The Mason in the Mirror
Burrell McKelphin, 32°
St. Johns' Lodge No. 16 P.H. F.&A.M.
There have been many discussions on the issues dealing with "Bogus
Masonry" particularly coming out of the African American community. Many
Prince Hall Masons complains about the fast and growing problem of
Clandestine Masonic groups. Many of these groups have organized
themselves for the purpose of committing fraud and to take advantage of
good and true men looking to join the Masonic Fraternity for monetary
gains. This is true for the most part, however there are those groups
that are classified as Bogus but exemplify Masonry in the eye of the
public. Many Brothers like myself have witness some of these groups
participate in the community in a positive manner. Despite the fact that
these are good deeds, we (Prince Hall Masons) ridicule them and thumb
our noses at them for one simple reason, they are not "LEGITIMATE" in
the eyes of Freemasonry.
I see Brothers' point, but I guess what I am really trying to say is
that WE as MASONS might know that they are non bona fide Masons, but to
the PUBLIC in general or to the PROFANE all they see is individuals who
portray the image of Masons doing work in the community. Who do you
think they will probably roll with? US because we are legit but not so
hot in doing the work?
Example: If bogus Masons were doing a clothes and food drive for those
less fortunate, do you think that those people care whether they are
legitimate or not? They are just happy that someone is doing something
for them. They can care less if they were to call themselves AL-Queda if
that is the case. Do you see where I am getting at on this issue?
Freemasonry teaches the tenet of Relief. "To relieve the distressed is a
duty incumbent on all men, particularly Masons, who are linked together
by a bond of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize in
their misfortune, to restore peace to trouble minds should be the aim of
each Freemason." Do you think they will probably support some of the
Bogus groups because they are doing the work? We are supposed to be
doing the work of Freemasons not in just my lodge or another brother's
lodge or my jurisdiction nor someone else's jurisdiction, but all of us
in this fraternity should be about the business of making ourselves
visible to the public and the communities in which our lodges exists.
Basically, in order to combat this issue of Bogus Masonry, we must begin
to do more in our communities. We have to start taking more initiative
to participate in community affairs. To be LEGITIMATE is not enough. If
that's our only defense then we can hang it up. What makes us as Prince
Hall Masons think that we can leech off of the community without showing
any sense of reciprocity? Are we so far gone that community involvement
is just a punch line? Is it something we say to people to get them off
our backs so they do further criticizes us for the things we say we do
but don't do?
Bro. Doug Evans from out of the jurisdiction of the MWPHGL of Georgia
once said, " PHA Lodges practice Bogus Masonry if they are not doing
their father's work. Charity to the needy does not care where it comes
from." And he is very correct. Before we go on our witch hunt my
Brothers, let us look in the mirror find out what we are doing to allow
these groups to take lead within the community. Where do we fall short?
How can we correct and improve our shortcomings?
It is the TRUTH my Brethren. We need to check our own backyard for
garbage before we go into someone else's telling him or her to clean up
his or her act.
If we view history that has been researched and recorded by Harry
Williamson, Harry E. Davis, Dr. Charles H. Wesley and Joseph A. Walkes,
Jr. and many others we can see the blueprint laid out before us by the
earlier Brothers of African Lodge or the Prince Hall Masonic Fraternity
as it is now called. We see the universal "Trestle Board" for the Prince
Hall Mason. It has been there all the time and it act as a template
design ready for use. The only thing that becomes Bogus is us if we
allow others to do our work for us.
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