer group and so forth but is blow WAY out of proportion.

    View attachment Charges.pdf

    As you can see, this was in a "secret" forum that was by invite only, not to mention communicated as such, and this "BROTHER", Ashton Lawson, who has posted many questionable things on this forum, took it upon himself to print EVERY post on the secret forum, turn them over to the GLoTX, and then 6 months later file charges. So why can't NO HOLDS BARRED discussion happen on forums? Because people like this "BROTHER" can't help but run and taddle so that in 2 years they can be DDGM.

    What I hope is that those that had charges filed but have been PHA Mason's for some several months doesn't give the GLoTX an excuse not to recognize the PHGLoTX which is what this is looking like. Otherwise why else would the GLoTX allow charges to be filed on non members? I was told that just because you send a letter it does not remove your membership, kinda makes the FREE WILL part go out the window.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
  9. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    And to be fair, since I've been here, even before I was a mod, I don't know that I've ever seen a thread closed because of the thread's subject matter. (Assuming it wasn't spam, etc.) Threads tend to be closed for one of the following reasons:

    - The thread is very old, and a fresh conversation should be started.
    - The initial poster had his question answered, and the thread had served it's purpose.
    - The rhetoric in the thread became too heated/vulgar, and a civil conversation was lost.

    It's true that some subjects tend to cause the third point to come into play, however, it isn't the subject that causes the thread to be closed, but rather the manner in which the discussion itself unfolds.

    For whatever my opinion is worth, a "no holds barred" unmoderated forum, which it may sound like a good idea on the surface, I think would prove to be divisive in our online community. The anonymity of the internet gives people the guts to be less than Masonic in their dealings. We don't (in this individual's opinion) need to encourage that.
     
  10. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    pm me what threads you mean. they might not have gotten locked because of the topic, but for other reasons.
     
  11. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Owls.

    Your letter was perhaps a little less moderate in tone and a little more specific in detail than actually necessary. Surely "I hereby resign" would have sufficed? Vigourous denunciation is gratifying when angry, but isn't the way to exit peacefully.

    Nevertheless, from this and what you've explained previously in this forum, I understand why you found it necessary to resign from GLoTX. A sad situation, but you must do what is right for you.

    One of life's sad lessons: he who is your friend today may not be your friend tomorrow. Obviously this reality is contrary to the masonic aspiration to lifelong brotherhood, but in a human world we do not always succeed in our worthy aspirations.

    This is not the first time I've seen an instance of a harmless joke later being distorted after a falling-out, and being held against someone to their severe detriment. It's a nasty tactic, but regrettably common by those who seek to blacken another's character ... and surely it's unmasonic conduct?

    I understand that your MM Ob is approximately similar to my own. Does it not contain a passage promising to keep a Brother's lawful secrets? Even if the specific conduct of which Bro. Lawson complained might be considered to be (masonically) unlawful, all the rest of the contents are still some Brother's lawful secret. Surely disclosing this (even to your own GL) is breach of Ob?

    Perhaps you should bring counter-charges for this breach. If GLoTX considers you still within their disciplinary jurisdiction even though you've resigned (which might still be technically true, if you haven't yet affiliated elsewhere), then surely you also still have standing to bring charges within that jurisdiction? Of course I'm no expert on the rules in your State, but it'd seem to me wholly unreasonable otherwise.

    Of course that's "not meant to happen" ... but it's a fine illustration that such things nevertheless do happen.

    I believe the general masonic jurisprudence is that if a Brother is currently unattached, i.e. not a current member anywhere, then he remains under the jurisdiction of the last GL in which he was a member.

    In the case of a Brother now affiliated to a new jurisdiction, then I understand that the general protocol is that a former jurisdiction with a complaint ought to refer the case to the new jurisdiction for action, although I think there are some complex exceptions to that and I'd have to go look it up. But anyway, that's only a general presumption and may not be your local rule, about which you surely know much more than I do. I know your plan is to join PHAoTX. Have you already done so? If so, what does the Compact between GLoTX and PHAoTX say about inter-jurisdictional disciplinary referral?

    Where an unattached Brother is under disciplinary process in his former jurisdiction, I believe the general protocol is that another jurisdiction should refuse to accept his affiliation until the disciplinary process is completed (and therefore that laying charges is a known method for delaying someone from joining elsewhere). I think there have been past cases where accepting members still under unresolved disciplinary process from a former jurisdiction has been cited as justification for withdrawing recognition. This may well, therefore, affect your situation.

    If a Brother is expelled by a disciplinary process, then it is general protocol that no new jurisdiction can accept his affiliation without first obtaining specific permission from his former jurisdiction (which is rarely granted). Breaches of that protocol have definitely been the cause of withdrawals of recognition - for example, the ongoing dispute between GLoWV and GLoOH over MWBro. Frank Haas.

