Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grand Master of Texas Edict: Widow's Sons Motorcycle Group


The M:.W:. Grand Master of Texas, T. E. “Gene” Carnes has issued an edict reaffirming the Grand Lodge of Texas AF&AM's prohibition of membership in the Widow's Sons Masonic motorcycle group.

It reads as follows:

January 6, 2011

To the Masons of Texas:

Grand Master’s Edict

I have been advised that some Texas Masons presently belong to an organization operating under the name of “Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Riders Association”. At the 2007 Grand Annual Communication this organization was denied recognition as an organization to which Texas Masons could belong.

Texas Masons are not permitted to belong to, or be identified with, the organization known as “Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Riders Association” unless and until such organization is recognized by the Grand Lodge of Texas, and to do so constitutes a Masonic Disciplinary Violation. This Edict is effective immediately. Acts contrary to this edict will result in Masonic Disciplinary action against the violator.

This edict is issued to enforce the 2007 decision of the Grand Lodge of Texas concerning the “Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Riders Association”.

Sincerely and fraternally,

T. E. “Gene” Carnes
Grand Master of Masons in Texas


It is also my understanding that the Grand Master of Indiana has recently recommended changes to the bylaws of the Indiana Grand Chapter of the Widow's Sons, as well as raising concerns about the Grand Chapter's members becoming affiliated with other, less reputable motorcycle groups. Several other state GLs have also expressed similar reservations about the Widow's Sons. Tennessee, for instance, has an objection to the Widow's Sons vest and patches being worn in establishments where alcohol is served.

23 comments:

  1. Wow. That's all I can say about that.

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  2. North Carolina just chartered a motorcyle focused lodge. You can read about it on page 1 and page 4 in The North Carolina Mason:

    http://www.epageflip.net/title/5206

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  3. Jeezus.

    Tennessee, for instance, has an objection to the Widow's Sons vest and patches being worn in establishments where alcohol is served.

    Right, because we're all aware that Masons have nothing to do with alcohol.

    From the page of one of the Conn chapters:

    It is the pledge of each member to conduct himself or his business, when wearing the Widows Sons patch, in direct accordance to the bylaws of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Connecticut, the Blue Lodge in which he is a petitioner or member thereof, and the Widows Sons Motorcycle Association, Knights of the Quarry Chapter.


    Yeah, sounds like a rip-snortin' bunch of bad-ass drunken bikers, doesn't it?

    More and more I wonder why some Grand Lodges adopt policies that seemingly serve to drive members away.

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  4. I will repost from a Brother WS who did the research:

    "From a Fellow The TX issue goes back to 2007. A vote was held at GL to approve the WS as a legit organization in the state. The vote passed. The Widows Son(WS) that spearheaded the organization in TX got sick and left GL early, after the successful vote.

    Then a Brother with spurious motives gets up and tells the GL that the TX WS bylaws say that they will accept anyone, whether a Mason or not .

    And since the Brother who was championing the WS went home sick, there was nobody to speak up and say how that was wrong. Another vote was called and this time, the vote went the other way.

    The WS in in TX have been having issues since then. Some Brothers decided they would continue to ride as WS while the leadership there continues to seek recognition and this caused the edict."

    Please note that there is an ASSOCIATE Member path that does not wear the working tools, has ASSOCIATE on his vest AND if someone asks if he is a Mason he CLARIFIES it IMMEDIATELY that he is not. This is a GREAT way to expose good men to a group of Masons with a common interest. Riding Motorcycles. At the formation of our Chapter, a Man that was goign to be an associate asked for an Application to be a Mason. Done.

    I do find it somewhat laughable that a MASON CAN belong to a 1% Biker club and be in blue lodge, but he cannot be a Widows Sons Association member.

    As far as Busy Bodies with misconceptions go, from my own personal experience visiting Lodges to form a new chapter of the WS, a certain PM from a lodge gave me a twenty minute dissertation on how any organization outside of Blue lodge was superfluous and unnecessary (including Scottish Rite and Shrine). He also went on a personal rant on motorcycle's in general. You can't make everyone happy and you shouldn't INFLICT your personal prejudices on other fellow Masons. Especially when membership in the group is self policing. Act Un-Masonic? LOSE YOUR PATCH,. Its in the By-laws. Period.

    Brother Tom Tinney

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  6. There is an unfortunate criminal element in the bike culture (those that are referred to by others and themselves as "1%"). Sadly that is the vision that is evoked in people's minds when they think about a biker.

    As I am not involved with the Widow's Sons, nor do I intend to be, I can only speak from a similar experience. I am an American Legion member. Close to my post is a "Legion Riders" club that is composed of members that are bike lovers (not a cheap hobby by the way - so Chris, you live in Indiana, move someplace warmer if you want to saddle up and enjoy the investment for more than our couple months of decent weather).

    I digress, it has been a long night. I suspect that the unfortunate default image of the outlaw biker has poisoned the brew on this topic. Sadly the image of Legion Riders and several other bike clubs that do good work and often raise a good deal of money for worthy causes all while enjoying their hobby is tainted by the violence, drugs, and other crimes that are normally attributed to the 1% MCs. I do wonder if the same rejection would come for a old school hot rod club that was composed of Masons would elicit the same responses? Maybe, maybe not, I don't know.

    I know a few Widow's sons. They are good Masons. The only distinguishing factor is a patch and rocker. Maybe dropping the rocker and making known the work that is or could be done would be a decent compromise?

    In any case, I don't think that these brothers are getting a fair shake.

