who is a Freemason

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by WMgross, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. WMgross

    WMgross Guest

    0
    0
    0
    Fraternal Greetings My Brothers. Lately I have been hearing what type I Mason am I. If I'm prince hall mason or if I am 3 or 4 letter. I am very disturbed by this. There should NOT be this mason or that mason from here or there. We all took the same oath and obligation. That is if you are a Lodge with a approved charter and under a approved Grand Lodge. A lot of people need to grow up. Many think they know, but know nothing. Attracting others of who's best or who's not, isn't masonry. Love one another. If one does not know, you help and teach them. Brotherly Love. I am Worshipful Master Avi Gross of Baruch Lodge#613 Brooklyn New York AF & AM. I am also the senior Warden of Tyree Grand Lodge in NYS. I am a Patron to The OES Chapter Sisters Of Aish. I am A Scribe to the Royal Arch Chapter of Goshen #1 NYS. Does this make me better than others that have not these positions? Not at all. Remember we see everyone on the Level. SMIB
     
  2. songdogshooter41

    songdogshooter41 Registered User

    7
    0
    0
    I agree there is no higher degree of masonry than the third. Everything else is extra. I too am in Scottish Rite, and W.P. of OES. BUT first and foremost I am a Master Mason. And we are taught to live by the working tools.
    SMIB
     
  3. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

    251
    22
    0
    Greetings, brother...........allow me to shine some LIGHT on your thread, as to why there is a lot of discussion regarding your Masonic affiliation. I am a Prince Hall Mason here in Texas, and I hail from Bayou City Lodge #228, District 15-A, Houston, Jurisdiction of Texas, Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Great State of Texas, established in 1878. There are two things that are at the focal point of the controversy or debate that have raged among Black Men who are Masons in the US for over 150 years. Recognition, and Lineage are the two most important issues which define whether a Mason is to be considered "regular and recognized", or clandestine. An irregular mason is one who was raised in a Lodge that does not perform the Ritual as prescribed, and does not even recognize the THREE degrees of Masonry, which include the Hiramic Legend, among other deficiencies. Some examples of Irregular Lodges are "International and Free", and "Free Accepted and Modern" Masons. Clandestine Lodges have a separate issue altogther, which is more of an issue of recognition, which has to do with LINEAGE. If a Mason can trace his Masonic Lineage through his Lodge and Grand Lodge back to the United Grand Lodge of England, then he and his Lodge are considered to be a recognized Lodge, and have likely received a Charter or Warrant from that recognized Grand Lodge in that State which empower that subordinate Lodge to work. That Lodge should have received its Dispensation, Charter, or Warrant from the Grand Lodge, AF&AM, (referred to as Mainstream) or the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of his Home State. The issue with most or all of the Black AF&AM Lodges/Grand Lodges across the country, is that all of them were created by a Mason, without dispensation from either of the two recognized Grand Lodge bodies of the State. There is no supporting documentation which would PROVE the Lineage of that Lodge/Grand Lodge can be traced back to the United Grand Lodge of England. Most of this activity can bve traced back to a Man named John G. Jones, of Chicago, Illinois. He was a 33rd degree Prince Hall Mason, who began creating AF and AM Masons in Washington, DC, in April of 1869. The biggest problem with him doing so was the fact that he did not have the permission of either the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Illinois NOR The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of The District of Columbia to make Masons under his newly created "Southern and Western Masonic Jurisdiction".......This is considered an "invasion", and he was eventually expelled from the Craft in October of 1895. ANY Black AF&AM Grand Lodge or Lodge from that lineage is not recognized in either of the 50 States by Mainstream Masons or Prince Hall Grand Lodges across the Country. I know many GOOD MEN who are self proclaimed "4 Letter" Masons, many of whom don't know the importance of recognition or lineage as it relates to Freemasonry. They see them selves as Masons because they were initiated, passed, and raised in a Lodge, and studied a Ritual from a book (Duncan's Ritual or Lester's Look To The East) that most can purchase in ANY book store. This in itself is a clue that would indicate that Ritual is not a Ritual used or approved by Prince Hall or Mainstream Masons. I am the perfect Man to speak on the issue, because I was raised as a Master Mason in a "4 Letter" Lodge in 2008. I continued to read and do research on the Craft that I love dearly, and was often at a corssroads as to why I was unable to visit or be recognized Masonically by my fellow Prince Hall Masons. A very dear friend of mine who is a Prince Hall Mason finally sat me down, and gave me the information I needed to perform my OWN research. After a year of research and study of Masonic Lineage in regard to my "4 Letter" Grand Lodge and subordinate Lodge, I did not find the link to England for which I was searching. My old Lodge has some VERY good Men, who were quite knowledgable of the Craft and its History. However, I had just been blessed with the birth of my Eldest Son (Nov 2009), and I KNEW that if Masonry was a bond that I wished to pass to my Son, I needed to have a Lineage and Legacy of which I could speak about and prove to be RECOGNIZED AND REGULAR. I was "healed" (reaffiliated and re-obligated with a written Oath of Allegiance to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas) in a Prince Hall Lodge in August 2010, and have not regretted my decision one bit. I did not send this message to you out of showmanship, or in an effort to make my affiliation appear to be worth more than yours. I am simply giving you what Masons search for throughout their travels in life---the pursuit of TRUTH. You are correct; the titles and Offices do not make a Man a Master Mason. It is his walk, talk, and "plain dealing" with others that makes him not just a man, but a REALLY GOOD Man, who is an example to others. If you have time, check out one of the websites that I was given by my Brother to read and research-----www.phylaxis.org. Read through the links, and there are some testimonies on the link regarding what some call Bogus Masonry that are eye-opening.......peace unto you, and may GOD bless you with whatever your future holds..............feel free to email me any time for any questions you may have, or for any further discussion...............BRO. VINCENT C. JONES, SR., Bayou City Lodge #228, F & AM, Houston, Texas
     
