Square & Compasses

AZ dispute, item #2

From: caroles@sedona.net (Carole Skoglund)
Newsgroups: alt.masonic.members
Subject: Re: No "First Amendment" Allowed in AZ Masonry
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 1995 20:17:05 GMT
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On Tue, 11 Jul 1995, Bernard Durgin wrote:
>Here in Arizona, it is a Masonic offense to exercise your constitutional 
>rights under the First Amendment!

>I have been the editor of my lodge trestleboard for the past 6 years and 
>started writing about certain violations of our constitution and plans to 
>cheapen our ritual and fraternity about 2-years ago.  The culprit for most of 
>these abuses recently ascended to the East.  He has now issued an order to 
>my lodge that not only am I to cease and desist from writing anything that 
>opposes his views, but that if I don't write a public apology for my past 
>writings, he will demand my dues card.  Further, if the Master of my lodge 
>does not write the apology (after I'm gone), then he will be removed as 
>Master, as will his successor and his...  If the demanded apology is not 
>published by December, then the Charter of the lodge will be pulled.

>This is the most disgusting and deplorable thing I have ever heard of in our 
>great fraternity, based upon the principles of free thought and speech.  That 
>such a man could have been accepted into our ranks, much less elevated to a 
>position so far beyond his capabilities as a man, is a shame we shall not 
>soon forget here in Arizona.  I hope and pray that no other jurisdictions 
>ever have to suffer having such an inferior individual for your temporal 
>dictator.
The First amendment to the Constituion was passed by Congress to allow free expression of opinions by those who feel they have a duty to inform others of their views on controversial topics, whether "politicall correct" or not. It does not, however, give an individual the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater nor to attack another person because of his race, color, political or religious belief systems. This is especially true in Masonry. We as Master Masons, took solemn vows not to injure nor harm a brother Mason in his person or good name.

Attacks on the Grand Master of Arizona (who is Jewish) by Br. Bernard Durgin have violated these solemn vows. The attacks have been anti-semitic in nature. The baseless charges of cheapening our ritual and fraternity originate in the fertile imagination of Br. Durgin.

We are extremely fortunate to have a good and gentle man for our Grand Master.

There can be no positive results from these attacks; only future divisiveness in a fraternity already being attacked from without by ignorant zealots. "United we stand, Divided we fall" still applies. We create our own future by how we think and act. Let us set aside petty differences and work together for the good of Masonry; and to uplift our brothers.

Richard Skoglund


For the record, the above author is a grand lodge appointee of the man he so strongly defends, even after his own lodge publicly emplored the incoming GM NOT to APPOINT him to their lodge.

As for any mention of the religious preference of our GM, it was never mentioned in ANY posting of mine to the Internet, and never would have been - it's not an issue (I could care less if he was Buddhist, Baptist, Catholic, etc., etc.). Right and wrong do not know secular boundaries, a point I would have thought would not have been lost on a past master[sic]. If there is any "anti-semitism" being expressed, it is yours bro. Richard, not mine. And just to prove my point to any reading your words, I am uploading a collection of every article I ever wrote under the title, "Arizona Writings." I invite all brethren to see "where" the bigotry really comes from....

As for "harming a brother in his person or good name," any harm done is by the actions of the initiating party - I was GIVEN the order to be silent, I did not ISSUE it! You'll have to talk to your "good and gentle" man about HIS threats of un-masonic

It is interesting to note that when one is trying to defend an untenable position, the tactic is to attack the person and not the position! Make me look like a bigot and forget all about a ridiculous order to apologize or have worshipful masters replaced at the rate of one per month, to culminate by the pulling of the charter of a lodge because of a BRUISED EGO! Yeah, Richard, lets draw attention away from that one....!

I invite ALL who read this posting to also read "Arizona Writings" and decide for themselves the value of Bro. Richard's attack.

Bernard Durgin

Below follows every article I wrote for my lodge's trestleboard this year. Let any who can find a hint of the bigotry expressed by Bro. Richard bring it to the light of the entire world.


Dec 30, 1994
Jerusalem Daylight Trestleboard

What If

Brethren, as I travel to our various lodges and speak with members and officers, our discussions invariably turn towards our Grand Lodge and our future expectations for it.

I have noted two subjects becoming predominant in our conversations and would like to share them with you.

The biggest concern I see regards the actions of some jurisdictions holding "one-day" classes to make Master Masons. Many brethren have expressed a "what if" it happened here in Arizona concern. What could we, the rank and file Masons, do about it?

The second biggest concern I am hearing, especially here in the Tucson area, surrounds appointments to the progressive line and the likelihood of getting a totally unsuitable man headed for the oriental chair. One such potential candidate has let it be known he has the inside track to receive his appointment; he vacations with the right people in San Diego, he has strong business connections (a partnership) with the right people, and the right people see him as their favorite son. The Masons I am hearing this from are outraged that such a totally unsuitable candidate could even be considered for such a position, much less be a favorite son.

"What can we do about it?" is the question being asked.

I see some avenues for dealing with both situations:

First of all, our constitution has regulations that deal with a "one day" class to become a Master Mason. Regulation No. 12 states: "The three degrees shall not be conferred upon a candidate within a period of twenty-four or thirty-six hours." In addition, Section 82 stipulates proficiencies must be returned in open lodge in order to advance. This section also states a special dispensation can be issued by the Grand Master, but such dispensation can only be in the case of extreme hardship.

