Reports of charges filed against PGM Billings

We have received reports that charges were filed against PGM Billings at Brooklyn Lodge #386’s stated meeting on Saturday night. Brooklyn Lodge is the home lodge of, and frequently attended by, PGM Wendell Miller.

While we do not have a copy of the charges (you may send them anonymously to [email protected]), we believe these charges are an attempt at undermining PGM Billing’s candidacy for Grand Secretary.

We will update this post as more information comes to light.

Grand Master Removes Chairman of Finance

M:W: G. Clay Smith has removed brother Ronald Wise as Chairman of Finance.

In our last post, we wrote about how the Grand Master ordered a special investigation into the financial affairs of the Offices of the Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary.

The audit team was to report to the Trustees on April 7th. Brother James Parker, the vice-chair of the Committee on Finance, provided an advanced copy of the report to the Grand Master. The night before Brother Ronald Wise was to give the report, M:W: G. Clay Smith emailed Brother Wise informing him his services on the committee had been terminated.

Our understanding is the report confirmed the information provided in our previous blog entry – no misconduct on the part of the Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary, or R:W: Brad Billings was found.

Why was the Chairman of Finance removed? Was Brother James Parker seeking chairmanship? Is M:W: G. Clay Smith solely focused on ruining the names of brothers who oppose him?

Grand Master audits records of the Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary – finds nothing

The Grand Master, G. Clay Smith, ordered a special investigation into the financial affairs of the Offices of the Grand Treasurer and the Grand Secretary which he has the authority to do under Article 26 of the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas. The audit team was comprised of only two people on the Finance Committee.

The Grand Master ordered the audit team to focus on finding funds used by the Grand Lodge of Texas on Whiskey. As you may recall, last year sales proceeds from a special batch of whiskey were donated to the Grand Lodge of Texas. The production and sale took place outside the finances and jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas, to comply with the laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas, and more especially, the laws of the State of Texas. The audit concluded its examination of the Grand Treasurer & Secretary records last week and found nothing.

This special investigation is in addition to the annual audit. We were informed that multiple people were targets of the Grand Master’s special investigation:

  • Certain staff members in the Grand Secretary’s office
  • The Grand Treasurer
  • The Grand Secretary
  • Past Grand Master Billings
  • Certain members of the Finance Committee
  • Certain members of the Jurisprudence Committee

While the Grand Master has absolute authority to request a special investigation into any actions of the Grand Lodge, we question the use of resources. Is this where your money should be spent?

We would like to thank the brethren who submitted information confirming the details of this investigation. Otherwise, the Grand West may never have known the investigation occurred. We look forward to reading the Grand Master’s report and the report of the Finance committee which should provide details about the reason for, the scope of, and the specific findings of this investigation.

Charges Sent to Terry Stogner’s Lodges

Some of you may have heard rumors about charges being sent to several of Terry Stogner’s lodges. A copy of the Masonic Form No. 1 is below.

Brother Terry Stogner, a Past Grand Master of Texas handed Brother G. Clay Smith, Grand Master of Texas, the charges against Brother Jim Rumsey during the open installation of Grand Lodge officers.

We do not expect the Grand Master, G. Clay Smith to accept the charges.

Is Speech Free in Texas Freemasonry?

Is speech free in Texas freemasonry? The simple answer is “no.” The longer answer is much more complicated. Why is it complicated? Because the idea of free speech has always been complicated and fraught with exceptions. There are many aspects to this question, but let us break them down and take this question into pieces.

Free speech in civil society is protection from repercussions from our government. There are no protections from repercussions from private citizens or organizations. This means if you say, for instance, “George is quick to anger and untrustworthy,” the government cannot seek to prevent you from continuing to say this. George may be upset, but he cannot seek recourse through the legal system. George can, however, tell all his friends that you are untrustworthy.

Freemasonry, many academics agree, was founded to promote free speech in a time when speaking against the king was a death sentence. Freemasonry provided safe spaces for free expression and discussion of free ideas. We ask again, “Is speech free in Texas freemasonry?”