  4. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

    251
    22
    0
    I apologize, brother Gross...........my email address is towerbuilder7@gmail.com............. Peace, Bro Jones
     
  5. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

    542
    25
    18
    I don't think "3 or 4 letter mason" is a good concept to throw around. The number of letters attached to a grand lodge's name is in no way indicative of its status as a mainstream, PHA, or any other kind of body. For example, the mainstream Grand Lodge of South Carolina is AFM (Ancient Free Masons), while the mainstream body in Alaska is the Grand Lodge of Alaska, F&AM.

    I agree that PHA and mainstream lodges should finally have mutual recognition nationwide, but I just wanted to make sure no one immediately thought a "3 letter mason" was PHA, or a "4 letter" mason was automatically mainstream.

    Example: Dr. Conrad Murray was a member of the United Most Worshipful Scottish Rite Grand Lodge of Texas, AF&AM. That lodge is completely bogus and he is neither PHA nor mainstream.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 29, 2012
  6. Blaster

    Blaster Registered User

    22
    1
    3
    I believe the 3&4 letter is only an issue amongst Black Masons. We know that it means nothing amongst the White Masons, as that rift was healed back in England many years ago. For Blacks, 4 letter (Black Mason) indicates a clandestine Mason. ALL Prince Hall lodges are originally F&AM. When people began breaking off, such as John Jones, they went with AF&AM for their clandestine organizations. When I meet a Black AF&AM person, I first make sure they're not part of a regular GL, such as The Grand Lodge of Texas, which there are some. Once they start telling me they're with the "Hiram Super-Regular Grand Lodge of Texas and Louisiana" or whatever, that's when I know what I'm dealing with.
     
  7. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

    251
    22
    0
    Good afternoon, Worshipful Master. Happy to see you joining in on the discussion. Brother Mac, I was going to reply and echo Brother Ross (blaster) in his comment. The rift between black Masons is centered around the free and accepted vs ancient free and accepted affiliation. This is unique to Black Masonry, and those of us who are members of Prince Hall Lodges are quite familiar with the Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina, as well as Free and Accepted Masons of Indiana and Alaska. My thread was directed at Brother Gross, and his question as to WHY there is even any controversy among what Black Masons term "three letter" and "four letter" Masons. Prince Hall Masons are Free and Accepted, and have been since receipt of our charter in 1784, from the UGLE. Black Masons who consider themselves "4 Letter" or Ancient Free and Accepted Masons are in a precarious position. They are not recognized by Prince Hall Masons, and are considered clandestine, due to their absence of any lineage which can connect them to the UGLE, as well as their creation on violation of Masonic Law by John G Jones. He did not receive his dispensation to begin degree work from ANY Mainstream or Prince Hall Lodge here in the United States. He traveled to Europe, and some records indicate that he may have received a charter from Romania, which would not allow him to perform any degree work here in the US in an established Masonic Jurisdiction with two established Grand Lodges, (Mainstream and Prince Hall) without permission. He did not receive such permission, so this was termed an "invasion". So any Lodge/Grand Lodge created from that tree would be absent of any UGLE lineage. I hope I was able to make my point a little more clear. I would not confuse nor throw around letters. I am knowledgable of each of the different Masonic affiliations, and VERY familiar with those considered clandestine. As mentioned above, I was raised in one of these Lodges, and my Worshipful Master and very good friend shared some LIGHT with me, and I conductedy own research. I eventuallyade the decision to leave and petition a Prince Hall Lodge, in an effort to become "healed". Brothers from my Old Lodge were generally upset at the fact that I would "betray" the Lodge, and "go to the other side" to become a Prince Hall Mason. You would have to understand the entire history in order to understand the tension amongst the two groups. If u have time and care to read, the Phylaxis Society For Masonic Reaearch has a website which can shed some Light on the issue at Phylaxis.org. Bro Jones
     
