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17th December 2007
Update: This Journal Will Remain Indefinitely
: I have been reading on a tangential subject, which has connected strongly for me to my past history with the IOJD, and my travails in attempting to get resolution from the current Masonic administrations in British Columbia.
Throughout the three years I have been contacting various Masonic, Eastern Star and Job's Daughters members, authorities and administrators, I have been told repeatedly to give up my quest for resolution, because I will never get the answers I am looking for. I took those comments merely as sweeping the matter under the rug, or trying to encourage me to just go away.
I am beginning to come to the understanding, however, that I was told this (that I would never get the answers I am seeking) because it is fundamentally true. Not because those in power, or even those who were there, are unwilling to open any kind of dialogue with me, but simply because they cannot.
Those in power, indeed those within the organization who are still members, are mentally incapable of accepting the fact that their worldview (that they are perfect) does not permit them to think independently.
Of those few individuals who do still think independently, and may have come to the realization that I have been wronged by members under the same jurisdictions as they, they recognize it only enough to realize that none of the other members of their jurisdictions will admit to any kind of wrongdoing. To do so would undermine the worldview, which would go against the goals of the group as a whole, which is unacceptable.
Too, the circular reasoning and self-limiting behaviours I have now recognized as being inherent, gives me an answer to at least one of the long-standing questions I have had, namely, why was I constantly blamed for the loss of the Bethel's membership, but I was never explicitly told why, even when I asked? I long attributed this to the fact that they did not wish to implicate themselves knowingly in the willful discrimination being enacted upon a defenseless child with disabilities, and simply would not admit it, so I would have nothing legal to hold against them.
I realize now that they did not answer me when I asked why they accused me of such things, because they could not. The reasoning is extremely circular, but it does logically fit:
I, as a member, did not meet the stringent "requirement" of being one of the "fairest in all the land". Unfortunately, I had already been admitted as a member, even though I did not meet their harsh criteria for physical perfection. This dichotomy presented a flaw in their worldview, which was unacceptable. To have me thrown out of the order, would have gone against their precepts of tolerance and equality, and would have revealed a flaw in their adherence to the worldview. Which was unacceptable.
Most of the parents were quite avowed fundamentalist Christians. Therefore, they could not reconcile their baseless hatred of me, what could be considered an "un-christian" attitude, with the doctrines and platitudes of tolerance and equality that they mouthed daily, both within the Masonic organizations, and without. So, while there was a strong sense that I did not belong, and should be put as far from the organization as possible (or the other children pulled away from me as quickly as possible), they could not admit, even to themselves, that it was because I had failed to meet their exacting standards of physical purity.
Instead of acting to conceal prejudiced feelings when I asked why they were accusing me, my accusers were, in reality, mentally barricaded. It was not that they did not answer me, they simply could not. They could not conceive of a worldview where anything Masonic was less than perfect, so they had no way to account for my (imperfect) presence within their (perfect) world. Therefore, they had no answer for me, as that would have required them to think independently outside of their established worldview (that the Masonic way of life is the perfect way of life, and has no faults, or faulty individuals, as members).
This, too, explains my current inability to communicate with the current leaders of the Masonic administrations in British Columbia, or with current members of same. They cannot admit that their organizations may have contained imperfect or flawed individuals (including myself, which is why they initially claimed the records stating such did not exist), therefore they can not admit such, not even in their most private of hearts.
I can talk until I'm blue in the face, I can write email upon email, I can send countless confidential packages in care of the Grand Secretaries of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Chapter, and the Grand Bethel, but all attempts, in the end will be fruitless. I was labouring under the delusion that the Masonic orders, despite being intolerant towards me in the past, might show some tolerance or openness to a dialogue towards me, in the present. I was incorrect, and harbouring my own false worldview of the Masonic orders, which I have since corrected.
Members and administrators of the Masonic organizations in British Columbia are incapable of any kind of dialogue that would impute any wrongdoing, of any sort, to any of the members under their jurisdictions, and they are incapable of reconciling the fact that I (as a person who was considered "imperfect") was a member of their "perfect" organization at all.
I have no hope of changing anyone's mind; the organization's philosophies and mandates are far too rigid for that. That was not my goal, anyway. I did not wish to change anyone's mind, nor to change their worldview. However, my protestations of discrimination were taken as such, as a fundamental threat against the primacy of their worldview. That was why I was presented with such open hostility (most especially on the part of Jim Gordon, the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon).
