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Grand Orient Express

Despite my taking a bit of a summer vacation, I did want to comment on some of the happenings in Freemasonry that I’ve seen or read about over the last few months.

First of all, I want to extend my very best wishes to the brothers of the new Grand Orient of the United States of America. On June 27, the GO-USA received a patent from the Grand Orient of France, a document which grants them amity with certain other GO bodies, allowing them to visit Masonically and to work certain rites. The GO-USA will work closely with Le Droit Humain affiliates, the George Washington Union, and the Women’s  Grand Lodge of Belgium (all of which having their own affiliates in the US). I know that a lot of hard work and organization went into this, and I congratulate Bro. John Slifko, the new Grand Master of the new Grand Orient of the USA. Likewise, my best wishes to Bro. Brandt Smith, their new Grand Secretary, and to Bro. Jeff Peace, the new Grand Secretary of External Affairs. While the GOdF and LDH is not in amity with UGLE Grand Lodges, they and other GOs have worked in parallel toward Masonic ideals. It is my sincere hope that this new venture comes to every success for all of you.

Secondly, anyone reading this blog is probably aware that there have been skirmishes between certain Mainstream Freemasons and those who, for various reasons (justified or not), have taken issue with Mainstream lodges.  The untimely death of Br. Theron Dunn precipitated a truce of sorts, and for several months the bickering stopped. Unfortunately, the creation of the GO-USA seems to have renewed the arguing, for reasons which I am unable to fathom. The sniping that was taking place in blogs and message boards is on the upswing, and I’m not just disappointed with the tone of the posts that I’ve been reading; I’m actually disheartened because with the creation of the GO, I believe that there are fewer reasons for such attacks than before.

To my brothers in the Mainstream lodges:  You should know better than to snipe at the new GO. For the last several years several of you have been harping at certain members about their lack of legitimacy, adding insults to the effect that they must be meeting in coffee shops. The patent gives the GO-USA a type of legitimacy. True, the GO is not recognized by Mainstream (that is, UGLE) Masonry; but they are now an entity that is in amity with several other LDH lodges.

Look, my brothers – your allegiance to the Craft is admirable, but consider: Mainstream Freemasonry, i.e., UGLE and MWPH lodges make up something like 80% of the Masonic population in the UK and US. Why even waste your time on taking potshots at the minority? GO and LDH lodges have operated right alongside our own, in a parallel universe of Masonry. We’ve been grudgingly acknowledging their existence (when we’re not completely ignoring them) for 300 years. Is it so difficult to ignore this new GO?

I think that one of those rules we learned in grammar school applies here: If you don’t have anything nice to say about something, then don’t say anything at all.

To my friends, brothers, and other supporters of the new GO-USA: For the last several years I’ve read diatribes and rantings about the terrible members of the Mainstream GLs. Some of you have written posts, articles and comments that have made sweeping generalizations about the Mainstream GLs, and several of you have written any number of times about your happiness to have finally left that noise behind.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Some of you have worked very hard for this honor – and it is an honor. The GOdF did not grant a patent to a coffee shop lodge, it granted a patent to a group of people who, they believe, are going to work toward the good of the order, and for the purposes of brotherly love, relief, and truth. This is your opportunity to shine, to make an example of the good that you can do, and perhaps even show the Mainstream not just a new way, but a better way. Don’t disgrace the opportunity to work on your own temple by continuing to take potshots and indulge in name-calling.

A good start would be writing articles describing what you’ve done, as opposed to leaving comments tearing down what others have done.

I wish I could end this with some kind of pithy, meaningful sentence which would immediately make every one see the error of their ways, but I really don’t have time to read unknown authors to steal their ideas gain inspiration. All I know is that I’m tired of seeing good people on both sides of this issue acting like the Hatfields and McCoys; I’m tired of reading comments and articles that are downright insulting, articles that are followed up by “Well, he started it” sniping that is more fitting for children in the back seat of a long car ride than for grown men who have professed to uphold certain Masonic ideals.

I think that it’s time that people on both sides of this issue started leading by example instead of giving in to their passions. Can you do this?

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