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The Amway of Freemasonry? - The Clandestine Order of International Masons
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Brian Schimian
Today being a Monday, I was not expecting much to come from it other than drywall dust and a lot of vacuuming. But to my surprise, and after my coffee pot took an extra long time to brew its delightful nectar (I guess everything takes time to get back into the routine after a 3 month hiatus) inspiration stuck. I have not delved into the world of “clandestine” or “irregular” Masonry, but after reading a post by a Brother on a social media page, I just had to.
Here is the post:
“So yesterday I had somebody who saw my ring. He asked if I could defend my light. I said what? He replies, answer questions correctly or I take your ring and give it to your lodge so you can be instructed. I said I've been a member 13 years and we never do that… He says he's a brother and whips out his card. IFAMM. I just left laughing.”
Before I get going on my diatribe here, let me first say that, I couldn't care less. I am not looking to start the next crusade and rid the world of organizations that are not recognized by or chartered under the UGLE, State Grand Lodge or whatever. Any organization that takes good men and makes them better is fine in my book. I will however abide by my obligation and neither attend nor allow a member of such an organization admittance into my Lodge. My only fear is that the ideology of Freemasonry and I have known it since I was eight years old, is being used to line someones pockets, regardless of any “good” they report to have been doing.
Okay, back to the regularly scheduled rant… So in the thread of posts, someone took the time to actually find this organization and share the link. Should you choose to venture over to their site (www dot international masons dot org), it is rather well put together. The name of the organization itself raised some red flags with me: International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Incorporated.
Apparently the creator of the CORPORATION was crafty at using the same terms and abbreviations that the A.F & A.M./F.&A.M Lodges that have been regularly constituted for use. He just added “International” (hey, why not? International CORPORATIONS and pretty prestigious) and took the “M” and made it “Modern”. According to their website, they received their “American Issued” Charter in 1950, but does not disclose under what jurisdiction it was granted. They continue: “…This American issued charter empowers International Masons to the same rights as those charters issued directly from the Grand Lodge of England or the Grand Orient of France…” I suppose if they say so, evidently they are writing their own rules anyway. Unless this organization shows dispensation under the UGLE (which there is no claim of on their site), how can it offer its members the rights and recognition?
The CORPORATION’s stated purpose is: ”provide moral, financial, benevolent, and charitable leadership to serve this present age”. Okay, I don’t know anyone that could argue with those points, as they are all noble causes.
Their site goes on to say that: “The institution of Free and Accepted Masonry is the outgrowth of Ancient Free Masonry, as adopted by Modern Masons in 1717 at the Apple Tree Tavern, England. It adheres to the ancient moral principles of Freemasonry…”, right, right. All Good!!!
It continues: “…but has been modified from time to time, that it may have all current and modern benefits to be offered by a Free Mason Fraternal Order…”, Errrr…. Whaaaaat?!?!?!?! Okay, It wasn’t until I got t the bottom of the page under “Benefits” where the wheels in my head came to a screeching halt and I had to scroll backup to make sure I read this line correctly. They have six such “Benefits of Joining”, the first being a “Low-cost endowment benefit for which you designate a beneficiary. Paid up after 20 years.” Now we start to see this CORPORATION for what it is. I will get to the other five “benefits” in a bit… Let me see, I sent in for membership information and received no word back, nor could I find any information on their site about membership, dues or these endowment fund fees. I can only imagine what kind of return on investment percentage one could expect to get and how much interest the CORPORATION was getting on all that money from everyone. I would have to believe that there is a “pyramid” type set up where Lodges filter the money in a “per-capita” type system to the “Supreme Council”. A quick scroll thru the online store was interesting. They will sell you, in two parts, a “Duncan Ritual” for $16.50 ea., that would be $33.00 for both. Part of me believes that this is the Duncan Masonic Ritual Monitor from 1866 that is freely available on the internet for no more cost than the time to do a Google search and download the file. How nice of the International CORPORATION, eh?
Continuing on they claim: “…We have no quarrels with other Masonic Bodies, and will be glad to cooperate with them in building Masonry as a True Righteous Order based on the principles of the Holy Bible…” Cool. Upright and Just… Almost. How do they say they have no quarrel with other Masonic Bodies, yet their members threaten to relieve Masons of their rings if they cannot “defend their light”? I also have to question the repeated statement referring to themselves as a “Christian Order”. True Masonry does not single one religion out above another. I have to wonder what they would do if they came across a Brother that was Jewish, Muslim or that of any other religion of the world. They claim on their website that: “…deny no person the right to fraternalism, regardless of race, color or creed…”, but then again state that they are a CORPORATION based on “Christian Principles”. I have to wonder if there are non-Christians allowed in their CORPORATION.
