Posts Tagged ‘Un Masonic Conduct’
Recent reports indicate that the Grand Lodge of Nebraska is in turmoil.
John Parsons, Grand Master of Masons in 2010, is refusing to yield his office to Grand Master David Watts, who was regularly elected Grand Master in 2011, and several Past Grand Masters appear to be supporting Parson’s effort to maintain control.
A Nebraska Mason wrote about the situation demanding that PGM John Parsons be put on trial:
PGM John Parsons, the most recent Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska does not hold the title of Grand Master by the By-Laws of the Grand Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. Many Masons in Nebraska feel Parsons is a good man who let power of his office go to his head.
PGM Parsons while still in office took upon himself [with the encouragement of numerous other Past Grand Masters] to remain as Grand Master illegally to inhibit and to stop the duly elected Grand Master E. David Watts from being duly installed.
This breach of power will hurt the Nebraska Masonry for years to come. The continued lack of respect and proper transfer of duly elected representation has caused total unrest in the Masonic Community.
George Washington could have been king, but sought to have a smooth transition in an elected office. Washington too was a Mason; one would do well to practice what history has taught us, if there is to be a Masonic Trial, let it be as called for in the Nebraska by-laws, not a which hunt. Condemning a brother and trying to keep him from an elected office is unheard of, more so what will be said when the courts drop charges!
. . . Hang him, Give him a fair trial, then our consensuses will be clear! Right? or does the Nebraska Mason, the membership see through this?
PGM John Parsons most likely will face numerous charges the worst being the abuse of power and un-Masonic activities including causing damage to the reputation of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. His self-serving action has caused a division in the already weakened membership.
PGM John Parsons actions while illegal were basted on a situation involving the then Grand Master elect E. David Watts. The situation involves accusations that E. David Watts was involved in domestic violence as reported by an employee of the Lincoln Police department.
There were many discrepancies in the reported news release, including firing of a handgun which was found not to have been discharged and the purported request to leave a residence by the assailant’s mother. The actual finding will eventually show that two individuals, one banishing a machete attacked the Grand Master elect E. David Watts and severely beat him as can bee seen on several website. A call was made to the police department by the assailant and charges were made against Grand Master elect E. David Watts. This, while on the surface is damaging, the fact that what Masons pride themselves on the most, honesty, not guilty until proven guilty are all but lost in Nebraska by the actions of a self-serving egotistical PGM [Parsons] who still thinks he is Grand Master!
Grand Master E. David Watts was properly installed as Grand Master in accordance with the By-Laws of the Grand Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska AF& AM.
This is what Parsons and a company of followers were attempting to stop. Since the news of the installation, Parsons is now saying that the Oldest living Grand Master and the Grand Custodian along with all members of the installing lodge are “clandestine Masons”. Now Parsons is bringing unfounded Masonic Charges against some of the most notable Masons in Nebraska to overturn this installation. We believe the date to be March 16th 2011.
Let us look at a very realistic scenario: All the charges against E. David Watts are dropped, he is found innocent. What will become of those who caused such a divide in Nebraska? Will David Watts file a libelous law suit against Parsons? Who is really behind the discord, will the members of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska be properly informed.
The similarity of current events in Nebraska to those in the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, as reported here in previous articles, is impossible to ignore. Parsons appears to be following the example set by Arkansas Grand Master, George R. Franks, Jr., and if that course remains true, mass expulsions of Nebraska Masons who question his behavior, will soon be the result.
A former candidate for Nebraska’s state legislature wrote the following about the ongoing events:
The fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons teaches its members the virtues of honesty and truth. The Bylaws of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Nebraska require “Masonic Trials” to be conducted by commissions which are fair, honest and unbiased. It has become obvious this has not always been the case in the Nebraska. PAST Grand Master John Parsons has and is exhibiting conduct contrary to the teachings of Freemasonry. The fraternity has long been noted for its high level of honorable and civil decorum. Such is rightfully expected of all Masons including Parsons. He should either “shape up” or be “shipped out.” Additionally, he has time and again violated both the letter and the spirit of Masonic Laws as set forth in the Grand Lodge’s Constitution and Bylaws. Serious consideration should be given to taking steps to expel him from the fraternity!It’s time for ALL Nebraska Masons to know what has been going on “behind their backs” In some areas of government, it might be called “back channeling” or clandestine dealings outside of prescribed and lawful avenues. It appears the Grand Lodge of Nebraska has been taken over by a self-appointed group of Past Grand Masters and their cronies reducing all honest and trusting Masons to being nothing more than a source of funding to support their wishes and whims. Most of the evil doers are attorneys.
