Saturday, February 6, 2016


Debate: Clandestine Masonry Talking Points

By Fahim A. Knight-El

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This Blog was very interesting, in particular how it came about and the way that I answered these questions within this debate might even give the appearance that Brother Knight-El had totally flip-flopped on the issue of regular verse irregular Freemasonry in which I have always tried to be objective and open to this conversation. Although, most Prince Hall Masons will automatically denounce black non-Prince Hall Masons as being clandestine and it has been a divisive unsettling argument for centuries with some of these various Masonic entities and groups. But this clandestine Mason and/or a clandestine sympathizer decided to push the envelope with me and I have had previous dialogues with this brother, but on this occasion he seemed to have wanted to challenge me on Prince Hall’s legitimacy and their historical affiliation with the United Grand Lodge of England.

Thus, I was minding my own business and was actually working on an entirely different Blog when Brother V.R. came knocking; I really thought that I had exhausted the regular verse irregular Masonry topic over the years, I had written numerous previous articles dealing with clandestine and regular Masonry and once again I had no intentions of writing anything else on this subject (I am really sick and tired of this argument). Brother V.R. had all these questions and comments, but I felt like his line of questions lacked objectivity and appeared to be bias and he also appeared to be a little irate about Prince Hall Freemasonry being in disputes with black non-Prince Hall Masons, as it pertained to Masonic recognition and he felt that it was wrong that Prince Hall Masonry had an unwillingness to sit down with Black clandestine groups who some were three, four and five lettered Masonic groups.

Bro. V.R. argument was not a new argument, it was the same old argument, that black non-Prince Hall Masons have historically waged against PHA, which they have consistently denounced Prince Hall Masonry for having a recognized charter issued by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and they argue against the credence of PHA being recognized  by a white Grand Masonic body and they believe that PHA flaunt this Masonic European standard as a heavy weight when viewing other black Masonic groups that have not been recognized by white folk. Now, as I have stated above, just reading my words and position from the lens of this debate, some of you might argue that Brother Knight-El has in deed flip-flopped on some of his initial positions on this issue, but I really just took the antithesis side in this debate, in particular to exposed how flawed Brother V.R. argument was when it came to discussing the topic of regular versus irregular Masonry.

He desired that we as PHA Masons should overlook Masonic linage and authentic charters relative to the importance of being sanctioned and commissioned by a competent Masonic Grand body having legal Masonic jurisdiction to empower them, however, to overlook this would be a gross error of immeasurable proportions. This is the basis of all Masonic ‘regularity’, which is being duly legal, constituted and legally chartered these factors and variables cannot be overlooked, nor can you get around them and in larger scope cannot be negotiated.      

Bro. V.R.: “Brother that is very unfortunate and sad. Before anyone ever uttered a degree I thought we were all brothers. You know I am almost certain that had these organizations been white, the problem would not exist. Clandestine or Illegitimate so says the white man”.

 Bro. Fahim: “Yes Sir, remember, we were systematically rob of the knowledge of self and made into Negroes and it is an uphill battle to get us reconditioned to fall in love with our people and ourselves. The dispute between Prince Hall Masonry and other black non-Prince Hall Masonry is a microcosm of the African American problem when it comes to unity amongst our black leadership and black organizations. It is rooted in the psychosis effect of Chattel Slavery and the Willie Lynch Syndrome. But this is why I work so hard to impart solid information in pursuing the truth. It is not just a Prince Hall Masonic problem, it is a much deeper problem rooted in all the above. Most of us love white culture and have adopted European value systems, in which Dr. Carter G. Woodson wrote about this in 1933 in his Book titled, The Mis-Education of the Negro.”

Bro. V.R.: “What I don't understand is that you know this and you won't acknowledge a four letter. Has a PHA ever sat in any four letter lodge to actually see what they do or is it more "Well England said they ain't doing it right so they ain't doing it right?" Don't you think a sit down between the two is long overdue brother?”

