AZ dispute, item #4
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 08:22:09 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Hypocrisy Wins, Democracy Loses
Hypocrisy Wins, Democracy Loses
The recent trial for the Grand Master of Arizona was a dark
moment in the history of our fraternity. It was a dark moment for
having a Grand Master whose actions necessitated such drastic action; it
was an even darker moment for the entire fraternity due to the
reprehensible conduct of the trial itself (which was not even
"pretended" to be fair or impartial).
To begin with, the Presiding Trial Commissioner was a friend of
the accused, a man with a lengthy (recorded) history of defending the
accused in times past, when he was before challenged for unethical
The Presiding Trial Commissioner also selected the man who
appointed the Grand Master to the progressive line of the Grand Lodge as
a Trial Commissioner!
The Presiding Trial Commissioner was also a witness for the
prosecution, and was publicly declared by the Grand Master to be his
witness as well. We asked, in our original filing of charges, that this
man exclude himself from sitting as the Presiding Trial Commissioner.
His personal ethics proved to be deficient for the task. Instead, he
chose to be both! To "cover" his actions, he brought an attorney to sit
on the bench as his "pitch hitter" while he took the witness stand, then
returned to the bench when done.
The Presiding Trial Commissioner kept the trial a "back room"
affair, closed to even a former Grand Lodge officer and other Master
Masons who came to witness the trial and facts presented. Our
constitution does, under extreme circumstances, permit for members of a
lodge from being excluded from a trial, but only for extraordinary
circumstances. Since the Grand Master did not even attend his own
trial, there could not have been any extraordinary circumstances to
warrant Master Masons from hearing the facts in this matter, except, of
course, to keep the truth in the hands of the "good ole boys club."
Early in the testimony presented, it was shown by one of the
accusers and one of the prosecution witnesses that the Presiding Trial
Commissioner had lengthy pre-trial discussions with both men regarding
the details of the case, in direct violation of the constitution, and
even advised one witness to "stay out of it." In a civil court, he
would be jailed for such conduct.
This is the manner of "trial" conducted. Our Past Grand Masters
supported this conduct, choosing rather to "protect their own" than
apply the principals of democracy they take such delight in telling the
world our fraternity stands for. We have become a society of 24-carat
Just prior to the trial, the Grand Master issued a decision
declaring himself empowered to arrest the dues card of any member of our
fraternity, without any hearing or trial (as prescribed in our
constitution), and granted himself the powers of judge, jury, and
executioner. This decision is in complete and total violation of law.
Our Trial Commissioners knew this and co-signed it as well. Their
rationale for their actions is "he'll be gone soon anyway" (Grand Lodge
is in May).
The retaliation against opponents of the Grand Master has
already begun. One of our witnesses, a Past Grand Master, was a member
of the Jurisprudence Committee. He was removed from his position just
eight days after the trial.
I have no doubt this article will result in the arresting of my
dues card and that I will be suspended for its writing. Quite frankly,
I consider it an honor to be drummed out of this group of 24-K
hypocrites for daring to speak the truth. I consider it a shame they
can't stand having their actions brought to the light of day. In case
any of you reading this article believe this to be exclusively an
Arizona problem, keep this in mind: the Presiding Trial Commissioner I
write of also sits on the council of the 33rd Degree, and is on several
national committees (including Masonic Renewal). He could be coming to
your area next!
Bernard Durgin, PM
Arizona Dispute: main page.