I initiated and continued my quest for justice, over the past three years, because I harboured the delusion that it was achievable, that I would be able to engage in an open dialogue about the discrimination that happened to me when I was a child. Knowing that such a dialogue is not achievable, nor will it ever be achievable, I will no longer continue my efforts, in regards to contacting members or former members of the Masonic fraternity in the Western Communities of British Columbia.
I have often said that this LiveJournal will remain up until such time as I can open a dialogue with a member of one or more of the Masonic jurisdictions whose members discriminated against me. As such a dialogue will now never occur, this LiveJournal will therefore remain up indefinitely, as a beacon in the night, a line against the darkness.
While I have not gained the resolution I sought, I do think that I have achieved at least a measure of understanding, of why they did what they did, and why they continue to act in the manner that they do.
My anger and sense of injustice still exists, to a large degree, but it is tempered by a pity, for those within the Masonic organizations who were, and still are, incapable of thinking independently, or of seeing the broader world, beyond the narrow confines of their own little group.
In the end, it must be said that there are worse things the members of the Masonic orders could have done to me, that did not happen. The Masonic organizations on the whole, are not destructive, as some organizations with self-limiting worldviews are. They are far from the bastions of perfection that they lay claim to, however, and until such time as those organizations recognize that, there will be no resolution for those of us who did not measure up.
My quest for resolution has ended now, with the knowledge that at least, I am free to think for myself. If I had been physically perfect, I likely would have stayed within the IOJD, surrendering both my individuality, and my sense of reason, two traits I hold very dear. At the end of the day, while their discrimination was a bad thing, it saved me from a much worse fate, for which I guess I should be grateful.
15th November 2007
: Copy of a letter I have just submitted to the CBC:
Update: One more shot at remediation: Another email, sent to the Grand Secretary's office (marked confidential. to the Grand Secretary). Referencing both the phone call of last year, this LiveJournal, and my original complaint. I also said if he still felt the need to report me to the Grand Lodge of Ontario, he was welcome to do so, although [I said] I fail to see what purpose that would serve either of us. Still do, actually.
21st July 2007
Questions for Anonymous
: To my Anonymous commenter:
For privacy purposes, I will not unscreen any answers you wish to provide on this journal. You may also email the answers.
- Which Bethel are/were you a member of?
- Can you provide names or contact information for the PHQs you mentioned?
- Can you provide similar examples, from other Bethels in British Columbia?
I have to wonder, if this girl's Bethel in particular has been so equitable to children with disabilities, why she would not state which Bethel she is or was a member of. It is something to be proud of, certainly, and is an excellent demonstration of the order's (present-day) adherence to their dearly-held tenets of tolerance and equality for all.
I have emailed all of the Bethels in the Lower Mainland, looking for the identity of this commenter. Since the Bethels regularly visit one another throughout the year, I am certain someone can either direct me to the commenter in question, or provide me with details on which Bethel she is or was a member of.
5th July 2007
Definition of a Very Particular Kind of Discrimination
I do not believe systematic discrimination exists in the IOJD today. Society has changed in the intervening years since I was a member. It is a fundamental responsibility of the IOJD to change its own attitudes in step with the outside world. We also live in more litigious times than years past. Were discrimination to occur now, parents would have recourse, under the BC Human Rights Tribunal (or their equivalent provincial or state agency), to file a complaint of same.
Given the anecdotal evidence of at least two commenters (one of them American), I do not believe discrimination is occurring within the organization as a whole. In part, perhaps it could be, but that too, would be anecdotal. Also, there are many more stopgaps and deterrents available, twenty years later, to prevent such discrimination before it occurs.
I feel strongly that I am still being discriminated against, by the same individuals (in British Columbia). They either refuse to acknowledge what happened, or flatly deny what happened (despite my possession of evidence to the contrary). Or, they tell me not to pursue the matter at all. That is the reason I have posted this LiveJournal.
If they would simply acknowledge that yes, it happened, and no, it was not appropriate for an organization that claimed "equality and tolerance for all" to have acted in opposition to those (self-professed) very closely-held tenets, the matter would be resolved. They do not wish to acknowledge that discrimination occurred, "on their watch", as it were, and instead refuse to participate in any form of dialogue about the matter.