Of course, these regulations could be circumvented, in which case I would direct attention to Part VI, Article I, Section 130 of the constitution, but I seriously doubt any of our Grand Lodge officers would ever so blatantly violate our constitution and trust. I am sure they are far too cognizant of the will and pleasure of their constituents to seriously consider such a destructive act to Arizona Masonry.

The second concern is, unfortunately, not as well covered by our constitution. Article V, Section 16.2 states that appointments to the Grand line are complimentary and not binding upon successive Grand Masters. Perhaps the progress of such a man would stop following the receipt of a petition by a succeeding Grand Master, or something along these lines. It will not be done without action on the part of the concerned brethren. We must communicate these concerns to the right people.

I would suggest upcoming Grand Masters simply be asked who they intend to appoint. If they are un-receptive to eliminating unsuitable selections, even in the face of strong opposition, then there is, of course, the ballot box remedy. I would suggest, however, that all other avenues of communication be exhausted before taking it to that extent. We may also want to consider passing a bill to make it mandatory for a Deputy Grand Master to declare his candidate while he is Deputy Grand Master, thus giving all of us a year to decide if we want his man to receive the appointment.

Many of our "potential problems" can be solved by simply expressing our thoughts and feelings to our elected officials. If we don't tell them, they may never know. We all are visited annually by a Grand Lodge officer. That, my brethren, is the time to make your concerns and questions known! Skip the boring biographies and get down to real business when visited. It's the best chance you'll ever get!

Editor
(Bernard Durgin)


Feb '95
Jerusalem Daylight Trestleboard

Missing the Point

Brethren, for many months you have read several articles from me expounding the need to maintain our ritualistic tradition in its correct form. Several of our Grand Lodge officers seek to remove the ritualistic qualifications for all positions within our fraternity, from the candidate to the Worshipful Master, and some even favor "one day Masons" (Arizona Masonry, Feb.'[[95, Vol XIV, No 3). There is a good reason for my taking the stand I have. This reason is to be found in the meaning of Initiation.

Freemasonry is possibly the last of the great Mystery Schools, the last caretaker of mystical practices designed to awaken the spiritual side of man. Initiations, as intended by these ancient practices, were of the heart, not merely the recitation of words. How, you might ask, do you initiate a man's heart? By a collective consciousness.

Consider the power of one mind dedicated to a single purpose. We know of many miraculous feats of mind over matter resulting from a single mind concentrated upon a belief (a belief it can do what seems impossible). Look at the "firewalkers" of India, the Yogi who stops his heart, and many other such examples. These feats are, for the most part, the result of one mind believing it could perform these acts - and it did.

Consider what occurs when several minds are united in a single purpose. When you have 20 minds united in every thought and word, you have a collective consciousness with a tremendous capability for producing the desired results.

In a lodge with several ritualistically proficient members in attendance, you have such a collective consciousness. You have several minds silently reciting each word of the ritual as it is spoken, you have several minds amplifying the effects of these words and directing this effect towards the candidate, words intended to produce an initiation of the heart.

Our ritual is very precise in wording, in positioning (where each portion is presented), and in its intended effect. Our ritual is the culmination of the great rites of initiation derived from the ancient mysteries. Yet, with all this knowledge and wisdom contained within, how many do we truly initiate in the intended manner? How many less will we initiate in a "one day Mason" class?

I am afraid far too many of us are missing this important point of what Masonry is truly about. We are not a social club, we are not for the masses. We are the caretakers of the mystical practices of the ages, and it is our duty to preserve these practices for all future ages.

If our elected leaders have missed the meaning of Masonry, it is okay, so long as they do not try replacing the true purpose with one of their own. Our elected leaders must remember one very important point: they work for us! They are in their positions to implement our will and pleasure, not their own! We, the voting constituents, have repeatedly told our leaders (through the ballot box) we want our traditional Masonry preserved. It is their duty to execute our wishes, or stand aside for those who will.

Bernard Durgin, PM
Editor


March '95
Jerusalem Daylight Trestleboard

Let's Support our Ritual

Brethren, for many years now, you have seen me write many words on the matter of preserving our ancient and proven traditions, of why our ritual is so important, and why we need to be steadfast in our efforts to maintain it. I've even explained how I see it as working ("Missing the Point," Feb.'95) for those who may want to contemplate our mysteries before bringing us "one day masons" and the like. I am now delighted to offer a possible solution to preserving our beloved ritual in its purist form, and allowing our candidates to receive the same high quality ritual we have all enjoyed in our own degrees:

Let's have a Grand Lodge sponsored state- wide "Ritual Competition" for all AZ lodges wishing to participate. Our RW Bro. Jerry Lankin has meticulously and thoughtfully divided our state into 9 districts, complete with administrators for each one. This is a perfect vehicle for conducting year-long competitions for lodges within their districts, complete with district runoffs to select 2 finalists. The 2 finalists can present their final degree "playoffs" at Grand Lodge prior to convening (perhaps on the Saturday before opening). The winners can be presented during the Grand Lodge session and awarded Perpetual Memberships for each member of the winning team, as well as an "MVP" (Best Individual), by the Grand Lodge of Arizona.

Brethren, we are being hit with another "per capita" increase this year, and what better way to start using our money than to make ritual work an exciting and meaningful challenge to all of us (I could sure use a perpetual membership, can you?). I think its time some of this money we are paying comes back to us, the members, for something as worthwhile as making good ritualistic Masons!

