Beyond the Darkness
When I demitted from the Masonic Fraternity, it was at the recommendation of the Grand Secretary. Not that he felt that I should demit from the Fraternity, but as an alternative to what my original plan was … resignation. At that particular point in my life I really wanted nothing to do with the Masonic Fraternity anymore. I felt that everything I had been told about the fraternity and brotherhood was a lie, and my response to what I was seeing and feeling was … well … not very Masonic itself.
The problem is that the issue of which cause me to leave the Masonic Fraternity is not the only issues I have with the SOP of the Grand Lodge of Missouri AF&AM. Its not just the fact that there were blatant lies told about my conduct. It's not just the fact that certain high ranking members of the fraternity conducted themselves outside their obligations. Those are issues of which will rectify themselves eventually. But the fraternity has been permanently damaged.
One Day Chance to Advance — where a man who has been initiated into the first degree can take his second and third degrees in a single day as a part of a group. Talking with the people who voted on this issue, I heard that they felt tricked into voting for this amendment, that they didn't want it. Referred to as McMasons by those who opposed the use of this event to make Master Masons, the Grand Lodge eventually passed another amendment prohibiting anyone from discouraging anyone from using the class, and then prohibiting any encouragement of newly initiated members of taking part in a tradition called "returning the degree."
What do we value most? We value most that which we have to work for. Handing the degrees to a man takes away the man's sense of achievement, his sense of involvement. Having taken all three degrees personally, and having returned all three degrees, and having sat and watched a "One Day Chance to Advance Class", I find it hard to believe that anyone could have the sense of pride in being a Master Mason gained by taking all the difficult steps after doing it all the easy way in one day.
And what of these McMasons? I did a little research over several months, watching those who took the One Day class to see if they were just interested in going into the Shrine or if they were going to become involved in the Blue Lodge, the foundation of the Masonic Fraternity. I calculated that only one in ten men who took the One Day Class returned to the Blue Lodge, that they either took their first opportunity to enter the Shrine (which had recently dropped the Rites requirement), or simply took their 'title' and stayed home.
Now, there are those who will say that a number of these McMasons became more than just casually active in their Lodge, and that the ratio improved for the Blue Lodge. But the truth is that outside of the Missouri Grand Lodge jurisdiction, the practice is frowned upon by those who still believe that the old traditions are the best promise of a Masonic future.
Freemasonry is a Christian Organization — There are numerous documents regarding Freemasonry in Missouri that states that there is no one religion within Freemasonry, that each man is allowed to view his creator in his own manner. The problem in Missouri is that there has been a movement by members of the United Methodist Church to put their people into the Grand Lodge, and before I demit from the organization, there was already a push in Missouri to present that you must be Christian to be a Freemason. I found myself sitting in an interview of a candidate for the mysteries and one of the other men would state that belief in God was Christian belief in God, that you had to be a Christian.
Then, as a part of the reason I demit from the Grand Lodge of Missouri AF&AM, the current Grand Master, MWB Stan Thompson, stood in a tiled Lodge and stated that any man who considered himself Pagan at the time he was initiated into the mysteries "Lied at the Altar" and that there was no room for anyone of Pagan influence within the Masonic Fraternity. MWB Thompson would later cite that he had a degree in Theology, and that he was not open to discussion that Paganism was not Godless or Satanic.
Let me give the world some really bad news. The early fathers of Freemasonry were among the who's who of the Occult of Europe. The rituals of Freemasonry are clearly dated well before the rise of Christianity, to be specific, they are wrapped around the building of King Solomon's Temple, which held statues of the "Pagan" Gods and Goddesses of the Middle and Near East. That the sciences that are held up by the Masonic fraternity were banned by the church for many centuries. The secret nature of Freemasonry was not just a game that was played, it was a necessary part of surviving as an early Freemason. Such is the esoteric understanding of Freemasonry.
Even today, there are a significant number of Occultist hiding in the shadows of the Masonic Fraternity. People who continue to seek out and study the esoteric nature of Freemasonry. People who see the Ancient Mysteries within the rituals of the Fraternity, within the rituals of the Scottish Rite. I find it laughable that anyone could say that Freemasonry is based in Christianity after taking the 32nd Degree of the Scottish Rite, which involves the Egyptian Mysteries.
And let's talk religious hypocrisy. The Masonic Fraternity continues to tell men that there is no conflict between the Catholic Church, or any other denomination and the Masonic Fraternity. The truth is that there are several Christian denominations that prohibit or strongly discourage membership in the Masonic Fraternity. The Catholic Church still has an edict prohibiting membership punishable by excommunication. Those who would profess themselves to be of these Christian affiliations and a Freemason are lying to themselves when they say that there is nothing wrong with this. They live in the lie that its okay and the hope that someday these positions will change.
When it comes to Religion and Missouri Freemasonry, the last word I held for this is hypocrisy.
My Return to Freemasonry? — Each and every time that I start to reconsider my status as demit, I find myself reflecting on the events of the past, the issues of which led to my demit from the fraternity, the lies, the hypocrisy of those around and including the Grand Master himself. I find myself reflecting on the emotional pain I suffered, and my angered public responses when private communications were refused. Missouri Freemasonry was a den of liars living under the Christian ideology that the end justified the means and Christianity has the right to use whatever means necessary. Yes, even today I am still bitter, one major reason to not return to the Fraternity.
And then there are the two issues I've listed above. The Bastardization of the Traditions in order to beef up membership numbers. The increasing declarations by those who wish to bend Freemasonry to their spiritual comfort zone ignoring the basic tenants of Freemasonry. To coin a Wiccan term, I will find it hard to enter the Fraternity in perfect love and perfect trust, or as the Masons put it, by the Square and on the Level. Again, another reason not to return to the Fraternity at this particular time.
But that doesn't mean that I cannot continue my study of the mysteries. That I cannot continue to look at the esoteric side of Freemasonry. It means that I can't engage in sensitive discussions with those who are "in good standing" within the Masonic Fraternity. With that, I can remain content until things improve.