Masonic Council of the USA
Confederation of Regular Grand Lodges of the USA
2006 Annual Conference of Grand Masters
The Craft Grand Masters Conference Minutes
Thursday August 10th, 2006
The Masonic High Council of the USA, Confederation of Regular Grand Lodges of the USA, Annual Conference of Grand Masters took place on August 10th, 2006 in the City of Portsmouth, State of Virginia, USA. The following Grand Officers and High Council Members were present:
NAME - POSITION - STATE
MW Bro. Charles Mabry Senior Grand Officer Illinois
MW Bro. Lesley Harmason Grand Chancellor North Carolina
MW Bro. Sean Wilmore Treasurer General New Jersey
MW Bro. Joseph Burris Secretary General Virginia
MW Bro. Carlton Brigham Council Member Maryland
MW Bro. Samad Jennings Council Member Florida
MW Bro. Clifton Moore Council Member Connecticut
The Masonic High Council of the USA was open in due form and in the traditional way and by the striking sound of the gavel of the Most Worshipful Senior Grand Officer of the MHCUSA.
The High Council discussed and deliberated among other Masonic issues on the recognition of other Grand Lodges and Jurisdictions, all motions put forward were analyzed, debated and approved.
It was agreed and voted that in order for the Masonic High Council of the USA to recognize any other Grand Lodge that they must be incorporated within the State in which they are situated, and a copy of their Constitutions must be submitted to the Masonic High Council of the USA.
And as a minimum requirement they must follow the Anderson Constitutions of 1723 and abide by all the Landmarks of the Craft Freemasonry.
The Masonic High Council of the USA - Confederation of Regular Grand Lodges 2007 Annual Grand Assembly and Conference of Grand Masters shall take place in the City of Chicago, State of Illinois.
Furthermore The Masonic High Council of the USA - Confederation of Regular Grand Lodges, found it convenient to announce that the 2008 Annual Conference of Grand Masters will be held in the City of Rocky Mountain, State of North Carolina.
The High Council drafted and voted on the By-Laws of the Masonic High Council of the USA and the same are to be sent to The Masonic High Council, the Mother Masonic High Council of the World.
Any legitimate Grand Lodge in North America wishing to gain recognition by the Regular Grand Lodge of England and its affiliates must meet the standards of the Masonic High Council of the USA and become first affiliated with the same.
After all Masonic labours ended and great joy, happiness and brotherly love felt by all present the Masonic High Council of the USA was closed in the usual manner and by the striking sound of the gavel of the Most Worshipful the Senior Grand Officer of the MHCUSA.
PRIMUS INTER PARES
THE MASONIC HIGH COUNCIL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Brethren, we are pleased and comforted with the new foundations of Regular Craft Freemasonry in North America and in particular that of the United States of America. We commend the dedication and determination of the American Brethren in their vision to finally establish a proper conference of truly Masonic and regular Craft Freemasonry. We therefore wish to congratulate the Senior Grand Officer of the MHCUSA, President of the American Masons all the Regular Grand Masters of the USA on the establishment of the Masonic High Council of the United States of America to act as the centre of union and cement the Craft Fraternity enlightened by the symbolic and allegorical tradition of the Craft.
It is well known that in American territory there are some self-constituted “Grand Lodges” which are irregular in origin, unwarranted and therefore spurious organizations mimicking Masonic Ritual.
Freemasonry in America was taken for granted by a few of these organizations. Between each other they thought that such irregular practices were accepted (which it is obvious they are not).
These organizations had a quasi-monopoly control of “Craft Freemasonry” and were looked upon and even assumed to be practicing “Regular Freemasonry”, which they were not and are not.
Therefore we have found it necessary to list some of these irregular and non-masonic practices:
First, several of the so-called “Grand Lodges” are unwarranted and irregular of origin.
Second, these “Grand Lodges” allow themselves to come under disproportionate influence through official treaties, or even the direct control of spurious organizations such as self-proclaimed Supreme Councils of the Scottish Rite, and as we all know this so-called Scottish Rite has no bearing on the Craft and furthermore, the same so-called Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is a spurious rite in its origins, constitutions and Rituals such as given ample notice by the Mother Grand Lodge of the Three Globes at Berlin in its' Declaration concerning this particular rite.
Third, these “Grand Lodges” have brought unwarranted innovations to what they called Masonry, such as the supposed regalia of a Grand Master and that part where apparently such is the case in certain instances where Grand Officers are shown wearing funny hats. This and other innovations to the uses and regalia of the Craft are just the tip of the iceberg.