Currently, the guidelines used by Job's Daughters to judge their annual competitions are being obtained and will be used as a model for what I am presently compiling for our own. I hope to have a "finished product" very soon and will present it here and to all AZ lodges when complete.

The best way to get this implemented is to simply tell your representative you want it when he visits (we all get one annual visitation from an elected Grand Lodge officer, let's use it to our advantage). If you love Masonic Ritual, if you love preserving the ancient mysteries, then make yourself known: Talk to your representatives, tell them your thoughts and desires. Brethren, in the final analysis, it's all a numbers game. How many want something determines whether or not we get it!

Bernard Durgin, PM


"One-day Masons" Soon to Arrive Here?

Brethren, I have it on good authority that "one-day Masons" are in the plans for the future here in Arizona. It will not be in the coming year, or the one after, but it will be soon. Consequently, I think all Masons should be familiar with the following Code from our Constitution:

PART III Of The Constituent Lodges

ARTICLE III Of Prohibitions

Section 82 No Lodge shall advance an entered apprentice or a fellowcraft to a higher degree until, after a strict examination in open Lodge, or by special dispensation from the Grand Master, in the case of extreme hardship, examined by a committee composed of the Master and Wardens of the Lodge, he shall have given satisfactory evidence that he is entirely proficient in that degree or those he has already taken, and no Entered Apprentice or Fellow Craft shall be advanced to a higher degree in any Lodge other than that in which he shall have received those or either of those degrees unless by the official consent of such Lodge, if it then be in existence and be within the United States of America or the Dominion of Canada.

(This section clearly defines a case of extreme hardship as the only situation to qualify for a dispensation by the Grand Master, and only after an examination by the Master and Wardens of his lodge. Editor Comment)

Section 84. No Lodge shall confer degrees upon more than five candidates at any one meeting; nor shall it confer more than one degree upon any one candidate at any one meeting; nor shall it confer any of the degrees upon more than one candidate at a time.

(The way around this section is to split the degrees up over three meetings, which could be three meetings 2-days apart. There is a large loophole in this section. Editor Comment)

DEGREES
No. 12. The three degrees shall not be conferred upon a candidate within a period of twenty-four or thirty-six hours.

(Two days between meetings could make it through this section too. Editor Comment)

ARTICLE III

Of Its Powers and Authority

Section 6. The Grand Lodge is the Supreme Masonic Power and Authority in Arizona, possessing all the attributes of sovereignty and government -- legislative, executive, and judicial -- limited only by a strict adherence to the Ancient Landmarks of the order, and by the provisions of its own Constitution and Regulations.

(The authority of the Grand Lodge itself, and therefore all elected and appointed members thereof, appears clear: To uphold the Constitution and Regulations. No mention of a power to issue Edicts to circumvent the Constitution is mentioned or implied. In fact, dispensation powers to a Grand Master are very specifically and precisely defined where applicable. Editor Comment)

ARTICLE I

Of The Grand Master

Section 34. The Grand Master, during the interval between the Communication of the Grand Lodge, may exercise all its executive powers as defined in Sec. 8, except the granting of charters. By virtue of these, authority is given him, among other things:

Section 8. Its executive powers include the granting of dispensations and charters to establish and perpetuate Lodges within Arizona, and in other Territory where no grand Lodge exists, the revocation or suspension thereof; the issuing of special dispensations for all purposes permitted by any of the provisions of this Constitution; and the exercise, generally, of all such authority as may be necessary to carry its own legislation into complete effect.

(Again, the duty to uphold the Constitution is very clearly defined. Editor Comment)

35.4 To exercise a general and careful supervision over the Craft, and see that the Constitution and Regulations of the Grand Lodge are strictly maintained, supported, and obeyed.

(All these sections clearly and distinctly say the only way a "one-day Mason" may be made here in Arizona is by a change to the Constitution. Nowhere is the power to issue an Edict contrary to the Constitution granted or implied, to any man. Editor Comment)

Brethren, there are many laws, rules and regulations we all live under, every day of our lives, we don't like and think we have a better way for. We either change them, or accept them as they are. When good fortune places us in positions of authority, we must safeguard our passions and prejudices to insure such power, however temporal, does not go to our heads. We must ever recognize that as representatives of people, we must make our decisions to exercise our power in line with the will and pleasure of those bestowing it upon us, and not in line with our own personal desires and wishes. In the case of a Grand Master, the need for such impartiality is greatest of all, and he must be ever mindful of the will of the people, however contradictory to his personal ideas of "what's best."

Here in Arizona, we have clearly shown our desire to maintain traditional Masonry by defeating repeated efforts to shorten proficiencies, reduce ritual, and lessen the value of our time-honored teachings.

There can be only one way to conduct and "one-day Mason" class: Change the Constitution to allow for it!

Should any man dare to presume he is above the mandates of our Constitution, or presume his singular wisdom is beyond that of so many great and proven Masons, then it will become necessary to invoke the following article of Constitution he holds in such contempt:

PART VI On Trials, Appeals and Penalties

ARTICLE I Relative To The Grand Master

Section 130 Charges may be preferred against the Grand Master for abuse of his power, violation of the Constitution or Regulations of the Grand Lodge, or other unmasonic conduct, by any three Masters or Lodges, which charges shall be in writing over their signatures, and shall be presented to the last Past Grand Master of this Grand Lodge who may be within Arizona, and who is a member of a Lodge within its jurisdiction. This last Past Grand Master shall be the Presiding Trial Commissioner.
Brethren, as you may suspect, I have received a lot of criticism for my stand on Masonry and my determination to fight for what I believe in. I'm quite sure I am not right in everything I do and think, but I do know I am right in "where I'm coming from," and that's what really counts. I love Masonry! I love it enough to fight to preserve it, and my resolution is strong enough that I don't care who I have to do battle with.

