DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect the opinions of any organization that I am a member, committeeman (or chairman), officer, presiding officer, or past presiding officer of.
I tried to talk with Sir Knight Mike Johnson at the Northwest York Rite Conference, but I don't think my word carried much with him, particularly since I was disagreeing with him. After seeing or hearing about the arguments that arose at the Southwest York Rite Conference, arguments that arose at the SRICF High Council, the non-attendance of Sir Knights Mike Johnson and Billy Koon at the 2022 Masonic Week, arguments at the meeting of the Grand College of America of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests, I am worried about what this Special Conclave will turn into.
Turning to the present, I flew in Friday night and Saturday afternoon the Special Conclave was convened. Sir Knight Mike Johnson took the podium, had a prayer given not by his Grand Prelate, made a few comments, opened the Special Conclave, and then had the audacity to declare, through his Jurisprudence Committee, that all the items of business requested by the Grand Commanderies are unconstitutional and therefore cannot be brought before the Special Conclave. Sir Knight Jeff Nelson, Past Grand Master of the Grand Encampment, objected and appealed to the voting members of the Grand Encampment. Sir Knight Jeff noted that the Grand Master cannot objectively preside over a meeting that was called to question his very actions. Sir Knight Mike Johnson tried to adjourn the meeting and ordered his officers to his hotel room, but the Sir Knights stayed strong and overruled him.
Sir Knight Jeff Bolstad, Deputy Grand Master, was asked to take the chair. Sir Knight David D. Goodwin, Past Grand Master, was asked to preside. It was approved by the vast majority of the voting members. Sir Knight Mike fought the decision and even made a threatening gesture when Sir Knight Goodwin took the stage. He then asked Sir Knight Terry Plemmons, Grand Prelate, to give a prayer.
After the prayer, Sir Knight Goodwin had the final report of the credentials committee given; there were 298 registered voters (nearly as many that were at Triennial last August).
Sir Knight David W. Studley, KGC, Grand Commander of California addressed the body as the dissenting opinion of Sir Knight Johnson's Templar Jurisprudence Committee.
Several Sir Knights approached the microphone:
- Sir Knight Jeff Bolstad addressed the body on behalf of the other elected officers who supported the Sir Knight's rights and were appalled by Sir Knight Mike Johnson.
- Sir Knight Ben Williams addressed the decisions of Mike Johnson and their legality. Sir Knight Williams then moved to reinstate Sir Knight David Kussman as Deputy Grand Master. It passed. Sir Knight Jeff Bolstad and Sir Knight Jack Harper moved back to their positions that they took in August 2021. Sir Knight Jim McGee left the line.
Sir Knight Goodwin then followed the agenda as created by the Call to Conclave. Johnson Decisions No.1, 2, 3, and 4 were rescinded while Decisions No.5 and 6 were approved. Johnson Notice No.1 was rescinded.
Sir Knight Jeff Nelson addressed the Grand Encampment and then moved to remove Sir Knight Mike Johnson as Grand Master. Sir Knight William H. Koon II, Past Grand Master, asked that the ballot be a secret paper ballot. I took no joy in casting my vote, but I along with 3/4 of the voters approved of his removal. Sir Knight Johnson and several others left the room at that time.
The Grand Encampment voted down the "Ohio Amendment" which would have required those Grand Commanderies who called for the Special Conclave to pay for all of the costs associated with the special conclave.
Sir Knight Goodwin then moved onto the next item of business which was to announce that as Sir Knight David Kussman had been restored as Deputy Grand Master and because we had removed Sir Knight Mike Johnson, Sir Knight Kussman would ascend to the office of Most Eminent Grand Master with junior officers ascending and he appointing the Grand Captain General.
Sir Knight Kussman addressed the body vowing to restore trust and then appointed Sir Knight David W. Studley, KGC, as interim Grand Captain General who will not seek election further up the line at next triennial. Sir Knight Jim McGee will return in 2024 as a candidate for Grand Captain General.
Past Grand Master Goodwin with assistance from Past Grand Master Nelson and Honorary Past Grand Pruitt installed the new Grand Master and advanced elected officers. Sir Knight Kussman spoke to the Sir Knights and then adjourned the meeting, dismissing the Sir Knights. It was a bittersweet day. Now, I need some sleep before my flight home early in the morning.