The Widow's Sons

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by stephenaulds, Feb 29, 2012.

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  1. stephenaulds

    stephenaulds Registered User

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    Howdy all,

    I've recently bought my first motorcycle, and I'm well on my way to learning to ride it...without falling over.
    Being that Masonry has become an important part of my life, I've being poking around the internet looking for Masons with which to ride, and there's where I found the website for the Widow's Sons Masonic Rider's Association. This seemed like a good group of Masons to hang around with, but then I read that Texas Masons are banned from becoming memebers of this group. Where I'm a Washington Mason, and not a Texas Mason, I was born and raised in Texas (little r) and one day hope to go home and be welcomed into Lodge by my Masonic brothers. Is there anyone here who can give me the real deal about this group, and why they're seen as Irregular?
     
  2. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Texas Grand Lodge Law dictates with which Masonic organizations a Texas Mason may affiliate. The Freemasons Riding Club is such an organization. Widow's Sons applied to our Grand Lodge for inclusion a few years back but, due to some unanswered questions, their application was denied.
     
  3. stephenaulds

    stephenaulds Registered User

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    What questions though? And, what was so egregiously wrong with the group that Texas Masons are forbidden to be members? Texas will all ways be my home, and I wouldn't want to associate with a group considered to be clandestine by the Grand Lodge of Texas. Just let me know.... If they're bad guys, I'll look elsewhere for a group to ride with.
     
  4. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    To begin with, we never could get a straight answer as to whether or not all their members were required to be Master Masons. In addition, in our opinion some of their patches and actions do not reflect favorably upon Masonry when viewed by the general public.

    You need to understand that we were not "forbidden" to join them as such- we, the members of the Grand Lodge of Texas assembled in Grand Communication, voted to refuse recognition to them as a legitimate Masonic organization.
     
  5. stephenaulds

    stephenaulds Registered User

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    Fair enough. Would I still be welcome in a Texas Lodge if i were a member?
     
  6. Txmason

    Txmason Registered User

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    Maybe but I wouldn't take a chance. Join the Freemasons motorcycle club (FMRC). Not widows sons.

    They have a widows sons were I am a member in Mass but being a Texas mason I would not join or associate with them.

    Sent from my iPhone using Freemasonry
     
  7. stephenaulds

    stephenaulds Registered User

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    I've contacted the Freemasons motorcycle club, and all I could get from them is "Yes, we have chapters in Washington state, but no, we do not give out information about them to non-members."

    I'm not sure how they go about getting anybody to join at all...
     
  8. Txmason

    Txmason Registered User

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    Are you a master mason?

    Sent from my iPhone using Freemasonry
     
  9. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    If you are a Master Mason under the obedience of a regular Grand Lodge that is recognized by the Grand Lodge of Texas and your Grand Lodge permits you to belong to the Widows' Sons, then you would be allowed to visit any Texas Lodge. If you wished to become a member of a Texas Lodge, you would first be required to resign from the Widows' Sons.
     
  10. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Under the FMRC rules, you are required to join the FMRC national organization and provide proof that you are a Master Mason. Once you have been accepted into FMRC, you may join or form a local chapter.
     
  11. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    That kind of attitude will definitely build all kinds of bridges...
     
  12. stephenaulds

    stephenaulds Registered User

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    TXmason:

    Yes, I am a Master Mason. I was Initiated, Pasted and Raised in Lynden International Lodge number 56.

    Bill:

    I found the registration part of their website shortly after I posted here. I would like to know if there are any established chapters close to where I live prior to proceeding with my application for membership.
     
  13. Txmason

    Txmason Registered User

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    I apologize brother! I didn't know that's why I asked. I hope you can find a chapter close to where you live through the FMRC.

    Sent from my iPhone using Freemasonry
     
  14. mcr1975

    mcr1975 Registered User

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    Hi Bro. Stephen (and everyone else too),

    I am a Past President of the 3 5 7 Brotherhood Chapter of the Widows Sons in Chicago, IL and can answer some of your questions as well as shed a little light on the organization. First, I would like to acknowledge that the Widows Sons is not the only group of Masonic motorcyclists. There are other local area groups like "Freemasons" and "Bruthaz" although I do not know whether either has a web presence and I am certain neither is in Texas. The Widows Sons, however, is undeniably the group that has been successful in terms of growth, expansion, and recognition. As a result, we have also become a more noticeable target for stereotypes about "bikers" as well as Masonic political mudslinging. Some of the responses have sadly been deserved but the majority have not. The reality is that when most people see bikers, they think trouble makers or even 1%ers. I would argue that our events are well organized and highly Masonic. Most Grand Lodges are quietly watching us and assessing the organization with increasing favoritism. We are a booster organization for Freemasonry and a motorcycle riding association, not a motorcycle club. We are also moving past the traditional biker image and Masons of all shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs, and professions are joining. We are Master Masons and motorcycle enthusiasts first and foremost, Widows Sons second.