Let notice herein be given to any and all upcoming Grand Masters: If any of you dare hold a "one day class," without having the intestinal fortitude to submit the proper legislative changes required first (instead of waiting until elected to issue an edict), I will personally travel to every lodge in Arizona to solicit the cooperation of 3 Masters to secure your impeachment as Grand Master, whether I'm a card-carrying Mason or not! You have my word on it!

Bernard Durgin, PM


April '95
Jerusalem Daylight Trestleboard

By-Law Change Proposed
June 1995 Stated Meeting

Brethren, we are certainly having our fair share of changes to our by-laws to bring them up to standard. The latest proposal concerns the qualifications of Affiliate Members and the manner of initiating and advancing candidates. It is designed to insure that no man shall belong to our lodge who has not completed the same proficiency requirements as "all who have gone this way before." There is also a prohibition against Jerusalem Daylight Lodge providing candidates for a "one-day" Mason class. Please take careful note of the following:

ARTICLE IV OF INITIATION OF MEMBERS

Section 1. All petitions for initiation or affiliation must be signed by the petitioner and be recommended by two members of the Lodge.

(a) Every such petition shall be referred to a committee of not less than three whose duty it shall be to report thereon at the next Stated Communication, unless further time be granted. If the report of the committee shall be favorable, the applicant shall be balloted for and received or rejected. If the report of the committee, or any member thereof, shall be unfavorable, no ballot shall be had, but the Master shall, upon the reception of such report, declare the candidate rejected.

(b) Every petitioner for affiliation must have returned a full and complete proficiency in each of the three degrees of Masonry, including a complete recital of each obligation, or return the same in meetings at Jerusalem Daylight Lodge #66, before he can be eligible to affiliate with this Lodge. Any petitioner who fails to meet this requirement shall be entitled to visitation privileges only.

Section 2. If any applicant, elected to receive the Degrees in this Lodge, does not come forward to be initiated within three months thereafter, the fee shall be forfeited, unless the Lodge shall otherwise direct.

Section 3. Every person Raised to the Degree of Master Mason in this Lodge (except when such Degree shall have been conferred at the request of another Lodge), or elected to be a member thereof, shall sign the By-Laws.

Section 4. This Lodge shall not advance an entered apprentice or a fellowcraft to a higher degree until, after a strict examination in open Lodge, he shall have given satisfactory evidence that he is entirely proficient in that degree or those he has already taken.

(a) A full and complete proficiency must, include a complete recital of each obligation in each degree.

Section 5. This Lodge shall not confer degrees upon more than five candidates at any one meeting; nor shall it confer more than one degree upon any one candidate at any one meeting; nor shall it confer any of the degrees upon more than one candidate at a time, nor permit the same to be done upon its candidates by another lodge, edict, or dispensation.

(a) The three degrees shall not be conferred upon a candidate within a period of twenty-four or thirty-six hours.

Bernard Durgin, PM
June '95
Jerusalem Daylight Trestleboard

The Liberal View of Lodges and our Constitution

I must confess that before I became a Mason, I was virtually ignorant about politics. I did not know the difference between conservatives, liberals, or which direction was to the right or left. Politics has always been [to me] a dirty game, played mostly by liars and crooks. As my education into the seamy world of the "power mongers" has progressed, I have found little to change my opinion of the "players."

I recently had occasion to read an official Grand Lodge communication on the matter of the appointment of a man who not only violated his word to several brothers and the Constitution of our Grand Lodge, but even went so far as to put it in writing. That the appointment was made was shocking enough; that the "official" position of Grand Lodge is to support this man is nothing short of amazing. In addressing the opposition of a 30-year old lodge to this man's appointment, the Grand Lodge opinion was stated thusly:

"His own lodge is so far off in its representation of what Freemasonry is supposed to be that if it doesn't change, its extinction, or at least its becoming totally irrelevant, is only a matter of time. It is a closed shop of old men with old thoughts, unable to come to grips with any new ideas that come its way and having no conception on how to handle new candidates, particularly youthful ones (under 65)."

The author of these words has the audacity to demand a measure of respect, based solely upon the title given to the appointed office, whether the man is worthy of respect or not: "If he is not given the proper respect as a [title removed] then these so called 'leaders' will have de-edified and cheapened this position and that of the Grand Master for all time....I will be swift and sure in my retribution on anyone who doesn't show the proper respect for any Grand Lodge officer."

Respect for a high office is one thing, respect for a man is something he earns (not something that is bestowed). As for "cheapening" the position of Grand Master, it didn't take this incident to accomplish that!

One thing I have learned about liberals is they have a propensity for using fear and belittlement to "sell" their agendas. With the rise of liberalism, we suddenly find we have a major "problem" (created by the conservatives, of course), that only they are insightful and wise enough to have the solution for; and if the rest of us don't appreciate their brilliance, then we are deemed "unable to come to grips with new ideas." We certainly are not given credit for having recognized the realities of the "new ideas" and of having found them to be something cheap and superficial. We're far too stupid to appreciate the genius of our "leaders [sic]." Perhaps these "old men" have seen plenty of "hot stuff" new ideas and simply see them for the "fertilizer packaged with ribbons" they truly are (sugar-coating only kills so much of the taste, brethren).

