Clandestine, Irregular, Unrecognized

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by SeeKer.mm, May 13, 2012.

  1. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    Brethren,

    A debate going on in one of the other forum threads has sparked my interest and I felt that a thread should be started for this topic (I am sure it has been visited before). In the debate, one of the points that was made was that the UGLE was formed in 1717, but that Masonic lodges were around well before then. My question to the group then is this. All of those brothers that were made Masons prior to the formation of the UGLE, as well there respective lodges...what category do they fall into? While it may seem like a silly question, my interest was peaked further because being a CT Mason, I have seen old articles and have had discussion with some of my older brothers about how there were lodges in CT prior to the formation of the Grand Lodge of CT. One lodge (Hiram Lodge No. 1) went so far as to question the authority of the Grand Lodge and refused to make any changes to their existing ritual...to this day, while Hiram No. 1 is certainly recognized, their rituals are certainly different than normal (I guess they won) because they stood their ground as to whether or not the GLoCTAF&AM could tell them what to do. This got me thinking...are there lodges out there that have a lineage that goes back before the time of the UGLE...are these lodge clandestine? Usually when I think of clandestine I think of a newly formed lodge that was formed without proper charter but what if a lodge was at work prior to the the UGLE and said lodge decided that it was not going to recognize UGLE (instead of the other way around)...what do we call that? I for one have no opinion on the topic yet, and am a member of a regular and recognized lodge (and I am not going anywhere either so don't worry about that), but I still can't help but have these thoughts... if anyone can offer any guidance, or point me to some good research material on the topic, I would be sure to seek more light on this topic. Again, I do not question the sovereignty of the UGLE, but can't help but question how we should view those who came before....perhaps in the future I can help clarify this same topic for some of my younger brethren.
     
  2. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Recognition began with the Ancients and Moderns. The Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland were also recognized early on.

    Recognition and breaking of ties have not ceased to date. In short, the answer to your question is no. Still, this is a good question that poses confusion everywhere among the craft.
     
  3. cog41

    cog41 Premium Member

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    Are there that many of these lodges around? I'm not talking about Internet "lodges" or Internet masonic society, I mean real local fellowships.
     
  4. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    From what I have heard, yes, there are quite a few
     
  5. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Quite a few in our area. Some years back there were problems between many of the PHA "blue Lodges" and the PHA Grand Lodge. Some of the local PHA Lodges disassociated from PHA and became independent. Many of them have died out but a number of them are still operating. The one in my town operates under the name "Wharton Craft".
     
  6. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Maybe the PHA GL of Texas needs to do a better job of defining themselves. Their Lodge locator is horrendous. So many good men fall for clandestine lodges, or shall I say, duped.
     
  7. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    There are, I posted some that have been listed in Texas as being clandestine and having more than 2 members. Also realize that degree peddling is common in the military especially in deployed locations. A SFC was selling 92 degrees in the Memphis Rite in Iraq a few years back under the term Regular Grand Lodge of South Carolina. This caused some of those men to realize they got dupped when they attempted to join a lodge when they returned to the states. The fees? It was reported that $5,000 would get you a 92nd degree and yearly dues were $1,500.

    Sham Masonry has been around for along time and will continue. The fear is that men get suckered in and next thing you are in an organization with maybe a dozen members worldwide, and can't visit any other lodges. If in the end a man chooses to join an irregular/clandestine lodge, than that is their choice. But a lot of times, they wouldn't have join, if they realized it was just that local organization.

    On that note, I am not aware of any Co-Masonic organizations (i.e. George Washington Union) running around in Texas, has anyone heard of any or know of any?

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  8. Pscyclepath

    Pscyclepath Premium Member

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    Sounds like Brother Daniel Dravot has been at work again...


     
  9. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I've heard that one is starting up in the Dallas & Austin areas.
     
  10. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

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    Bro Seeker, in the thread you're referring to, I was the author of a couple of posts, and gave some enlightenment to the Young Brother who asked me some questions. I sensed and was fully aware that he wanted to bait me into a debate, but like I told him, I have no need to debate, because I have 237 years of Free and Accepted Masonry on my side. He happened to state that his affiliation was from some "Grand Lodge" in Tennessee, and it was also styled "AF&AM", and it was a Black Grand Lodge, so instantly, I knew that his "Grand Lodge" was clandestine. This doesn't make him a bad Man, by any means, however, I had to temper my response to him toward that which is public knowledge. The book I suggested for his reading would be good for YOU as well. "Inside Prince Hall", by Bro David Gray, will give you the insight you are seeking regarding the history of Prince Hall Freemasonry here in America, as well as the formation of these clandestine Lodges of African American descent. Unfortunately, this issue is more of a problem in the Black communities, and there are several reasons.

