The Most Worshipful United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons of Democratic Republics.
WOW! You just CAN'T get a much better name than that, can you?
It's unlikely that there hasn't been a time when we've thought, "I could do better than this!" - and there are those who think that they can invent a better mousetrap than the several centuries old Masonic fraternity. In the case of TMWUGLOAF&AMODR, an apparently disgruntled Mason has gone off to attempt exactly that in Virginia. David Lindsey, once a Virginia, USA Mason, decided to start his brand of the organization and has publicized it at the propitious domain name of www.grand-lodge.us. We encourage you to take a look at it both before and after you read the material below.
One of the first things we noted when we came across the website of this totally bogus group a couple of years ago was that it was a sub-web of a realty sales website. While some Grand Lodges may have had sites which used such an approach during the web's infancy as they were first going online, use of appropriate and meaningful domain names is now a standard - even amongst the 300 year old Masons! And we'd also note that there's no such thing as a Grand Lodge for the United States. That idea was discussed in 1843 at an event referred to as the 'Baltimore Convention' where it was abandoned and never again given serious consideration. Period.
Moving further, the 'styling': The Most Worshipful United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons of Democratic Republics is odd to say the least. We recognize the fact that many Masonic titles sound very strange to an average person's ear but here's the rub with Mr. Lindsey's group: Freemasonry takes no position on the 'appropriateness' of government and would not adopt a name which praised 'democracy' or 'republic' unless such words were in the styling of the name of the country in which it was located (the United Democratic Republics of Germany - or some such).
Attempting to create a legitimacy where there is none, this Virginia organization proudly presents an online copy of their certificate of incorporation from the State of Virginia's governmental department which incorporates businesses. There is simply no need for U.S. Masons to brag about the fact they have incorporated under their state laws and, in fact, anyone can incorporate just about anything provided they have a set of by-laws, officers (who can be relatives even), and pay the appropriate fee. The fact that the TMWUGLOAF&AMODR is a Virginia corporation means absolutely nothing relative to Masonic recognition.
On the MWUGLOAF&AMODR website, they list a detailed set of beliefs - including religious beliefs with specific references to New Testament scripture. This is diametrically different from 'regular' Masonic bodies which require only a belief in Deity and do not expect any explanation or clarification from their candidates as to one's personal faith system. Neither do legitimate Grand Lodges specify rules of governance for the Craft using Biblical quotations. It's curious that this information is on a page that attempts to dismiss others' charges that their organization is clandestine!
And, finally, it appears that Mr. Lindsey's group is clearly pursuing a political agenda. They make members "at sight" (in their case, likely without the person ever realizing they've been selected for this dubious 'honor) of politicians who would seem to have only ultra-conservative Republican political affiliations. (See here - but if this link is inoperable due to its queer construct, it can be reached from the main page cited above.) We doubt that those who've been so named had any contact with this spurious organization whatsoever. We also suspect they would be surprised to find that they'd become 'Masons' by mail and not of their own choosing. Such actions reflect extremely poorly on the regular body of Freemasonry as well as this group. Regrettably, it's possible that some of those 'made Masons' by the self-styled Grand Master Lindsey could conclude that they'd actually become Masons when, in fact, they were used by a clandestine organization to further its own ends. Further, it would be considered a gross breach of Masonic etiquette, punishable by de-recognition in virtually all cases, for a Grand Lodge to 'Make a Mason' out of someone not within their jurisdiction.
Looking further at this make-believe Masonic organization, we ask: where are their lodges? The meager number could hardly account for the number of men in Virginia proud to proclaim their Masonic membership. There's no listing, no addresses, no contacts and further, the initiatory process of Freemasonry about which so much is written appears to be satisfied by simply completing an online form - and, of course, sending along a $5,000 initiation fee plus $1,500 annual dues. We don't know of a single Grand Lodge in North America that charges over $200-300 for their initiation fee and dues generally 'max out' in amounts of about $200 with most annual lodge dues in the US being in the $60-125 range. (In 2011 - a decade after this page was first written - degree fees in some places have moved into the $300-500 range and dues amounts in a VERY few lodges in the US have been raised to the $300 level in order to support a large building or particular endeavors but even now as some lodges might TALK about raising their dues to a thousand dollars a year, we know of none that have done it - and there is no lodge in the world that charges $5000 for initiation fees. NONE - except that of the phony group described here.)