History has shown that reigns of fear seldom last; and this, too, shall pass. We have, in our Masonic history, many times suffered tyranny, oppression, and even the "money changers" business approach to Masonry from within our own ranks. And Masonry has survived. We now face our biggest challenge (again from within), and I have every confidence it, too, shall pass. There will, of course, be a cost; there will be causalities along the way, and good men will be driven from the ranks of leadership because they refuse to "toe irrational marks" drawn by men intolerant to opposing views, who are concerned only with a "social club" approach to Masonry and filling their own coffers. I'm sure they envision the day when we can order our Masonic membership by MasterCard from their Amway catalogs, and relish the thought of the financial benefits their "wisdom" shall bring.

Bernard Durgin, PM

(the views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of the lodge)


The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Arizona and All Freemasons withersoever dispersed

The most important tenet of our American system is a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all." The foundation for this tenet was set in the lodges of Masons from time immemorial, and was their guiding light when they erected their American superstructure within the "Declaration of Independence" and "United States Constitution."

This petition is for a trial of this philosophy, not of a man. The principles on trial are three of the most essential precepts of our country and fraternity: Democracy, Equality, and the Rule of Law!

If we are a democratic fraternity, and if our "agreed upon" statutes are to apply equally and impartially to all (the high and the low alike), then this trial must be forthcoming. The continuous and cognitive violations to our constitution, by our Grand Master, have been so blatant and extensive that they can no longer be ignored, and certainly not permitted to continue.

An unprecedented letter to the Grand Master was written (signed by seven sitting Masters of Arizona lodges), expressing deep concerns for the violations being committed, which implored him ("in the friendliest manner possible") to re-examine some of his earlier decisions, and to please return to a conformity with our rules and regulations. A response to "submit yourselves and your Lodges to the authority of the Grand Master" was our answer. Sadly, even this "good and timely council" was ignored (as evidenced less than a month later), when several subsequent edicts were issued, containing new violations of code and reaffirming those already perpetrated.

Never in the history of Arizona Freemasonry have we had such a display of knowing disregard and disrespect for our constitutional guidelines by a Grand Master. Our repeated efforts to (unsuccessfully) facilitate a return to a lawful administration of our Grand Lodge business clearly proves these actions to be deliberate and intentional.

Why these violations are occurring is a question for the trial process. Ultimately, the reasons for the actions are of secondary concern; the primary issue is whether or not we are all bound to obey the same law. If the answer to this question is "yes," then we must apply it to the case at hand. That the accused is the one man among us who should exemplify our principles in his daily life serves only to quicken our need to emphatically proclaim democracy to be the cornerstone of our Order, and to demonstrate our conviction to this truth. Seldom has an issue so important, so critical to the foundation of Freemasonry, been brought forth for our action.

We must put our personal sentiments aside, and look beyond efforts to divert our attentions from the real matter at hand. We must not be deceived by rhetoric and cries of prejudice, and be steadfast in our quest for truth and justice for all. If Masonry is to survive, this trial must be held; if the accused is found guilty, he must be removed from office. Nothing less will suffice if democracy and equality are to prevail.

Within Masonry, as within all aspects of social endeavor, there are those who are able to follow, few who are able to lead, and many who are able to order. We are all sorry to see our Grand Master's perception of supremecy so cloud his vision he misses seeing "being merely the first among many."

It is indeed a time when all Masons, throughout our entire fraternity, should pray with all of our hearts and minds for our fallen brother, that he may once again see by the light of fraternal love and arise from the tomb of transgression by aid of the hand of brotherly love and affection.

So Mote It Be.

Most sincerely,
Bernard L. Durgin,III, PM


From the East

By the time your read this, unless a solution is reached, charges against the Grand Master will have been filed. I, as your Master, am one of the three sitting Masters who signed these charges. My signature does not represent the membership of Jerusalem Daylight Lodge. It is my responsibility and mine alone. I feel there have been violations made against our Constitution by the Grand Master and his personal threats against me, as your Master, and our lodge, was not the "Masonic way of settling our differences." Our Grand Master was given every opportunity to respond to accusations, both in writing and verbally, but he chose to make threats against me and our lodge instead.

I believe everybody has a right to their opinion and has a right to their opinions being heard. This, in case you have forgotten, is how a democracy works. No written responses to the editorials were received by our editor -- only phone calls to the Master by members who have time for other "organizations" but absolutely no time to come to lodge and have their opinions heard. These and threats. I did hear from one Grand Lodge officer who asked for an apology. I did not feel an apology was needed but one was given in July and it appears no one read it. Another one was given, and my only feedback was "no one thought you had the guts to do it." Every opportunity has been given for both parties involved to sit down together and talk out their differences. This situation has been discussed, prayed for, and weighed heavily on my mind for quite some time and I feel the action I have taken is correct, for me and Masonry. This has been a difficult time and with your prayers the light of truth will be known.

Our lodge is strong and growing Masonically in the right direction.

