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Widows Sons Banned in Massachusetts

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    Posted: December/11/2013 at 8:08pm
It was announced at my Lodge's business meeting tonight that the Grand Master of Massachusetts has issued an edict banning the Widows Sons Motorcycle Club in Massachusetts, I don’t know the reason or reasons why.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MaestroJ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/11/2013 at 9:33pm
It is truly devastating news. I am a Massachusetts Freemason, and I am very proud to have the Widows' Sons in our Fraternity. I was only raised in January of 2012. I'm definitely not someone who would ever ride a motorcycle. There's a large grouping of the Widows Sons in our Lodge, and even though I'm different from them in almost every way, we were always brothers, and knew we could rely on one another.

The things they have done for scholarships and teen suicide prevention has been remarkable. They set up another scholarship ride for a local brother who lost his life in a car accident. They took care of his widow and a fund is there for his child's college education. They sent two truckloads of supplies for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I have seen nothing but good from these fine men.

The text of the Edict is not yet available. It will be released soon.

Remember brothers, subdue your passions. Even in times like this, show what it is to be a Mason. Show the Grand Lodge of Massachussetts that Widow's Sons are Masons first. Respond with Masonry, and this edict may soon be changed or even done away with.

Regarding edicts: for those in Massachusetts you should contact your District Deputy Grand Master with your opinion. I also recommend you contact the Grand Secretary (And the same goes for all those not in Massachusetts).


Edited by MaestroJ - December/11/2013 at 10:16pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hyksos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2013 at 5:25am
This too shall pass. Our Grand Master last year issued a poorly worded edict that banned a bunch of religions from masonry. While he got some of them right (like odinism), he got some very wrong too (like Gnosticism). Either way there was a big uproar and the edict was struck down at Grand Lodge. I imagine this too will happen.

I wonder why it happened in the first place. It's not like the Widows Sons are criminals like other biker gangs. They don't wear 1%er patches and they don't involve themselves in illegal activity (as far as I know).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2013 at 7:29am
I worked closely with the Grand Master of Massachusetts on Masonic matters a number of years ago. While I haven't had contact with him for a number of years, I think I know him well enough that I can safely say that he would not do things without a reason.  An example would be a previous edict (the only other one I know of) he issued requiring cellphones to be shut off in tyled lodges. He hesitated to issue this but did so after someone recorded lodge proceedings on a cell phone and posted them on the internet. (Grand Lodge caught them almost right away and took it down; it was up on the net for around 20 minutes, I am told.)
 
So, when the reasons for the "Widows Sons Edict" are known, people may agree or disagree as to the validity of them, but there will be a reason or reasons i.e. it won't be that he merely doesn't like them.


Edited by droche - December/12/2013 at 7:30am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ga.mason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2013 at 9:14am
Just my two cents. I ride a bike and am a membering of the Traveling Men, a Masonic Riding group. We had to jump through many hoops to even be approved by the GLof GA. We even went so far as to meet with the local 1% bikers explaining our mission and that we werent out for "thier" turf. While the Widow Sons are a similar group, they do attempt, at least around here, to emulate that bad boy image that many may construe as being a 1% club.  If I had to guess that may have influenced the GM to issue his edict. Im not saying all WS chapters are acting a ceartain way but there is usually more to the story than we know. I will be curious to find out why he issued the edict.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2013 at 1:58pm
I can only deduce that the edict was put in place to protect the Craft from the public.

The ONLY logical reason I can think of is that the general public's mind jumps to gang activity instantly regardless of affiliation. Especially when someone in the public does not recognize the S/C and what it stands for. There are people out there who do not know what a Freemason is or what the Square and Compass represents. We could just be some street thugs for all they know and now are associating that symbol of the craft with the colors of other gangs.

I don't think the GM is doing it to punish the brethren but more so to keep masonry in a favorable light where the public is concerned even if the reasons behind it are just "manifestations" in the public's eye.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2013 at 2:04pm

 

The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge

Of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons

Of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=5815270&msgid=315570&act=FH3C&c=1210314&destination=http%3A%2F%2Ficont.ac%2F27xsF&t=200http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=5815270&msgid=315570&act=FH3C&c=1210314&destination=http%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fshare%3Furl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Ficont.ac%252F27xsE%26text%3DA%2BMessage%2Bfrom%2Bthe%2BGrand%2BMaster%26via%3DMassFreemasonry&t=300

 

December 12, 2013

 

At the December Quarterly Communication, I issued an edict on the floor of the Grand Lodge in reference to the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association.

