Old Pine Island Lodge Tales

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    By Corky

    Jonas Milam, the newest Brother of Pine Island Masonic Lodge, walked over to the bench in the lobby and sat down by the old Past Master, Wesley Pennington, “Hello Worshipful, if you have a minute I could use some help with a Masonic problem.”

    “Brother Jonas, it's been a long time since I was a Worshipful Master, so just call me Wesley or Brother Pennington if you need to use a title,” the old Past Master said, “ OK, now, what kind of problem could a new Mason have with Masonry after only a few months?”

    “Sorry Brother Pennington, I'm still not used to all of the etiquette of titles. I guess my problem is with the part that we have to obey the edicts of the Grand Lodge and Grand Master.”

    “Well,” Wesley said slowly, “that's a promise we all make and have been doing for hundreds of years. The Grand Master is elected by representatives of the local Lodges because of his years of service and dedication to the craft. Therefore he is the man in charge and is responsible to assure that the individual Lodges in his state are operated correctly and that the members obey the laws of the Grand Lodge. Does that help with your problem?”

    “Oh no I understand, that part,” Jonas responded quickly , “But about the time I was made a Master Mason, there was a big news story about a Past Grand Master who was expelled by the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of West Virginia and he filed a lawsuit against the Grand Lodge to be reinstated. Then not to long after that, there was a news story about a lawsuit filed against the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Georgia to reverse their actions when a Worshipful Master was expelled and his Lodge closed because they had allowed a black man to become a member of that Lodge. And after that, a news story about a hundred members of a Prince Hall Lodge expelled for refusing to follow the grand Master's edicts about the recently banned Prince Hall Shrine have filled a lawsuit against the Prince Hall Affiliated Grand Lodge in Virginia to be reinstate the Shrine and the menbers. Those lawsuits are the thing I don't understand.” Jonas explained.

    “What I don't understand," Jonas continued, "is if these Masons, who are suing their Grand Lodges took the same oath you and I did, according to the laws of our Grand Lodge the decisions of the Grand Master are final, Isn't that right?”

    “You're right Jonas, every organization must have to have rules to work by and if members don't like the rules and do things as they want to, the organization will soon fall apart. The reason Freemasonry has existed for 300 years is because it's members have lived by the rules they swore to follow. “

    “I understand that and of course living by the rules is very important,” Jonas interrupted, “but on the other hand for many freemasons and especially those from some other jurisdictions, the reason these members did what they did seems to have been the right thing to do.”

    The old Past Master paused for a few moments before answering, then said, “Well Brother Jonas, the only requirements to be a Freemason is to have a belief in God, be of good moral character and be of proper age. However, in some southern states there still seems to be a hidden requirement or two. But regardless of the fact that those members may have been acting in what they thought was right or morally correct, they had still sworn to follow the resolutions and edicts of the Grand Lodge and for all practical purposes the Grand Master is the Grand Lodge.”

    “All of the things that members may think wrong about the laws and decisions of the Grand Lodge can be corrected, but only through the proper channels and by spending the amount of time and work required to change the laws, but no one of us or any group of members has the right to change the laws of a Grand Lodge except the duly elected officers of that Grand Lodge.” The Old Past continued. “It's like my old daddy used to say, 'A Grand Lodge is kind of like a log chain. You can pull it all over 40 acres, but you can't push it no place.'”

    “Thanks Worshipful. . . I mean Brother Wesley, you have helped me to see the light.

    “Wait a minute young Brother,” Wesley said with a serious face, “You are overlooking the most serious part of the whole affair. Freemasonry is an independent, private, 300 year old fraternal organization, is it not?”

    “Yes sir.” Jonas replied with a puzzled expression.

    “Then why would anyone, even an expelled member who desperately wanted to be reinstated, possibly want a State or even United States Court to have the authority to decide who will be or will not be a member of a Masonic Lodge. Do we want to continue to be the independent organization we have been since the first Brothers met on a high hill or in a low valley, or do we want Freemasonry to be a governmentally regulated organization?

    "You are right worshipful. . . I never realized how extreme the real results of a law suite could be." The young Brother slowly uttered.

    "I am always glad to teach young Masons a lesson. Like the one now, where you can get me a fresh cup of coffee for calling me Worshipful again."

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