Monday, November 05, 2007


I do not know how many have seen the movie “Brubaker”, starring Robert Redford, but I witnessed a similarity between Freemasonry and the tone of the movie. Robert Redford infiltrates a southern prison, to eventually become the warden. He wanted to enter the system as a prisoner, see how it functioned, then reveal that he is the new warden and try to reform it. Now, Brubaker is the name of Redford’s character, and the obstacles he has to face to try and reform the prison is similar to what I and others have experienced in the Lodge and Masonry in general.

There is a situation where a roof caves in and injures multiple inmates, Brubaker checks the insurance policy, but the roof is not covered. They are covered against a Chinese invasion, volcano destruction and earthquakes, but no roof coverage. He starts to find many more dirty deeds that have been transpiring for decades. A local lumber man tries to bribe Brubaker to get in on the scam of this prison system, milking it for labor and funds. When this lumber man realizes that Brubaker is not interested in being a part of this scam, or any other, this southern gentleman reminds Brubaker, quote: ”Don’t F with tradition, boy!”

Now, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that statement in my Masonic travels, maybe not as harsh, but the same message. “We have always done it this way, or that way”. Just because a Lodge, a prison or Government has “done something” a certain way for a very long time, does not make it RIGHT. The town’s and state’s elders had no problem doing things that were wrong, even passing that system onto their future generations, to continue these traditions unimpeded.

Brubaker, an educated man with morals and principles, ran into a group of people who had acted questionable for generations, and the first time an outsider comes into the mix, and will not partake in the this corrupt system, gets threatened and met with obstacles by people who would rather continue on a morally corrupt path (tradition) than recognizing the wrong of what they are doing, and changing to do right. Traditions do not necessarily mean right. If educated men perceive traditions to be that, traditions and not “LAW”, they should be able to question them and attempt to change these traditions if they are wrong. Just because you’re great grandfather and his father had always done it that way, it does not make it right.

I would like to suggest that anyone who has not seen Brubaker to see it, and see for yourself if a Masonic allegory his hidden within the movie. Does the prison represent the Lodge, and the resistance to change by the towns elders, represent the entrenched, possessive mason? See how many of the characters in the movie remind you of males you have met within the craft. With their zealous defense of traditions and positions passed down by daddy and his cronies, no matter how they affect “outsiders” and other innocents. Brubaker symbolized all aspiring freemasons who have entered the portals of the Temple, expecting high minded, elevated freethinkers to be able to work with, who would be pro active in making a difference and challenging the minds of all who seek to learn, not unenlightened staunch Christians, bullying age old traditions down your throat without any recourse.

The best line of the movie again by the big mover and shaker of the town was, “Don’t F with tradition, boy!” , a popular mantra of masonry,

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brubaker is an American 1980 film about a prison in distress. Robert Redford plays the eponymous lead role of Warden Henry Brubaker.


In the film, the Brubaker character finds rampant abuse and corruption during the short period he impersonates an inmate. Examples include a prison doctor that charges inmates for care, torture of inmates, procurement fraud (such as purchase of substandard food contaminated with weevils and worms), fraudulent insurance, and many more examples.

When the disguise comes off, he does what he must to make things right, and inflames the corrupt officials who have profited from their graft for decades.


The film is a fact-based biopic about a prison warden who starts his job by disguising himself as one of his own prison inmates to find out what the prison is really like. It is based on a 1969 book by Tom Murton, a warden at the Cummins Prison in Arkansas, and co-author Joe Hyams, Accomplices To The Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal.

Murton also served as technical advisor during filming.

Filmed in New Lexington, Ohio & The Junction City Prison Farm in Junction City, Ohio.


David said...

Wow! I'm going to get this movie from Netflix and after I'm done watching it, I'm going to share it with a couple of the other younger brothers at the lodge. Very interesting stuff. This is exactly what we face when we even suggest doing something the least bit differently at the lodge... fund raisers, family nights, seasonal picnics - most of our ideas are shot down with a great deal of hostility and anger. I understand not changing the traditions of freemasonry, but not wanting to change the pancake fundraiser flyer to something a little flashier that may attract 2 more people??? Come on! Gimmie a break. Thanks for this post.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

it is just the beginning of alot more of the same.
they groom cowans to take their places.

good luck my young brother!

anything I can do to help, let me know
Travel in Light