I have attempted every avenue of resolution that is available to me under Masonic jurisprudence. (See here.) I have been lied to, by at least one of the Masons who was involved in the events at the time. I have not been able to get any answers from those individuals I have managed to make contact with. (See "Names".)
(With the exception of the members of the Amaranth, as noted in an earlier entry. They, alone, were helpful and understanding of the situation, a far cry from any of the others I contacted in BC. Too, they attempted, in their own small way, to try and protect me from the discrimination while it was occurring.)
However. If the organization(s) as a whole reflect a new open-mindedness, as the anecdotal evidence from my two commenters attests, the ombudspeople for the Grand Bethel, Grand Chapter, and Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, should have no qualms at all, addressing my present concerns and questions. Instead, they demonstrate the opposite. It is this paradox that I continue to find puzzling.
It is my hope that this LiveJournal will provide a neutral forum to resolve the issue for both sides.
4th July 2007
Welcome to New Visitors
: If you have been directed to this LiveJournal by an email invitation, thank you for taking the time to visit. Between 1987 and 1989, I was a member of the International Order of Job's Daughters, Bethel #27. I passed my proficiency (according to the permanent record book of the Bethel) on May 4, 1987, and became member #465.
After I became a member of the Bethel, the other children demitted, resigned or quit. This, also, is in the permanent record book (of which I have secured a copy, despite being told it no longer existed). What is not in the permanent record book, or anywhere on paper, is what I remember. I remember being told repeatedly (by adults on the Advisory Board as well as the other children) that it was my fault the Bethel lost its membership.
Despite my repeated inquiries at the time, while they were more than happy to accuse me of being the reason everyone was quittng or being removed, no one would tell me why.
The reason why I was told this, and the reason why the children were removed or quit from the Bethel (resulting in the Bethel's "demise" in early 1990 - the members simply switched to Bethel #2), was because they (I will never know if "they" were the majority, or merely a very influential minority) did not believe a child with disabilities should be a member of an International Order of Job's Daughters Bethel. "They" (whoever "they" were) believed quite firmly in the "fairest in all the land" requirement. A fact no one apparently realized until it was too late.
I acknowledge the fact that attitudes were very different twenty years ago. My present problem lies with the fact that those attitudes have not changed at all, in the years intervening. I have been unable to bring this matter to a satisfactory resolution, despite almost two years of attempting to do so. As you will see from this LiveJournal.
I thank you for your time, and hope that you receive some enlightenment as to the true nature of the Masonic fraternity, and its concordant orders, in the Western Communities of Victoria, British Columbia. They espoused the principles of truth and equality, but fell far short of those lofty ideals, when they did not want their children to be forced to associate with a disabled child.
They continue to fall short of those ideals, when they refuse to even acknowledge what happened. Despite the fact that I possess evidence to the contrary. Despite the fact that I am willing to negotiate a compromise that will be satisfactory to both parties, in bringing this matter to resolution. Despite the fact that I will continue to seek answers until I find one person who is willing to provide them.
3rd July 2007
Change of Email Address
: My email address has changed (look in the previous entry under the cut if you want to contact me). So begins another round of invitations to all of the lodges, bethels and chapters in Victoria. Maybe there will be someone in the mix who is willing to step up and open a dialogue.
Arthur Scott certainly has not proven a willingness to do so, despite another email I sent, asking him why he claims to have never met any of my father's family, when he and his wife took my parents and I out to dinner at the Princess Mary Restaurant in Victoria, when all of this was happening.
I repeat (and will repeat), my interest in this matter is not for the sake of jurisprudence. The statute of limitations has long since run out, for me to be able to do anything legally about the discrimination I experienced when I was a child. All I want is a simple acknowledgement that, yes, I was discriminated against when I was a child, by members of the Masonic fraternity, in the Western Communities of Victoria, British Columbia, between 1987 and 1989.
I was systematically discriminated against, because the members of Bethel #27, the members of the Eastern Star chapter which sponsored that Bethel, and the (some or all, I have no way of knowing) Masons who were members of my father's lodge, Camosun No. 60, did not feel that it was appropriate for a child with disabilities to be a member of an IOJD Bethel. (I did not meet, in their eyes, the "fairest in all the land" criteria.) They subsequently pulled their children from the Bethel, until there were not enough members for the Bethel to retain its charter. At several points during this time, I was told, by the other children, and by members of the Bethel Advisory Board (adults) that it was my fault the Bethel was losing its membership.
