Monday, August 18, 2008

Bogus Masons

Some interesting things have fallen into my Inbox of late. Of course we all know that our Grand Lodges recognize or do not recognize other Grand Lodges. I've always considered this partly the interesting tapestry of global Masonry and partly an overly-bureaucratic nightmare.

This recognition allows us to visit almost all of the lodges in Thailand and many around the world. This same system however prevents us from visiting the only Prince Hall lodge in the kingdom. Hopefully that will change one day.

But no matter how cynical my view of the process sometimes becomes, I now have a greater appreciation for it. This link provides some background on a disturbing practice found in America. A number of bogus lodges have sprung up. These lodges are focused on attracting African-American members who would otherwise be joining a legitimate Prince Hall lodge.

Some of these lodges and Grand Lodges are started by disgruntled or expelled members. Others however are started by con-men in an attempt to build pyramid schemes for self-aggrandizement. These bogus grand lodges go by several different names and include International, Prince Hall Origin lodges or the even more grandiosely named Nuwaupian Grand Lodge AF&AM International.

Though the names differ, they share a common trait. They fill the minds of their members with lies by telling them that they alone are the true Masons. They alone have access to secret knowledge not known by Prince Hall or "white" Masons. They limit their members access to books, papers and other sources of knowledge.

It is perhaps an important reminder that we as individual Masons must continually strive to educate ourselves and learn more about our Craft. Not only is knowledge power, but it frees us from tyranny.



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