Bro: Fahim: “Peace Brother, yes I do agree, that it is long overdue, but we have to be very careful who we should recognize as a Masonic organization and/or as a legitimate Freemasonic entity. Let me remove race as a variable, thus, the bigger question is the determination of legitimacy of those black non-Prince Hall Orders (and by what standards are we going to use)—when viewing four lettered or five lettered Masonic organizations relative to regularity. For example, lets also remove the United Grand Lodge of England recognition from the equation as a variable, meaning let's take white folk out of the equation as well. The question still remains whether or not a four lettered Freemasonry group has a legitimate and legal charter due to be respected and accepted by other regular national and international Grand Lodges. We argue there must be some legal criteria in order to determine and assess who will be considered for the status as a "regular" body of Masons. Now, we have to defend and protect the integrity of our Craft, if not phony and bogus Masonic renegade groups will continue to pop up (with questionable charters) with an objective of duping potential brothers who might be seeking to make a petition to join a lodge. Many of these black non-Prince Hall groups, they only find it politically expedient and conveniently to raise the question of race as though Prince Hall Masonry is practicing reverse discrimination against them. What is missing in these groups’ arguments, is they are not Black Nationalist either in philosophical intent nor by mission statement, but when it is convenient they want the public to perceive them as such. Their motives are rooted in opportunistic jargon and really do not want us to question and scrutinize their Masonic lineage and origin. This is the real issue hidden behind all the overt and covert controversy”.

Bro. V.R.: “Here's the thing about removing white folk from the equation... YOU CAN'T. Last I heard, they are the ones who give charters. Now from what you tell me is that your lodge is right and exact. So the GL in England says that you are practicing your craft correctly,   based on their criteria. With that said, how is it that a three letter PH mason cannot walk into a 4 letter lodge and observe if they are practicing the craft correctly. Don't they have white masons from the south, who are legit,  that don't speak to any Black mason. God is logic missing in masonry?”

Bro. Fahim: Peace: “Good Brother, no white folk are not the only ones that grant charters. But historically speaking Prince Hall did receive a legal warrant and/or charter from UGLE in 1784 to operate as African American Freemasonry lodge # 459 (this was just a coincidental event in the history of race relations between black and white people during the 18th Century—the slave was viewed as powerless and the slave master was seen possessing all the power) that transitioned into African Grand Lodge # 1, it was just a historical fact that this traveling white Irish Lodge #441 raised Prince Hall and fourteen other blacks of African descendent to the status of Master Mason. Every Masonic charter must be based on Masonic jurisprudence to have some legitimate acceptability and/or you can just go over to Kinkos and draw up some Masonic documents that looks officials and claim that these are "regular" Masonic documents. But we will question, assess and evaluative those documents to see, if this lodge and its Grand Lodge is sanctioned by a recognized and legitimate mother Grand Lodge, and we will determine, if your charter was granted under a competent Masonic jurisdiction (and should we inter into Masonic intercourse with this body of Masons). So our argument is not exclusively tied to the white United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) serving as "Grand Bubba" over international Freemasonry. But once again remove them as I stated previously and lets look specifically at the origin of your charter and show and prove that your charter has legal standings and is accepted worldwide, if you cannot do this that will make your charter illegal and clandestine. Prince Hall Masons can walk into 41 states (Masonic Jurisdictions) within the continental United States and will be received, accepted and recognized as legitimate Freemasons, but there are nine historical southern Confederate states that still have not recognized Prince Hall. Many of these Black non-Prince Hall Masonic groups have no legitimacy with mainstream Masonry and find it conveniently to blame PHA for their woes (just show me the charter and resolve this matter). It is not whether or not you are practicing the Masonic rites, rituals and sacraments, etc., properly (you can get most of that from the Internet) the question still remains are they duly and legally chartered (or are they bogus?), Moreover, many of them are not seeking black Masonic unity, they are trying to squeezed through door by failing to meet the legitimate charted criteria.”

