Question: F.&A.M. vs A.F.&A.M.
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 12:59:40 -0500
From: W.B. Mason
Subject: I want to be a Mason
I have been looking into becoming a Mason. I must admit I have
become confused. i have observed what seems to be two organizations of
masons both claiming to have different origins.....i.e. A.F. and A.M.
goes back to the time of King Soloman. The F. and A.M. only mention the
middle ages. Are these two the same? If I am accepted in one will I be
welcome in the other?
I am currently serving my country in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman.
What affect will my location have on my acceptance into one or the other?
Thank you very much for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
- Will B. Mason
To: W. B. Mason
Subject: Re: I want to be a Mason
In-reply-to: Your message of "Thu, 28 Mar 1996 12:59:40 EST."
} I have been looking into becoming a Mason. I must admit I have
} become confused. i have observed what seems to be two organizations of
} masons both claiming to have different origins.....i.e. A.F. and A.M.
} goes back to the time of King Soloman. The F. and A.M. only mention the
} middle ages. Are these two the same? If I am accepted in one will I be
} welcome in the other?
You are confused. First of all, read this:
It absolutely does NOT matter whether you join a F&AM or AF&AM lodge.
Okay? Now, here are some details to explain why:
In the U.S.A. every regular lodge is under the jurisdiction of its state
Grand Lodge. There is no higher body than a state Grand Lodge -- no
Super Grand Lodge of the USA or anything like that.
Each Grand Lodge will be styled "F&AM" or "AF&AM" and all the lodges
under it will have the same initials as their Grand Lodge. But there
are no more differences between AF&AM bodies and F&AM ones than there
might be between two different states that were both F&AM. It's just an
accident of history whether a Grand Lodge has AF&AM or F&AM after its
All Masons trace their "legendary" history back to the building of
Solomon's temple, with some old legends that even describe Biblical
story-characters such as Noah as Masons. But all Masons trace their
"operative" history only back to the mediaeval cathedral builders. And
we only trace our "official" history to the formation of the first Grand
Lodge in the world in London, in the year 1717.
(The difference in F&AM vs AF&AM goes back to a disagreement between
groups of lodges in London around that time. There were two rival
groups: one called themselves "Ancients" and called the other group
"Moderns". The whole thing was healed sometime in the middle of the
1800's, but by then there were lodges and Grand Lodges all over the
United States that were descended from one group or the other, and so
kept the corresponding initials.)
With _very_ rare and temporary exceptions, ALL of the US Grand Lodges
recognize each other, and treat each other's members as valid Masons.
Also, all of the US Grand Lodges recognize (and are recognized by) the
official Grand Lodges of England, Ireland, Scotland, and the various
GL's of Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, etc.
Historically, the "regular" Grand Lodges did not recognize the lodges
under the "Prince Hall" Grand Lodges. The Prince Hall bodies are
decended from a lodge of Black Freemasons in Boston (from around the
1760's I think). But in the last few years, the Grand Lodge of England
and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts have both exchanged recognition
with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and its subordinate
lodges. And now, many other GLs are following their lead and
recognizing the PH GLs.
There are some organizations of Masons that these "regular" Grand Lodges
don't recognize -- some splinters off of the main group of Prince Hall
Grand Lodges (that even the main PH GLs don't recognize), some "co-ed"
and women's Masonic groups, and a few GLs in various European countries
that have more than one GL.
But, I repeat, it absolutely does NOT matter whether you join a F&AM or
AF&AM lodge -- that will be just a result of whichever state you are in.
I'd love to know where you got the idea that F&AM and AF&AM trace their
history differently. Please let me know.
} I am currently serving my country in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman.
} What affect will my location have on my acceptance into one or the other?
I think my explanation has answered that already. If you tell me what
state you are in, I can tell you the location of that state's Grand
} Thank you very much for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
Glad to help. Thank you for your interest. If my answer has left out
something, or there's something more you want to ask, please let me
| Gary L. Dryfoos ofc: 617.253-0184 fax: 617.253-8665
| P.O.Box 505, Cambridge, MA 02142 http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/
| Master, Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, Mass. (1994-present)
| P.M. Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Winthrop, Mass. (1988-90, 1991-93)
| Member, Masonic Brotherhood of the Blue Forget-Me-Not
| "...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."
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