 

The full text of my edict can be found as follows:

It is the Grand Master’s responsibility to protect and uphold the principles and prerogatives of the fraternity. Any club, association, or group that requires membership in the fraternity as a pre-requisite falls under the authority of the Grand Lodge.

 

In 1931, at the March Quarterly Communication, M.W. Herbert W. Dean put it best when he said “the attitude of this Grand Lodge towards [clubs] has… been one of neutrality, as long as their [actions do] not intrude upon [the principles and] prerogatives [of our] Fraternity, or [that] their conduct in any way bring discredit to [the Fraternity.]”

 

The time has now come when it is necessary to protect our fraternity’s principles and prerogatives. Recent activities in connection with the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association have underscored a divergence between the practices of their association and the principles and prerogatives of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.

 

By its own rules, the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association permits no Chapter to be formed in a Masonic jurisdiction without the consent of its local Grand Lodge. The Widows Sons Massachusetts Grand Chapter never requested or received the permission of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts to operate in this jurisdiction.

 

Therefore, it is my edict that no member of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts be a member of any Chapter of the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association. Failure to comply with this edict shall subject the offending member to the disciplinary action of suspension or expulsion.

 

No one has been suspended as a result of this edict.

 

This was not an easy decision to make. This course of action was taken because it is in the best interest of Massachusetts Freemasonry.

 

Please direct any inquiries or comments to the business office of Grand Lodge.  They can be reached via email at BusinessOffice@MassFreemasonry.net.

 

Fraternally,

M.W. Richard J. Stewart

Grand Master

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hyksos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2013 at 3:02pm
I'm gonna email them later. They probably don't care what I have to say, but my take on it is...really? They didn't ask for permission so instead of asking them to ask for permission, you ban them for....not respecting your authority and asking you? I just don't understand. I wonder if a private quarrel led to this edict. That's what happened in Florida. The Grand Master felt disrespected and issued a ridiculous edict. Grand Lodge struck it down as soon as they were able.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2013 at 8:44pm
Just playing devil's advocate here- If they violate their own rules by not asking, is it incumbent on  Grand Lodge to go to them and ask them to ask? The burden is on Widows Sons, not Grand Lodge.

What I found intriguing was the edict says, Recent activities in connection with the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association have underscored a divergence between the practices of their association and the principles and prerogatives of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. That tells me something happened that raised the eyebrows of Grand Lodge. Of course I am just speculating.  I don't think Grand Lodge is going to disclose what it was so anything I hear is just going to be rumor, and, knowing Massachusetts like I know Massachusetts, rumors are going to start flying, and I am not going to get involved.

What also leads me to think something else is going on is that WS has been in Massachusetts for several years now and Grand Lodge certainly knew of their existence. If getting permission to operate in Massachusetts was so important to Grand Lodge why did they not ban them at the outset for not doing so instead of waiting several years? Sounds to me that giving the reason of not obtaining approval to operate was a convenient way of dealing with the matter and not getting down into any messy allegations or what have you.

My opinion and my opinion only, I do not think it involves a personal quarrel.

Sad these things happen; it creates disharmony. I can only trust that the Grand Master acted in the best interests of Massachusetts Freemasonry.

For the sake of disclosure, two or threel years ago I attended an informational meeting for a local chapter of WS forming in my area. I decided at the time that it wasn't for me. That is not to pass judgement on the organization one way or another; it just wasn't for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nevburt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2013 at 5:08pm
There has to more to this than meets the eye because from the information one can glean from above it appears petty and childish. As a WS member this edict would - conflict with my duty to myself - so I would have to move on down the road.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2013 at 6:47am
Originally posted by nevburt nevburt wrote:

There has to more to this than meets the eye because from the information one can glean from above it appears petty and childish. As a WS member this edict would - conflict with my duty to myself - so I would have to move on down the road.