Bro. V.R.: “G, so being legitimate is based off of what? Being granted a charter by a grand lodge based off of what criteria? 9 states still don't recognize PH and its 2016. No one says anything about it? So do I have this straight. . . A GL will give a charter to a lodge and it will be legit right? What's the criteria for granting a charter?”

Bro. Fahim: “Peace: you are wrong about your assessment there are PHA scholars including myself, that have condemned the United Grand Lodge of England relative to this Masonic contradiction. I know you are a smart brother and I believe you understand white supremacy and it relations to black people. There are white and black churches in the south right here in the United States of America in 2016, that are still segregated and some white churches will not allow black membership or worshippers, but these racist actions, we dare not make the same social comparison, that we draw in the black and white Masonic debate. Lets say there are over 100 white churches across the deep southern bible belt that do not permit African Americans who are Christians membership into their houses of praise and worship, how hypocritical is this? However, as Christians our belief in God, Jesus and the bible is not predicated on whether not some white Christians still do not find us as a race of being worthy of fellowship with them and/or seek to deny us Christian brotherhood (many black churches and parishers just keep it moving). Yes. every subordinate lodge must follow the landmarks of Masonry and must have a mother origin relative to their Masonic linage of their charter. The Grand Lodge itself has to be duly legal and regular edit and their historical linage have to be traceable and verifiable by some grand body of competent jurisdiction. If not that Masonic Order will be labeled clandestine for now and forever. It does not matter how you might attempt to characterize Prince Hall Freemasonry, it is a legal, regular and constituted Grand Lodge with a verifiable Masonic linage. Now, there is no one that has been more critical of my organization (PHA in particular if they have been on the wrong side of an issue than me) and I have publically wrote and documented my points of disagreements even relative to this conversation that we are having. But I stand by Prince Hall Masonry being a legitimate Masonic entity. We will not embrace any black bogus or white bogus Masonic Grand Lodge. I have debated Prince Hall Masons and black clandestine Masons (the clandestine Masons, I ordinarily ask them to give me the legal history of their origin and charter and that will determine a lot about how the conversations goes). Furthermore, you cannot justify a black clandestine Masonic Order who is conveniently playing the race card by echoing that Prince Hall has a white authorized charter and they do not like us because our Masonic charter was initiated by a black man. Lets prove your contentions and if we meet on the level, Square and Plumb these are the Masonic criteria that we use and we refer to "Mackey's Jurisprudence"  if all else fails. What do you think?”

Bro. V.R.: “Honestly I think that if Christians did not let someone of color based on the color of there skin then they are not Christian. So if a Mason doesn't want you in his lodge based on the same thing then his not a mason and that lodge should be shut down, but the powers that be haven't shut it down. That sends the signal that what they are doing is okay. You talk about lineage. Don't all lineages go back to England? If your brother is doing something wrong why would you not correct him? If he is in masonry for personal gain I understand why he is shunned. If in his heart he wants to make himself better then shouldn't three letters step in? God it only seems that masonry is based on lineage. Have you ever witnessed what a four letter lodge conducts?”

Bro. Fahim: Peace: the more explicit analogy that I was drawing and pointing to was how white supremacy has impacted not just Masonic institutions in the United States, but even our religious institutions (yes intent of what makes a Christians is not the arguable point with me but the level of criticism should be equitably dispensed, but this does not define the legitimacy of Christianity). Prince Hall whether or not 9 white southern States Grand Lodges have denied PHA as Masons in reality have no bearing on our legitimacy (thus even prior to full so-called UGLE recognition in 1995); Prince Hall had declared its sovereignty in 1784 and had functioned as a separate Masonic entity from Caucasian Freemasonry. But historical linage relative to the origin of a Grand Lodge will never be overlooked by Prince Hall Masonry. I have visited four and five lettered Masonic organizations that was recognized of having legitimate charters and were considered to be regular Masonic entities. Yes, their ritual work is very similar to our lodge work as three Lettered Free and Accepted Masonry. Yes, Masonry is rooted in linage and that is not going to change. If not any fly-by-night clandestine groups will be popping up and using Internet books and knowledge and Kinkos manufactured charters and often these bogus groups start selling factious degrees and they pose a great danger to the credibility of Freemasonry in the United States.  