  8. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    4,340
    1,134
    183
    Brethren- just to forestall further confusion and put a bit finer point on it, most of the Lodges who style themselves "Prince Hall" here in Texas (and there are many) are either clandestine and/or irregular. The ONLY Prince Hall organization in Texas that is recognized as "regular in origin and practice" is the "Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas" whose seat is at Fort Worth, and is commonly called Prince Hall Affiliated (PHA). For the sake of clarity, I would suggest that when referring to that group of Brethren, we be more specific- we have many new Masons & some non-Masons on these forums & we want them to have the most correct information we can provide.
     
  9. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

    251
    22
    0
    Thank you for the additional comment, Brother Lins...........there is so much information on this subject that has fueled the debate among Black Masons since the late 19th Century, (1869) when a few Black Masons chose to deviate from the true course of rectitude in Free and Accepted Masonry, and CREATE another form of masonry for Black Men, Ancient Free and Accepted Masonry. John G. Jones, himself an attorney from Chicago, and 33rd Degree Prince Hall Freemason, led the charge. This form of Masonry had as its intention to be styled after the European Model of AASR. Prince Hall himself was made a Free and Accepted Mason in 1775, and solved the need for ANY debate over how we were originally styled as Black Masons upon receipt of a regular Charter, (African Lodge #459) empowering him to do work on each of the three degrees as a Master Mason in a duly constituted Lodge. Some are misinformed, thinking that Prince Hall was only granted a "first degree Charter"; of which there IS NONE. This is just a GOOD example of how BAD and incorrect information is transmitted from mouth to ear. This train of thought may be due to the fact that upon raising, due to his being a "colored" Mason, (the term used at the time) he was only allowed to march on St John's Day and bury his dead; upon application for a FULL Charter in 1784 from the UGLE and its receipt in Sept of 1787, he was empowered to practice Free and Accepted Masonry then as we do today. Due to the lack of good communication in those days, and Grand Lodges that were not that strong, it was NOT unusual for individual Lodges to charter other Lodges. Under the authority of its English Charter, African Lodge chartered Lodges of Black Masons in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. In 1792, England even renumbered African Lodge and advanced them to number #370, indicating that they were still recognized by the Grand Lodge at that time. You touched on a rift that exists between the Prince Hall Affiliated (PHA) and what are known as the Prince Hall Origin (PHO) Masons. This stems from the National Compact Movement of the early 20th century. In short, PHA Brothers were in favor of States being sovereign, which favors the original spirit of our existence, while PHO masons favored the National Governance model. Today, PHA Grand Lodges in each State are THE preeminent, regular, recognized, and duly constituted Prince Hall Grand Lodges in each of the 50 States and around the World. And again, Brother Lins, I appreciate your input..........We as PHGLoTX Brothers recognize the Grand Lodge of Texas, AF & AM, (Mainstream) to be BROTHER MASONS, as you do us, the way the Brotherhood is intended........this forum is one way for Brethren to exchange knowledge and information, so that we can learn more about one another as MEN first, Brothers a close second....... .........Fraternally, Bro. Vincent C. Jones, Sr., Bayou City Lodge #228, F & AM, Houston, Texas
     
  10. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

    542
    25
    18
    So PHA lodges are F&AM because the initial charter was received from the Premier Grand Lodge of England? I hadn't thought about that until now. I can see why mainstream masons get so confused about the meaning of an "A" at the beginning.
     
