By Ezekiel M. Bey (NY)
What are we doing about Bogus Masonry?
Why are so many people uninformed about regularity?
Why regular Masons are not concern with Bogus Masonry?
Regularity is a big question for most. Many have no clue what it really means. In the search for truth, we must investigate all the parameters that make up the substance of that which is to be considered for evaluation. Certain standards must be used for guidelines in which to measure against the intended interest of ones choice, whether it’s an object or viewpoint. Freemasonry has been established centuries ago by Ancient Landmarks, Ancient Charges, Constitutions, and many unwritten laws. Taking basic attributes that make up regularity such as establishing Lodges from a “competent jurisdiction empowering it to work”, or abiding by the ancient charges in which most follow Anderson’s Constitution, you will see that many Lodges or Grand Lodges which erected themselves illegally did not follow these basic rules. Lodges in order to be regular must have been established by a regular Grand Lodge. It must be truly independent and self-governing with undisputed authority over Craft Masonry. Freemasons under its jurisdiction must be Men having no Masonic Intercourse with Lodges, which admit Women. You must believe in a Supreme Being, and take the obligation over a Volume of Sacred Laws. The three great lights must be displayed with the Square and Compasses, and finally to follow the tenets of Freemasonry to name a few.
Many Brothers are not aware of the importance of their regularity because in some cases it has not affected them in any personal way. Some view this Fraternity as something as a club, common organization or some social society. One of the biggest problems when dealing with regularity is the ignorance of many who choose not to educate themselves, especially concerning their legitimacy or their illegitimacy. Both are crucial in that if the one who is regular understands not the importance and how it affects his communities and the world abroad, he is blind of the imposters who raid his communities with the falsehood disguised as charity. On the other hand many who are irregular or even part of a clandestine body do not know the origin of his Grand Lodge/Lodge, and are hoodwinked with false pretense that he has join a respectful organization whose main objective and cause is for the upliftment of humanity, never noticing fraud or deceit. Many good Men have been sucked into these organizations by way of ignorance.
Macoy describes Clandestine Lodges as “Lodges which have been formed by avaricious Freemasons, who take money from those people who have no idea of the difference between warranted by any Grand Lodge”.
It is extremely important that we identify who these spurious groups are and categorize them as such. These groups have from time to time discredited Prince Hall Masons who paved the way for African Americans in the United States. One interesting group is known as the “INTERNATIONAL F. & A.M. & EASTERN STARS”. You will find in their ritual and monitor the introduction which reads, “There has been one body that has existed that dates its existence from shortly after 1865, by which the previous slave holders, in order to perpetuate the evil of slavery, gave their former slaves, permission to practice the rights of Freemasonry on one condition, that they would always maintain it a color segregated institution that would never permit a White Man to join the organization. This organization adopted the name Prince Hall Masons.” This is one of the falsehoods perpetuated by these Bogus Groups to draw their members and scheme on honest gullible African Americans. Most who do not know the history of the origin of African American Freemasonry do not know any better. This particular bogus organization has used many other tactics to discredit Prince Hall Freemasonry. According to their ritual the Entered Apprentice degree explains, “that the requisite number to constitute a Lodge of Masons for the purpose of conferring the first degree is seven Freemasons. This consists of six Entered Apprentices, and only one Master Mason”. The above can be referenced on pages 6 and 7 of the “International Ritual and Monitor of Free Masonry”. On page 5 of their Entered Apprentice Ritual you will see a picture of their founder so called Dr. William V. Banks, 33°, the caption on top of this picture states, “INTERNATIONAL F. & A.M. MASONS, THE WORLD’S LARGEST RELIGIOUS FRATERNAL SOCIETY. This same Mr. Banks proclaims himself the SUPREME PRESIDENT. This Ritual was revised in 1979.
