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Found out Masonic mentor is clandestine

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dmcauliffe View Drop Down
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    Posted: August/29/2014 at 4:35pm
Greetings forum members and Brothers.

Allow me to first express my admiration of this forum. As a recently initiated EA, this forum shed Light upon a lot of questions for me before I even petitioned my Lodge.

Now to the main issue. Freemasonry has been in my family for generations. My grandfather was Prince Hall, a 32nd degree Sublime Prince, and a Shriner. Several cousins, uncles, etc. were or are still Freemasons.

About three years ago at a family function, I saw that one of my cousins (who I was meeting for the first time) had Light on his car. I, having been interested in and studying Masonry for quite some time, asked him about his affiliation, and this subsequently led to many discussions about Freemasonry, the Bible, religion, and any and all topics of an esoteric nature. Naturally he didn't reveal anything to me that he was obligated not to, but I was already well-versed in topics like Hermeticism and esoteric Christianity and we spent time discussing these things.

My cousin dropped so much knowledge it was incredible. He became a mentor of mine and inspired me to become a Mason (in actuality, I was inspired primarily by my grandfather and other reasons, but meeting my Mason cousin was like the icing on the cake). It took me a while, but three years after our initial discussion I petitioned a lodge under the MWPHGL of Hawaii and was initiated shortly thereafter.

Now the unfortunate part. Before I was initiated I was talking to my cousin excitedly. I was gonna be a Mason. He told me I was a legacy Prince Hall and "four-letter." Four-letter? Like AF&AM? I assumed he meant I had both Prince Hall and "MS" family ties. I asked him, "what do you mean four-letter?" His response sank my heart. Here is his actual response:

"You have 2 types of masons Scottish rite ( a f & am) and York rite (a f & m). Most American and prince hall lodges are York rite, chartered by England. Everything other lodge chartered by Scotland."

Wait, what?! I wasn't even a Mason yet and I knew that the SR and YR were two appendant bodies of the Blue Lodge, not what my cousin wrote. I understood immediately that there was something fishy going on. I proceeded to do some research on my cousin's lodge. Come to find out he belongs to the "Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Tennessee, AF&AM." Here is their website: http://www.mwglotnafam.com

Turns out the MWGL of TN, AF&AM was established in 1960 by a group of Prince Hall Masons who decided to form their own Grand Lodge. Furthermore these men "received a charter from the General Grand Masonic Congress," which, if you aren't already aware of this, is a bogus John G. Jones group with no power to issue charters. Interestingly I have never seen this lodge on any lists of bogus or clandestine lodges. I recently wrote the Phylaxis institute informing them of this lodge. I believe these clandestine lodges must be called out and identified for what they really are.

So after much research and study, I came to the unfortunate realization that my primary Masonic mentor belongs to a clandestine Lodge. The thing is, he walks, talks, and carries himself like any good Mason should, and he studies rigorously and with great zeal. I was excited to discuss Masonry with him, but now that I know of his affiliation, I cannot. It's crazy because he and his brothers are good men with love of the Craft. I've met many "real" Masons who weren't as knowledgeable as my cousin. I guess I'm just disappointed that I can't talk about the Craft with the man who encouraged me to join. And I don't even know if he knows he belongs to a clandy lodge, or if he knows and just doesn't care. I guess I should have known that something was up even before all of this, because he had a lot of sympathy for men like Malachi Z. York and men like him. Anyway, it's just a disappointing feeling knowing your mentor isn't a "real" Mason.



Edited by dmcauliffe - August/29/2014 at 4:39pm
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NobleShabba View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/31/2014 at 12:45pm
Firstly, I want to applaud your efforts to research what you were exposed to via your cousin before coming to a conclusion.

Unfortunately, your cousin may have been duped into becoming a member of such a group and has either invested so much time, money and effort into this organization that he is unwilling to even acknowledge the clandestine nature of it.

That however does not mean that he is not a person who would have been a valuable member of the Regular Blue Lodges, and this is indeed sad.   Our efforts are to make "good men better", so by your words we can tell that even with the clandestine lineage he was still able to benefit from some of the teachings of the craft.

Take heart that his mentorship and guidance was not in vain if only because he inspired you to become a mason which in turn I hope helped you on your path.

Maybe through your example, you may in turn inspire your mentor to become a "regular" Mason.
(notice I did not use "real" - too much misinterpretation there)
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DISCLAIMER: These are my comments, and mine alone - they do not necessarily apply to any group to which I belong!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmcauliffe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/31/2014 at 4:16pm
NobleShabba --

Thanks for the response. Indeed, the term "regular Mason" is much more...dignified, shall I say, than "real."

His mentorship did indeed inspire me to become a Mason. I haven't yet said anything to him because I would be unsure of how to approach that situation. Me, a 23-year-old EA, telling a man who has dedicated 20+ years to the study of Masonry that he is clandestine, etc. Sure, the fact remains that he is clandestine, but that doesn't change the fact that he has put in a lot of work studying Masonry. He even sent me some EA study material that I was sure would be full of wacko clandestine theories but it in fact was the same information I was provided in my study guide after I was initiated. However I have made a deliberate attempt not to talk to him in detail about anything.

