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Fellowcraft Quandary
Posted: 15 April 2017 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Dear Members,
I have an unusual situation that I would like to ask the forum if there is a solution.  I am a fellowcraft Mason, but I was unable to continue my Masonic education and achieve Master Mason due to dire personal circumstances that forced me to discontinue attendance.  Several years later, I would like to continue my Mason degree, however, I have an issue.  Simply put, my new wife is the ex-wife of another
Mason and he is extremely petty and has vowed to destroy her, her business and by proxy, me.  He blames me for his circumstances although they are of his own creation.  Bitter, angry and no longer attends meetings and has not for quite some time.  To compound matters, my wife paid his perpetual dues years ago.  I have approached my sponsor from several years ago and was quite bluntly told I would be blackballed by the ex if I tried to re-enter.  I was also told that I could not go to another lodge without permission and they won’t allow that either.  It is my understanding that announcing one’s intention to blackball someone and conspiring with another to do so, violates Masonic Law.  I only wish to continue with my degrees, however, two individuals with a vendetta have assured me of their cast. 
Is there anything I can do?  Another lodge is fine, I don’t want to be where I am not welcome, but to think I am barred forever because of someone else’s issues is distressing.  I appreciate any advice given.

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Posted: 15 April 2017 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I don’t fully understand what your asking. If you are already a Fellow Craft mason, I don’t see how you can be blackballed unless you are presently suspended. If you have to be reinstated into the membership , depending on the lodges by laws, it may not require a 100% favorable vote. If you are forced to repetition the lodge for membership, it will require a 100% favorable vote. We need more information as to your current status.

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Jay Mathis
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Tuckerton Lodge # 4 F&AM;
Tuckerton, NJ

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Posted: 15 April 2017 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Another problem with us commenting is that each jurisdiction has its own rules. For instance, under my grand lodge’s rules, it takes not one, but two black balls to turn somebody down, meaning that one member acting alone cannot block. My point is that you really should be talking to somebody familiar with the situation in Florida. Perhaps somebody at the district level?

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Bro. Bob
Zetland Lodge No. 83
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
Passed 26 May 1979
Raised 18 October 1979

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Posted: 16 April 2017 01:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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This situation is unfortunate. I hope you will continue forward despite the challenges you’re facing. I would suggest reaching out to the WM and laying the whole matter out to him. As the others have already stated, a lot of this rests with the laws of your jurisdiction. If a lot of time has lapsed since you received your FC, you will most likely need to start from the beginning again and petition the lodge. It is indeed a Masonic offense for another to reveal how they will or did vote, so again, that would be something you could share with the WM if you choose to do so. Another hurdle is that your wife’s ex is a member and you aren’t. Regardless of his attendance, as long as he isn’t suspended, he has certain privileges that you don’t yet have. My guess is that the WM and the brothers of the lodge will not want something so divisive of an issue as this is to threaten the harmony of the lodge. You may be able to get permission from the GL (through the proper channels) to petition another lodge, as the circumstances you’re in are not common. As a courtesy and out of respect, I would keep the WM well informed of your plans.

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Initiated: 11/5/16
Passed: 12/28/16
Raised:  1/25/17

St George Lodge #33

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Posted: 16 April 2017 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Thank you for your replies.  I am not suspended, but I haven’t attended in some time.  I have no problems or issues with beginning again from the start.  As I am not a Master Mason, I am not subject to paying dues yet and have had no action taken against me.  I am disheartened by the conversation that I had with my old sponsor essentially because he is wonderful person, but he has been misguided and misinformed by the brother who has animosity towards me.  To be blunt, this person is now a drug addled mess and essentially only had any sort of stability or status in our small town because of the support of his ex wife.  With that gone, he has reverted to his former shiftless self.  If the lodge knew of his present situation and habits, he would likely be expelled.  I have reached out to other, more senior members of the lodge who seem receptive.  I was told that my situation was not acceptable and that the rules of the lodge have indeed been broken by these others.  I am confident that the situation will eventually rectify itself as this individual will eventually reveal himself for what he is. 
    As far as the local lodge goes, I would like to become a full fledged member.  The only opposition to this is one person, who no longer attends and would likely shock the lodge should he appear in his current state.  I welcome the opportunity to stand before them and speak.  I have no reason to hide or lie and welcome any sort of inquiry they may wish to make. 
    Thank you for your replies.  I will check in periodically to see if anyone has any more comments and relate to you my progress or lack of.

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Posted: 16 April 2017 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Jay Mathis - 15 April 2017 06:32 PM

I don’t fully understand what your asking. If you are already a Fellow Craft mason, I don’t see how you can be blackballed unless you are presently suspended. If you have to be reinstated into the membership , depending on the lodges by laws, it may not require a 100% favorable vote. If you are forced to repetition the lodge for membership, it will require a 100% favorable vote. We need more information as to your current status.