Fourth, these supposed “Grand Lodges” “Initiate” people on one single day in their dozens and they are made to watch from their seat as some sort of “Initiation” on others takes place. These poor individuals are not even Initiated into the Craft.
Fifth, the Rituals they work are not of Ancient pure and regular English Craft Freemasonry, but derived from elsewhere.
Sixth, the use of swords, which is an ancient Masonic usage in ceremonial Masonic ritual is almost nonexistent.
Seventh, these so called Craft “Grand Lodges” have departed from the ancient method of organization of the Craft and ignore the complement ceremony of the Fellowcraft, the Mark Man or Mark Mason ceremony which is a fundamental part of ancient regular Craft Freemasonry.
Eighth, that some so-called “Grand Lodges” have deconsecrated the Masonic Ritual by removing the VSL where the text of the legend of the Craft is present and replacing it with books unrelated and foreign to the Craft. This among all innovations they have made it is inadmissible.
Ninth, they have the deficiency of a required and mandatory Grand Chapter of the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch which is the complement of the legend of Craft Freemasonry.
In addition to these irregular practices, The majority of these so-called “Grand Lodges” have only one basic Ritual, denying masons the light and enjoyment of a vast and important portion of Masonic tradition. Regular Craft Freemasonry is multiritualistic, and to politically barricade masonry from any changes in the rules which would allow the full diversity of Masonic tradition to flourish is unacceptable.
Based on the above we have no other option than to sadly acknowledge the facts that these organizations are in themselves something like factories of profanes with aprons. They have lost the notion and purpose of the Craft. The original aim of the Fraternity has been given up by them, and therefore we see hope in the wise guidance and determination to establish Freemasonry true to the original aims and purpose of the Craft once again on American soil.
The Masonic High Council of the United States of America
"The spread of Masonry throughout the civilized world; the evolution from narrow sectarianism to the universal ideal of the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God; the growing pains and the final union into one united purpose; the triumph of Truth, Justice and Love"
The Masonic High Council of the United States of America gives the following statement in regards to the topic of:
Who gets to decide which Freemasonry is legitimate and which Freemasonry is illegitimate? Should a Masonic body be considered more legitimate merely because it has a larger membership? Because it is older?
When African Lodge, the first Prince Hall lodge in the world began issuing charters for other African American lodges, it did not have a warrant to do so from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the Grand Lodge of England or any other Grand Body. Does this mean that from 1827 when African Lodge declared itself a Grand Lodge, till 1995 when Prince Hall Grand Lodges were given charters by the United Grand Lodge of England, that they were illegitimate? Irregular? Does this mean that all of the Prince Hall Grand Lodges in US states which still lack a charter and recognition from their white counterparts are illegitimate? Does this mean that all of the Prince Hall masons who were initiated, passed, raised and labored in the quarries from 1827 onward, and gave so much of their time and love to the craft were illegitimate? irregular?
We believe that African Lodge did what it had to in declaring itself independent of any other Grand Body and establishing itself as the first Prince Hall Grand Lodge. We believe that the Grand Lodge of France did the right thing by granting the universal recognition of all Prince Hall Grand Lodges in the United States, for which it lost favor with the larger white Grand Lodges.
Sometimes, doing what your conscience, or the Grand Architect requires of you isn't easy, but we believe that in the long run, it brings far more blessings.
What most masons are unaware of is the significance of the letters A.F. & A.M. which most of the larger Grand Lodges in the United States bear in their name. It stands for "Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons". This means that these Grand Lodges were originally chartered, not by the Grand Lodge of England, but the schismatic "Ancients Grand Lodge" which eventually merged with the Grand Lodge to form the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813. Does this mean that all of the masons who were initiated, passed and raised in Ancients Grand Lodges in the United States, Britain and Ireland from 1751 until 1813 were merely "illegitimate masons" to use a certain commentator's own words? These masons felt that the other "Moderns" or "Premier" Grand Lodge's ritual practices deviated from Masonic tradition so greatly that they were illegitimate.
Common sense would, and indeed does tell most people that having a one-day class in which hundreds of masons are made, simply by watching the degrees at a distance with no time for absorption or proficiency requirements, or as in many lodges in England and overseas the reading of the third degree legend to the candidate rather than putting him through a proper and traditional raising are not only unrecognizeable as legitimate, traditional or regular masonry, and yet they point the finger at others and call them fake? Not only can you take all three degrees of Craft masonry in a day, but you can also join the Scottish Rite, York Rite and Shrine all in the same day! Does this facilitate true learning, or merely the collection of more money in a shorter period of time?
