The Brothers That Failed

by Midnight Freemasons contributor
Robert Johnson

Kramer--what were you thinking?
History as we know it is littered with famous Freemasons. In fact our originator Brother Todd E. Creason has a great book series which showcases some of the best. In one of his recent posts to the Midnight Freemasons, he talks a bit about the Civil War and how a brother had actually started it. It was a great piece. It was interesting to read about James Buchanan and how he wasn’t that great a Freemason or president. Which is why Brother Todd decided to not cover him.

It also prompted me to reflect on the few Brothers that I also did not showcase because I didn’t consider them to be true. You remember when you were asked "Where were you first prepared to become a Mason?" These men to which I am referring to, I just don’t know about. They include names like, Wozniak, Wilks, Richards, Arnold, and Weems the lists go on.

Woz--the genius behind Apple
I love Apple as a company and I love Steve Wozniak, but I chose not to mention him because he was quoted as saying that he only joined the Freemasons so he could sit within the  Eastern Star with his wife and that he didn't take anything seriously in regards to Freemasonic ritual.

Bobby Wilks was found guilty in defrauding families and defiling the dead when he buried them with trash in their coffins.  Michael Richards went off the deep end in a comedy routine which cost him his career.  Then there’s Benedict Arnold, who was a brilliant military strategist who defected to Great Britain during the Revolutionary War, thus ignoring his oath to the country. And who can forget Mason Locke Weems who falsified stories and lied about his relationship with George Washington in order to sell his biography of George Washington shortly after his death.

Locke Weens' biography of Washington more fiction than fact
Luckily for us the list of great Freemasons overshadows those of our not so greats. An interesting point to make here is that when I do the famous Freemasons segment on the show, I look for famous people that almost everyone has heard of. But it’s hard because almost every Freemason I know today is famous in their own right. Meaning, they work hard, many people know of them and they are extremely intelligent, outspoken and truly wonderful human beings. What makes someone famous? A notable event that they helped in? Or perhaps they were instrumental in something being accomplished? Regardless of these facts, I think we all know a few famous Freemasons.

Conversely, we may know of some brothers that have failed. Let us hope for the future that we have more bright shining stars than black holes. Let us remember the brothers that failed, their mistakes have made the right path more visible.


Sir Knight Robert Johnson is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He belongs to Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council and Knights Templar. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is also working on two books, one is of a Masonic nature.


  1. Great post, but I don't know if I agree too much in considering Michael Richards a "failed" Freemason and lumping him in with characters such as Wilks. At least not using what happened in that one incident as the criteria of judgement.

    This is of course my own opinion, based on the information that I have been privy to about him, but we all have bad nights. I do see that he is a professional actor and his apology could have been another character he was playing, but I (maybe blindly) believe that he was sincere and that here really did know he went off the deep end. Heck, to me it looked like it was eating him up inside. I also haven't seen really anything else about him that shows a continued lack of Masonic morals or principles.

    We are all trying to make ourselves better continuously, and sometimes we fall off the bridge or path by accident. I see that as what happened to him. We have all been subject to making mistakes in our life, even after we chose to walk the Masonic path. While the pressures of his life, vocation, and even that night do not justify what was said, his comments that night pale in comparison to Wilks, Arnold, and Mason Locke.

    Again, just my own opinion, and I really did enjoy the post. And thank you for making a post about Masons that aren't brought up in the Famous Freemasons portion of the show. Very interesting. Keep putting out the good work!!!

  2. Brother, you raise some great points. I agree, Michael Richards is in a far less category than that of anyone else mentioned. Thanks for your good words and the compliments. All the best,



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