    The FULL AND DETAILED explanation of these reasons would take longer than I may have at the moment, but, just realize one basic fact as it pertains to the "debate" between Prince Hall Affiliated Lodges, and other so called "4 Letter and 5 Letter" groups in the Black community. (Prince Hall Origin Lodges, International and Free and Ancient Accepted Masonry Lodges, John G Jones styled Ancient Free and Accepted Lodges, etc.) WE HAVE RECOGNITION, LINEAGE, AND A CHARTER TO PROVE OUR EXISTENCE, WHICH TRACES OUR FREE AND ACCEPTED ORIGIN BACK TO ENGLAND, AND THEY DO NOT. The book written by Bro Gray presents several factors which contribute to the establishment of these clandestine groups. As with any organization, there are growing pains, and the eras in Prince Hall Freemasonry between 1801 and 1827, 1827 to 1847, and 1847-1900 are differing periods of growth and expansion, and also controversy. These spurious groups began RECRUITING unsuspecting Black Men to join, (a HUGE NO-NO) who simply wanted to become Masons, and had no knowledge of the degrees for sale, expelled Prince Hall Brothers creating Lodges and conferring Degrees, and these same Men traveling across State Lines creating Lodges and Grand Lodges styled "Ancient Free and Accepted", in States where there were already two established Masonic bodies-----Prince Hall Grand Lodges, and Mainstream Grand Lodges. There was also the attempt at the establishment of a National Compact in 1847, which was a National Grand Lodge, of sorts. However, MOST States opted to maintain their sovereign nature, and hence, you have the Prince Hall Affiliated vs the Prince Hall Origin debate. This was solved, however, and Prince Hall Affiliated Grand Lodges are the Lodges which are deemed "regular and recognized", which ended that debate.



    The crossing into other established Masonic Jurisdictions and establishing Masonic bodies is termed a Masonic Invasion, and is illegal. This is what Black Clandestine groups began to do in the Mid-19th Century. A legitimate English Chartered exception, Prince Hall Grand Lodge bodies were established, and were allowed to co-exist, however, due to the Black Man not being allowed to join Mainstream Lodges and practice Masonry alongside his White counterparts in the late 18th century, and throughout the 19th century. These bodies have co-existed to the present day, and each is steeped their own History and Legacy.

    The book also touches on Court action that Prince Hall Brothers took against these Bogus groups in the past, but in modern times, it is very hard to police the plethora of groups that dupe and miseducate many unsuspecting Men, many of whom would make excellent Masons in either a Mainstream or PHA Lodge. We have groups such as the Phylaxis Society, which is a Research Society for Prince Hall Freemasonry, that has a link that lists Bogus or Clandestine Groups.....The site relies on Brethren to contact them, and report all clandestine Masonic activity, and they will post it on their site (www.phylaxis.org)

    For this reason, among many others, many Mainstream Lodges refused to "recognize" Prince Hall Affiliated Masonry, and to THIS day, there are 9 States which still do NOT recognize Prince Hall Masons, or allow Intervisitation. Our Great State of Texas is unique, in that we have a signed compact of "mutual recognition" from 2007, but NO intervisitation at the present. The MWPHGLoTX reached out to the UGLE, in an effort to reestablish ties with the UGLE, and the FIRST step in accomplishing this was to establish Masonic ties with the Mainstream GLoTX, AF&AM, first.

    We are secure and clear on our definition of OURSELVES; unfortunately, the clandestine groups are so numerous that they are still able to RECRUIT members, and dupe them into believing that THEY are just as legitimate as we are. This is one of the symptoms of the DISEASE of clandestine masonry running rampant in the Black community. No PHA Mason will ever get defensive, when questioned about HIS lineage or how his form of Free and Accepted Masonry is defined, because we have remained true to our roots, and we are in possession of a Charter as well as a Legacy that defines US.

    Many of us do believe, however, that educating others about our form of Masonry is important, but we do not feel the need to commercialize ourselves NOR do we recruit. We seek Good Men who are the Cream of the Crop in their communities. Unfortunately, one thing that helps clandestine groups is that the uneducated Man who has not researched that which he seeks to join, will continue to listen, and join a bogus group before realizing how precarious of a position he has placed himself in. I will admit that we could use an upgrade in technology in regard to the Locator link on the GL site, however, there are enough of us on this Forum now to assist with any questions or issues any Brother may have if unable to locate information regarding PHA or the MWPHGLoTX.

