Monday, November 19, 2007

Thoughts on Halcyon Lodge #Whatever

For those that don’t surf the Masonic side of the internet might not be aware, but the self promoting Halcyon Lodge #498 announced on their website and through the burning taper that they were turning in their lodge charter and now becoming Halcyon Lodge #2.

While there has been much talk on message boards and in certain blogs regarding this manner no honest member of Halcyon has answered as to why they choose this action, and what if any Grand Lodge system did they adopted. Many people have either cited them as pioneers or have called them swindlers stealing property from the Grand Lodge of Ohio.

People who splinter off from the mainline do so for a variety of reasons. While their supporters, and they, usually claim it’s to rid themselves of a corrupt system in which they can no longer function. They are also considered by their detractors as egomaniacs that want to be in charge, so they started their own club putting themselves in the driver seat.

I have no idea of the altruistic aspirations of the men of Halcyon in regards to masonry, for only they truly know what is in their hearts. If they were greedy and did a simple land/property grab in the name of Freemasonry, then hopefully history will reflect as much. I as well hope that history properly portrays them if they saved a Masonic temple from a decaying and apathetic Grand Lodge. I am sure that there will be many “announcements” in the next year regarding the developments of this case. I want to remind everyone reading this that civil law unlike the physical science in which I study is not absolute. To attempt to predict how a court or any legal body might rule on civil matters might better spend their time predicting who is going to win the super bowl.

To those that post anonymous comments, and claim to speak as a member of this lodge I would ask that they refrain from their usual trolling. People are starting to build strawman cases on both sides on anonymous comments and other jackassery.

Remember, just because you read it on the internet, doesn’t make it so.

We are caretakers of critical thinking and of an open mind, try to put your petty judgment of these brothers aside until all the facts regarding this action can be presented.


radcliffe said...

Should be reserve judgement is wise but the threshold for turning in a Charter of course is high. I think anonymous postings are legit as they voice undercurrents.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

