Monday, December 10, 2012

South Carolina Informs Shrine No Expelled Masons!

I am a strong believer in Blue Lodge Masonry being a priority for Masons and was disappointed to see that the Shrine took a stance that seemed in violation of their agreement with Freemasonry as a Fraternity, if not in letter in spirit for certain.

That being said I think this letter from the Grand Master of South Carolina is a big deal.  Kudos to him for supporting the idea that if the Shrine wants a relationship with Masonry it should be supportive of the Grand Lodges in the jurisdictions it operates in.

Monday, December 3, 2012

An Open Letter to the Grand Master of Florida

December 3, 2012

Jorge L. Aladro
Grand Master
Grand Lodge of Florida
283 Deer Run Road 
Palm Bay, FL 32909-1182

Dear Most Worshipful Brother Jorge L. Aladro, Grand Master of Masons of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Florida and To All My Brethren in Freemasonry,

I provide this as both an open letter to all Freemasons and a plea to Most Worshipful Brother Jorge L. Aladro, the Grand Master of Masons in Florida.  

On November 28, 2012, Brother Aladro took the step of banning Paganism, Wiccan and Odinism, Agnosticism and Gnosticism.

He provided in a written decision, “...any member of the Craft that professes to be a member of one of the groups mentioned above shall tender his resignation or suffer himself to a Trial Commission whose final outcome will be expulsion…”

Brother Jorge, you have declared here that a man is not even provided a fair trial.  He is tried and then punished.  This is not Masonic.

Most Worshipful Brother Jorge, you are a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor and I likewise share this distinction with you.  As one who has been honored for his work in the quarries of Masonry I must remind you of your several obligations.  

You have solemnly vowed, “[I] will never countenance persecutions, or the reviling of 
others on account of their political, philosophical, or religious opinions.”  You have likewise promised to be “tolerant and of charitable opinion toward all Brethren.”

You have vowed, “I furthermore promise and vow, that I will, even at the peril of my life, help every true Brother if he be persecuted for his religion...."

In justification you have decreed that these faiths are not in keeping with the Landmarks of Masonry.  Ironically, the quotes you provide illustrate the tolerance of Masonry and not the intolerance of your personal decree.  

You quote as justification of your prejudice (your quotes are in red for ease of understanding), “A belief in the existence of one ever living and true God.

I ask you as a Mason to take notice that this quote does not declare the God of Abraham, Christ the Savior, or of the other names assigned by man to Deity.  It specifically provides that a man simply need a belief in God.  It is strongly worded because of what it does not say.  It is sad that any man could read such a tolerant statement and provide such a bigoted response.  We must have the courage as Freemasons to honor the spirit of this Landmark.

You provided “A belief in the immortality of the human soul and a resurrection thereof to a Future Life.

I would argue strongly that this is not a Landmark, but even so a short study of history will provide that you have not listed a single faith in your list that does not ascribe to this belief.  All of the religions you listed profess a belief in a soul.  Paganism is a broad term, but we first hear of the idea of a savior, salvation of the soul, and an afterlife in the so called pagan religions long before Christ was ever known.  This is historical fact, and not philosophical truth, that even the most Christian of archeologist and religious scholars would agree with.

Agnosticism is not a religion, but simply a belief that man is not sure and provides he cannot know for certain.  It is a broad philosophy and there are certainly agnostics who believe in God and an afterlife, but simply do not profess to know the specifics and are courageous enough in their faith to say, “I am sure of only one truth and the rest I give to God.”

A fellow Mason once said, “Knowledge is the most genuine and real of human treasures; for it is Light, as Ignorance is Darkness.”  I beg of you in the Masonic sense Brother to educate yourself so that we can cast a light upon this intolerant darkness you have created.

You provided, “The Volume of the Sacred Law, open upon the altar, is an indispensable furnishing of every regular Lodge while at labor.

Which provides the most glaring example of the spirit of our Landmarks.  The Volume of Sacred law is not given a name here so that the holy book or writings of any faith might be recognized as equally valuable.

Remember these words Brother Jorge, which I am certain you have heard and obligated yourself to, “You must first understand, my Brother, that Freemasonry does not encroach upon the just privileges of religion. The Fraternity does not claim to provide salvation of the soul or entrance into Heaven. It affirms that God exists, that there is benefit in prayer, and that man owes it to himself to return to that Sanctuary which best increases his faith in our Creator—that Omnipotent Being in whom you professed belief prior to joining a Masonic Lodge.” 