Our Grand Lodge is chartered as a Texas Corporation, whose corporate charter is dependant on upholding the laws of the state where enumerated, and the laws of the United States, where silent. We have thoroughly reviewed our Grand Lodge’s law book and we must say we are stunned. There are no protections for free speech in our law, and this is in total contradiction to the First Amendment, but more importantly, the ideals freemasonry was founded upon.

Current case law has set a precedent for and upholds the suppression of free speech by corporations, over their employees. Private organizations, including individuals, businesses, clubs, and nonprofit organizations are not bound by first amendment constraints as regards to an organization’s ability to restrain the speech of their members.

The First Amendment prohibits governmental infringement on the right of free speech. Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 837, 102 S. Ct. 2764, 73 L. Ed. 2d 418 (1982); see also Anderson v. Pasadena Indep. Sch. Dist., 184 F.3d 439, 444 (5th Cir. 1999) (“It is well established that a state may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise retaliate against a public employee for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech”).

Similarly, the Fifth Amendment only applies to governmental actors. See S.F. Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. U.S. Olympic Comm., 483 U.S. 522, 543, 107 S. Ct. 2971, 97 L. Ed. 2d 427 (1987) (“The fundamental inquiry is whether the [defendant] is a governmental actor to whom the prohibitions of the Constitution apply.”); see also Flagg Bros., Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 156, 98 S. Ct. 1729, 56 L. Ed. 2d 185 (1978) (“[M]ost rights secured by the Constitution are protected only against infringement [**32] by governments.”).

The protections of the First and Fifth Amendments do not extend to private conduct, only to government action. See Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n v. Tarkanian, 488 U.S. 179, 191, [*575] 109 S. Ct. 454, 102 L. Ed. 2d 469 (1988).

Our concern is that on paper we are governed as an effective tyranny and that our current form of governance does not square with the same forms of our civil governing structures.  We can resolve this issue through our current laws, but the door appears to be welded shut as it is considered a Masonic offense …

TITLE V – CHAPTER 2, Art. 508(28)

28. To circularize by letter or other form of publication other Lodges in this Grand Jurisdiction proposing or advocating any amendments, repeal or enactments of laws in or by this Grand Lodge, without first securing a dispensation for such purpose from the Grand Master.

If we have any hope of fixing our Grand Lodge, we must first repeal this supposed enumerated violation. Once it is gone, the Grand West can openly assemble and reform the Constitution according to our wishes, perhaps put the “Free” back into Freemasonry, and remove absolute executive power. There are no checks and balances at present and chief among these is freedom of speech to openly question the actions of a Grand Master.

We believe that our codification of the absolute power of our chief executive on this and many other points, and more importantly the suppression of the free speech of our members, puts the membership status of anyone who speaks out about our Grand Master at grave risk.

The absence of codified free speech provisions in our laws does not serve the best interest of anyone, regardless of their allegiances.

Further Background Information on Art. 508(28)

Art. 508(28) was first proposed by the Committee on Masonic Jurisprudence, a report given by RW Jewell Lightfoot, and signed by Judge Fly (chairman) in 1933. It was adopted on Dec. 6, 1933.

It is unknown what incident led up to the report, but the recommendation of the Committee stated

“It shall be a Masonic offense for any subordinate lodge or any committee, officer or member thereof to circularize by letter or other form of publication other lodges in the is Grand Jurisdiction proposing or advocating any amendments, repeal, or enactment of laws in or by this Grand Lodge without first securing a dispensation for such purpose from the Grand Master.

No such dispensation shall be granted by the Grand Master except in cases of extreme emergency which cannot be reasonably postponed until the next communication of this Grand Lodge.

This Grand Lodge shall, alone, exercise the right and powers to take a referendum of subordinate Lodges on questions of amendments, repeals, or enactments of legislation governing this Grand Lodge or Lodges under its jurisdiction, except in cases of extreme emergency, wherein a special dispensation is granted as herein provided.

Any Lodge violating this article shall be promptly suspended until the succeeding communication of this Grand Lodge and unless restored by this Grand Lodge its charter shall be forfeited.

Any officer of a subordinate Lodge violating any of the provisions of this article shall be promptly suspended from office by the Grand Master, and charges shall be filed in the form and manner provided by Masonic Law. Any member of any subordinate Lodge violating the provisions of this article, charges of unMasonic conduct shall be promptly filed against him and a trial had thereon as provided in other cases of Masonic offenses.”