The Worshipful Master of my father's lodge (Camosun No. 60), William Headen (currently serving as a District Deputy Grand Master in BC, likely of District #21) stood up in lodge, in the winter of 1989, and gave a speech, about me, to the lodge. Freemasonry in British Columbia is not supposed to (according to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon) have anything to do with the IOJD and the Eastern Star. But a Worshipful Master of a Masonic lodge gave a speech, in that lodge, about a member of an IOJD Bethel. After which I was asked if I wanted to leave the Bethel. (I was not told why, nor was I told the contents nor context of the speech in question.)
Something happened twenty years ago. I have been met with denial, disdain, and outright scorn, in my quest to seek resolution for these events. If anyone reading this journal was there at the time, and wants to open a dialogue with me about it, I am willing to do so. I want to discuss this matter. I will not discontinue this journal until a member of the Masonic fraternity, or its concordant orders, from the Western Communities, steps forward and demonstrates a similar willingness to discuss this matter.
23rd June 2007
"Freemasonry Has Nothing to Do With Job's Daughters!"
: The subject line was screamed at me by the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, in November. (See "Phone Call".) Of course, Freemasonry has nothing to do with Job's Daughters. At least, it didn't, then. The Order of the Eastern Star sponsored and chartered and administered IOJD Bethels in British Columbia in the 1980s.
There was still a requirement that a Master Mason had to attend every Bethel meeting. The last two Bethel meetings I attended (which were to be the last of the Bethel, as far as I knew), the Master Mason who was supposed to attend, did not. This was after Bill Headen's speech, about me, to my father's Lodge (Camosun Lodge No. 60), of which he was the Worshipful Master that year (1989).
So. If Freemasonry in British Columbia has, had, and continues to have, nothing whatsoever to do with the International Order of Job's Daughters, or the Order of the Eastern Star, why would the Worshipful Master of a Masonic Lodge stand up in that lodge, and give a speech, about a member of an International Order of Job's Daughters' Bethel?
Why would that member of the IOJD Bethel then be asked, after being told of the speech (but not its context) if I wanted to stop participating?
For that matter, why would there be a speech given about me at all? Why have I been unable to get a straight answer from any of the parties involved, as to exactly what the speech was about? (Other than second-hand assurances from Art Scott that Bill Headen "has a vague recollection of the event", but when I pressed Mr. Scott to ask Mr. Headen what that vague recollection was, I received no answer.)
Why would the Master Mason who was supposed to attend all Bethel meetings, not attend any Bethel meetings after the speech was given?
At the last Bethel meeting I attended, I was told the reason the Bethel had lost its membership was because of me. I was not told why, even though I asked.
The following year, my father (a member of Camosun Lodge No. 60) was supposed to go "up the chairs", but was "blackballed" and he did not. (Basically, he held a particular position each year, and this year, he was supposed to go on to the next position in line. His "brothers" voted him off the island. So to speak.)
Yes, it was one lodge, out of the hundreds the Grand Secretary and Grand Master have to "preside" over. Yes, it was twenty years ago, and if times (and attitudes) have changed, hey, that's great. They didn't do anything about it at the time, which has led to this. They continue, to the present day, to deny that anything happened, or to not respond at all. Which has led to this.
I am willing open a dialogue with these individuals (See "Names".), or with anyone else who remembers the events or people in question, and is willing to contact me. I want to open a dialogue. The people involved, however, do not want to open any kind of dialogue at all, preferring outraged denial or outright disdain instead.
Should any of the individuals I have named, or any of the individuals who remember or were involved with, Bethel #27 of the IOJD between 1987 and 1989, wish to discuss the matter of all of the children being pulled out of the Bethel, or discuss the content or context of the speech that was given about me, (a member of the IOJD) in Camosun Lodge No. 60 in the winter of 1989, I am willing to discuss these things. I will remove this LiveJournal once this issue has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. (Yes, I am willing to compromise.)
If, as things stand now, no one wishes to discuss these matters at all, then this LiveJournal remains standing.
Freemasonry claims that is all about tolerance, and equality, and making good men better, under the tenets of Truth, Beauty, and Strength. Except in Victoria, British Columbia, where they continue to practice prejudice, intolerance, and dishonesty.