A Radical Idea
Imagine, for a moment, a Grand Master armed with both the vision to dream an
unbounded future for Freemasonry and the courage to pursue the dream.
Looking around, he sees the glaring disconnect between the mindless repetition
of today’s rote “tradition” and the core purpose and core values that Freemasonry
used to represent. Seeking to recapture that which was lost, he creates a new
haven for experimentation—an at-large Grand Master’s district. The purpose for
this special district is to create a home for new lodges to creatively explore new
and innovative ways to practice the timeless core of Freemasonry in a manner
relevant to today. Freed (by special dispensation) from the weight of rules,
regulations, and district deputy grand masters, these lodges answer only to the
Grand Master himself, who in turn, wisely, benevolently, gives them the freedom
to create, be fruitful, bountiful, and multiply!
Alas, we all know that the above scenario is all but impossible in the oppressive
climate that governs grand lodges. So, if grand lodges will not suffer creativity,
will not suffer successful lodges to orbit their Grand Hairball, then perhaps the
time has come for those lodges that dare to accelerate to escape velocity and,
following the challenge of Dr. Harari, start with a new dream, a bold vision with
audacious goals.13
The challenge, according to MacKenzie, is to orbit the Giant Hairball, which
means to actively engage in the opportunities that an organization presents
without being sucked into the Hairball of the organization.14
Orbiting is responsible creativity: vigorously exploring
and operating beyond the Hairball of the corporate
mind set, beyond “accepted models, patterns, or
standards”—all the while remaining connected to the
spirit of the corporate mission.
To find Orbit around a corporate Hairball is to find a
place of balance where you benefit from the physical,
intellectual and philosophical resources of the
organization without becoming entombed in the
bureaucracy of the institution.15
The challenge to the Hairball is to allow people to achieve orbit. But the more
massive the Hairball grows, the greater gravitational pull it exerts, sucking
everything into the “nothingness of corporate normalcy made stagnant by a
compulsion to cling to past successes.”16 In such cases, orbiting may not be
possible (nor tolerated by the Hairball), leaving one with the stark choice of
remaining to be suffocated by the soul-crushing rule of what worked in the past
or flying out into deep space, liberated, but alone.
A very recent occurrence provides an example of what can happen to lodges that
dare try to orbit the Grand Hairball. A few years ago, a group of young men
dedicated themselves to reinvigorating their local lodge in Cleveland, Ohio. The
newly renamed Halcyon Lodge, #498 F & AM, beholden to the Grand Lodge of
Ohio, has a rich history going back to 1877. They occupied a magnificent temple,
which sadly, in a refrain all too familiar to most masons, was deteriorating due to
lack of attention and money. The building was home to a number of nonproductive
masonic tenants and little else.
The young men of Halcyon Lodge decided that it was time to take aggressive
action. First, they raised their outdated and grossly insufficient annual lodge dues
to $150. This caused a mass defection of “veteran” masons who apparently did
not think that their masonic experience was worth 42 cents a day. Had any who
were truly in distress asked for remission, it certainly would have been granted.
None did.
Next, the men of Halcyon Lodge took on their non-productive masonic cotenants.
They asked them to pay their arrearages and begin contributing to the
restoration of the Temple building. Their masonic brethren answered this call by
abandoning the temple to find cheap space in some other crumbling masonic
edifice. Ultimately, the men of Halcyon were left in sole possession of a tenantless
building that needed work. So they rolled up their sleeves and set to work!
They restored the grandeur of their lodge room, the elegance of their dining hall,
and added amenities like wireless Internet, HDTV, and workout equipment. But
they did not stop there. Seeing the opportunity in their underutilized asset, they
endeavored to build out rooms to serve the non-masonic community as well.
After meeting with their local youth boxing association (a 501(c)(3) charity), they
built a boxing ring! Their aim was to reimagine their heretofore mostly empty
temple into a vibrant community center that could once again teem with life.
Then, this lodge full of enthusiastic young men did the unthinkable: they gave
their shining temple away! One of the largest budget items for any lodge that
owns a temple building is real estate taxes. In Ohio, fraternal groups are not
exempt from real estate taxes; but charities are. So, in an inspired maneuver, the
young men of Halcyon Lodge formed a charity for the community and gave their
building and a substantial sum of money to this new charity that was created to
serve not just masons, but the community at-large. Now they could not only
claim an exemption from the heavy burden of real estate taxes, but they could
grant deductions from Federal income taxes for donations made to the entity.
And as their mission had expanded to serving the community as a whole, they
could now solicit support from that community.
Along the way these young men also embraced the Traditional Observance Lodge
movement, adopting TO practices like use of a Chamber of Reflection and an
intensive candidate education program. They created an impressive web site that
quickly became recognized as being one of the best lodge-hosted web sites on the
So, these enthusiastic, dedicated young men: revived their lodge, attracting new
young candidates to Freemasonry that had previously not found anything there
to interest them; restored their magnificent temple building; invited the
community into their newly restored building, turning a once mysterious
building into a hub of community activity (and exposing many people to
Freemasonry for the first time in the process); and solved the intractable real
estate tax problem by transferring their building to a 501(c)(3) charity. Any one
of these feats would be impressive, but the young men of Halcyon Lodge did them
all in less than three years!
And what was the Grand Lodge of Ohio’s response to their inspired success? Was
their success acknowledged? Were they asked to share their model as a template
for other lodges to follow? Were they even given an “atta-boy” from any grand
lodge officer? No. They were investigated, intimidated, castigated, probated, and
threatened. Why? Power and control, as always. In Ohio, the grand lodge tightly
regulates temple companies that own masonic buildings. In the eyes of the grand
lodge officers, the real estate transaction must have seemed like a plot to free
Halcyon Lodge from the power and control of the grand lodge, and that they
could not suffer.
Apparently, they did not care that the Halcyon Model made good sense or even
that it was wildly successful; all that mattered was their power and control.
Ultimately, on November 12, 2007, the brothers of Halcyon Lodge returned their
charter to the Grand Lodge of Ohio following a visit by a delegation of grand
lodge officers sent to threaten them into submission.17 Apparently, the Grand
Lodge of Ohio will suffer no orbiting satellites, no matter how successful they
may be.
Perhaps in the end, the need for grand lodges is more illusion than reality. Like
the Wizard of Oz, grand lodges attempt to project an image of being great and
powerful, but if you follow Toto and look behind the curtain, all too often you find
petty men, frantically turning knobs and pulling levers in a vain attempt to
appear more important than they really are. In order to encourage and organize
the creation of new lodges, eliminate the artificial divisions of state boundaries,
and liberate lodges from the whims of petty men vested with a little brief
authority, perhaps it’s about time we begin exploring a new organizational
structure for the 21st Century that is independent of the antiquated grand lodge
system. Exploring this new organizational structure is the topic in the next and
concluding section, Freemasonry 3.0.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

more here

Vox de Maat said...

Read the FACTS about this lodge and what they're accused of.

Vox de Maat said...

Read for yourself the FACTS of the accusations. Seek the WHOLE truth! Find the puppets who were used by former brothers to front thier bogus chairity.