Years ago, a Past Grand Master told another that “ONLY LAWYERS ARE QUALIFIED TO BE A GRAND MASTER.” Aside from the fact he was an honorable judge who did a lot of good for Freemasonry, he was a member of the self-protecting bar of Nebraska – he was a rather arrogant attorney. So it follows that many Masonic attorneys believe non-attorney Masons are incompetent to lead the Grand Lodge. For the record, there are an abundance of honest and honorable lawyers who are Masons, they are just sometimes hard to find!
Several years back, a group of conspiring attorneys created the position of “Deputy Grand Master” and designated the man also as “Grand Master Elect.” This meant the man elected would be available for two years rather than one for the bad guys to get their hooks into him. Here is how it is done.
The “Jurisdiction Committee” which is habitually dominated by lawyers has maneuvered itself into making Nebraska Masons believe it is the last word on Masonic matters. Further its members believe they can control the seated Grand Master. Many of those holding the top office have been beaten down by the overpowering lawyers on the committee to the extent they have essentially abdicated control of the fraternity to that committee. That’s were they are wrong, for the Jurisdiction Committee is only ADVISORY to the Grand Master. Thus, the newly installed Grand Master, David Watts may choose to pay little or no attention to the committee particularly since its members appear to be “spring loaded” against him.
Here’s the latest. On the evening of 17 February 2011, before the close of a duly opened Lodge of Master Masons in Wood River, Nebraska (Cement Lodge #211), the oldest living Past Grand Master of Masons in Nebraska, Donald Swanson, properly and formally installed David Watts as the new Grand Master replacing Parsons.
Careful attention was given to the installation being done in strict accordance and compliance with established procedures and within the scope of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Grand Lodge. There were 14 members present, two of which were Past Grand Masters. This was done in spite of the fact Parsons had sent a letter to all Past Grand Masters telling them he would have them expelled from Masonry if they participated in installing Watts. I forgot to mention, the installation had to be done by a Past Grand Master. Swanson was the only one willing to thumb his nose at Parsons and see the deed was done without interruption.
The following Saturday, Dave Watts, the newly installed Grand Master, traveled to Alliance, Nebraska and installed the other “elected” officers of Grand Lodge. He thereafter went directly to Denver, Colorado to attend a regional conference of Grand Masters as Nebraska’s representative.
Past Masters Dean Skokan, John Parsons and Dwight Smith showed up with what they thought was a “grand plan” to take over the installation according to our sources, but were stifled by the fact Watts had already been installed. Watts and Past Grand Master Scott Krieger (who had also been formally installed by Swanson two nights before as Grand Custodian”) conducted the installations without interruption. For those unfamiliar with Masonic terminology, the “Grand Custodian” and his deputies regularly check the ritual work being done in each of the lodges to insure uniformity.
What evidence exists that Parsons acted in collusion with other to rig the “election” of officers of the Grand Lodge? Parsons circulated far and wide a mailing including a letter above his signature, such being dated October 2010. The letter in part stated, “After the close of Annual Communication on Saturday, the Installation of the 2011 Grand Lodge Officers will be held, set to begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception following. The Installation is open to all who wish to attend.” Note this was FOUR MONTHS BEFORE THE GRAND LODGE MEETING. The mailing included a schedule of events showing there would be an ‘ELECTION OF OFFICERS…” which was to take place on 5 February 2011 after 8:30 a.m. Additionally, the mailing contained an invitation to attend the “Installation of the 2011-2012 Officers” of the Grand Lodge who were all named in the invitation. THUS, THE SO CALLED “ELECTION” HAD BEEN DECIDED FOUR MONTHS BEFORE IT TOOK PLACE. It therefore follows conclusively, that all Masonic delegates to the “154th Annual Communication” (convention) of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska were LIED TO and the “ELECTION” WHICH HAD BEEN RIGGED BY PARSONS AND OTHERS WAS MEANINGLESS.” SIMPLY PUT, THEIR VOTES DIDN’T ACTUALLY COUNT!
Finally, the most serious of all of the offenses committed by Parsons has been the RIGGING OF MASONIC TRIALS. Parsons spent decades in the United State Air Force and reached a fairly high rank in the officer corps before retirement. Thus, it is presumed he had to be able to read and understand laws, military, civilian and also Masonic. It has long been known that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” for committing a crime. Rigging a civilian court case by paying off a judge with money or an appointments to a position of importance IS A CRIME! Similarly, rigging a military tribunal could get one a dishonorable discharge. RIGGING A MASONIC TRIBUNAL is no less serious and in my opinion, the penalty for being involved in such should be no less stringent.