Finally, we looked at their page that supposedly honors Masons who are now departed. There is no way of knowing if these common names are related to the American patriots with whom they are most usually associated or whether these are merely friends of Mr. Lindsey and his so-called Grand Lodge. Suffice it to say that the "John Adams" and "Thomas Jefferson" who were both Presidents of the United States were not Masons. We have no idea if the listing for "Thomas Payne" was supposed to refer to American Patriot "Thomas Paine" but the Paine of Revolutionary War times was certainly not a Mason and, in fact, wrote a somewhat anti-Masonic tract which others later used to condemn Freemasonry. Clearly, Mr. Lindsey and any others involved in this selection were blissfully ignorant of history (and, perhaps, spelling!). We'd also note that patriot George Mason was not a Mason although some departed client of 'Grand Master' Lindsey's business who also had that name might have been....
Without seeming to 'pile on', there are some other things about this particular self-created "Grand Lodge" which we found disturbing. Looking at the biography of the "Grand Master", there's some VERY misleading information.
Perusing Mr. Lindsey's accomplishments listed in an earlier version of his biography on this site, we were astonished to find him identifying himself as a member of "The Society of Blue Friars". This particular listing caused us to sit up and take notice. The Blue Friars are an organization of the most honored and select Masonic authors. Its membership has, since its beginning, been limited to twenty - and we know nearly all of the living members personally. In light of the obfuscation and foolishness already discussed, would it surprise you to know that Mr. Lindsey is not now nor has he ever been a member of the REAL Society of Blue Friars? You can see the full and complete listing of all holders of this honor since the inception of the organization in 1932 right here. The absence of Mr. Lindsey's name is NOT an oversight!
We also noted his claim to be on the Board of Directors and President of the University of Southern Virginia chartered on April 15, 1991. Having some knowledge of schools of higher education in that part of the country and thinking how difficult it must be to be both President of a University and maintain his business, we wondered how this talented individual could accomplish such a feat. Well, it probably will come as no surprise when we tell you that there is, in fact, no "University of Southern Virginia" to be found anywhere. There's a "Southern Virginia College" which is now known as "Southern Virginia University" taking that name in April, 2001 after experiencing severe financial difficulties during the early 1990s which led to their loss of accreditation. They are now a college supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) and we don't find Mr. Lindsey's name anywhere on their website nor is the message from the President of that school - founded and chartered in 1867 - from Mr. Lindsey. We also think that their religious orientation might be more than a wee bit different from that of Mr. Lindsey. (A history of the school's financial problems and present relationships is here.). So is Mr. Lindsey really the president of an unknown college and a world-class but totally unknown Masonic author with no published works to his credit - or are these self-claimed accomplishments just a simple mistake? You can decide.
We note too that his web site for his "Grand Lodge" had a scrolling banner across the bottom of our browser identifying it as the "Supreme Grand Lodge". To explain simply, there is just no such thing in mainstream, recognized Freemasonry. Further, we note that this organization is chartering lodges (U.D. = Under dispensation. A lodge recently created awaiting final charter.) in places like Jerusalem, Greece and elsewhere. Such violations of territorial rights would, ipso facto, be grounds for de-recognition of them by other Grand Lodges throughout the world.
more than a cursory glance offers evidence by which a reasonable person can scrutinize a body
claiming to be Masonic and determine their 'bona fides'. Mr. Lindsey's
group (if, in fact, it's more than just himself) is an extreme example. Should you have concerns which involve issues similar to those raised in
this analysis, please conduct 'due diligence' before proceeding. Your failure
to do so can result in your never really being a Mason - and will likely be
further shadowed by the complete and total loss of thousands
of dollars of funds that could have been
spent on more fulfilling endeavors! And this from the real Grand Master of the REAL Grand Lodge
And this from the real Grand Master of the REAL Grand Lodge of Virginia:
The purpose of this announcement is to inform all Freemasons, who are considered as "Regular Masons" and who are members in good standing in a Lodge recognized by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons in the Commonwealth of Virginia, about an unusual situation that has developed in the State of Virginia with regard to Freemasonry.
On November 21, 1997, a group of men formed a corporation in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area, with the name: "The Most Worshipful United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Democratic Republics." The purported Grand Master of this so-called "Grand Lodge," was suspended from the Craft of "Regular Masons" and his Lodge in 1989 by the then Grand Master's action and remains a suspended Mason. The purported "Grand Lodge" is the result of obtaining a corporate charter from the State Corporation Commission of the Commonwealth of Virginia. While this has the legal effect of making this organization a corporation, it has no effect whatsoever with regard to the laws of Masonry. This organization is not recognized by the Grand Lodge of Virginia, or, so far as is known, by any other legitimate Grand Lodge. Hence, this organization is wholly clandestine to regular Masonry and should be avoided by all Freemasons, wheresoever dispersed.
March 2004 E.King
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