Brother Ralph McNeal Jr. FPS, Director of the Phylaxis Society’s Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices, presented at the March 2001 Phylaxis Society Conference in Atlanta Ga., some of the recruiting tactics and pyramid schemes this group use to draw members. The Internationals have Recruiting Deputies to bring in members who get paid according to how many members they bring in. I will not go into the exact pyramid plot they use but will make available a package, which will furnish those who are interested with this multi-level marketing scheme, along with other deceitful hustles.
Under this umbrella of Mister Banks group is a so-called subordinated body known as the “Ralph Bunche Grand Lodge”. The so called Grand Master who at the end of his term advices “those who wish to run for Grand Master of Michigan are to send in their resume to the Supreme President, Supreme Grand Master, National Grand Master and to him, to be discussed at one of their Grand Master Elections Meeting”. This clearly shows how this group elect Grand Master and the Ballot is clearly ignored.
Many Brothers of the Craft sympathize with these groups due to lack of information and/or lack of interest. Unfortunately some want to be blind to the intentions of these groups. Ignorance has always been our stumbling block. Some would rather be sucked into the emotional factor of skin complexion or because they so call look like them. A thief is a thief by any pigment and no excuse should ever be made to exempt any bogus groups from this treachery and deceit. True pity should go out to those that are caught-up and/or duped from these profit-for-gain hustles that are used on the profane who do not know any better. This is why we need to educate the masses about these groups. Much effort has been made by many Grand Lodges about these spurious establishments and organizations, as well as the Phylaxis Society’s Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices and the Conference of Grand Masters.
Brother Emanuel Stanley, MPS, from Maryland, 1st Vice President of the Commission On Bogus Masonic Practices has written on a group called the, “INTERNATIONAL MASONIC ASSOCIATION OF THE WORLD”. A Man of the cloth by the name of Abe Johnson will come to your state for a certain price to confer all the degrees of Freemasonry. As long as you have the right amount of money. Lets not forget that this individual also expects hotel stay and round trip travel at your expense.
This organization is unique in that it negotiates fees and prices on the conferring of degrees once a meeting is set up. Not only does it violate Masonic territories but has no actual set figure by way of any legal Masonic Constitution, therefore giving it room to better swindle the naïve.
According to this Mister Reverend Abe Johnson, of the INTERNATIONAL MASONIC ASSOCIATION OF THE WORLD, was originally organized in Geneva in 1921, which failed to obtain a legal charter to operate. He then states that in 1970 after a record search, he discovered that the Charters could be obtained. He claims to have applied for the Charter by presenting his Mt. Lebanon Grand Lodge Charter to Washington (Library of Congress) and thereby obtained the Charter for the INTERNATIONAL MASONIC ASSOCIATION. Mr. Abe states, “that the INTERNATIONAL MASONIC ASSOCIATION OF THE WORLD is to legalize all Masonic Fraternities.”
How can one legalize any Masonic Fraternity and you are using fraud to deceive people, violate The Ancient Landmarks, Masonic Territories, Ancient Charges, and the Tenets of Freemasonry? We must be conscious of the many bogus organizations for the benefit of our communities and the world at large. It is imperative that we educate ourselves about these organizations so that our families, friends, and loved ones do not fall victim to these smooth smiling swindlers. Some of us wonder why we waste our times in the pursuit of exposing these groups? When one goes into depth what these illegal businesses are all about, you will finally realize it should be all of our concern to protect the Fraternity we claim we love.
Although in the true, sense what I found in a group calling themselves, “UNITED MASONIC BROTHERHOOD INC” was far from funny, I was hysterically laughing on how common sense is not that common to those who are not aware. When I found out how they make money on violations I was truly disgusted in one sense. This group among other ways gains revenues by fining members. Some of the fines are:
Absent with out cause $2.00
Late without cause $2.00
Fine for being out of dress (After 90 Days) $1.00
Talking out of turn $1.00
Not addressing the chair $1.00
Non-Support of Lodge affairs $ 1.00
Gum chewing in meeting 0.50
Crossing Legs above Knees 0.50
Brother talk about another Brother $5.00
10-Coming to meeting under influence $10.00 and expelled from meeting
11-Deliberate lying for, to or against Brother or Lodge $10.00
12-Entering Holy Place 0.50 cents each occurrence
13-Tyler know a Brother under the influence $1.00
14-Food, drink or smoking in main body of Lodge $5.00
15-Profane Language $2.50
16-Filthy dress, meeting or function $2.50
17-Reinstatement Fee $25.00
Of course this was in 1975 so I can imagine these fines went up.