I know the issue of clandestine Masons has been raised many times on this forum, but I'd like to address it from a different perspective. There are some in the PHAmily who think that there can be some sort of reconciliation between the John G. Jones bodies and regular chartered PHA lodges. The thing is, while the study material of these clandestine lodges is ultimately Masonic in nature, they display a fundamental misunderstanding of the basic structure of Freemasonry. They think Free and Accepted Prince Hall Masonry is "York Rite" and AF&AM is Scottish Rite. They misuse all of these terms, which causes a great deal of confusion among those seeking Light who may have been exposed to their teachings. When I heard of "black AF&AM" I initially assumed these were regular non-PHA "mainstream" black Masons, but I came to find out that most black AF&AM bodies are of the John G. Jones or other clandesrine persuasion.

Anyway, sorry for rambling, but the issue of clandestine lodges is interesting and important to me. Such was the case even before I was initiated; now that I have been initiated it's even more important to me. It bothers me seeing these clandestine groups dupe genuinely interested brothers into joining them. It bothers me even more to see them treat Freemasonry like some kind of gang. I can't tell you how many pictures and videos I've seen of "International" and "Modern" Masons acting like thugs and goons. The profane man sees this and associates this kind of behavior with our noble Craft and thus begin the accusations against Masonry.



Edited by dmcauliffe - August/31/2014 at 6:02pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2014 at 3:50pm
Originally posted by dmcauliffe dmcauliffe wrote:

NobleShabba --

Thanks for the response. Indeed, the term "regular Mason" is much more...dignified, shall I say, than "real."

His mentorship did indeed inspire me to become a Mason. I haven't yet said anything to him because I would be unsure of how to approach that situation. Me, a 23-year-old EA, telling a man who has dedicated 20+ years to the study of Masonry that he is clandestine, etc. Sure, the fact remains that he is clandestine, but that doesn't change the fact that he has put in a lot of work studying Masonry. He even sent me some EA study material that I was sure would be full of wacko clandestine theories but it in fact was the same information I was provided in my study guide after I was initiated. However I have made a deliberate attempt not to talk to him in detail about anything.

I suggest that it would not be news to him, even if he is not willing to face the reality of it.   I suggest leaving it be, and allow yourself more time in the craft to understand its subleties.
I am not surprised at all that some of the information would be similar or exactly the same as what you may see, because this information was probably obtained by a "regular" mason who for some reason or another decided to start his own "thing". We could probably run an entire separate thread on the reasons for starting or maintaining an irregular and clandestine body.


Originally posted by dmcauliffe dmcauliffe wrote:


I know the issue of clandestine Masons has been raised many times on this forum, but I'd like to address it from a different perspective. There are some in the PHAmily who think that there can be some sort of reconciliation between the John G. Jones bodies and regular chartered PHA lodges. The thing is, while the study material of these clandestine lodges is ultimately Masonic in nature, they display a fundamental misunderstanding of the basic structure of Freemasonry. They think Free and Accepted Prince Hall Masonry is "York Rite" and AF&AM is Scottish Rite. They misuse all of these terms, which causes a great deal of confusion among those seeking Light who may have been exposed to their teachings. When I heard of "black AF&AM" I initially assumed these were regular non-PHA "mainstream" black Masons, but I came to find out that most black AF&AM bodies are of the John G. Jones or other clandesrine persuasion.

My belief is this question comes down to the origin of the entity. For example, if they created this clandestine group out of a need to assert their own control over a group or as a moneymaking scheme, then that need is not likely to go away.



Originally posted by dmcauliffe dmcauliffe wrote:


Anyway, sorry for rambling, but the issue of clandestine lodges is interesting and important to me. Such was the case even before I was initiated; now that I have been initiated it's even more important to me. It bothers me seeing these clandestine groups dupe genuinely interested brothers into joining them. It bothers me even more to see them treat Freemasonry like some kind of gang. I can't tell you how many pictures and videos I've seen of "International" and "Modern" Masons acting like thugs and goons. The profane man sees this and associates this kind of behavior with our noble Craft and thus begin the accusations against Masonry.

Which re-enforces the need for us to guard the Western Gate carefully, to ensure that none approach who is not worthy to join our ranks of Freemasonry.
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DISCLAIMER: These are my comments, and mine alone - they do not necessarily apply to any group to which I belong!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caution1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/10/2014 at 4:29pm
I applaud you for doing your homework and your research. I rarely see it coming from brethren in general to be completely honest especially new brothers of the craft.

Encourage your cousin to do his research as well. Encourage him to seek the truth.

In both your pursuits, both of you will find truth. It may take months, years...but stick to the side on truth

Good luck
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