    Brother Seeker, If you have read many of the differing threads on this subject, I think you will see that many of the Brothers that are members of this Forum are in favor of both Mutual Recognition AND Intervisitation; however, one would be naive to think that this will be an easy sell to members on both sides. You have your progressive brethren, and your Brethren who have opposing views on this subject; only GOD AND TIME will tell whether this TRUE Masonic spirit of Fraternalism will ever be realized. I am optimistic, but there are many obstacles in the way, the MAIN one being educating one another about each other, (which we are doing now) another is racism, (on both sides) still another is reluctance to infuse NEW ideals into what are BOTH storied Grand Lodges steeped in Texas History. That is the beauty of what happens on this Forum daily----the exchange of ideas on the Internet can be the virtual precursor to actual visitation; it creates familiarity as Brethren ask questions, and express opinions.

    Bro Seeker, your State of CT was actually the FIRST State to take this step toward Mutual Recognition and Intervisitation, back in 1989. Many other States have followed suit, and Prince Hall Brothers here have actually been granted permission to visit our Mainstream Lodges of Brothers in OTHER States, but not our own. It will take meetings, Internet Forums, but MOST importantly, the power of the VOTE at Grand Lodge Communications in order to solidify what most of us know will be nothing less than positive. Please order that book; I am confident that it will assist you in learning more about PHA Masonry. If any Brother has questions, or is simply curious about an issue, all he has to do is ask. Obviously, there are limitations within our Constitutions which we know impede ACTUAL AND COMPLETE ENLIGHTENMENT, but, this Forum is a great start toward the continued communication between Brethren of different Jurisdictions..........

    When there is a question any Mainstream Brother has about legitimacy of a Lodge or "Grand Lodge", or any historical information, I am sure one of the Forum "regulars" will be close and can help you-----myself, brother Kosei, Brother BUpton52, Brother PH021211, Bro. Benjamin, or, last but certainly NOT least, Bro Raymond Walters, to name a few. These are the names you see contributing posts regularly, and can shed some LIGHT on any PHA issue a Brother may have..........."Iron Sharpens Iron"..........I hope this offering can help you acquire some knowledge on this subject, Brother.................

    .
    Fraternally Submitted, Bro. Vincent C. Jones, Sr., Bayou City Lodge #228, PHA, F&AM, Houston, Texas
     
  11. Michaelstedman81

    Michaelstedman81 Premium Member

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    Wow!!! That was a very informative and interesting post! Thank you for taking the time to put that much out. It actually covered some questions I have had from time to time, but never asked at my lodge. Either because I didn't know it would be a wise idea to bring up and ask, or, and the biggest reason, because I really don't think that deep of PHA knowledge is known by many Brothers in my lodge. If any. Thank you!

     
  12. bupton52

    bupton52 Moderator Premium Member

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    Great post once again Bro. Jones!!
     
  13. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    Brother Jones,

    As always your response serves not only to team me a few a things, but the other Brothers of the forum as well. Thank you so much for the plethora of information and I will be certain to pick up that book. As a matter of fact I believe I know someone who has a copy. Thanks again, both for the information as well as your time!
     
  14. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

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    Bros. Steadman, Upton, and Seeker, you all are very welcome...........the pleasure is mine. All I am doing is what any good Mason would do----use his Trowel to spread that Cement of Brotherly Love. The thanks goes to my WM, Bro. William Ross, 32, for having the confidence in me as a petitioner for healing, to know I would NOT disappoint him, or make him regret his sponsorship of me ONE BIT. To me, Masonry is a WAY OF LIFE, and even with the rigors of work, (15 year Sgt. in Houston Police Dept) family, (Wife and THREE in diapers) and other obligations, I still make time most nights to knock out 10-15 pages of a Masonic book I'm interested in reading. And, as I learn, I feel an obligation to share what I have learned with the Brotherhood, and this Forum helps all of us share knowledge and ideas.

    I look at our travels in learning as Men of Masonry as a positive outlet, to get away from the stresses of life. Bro. Steadman had a great point in another post I was reading, when he mentioned that instead of going out having beers with his single buddies, he hangs with other married couples. I second THAT emotion. Most Friday Nights, if I'm not working Overtime, I'm at home reading a good book, improving myself in Masonry, or hanging out with my Wife and babies, instead of hitting the Happy Hours. That keeps me well within my Due Bounds. Bro. Jones
     
  15. Star Mztyk

    Star Mztyk Registered User

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    ....The Esoteric meaning of meeting on a Brothers Level is un-conditional and without judgment ....and I use a tool to measure those relationships. Stone to Stone maybe I am out of alignment....but we set ourselves in relationship to the Whole. What most dont see is that we are generational to the Level of our ancestors....and as the next row of stone.... continue the Building.