Please explain the duty to which you refer (?)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nevburt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2013 at 7:48pm
Obligations I (and we) have taken in Masonry that had the "assurance" that the Obligation I was about to take... "does not conflict with your duty to God, your country or yourself" etc.. Should the "rules laws and edicts of the most Worshipful Grand Lodge" interfere with my duty to myself then my obligation is no longer valid. My obligations I took upon myself, I did not agree to be dictated to. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hyksos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2014 at 6:21am
Any update on the status of Widows Sons in Mass?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AaronSawyer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2014 at 2:40pm
I find it disturbing that the MA GM banned religious groups. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rchadwic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2014 at 4:12pm
I believe it was the FL GM (a couple years ago) that did the religion thing.... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hyksos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2014 at 4:21pm
Originally posted by AaronSawyer AaronSawyer wrote:

I find it disturbing that the MA GM banned religious groups. 

It was Florida's GM. Also, in Florida we have officially adopted the Landmark that requires members to be monotheists. Therefore, an edict banning a polytheistic group from membership would be quite in line with the Constitution and bylaws of the GL. However, the GM in Florida had some groups on the list that could be interpreted to be monotheistic, and therein lied the problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AaronSawyer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2014 at 9:38pm
Originally posted by Hyksos Hyksos wrote:

Originally posted by AaronSawyer AaronSawyer wrote:

I find it disturbing that the MA GM banned religious groups. 

It was Florida's GM. Also, in Florida we have officially adopted the Landmark that requires members to be monotheists. Therefore, an edict banning a polytheistic group from membership would be quite in line with the Constitution and bylaws of the GL. However, the GM in Florida had some groups on the list that could be interpreted to be monotheistic, and therein lied the problem.
 
On the surface polytheism doesn't seem to be compatable with a "Supreme Creator of the Universe" however, there are polytheistic religions that do have Creator gods while maintaining a pantheon.  I would have loved to have heard the debates on that point.
 
And thank you for clairification on the GM that was responsible, I have some FL Brothers that live down there, maybe they can expound on that a bit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2014 at 7:42am
A "Supreme Being" doesn't necessarily rule out polytheistic religions.     Hinduism has more than 4000 Gods and only one Supreme Creator of all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2014 at 6:51pm
Originally posted by Hyksos Hyksos wrote:

Any update on the status of Widows Sons in Mass?

Still banned. I have not heard of any attempts to have them reinstated but I am not in any loop to be privy to any first-hand knowledge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hyksos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2014 at 6:05am
Well I can't give an update on Mass Widows Sons, but I can give one on Florida. I have been riding with the Steel Horse Riders Chapter of the Widows sons here in Tallahassee. We did a toys for tots motorcycle run (put on by the local Harley dealership). The run ended at Miller's Ale House where everyone was going to eat lunch. We ended up breaking off at the last minute and meeting up with our pickup truck filled with toys. We all rode in together with the pickup truck full of toys following us. The Marines were very thankful.

As for their official status, I ended up asking our Grand Secretary about it via email. A Brother suggested I ask him about the lodges in Tallahassee. I asked him for any recommended lodges in Tallahassee as well as what the status of the widows sons is in Florida. He told me that they contribute thousands of dollars to the Masonic Home every March and would be recognized by GL of Florida except they allow associate members (like wives) to wear the patch. The women aren't allowed to wear the S&C, but apparently allowing them to wear the patch is enough to prevent them from gaining official recognition.

I was also told by the Widows Sons here that a past Grand Master was given, and accepted, an honorary membership in the Widows Sons with the vest and patches and everything. So, it appears that Widows Sons are alive and well here in Florida. Not surprising though considering Florida is one of the few states with year-round motorcycling. A lot of our members like to ride.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2015 at 10:57am
Not to raise a dead thread but I wonder if this has to do with "agreements" with 1% bike organizations...

Our local masonic riding club was approached by a 1% biker gang and wanted to "sit down" to discuss territorial issues. The patch of our masonic club has "worldwide" on it as to not come across as encroaching on any particular territory.

A local military vet club specified a local territory and never accepted the invite from this 1% to sit down and discuss what they wanted to discuss and they let it be known by beating the man that they were serious about their territory.