The "Friend to Friend" program could have been a good program, but it has several serious flaws in it. These could have been eliminated if opinions were asked for before the program was introduced. Now, we have to live with it (the funding for it is also questionable). Are the candidates we are receiving from this program the quality Masons we have raised in the past, or is this a band aid for a problem that has been raised if we look at our craft from a "business point of view." Numbers play an important part in most organizations, but ours is built on a progressive moral science taught by degrees. We are Arizona Masons, not Masons in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, or Wyoming. What works there and is good for their jurisdictions is not necessarily good for Arizona. Do we really want to jump on the band wagon and follow our retain our own identity and do what's right for Arizona Masonry? This and "one-day" classes are heading our way and several Grand Lodge officers are embracing the thought of "one-day" classes in Arizona, made up of mostly "business & professional people" who do not have the time to return proficiencies. Is our craft heading towards an organization of men who, once in office, can determine our future on a business philosophy, instead of our moral ethics, quantity instead of quality? I hope not. (I was under the opinion it was the internal, not the external, that a man is judged upon.) I have nothing against "professional" people, but once in lodge they have to remember what Masonry is all about, keeping in mind the obligations we have all taken at the Altar - all of us, so far.

In closing, it is hoped that if one good thing comes out of this, it will be the fact that our Grand Lodge Officers need to stop and think about their own actions and that they can and will be held accountable. Are you out there and listening to us? So far, no. Maybe this will wake you up. Stop selling clocks, trips, and other jurisdictions' programs and listen to those of us who have the courage to speak up and tell you our opinion and what we think is right for Arizona Masonry.

Fraternally,
Tim Zahn, WM

Proud to be Master of Jerusalem Daylight Lodge (a lodge where opinions are expressed - not suppressed, ritual practiced, and Brotherly Love prevails)


(Brethren, charges have been officially filed against our Grand Master to remove him from office. Following is the cover page to the filing. Any lodge wishing to join in the signing of these charges, please contact me at: Bernard Durgin, P.O. Box 43501, Tucson, AZ 85733-3501, or 602-327-1656.)

The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Arizona and All Freemasons withersoever dispersed

The most important tenet of our American system is a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all." The foundation for this tenet was set in the lodges of Masons from time immemorial, and was their guiding light when they erected their American superstructure within the "Declaration of Independence" and "United States Constitution."

This petition is for a trial of this philosophy, not of a man. The principles on trial are three of the most essential precepts of our country and fraternity: Democracy, Equality, and the Rule of Law!

If we are a democratic fraternity, and if our "agreed upon" statutes are to apply equally and impartially to all (the high and the low alike), then this trial must be forthcoming. The continuous and cognitive violations to our constitution, by our Grand Master, have been so blatant and extensive that they can no longer be ignored, and certainly not permitted to continue.

An unprecedented letter to the Grand Master was written (signed by seven sitting Masters of Arizona lodges), expressing deep concerns for the violations being committed, which implored him ("in the friendliest manner possible") to re-examine some of his earlier decisions, and to please return to a conformity with our rules and regulations. A response to "submit yourselves and your Lodges to the authority of the Grand Master" was our answer. Sadly, even this "good and timely council" was ignored (as evidenced less than a month later), when several subsequent edicts were issued, containing new violations of code and reaffirming those already perpetrated.

Never in the history of Arizona Freemasonry have we had such a display of knowing disregard and disrespect for our constitutional guidelines by a Grand Master. Our repeated efforts to (unsuccessfully) facilitate a return to a lawful administration of our Grand Lodge business clearly proves these actions to be deliberate and intentional.

Why these violations are occurring is a question for the trial process. Ultimately, the reasons for the actions are of secondary concern; the primary issue is whether or not we are all bound to obey the same law. If the answer to this question is "yes," then we must apply it to the case at hand. That the accused is the one man among us who should exemplify our principles in his daily life serves only to quicken our need to emphatically proclaim democracy to be the cornerstone of our Order, and to demonstrate our conviction to this truth. Seldom has an issue so important, so critical to the foundation of Freemasonry, been brought forth for our action.

We must put our personal sentiments aside, and look beyond efforts to divert our attentions from the real matter at hand. We must not be deceived by rhetoric and cries of prejudice, and be steadfast in our quest for truth and justice for all. If Masonry is to survive, this trial must be held; if the accused is found guilty, he must be removed from office. Nothing less will suffice if democracy and equality are to prevail.

Within Masonry, as within all aspects of social endeavor, there are those who are able to follow, few who are able to lead, and many who are able to order. We are all sorry to see our Grand Master's perception of supremacy so cloud his vision he misses seeing "being merely the first among many."

It is indeed a time when all Masons, throughout our entire fraternity, should pray with all of our hearts and minds for our fallen brother, that he may once again see by the light of fraternal love and arise from the tomb of transgression by aid of the hand of brotherly love and affection.

So Mote It Be.
Bernard Durgin, PM


Special Grand Lodge Report

On Wednesday, October 25, at Red Rock Memorial Lodge #63, the WM, Ray Walker, by order of the Grand Master, convened a Special Meeting of his lodge. The purpose of this meeting was to resolve the issue of their (Red Rock's) refusal to grant admission to a man the brethren had asked their Worshipful Master to exclude from their meetings. Their Master, in accordance with his duty and authority as Master, and in the interest of maintaining "peace and harmony" within his lodge, granted their request.

After much lively discussion, our Grand Master informed the Worshipful Master and Brethren of Red Rock Lodge that they must decide to admit the man in question, or he would take the Lodge Charter with him that very night!

The Brethren, convinced of the sincerity of the threat, voted to keep their charter.

Flagstaff Lodge #7 also refused to grant this same man admission, so we should watch there to see what happens there.