Bro. V.R.:I'm simply referring to lineage because at one time you had argued this case. I believe your argument was something like "Who gave the power to the GL in England to sanction anyone." Yes it was something of that nature. If anyone is bogus you should know by action and not by name. You've changed your stance on this a little. But I see your point somewhat. If it's  so bad you PHA should shut PHO down.”

Bro. Fahim: “Peace: Brother, no. I have not changed by position or stance nowhere in this discussion relative to my initial position and stance on the United Grand Lodge of England; I said then and now, that I have no respect for white Masonry and UGLE, that has always been my position and always will be my position. But what is different in this conversation, is that I have expanded my approach specifically to draw out of you what constitute clandestine and irregular Masonry (your argument appeared to be more of rationalizing and totally overlooking the importance of Masonic linage and charters) and I did not want you to recklessly overlook the most important pieces to the legitimacy of a Freemasonic institution, which is historical linage and the origin of ones Masonic charter. Thus, there is no other evidence more essential and valuable to establishing if a Grand Lodge is duly legal and has authentic documentation to prove that it has been empowered by a competent jurisdiction. Once again, if you removed race as a variable that will not dismiss the fact that you must have a legal and sanctioned charter other than one that was printed at Office Depot (and we conveniently state that it was granted by a black man as though that is enough to claim legitimacy and simultaneously denounce PHA for having a white granted charter—I do not think so). So I have not changed my position, because I will always remain an advocate of black Masonic unity even with non-Prince Hall Masons, but none us believe that this course will be easy and yes part of those discussion will evolve around origin of linage and charters in order to move forward, if nothing else in the spirit of operational unity and establishing a covenant. If these talks were to take place some black bogus Masonic groups would perhaps be dismissed immediately and determined to a fraud and we will not seek recognition with them. Now, this is my personal opinion and I have argued this in my writings on John G. Jones a founder of a black Ancient Free and Accepted Masonic organization, which has been in existences over 100 years should be allowed to enter into an agreement with Prince Hall Masonry, if nothing else based on longevity and accepted as a regular body of Masons. I think the entire controversy of the National Compact and Prince Hall Origin and Prince Hall Affiliated Masonry is just to complex for me to decipher at this time.” 

Bro. V.R.: “What exactly happened with Mr. Jones? Was it that he got expelled as a mason so that meant ever lodge he started after that was bogus? Is this the case?  I'm sure some of your PHA bros countered your argument with "Longevity don't count. You can be clandestine for a long time." Lol. It is what it is G. While I was writing this email I asked a 4 letter if 3s and 4s get along now. He said that's been squashed for 4 or 5 years. We're from the south so I wouldn't know how it is were your at. I also asked an older older 3 letter PHA raised in Washington. He said there wasn't an issue. What exactly happened with Mr. Jones? Was it that he got expelled as a mason so that meant ever lodge he started after that was bogus? Is this the case?” 

Bro. Fahim: Yes, John G. Jones was a former Prince Hall Grand Master of the State of Illinois and by profession, he was an attorney who was expelled for un-Masonic conduct. It is too much to discuss, but some of his controversial can be Google. But it is sought of a contradiction, because the PHA shriners the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine rituals were established and written in 1893 by John G. Jones and Rolet Pasha in which, although he was expelled, we still recognize his name and still use his ritual work in the Shrine Order. Jones had a number of high profile violations that went against Prince Hall codes of ethics. Yes, theoretically every lodge he founded thereafter, would be considered clandestine and irregular; he claimed to have received a Masonic charter from Romania. Brother John Hairston, a PHA brother that I debated on my Blog is the authority on this. Also, our Grand Historian out of New York Brother Ezekiel Bey have written and exposed Jones Masonic legitimacy. But personally speaking I still think we should move beyond this in particular with this clandestine group.  
Bro. V.R.: "You can be clandestine for a long time." Lol"

Bro. Fahim: “Yes, you will be clandestine because of the illitimacy of your charter and those will always remain as the valid Masonic rules in order to function as regular Masonic entity your charter and linage has to have legal validity”.