27th May 2007
Puzzling Out the Little Pieces
: Picked up from a Masonic blog on the Internet, it was stated (albeit by a member from an American jurisdiction, but in a general sense) that if a member of a Lodge does not agree with something the Worshipful Master has done or said, they may appeal to the District Deputy Grand Master. I have no idea whether or not this is how it operates in the jurisdiction of British Columbia and Yukon.
Was Art Scott the District Deputy Grand Master of District #21 the year Bill Headen gave his speech? (See "Names".) )Was Art Scott brought into the situation (even though he has denied in writing ever having met me), as DDGM, because of what Bill Headen said (or, more likely didn't say, in between the lines) in his speech to Camosun Lodge No. 60 (as Worshipful Master) in the winter of 1989? If so, then perhaps my parents, also, tried to pursue the matter through the appropriate jurisprudential channels. They were, as I have been twenty years later, clearly unsuccessful.
The details, though, are the most telling. There were several points along the way where the members of the Bethel, the Bethel Advisory Board, or the parents of the members, could have prevented my entrance into the Bethel, long before I ever darkened its doors, without stating their reasons why, or anything even seeming untoward.
Why, then, did they not stop the process, before it was too late, and I was a (very unwelcome) member? They could have refused the petition. They could have turned me down after the investigation. They could have voted against me. All without stating a single reason why, or anything seeming out of place.
Instead, they waited until after I had been initiated and passed my proficiency, to start pulling their children out, and creating all kinds of behind-the-scenes drama. It would have been easier for all concerned if they had simply refused me admittance from the start.
After all, if they had not let me in, things would not stand as they are today. I would not attempt to seek resolution for discrimination (due to my disabilities) that is now twenty years old. I would not be subjected to denial, discouragement and disdain in the present, from people who were there, and know what went on.
They did let me in, to their cloistered little world, of physically flawless children.
I am seeking resolution for what happened as a result of that.
I will not take down this LiveJournal until I have personally reached that resolution, or some form of compromise, with the members under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Bethel, and the Grand Chapter of OES, who discriminated against me due to my disabilities, in Victoria, British Columbia, between 1987 and 1989.
25th May 2007
I am still puzzled by Mr. Gordon's reaction to my phone call in November. (See "Phone Call").
Given the suggestion one commenter has made, that perhaps the "Grand Lodge of Canada" Mr. Gordon said he was going to "report [me] to" was really the Grand Lodge of Ontario (which calls itself The Grand Lodge of Canada), the question still remains: Why?
My complaint was, and is, with regards to the current and past behaviour of two members, currently in good standing, of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon (See "Names".), Bill Headen, and Art Scott.
The question persists, and I still cannot quite puzzle out what Mr. Gordon's intentions were. My complaint had nothing to do with the members, nor the jurisdiction, of the Grand Lodge of Ontario. I also do not believe (albeit from a cursory glance through their web site) that the Grand Lodge of Ontario provides any kind of counselling, to anyone, never mind someone with a legitimate complaint with two members from a different jurisdiction.
Mr. Gordon threatened (at least he shouted at me, in what I presume was supposed to be a threatening tone) to "report [me] to the Grand Lodge of Canada, for serious, thorough, deep psychological counselling!"
Logic. A difficult thing to dispense with entirely, but Mr. Gordon seems to have accomplished that quite efficiently, in the short amount of time I had him on the phone.
18th May 2007
: I stand by what I told Sheila Carlson, in my followup email to her, on July 11, 2006:
"Do not misunderstand me. I do not wish to stir anything up. I merely want some answers to my outstanding questions. I simply want a well-rounded, truthful recounting of exactly what went on "behind the scenes" that year.
I will continue to persist in asking these questions, until they are answered, or until I run out of members of the Masonic fraternity, and its appendant bodies, in the Western Communities, to query." (July 11, 2006, reply to July 11, 2006 email from Sheila Carlson. No response received to date.)
I stand by that. So do they. I find one person who promises to get me a little more information, or another contact name, and they do. Then I go the requisite round-robin with that person, and onto another person. I am not about to discontinue, however. Something did happen, when I was a child, and a member of Job's Daughters Bethel #27, in the Western Communities of Victoria, British Columbia, between 1987 and 1990.
From the copy of the permanent record book I have (which the Grand Secretary of the Grand Bethel said did not exist):
"S----- B----- Suspended/resigned, May 87."
