[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: November 1998

From: "A. Mason"
To: <masonry-ask@MIT.EDU>
Subject: Clandestine 
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 22:52:23 -0800

Hi can you please tell me what is a Clandestine Mason, Im a master mason AF&AM Xxxxx Lodge #xxx, I haven't been to lodge in quite awhile, and have since moved, I petitioned Xxxxx Lodge in Xxxxx, XX and have since applied for dual membership, when I went to the lodge to check it out, I didn't notice anything different from my home lodge, but at installation there was a black guy who was moved up to junior warden, so my question is does this mean he is a clandestine mason/ lodge? from what I remember hearing black people can't be masons

I'm not a bigot, I just want to make sure I'm not joining a clandestine lodge, if I have it wrong I apologize and beg your pardon. I don't want to make waves if there isn't any reason

This is a F&AM Lodge


As you might remember from your first degree, any lodge of Masons needs a charter (or warrant) from a grand lodge in order to meet and work.

Now, I think I have these distinctions correct: A "clandestine lodge" is one that does not hold a proper charter from any grand lodge. A similar category is an "irregular lodge" which is a lodge that does have a charter from a grand lodge, but its grand lodge is not recognized by other grand lodges.

The grand lodges of the USA (one for each state) listed at my web-site (on the Pointers page) are all regular grand lodges, and all the lodges they charter are regular. You can always find out if a lodge is regular by asking the secretary or tyler of your lodge to look in their Tyler's Book and see if the other lodge is listed. Each grand lodge prints a Tyler's Book, listing all the grand lodges that it "recognizes" (considers to be "regular"), along with all the lodges in each grand lodge. Every lodge in each jurisdiction is supposed to have a copy. You can also call any grand lodge and ask the grand secretary's office if a particular lodge in that state is regular.

In this case, you probably have nothing to worry about. As far as the new junior warden of the lodge you visited: didn't they tell you when you were applying for membership that Masonry accepts ALL men of good character, as long as they profess their belief in a Supreme Being? What did you think they meant by "all men"? Some men? It's true that there have historically been separate branches of Masonry in the USA mostly divided by race, but men of all races have been members across that divide for many years, and even the divisions between those branches are starting to fade.

If you ever encounter a lodge where you find out that they would never take a candidate because of his race, THAT would be a lodge to avoid. They would be violating one of the fundamental "landmarks" of Masonry, and that would make them "irregular" -- no matter what kind of charter they hold.

I hope that helps.

sincerely and fraternally,

| Gary L. Dryfoos | PM: Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus GL Mass.
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142  |   & Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden ""
| http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/  | MPS; B'hood of the Blue Forget-Me-Not;
| w: 617.253-0184 f: 617.258-6875 | Internet Lodge #9659, East Lancs UGLE
|     "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
|      whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
|      or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."

Oh, by the way, there's no meaningful difference between F&AM and AF&AM lodges.

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