The Grand Master and he alone appoints the members of every Trial Commission placing him in a position, if he chooses to do so, to exert influence and pressure on his appointees so as to RIG the outcome of trials. He also appoints members of the Grievance Committee which is the appellate body in the Nebraska Grand Lodge. By keeping the findings of both the Trial Commissions and the Grievance Committee secret, evil doers have the ability to keep all of their dastardly deeds from Nebraska Masons. It can therefore be manipulated to become a closed circle of evil which can KEEP ALL OTHER NEBRASKA MASONS FROM EVER KNOWING THE CLANDESTINE DEALINGS OF A CAREFULLY SELECTED FEW.
On 18 August 2010, Parsons sent the top officers in the line of Grand Lodge the following message. “As a further update, AJ is about ready to close out his trial, and I think Dean is pretty close as well. I’ll get on Lynn Alexander’s case (that’s been dragging on too damn long). Patrick McCormick has started his as well. As a side note, I’VE ASSEMBLED COPS AND RETIRED MILITARY GUYS FOR DEAN’S AND PATRICK’S COMMISSIONS. WE’LL GIVE THE SOB A FAIR TRIAL BEFORE HIS HANGING. I want to get commissions appointed and trials concluded before the year is over…..” [emphasis added]
It is believed the “Dean” referred to in the communications to be none other than Past Grand Master Dean Skokan, former Fremont Nebraska City Attorney. If so, one might one suspect Skokan could have possibly engaged in corrupting justice in a similar manner in his former public position. One wonders how many innocent people might have been the victims of corrupt practices of a public attorney! Did Dean Skokan and Patrick engage in collusion with Parsons to rig “Masonic Trials”? You be the judge!
If that happened, I believe the “SOB(s)” victimized by fraternal corruption may have civil recourse in a real court of law!. In any event. JOHN PARSONS FLATLY ADMITTED TO ENGAGING IN CONDUCT DESIGNED TO RIG ONE OR MORE MASONIC TRIALS.”
In another communication we have learned “Parsons says he is going to expel Swanson and pull the charter from Wood River Lodge for allowing the installation” of Watts. Further, we have learned Parsons “has also given orders to the Grand Lodge office” that Watts “can have no access to any services.”
Frankly, we believe Parsons and his Gold Chain Gang cronies don’t have the “scrotal capacity” (balls) to take on Swanson who is known and respected in Masonic circles around the world.
An interesting questions now arises. Past Grand Master Russ Reno has joined Lancaster Lodge #54 in Lincoln and has been elected its Secretary. In that lodge are also Past Grand Masters James Brown and Don Swanson. Since “Masonic Charges” have to originate in the lodge to which an alleged offender is a member and must be preferred by a member of that lodge, will Brown be stupid enough to throw rocks at Swanson who is a significant benefactor of the University of Nebraska where Brown is a professor? Or will Reno be stupid enough to take on Swanson when he, Reno, was not able to rid the fraternity of FOUR SEX OFFENDERS during his term in office. One of those was charged three times with Sex Offenses. He was convicted and incarcerated for two of those three crimes. In the first case, he was found guilty for having sex with a NINE YEAR OLD GIRL? That certainly is a crime involving moral turpitude which is an “enumerated offense.”
Had it not been for this writer getting word to Reno the Sex Offender was about to be installed as Master of Liberty Lodge #300, that man – who is still a Mason – would have presided over my own former lodge. By the way, the secretary of Liberty Lodge is Bruce Watkins who has for a number of years BEEN GRAND SECTARY OF THE GRAND LODGE!!!! Watkins participated in making the Sex Offender a MASTER MASON and was present in lodge over the years when the man was passing up the latter nearly reaching the top position.
Master Masons of Nebraska you owe it to the fraternity to DO ALL YOU CAN TO ASSIST THE NEWLY INSTALLED GRAND MASTER DAVE WATTS IN PUTTING MASONRY BACK ON TRACK. Dave is a rock solid Mason and a successful business man. He knows how to make a business grown and he can bring that knowledge and willingness to serve to the fraternity in an outstanding manner during the next year. Join with him and many others who want to promote civility and to cast out the corruption which currently exists in the Masonic Fraternity in Nebraska!
In conclusion, I’ll use the words of a famous Master Mason – Paul Harvey, who incidentally was a graduate of Tulsa Central High School many years before me…….”AND NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY.”
Recent reports have claimed that the newly elected Grand Master resigned, but such accounts appear to have been fabricated. Although the situation is still unfolding, it’s apparent that corruption and malice are continuing to grow in “mainstream” American Freemasonry, where virtue and morality once reigned supreme.