One Man who should be revered is the late Amos T. Hall, “Oklahoma” who was the Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Conference of Grand Masters PHA. In his report on the Study Methods for the Eradication of Illegal Masonry it is stated that; (1) Every Prince Hall Mason be fully informed as to the legality of the origin of Prince Hall Masonry; the continuity of its existence; Its expansion and growth; its influence and power for the good as well as the part it is playing in the building of a better world and the strengthening of our democracy. (2) That the illegal Mason be shown the error of his ways. It should be remembered that a great many good men are misled in joining these clandestine bodies and when they are convinced of their mistake, they welcome the opportunity to come legal Masons. (3) That there be skillfully executed a program of propaganda through which the illegitimacy of the clandestine groups may be pointed out and the legitimacy of Prince Hall Masonry consistently kept before the public.
PGM Amos T. Hall reported more on this but the main three, which he carefully explained, gives us an idea why we must forever stay focused in our education as Prince Hall Masons.
The Father of Bogus Masonry is none other than John George Jones, who set up Bogus Lodges throughout the states. Some directly and others by consideration and help from other Bogus perpetrators. Mister Jones who was expelled from Prince Hall Masonry, was initiated a member of John Jones Lodge #7 in Chicago, Illinois, which many feel it was named after him, when in fact this Lodge was named after his uncle who was a Past Grand Master of the jurisdiction of Ohio. Jones being an attorney filed charges against The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, but the Committee on Appeals of Illinois found the charges without base and foundation. Later the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts filed charges on John G. Jones for affiliating and working with suspended, irregular, and clandestine masons in the City of Boston. Jones was found guilty and suspended indefinitely. Most of this information can be found in Illustrious Brother Joseph Walkes book, “The History of The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Louisiana 1842-1979 on pages 357 through 359.
Amazingly in the same book is noted how Hiram Grand Lodge of New York (which was started by Jones), had a disagreement with his associate “Bishop” Jesse B. Thornton, who had a fall out with Jones and both expelled each other from the same Grand Lodge. ???J
Although questionable in the Masonic arenas of today, debates have gone back and forth concerning the National Compact Masons that presently exist. Their legitimacy when compared to those recognized as regular Masons in the United States raise red flags to many Masonic Researchers who have studied the National Grand Lodge (Compact). PGM J.C. Corbin of Arkansas, Grand Secretary (PHA) in the late 1800’s, in a pamphlet titled “The Status of Colored Freemasonry” (that can be found in the Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar Rapids Iowa), made mention of the Nation Grand Compact. PGM J.C Corbin in 1896 states, “The National Compact is not the mother of colored Grand Lodges or of colored Masons. Masonry was introduced among colored men in 1784, sixty-three years before such a thing as the Compact was ever heard of. Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. and African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania soon after were established. No one can show “one verse” to prove that there ever was a “York Lodge” legally established in the United States. As to the Compact, founded in 1847, all the old Masonic veterans –Gleaves, Lawton, Stringer, Martin, Caldwell, they are one and all Free and Accepted Masons, they have abandoned the Compact, and there is left only WM. D. Matthews and Lemuel Googins.”
PGM J.C. Corbin had also stated, “that the National Grand Compact has no Masonic standing at home or abroad, it has been repudiated by all honest, intelligent Masons, and consists entirely of a few swindlers and the swindled.”
Their last National Grand Master, Richard H. Gleaves, apparently shut down this body, which operated for almost 31 years, from 1847-1878. The National Compact Masons today deny the fact that Gleaves ever shut down the National Grand Body. The Grand Lodge of Georgia, which was the last to withdraw from the Compact in 1878, Brother J. H. Deveaux was present as a delegate from Georgia, and that at the time the Compact resolved, “Never to meet again as a National Compact, inasmuch as the purposes for which it was organized has been accomplished.
