Irregular Masonic Bodies Operating in Texas

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by Bro_Vick, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I don't know about elsewhere but, in Texas, "4 letter black lodges" and their members are, indeed, clandestine. Only members of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M. and members of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, F. & A.M. (AKA Prince Hall Affiliated) are considered "regular and recognized".
     
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  2. RyanC

    RyanC Registered User

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    Clandestine has to do with the fact of you can not trace your linage back to the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland, and Ireland or another Grand Body as such ie, Grand Lodge of NY, TX, or a Prince Hall add State Grand Lodge. As a regular/mainstream Mason we have sworn an obligation that we would not converse masonicly with anyone who is of a clandestine lodge. When a person decides that he no longer like the Grand Lodge he is in and starts the International Grand Lodge of AF&AM that linage is lost and is Clandestine. That does not mean it does not teach Freemasonry, and that its members are not Freemasons but that it is not recognized by the mainstream.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
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  3. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    The underlying concept is legitimacy of origin. Just to clarify, not all grand lodges were founded by another grand lodge. A number were founded by three or more lodges with charters/warrants from regular grand lodges.
     
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  4. bupton52

    bupton52 Moderator Premium Member

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    That is usually what the clandestine organizations teach. It is very easy to tell who is legitimate and who isn't. There is no feud of PHA vs anyone. It is all about the real masons and making folks understand that there are people assuming the right to call themselves freemasons.
     
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  5. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Bro Nagy makes a distinction between Freemasonry as the organization and Masonry as what we practice. Using that distinction clandestine lodges do not teach Freemasonry as their jurisdictions gave birth to themselves. Most men who are members of clandestine lodges have no idea they were tricked so they do practice Masonry in their own actions.
     
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  6. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Makes sense.
     
  7. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    I didn't know that. Thanks for the info brother.
     
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  8. MasterMasonFromNV

    MasterMasonFromNV Registered User

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    I did a little research on this topic since it piqued my interest. Some of the major "clandestine and irregular" Lodges is not about where they trace their roots but a difference in Masonic ideology. The Grand Orient of France was at one point recognized and regular by United Grand of Lodge of England. What caused the split and stopped the recognition during the 1860's through the 1870's is that the Grand Orient France dropped the prerequisite of a belief in a Higher Deity.

    This eventually allowed women to join not too long after and thus cemented the rift that goes on into today. All the major Masonic Bodies in France, and I believe there are five of them, are considered clandestine. There was one smaller Grand Lodge that did have recognition by UGLE, but internal turmoil has caused UGLE to sever ties.
     
  9. MasterMasonFromNV

    MasterMasonFromNV Registered User

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    Since then, many Grand Lodges that are deemed clandestine and irregular have popped up like weeds since the 1860's. This is also has to do with the "secretive nature" of our Craft and others can simply pop up over night and call themselves Freemasons. Since there is no centralized governing body with in Freemasonry, recognition between jurisdictions can be a little tricky.
     
  10. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    GLNF is again in amity with UGLE and I think, now, all the other European regular GLs.

    In terms of standards of regularity, both the home GLs and CGMNA set forth the standards. There is largely a consistent pattern of recognition based on these and so it is not that tricky in most cases. I would encourage reading the reports at the Commission on Information for Recognition website. If you are a member of the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference, I shall be reporting to it this summer. I expect also to hear the subject addressed at the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges in November in California.
     
  11. Eastwardbound

    Eastwardbound Registered User

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    Can anyone answer the below questions:

    Put simply, are there any regular and recognized Grand Lodges in Texas apart from The Grand Lodge of Texas and The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas?

    Secondly, is a blue lodge in Texas required to fall under the jurisdiction of either of the two aforementioned Grand Lodges? If not, can their Grand Lodge be in another state/country?

    Third, Can a Supreme Council grant a charter to originate a GL?

    Fourth, it has been said that a Warrant/Charter must come from the UGLE or the GL of Ireland or Scotland for a GL to be recognized. If this is so, can someone point me to where I can find this rule in Masonic Jurisprudence or precedent?



    Regards,


    Houston, Texas
    Initiated 06/04/14
    Passed 12/18/14
    Raised 03/28/15
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  12. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    No.

    To be regular and recognized, yes.

    No.

    That is not entirely correct. In order for a Grand Lodge to be recognized, it must be able to trace its lineage back to one of the three original Grand Lodges, but it doesn't need to receive a warrant or charter directly from them.
     