You finish by declaring wholesale that devoted Brethren and men who love God with all their hearts are somehow Atheist or libertines, the latter a word I am guessing by your choice you are wholly unfamiliar with its meaning and usage at the time it was first referred to in regards to Masonry.  You provide, “A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious libertine.

My dear Brother Jorge, no title, throne, or position that man can attain brings with it an unquestionable knowingness.  There is not assimilated gnosis that occurs with the gavel of Grand Master.  So in that regard I ask you to pray and meditate upon your decision.  It is un-Masonic.  Worse it shows a certain ignorance of the faiths mentioned and cast a negative light upon the Fraternity, which you were charged in your Entered Apprentice degree never to do.  

I ask you Brother Jorge to immediately reverse your decision.  I ask you to pick up a book and read about the faiths you have ridiculed with your decision.  I ask you to ask for forgiveness from the Brethren you have harmed with your foul decree and say to them that even in power there is error.  Level yourself with them and asked their pardon.

So that you might some resources to begin your quest, I have provided them at the end of the list letter as a post script.  I do not pretend Brother Jorge that I am enlightened.  I am human and full of failure.  But, in my failures I have found strength, because with each of them Christ grows within me because he, in his infinite wisdom, has planted a lesson.  

I ask that you allow this situation to become as God would want it to be, a chance at growth, wisdom, and reflection.


R∴W∴B Cliff Porter


My Brother, please keep in mind describing any religious belief is precarious.  Just as no Christian closes his eyes and imagines God in exactly the same way, so too, no one man can speak for any of the faiths you have struck out against.  In general terms, however, in the Wiccan faith we find:

A belief in a Supreme Being.  God is all and within all; all are one God.

Incarnation of God on earth in the form of spiritual energies

A creative God who created the Universe and is one with it.

A belief in an afterlife either through reincarnation or much like the Judaism, a kind of less defined knowing that there is something but it being less defined than the Christian heaven with a mansion and so on.

A salvation that teaches humans can attain spiritual balance and harmony with each other and nature. “Ethical choices are influenced by a belief that one is rewarded or punished within this or after this lifetime for one's choices and an ethical code to do no harm.”

For further research into Wicca I recommend and Modern Wicca: A History From Gerald Gardner to the Present by Michael Howard.

As far as Paganism goes, that is a broad term.  The term pagan was created by the Christian church to demean all other faiths outside of Christianity and imply that the practitioners were poor and uneducated.  

However, I recommend the study of the Egyptian pantheon as it is one of the most famous of the now pagan faiths.  You will be surprised to find a belief in God, a belief in a Father, Mother, and Son trinity.  Within the trinity the father or son are killed, they raise again, and rule over both the earth and the afterlife.  There are some who believe the lord’s prayer of the Christian faith were taken from a collection of text that exist on both papyri and on pyramid walls now referred to collectively as “The Egyptian Book of the Dead.”  You may access this online or by reading my favorite translation “The Egyptian Book of the Dead” translated and edited by Wallace Budge.

I think you would benefit as well from reading Samuel Angus’ definitive collegiate work called, “The Mystery Religions” wherein you will be shocked at the origins of Christian practice and worship.  In the same vein, but less textbook and more edgy is Timothy Freke’s and Peter Gandy’s, “The Jesus Mysteries.”  

In regard to Gnosticism.  

Gnosticism is the oldest provable form of Christianity if you use the dating of known Christian text.  I believe there is no greater explanation than that of the source and many of these text can be read at

If, however, you prefer a good book, then I recommend Gnosticism & Early Christianity by Robert M. Grant, The Gnostics: Myth, Ritual, and Diversity in Early Christianity by David Brakke, and The Psyche in Antiquity:  Gnosticism and Early Christianity by Edward F. Edinger and Deborah A. Wesley 

I do not profess to know much of Odinism or Astarte, but I do know that Odin is viewed in much the same way as Christ.  The allegorical savior of the world against the evil nemesis and trickster named Loki.  It shares many similarities with a faith in Christ and pre-dates the Christian religion.  I would not be so quick to judge it.