(She was the Honored Queen who investigated me. She was suspended because she swore at one of the Bethel Advisory Board members. When I asked why she did that, I was told it was because of me, and when I asked why again, the girl who told me was told to shut up, by someone else.)
"L------- F------- Quit Jan 89. "
"S------- Z---------- Resigned Dec 88."
"A------ D------- Quit Jan 88."
"K------- B--------- Quit 1989."
"K---------- G------ Quit Sept 87."
"W------- M------- Demit 6/25/88."
"J--------- F-------- Quit 14/6/90."
Seven children gone, and five remaining. Only the requisite quorum, and the Bethel had not been that large to begin with. Then the last girl left. We did not have enough members, and the Bethel was placed under dispensation, by the Grand Bethel. It is absolutely irrefutable that, during those years I was a member, something happened. I am not going to stop in my questioning of these events that I have documented proof of.
The very least they can do for me is acknowledge that something did happen, whether they want to admit the truth or not, that I was discriminated against, because they did not want a disabled child to be a member of their/their childrens' Bethel.
17th May 2007
And So it Goes
Bill Headen may have been the DDGM of District #21. I was incorrect in stating #22 or #27. As I say, I have never been able to find out which District he was associated with, but going back through my research, it appears that he may have been (or may still be) the DDGM of District #21. He is also the Regional Representative for the Board of General Purposes for Districts #1, #21, and #27.
I have now heard directly from one of the people I have listed in this LiveJournal (see "Names"). Not Bill Headen, though. I have also contacted more Victoria-area Masonic email addresses, inviting them to view this LiveJournal.
As I informed the person who contacted me, all I want is the truth. When the people who were there, who are capable of providing me with the truth, either deny I existed (proven untrue), deny having met me (proven untrue), or tell me not to stir things up (Again, I ask, why?), or claim to "not remember the details", I have to wonder why this is the case. If nothing happened, they should just tell me so.
The fact that they neither confirm nor deny my complaint, that I was discriminated against due to my disabilities when I was a child, is very telling.
14th May 2007
: It occurs to me, from the comments (may I say a belated thank you to the commenters I have responded to, on your continued politeness and willingness to engage in rational and very well-mannered discourse), that I should make a few additional points.
I do not want to sound as if I am completely and totally against the entirety of the Masonic jurisdictions of British Columbia and Yukon. My only complaint, with the Masonic jurisdictions of British Columbia and Yukon, is more specifically, with the Grand Secretaries of the jurisdiction of British Columbia and Yukon.
The jurisprudential channels one is supposed to go through, should one have a problem with a member, or members, of one of the Masonic bodies under a certain Grand Lodge/Grand Chapter/Grand Bethel's jurisdiction, is to address the matter with the Grand Secretary of that particular Grand body. Great. Wonderful. Evenhanded, that. Fair-minded to a fault. Handy little self-contained justice system, yes?
So much for an even-handed, fair-minded, self-contained jurisprudential system. Jurisprudence, after all, somewhat falls down on the job, when the ombudspeople to whom I am supposed to address my complaint, go on to treat any complaint at all, as either non-existent, misguided, or delusional.
That has made it difficult, to impossible, for me to pursue my complaint through the appropriate channels. This LiveJournal is a direct result of that. If you take nothing else from this LiveJournal, or if you are still confused, please understand these following points:
I am willing to negotiate.
I am willing to compromise.
I am willing to reach a mutual understanding with these specific individuals, or their Grand Secretaries. Or through their Grand Secretaries, if that is most desirable.
Please, please, understand this, if nothing else on this LiveJournal makes sense to you:
I want to engage in a rational, polite discourse, concerning the actions of several specific individuals, towards me, twenty years ago, while I was a member of the International Order of Job's Daughters.
I don't want compensation, I don't want settlement, I am not going to sue them for bazillions of dollars (I have no legal basis for doing so, anyway, if that's what they're afraid of). All I want is to open the lines of communication.
I want to say to someone, anyone, within the Masonic jurisdictions of British Columbia and Yukon, "This is what happened to me, when I was a kid. It sucked," and not be met with scorn, derision, denial, or outright insult.
I would even be happy with a simple "Yeah, that sucked. Too bad it happened. Won't happen again."
Is that really too much to ask?