Bro. V.R.: "It is what it is G"

Bro. Fahim: That's a true logical outcome relative to this conversation.

Bro. V.R.: “While I was writing this email I asked a 4 letter if 3s and 4s get along now. He said that's been squashed for 4 or 5 years.”

Bro. Fahim: “This statement is not true nor is it factual, we have not officially squashed any of this controversy with black clandestine Masonry in the United States. I will admit that there are different racial attitudes relative to the terms conservative and liberalism (geography dictates these private held positions). PHA Masons and black clandestine Masons have no formal agreement, but within Freemasonry there is the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction and the Northern Masonic Jurisdictions in which the latter is a lot more social inclusive and there are a set of different norms and attitudes with brothers up North and this has allowed for more of a passive coexistences between PHA and black clandestine Masons in particular and Masonry in general, in the northern regions of our country”.

Bro. V.R.: “Bro. V.R.: “Aside from our "lineage" conversation, if you walked into your lodge today and told your brothers that the Black Man is God, how would they take it? Could you be kicked out of masonry for a remark like that?”

Bro. Fahim: “No, if he stated that the Black man was God he would not be kicked out of PHA Masonry, I personally was raised on that contention and I still believe that the black man is God and I am still in my lode and in good Masonic standings. If a Mason claim his personal Deity to be the black man, he will not get shun for that belief. There is no doubt in my mind based on white supremacy, they systematically colored the scriptures an associated the Divine with being white skinned and of European Caucasian origin, but I know these were lies designed to make himself superior and people of African descent inferior. Yet, I still believe that we should not allow these clubs, fraternities, sororities, and oath taking organizations to keep us as a people divided; I will always be for a black united front in spite of our political, economic and social differences.” 

Bro. V.R.:Hmmm. Something in me wants to cross and give back to my community, but one rule is you must believe in a higher power. To me that higher power is potential ever man has, it's the refinement a man goes through to become his higher self. I'm not sure this logic would make it in a lodge. Could you shed some light bro?”

 Bro. Fahim: “Peace: Brother, everyone that petition a PHA lodge must believe in Deity and/or in a Supreme Being. This plank gives the potential brother candidate a wide range and philosophical freedom to express these things as they see fit relative to free thinking. We teach that Freemasonry is a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols (this is the true definition of Speculative Masonry). But Masonry rest on three basic principles—morality, friendship and brotherly love. Thus, the question was posed on the 1st degree of Masonry to me: Where were you first made a Mason? In my Heart. We pride ourselves in making good men, better men”.

Bro. V.R.: “Am I correct in thinking you got 120 before becoming a mason? I hear people don't talk about religion in the lodge but if you go York Rite you do...”

Bro. Fahim: “Peace: I am going answer your question this way; when one refer to the 120 degree Lessons giving by Clarence 13 X Smith (or better known by his followers as Father Allah) this automatically connects one to the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths (Five Percenters). I have never been a member of NGE, but I am a student of knowledge and I have always respected the NGE teachings. But I have always pride myself of being a seeker of 360 degrees of knowledge in which this view has led me on a journey to many paths and the journey has assisted me in my search for truths and wisdom. There are no degrees higher than the three blue lodge degrees and the Master Mason degree; yet there are auxiliary and Appendendent Orders such as York Rite Masonry or Scottish Rite Masonry (we called them climbing Jacobs latters in Masonry). Yet, one on the outside always confuses the so-called higher degrees such as 32nd degree or 33rd degree as being superior to the Master Mason or third degree it is not superior—the degrees in the upper houses should be viewed laterally and not vertically relative to power and knowledge. I going to stop right there”.

Fahim A. Knight Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of good will of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolisms and reinterpret the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlighten world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight can be reached at,

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