In 1936, Shelby Lodge No. 732 requested dispensation to circularize to Lodges a recommendation of a resolution requesting a name change to Sam Houston Lodge No. 32. Dispensation was denied.

No other requests are known.

In 1962, it changed into the form we have now. It remained the same after the rewrite of Title V in 2004 and 2014-2015.

Call for Questions

News broke publically about the issues at the Grand Lodge of Texas on January 21st, 2023. Many of us have questions. More of us are unable to find those answers alone. We have strength in numbers, however, and over the last couple of days, we have seen a few thousand visitors view our website.

Our initial mission for this website is to bring you, Masons in Texas, the truth about what is going on at our Grand Lodge – to peel back the veil and shine a light into the darkness. This mission is not changing.

Have questions?

Please submit them through our Submit a Question form on our menu.

We will review the questions, research them, and publish answers as best we can. Many questions, we are unlikely to know, however, and we will curate a list of open questions for everyone to review.

Have answers?

Please submit them through our Provide Information form on our menu.

Installation Interrupted

On January 21st, 2023, during the installation of the Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge of Texas, the newly-installed Grand Master, G. Clay Smith, with the support of Past Grand Master Terry Stogner, attempted to prevent the installation of Jim Rumsey as Grand Junior Warden.

This video specifically cut to show times 30.25-39.50 from the 2-hour installation video originally posted by the Grand Lodge of Texas. We wish to thank an out-of-state brother for downloading the video from YouTube before it was removed.

Watch this video closely. Below, we point out a few sections of video to help provide you with key details that are easily missed.

0:21 – Past Grand Master Stogner leans forward in his chair, seemingly about to get up.

0:33 – Past Grand Master Stogner stands up and begins to make his way behind the Grand East to the podium. He has intentionally waited until the Grand Master has been installed and has assumed the East.

2:32 – Grand Master Smith takes off his hat and picks up his podium book.

2:38 – Past Grand Master Miller looks to the podium and shrugs in an attempt to convey an appearance that he does not know what is about to happen.

2:46 – Past Master Stogner, from the podium, requests to approach the East.

3:05 – Grand Master Smith receives the charges from PGM Stogner and picks up a prepared statement.

3:45 – Grand Master Smith reads his prepared statement for the charges and states his intention to not install Jim Rumsey as Grand Junior Warden.

4:00 – Grand Master Smith states the charges have been filed with the Grand Secretary’s office, though he hands the papers to PGM Miller rather than the Grand Secretary, Justin Duty.

6:48 – PGM Billings, from the podium, makes a point of order stating that only the Grand West is able to accept charges to applause from the Grand West.

8:06 – Brother Charles Maddox, chair of the committee on jurisprudence, upon being summoned by Grand Master Smith, reports the Grand Master may choose what is out of order.

8:56 – Grand Master Smith states off-mic to PGM Miller, “He’s not going to be installed.”

9:12 – Grand Master Smith changes his mind and states, “…Let’s proceed with the installation, and we will deal with it in executive session tomorrow.”

Grand Master Issues Letter

This morning at about 9am Central, the Grand Lodge of Texas published a letter from the Grand Master, G.Clay Smith.

The letter is below. It is ridden with errors and omissions. To understand the letter, it is important to consider these five facts.


The below letter, dated January 30, 2023, states that “at approximately 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, January 21, 2023, the Grand Secretary received Masonic Charges against Rumsey”. This was before he was installed as Grand Junior Warden. The letter states that he was a Grand Lodge Officer due to his serving as a District Deputy Grand Master at-Large and as a member of the Committee on Work. However, Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution states that members of the Committee on Work are not Officers of the Grand Lodge. Art. 21 states “no member shall hold two offices, elective or appointive, in the Grand Lodge at the same time.” This Article is broader than “Grand Lodge Officer” and prohibits serving on a committee and serving as a Grand Lodge Officer at the same time. This was article was passed when RW Michael Wiggins served as Grand Master. The “whereas” portions of that resolution discuss its intent.

Therefore, as Rumsey was serving on the Committee on Work, his appointment as a DDGM at Large was void. Therefore, Rumsey was NOT a Grand Lodge Officer at the time the offense occurred, nor at the time the charges were accepted. This means that these charges are procedurally invalid.


