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Freemason Lodges in Prison ??

Bill Lins

Moderating Staff
Staff Member
Next, is the comparison to lodges in POW camps. Everyone is saying it is different; no it's not. These were meetings of Masons without a charter because they were being confined against their will and did not have access to regular lodges. The reason for their imprisonment doesn't matter FOR THIS ISSUE.
I disagree entirely. The Brethren in the POW camp are all in good standing. None of those in prison are. A tremendous difference. Even if a Lodge was legally chartered in a prison for the benefit of inmates, my obligation precludes me from meeting with them, as they are not in good standing. No such restriction in a POW camp.

I've always disliked the contention that we aren't allowed to meet unless it's with the permission of the Grand Lodge. It's basically saying 'you can't talk to your brothers unless Big Brother says so'.
If you are referring to meeting in a tiled Lodge, I know of no Grand Lodge that allows such without a legitimate charter (i.e. "permission of the Grand Lodge"). Otherwise, one can talk to one's Brethren at any time, anywhere without special dispensation except for certain specific instances.
 

Travelling Man91

Registered User
Let me elaborate on why I chose "Freemason Lodges in Prison" as the subject. I do not believe any regular GL has gave permission to these guys to operate. The reason I say lodge in Prison is because the guy stated that he became a mason in a lodge in Prison.
 

Travelling Man91

Registered User
You are talking about clandestine masons. The rules don't apply to them. They make them up.

I agree 100% brother, they are clandestine, which is why I didn't answer any questions, only asked questions to learn about this bogus masonry.
 
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Billy Cox

Registered User
Yes, there maybe masons in prison. However, if you never sit in lodge with them then be very careful. Many people in prison have a difficultly in following societies rules which govern the land.


Sent From My Freemasonry Pro App
 

Glen Cook

G A Cook
Site Benefactor
As an outsider I find interesting the assumption that every US citizen convicted is actually guilty. I would have thought that an African-American might take a different view.

What view might the GAOTU take on improperly convicted brethren?
I didn't see that presumption. Rather, they have been convicted of a crime.

Would your GL grant them a charter?
 

Travelling Man91

Registered User
As an outsider I find interesting the assumption that every US citizen convicted is actually guilty. I would have thought that an African-American might take a different view.

What view might the GAOTU take on improperly convicted brethren?
Why would an African-American take a different view ? So just because a person is "African American" which I'm not a fan of calling people, should automatically be okay with clandestine masons, because ?? You want to know the truth about it, I was going to leave race out of it, but the guy that told me this was white.
 
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Brother_Steve

Premium Member
As an outsider I find interesting the assumption that every US citizen convicted is actually guilty. I would have thought that an African-American might take a different view.

What view might the GAOTU take on improperly convicted brethren?
Jurisprudence of Law has nothing to do with guilty or not guilty.

Are you a mason? I would refresh yourself with the symbols of the third degree concerning the GAOTU namely the ASE.
 

cemab4y

Premium Member
I have never heard of a working lodge in a prison. BUT, I shared a hospital room with a man who had "done time", and he told me of his masonic experiences in prison. He met a 33rd degree Mason who was in the joint. Many of the guards were masons, but he asked for no special privileges, and did not expect any.

He also gave me some advice on what to if ever I was incarcerated. (for instructional purposes only). He was a fascinating man, and quite intellgent. He could have really made a life for himself, if had made some better choices in his early life.
 

Travelling Man91

Registered User
I have never heard of a working lodge in a prison. BUT, I shared a hospital room with a man who had "done time", and he told me of his masonic experiences in prison. He met a 33rd degree Mason who was in the joint. Many of the guards were masons, but he asked for no special privileges, and did not expect any.

He also gave me some advice on what to if ever I was incarcerated. (for instructional purposes only). He was a fascinating man, and quite intellgent. He could have really made a life for himself, if had made some better choices in his early life.
I don't believe they are a regular working lodge, but anyone can gather a group of men together and meet and call themselves a lodge of anything
 

cemab4y

Premium Member
I have never heard of a working lodge in a prison. BUT, I shared a hospital room with a man who had "done time", and he told me of his masonic experiences in prison. He met a 33rd degree Mason who was in the joint. Many of the guards were masons, but he asked for no special privileges, and did not expect any.

He also gave me some advice on what to if ever I was incarcerated. (for instructional purposes only). He was a fascinating man, and quite intellgent. He could have really made a life for himself, if had made some better choices in his early life.
 

dfreybur

Premium Member
The reason I say lodge in Prison is because the guy stated that he became a mason in a lodge in Prison.

On concentration camps - It is important that all such meetings involved members of regular jurisdictions. In theory at the time they did not have permission but they had not way to make contact so they did their best. What is the lynch pin to me is that once their history was discovered after the war was over they were hailed as heroes. If they had been able to ask permission it is clear they would have been granted permission.