Next they list their “cardinal principles” and state that they “appeal to its membership in such a manner as to” and again, not much to argue about here, until the end…
“Promote better understanding and coordination.
To improve such fields of thought which tend to ensure sound judgment.
To install in the minds of youth the necessity of intellectual progress.
To regard all that tends to develop character and wholesome personality traits.
To establish only such assets or liabilities which are within the financial range of the membership.”
Establish assets or liabilities which are within the financial range of the membership. Sounds like they are talking about the “Supreme President & CEO” having to live within the means of what the membership dues will allow. I wonder how many of the Brothers of this CORPORATION have truly taught more Light and have come to see what this organization is all about. I am sure that not many are aware of the scheme they are wrapped up in.
The “History” continues: “…Other institutions of Freemasonry across the nation swell with pride at the great progress our Organization has achieved in this century. A large measurer of credits must be given to the well known reputation that Freemasonry enjoys throughout our nation and around the world…” Um, not so much. The Regular Institutions of Freemasonry are not swelling with pride. If anything, they swell with feelings of sadness for the members that have been sold a worthless bag of goods and are being used to fill the coffers of a select few on the coattails of a "Right & Just Order."
Continuing on, they again state: “…our beliefs in the Bible and Christian principles, we teach charity, and service to all mankind and we try to induce an ethical way of life which brings about those improvements necessary to the construction of good, clean respected citizenship…” Sounds great, but if they truly were such an organization, they would qualify for tax exempt status and thus would not be “Incorporated”.
Under the “Why Join?” heading I found a peculiar line: “…you will have a chance to improve your prestige…” So much for everyone being “On the Level”.
A little farther down the page, we come to the “What Do We Offer?” section. Here they state that: “…International Masons is democratically sponsored and controlled. Members vote for and elect their leaders. To prevent perpetuation all heads of departments have term limits…” This sound good as well, until you realize that having begun in 1950, they have only had 4 people serve as “Supreme President & CEO”. One of which was the founder and another that was appointed as interim after the founder passed. One self appointed, one temporary replacement, that leaves 2 “Leaders” that have been voted into office in roughly 65 years? Given that there are no years of service associated with the people, I can not find clarification on what the “term limits” are.
Getting to more of the “Six Key Benefits”, I will only cherry pick the 2 others beside the one previously discussed. “…Reasonable costs associated with joining and maintaining membership…” Again, I can only imagine what the “Supreme President & CEO” feels is “reasonable”. They make no mention of anything financial on their site. “…Yours is a lifetime transferable membership. If you move to another city, state or country, your membership will be transferred, and you retain your same seniority. You will be welcome to visit lodges and/or chapters wherever you go…” Great, transferable memberships, love this. But what kills it is the use of the term “seniority”. How can an organization that claims to be Masonic, which maintains all members come together “On The Level” have a scheme of seniority?
Under the “Other Special Advantages” heading they list some rather concerning language mixed with that of an upstanding nature. Here they mention again the Endowment fund but then add the word “protection” to it. Interesting. Then they dangle a carrot in the form of a “Bonus” for bringing in new members. They state: “…CLEAN SOCIALS: Family events for both youths and adults. You are taught how to enjoy yourself without the use of liquor, gambling or other forms of vice. Planned excursions and picnics are a regular part of our activity…” Nothing to argue with there, seems Upright & Just. Then they go back to “Prestige” and say: ”…You are no longer a lost soul in an asphalt jungle of houses…”. I am not going to get into the clearly defined racism and bigotry I feel with this sentence. I will just let it fall on it's own accord. They then ask that you: “…bring this message to your neighbors at every opportunity…”, of course, don't forget the “bonus” you get and the “Supreme President & CEO” that needs to live within the financial means of the membership.
I have had all I can stomach on this website and need to close this article out before I get any more upset for the wayward Men, Ladies and Children that have been misled by this CORPORATION. What better way than to use their own words. Somehow I truly believe that these are the most true words on this entire website that speaks to the very root of what this CORPORATION is all about, wealth and how much they can get of it.
“…There is an old toast that goes: "May you have health, wealth, and love, and a long life to enjoy them." This is our sincere aim…”