I can tell you that in our jurisdiction, if you do not progress from one degree to another in a year then any member can object to your progression which is essentially a blackball. Maybe it’s something similar there.

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Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Deacon - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

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Posted: 16 April 2017 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Fellow - 15 April 2017 02:59 PM

Bitter, angry and no longer attends meetings and has not for quite some time.  To compound matters, my wife paid his perpetual dues years ago.  I have approached my sponsor from several years ago and was quite bluntly told I would be blackballed by the ex if I tried to re-enter.  I was also told that I could not go to another lodge without permission and they won’t allow that either.  It is my understanding that announcing one’s intention to blackball someone and conspiring with another to do so, violates Masonic Law.  I only wish to continue with my degrees, however, two individuals with a vendetta have assured me of their cast.

If he no longer attends meetings then how can he blackball you?

Also, you are a mason. If he/they are doing something unmasonic then bring them up on charges.

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Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Deacon - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

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Posted: 16 April 2017 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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No one is objecting to my progression as a Mason.  The guy simply is vindictive.  He no longer attends and I have found a good deal of support from the other members.  My old sponsor is his buddy and has been convinced by him that somehow my wife and I are to blame for his situation in the world.  During dinner, many options were brought up by a district representative to allow me to continue with this lodge.  Each were rejected by my old sponsor, who essentially said that even though this guy doesn’t attend anymore, he had to be notified of a vote concerning me so he would get his chance to blackball me.  I’m not sure where my old sponsor stands due to his rejection of all options proposed by others. I asked him directly and he claims to not be against me, but obviously his actions say otherwise.  I am stuck in the middle and would just like to either join another lodge or progress in this one.  I do agree that they have violated Masonic Law by announcing intent to blackball.  I am not sure that bringing charges against anyone is the right thing to do at this point even though they are guilty. 
    Pretty much the bottom line is I am in a Catch 22 no win situation.  I am, however, determined not to let this situation get the best of me.  Funny thing is, I am welcomed by everyone except this guy, who doesn’t attend any more.  I think my old sponsor probably believes he is doing what is right as he is a good guy.  Problem is, the other guy is not a good guy and he has simply been duped.  I don’t really like disparaging other people, but the man is not, nor has he ever been, what he seems.  Unfortunately, not everyone knows this although things are beginning to become apparent and questions are being asked. 
    I don’t think this person has any right to judge me or throw rocks.  It will play out however it may, but in the end I will be proven right.  Just wonder how long it will take.  Thank you for your replies.

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Posted: 16 April 2017 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Fellow - 16 April 2017 09:28 AM

No one is objecting to my progression as a Mason.  The guy simply is vindictive.  He no longer attends and I have found a good deal of support from the other members.  My old sponsor is his buddy and has been convinced by him that somehow my wife and I are to blame for his situation in the world.  During dinner, many options were brought up by a district representative to allow me to continue with this lodge.  Each were rejected by my old sponsor, who essentially said that even though this guy doesn’t attend anymore, he had to be notified of a vote concerning me so he would get his chance to blackball me.  I’m not sure where my old sponsor stands due to his rejection of all options proposed by others. I asked him directly and he claims to not be against me, but obviously his actions say otherwise.  I am stuck in the middle and would just like to either join another lodge or progress in this one.  I do agree that they have violated Masonic Law by announcing intent to blackball.  I am not sure that bringing charges against anyone is the right thing to do at this point even though they are guilty. 
    Pretty much the bottom line is I am in a Catch 22 no win situation.  I am, however, determined not to let this situation get the best of me.  Funny thing is, I am welcomed by everyone except this guy, who doesn’t attend any more.  I think my old sponsor probably believes he is doing what is right as he is a good guy.  Problem is, the other guy is not a good guy and he has simply been duped.  I don’t really like disparaging other people, but the man is not, nor has he ever been, what he seems.  Unfortunately, not everyone knows this although things are beginning to become apparent and questions are being asked. 
    I don’t think this person has any right to judge me or throw rocks.  It will play out however it may, but in the end I will be proven right.  Just wonder how long it will take.  Thank you for your replies.

The best of luck to you Brother. Let us know how things work out.

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St. Matthews Lodge 906, Louisville,Kentucky.
Suburban Lodge 740, Louisville,Kentucky
AASR, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
Knights of St. Andrew, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
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Posted: 17 April 2017 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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It is unfortunate that you find yourself in this situation.

A few thoughts have crossed my mind as I read your posts here.

