The following is a translation of an article published on Friday, December 17th on the Myosotis Languedoc Roussillon blog. I know nothing about “Furax” the B who wrote it, I’ve never met him but I feel it expresses the true feelings of thousands of grassroots level BB of the GLNF.
The first word I saw upon entering the Chamber of Reflexion more the 20 years ago was “vigilance”. But freemasonry has taught me to relax, in total confidence and to open my heart to others: a fabulous experience. Over the years I carried on my Masonic activities in total confidence, with happiness, surrounded by my Brothers. I recall those blessed moments when spontaneous meals shared with Brothers were organised every weekend at the homes of one another, days of genuine brotherhood, each being available to the others.
One Sunday at a picnic, a Brother whom I had met some weeks previously over a brasucade (a sort of barbecue where mussels are cooked on a sheet of corrugated iron placed over hot coals) taught my daughter to dive and then, seated by the pool, gave me a memorable lesson on the history of masonry, in particular, his preferred rite. I saw this Brother again on numerous occasions, we got on well, he came to our house on several occasions accompanied by his partner where, casually dressed, in the shade of the parasol or playing petanque, we continued our exchanges. At the barbecue he was no great cook, but in opening my mind to symbolic reflexion, with warmth and brotherly affection, he had no equal.
Time passed in the relaxed atmosphere of happy moments shared with Brothers, each different, yet somehow similar.
One day, at a Provincial meeting – the first time I had attended such a function – I found my friend seated at the Orient. I discovered he was Past Provincial Grand Master, National Grand Officer plus a multitude of other titles and functions in a multitude of systems whose names I had only heard of.
It was the time of blessed brotherhood. It lasted, certainly, but as always, you only recognise happiness …….. when it’s no longer there.
Some years after my entry into Masonry everything went off balance, but it’s only thanks to you, Mister François Stifani, that I recently understood the importance of this change, and ”render unto Caesar….”, it is certainly thanks to you.
The Province was distant, it came closer, then worse still, a new Province was created, right here !! Catastrophe. The arrival of ambitions, manipulations, honours, medals, lots of glitter, little people who, as Claude Frisoni said, are seeking labels, in contrast to the great, who seek ethics. The freemasonry we are currently experiencing has changed radically in such a short time.
The proud and pompous are encouraged , and while our new leaders give the lie to the quotes we saw in the chamber of reflexion, “If you fear to have your faults exposed…..”, “If you seek after human distinctions…..”, “If you are capable of dissimulation …..”, they have proven right the other lesson of masonry that teaches us that the 3 fatal passions that destroy the mason are pride, envy and avarice.
Mister François Stifani, we have forgotten that the first word that masonry teaches us is “vigilance”.
Mister François Stifani, in forgetting this, we have opened our hearts to the detriment of a wariness and today the GLNF is at explosion point.
To every evil there is some good: we now know to what the forgetting of our duty can lead, overconfidence and a lack of vigilance.
Mister François Stifani, recent events have given me a new lesson in reality: I now know exactly what to think of the United Grand Lodge of England who apparently confers regularity on the basis of recognition.
Reflect, your actions and those of your predecessors, are brought into the light of day. We see who you really are, we discover to what degree our blind confidence has been abused. Recently your “Brèves” (the GLNF “official e-news sheet) has thrown in our faces the indignity of your personal ambitions, your moral mediocrity and your blind disrespect of others. Pride, envy and avarice.
We knew you to be proud, you have proved it on numerous occasions.
We knew that to become Grand Master, one needs great, great, very great desire (synonym of envy).
We read your latest declarations and we understand that, without the shadow of a doubt, behind all that avarice and cupidity, behind the“deals” as the uninitiated call them, and behind the silence of your predecessors, inevitably we think you have reasons to cling so doggedly to your place.
Evil is contagious. Earlier on I recalled the good old carefree times, then the arrival of the Province and how the fleeting glitter of the blue aprons blinded us. Now the time of shame has arrived.
We could put up with the situation….. after all you are alone and far away in that ivory tower that is your pride and in which you are the sole prisoner.
We could leave you to act as you do, since you are now only the faintest glimmer of a genuine Grand Master and your only authority is over your lackeys and flunkeys. After all, your predecessors, despite resembling you so closely, never succeeded in creating such a generalised movement of rejection.
I have tried to understand what has changed, what has pushed the brothers of the GLNF to cry out as a single voice, “Enough !!”, to the sound of the Marseillaise. I believe that what has changed is that you have mediatised the mediocrity of your littleness. You have violated all your oaths, even to the point of introducing the television cameras into the Temple.
What’s more, and above all, you are contagious ! And the contagion is violent, the loss of direction has filtered down to the level of our lodges !!
A Brother of longstanding, elected Worshipful Master, genuine and honest, was forced to resign a few months ago because, insulted and vilified by a perturbing, unstable “brother”, he asked the PGM to put an end to such agitation and his plea was rejected with condescension. Some years ago this disturber would never have gained entry into the GLNF. Blackballed by several obediences because of his condemnations in the civil courts, he has landed in our backyard because of the unhealthy compliance of those who have chosen to forget his heavily loaded judicial past and his condemnations. Before you, before the setting in place of your system of government, before all that you represent and that you throw in the face of one and all, and all that you have introduced into our good old GLNF, before all of that, none of this would have happened.
Mister François Stifani, understand this : the contagion has reached the level of the lodges, it is no longer possible for Brothers to close their eyes to what is going on. It is no longer possible to put up with the intolerable. We want to work as masons and this has become impossible since your arrival.
Dare I appeal to some feeling of dignity within you ? Why not ? Nothing is gained without an effort.
Mister François Stifani, how about returning to the columns with honour, what if you accepted to become again a “Brother” worthy of the name ?