Thursday, December 31, 2015
A Brother Asks... Un-recognized Reasons
A Brother Comments and Asks: I'm curious about the other grand lodges in the deep south. After all this time, why is no progress being made to end this segregation between the two? Racism is the obvious answer, but I'm looking for a little more than that. For two legitimate bodies to not recognize each other would be just that, which in my understanding is a very un-Masonic thing to do, so surely there is something else... do you know?
My Response: You must first see Freemasonry for what it actually is before you can adequately examine the causes for the division to which you point.
FOUNDATION: Freemasonry as it exists to day, and for the last near 300 years, is first and foremost a FRANCHISED Theatrically-Based Role-Playing Society. It offers its members Total-Immersion Opportunities into a Fabricated Fantasy World based and built upon the lexicon, history and lore of Stonecraft. It's Theatrical productions offer Arenas Style experiences to first time patrons and long-time members alike. Along with this is the socialization that comes from putting on and supporting such productions.
Careful examination of its operation and methods speaks volumes above what it claims to be. It is not a Speculative Continuation of Stonecraft as is "played out" in its productions and literature and it shall never come close to being this in any way, based upon its current operation. Those authors who claim it is a speculative continuation of Stonecraft are feeding this fantasy.
Back to your Question: In the USA, the first Recognized franchising organization that possesses a Territory, controls that territory with an iron fist. There are many advantages to this control, one of which is financial; but another is political. Many organizations in control do not want to lose it or any degree of it (pun intended). The same goes for those unrecognized franchising organizations who set up within a territory and operate unrecognized by the premier occupier. They too have control as a result of this division and some actually use the division to further their ends and to attract those who are drawn in by this division. Let's face it, if you offer membership to someone when another won't, you're likely to fill a niche and reap the rewards accordingly.
Territorial exclusivity empowers the Recognized Organization. They can use their first claim status to coerce those it offers Recognition to within its established territory and do so without these other organizations having any recourse. It also empowers the unrecognized organization in that they attract those individuals who want something the Recognized Organization can't or won't offer.
As much as one might want to point to racism, ignorance and intolerance as the cause of this division, they are not the causes; although they are supportive to its specific ends. The underlying reasons to not Recognize other organizations within a controlled territory are control issues.
It is most unfortunate that this condition is supported by those outside these territories.
Brother John S. Nagy