At a convention held in Wilmington, Delaware, May 8, 1878, Brother Bishop Turner was Chairman of the committee, which, at this National Masonic Convention, offered the resolution, which adopted that, the “National Grand Lodge do wind up its affairs and adjourn sine die”.
In 1887, twenty-one Grand Lodges were represented by their Grand Masters in person. One Lemuel Googins, of Pittsburgh, Pa., popped up, claiming to be boss of the National Compact, and sent a telegram to the Convention, inviting the body to meet the “National Grand Lodge” in a convention to be held in Wilmington, Delaware.
By order of the Convention the following resolution was sent to Mr. Googins,
“Resolved, that this Convention does not recognized the existence of any such body as the National Grand Lodge; and be it further
Resolved, that this Convention does hereby and herein vote its denunciation of the act of all persons who, in any manner whatever, aim to resurrect a body which has been dead these many years, and who, by such act, stigmatize themselves as breeders of discord and dissension, and perverters of the genuine principles of Masonry. And be it further
Resolved, that all so-called Masonic bodies claiming to be Grand Lodges under the authority of the so-called National Grand Lodge, together with their subordinate bodies, are hereby declared illegal and not entitled to any fraternal consideration from the sovereign and independent Grand Lodges of the Masonic Fraternity.”
Bogus Masonry has been around for a very long time, and many Grand Lodges have tried to eradicate them by the healing process and occasional Grand Lodges convening for the purpose of bringing them back to the folds of regularity and the true principles of Freemasonry. Exposing Masonic Law at the very base of the foundation of regularity and legality. Many court cases against these groups have taken place for over a hundred years. One of the most remembered is the case in 1952 against “The Supreme Grand Lodge, Modern Free and Accepted Colored Masons of the World” who tried to appeal on a decision made by the courts that this group was Bogus and had not the rights of regular Freemasonry. This group was headed by a Mr. James B. Baldwin and was one of the strongest of Bogus Groups around. When this group continued to ignore the ruling and violated the injunction pasted by the Supreme Court, the MWPHGL of Georgia brought contempt proceedings against the group in the U.S. District Court for the middle district of Georgia before “Honorable W.A. Bootle”, who in his decision, held James B. Baldwin and the Supreme Grand Lodge of Modern Free and Accepted Masons of the World in contempt for violation of the injunction and fined Baldwin $4,450. This fine had to be paid within thirty day or faced imprisonment until the total amount of the fine paid.
Many bogus groups came from disgruntled members of the Prince Hall Fraternity such as the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Florida A. F. & A. M., who many often mistake for a regular Prince Hall Grand Lodge. IT IS NOT A PRINCE HALL AFFILIATE GRAND LODGE IN ANY FORM OR FASHION! IT IS ANOTHER BOGUS GRAND LODGE! This Grand Lodge erected herself from the Most Union Grand Lodge of Florida (PHA). This Bogus group established itself in the early 1900’s and presently there is word that it desires to merge back with the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge of Florida, (PHA). Details of this unification have not been openly discussed in totality. It is not known if it is a healing or a mutual merger between both Grand Lodges. One thing is known that there has been discussion that one of the reasons is to unite African Americans together. This was mentioned by a Past Grand Master of the MWPHGL of Florida A.F. & A.M (Non-PHA) and not by the respected Most Union Grand Lodge of Florida, PHA. This same Past Grand Master called Prince Hall Freemasonry Bogus and Irregular.
