Digesting felons and Freemasonry

July 24, 2011

Many have reached Felon-free Masonry with inquisitive search terms such as:  Will the Masons know about my felony?  Do Masons accept felons?  Can I be a Mason if I’m a felon?

It’s understood that convicted felons often become productive members of society.  Therefore, the Grand Lodge of Florida has provisions for such prospective, rehabilitated petitioners.  As noted in the Florida Digest of Masonic Law:

31.03   A Lodge may not receive a petition for the Degrees of Freemasonry from any person who has been convicted of a felony and who has not been restored to full civil rights.

Likewise, there are regulations regarding Jimmy Foster-type felons.  You know, those who purposely withhold criminal histories and lack of restoration of any civil rights to fraudulently enter the world’s oldest and supposedly most revered fraternity.  For this shoddy lot, the Florida Digest of Masonic Law states:

44.07   Obtaining a Degree or Degrees of Freemasonry by fraud, untrue statements of representations or by knowingly concealing and withholding information relevant and material to eligibility for such Degrees is a proper subject for Masonic discipline.

However, for A)  felons who’ve completed sentences and have full restoration of civil rights and B) petitioners laboring under felony charges:

Per 31.04:  Lodge may receive petition for Degrees of a man convicted of felony provided Lodge has evidence of restoration of petitioner’s civil rights.

Petitioner disclosed conviction of aggravated assault but Lodge received petition, balloted favorably thereon and conferred Entered Apprentice Degree.  Progress of candidate should be suspended since crime of aggravated assault is a felony under state law and action of Lodge was contrary to Regulation 31.03.  Upon proof that candidate has been restored civil rights progress of candidate may be resumed.

But what about those like thrice convicted felon James Anderson “Jimmy” Foster, whose convictions  preclude ANY restoration of ANY civil rights?


Eligibility for restoration of civil rights:

  •  No violent offenses (see Level I list; please click on the above link to view Levels I and II, Rule 9- Rules of Executive Clemency)
  • Not declared a habitual violent felony offender, a 3-time violent felony offender, violent career criminal, prison releasee reoffender, sexual predator

Enter the following information provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the link below for proof that Foster lacks restoration of civil rights:

Name:  James Anderson Foster

Date of Birth:  12/17/1960

Florida Department of Corrections Identification Number:  0144204


Foster’s extensive violent background (including 3 felony convictions, a 25 year prison sentence, and a 15 year probation term): 


At least 28 Master Masons in good standing were then notified of Foster’s criminal history in September, 2009.  Sadly, only 3 presented the information to the Worshipful Master.  The remaining 25?  Joseph Kennedy, who forthrightly in the presence of multiple brothers and a member of the Penal Affairs committee admitted to filing false Masonic charges at Foster’s behest, deemed the report a ”vendetta” in which he would not partake.   James Bustin was too busy with foreclosure advised others to avoid this site. 

It shall be the duty of the Worshipful Master of a Lodge to promptly notify in writing the Grand Master, the Grand Secretary and the District Deputy Grand Master of the District the name and address of any member of his Lodge and the name and address of any unaffiliated Mason residing in the Penal Jurisdiction of his Lodge:
(1) who is convicted of a criminal offense involving moral turpitude under any State or Federal law, or
(2) who is being charged with any such offense and who enters any plea other than “not guilty,” or
(3) who, when charged with any such offense, enters into a “pre-trial intervention program” or joins in any “plea-bargaining” in which one of the stipulations is that he admits his guilt as to the charges,
together with a copy of the charges of which the Brother was convicted, or to which he entered a plea, a copy of the judgement and sentence and other relevant information or a copy of the stipulations of a pre-trial intervention program in which he admitted his guilt as to the charges and in which he may have also agreed to a specified term of probation after which time, and if all the stipulations are satisfied, the charges would be dropped. (1995)
Moral turpitude is that element of an offense that characterizes the act done as an act of depravity, baseness, vileness, wickedness or evil and contrary to the accepted and customary rules of right and justice and violative of the duty between man and man and includes any and all violations of moral law.

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