When the American Colonies declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776, they not only declared their independence from the rule of another nation which was distant from their desires, ideas and hopes, but from a system where power over others was an entitlement by birth, an aristocracy which fattened itself by taxing the working man without any representation or freedom by which he could become master of his own destiny. We, the American Colonies found that such a system of government was not good for our lives. Why is it that in Freemasonry we continue to argue in favor of such a system of entitlement by birth, saying with great passion that those Grand Bodies "born into" such favor are the only such "legitimate heirs" of Freemasonry, even when they have so clearly and egregiously strayed from Masonic tradition? They have authored for themselves a series of laws and executed them in their own kangaroo courts, creating precedents and inventing doctrines which benefit them and no one else, least of all the craft itself.
It is in the spirit of the American Colonies and the first Prince Hall Grand Lodge declaring their independence that masons of the Regular Grand Lodge of England have declared their independence. They have declared their independence from the very same system of aristocratic entitlement that the American Colonies did, quite literally!
American Grand Bodies who have received a charter from said Grand Lodge, and joined this same movement have not done so out of some naivete, believing they have made contact with some other fabulous and ancient institution as some commentators suppose. We have done so out of our sincere wish for liberty, equality and light and to be a part of a rapidly growing international community of masons throughout the world who share our desire to preserve the traditional insitutions of Freemasonry unhindered by racism, feelings of self-entitlement or the weakening of her sublime institutions.
Why should our presence be seen as a problem for the larger Grand Bodies? Our desire is only for more light. It is our sincerest hope that all masons throughout the world will one day come to respect Freemasonry as much or even more than we have. It is our hope that one day they will also give the same care to her traditions, ideas and symbols, if not even more than we ourselves could hope to.
The Freemasonry which we practice is no mere Service Club, but a living Tradition of intellectual and spiritual englightenment for men of all creeds and colors. It is our sincerest hope that the larger Masonic organizations will allow the same traditions to flourish once more for their sake, and that they will forever put away intolerance and racial segregation. We cannot, however, stand idly by while one opportunity after another for more light is missed. It is time for us to declare our independence, and we have done so.
To those detractors and call us "illegitimate” without considering or knowing what may lie in our hearts, we extend the love of the Almighty Creator, and hope that one day they too will have a desire for light which exceeds their fear. When they say, or even suggest that our presence in America or elsewhere is a problem for them, and that an "unstoppable juggernaut" has been released, what is it that they are really saying? Why should our presence bother them in the least since we are so small and insignificant? They presume to tell the poor, uninformed member of all such "illegitimate" obediences that he is really just an "illegitimate mason", for his own good of course, because he couldn't possibly have knowingly chosen the Grand Lodge he did. What does all of this say about them? More importantly, If this movement within masonry continues to grow as fast as it has in such a short period of time, then what does this say about man's desire for More Light?
These commentators talk about Grand Lodges that charge overly large sums of money for degree work and then talk about us in the same breath, calumniating all of the organizations in their list without any clarification or justification for what they are saying, as if all were one and the same. We invite anyone to look into our practices and see if our joining fees are any greater than what you'd pay in any other lodge, or if any of our officers are earning the large paychecks that Grand Officers in the large Masonic bodies do.
Our claim to Regularity rests on this and this alone: it stems entirely from our own adherence and faithfulness to the traditional customs and original aims and purposes of Craft Freemasonry, the absence of bigotry in our lodges, and the complete absence of any other Masonic institutions in our geographical locations who meet these requirements.
We formally invite all masons, Masonic lodges and Grand Bodies large or small to discuss with us how best to carry on the Traditions of the Ancient Fraternity which we all love so much. To all men and masons with a sincere desire for light, we are your companions whether you agree with our ideas and actions or not.
Men of intelligence and good conscience must decide what is best for themselves. We invite all men who believe in the Almighty Creator, regardless of faith, language, skin color or nationality, whether they are considering initiation for the first time, or have labored in the quarries of Freemasonry for many years, to take a look at our lodges, and judge us not by what others may say about us, but by the fruits of our true labors.
MHCUSA, Confederation of Regular Grand Lodges of the USA
If you have any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you.
The Masonic High Council of the United States of America
E- mail: contact(at)rgle.org.uk