    Obviously that depends on the local rules, which I don't know.

    Here, for example, if I wanted to do a similar thing, I'd be expected to resign from each of my Lodges separately rather than write to my GL, but of course your rules may differ. Here, I'd only be expected to write directly to the GL if I wished to cease to be considered a Mason altogether ... which would probably mean I'd have to take the Degrees all over again if I later wished to affiliate elsewhere.

    In any case, it's clear that you're in an awkward situation, Bro. I hope it works out okay in due course.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  12. eagle1966

    eagle1966 Guest

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    Bro Owls, did you demit in addition to your letter of withdrawal?
     
  13. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    No I did not for a couple of reasons. First is I did not want to have a tie to the Grand Lodge of Texas as an unaffiliated Mason which is what a demit request would get me. It only removes you from your lodge membership but you can still visit other lodges within the jurisdiction for a year. I was not looking for this. The reason I know this is the we had a man come from the Prince Hall to our Grand jurisdiction and all the GLoTX requested he do was write a letter informing the he was no longer wanting to be a member thus removing his membership totally from the other jurisdiction. This was straight from the Grand Secretary himself.

    So why does our letters of withdrawal not allow us to leave the GLoTX? It seems like to me it's a double standard and once they found some of us were going Prince Hall they needed to make "examples" out of us. Tom Shelton has been a member of PHGLoTX for almost 6 months and he had charges filed on him I found out. Just seems like now they can say PH is taking men with charges on them.
     
  14. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Owls.

    This seems odd. Surely there must be something in your rulebook covering what you do (or don't) need to do to achieve this?

    But if you succeed in total severance of connection, as you appear to intend, then isn't that going to mean having to enter PHAoTX as a profane Candidate and retake your Degrees?

    Looks like it, yes. Oh dear. That's a credible excuse for pulling recognition between jurisdictions. I hope that's not where this is heading. And if it does come to that, I wonder how other jurisdictions will react?

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  15. a_ynostrosa

    a_ynostrosa Registered User

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    I am on board with owls on this one. It seems like another one of the Grand Lodge of Texas' underhanded schemes. All things point to them trying to deny recognition. The Grand Secretary Tommy Guest even denies that there was a compact signed but on the PHAofTx GL website there is a picture of old Tommy boy sitting next to the PHA GM while it was being signed and the PHA GL will actually give anyone that asks for it a copy.

    As Owls said we found that all that was needed was a letter to the GL renouncing them to come from another jurisdiction to the GLoT by Tommy boy's own mouth. Why would they say it doesn't work the other way around if those were their own words? Seems like more hypocracy.

    Several of us sent our letters months ago and have been in another jurisdiction for a while now and received charges in the mail. Most of us sent them back because we do not recognize their authority anymore since we are under another jurisdiction. This backstabbing and two faced behavior by all the GL officers is the reason many are afraid to speak their mind on a no holds barred forum. It would be nice if it could work but there are too many snakes in masonry.
     
  16. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    It appears that there is some disagreement in Texas about who is under the jurisdiction of which GL, and of course that needs to be resolved.

    However, Brethren, please! Publicly disparaging one another's GLs, especially when it involves disparaging senior officials by name, is not likely to be a successful diplomatic tactic for reaching a peaceful solution.

    Global masonic jurisprudence assumes that every Grand Secretary is an authorised official spokesman of his GL, so that what he says represents official policy, except in the rare circumstance that a more senior officer intervenes and over-rules the GSec. Therefore (and leaving aside the invective) a-ynostrosa's post is asserting that GLoTX has denied that there is an agreement with PHAoTX and has asserted jurisdiction over (some) PHAoTX members.

    The logic of this, it seems to me, is that GLoTX has in practice already withdrawn recognition of PHAoTX, even though it hasn't said so in plain words. Surely this cries out for some clarification? Regardless of individual opinions about what ought (or ought not) to be the position, surely everyone would welcome clarity about what the existing position actually is?

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  17. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    A no holds barred forum? I'll have to think about that one. The only good reason would be to have a slight uptick in site traffic, but would probably do more harm than good. The majority of members on this site can hold their own, but some may feel slighted, no longer welcome or worse case, feel apprehensive about what they should post.
     
  18. Bro. David F. Hill

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

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    My opinion, it would not be a good idea. It would not serve a positive purpose and soon degenerate into chaos with people getting nasty. A person can always hold a private off-line conversation if they want. We are all adults with different opinions and should keep it civil when addressing a subject.
     
  19. sands67

    sands67 Premium Member

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    In my humble opinion it would not be a good idea. The situation of owls is a prime example. Things said in haste can often come back to haunt us.
     

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