Editor

DEMOCRACY
A government of bullies tempered by editors.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Date: Wed, 22 Nov 1995 09:28:31 -0700 (MST)
First of all, the GL has not responded to the lawful petition for a trial of our Grand Master. The man who must decide is our Junior Past GM, who is a good friend of our present one. Numerous constitutional violations. But that's only part of it.

At our last Stated Meeting, the Deputy Grand Master (acting as GM while the real one was away), suspended the Master of my lodge for permitting a member to conduct un-masonic conduct! Mind you, no one in my lodge had even been charged with a Masonic offense when he did this, much less convicted! Charges were, of course, filed against me AFTER the suspension (so much for "presumption of innocense until proven guilty"). The fact that the Master was one of the required 3 to sign the charges against the GM had nothing to do with it, of course.

Next chapter: A petition was sent to all lodges Monday to get the required signatures to hold a Special Communication of the GL. The purpose of this SC is to impeach the entire elected progressive line!

With the suspension of the Masonic and U.S. Constitutional guidelines, we could well be headed for a US District Court before its over. A "gag order" was issued by the DGM to not even talk about the suspension of our Master, which, of course, violates the 1st Amendment. "Due process of law" is also non-existant, which has raised another interesting question: The Corporation Commission requires chartered, non-profit corps to contain a viable vehicle for "due process" and "redress of grievances" within their constitutions and by-laws. If a showing is made this vehicle is not present, it could result in a suspension of our charter as a non-profit entity. I hate to think how much we would owe in taxes! All of this is contained within the petition to the lodges.


Date: Mon, 20 November 1995
Dear Worshipful Master and Brethren,

For many months now, there has been a decay in our fraternity and collapse of our democratic process. We have reached the point where "due process= of law" and "presumption of innocence until proven guilty" are forgotten concepts in the administration of Grand Lodge justice. They have been replaced with notions of fear, oppression, and tyranny. Opposition is no longer viewed as a vehicle for new ideas, but rather as an enemy to be destroyed.

The present situation, that culminated with the illegal suspension of the Worshipful Master of Jerusalem Daylight Lodge #66, began in June 1995, when I published a newsletter quoting our Grand Master=92s official communication to Red Rock Lodge regarding their District Deputy Grand Lecturer. Our Grand Master was outraged that anyone would dare hold him to his own words and question his actions. However, instead of directing his anger towards the man responsible (me), he chose to call and threaten our secretary and he had the Junior Grand Warden call (twice) and demand an apology from our Worshipful Master (which was forthcoming). This line of unreasoning culminated with the Deputy Grand Master suspending the Master of our lodge = =96 all because of opposition to the Grand Lodge Officers=92 thoughts and means= of administration! In over 5 months, I have never received a single call, or letter, telling me I had done something wrong; yet, several other officers in my lodge received numerous threats, obscenities, and belittlements! I expected a bit more in the way of simple "guts" from a group so= insistent upon demanding respect and servitude.

There are two important documents contained within this packet. The largest is a copy of the charges against the Grand Master for his violations of our constitution. It was received by the Grand Lodge, with 3 lawful signatures (3 sitting Masters), on October 25, 1995. The second is a demand for a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge, to be held December 30, to impeach the elected progressive Grand Lodge line of officers. This document must be received by the Grand Lodge by November 29, 1995, with the signatures of at least 3 Sitting Worshipful Masters. Both of these documents should be carefully read and discussed. If you agree with the need for these actions to be forthcoming, please sign the appropriate signature pages and return them to me. Your support is essential!

Brethren, this is far from the first time the heavy hand of oppression has been used by this administration, and it won=92t be the last. Red Rock= Lodge was threatened with removal of its charter because the brethren requested the Worshipful Master to not allow a friend of the Grand Master in their lodge meeting. Other lodges have received similar threats. The message is clear =96 any opposition to the views and unconstitutional actions of our Grand Lodge officers will be met with the severest of retribution! You could be next!

I firmly believe we are in a crisis situation. We either take back Masonry, or turn it over to a gang of thugs. Look beyond the rhetoric and judge the actions, brethren, and you will see a picture of the perversion caused by unchecked power and ego mania. We stop it now, or loose Masonry forever.

"Vote for the good of Masonry" and sign the documents that will allow a return to "equality and justice for all."


COMES NOW, the below signed Worshipful Masters of their respective Arizona lodges of Free and Accepted Masons, in accordance with the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Arizona, Part I, Article IV, Section 11, Special Communications; do hereby demand the convening of a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Arizona, to be held on December 30, 1995, 9:00 AM, at Jerusalem Daylight Lodge #66, Marion McDaniel Masonic Temple, 3959 E. Mabel Street, Tucson, AZ, for the purpose of conducting the following Grand Lodge= business:

  1. . The first order of business shall be the review of all dispensations, edicts, suspensions, and other executive actions taken since the last Annual Communication, by the appropriate committees, and a vote taken by the constituent lodges on all such business conducted to decide the final outcome of the same.

  2. . The second order of business shall be a vote to re-instate Timothy Lee Zahn as Worshipful Master of Jerusalem Daylight Lodge #66, effective as of November 11, 1995 through January 6, 1996, accompanied by an official letter of apology from the Grand Master of Free & Accepted Masons of Arizona, to be publicly read by the Grand Master at the next regular Stated Communication of Jerusalem Daylight Lodge #66, and made a part of the official minutes and permanent record of the lodge. The letter of apology shall also be printed, in its entirety, in the following issue of Arizona Masonry and mailed to all Arizona Masons.