Identical charges to the ones signed by the 3 Past Grand Masters were filed before the election, signed by certain Grand Lodge Officers. Grand Master Billings rejected the charges and filed such rejection with the Grand Secretary on Friday morning during the Grand Lodge Communication, January 20th, 2023.


If these charges had been procedurally valid, Art. 661 and 667 allows the Grand Master to either hold a trial in front of the Grand West at the next Communication or refer the matter to the Committee on Grievances and Appeals at the next Communication or any time before then. There is no set time limit here. However, the proceeding must be held in a Lodge under Art. 669 — Not in the Library and Museum. The Grand Master has the authority to call a special Communication pursuant to Article VI Section 3(b) of the Constitution to vote on the recommendation of the Committee on Grievances and Appeals before the next annual communication, but as the point is to suspend RW Rumsey for as long as possible, this has not been done. This brings us to point Four.


Art. 512 states that “when allegations of Masonic disciplinary violation have been referred to, accepted by the Grand Master, and referred to a Masonic Disciplinary Commission, his standing will be a “Mason laboring under Masonic disciplinary action.” Therefore, if charges are being brought against a Grand Lodge Officer under Chapter 24, Art. 512 will not apply, as the allegations will not be referred to a Masonic Disciplinary Commission. While the Committee on Grievances and Appeals is vested with the authority of a Masonic Disciplinary Commission, they are not a “Masonic Disciplinary Commission.” To remedy this, Art. 660 allows for the suspension of a Grand Lodge Officer if the violation involves “moral turpitude.” Texas law defines “moral turpitude” as “Crimes that involve dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or deliberate violence, also:

  1. Anything done knowingly contrary to justice, honesty, principle, or good morals.
  2. An act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow men or to society in general.
  3. Something immoral in itself, regardless of whether it is punishable by law. The doing of the act itself, and not its prohibition by statute, fixes the moral turpitude.
  4. Immoral conduct is that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community.
  5. Public intoxication is NOT a crime of moral turpitude. Hammett v. State, 713 S.W.2d 102.
  6. Trespassing (which did not occur here, but even if it did) is not a crime of moral turpitude. Hutson v. State, 843 S.W.2d 106.

However, as the Brethren are not even aware as to the full details of the charges, it is difficult for them to know this. In all cases, Jim Rumsey’s removal was not allowed under Art. 660.


Art. 508.36 states that it is a masonic disciplinary violation to “discuss privately with any member of the Masonic Disciplinary Commission the facts of any case pending before said Commission, or attempt in any way to influence the action of the Commission or any member thereof for or against the Brother being tried.”

This Article does not apply to Chapter 24 of Title V. There is no “Masonic Disciplinary Commission” under Chapter 24. While Art. 668 and 669 state the same procedure shall be followed as a Masonic Disciplinary Commission, it states that the Committee on Grievances and Appeals “is vested with the powers of a Masonic Disciplinary Commission.”

Therefore, even if Art. 508.36 applied to Chapter 24, the members of the Masonic Disciplinary Commission would be the members of the Committee on Grievances and Appeals–not the Grand West.

Therefore, there is no authority under Art. 508 to prevent members of the Grand West from discussing this matter or charge them with a disciplinary violation, and there is absolutely no authority for the Grand Master to remove voting power from any member of the Grand West for discussing this matter.

Other details important to this publishing

This letter was published at a time to create the maximum effect – on Monday morning. News cycles (and social media cycles) are typically the slowest during the weekend. This letter was finalized on 1/27/2023 at 2:42pm according to the PDF file properties. It appears the Grand Master wanted the maximum effect.

Who filed the charges? We have reports the three Past Grand Masters mentioned in the letter above are Terry W. Stogner, Thomas Eugene “Gene” Carnes, and Jerry Martin.

Who is Chairman of the Committee on Grievances and Appeals? Grand Tiler, Alvin “Al” Lee Holoman, who was originally appointed to the committee by PGM Terry W. Stogner.

And please, whatever you do, do not discuss the details of this letter, which, as an official Grand Lodge Communication, must be read by every lodge across the state of Texas at their next stated meeting.