Below are documents and a write-up from a brother out of Florida. His expulsion seemed to be an effort to diminish the brother’s testimony. He reported on possible abuses of a DeMolay father to the Grand Lodge because he wanted to protect future children from molestation by a “well-respected” leader in Florida Freemasonry. At least sixteen boys were victims. This continues to show the abusive, and sometimes perverse, attitudes perpetuated by the Grand Lodges in the United States.
The Grand Lodge system, particularly in the South, is one of the greatest failures of American Masonry. Instead of upholding strong virtues, the system has become one of abuse, fraud, perversion, and evil-doing. The leaders developed methods to abuse the protective Masonic landmarks for their own purposes, forever smearing the good name of Freemasonry.
Grand Lodges that have incorporated (and most have), are no longer purely private organizations, but have entered the civil realm, and are now subject to civil authority and to the rules of incorporation in their state. They can no longer legally violate the civil rights of their members, nor commit injustices with impunity. Civil courts will rule upon their practices because they’ve removed themselves from the exclusive private world, and become public entities.
My expulsion couldn’t have happened at a better time in my life! I’d just finished serving as the Worshipful Master of Northside Lodge No. 283, in St. Petersburg, Florida, where I was confronted by the petty politics of those jealous of my accomplishments. I served as Curator of the Florida Masonic Museum at the Masonic Home, and was ready to spread my wings and move on to other Masonic projects I’d been planning!
The Internet was still new to me in 1998, but I quickly saw the educational value, and tried to persuade the Deputy Grand Master and incoming Grand Master, Jacque Couture, to display the museum collections online, thereby making them accessible to people all over the world. Grand Master Couture had already recognized my work on behalf of Masonry, and appointed me to the General Services Panel at the Masonic Home, as well as the Masonic Renewal Committee, and the Penal Affairs Committee.
The website, to which I’d hoped to dedicate my time, however, was not to be. Grand Master Couture claimed that the $19.95 per month web hosting fee would be a strain on Grand Lodge finances, so it quickly became evident that I personally had to fund the new museum/library venture on my own. It became Phoenixmasonry.
Within days, I was sent a certified letter from the Grand Master, terminating my appointment as Curator of the Florida Masonic Museum. A few weeks later, my lodge charged me with un-Masonic conduct, and Grand Master Couture appointed a committee to investigate those charges. The committee determined the charges were unfounded.
First, I protested being discharged as Curator of the Florida Masonic Museum, after Grand Master Couture accused me of selling Masonic artifacts that didn’t belong to me. The truth was that 90% of the collection at the Masonic Home Museum actually DID belong to me, and I had every right to buy, sell or trade as I saw fit, to improve the quality of the display. That fact was understood by Past Grand Master Samuel Cowan, who envisioned the Masonic Home Museum, and dedicated it in 1997. After a thorough investigation by Past Grand Master David Eschrich, of the Grand Lodge Jurisprudence Committee, it was recommended that I be reinstated as Curator. No one else was qualified, or wanted to do the job!
Second, I had to respond to my lodge about their charges of un-Masonic conduct. It was alleged that I lied on my petition to gain admission to Freemasonry, but the timing was certainly questionable, as I’d been a perpetual member in good standing for nine years. I’d been through the chairs, served as Worshipful Master, and was currently serving on a couple of Grand Lodge committees!
The un-Masonic conduct charge was untrue, and I supplied letters from many reputable Masons who investigated my petition when I joined. I read to the lodge letters from Past Grand Master Samuel Cowan, Right Worshipful Louis Drake, Right Worshipful Paul Leathers, Worshipful Charles Jatko, and my father, James R. Lettelier.
I did have a criminal conviction in my past, but I served my probation honorably, and my civil rights were restored before I ever applied for membership in Northside Lodge. The Masonic Digest of Florida is very specific about having civil rights restored before becoming a Freemason!
Grand Master Couture succeeded in pushing the un-Masonic conduct charge from the lodge level to a Grand Lodge Tribunal, after violating every Masonic Law of due process. Penal Code Section 44.25, states: “Charges shall be in writing and conform to the following: …(d) Each charge shall specify…the name or names of witnesses having knowledge of such action and upon whose testimony the accuser or accusers will rely upon at trial of the accused.” The charges filed on October 3, 1998, failed to specify the names of any witnesses of the alleged violation of Penal Code 44.07, and were legally insufficient.