    The Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Association is still a very new organization by Masonic standards being less than 15 years old. We have seen incredible growth; approximately 38 states in the US plus most territories in Canada, and countries ranging from England, Scotland, and Germany to S. Korea, Japan, and Australia, and more. Despite this, our status and popularity varies from one state to another, much like many Masonic organizations. The Tall Cedars of Lebanon and the Sciots are good examples of other Masonic groups that are also pretty well known and, although not banned, not recognized in every state. Outside of Texas, that is a reasonable comparison. Additionally, the Widows Sons operate at the state level in the US which also leads to variation from one state to the next. We do not have a national body and chapters determine the nature and powers granted to their state-level Grand Chapters. The result is that behavior can be inconsistent.

    Several years ago, the Grand Lodge of Texas issued an edict prohibiting Texas Masons from belonging to the Widows Sons organization. To the best of my knowledge, this resulted from cockiness and a stubborn and inappropriate insistence on being recognized by your Grand Lodge. It was never to my knowledge the result of unMasonic behavior of any type on the part of the Texas Widows Sons. They certainly should have been more tactful in the pursuit of their goals but they seem to be good guys overall despite possibly having less than smooth dealings with the GL.

    Masonic bikers will always have an uphill struggle as we learn to play together but we are getting there and the proof is in our success outside of Texas. This sadly doesn't change the fact that we are banned from Texas Masonry but hopefully this too will change as efforts are made to improve and repair heavily damaged relations. I am sure that there are now Masons in Texas who want the ban to remain permanent. It's certainly a challenge to advocate a group once politics have reached this level. However, each and every one of us puts Masonry first so I do not advise pursuing membership in Texas (or any other state if you are a Texas Mason and therefore accountable to their GL). It's hard to be a member of a Masonic organization once the grand Lodge has kicked you out of Freemasonry and that is the unfortunate reality in Texas... for now. As an international organization, we are gaining more an more respect with each day and have been recognized in many states. I am proud to say that our organization was just recognized by the Grand Lodge of Illinois this past year which is a testimony to our movement in the right direction.

    There was a comment about some weirdness in Washington but I can tell you that a brother Mason absolutely has the right to contact any chapter and ask questions about membership or simply out of curiosity. I will provide some links below. Best of luck and feel free to email me directly with additional questions. I'll try to respond in a timely fashion.

    S & F,
    Matt Robinson
    Oriental Lodge No. 33, AF&AM
    357 Brotherhood Chapter, WS(IL)
    Valley of Chicago, AASR
    Old Chicago York Rite
    mcr1975@gmail.com

    Official Widows Sons Website: The Official Homepage of the International Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association, WSMRA since 1998
    357 Brotherhood Website: 357 Brotherhood
    357 Brotherhood Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Widows-Sons-357-Brotherhood-Chapter/101558933217207
    357 Brotherhood Twitter: @357bros
     
  15. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    Thanks, Bro. Matt. That was a good, factual, and enlightening post!
     
  16. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Let me see what I can find out & I'll report back to you on it.
     
  17. stephenaulds

    stephenaulds Registered User

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    Brother Matt,

    Thank you for the most honest and well structured response to my questions that I've received thus far. Truth be told, I'm simply looking for a group with which to ride, and would greatly prefer riding with my Masonic brothers over a group of non-Masons, be they Widow's Sons, another group, or simply Brothers from my own Lodge. I'm still extremely new to riding, and could use some good and wholesome instruction on the subject. I'm not interested in politics. That's not why I bought my bike, and it's also not why I became a Mason. You, much like everyone else I've come into contact with on this site, seem like someone I would be more than happy to ride with, and to have sit beside my in Lodge. It's really more a matter of proximity though as I live in a semi-remote part of the country...it might even be closer for me to cross the border into Canada and find Brother Masons to ride with over there. In any case, you've all been very helpful to me in answering my questions. Thank you.
     
  18. Robert G

    Robert G Premium Member

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    Here in Florida, the Widows Sons is recognized as a Masonic organization by the Grand Lodge of Florida.
     
  19. K.S.

    K.S. Registered User

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    I looked at the widows sons website. Hopefully if you feel the need to join, there is an established chapter in your area. Otherwise you will have to attempt to start one. I do not recommend this, I tried to start a veterans club in my area with a few fellow vet buddies. A harmless, 2 patch, no outlaw club and we had serious problems with the dominant MC in our area, actually they had issues with us (after we told them we had no plans to be an associate club for them, which is all they are looking for to kick money up to them). Even though we assured them that we had zero plans for expansion. THEN, when we met with the veterans MC in the area, let's just say a long painful headache was the outcome. So our plans went straight to the garbage. (Tread lightly on the subject my brother. New clubs or chapters in an area are not welcome. But then again it was in California, an MC hotbed)
     
  20. K.S.

    K.S. Registered User

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    An MC is not really a place for someone who has just bought a bike and is learning to ride (widows sons is an RC though). I joined the outlaw vet club in the area, but since have left because it was too outlaw and not enough veteran for me, not to mention it was pitting me against my Masonic values. (on the level brothers)
     
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