According to this same Past Grand Master of the MWPHGL of Florida, A. F. & A. M. (Non-PHA) states, “that his Grand Lodge split and a Mister Manigault took with him approximately 100 Blue Lodges. From 1911 until 1936 he says that his jurisdiction met with the General Grand Masonic Congress, A. F. & A. M. of the US and Canada on November 4, 1936 and was chartered to work under that congress. He went on to say that the reason it took so long to be chartered was that the congress didn’t know how to deal with them due to another A. F. & A. M. Grand Lodge in Florida. The Grand Lodge was lead by a Grand Master J.M. Maddox. So as long as that Grand Lodge was a member of the congress they could only be invited as guest, according to This Past Grand Master’s story. Interesting enough he said that Maddox and his Grand Lodge was expelled from the congress and his Grand Lodge accepted and their regularity and legitimacy is owed to John G. Jones and his work. What is mind boggling that through out his expressed interest in merging with a legal and regular Prince Hall Grand Lodge, he has described the Prince Hall Fraternity in this fashion, (“The main reason the White Masonic Organization was so adamant about not recognizing Prince Hall Masons, until December 1994, was because Prince Hall was both Irregular and Bogus.”) When asked why would he want to merge with what he feels it Irregular and Bogus his reply was “for the unification of Black People”. He also expresses that the UGLE voted to extend Masonic recognition to Prince Hall Masons because of their proliferation and not because Prince Hall Freemasonry is regular. I was in awe when this Past Grand Master stated all of this non-sense. So if Prince Hall Freemasonry is not regular in his eyes and his purpose to join her is for the unification of Black Folks, he clearly understands nothing about regularity and Masonic Law.
There is nothing in the Ancient Charges or in Freemasonry, which supports the unification of any two bodies for reasons of a mans complexion. The pigment of a Man’s skin is not a signature of regularity. Ones complexion or melanin does not confirm legality of a said Masonic body or Freemason. I have heard many idiotic discussions and debates in many arenas by several Masons that we should recognize Black bogus groups before we embrace any other regular organization. This is neither the spirit of Freemasonry nor the law of Masonry. Freemasonry is not a color based Fraternity. If we begin to live according to the way we were treated in the past, then we are just as guilty as those we accused of racism, prejudice, and injustice against us. This is not to say we should forget the history of the Black experience in America nor Prince Hall Freemasonry and why she was birthed, and the trials and tribulation that she went through. In no way would I ever imply or suggest committing such an historical error. But those things of the past should teach us how to become better Freemasons today and build a future for Universal Freemasonry for our children and our children’s, children.
Due to past rumors of negotiations between Both the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge, F. & A. M. (PHA) and The MWPHGL of Florida, A. F. & A. M. (Non-PHA) I left out the name of this so-called PGM.
The importance in the education of Bogus Masonic practices, is to teach Prince Hall Masons, Mainstream Masons, our Communities, and Bogus individuals who belong to irregular or clandestine bodies, the true Laws of Masonry in which we must follow, to enlighten all, of the deceit in the origin of these spurious groups, and offer the opportunity to correct their errors from the way they became irregular. Many innocent Men have fallen victim to these Masonic imitation groups as well as their family members. One of the hardest things to face once recognized is the fear of making the transition. This is why it is extremely important that we support those who wish to seek recognition and guide them with Masonic education. Masonic education is the key to the salvation of these individuals who want to practice the tenets of Freemasonry under the covering of regularity. Prince Hall sacrificed his very life for us to be recognized as regular Masons as well as all those pioneers who came after him to the present day.
"An we who are people created by the laws of
Nature, by what account do we break the law lest
We destroy ourselves…"
Ezekiel M. Bey, MPS
1nd Vice President
Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices
Past Master, Ralph McNeal, FPS
Past Master, Emanuel Stanley, MPS
Past Master, Joseph Walkes Jr., FPS
Worshipful Master, James M. Bradford, MPS
Blue-Lite Masonic Research Discussion Group
International Ritual & Monitor of Free Masonry
The History of The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Louisiana 1842-1979
The Status of Color Freemasonry
Iowa Masonic Library
Blue-Lite Masonic Discussion Group Archives
Stan’s Bogus Web Site
Grand Master’s Conference Steering Committee Report By PGM Amos T. Hall
Bogus Masonry Materials (Furnished by Bogus Masons)