  3. . The third order of business shall be a vote to impeach all elected Grand Lodge progressive line officers, to include: the Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden and Junior Grand Warden.

  4. . The fourth order of business shall be the election of a new Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden and Junior Grand Warden to serve for the remainder of the current Masonic year. The newly elected officers shall be installed immediately upon conclusion of the election and shall conduct the remainder of this Special Communication. In addition, the new appointments to the progressive, non-elected line shall be announced and installed at this time. In the event section 3 of this decree is not voted into effect by the constituent lodges, the following business shall still result.

  5. . The fifth order of business shall be a vote to impeach the MW Robert F. Hannon from the Grand Lodge Board of Trustees.

  6. . The sixth order of business shall be the election of a Grand Lodge Board of Trustees member to replace MW Robert F. Hannon for the remainder of his term. In the event section 5 of this decree is not voted into effect by the constituent lodges, the following business shall still result.

  7. . The seventh order of business shall be a vote to order termination of all programs not properly presented to the constituent bodies for a vote, all programs enacted in violation of previous Grand Lodge votes, and suspension of all programming established since the 112 Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge, held May 16 and 17, 1994, Tucson, AZ., until such time as a proper committee study is performed and lawful legislative resolutions to adopt the same are submitted and approved at the succeeding Grand Lodge Annual Communications. GOOD AND JUST CAUSE FOR ACTION DEFINED

The Grand Master has committed numerous violations of the Arizona Constitution of Free and Accepted Masons, the United States Constitution, and the Arizona Corporation Commission rules and regulations, and has repeatedly refused to discontinue his illegal actions. Furthermore, the Grand Master has flagrantly abused his authority as Grand Master by threatening to suppress opposition to his abuses of power by removing Worshipful Masters and Lodge Charters for failure to comply with his wishes, however unconstitutional they may be. These actions are based upon selective and arbitrary enforcement of executive powers and not upon proper violations of Masonic Code by the recipients of his actions. Further, the Grand Master=92s actions violate the Constitution of the United States and= the regulations of the Arizona Corporation Commission and amount to a denial of due process of law and suspension of First Amendment rights to citizens, which places the entire fraternity at risk of losing its non-profit tax exempt status, as well as financial penalties imposed by a court of law for said violations.

Robert F. Hannon has violated Section 131 of the Arizona Constitution of Free and Accepted Masons in that he failed to notify the required parties of the names of the Trial Commissioners for the Masonic Trial of Grand Master Gerald H. Lankin within the timeframe of Section 131 and further failed to exclude himself as the Presiding Trial Commissioner, despite there being a showing of "conflict of interest" on his part to try the case at hand.

Deputy Grand Master Cecil Alton Metcalf did violate the Arizona Constitution of Free and Accepted Masons in that on November 11, 1995, he did arbitrarily and capriciously suspend Timothy Lee Zahn as Worshipful Master of Jerusalem Daylight Lodge #66 without a showing of good cause or valid charge for misconduct. This action was retaliatory for Timothy Lee Zahn having been one of the three sitting Masters to prefer charges against the Grand Master and violates the U.S. Constitutional guarantees of due process of law and places our fraternity in jeopardy of losing its non-profit tax exempt status with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The Deputy Grand Master was joined in this illegal action by William B. Jeffers, Senior Grand Warden, and Larry C. Schafer, Junior Grand Warden, who failed to uphold the constitution by joining with the Deputy Grand Master in this illegal action. All of these officers, individually and collectively, have displayed a wanton disregard and disrespect for our Constitution and have abused their powers of office and have failed the fraternity in upholding its trust to obey and administer our laws equally and fairly to all.

Deputy Grand Master Cecil Alton Metcalf violated the United States Constitution, Amendment 1, in that he issued a "gag order" prohibiting= the informing of the membership of the Masonic fraternity of his actions, under penalty of arresting the charter of Jerusalem Daylight Lodge #66 and suspending its membership, in an abuse of executive power to circumvent the judicial process and repress those seeking a proper redress of grievances through our constitutional due process of law.

NOW THEREFORE, it is ordered that the mandates of Part I, Article IV, Section 11, Special Communications, of the Arizona Constitution of Free and Accepted Masons, be brought into effect and that a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge be convened on December 30, 1995, at Jerusalem Daylight Lodge #66, at 9:00 AM, Marion McDaniel Masonic Temple, 3959 E. Mabel Street, Tucson, AZ, to determine the issues herein presented. It is further ordered that the Grand Secretary make the proper notification to all voting delegates, as mandated by Part I, Article IV, Section 12 of Arizona Constitution of Free and Accepted Masons.

Dated this 20th day of November, 1995:


cc:	All Members of the Board of Trustees of the Arizona Grand Lodge
	Robert F. Henderson, PGM, Grand Secretary
	MW Gerald H. Lankin, Grand Master
	All Arizona Masonic Lodges

By the affixing of my signature below, I do hereby attest and swear to
the foregoing and do declare by concurrence with the order for a Special
Communication of the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons for the State
of Arizona, for the conducting of the business herein set forth, given
by my hand this ________ day of _________________________________, 1995:


Signature:______________________________________________________________

Print Name:_____________________________________________________________

Worshipful Master of ______________________________________________________

Lodge Number __________, located

in:________________________________________, AZ.

My dues card number is:__________.


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