Masonic bike organizations holding talks with outlaws to justify territorial rights might be an issue with some grand masters
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Do these outlaw Motorcycle gangs pose a danger to Masonic Motorcycle Clubs?
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Originally posted by YES YES wrote:

Do these outlaw Motorcycle gangs pose a danger to Masonic Motorcycle Clubs?
If you are approached to meet them to discuss the function of your club and you ignore them, yes.
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I guess I don't understand what an outlaw motorcycle gang would want to discuss with a philanthropic motorcycle club of Freemasons. the only thing that they have in common is motorcycles. aside from riding motorcycles they have entirely different goals objectives and purposes. the motorcycle clubs of the Freemasons are certainly not trying to overtake "their territory" or get involved in the drug trade or any other illegal activity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2015 at 3:48pm
Originally posted by YES YES wrote:

Do these outlaw Motorcycle gangs pose a danger to Masonic Motorcycle Clubs?

I have only heard of a couple of incidents but these are enough for me to answer your question with the answer that there is that potential. When I attended an informational meeting of a Widows Sons chapter forming in my area a couple of members told us that they had on more than one occasion been confronted by members of 1% clubs who had seen their patch and demanded to know what they were doing there and what their motives were. When the WS explained who they were and what they were all about they were left alone. The problem is that the WS patch looks similar to 1% patches and can arouse the suspicions of members of these clubs.

In the other instance, a rider wearing a Shriners riding unit jacket stopped at a restaurant and was approached by members of a 1% club and told to remove his jacket; he had gone into their "territory" wearing a patch without their permission and was showing disrespect to them. In this instance the one-percenters were out of line because the Shriners jacket in no way resembled the colors of a club and should not have been perceived as a threat, but, well, a lot of these clubs can get overly defensive when it comes to matters of territory.

When it comes to wearing patches there are a lot of rules that I am not familiar with; its not my thing; I don't wear a patch and don't wish to but I know enough that if one is going to wear a patch and does not follow the rules then there are consequences ranging from very mild to very severe.


Edited by droche - March/27/2015 at 3:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mr Bigs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2015 at 7:08pm
I believe to start a MC Club you have to get permission and granted a charter from a certain group plus your patch has to be approved.

Edited by Mr Bigs - March/27/2015 at 10:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hyksos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2015 at 8:22pm
As I posted in the main forum, our Grand Master recently accepted an honorary membership in the Widows Sons and a Widows Sons vest. As for the 1%ers, it was explained to me that the WS in Florida used to have a bottom rocker saying "Florida." Used to....because some 1%ers stopped them and basically said there would be a problem if they continued using the Florida rocker without permission.

Long story short, there was a state-wide meeting between the two, and the "Florida" bottom rocker became "Masonic Riders Association" as seen in the following pic. It's my personal opinion that the GL of Florida allows the WS because they have an easy out if something goes wrong. The WS aren't recognized in Florida by the GL....so if something bad happens they can say "we had nothing to do with them." That being said, they have no problem accepting the thousands of dollars the WS donates.

EDIT: Be very careful here and take a look at the wording. We are NOT an "MC" - motorcycle club. We are a riders' association. Big difference. While sometimes the WS use the term "club" to refer to themselves, when it boils down to it, we are not a MC. I think that was part of the compromise with removing "Florida" from our vests. We expressly state we are a rider's association and not a MC.



Edited by Hyksos - March/27/2015 at 8:26pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2015 at 8:24am
There are technical differences between a riding club, riding association and motorcycle club. I don't know all the differences but my understanding is they mostly have to do with the rules and protocols that each type of organization has to follow along with the expectations of its members.  It seems as though big problems can occur if an organization wears a bottom rocker designating a geographical area and they do not have approval of the dominant motorcycle club in that area to wear it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/18/2015 at 10:53pm
Originally posted by droche droche wrote:

There are technical differences between a riding club, riding association and motorcycle club. I don't know all the differences but my understanding is they mostly have to do with the rules and protocols that each type of organization has to follow along with the expectations of its members.  It seems as though big problems can occur if an organization wears a bottom rocker designating a geographical area and they do not have approval of the dominant motorcycle club in that area to wear it. 
the moment you have a rocker on your jacket is the moment you cross over into having to explain your intentions to questionable organizations which can put our Brethren in harms way...imo
Initiated 4-22-13
Passed 5-29-13
Raised 6-27-13

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