  13. Eastwardbound

    Eastwardbound Registered User

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    Gentleman,

    I am finding that there is disagreement on this issue at best and ambiguity at worst. The process by which a Grand Lodge is originated seems to me very unclear which is the cause of some calling others "clandestine" while those lodges genuinely see themselves as regular and recognized. Calling a lodge clandestine is a serious charge, I feel, and we should have a very clear standard by which that judgement is made.


    Three questions remain:

    1) How does a GL substantiate that their lineage indeed traces back to one of the original three GL's? And to whom do they substantiate this to?

    2) If a GL does not need to receive a warrant or charter directly from one of the aforementioned original GL's , who then is legitimately sanctioned to provide them one?

    3) Must a GL at least have recognition from one of the original three GL's in order not to be considered clandestine or can that recognition come from elsewhere?

    For example:

    http://rglva.com/recognitions.html


    The Regular Grand Lodge of Virginia has a "Warrant of Constitution" from a Grand Lodge in Italy (Gran Loggia Madre CAMEA) and they also have mutual recognition with a number of Grand Lodges around the world. However, the GL that issued their warrant is not recognized by any of the three original GL's. Does this make the Regular Grand Lodge of Virginia clandestine despite having a warrant and recognitions?



    Regards,


    Houston, Texas
    Initiated 06/04/14
    Passed 12/18/14
    Raised 03/28/15
     
  14. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    In theory some other GL can make a request of those two then once approved grant a charter to a lodge. In Texas I doubt either would approve. To charter a lodge in territory occupied by an existing regular and recognized jurisdiction is an invasion and not taken well by other jurisdictions.

    I do know an example outside of Texas that happened roughly 1994/5- One of the Mexican GLs requested permission from GLofCA to charter a Spanish speaking lodge inside California near the border. The delegates in California were generous and granted permission. The wording of the agreement stated that individual agreements do not set a precedent that invalidates the American doctrine of territorial exclusivity. The agreement was one of several steps leading to PHA recognition in California.

    Jurisdictions charter themselves so there is no such thing as a one jurisdiction granting a charter for another jurisdiction. (Fact check - Is this actually an American only historical practice?) Jurisdictions *recognize* each other; they do not *charter* each other.

    What happens is an unoccupied territory emerges when a land is colonized. One or more jurisdiction charters lodges within that region - It is the lodges that are chartered. At some point there are enough lodges in the region to form a quorum and they decide to turn in their charters and form their own jurisdiction.

    As such a jurisdiction can have one or several parent jurisdictions. Many US jurisdictions have founding lodges that were chartered from more than one parent jurisdiction.

    If a jurisdiction cites a charter from any Supreme Council, in the US this automatically means they are irregular. Outside of the US there exist regular and recognized jurisdictions that have a Supreme Council among their parents but none exist in the US.
     
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  15. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Since a jurisdiction is created by a quorum of lodges from other regular and recognized jurisdictions, you look up the charters of those founding lodges and look up their recognitions at the time the respective charters were issued. There is always a finite number of generations back to the 3 founding GLs. There is never a self founding lodge in the list ever since the emergence of the founding GLs.

    A GL that cites its own charter is automatically to be labelled dubious as that's not how it works. Jurisdictions have to write their own charters once their founding lodges turn theirs in, but such charters are after the fact not before the fact.

    That's a matter of regular origin not of recognition.

    To be recognized by one of the elder 3 they first look up regularity of origin. Then they look up local recognition. Then they recognize.

    Let's say GLofTX charters the first lodge on the Moon (this has happened). Let's say several other jurisdictions (Japan, Brazil, Virginia) charter lodges on the Moon as it is colonized (still in the future). At some point the lodges there will decide they have a quorum and self organize. The jurisdictions of Texas, Japan, Brazil and Virginia check that they all recognize each other and that the individual lodges on the Moon have regular origin. The jurisdictions of Texas, Japan, Brazil and Virginia) vote to recognize their child jurisdiction. Soon after that the 3 elder jurisdictions vote to recognize.

    That's how it works. First regular origin, second parental recognition, third wider recognition. As a result there is a very high correlation between recognition by the 3 elder jurisdictions and recognition elsewhere. If a GL isn't in the UGLE list it might not be worth looking farther (MWPHGLofOK are you brothers listening?)

    This is the regular and recognized GL in Italy - http://www.glri.it/ It is not the one you list. And it's that simple to figure out a clandestine jurisdiction trying to pump it its claims of regularity.

    No regular and/or recognized GL in the US uses the word "Regular". That was all I needed to know its status. But to learn that I needed to look through the UGLE list plus the Conference of Grand Masters Prince Hall Masons list to learn the names.
     
