Letter of the month: July 2006
[This brother has given permission for this letter to be posted
online, but has requested that his name be omitted, as a courtesy to the
brethren of his own lodge.]
From: "A Brother"
Subject: even more mail than you might have imagined, he said, smiling
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 21:39:21 -0600
Your expectation of extensive input regarding July's letter will be exceeded several
times. You know that an off-stage conversation among some of the Craft
is in progress. As I have frontline experience in this regard I'll tell
my story and leave it to you whether you post any comments on your site
or provide my letter and contact information to the young Brother who
I'm in my fifties and a relative newcomer to Freemasonry. I joined a
local Lodge and provided regular service in the Steward's chairs, then
served as JD and SD. During my SD year I became aware that some of the
old guard were trading stories about my sexual orientation and
circulating doubts about my move to the South. Since my coming out and
related political activism were decades past I wasn't interested in
re-fighting any battles. I informed the Secretary that I would not stand
for JW nor serve if elected. That Lodge lost out on my considerable
skills in the kitchen and my much-lauded ability at ceremonial work. I
did not leave the Lodge; I became a perpetual member.
In the course of my ritual work with half-a-dozen Lodges I met a new
Lodge, and after three meetings the Brethren there made it clear to me
that they wanted me as a member. Their Masonic spirit and Brotherly Love
made the choice clear. Not long thereafter they asked me to stand for
I delayed a bit. When the time for decision came I took the WM and SW
into a private place and told them the story above. They did not
hesitate; they didn't blink. One shared that someone beloved had died of
AIDS. They told me that a Brother had informed them that I needed a new
home and that they would be missing a bet if they did not do whatever
was in their power to provide that home for me.
I'm sure who that Brother was: old guard, new heart. Today I am JW
and expect to reach the East.
We all know a Brother who harbors some prejudice from decades
past. The distasteful odor associated with the exclusion of Prince Hall
Masons still lingers to a greater or lesser degree depending on where
you stand. I've seen young Master Masons fall away because the North
didn't care for their new clothing, ideas, tattoos, or (horrors!)
Let me be blunt; most of the men who are trapped in the outmoded
thinking of the past are dying. I do not hasten their departure, and I
will perform their Memorial Service with a compassionate heart, even if
they whispered their disrespect for me in a place where they thought the
words would never reach me.
We are Freemasons. We are bigger than that.
I would never encourage this young Master to wave the bloody
shirt. His concern about the GM election is a serious complication and
your advice on weighing the alternatives is solid. I encourage the young
Master to consider the possibility that he and I as gay Masons can help
lead the Craft to even more Light. We so desperately need to welcome new
men and their new understandings if we are to continue our Journey to
the East. The heart of Masonry will endure; the dross of passing
foolishness and opinion will fall away.
Here is one truly personal moment for him. If that close relative
harbors prejudice (he didn't say he does, perhaps others close by do) he
must come to peace with it and move on.
Life is short. We are headed for the house not made with hands. My
father, an honored and longtime Mason, didn't accept me in that regard.
I've soothed myself by proving that I can do the labor.
Thank you for your site. Every time the topic of Masonic inquiry
comes up I strongly urge a visit to your much-appreciated labor of
love. I've not found another site that comes close.
I remain Your Faithful Servant,
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