13th May 2007
There is No Grand Lodge of Canada
: "I'm going to report you to the Grand Lodge of Canada. What do you think about that?" (Simply because I had phoned, in November 2006, to inquire whether or not his office had received my complaint, filed in February 2006, by exactly the procedure the Grand Secretary's office had outlined to me in an email dated November 8, 2005.) See "Phone Call".
What do I think about you "reporting" me to the "Grand Lodge of Canada", Mister Grand Secretary of British Columbia and Yukon?
10th May 2007
: Comments to this journal are being screened. These are the rules.
- Anonymous comments will be considered on the basis of their content alone.
- Comments of a derogotary, denigrating, condescending or ad hominem nature will be deleted, and the poster marked as spam.
- Comments from outside of any of the Masonic jurisdictions of British Columbia (and Yukon) are welcome, provided they appear willing to engage in polite dialogue in a reasonable manner.
- Comments from within any of the Masonic jurisdictions of British Columbia (and Yukon) are welcome, as long as they adhere to the rule above.
9th May 2007
There Was One Bright Spot in the Darkness
: It occurs to me that this LiveJournal is sounding entirely morose and thoroughly one-sided in its negativity. There was however, during these three years of discrimination, one bright spot of (near) acceptance, one that ended up helping me out many years later, even though I turned down their help (unwittingly) at the time.
After one of the Bethel meetings (when another Bethel, and some other people had visited), during the social hour afterwards, I was approached by a very nice woman, who told me all about something called the Order of the Amaranth, and invited me to join. I didn't understand it at the time, but from her description, it sounded a lot less "stuffy" than the IOJD. Its members would have been a lot more forgiving and tolerant of physical differences, than the Jobies and Eastern Star were, in my opinion.
(What I mistook for stuffiness and conservatism in the IOJD and OES, was, in actuality, full-blown, fear-fuelled hatred and prejudice, against me, as a person with disabilities.)
Sadly, at the time, the cult(church) I was attending met on Saturdays, and so did this Order of the Amaranth court, so I couldn't join. I regret that now (the church in question has since disappeared from the face of the earth - I would have been better off sticking with the Amaranth), because that probably would have made a vast (and positive) difference in my life, and would have rescued me from a prejudice I did not understand at the time, but all too clearly understand now.
I have only realized, in retrospect, what a lifeline this Amaranth member was holding out to me, because I was [not sixteen] at the time, and the minimum age for membership in the Amaranth is 16. They clearly would have made an exception for me, so obviously someone from that order saw what was going on, and while they couldn't stop it from happening, they could at least try to make it better. And they did try, even though I rebuffed them unknowingly.
Nineteen years later, when I contacted the same Amaranth court, about anyone who remembered offering membership to a little disabled girl between 1987 and 1989, I ended up being able to eventually locate (and get copies of) the allegedly "missing" permanent record book of Bethel #27. The members of the Order of the Amaranth, out of all of the Masonic organizations in British Columbia, seem to be the only ones who actually live out the ideals of tolerance, equality, and providing assistance for anyone with a problem, that the entire Masonic family of British Columbia espouses to, but falls far short of.
Moral of the story? There were some good people around, during the years I was being discriminated against. It is just unfortunate that these people were in the smallest minority, and were powerless, to stop the discrimination from happening.
8th May 2007
: I was asked by a poster, in the comments, what it was I sought from this LiveJournal. "Justification? Resolution? Absolution?"
I do not know why the poster would be inclined to think that I was seeking absolution, perhaps he intended to use another word. I do not believe that I need to be absolved of something that was not my fault in the first place.
I am, however, looking for resolution. Simple resolution, really. All I want are straightforward answers to some very simple questions, and an acknowledgement of wrongdoing from someone, anyone, who was there at the time, or who is a member of one of the jurisdictions in question.
: These are the individuals I have attempted to get answers from, with regards to my complaint of being discriminated against, due to my disabilities. I am aware of the process of "whispering good counsel into another's ear". If anyone in the Victoria or Vancouver area who knows these individuals would like to do so, please feel free.
These are the individuals I wish to be held accountable for their actions, as their actions shed a very poor light, upon an organization that has much loftier ideals of human behaviour than they have demonstrated.
I have started the process of emailing the secretaries of all of the Masonic lodges, Bethels, Chapters and Courts, in Victoria, who have addresses posted on their web sites.
This is my official notice, to the self-professed parliaments of 'better men' (and women) who are members of the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, the Grand Chapter of British Columbia and Yukon of the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Grand Bethel of British Columbia, of the International Order of Job's Daughters. I have drawn a line in the sand. I will stand against the coming darkness.