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  16. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Actually, there is no disagreement amongst the Home GL's and the CGMNA GL's on the standards. The Regular Grand Lodge of Virginia is clandestine. It's sponsoring GL is clandestine. This concept is known as legitimacy of origin. Neither of them were chartered by recognized GL's.

    You may see the CGMNA standards here: http://www.recognitioncommission.org/publish/2004/06/10/the-standards-of-recognition/. The RGLV violates both legitimacy of origin and the territorial jurisdiction elements.

    If your GL is neither GL of Texas or PHA of Texas, your GL is not regular. I note the following from the Commission website:

    A great many Grand Lodges continue to appear in North America each year which do not meet the standards for recognition. Further, most of these Grand Lodges make no effort to achieve regularity or even establish a relationship with the regular Grand Lodges into whose jurisdiction they have inserted themselves. The Commission urges great vigilance in establishing relationships with new Grand Lodges that do not exist in the List of Lodges-Masonic, published by Pantagraph, in Bloomington, Ill.

    So, whilst you have been a bit coy in failing to disclose your obedience, and you may certainly associate with these individuals, you will not be allowed to communicate with the Home GL's, the CGMNA members, or the recognized GL's of Europe. I realize this is a bitter pill, and you may decline it, but you will still be barred from regular Masonry.
     
  17. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Hypothetical -

    Some jurisdiction on the Moon is regular and recognized. It charters a lodge on the new Mars and Ceres colonies. Texas also charters lodges on Ceres. Japan also charters lodges on Mars. The Moon charters lodges in L5 construction and space power colony. The Mars, Ceres and L5 colonies grow and flourish and eventually organize themselves into their own jurisdictions and are uniformly recognized.

    The GL of the Moon demonstrates what it means to be a Lunatic by admitting female atheist space aliens. They exit regularity.

    The jurisdictions on Mars and Ceres remain regular through their Texas and Japan lineage.

    L5 retains independence and regular practice. Do they stay recognized? Earthly parallel would be lodges chartered by the Grand Orient of France before they went irregular.

    Hypothetical -

    The Lunatic GL charters a lodge in Saturn orbit. So do Mars and Ceres colonies. When the Saturn GL is founded, the former Lunatic lodge relents, applies for healing and is allowed to be a founding member of the Saturn GL. Is the new Saturn GL regular and will it be recognized?

    Earthly parallel is some PHO lodge applying to join a new jurisdiction through the healing process.
     
  18. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    While some do not understand it & others choose to deny it, the standards for regularity & recognition are clear.



    Let's take the Grand Lodge of Texas as an example. Originally, before Texas fought for and won independence from Mexico, some Brethren requested permission from the Grand Lodge of Mexico to form Masonic Lodges in Texas, but were unable to obtain such. They then sought & received permission to form Lodges in Texas from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. This is the proper procedure to form Lodges in an area where no Grand Lodge yet exists.

    After three Lodges were formed in Texas, the representatives then met and agreed to form the Grand Lodge of Texas, as was their right. As they had received their authority to operate from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, which had originally received their authority to operate from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which had originally received their authority to operate from the Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Texas was deemed "regular in origin". This is called "lineage".

    To be deemed "regular in practice", a Grand Lodge must adhere to the "Landmarks", i.e. requiring belief in a Supreme Being, limiting admission to men only, and so forth. To receive "recognition", which must be applied for and received through a formal procedure, a Grand Lodge must demonstrate that they are "regular in practice and origin".

    In an area where there is no existing Grand Lodge, application is made to the Grand Lodge from which the applying Grand Lodge's lineage traces- in the case of Texas, the Grand Lodge of England.

    In an area where a Grand Lodge is already exercising jurisdiction, a new Grand Lodge must apply for recognition from the existing Grand Lodge, demonstrating their regularity of origin and practice. This is the procedure followed by the Prince Hall Affiliated Grand Lodge of Texas. After our Committee on Fraternal Relations determined that PHA Texas could trace their lineage through African Lodge #459 in Massachusetts to the Grand Lodge of England, thereby being regular in origin, and found that they were also regular in practice, the committee reported favorably to the Grand Communication of the Grand Lodge of Texas, which voted to extend recognition to PHA Texas, which could then request & receive recognition from the United Grand Lodge of England.



    They must follow the procedures described above.



    Yes.



    None of the organizations listed in your link are regular OR recognized. As they are all clandestine, so is the "Regular Grand Lodge of Virginia", which is anything but "regular". Calling themselves so doesn't make it so.
     
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  19. Eastwardbound

    Eastwardbound Registered User

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    Brothers,

    I very much appreciate your informed and insightful responses.






     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  20. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    I am a new MM, having been raised last August, but I am still amazed when I hear of how many clandestine lodges there are out there.
     
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