First, if you are still interested in revisiting your Freemasonry journey, then I would inform the Master of the lodge you originally petitioned, that you are going to seek advice from the grand lodge on this matter, as it (by your words) has been several years that has past.

Second, contact the grand lodge and see if you can talk to some about your situation and give them ONLY THE FACTS and ask for advice.

Lastly, and this may be the most difficult part, refrain from speaking about this brother in any manner other than that in which you would speak in open public.  While there may be issues he could be at the root of, show yourself to be the “better man” and don’t speak ill of him at all.  If you want to become a Mason, as you have already learned in your previous studies, show you can act like one.

Remember, there could be a day in which you may call him brother.  Start practicing that now, so later it is not so difficult.

I wish you well on continuing your journey with us.

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Brother Ken

St. John’s 1P, RI
EA 10/19/16
FC 1/18/17
MM 3/15/17
Signed By-Laws 5/17/17

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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Posted: 02 May 2017 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Wow, what an ugly situation. I have a few thoughts to offer:

It’s important to remember that a top priority is the harmony within the lodge. Lodges can’t have members feuding with each other. If I was faced with a situation where I knew that a member of my lodge was vehemently opposed to a prospective member, even if I thought he was wrong there would be very little that I could do about it.

I see you’re in Florida. I don’t know what the rules are in Florida. I can tell you how things work in my own jurisdiction of Massachusetts. Here, one cannot “blackball” a candidate whose petition has already been voted on and accepted. The opportunity to do that would have already passed. However, any member of a lodge can raise an objection to a candidate’s initiation, passing, or raising. The objection would be read in lodge, investigated, and then subject to a MAJORITY VOTE. That means one member cannot block the candidacy at that point, he would need a majority to do it. If the objection is sustained by the majority, then the candidate has the status of a rejected applicant (as if he’d been blackballed from the very beginning), HAS HIS FEE RETURNED, and is treated as any other rejected petitioner.

If the rules in Florida are similar, you can come back any time and request to be raised and see what happens. If he raises an objection, it won’t be like blackballing where it’s done anonymously without any reason given. He’d have to state his reason for objecting to you, which would force him to admit that it was for personal reasons. But remember what I said earlier: the harmony within the lodge comes first. There’s a good chance even if the other members think he’s being petty, they’ll vote against you anyway because they don’t want to have you two fighting with each other. But you have nothing to lose. And in a worst case scenario you’d at least get your application fee back, which I think you should be entitled to under the circumstances. You’d then be subject to a waiting period before you could petition another lodge. It’s five years, unless the lodge that rejected you gives written permission for another lodge to accept you before then. It sounds like in this case that permission wouldn’t be granted, so you’d probably have to wait the full five years. But after those five years, there’s nothing someone from Lodge A can do to stop Lodge B from accepting you. He can advise them not to, but he has no power to stop it.

Again, all this applies to Massachusetts and every jurisdiction makes its own rules. I don’t know how things work in Florida. But if the rules are similar, you may have some options. Limited options, but options nonetheless. I think that at the very least, even if you can never get raised and join another lodge you should be entitled to get your fee back and the Mason who objects to you should have to tell his brethren why. And hopefully this man can be persuaded to at least step aside and let you join another lodge, where he won’t have to see you and interact with you.

Good luck.

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Dave

Master-Elect, Garden City Lodge A.F. & A.M., Newtonville, MA—Entered: 4/12/01; Passed: 5/10/01; Raised: 6/14/01
Treasurer, Boston University Lodge A.F. & A.M, Boston, MA
Mount Lebanon Lodge A.F. & A.M., Boston, MA
Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, Scottish Rite Valley of Boston
Aleppo Shrine, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Wilmington, MA

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Posted: 02 May 2017 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Bro DHoward - 16 April 2017 08:24 AM

If he no longer attends meetings then how can he blackball you?

Also, you are a mason. If he/they are doing something unmasonic then bring them up on charges.

Oh, I’ve seen guys that haven’t come to lodge in 25 years show up just to vote against something that irks them, like raising dues (even if they’re life members who don’t pay dues any more!). If he’s scheduled to be raised, it will be printed in the notice and then any member can raise an objection.

And it’s very unlikely that a Grand Lodge is going to get involved in what amounts to petty squabbling at the local lodge level. Anything’s possible, but it’s not likely.

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Dave

Master-Elect, Garden City Lodge A.F. & A.M., Newtonville, MA—Entered: 4/12/01; Passed: 5/10/01; Raised: 6/14/01
Treasurer, Boston University Lodge A.F. & A.M, Boston, MA
Mount Lebanon Lodge A.F. & A.M., Boston, MA
Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, Scottish Rite Valley of Boston
Aleppo Shrine, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Wilmington, MA

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