Text of email:
You are invited to view my LiveJournal at: http://yelenavirago.livejournal.com/
And so it begins.
7th May 2007
In Plainer Terms
Here is the crux of the matter.
Twenty years ago, I was discriminated against, because of my disabilities, by members of several Masonic bodies under the jurisdiction of British Columbia and Yukon. I have documentation proving that I was a member of an International Order of Job's Daughters Bethel, which was (at the time) under the jurisdiction of the Grand Chapter of British Columbia and Yukon of the Order of the Eastern Star. This documentation also proves that all of the members resigned, demitted, or quit, while I was a member of this Bethel. Two Masons were also involved in this discrimination. One of them was the Worshipful Master of a local lodge at the time, where he stood up and gave a speech about me (arguing against my membership in the Bethel).
These people would like to proceed as though I never existed, although I possess documentation to the contrary. All of my attempts to seek reconcilation, or at least even an acknowledgement of what happened, for the past two years, have met with futility. This LiveJournal is my next step, in this process.
Please do not misunderstand me. I have a complaint with several specific members, of the specific Canadian Masonic jurisdictions in British Columbia and Yukon. It is not my intent to give offense to any individual outside of the Masonic jurisdictions of British Columbia and Yukon. It is not my intent to offend anyone. It is not my intent to tar and feather the fraternity in general. I am not one of those bible-thumping, UFO-loving, conspiracy-theory-spouting whackjobs.
I have a legitimate complaint, and that complaint has not been answered in a satisfactory manner, even after I have proceeded through all the appropriate channels, within all of the Masonic jurisdictions of British Columbia and Yukon.
If any of this is unclear, please comment, and I will clarify as best I can.
5th May 2007
Excerpts of a Conversation With the Grand Secretary
: November, 2006. Not a verbatim transcript. Problem with that? Not my problem.
I tell you, it's a good job you boys are volunteers. Anyone on a salary, who behaved in such an unprofessional manner, would rapidly find themselves without one.
2nd May 2007
May is hearing awareness month.
From The Hike Fund USA page:
"The HIKE Fund, Inc. was created in 1985 by Emma Tedrick and Charles Terrill, the international leaders for Job's Daughters International (JDI). The Fund was developed as the philanthropic project of the JDI, a Masonic youth organization for girls, to give the members of that organization a specific and unique charity to which they were able to devote their energies."
From the Hike Fund Canada website (Warning for pop-ups.):
"HIKE Fund (Canada) is a very special fund created in 1990 by the International Order of Job's Daughters to provide hearing and/or assistive listening devices to children or institutions in need. We are Kids Helping Kids."
1990 was the same year Bethel #27 finally closed its doors, due to a lack of membership. Lack of membership that (I was told) was because of me. I am hard of hearing.
An email, from Sheila Carson (former Grand Secretary of the Grand Chapter of British Columbia and Yukon, Order of the Eastern Star), dated July 11, 2006:
"Good morning. There were three Bethels in the Victoria area that were having difficulty with declining membership in 1989. That was the year I was Grand Guardian. No Bethel would have closed because of one person. I would say, "that what was in the past, should stay in the past". No use stirring up what happened so long ago. Sheila Carlson, Grand Secretary"
Emphasis mine. If she was Grand Guardian in 1989, and Bethel #27 was placed under dispensation at the end of 1989, she should at least have had some knowledge of what was going on. As for her assertion that "no Bethel would have closed because of one person", she was correct.
Bethel #27 did not close because of me. It closed because several of the parents were extremely prejudiced, and highly intolerant of, a child with multiple physical disabilities being a member.
"What was in the past, should stay in the past", Ms. Carlson? Why? (No response from her to date, despite a followup email.)
28th April 2007
Anniversaries are, in popular culture, a reminder of the passage of years. Anniversaries of birth, marriage, death and divorce. Anniversaries of individual events, or a single anniversary of a mass event, that will forever define a generation.May 4, 1987. A particular anniversary that will soon be marking two decades of existence. This anniversary has been marked on paper, and in the minds of those who would rather forget it. Marked also, in mine.
27th April 2007
Motto on User Icon:
Ab uno disce omnes alterum non laedere. Pulvis et umbra sumus.
From one, learn all, to not wound another. We are dust and shadow.