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Criminal records and Masonry

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js584 View Drop Down
Quarryman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js584 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Criminal records and Masonry
    Posted: October/13/2014 at 5:10pm
I have a question for you folks and would appreciate your input.  

Let's say that a young man age 27 wants to become a Mason as his Grandfather was, however, he went through a STUPID phase when he was 18 and 19.  He was convicted of theft and resisting law enforcement and paid for his crimes as per the law.  Since then he has completely turned his life around, he has a good job, a wife and kids and is a leader in his church.  He wants to continue improving himself by joining us in our Craft.

OR

A man aged 44 who leads a good life but was convicted of drunk driving 22 years ago.

In both instances they were convicted of a felony and turned their lives around.  They both paid their debt to society and here is the sticking point.  The Bible which we take our obligations on is all about forgiveness and NOT judging.  (I am speaking only of the Holy Bible as I do not know what the other sacred texts contain, no offense meant)

I pose these scenarios because I have encountered similar circumstances, one was admitted and the other turned away.  I somewhat struggle with this as the rules are in plain black and white print and i'm not sure that I agree with allowing one and not the other or with denying both.  Where is the line drawn?  

Your thoughts please.
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edwmax View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/13/2014 at 6:46pm
This is always a difficult question to answer.  Just because a man is deemed a 'good man' dosen't mean he should be elected into Freemasonry.    Even more so for a 'good man' who had a shady past.

So the question that would have to be answered are:
What is the individual's standing and reputation in the community and how would this effect the Lodge?
What good is he already doing in the community?
What benefit would the Lodge gain if this individual became a member other than just being a dues paying member?

I would have to say a negative or neutral answer to any one of the above then a 'black cube' should be cast.
"He who would assume to govern others must first learn to govern himself."





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AaronSawyer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2014 at 1:08pm
The investigation committee should go over these issue, including questions such as edwmax mentioned.  Based off their recommendations, I would make my decision.  I believe in forgiveness and redemption.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cutter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2014 at 8:56am
I used to think - a record means no acceptance.  

But then I had a discussion of a two-time past master who told me a little story about himself.   He has a criminal record from decades ago as a result of a bar fight in which he was attacked and was defending himself.  The reason that he has a record was because a) he won the fight and b) his opponent was connected to law enforcement.

I can tell you that he is one hell of a guy and is a credit to the craft.  A really intelligent guy who is a very gentle soul and wise beyond his now 70(ish) years.  I believe he's been a mason for about 40 years now.

I think it depends on the circumstances of each individual situation.  It is the job of the investigating committee to delve deeper and get answers to difficult questions prior to making a recommendation either way.  Masonry has a pretty good screening system that works ONLY if we, the Brotherhood abide by its intent.  A candidate is recommended by a minimum of two.  They are investigated by a minimum of three who must be distinct of the previous two.  Then the remainder of the lodge ballots.  That's three screening chances.  "Bad Apples" getting through **should** be rare if we are to believe that we are all doing our jobs, whether it be signing, investigating or balloting.
- PM (2008) Balmoral Lodge #185, GL Alberta
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdwalker519 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2014 at 9:19am
Also, when a ballot is voted on, each Brother must vote his own conscience.  Some of our Brethren are unable to get past a DUI conviction.  I will not name the Lodge or the location or the timeframe, but I witnessed a ballot where the petitioner was rejected, and it was pretty clear that it was based on a DUI served more than 10 years prior....the petitioner was clean since and had done well in the community, specifically trying to atone for it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2014 at 6:35am
This is the age old - "can people change, and do they deserve a second chance?"

Yes, and yes.
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DISCLAIMER: These are my comments, and mine alone - they do not necessarily apply to any group to which I belong!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caution1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/19/2014 at 10:55am
Both are situations were I would put a white ball for either.
I: 10/1/10
P: 12/3/10
R: 12/31/10

PHA-AL

"You can't trust those fellow-crafts...buncha rogues and murderers!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/24/2014 at 9:47pm
One of the mottoes of Freemasonry is "We Take Good Men and Make Them Better" not "We take Perfect Men and Make them Better". 
Wentzville (MO) Lodge #46 - PM
Pride of the West (MO) Lodge #179 - PM (twice)
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Warrenton (MO) Lodge #609 - Secretary
Past DDGM - 25th Masonic District
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