On prisons - The story is different at both levels. All regular jurisdictions expel on conviction so prisons in jail are at most expelled former members. And it is certain that no regular jurisdiction would grant permission for a lodge behind bars to make Masons.

There has been mention of convicted brothers. Some jurisdictions exclude those with felony records from petitioning. Other jurisdictions allow petitioning as long as it's been long enough and the petitioner is open about it. In those jurisdictions some lodges don't accept those with records. So while it's possible to have a brother with a record it remains rare and only after he is long out before petitioning. There's also the possibility of reinstatement. That only happens long after a brother is out and it requires a vote at grand lodge. I've seen men turned down just because it hasn't been long enough.

Taken together I think it unlikely there was a quorum to confer even a clandestine degree.

What I think happened is a convict found a ritual book and read it. He committed enough to memory to be able to talk the talk. Maybe he did it hoping for better treatment from the guards.
 

Travelling Man91

Registered User
On concentration camps - It is important that all such meetings involved members of regular jurisdictions. In theory at the time they did not have permission but they had not way to make contact so they did their best. What is the lynch pin to me is that once their history was discovered after the war was over they were hailed as heroes. If they had been able to ask permission it is clear they would have been granted permission.

On prisons - The story is different at both levels. All regular jurisdictions expel on conviction so prisons in jail are at most expelled former members. And it is certain that no regular jurisdiction would grant permission for a lodge behind bars to make Masons.

There has been mention of convicted brothers. Some jurisdictions exclude those with felony records from petitioning. Other jurisdictions allow petitioning as long as it's been long enough and the petitioner is open about it. In those jurisdictions some lodges don't accept those with records. So while it's possible to have a brother with a record it remains rare and only after he is long out before petitioning. There's also the possibility of reinstatement. That only happens long after a brother is out and it requires a vote at grand lodge. I've seen men turned down just because it hasn't been long enough.

Taken together I think it unlikely there was a quorum to confer even a clandestine degree.

What I think happened is a convict found a ritual book and read it. He committed enough to memory to be able to talk the talk. Maybe he did it hoping for better treatment from the guards.
I could see that. But I could also see a former mason being convicted of a felony and sentenced to life and not won't to let go of the craft, so they continue to practice masonry in prison. Just a theory. The guy stated that the guys that raised him were former regular masons. I don't know brother. I just thought it was an interesting conversation and wanted to share what I had learned.
 
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Levelhead

Premium Member
Here is a couple of thoughts that I had in my mind while driving today thinking about this thread.
OK for one it's hard to meet in secret so if they were to meet in a room and someone were to be outside watching the door I doubt it would be an inmate it would have to be a mason who was also one of the corrections officer. Unless they had a mason who was a correction officer in the room with them because in jail it is hard to be in a locked room unsupervised with that many people for safety purposes.

and I doubt they would have a cop or a correction officer stay in the room who is not a regular Mason as they would be violating your obligations being clandestine or not.

I also do see how they could meet in a cell with just enough members they would have to be very quiet though as a have meetings and to keep off eavesdroppers.

This is also with the understanding that all gathered in the room running these in prison lodges were actually at one time part of a regular lodge who understand the rules and regulations and their obligations.


Sent from Mossy Oak Swamp Bottom
 

Glen Cook

G A Cook
Site Benefactor
I have never heard of a working lodge in a prison. BUT, I shared a hospital room with a man who had "done time", and he told me of his masonic experiences in prison. He met a 33rd degree Mason who was in the joint. Many of the guards were masons, but he asked for no special privileges, and did not expect any.

He also gave me some advice on what to if ever I was incarcerated. (for instructional purposes only). He was a fascinating man, and quite intellgent. He could have really made a life for himself, if had made some better choices in his early life.
If a truthful story, I am sure he was no longer a 33.
 

Warrior1256

Site Benefactor
Just because you didn't hear about them doesn't mean they weren't there brother. The guy said there was wasn't much of them, but don't forget how many it takes to open a lodge of master masons.
I didn't mean to be arguementive brother. Just stated the fact that in my 29 year career I had never heard of prison Masons.
 

cemab4y

Premium Member
I read a story some years ago about a group of P.O.W.s who set up a square and compasses club in a german prison camp during WW2. (Keep in mind that just being a Freemason would get you sent to a concentration camp. All freemasonry was illegal in Nazi Germany).

The men would hold meetings, and station a couple of "tylers" outside. (This was NOT a working lodge, just a S&C Club). One day the club was meeting. The tyler saw a German guard coming near. The tyler rapped on the door three times, signaling the club to cease the meeting).

The German guard heard the raps, and without breaking his stride, he made the sign of the EA and walked away.
 
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