Brethren and Friends,
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing you this statement. Dark times are upon us.
On Thursday, August 10, 2023 at 1000 am the charter of Austin Lodge No. 12 A.F.&A.M. was arrested by a delegation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas A.F.&A.M.. At this time Austin Lodge No. 12 is a Suspended Lodge according to Article 257 of the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
This suspension will be reported officially at the Grand Annual Communication in Waco on January 18-20, 2024. At that time Austin Lodge No. 12 has the right to seek authorization to reinstate the Charter.
The reason stated was for “violations of Grand Lodge law and un-Masonic conduct”. We have received no further information or clarification from any officials of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
The Lodge charter, officer jewels, Lodge seal, minutes, building keys, financial accounts, and related items have been handed over to the representatives of the Grand Lodge. The officers of Austin Lodge No. 12 have complied fully with the demands of the Grand Lodge and their representatives.
We are working diligently with the assigned representatives to get further clarification on the actual laws that might have been violated, by whom and in what capacity.
As a suspended Lodge, Austin Lodge No. 12 is prohibited from functioning as a regular lodge. That includes anything that requires official called or stated meetings. Therefore, the lodge can no longer confer any degrees, conduct proficiency examinations, or vote on petitions or demits.
Anyone who is working through their proficiency examinations or is awaiting degrees will still have to comply with the time limits fixed by Grand Lodge Law. The former officers of Austin Lodge No. 12 will help coordinate with the candidates to find local lodges that are willing to help in this difficult situation. We will request that the other lodges confer courtesy degrees and perform the proficiency examinations on behalf of Austin Lodge No. 12 for these individuals. Special dispensation has been granted for this purpose.
Any regular members of Austin Lodge No. 12 who are in good standing remain so. No individual member of Austin Lodge No. 12 is suspended, only the lodge itself. This Lodge Suspension does NOT affect YOUR status as a mason.
I charge you as a member of Austin Lodge No. 12 to remain steadfast in your conviction of the principles of freemasonry. And always be secure in the knowledge that you are loved by your brothers. We are there for you and each other. Even these dark clouds shall pass and we will overcome even the mightiest obstacles.
Finally, I urge you to be cautious in your communications and statements. Never forget the circumpunct. Circumscribe your desires and keep your passions within due bounds. Do NOT post anything in writing, more especially on social media, that could be taken out of context or misinterpreted. To paraphrase the Lawbook of the Grand Lodge of Texas: Title V, Chapter 2, Article 508.11 “It shall be a Masonic disciplinary violation for…an individual Mason to criticize Masonry, either publicly or privately.” I completely understand any feelings of confusion, frustration and even anger. As men it is within our nature to sometimes let our passions get the better of us. But PLEASE I beg of you, under NO circumstances post anything that could be taken as a violation of the above mentioned article. Not only will you be endangering your own personal masonic status, but it will also impact the ability of our lodge to recover from this suspension.
A quote from the Monitor: “The Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tiler’s Sword reminds us that we should ever be watchful AND guarded in our thoughts, words, and actions; ever bearing in remembrance those truly Masonic virtues: silence and circumspection.”
To quote the charge at closing: “Be diligent, prudent, temperate, discreet. Remember that around this altar you have promised to befriend and relieve every brother who shall need your assistance. Remember that you have promised to remind him, in the most tender manner, of his errors, and aid in his reformation. Vindicate his character when wrongfully traduced.”
Make use of the working tools of freemasonry, and be a shining example of all the good that Austin Lodge No. 12 has done, and will continue to do in masonry, the community and the world at large.
I close this statement with the greatest admiration to each and every one of you. It has been my great and distinct honor to be your Worshipful Master during this brief masonic year.
With brotherly love and affection,
Austin Lodge No. 12 A.F.&.A.M.
Worshipful Master (former)