It has long been The Beehive’s contention that what one Mason, one Lodge, one Grand Lodge does reflects on us all. If we do what is good and righteous the perception of each of us is favorable and if we do what is immoral and vulgar the perception of us is unfavorable. But what one does reflects on us all. This is why it is my business what other Freemasons do or do not do. In Mainstream Masonry the actions of West Virginia and Arkansas Grand Lodges directly reflect on the perception of the rest of Mainstream Masons wheresoever they may be dispersed.
Particularly devastating to the reputation of Freemasons can be the action of bogus, clandestine and irregular Freemasonry with the exception, in my opinion, of female and Co-Masonry. Most of these male bogus Lodges and Grand Lodges are breakaways, knock offs and even outright dishonest scams. As such many lack the discipline that the apparatus and numbers of Mainstream and Prince Hall provide their members – for the most part a system that enforces the morality and good name of the Craft.
That is why a recent story from a bogus Grand Lodge in Maryland was so important. The Baltimore Sun reports:
Raucous parties at Bolton Hill lodge draw complaints
Neighbors ask zoning board to rein in Hiram Grand lodge
Bolton Hill community leaders pleaded with Baltimore zoning officials Tuesday to prevent a fraternal lodge from holding late-night parties, saying that the raucous gatherings are destroying the character of the neighborhood.
City Councilman William H. Cole IV, who represents the area, clutched a sheaf of fliers for Hiram Grand Lodge events that featured scantily clad women, promises of “top shelf liquor” and names such as “Love & Lust Pre-Valentine’s Day event.”
The lodge is currently zoned as a residential property, and authorities say it has violated the zoning code by renting the facility for large parties.
The lodge does not have a liquor license, and is barred from charging a cover or charging for alcohol. But police, Cole and community leaders testified that they had witnessed parties that violated those provisions.
Members of the lodge, an affiliate of the Masons, built the multi-purpose center 12 years ago with $900,000 in state bond money, according to testimony and state documents. Since the lodge is a nonprofit, it does not pay property taxes
Here is a good example of what others do is my business. This bogus Grand Lodge is located on the 1200 block of Eutaw Place in Baltimore, Maryland. The real Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge is located on the 1300 block of Eutaw Place. I am sure that the general public along with the reporter that wrote this story have no idea of the distinction between the two Grand Lodges. So Prince Hall Maryland is going to take a certain amount of flak for what went on at the Hiram Grand Lodge.
The lesson here is that it behooves every regular Freemason to make sure that they make the distinction between real Freemasonry and unauthorized knock offs. It would have been wise for the Prince Hall Grand Lodge to have a public awareness committee appointed by the Grand Master that could swing into action when situations like this occur. This committee could have asked the Baltimore Sun for a follow-up article explaining the Masonic differences. It could also have been there the night that the police were called in to quell this raucous disturbance to hand out pamphlets to explain the differences in the Grand Lodges, that is if Prince Hall Maryland was ready with a handout already printed for just such an occasion.
And a parting word to the wise: If you are thinking of joining Freemasonry or you are already a Freemason and are invited to visit a strange Lodge by a friend, ask to see the charter. This will not be a corporation charter from a civil state agency. This will be a charter issued by a duly recognized Mainstream or Prince Hall Grand Lodge that is so deemed to be a true and regular Lodge by a consensus of its world-wide peers.
All of us who are Freemasons or thinking of becoming such would do well to consult The Phylaxis Society’s Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices. Speaking from that Committee Brother Ezekiel Bey had this to say:
“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. “
Don’t you be one of them. Educate yourself and others around you and when and where you can let the general public know the difference between legitimate and illegitimate Freemasonry.