  11. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

    251
    22
    0
    Yes sir........you are correct. Prince Hall received his Charter from the Premier Grand Lodge of England....they styled themselves are Free and Accepted Masons, while the Grand Lodge of England styled themselves as "Ancient", out of respect for the precursors to our form of Freemasonry. Once the two Grand Lodges were brought under the same umbrella as the United Grand Lodge of England, the distinction was made between the two as Charters were issued as Ancient Free and Accepted to subsequent recipients.
     
  12. Blaster

    Blaster Registered User

    22
    1
    3
    There is only ONE legitimate charter for African Americans in America, and that's the PHA charter. If there's a Black AF&AM Mason from a tx lodge, and he's not from Grand Lodge of Texas, he is clandestine.
     
  13. Brother Mark

    Brother Mark Registered User

    74
    0
    0
    Hmm wow i have learned alot from this thread. Last time i heard the Prince Hall masons have been recongized by the Grand Lodge of Texas. althought we are told not to go visit their lodges and they cant sit in lodge at a Masonic Lodge
     
  14. Blaster

    Blaster Registered User

    22
    1
    3
    correct, we have recognized EACH OTHER. i think we're one of the few states that has that awkward "partial recognition" without visitation. it seems to be a southern thing. for example, we have full recognition with the Grand Lodge of California, so i could go there & visit, but not here at home. the irony of the recognition to me is that when ALL the lodges in America were dropped from England's roll, the White GLs sought to restore their relationship with UGLE before PHA did, so in order for us to restore OUR relationship with UGLE, we have to establish one with the White GL in each state first. I think that's why Texas has the arrangement that we have-recognition on paper just to meet UGLE's requirements. I could be wrong, and I admit i'm not on any of those committees with firsthand knowledge.
     
  15. Brother Mark

    Brother Mark Registered User

    74
    0
    0
    Ah so that explains alot. Thanks brother
     
  16. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

    251
    22
    0
    yes, Brother Sprong, I agree with my WM on his point. It is rather awkward to even have to hear the term "not fully recognized", that is tossed round in some circles, when we have a Charter issued to Prince Hall in 1784 that lies in a Bank Vault in Boston, which is proof positive of our legitimate existence. My WM and I discuss this issue quite frequently, and a point that I present to him is one that I have posted in a few of my writings across various forums. The racial climate at the time of the founding of our Grand Lodge here in Texas (1878), obviously didn't dictate Black and White Men being able to exchange ideas and practice Masonry in the same Lodge environment. Each of the two Grand Lodges took the step in 2005 toward "mutual recognition", which, in my opinion, (I was not involved in the committee work) was more of an effort for BOTH GL's to regain recognition from the UGLE. Another opinion of mine----Both Grand Lodges in Texas had to show recognition of one another in order for the UGLE to recognize both the GLoTx and PHGLoTx. In 2012, I am confident that there are more than a few Lodges where this "mutual visitation" could be possible, given the By Laws of each Grand Lodge were amended to "allow" mutual visitation. I am sure, as with any Organization, you will have detractors for various reasons. However, this forum is an excellent start, because it gives Brethren such as you and me the chance to exchange ideas and reach out and enlighten one another.......The Craft belongs not to any particular Lodge or individual; rather, it belongs to the collective that choose to SEEK enlightenment and live by its example.......see you on the next forum.............Bro. Vincent C. Jones, Sr., Bayou City Lodge #228, PHA, F&AM, Houston, Texas
     
  17. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

    1,246
    232
    63
    What moral impediment is there to full visitation? If there is no moral impediment, then is not prohibiting full visitation actually an immoral act?
     
  18. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

    542
    25
    18
    It's a rather complex issue with unfortunate origins. The up-and-coming progressive movement in Texas masons is slowly but surely building bridges, I believe.
     
  19. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

    251
    22
    0
    I agree with Brother Mac...........the origins are unfortunate, and neither of us were around during that time. All Brothers can do in THIS era is build bridges, which doesn't have to be anything but positive. No one should be forced, but those who seek contact, an environment of mutual learning and Fraternal exchange in the spirit of the Order should definitely view this as an opportunity for Texas to become even stronger than it already is. "How good and pleasant it is when Brothers dwell together in Unity......" Bro. Vincent C. Jones, Sr., Bayou City Lodge #228, PHA, F & AM, Houston, Texas
     
  20. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    4,340
    1,134
    183
    Bro. Jones, I'm admittedly confused by your statement above. When, in your opinion, was GLoT not recognized by UGLE? You state that GLoT had "regain recognition from the UGLE." To the best of my knowledge, we never lost it. Please explain.
     

Share My Freemasonry