    Brother Jones .....your post inspire me......and I may never for what ever reason get to set in Lodge with you ....but we have a Mortar that is Spirit and not of this Matter.
     
  16. Michaelstedman81

    Michaelstedman81 Premium Member

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    Ya know, I love Masonry and the Brothers that I come into contact with in person and online. I especially love to see Brothers helping to inform other Brothers in a mature and intellectual manner. Today was a good day for some fellowship for the Brothers in my lodge. Camp Longhorn is a popular childrens' summer camp with two sites, both being right outside of Burnet. The Camp Longhorn folks asked the lodge if they could send out some willing Brothers to come spend part of the day splitting logs that they will be using for the campfires for the kids. They offered to make a donation to the lodge, but us Brothers were out there not only to support the lodge and what she stands for, but because we knew that there would be hundreds or thousands of kids that will have a great time sitting around campfires and making memories that they will cherish when they are older.

    So, all in all, it was a really awesome day for all of us that went out there and sweated a little (a lot really...lol). However, one older Brother I was helping and I started discussing the relationship between the GL of the state he was originally from and the PH Brothers in that state. He had said that in his old state, the two GLs were totally against anything coming together or any kind of agreements. I told him that there was only a handful of states that still don't have any kind of agreement on recognition. He ended up telling me that sooner or later Texas is going to be one of those states that allows everything between the two GLs. However, the way he said it was more like he was griping and that he hoped that he didn't see that day. I was truly disappointed. Not in him really, but in how things are taught from man to man. He had told me a how years and years ago what his WM told him when it came to talking PH Masons, and all I could do was shake my head. In the end, I just told him about the 2007 agreement between our GL and the PH GL and said that eventually it is going to happen. I didn't have a pro or anti tone in my voice as I believe several of the Brothers in my lodge have the same view, and I just didn't want to rock the boat at all. Thankfully, most of the Brothers believe that whatever the GL says is good, is good. Oh, I had also told him about the history about the GLoT and our PH Brothers in Texas can trace their lineage back to where it needs to be traced to, making both GLs regular. It all comes down to education. What we feed our new and younger Brothers with education, is likely what we are going to be seeing produced when they are the ones holding the reins.


    Anyway, just wanted to share that today. One day things will get worked out......
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  17. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    Bro Stedman,

    Sounds like you can teach an old dog a new trick. Sometimes it's the older Brethren who need some education now and then, of course, in a respectful way. Glad to hear you had a productive day with your Lodge.
     
  18. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

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    Bro Steadman, I appreciate your post, and also your willingness to discuss a delicate subject with an Elder Brother. You are correct, in that education will help to eradicate what was once taught about the so-called "irregular" style and nature of Prince Hall Affiliated Brothers. The lineage and recognition is and has always BEEN there, and all one has to do is be willing to read and/or research for the "pursuit of TRUTH", which should be the goal of an investigation that is conducted by any FREEMason. Reading is not only my escape, but my wall of protection, as information can arm one with the TRUTH. Your sincerity is most definitely observed and appreciated by this Brother Mason........Peace and blessings, Bro Jones
     
  19. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Well said brother. The truth can never be stamped out. Vogue never prevails.
     
  20. A7V

    A7V Registered User

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    Imagine the situation in Hawaii in the late 1800's and early 1900's, you had 3 lodges on the same island under three different national Grand Lodges until they all finally came under the Grand Lodge of California

    Lodge Le Progres de l'Oceanie No. 124, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the Supreme Council of France chartered on April 8, 1843

    Hawaiian Lodge No. 21, F. & A.M. (my mother lodge) chartered on May 5, 1852 by the Grand Lodge of
    California, Free and Accepted Masons, and was the first American Lodge founded in Hawaii.

    Lodge Le Progres de l'Oceanie No. 124, A.A.S.R., transferred its allegiance from the Supreme
    Council of France to the Grand Lodge of California in 1905, having been a functioning Lodge in
    Hawaii for seven years before the Grand Lodge of California was founded in 1850.

    Honolulu Lodge was originally instituted as Pacific Lodge No. 822 in 1895 under the Grand Lodge of
    Scotland, operating through the District Grand Lodge of Queensland, Australia. The Lodge
    transferred its allegiance to the Grand Lodge of California in 1910 and became Honolulu Lodge
    No. 409. The Hawaiian Islands had indeed become part of the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge
    of California, and remained within the folds of California until May 20, 1989 when the Grand
    Lodge of Hawaii was instituted
     

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