Additionally, Penal Code Section 44.34(c) states: “The accused shall have the right to be present at the time of the reading of the charges and the answer but shall retire from the Lodge immediately thereafter and shall not be permitted to be present at the time of discussion or voting.” On the night my charges were read, October 19, 1998, the Worshipful Master ordered me not to attend.
On November 16, 1998, without notifying me, the lodge took a third vote on whether to pursue charges, and by so doing, violated my right of due process, failing to notify me of the vote, and denying me of the right to be present for the reading of the charges and my answer. (See the letter of protest from my attorney, Alan Rosenthal.)
Finally, my expulsion from the fraternity was in violation of Penal Code Section 44.56, which specifically states: “Expulsion is the severest penalty for the punishment of offenses known to the plan of Freemasonry and it drives its subject from the circle of the Mystic Brotherhood. It is, therefore, properly applied only to the gravest offenses known to Masonic Law. It may properly be inflicted upon a provoking repetition of an offense for which a Brother has been suspended, or for the violation of the Mystic Covenant of Secrecy, or for the violation of any injunction of the moral law which exhibits an intolerable degree of moral depravity.”
I was not found guilty of a provoking any repetition of an offense for which I’d been suspended, nor a violation of the Mystic Covenant of Secrecy, nor for violating the moral law which exhibits an intolerable degree of moral depravity (emphasis added). I was found guilty under Penal Code Section 44.07, of “obtaining a Degree or Degrees of Freemasonry by fraud, untrue statements or representations, or by knowingly concealing and withholding information relevant and material to eligibility for such Degrees.” According to Florida Masonic law, the maximum penalty for that violation is a suspension, and my expulsion was not in accord with the law.
I believe that the expulsion was imposed in an attempt destroy my credibility, as I was to testify on behalf of the DeMolay boys who’d been molested! During the year that took place, I served on Grand Master Couture’s Penal Affairs Committee, in Zone 6, District 21. It was my duty to report problems in my Masonic district, and I did report the incident of John Shirley giving alcohol to DeMolay boys, and taking pornographic pictures of them at a Masonic youth camp. After my trial lodge filed its charges, on December 18, 1998, the St. Petersburg Times published an article about a Mason from a nearby lodge, who was caught molesting DeMolay boys while serving as their chapter “dad.”
I was a member of the Grand Master’s District Publicity and Public Relations Committee, and on December 22, 1998, a reporter from the St. Petersburg Times, asked me what I knew, and when I knew it. I told the Times the same thing I’d told Couture months before, but when the reporter called Grand Master Couture to confirm it, Coutre claimed I was lying! On December 23, 1998 (the very next day), the St. Petersburg Times confirmed I’d been telling the truth, and that the Grand Lodge of Florida, as well as DeMolay leaders at the State and National level, knew very well about Shirley’s reported abuse, yet did nothing.
It’s the old traditional view in Freemasonry that you keep everything in house no matter what the issue is; you don’t sully the name of the fraternity with problems. The leadership of Florida wanted the problems to be “hush, hush” and to sweep it under the rug. They knew that if such horrors became public, it would destroy the fraternity’s name and the membership to decline.
The worst thing about the molestation of these innocent boys by Shirley came when the abuse was made public…the Grand Lodge of Florida and DeMolay International circled the wagons and treated the victims like filth. The boys believed in Freemasonry through DeMolay. No assistance was given for the needed help and counseling. As a result, St. Petersburg Chapter of DeMolay, a once thriving Chapter of one hundred or more, is now defunct.
The former DeMolay “dad,” John Shirley, was convicted and sentenced to multiple life terms in the Florida Department of Corrections for molesting sixteen boys! I received a letter from the Department of Corrections on September 28, 2010, informing me that John Shirley is now deceased. The victims and their parents sued DeMolay International, and settled their lawsuits for many millions of dollars using my deposition testimony! Grand Master Jacque Couture died of cancer in June, 2003.
From time to time, people ask me: “Why are you so loyal to Freemasonry, and why do you keep working so hard to promote the craft, after being tinged with expulsion?” I simply reply that I wasn’t expelled by Freemasonry, rather by men of questionable character who claim to be Freemasons, but have no real concept of the principles Freemasonry teaches, or what it’s truly all about!”
It would be a great success to see the Grand Lodge system reigned in and reestablished as providers and protectors of true Masonic principles.
Bro. Lettelier has since joined the ranks of Co-Masonry after the debacle with the Grand Lodge in Florida. He has continued to build one of the greatest museums and libraries of Freemasonry. Most of it is available online through his website and websites authorized to reproduce the materials he’s derived. Bro. Lettelier invites any Freemason to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org should they like further information or to discuss the above subject matter.