    Fraternally,
    Brandt

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  7. This whole situation is very interesting. While I am not a Texas Mason, and I do not own a motorcycle, nevertheless I am very interested to see how this situation is resolved. I ain't got a dog in this fight.

    It seems to me, that a compromise could be worked out. Instead of requiring all members to be Masons, how about amending the by-laws, to state "all members must have a bona-fide interest in Masonry, and Masonic ideals". That might be a loophole, for them to work it out.

    Some years, ago, I wanted to start a "Square and Compasses" breakfast club. NOT a tyled lodge. And anyone could participate, who had a bona-fide interest in Masonry. Membership was not restricted to Masons, any interested person could participate. We just wanted to have breakfast a couple of times a month, and talk.

    The Grand Master of my state, called me at home, and told me, that I could not have the club. No reason, and the by-laws of my state, did not forbid the formation of such clubs.

    Getting back to Texas: Someone asked the Grand Master of Masons in Texas, why he shut down the motorcycle club. He replied "Because I can".

    I am not a Tennessee Mason. I can't seem to latch on, to the objection to showing Masonic identification in establishments serving spirits. I wear my lodge ring, when I stop off at the local tavern for a brew. So what?

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  8. I guess I am easily entertained. The “drinking”, as an issue because I might be identified as a Mason (via the Widows Sons patch) is a little hypocritical. I guess the Shriner’s (A sanctioned appendent body) remove all their regalia, lay very low and have NEVER left the public with the impression they (Masons) might be having a little adult fun, right? I must be mistaken about the pub in the Scottish rite building. It does not exist. Do I begrudge them their freedoms or am I criticizing the org…Absolutely not. I applaud that they can do those things and provide that avenue for Brotehrs that want to partake. I think its great we can appeal to a larger group by not rattling Puritanical sabres. That said, I also want an equal eye applied to this new endeavor, the Widows Sons..The amount of distrust of our motives and our actions by a few busy bodies is BASED on the way we look or speak and its VERY disheartening coming from BROTHER Masons. I kinda remember we are supposed to “Judge a Man by his character, not by his material or external manifestation”. Apparently…not so much when it comes to those Burly biker types.

    All of the WS chapters I have talked to have by-laws in place to handle any discrepant behavior from a member. Mason or non mason. Its taken care of. Are there chapters who deviated? Well, are their Lodges that deviated? Yes ,of course there are. The difference, in my humble opinion and it is not meant to represent or speak for ANY OTHER Widows Son or the organization, is that the GL can spank misbehaving lodges and the GC of the Widows sons has not taken it upon themselves to drop the hammer. They need to on a few specific issues. But thats a correction, not a condemnation. They also need to provide some state by state support as these groups form to smooth the concerns a GL may have.

    The other item I saw in this thread was the term “Sons of the Widows MC”. That IS NOT a Widows Sons Group. We are a Motorcycle Association, which distinguishes us greatly (in the motorcycling world) from MC’s, 1% and the like. We have strict guidelines about interacting with MC’s AND we have made them aware that we’re are out there and not a threat to any of the gyrations their particular brand of motorcycling may find important.

    So what do we Widows Sons do?
    We provide a group for like minded men to ride with that love this hobby we all enjoy.
    We donate to charities
    We put the GOOD works of Masonry out there in the motorcycling world
    We make providing support for degree work a FUN THING by beginning it with a ride to the lodge and finishing it supporting that lodge in any way we can (even though its not one of our home Lodges).
    We Obey the laws and edicts of Freemasonry. And re-enforce them while we ride, meet and travel. Even on the roughest road, we ride on the level.

    So, which of those things makes it bad that we exist within Freemasonry?

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  9. Well said my Widows Sons brother, is there any common sense anymore? I'm a shriner as well does that make me a drunk like I've heard from so many people "nothing but drunks", no I might have 4-5 drinks a year, has anyone witnessed the good they have done and do. How ignorant have we become?

    Georgia Widows Sons

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  10. I need to clarify the alcohol issue in Tennessee before this rumor gets out of hand. One of our chapters in East Tennessee has a policy of not going to establishments that serve alcohol with thier vest on. It's not a Grand lodge issue. They have a right to represent as they see fit, but it is not a state wide edict of the Tennessee Widows Sons. Make no mistake, the Tennessee Widows Sons police thier own members diligently and are very aware of thier conduct in public and private setttings. We are rolling billboards for Freemasonry and must act accordingly. The Widows Sons have stirred a lot of intrest in Freemasonry inside and outside of the fraternity across the globe. All one has to do is have an open mind and discover the wonders of being free..All I can ask is try not to be so quick to judge, and help your brother that is proud of, and trying to promote this great fraternity that we all love. Past Widows Sons State President of Tennessee and current Grand Chapter Treasurer Bonez

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  11. I need to clarify the alcohol issue in Tennessee before this rumor gets out of hand. One of our chapters in East Tennessee has a policy of not going to establishments that serve alcohol with thier vest on. It's not a Grand lodge issue. They have a right to represent as they see fit, but it is not a state wide edict of the Tennessee Widows Sons. Make no mistake, the Tennessee Widows Sons police thier own members diligently and are very aware of thier conduct in public and private setttings. We are rolling billboards for Freemasonry and must act accordingly. The Widows Sons have stirred a lot of intrest in Freemasonry inside and outside of the fraternity across the globe. All one has to do is have an open mind and discover the wonders of being free..All I can ask is try not to be so quick to judge, and help your brother that is proud of, and trying to promote this great fraternity that we all love. Past Widows Sons State President of Tennessee and current Grand Chapter Treasurer Bonez

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  12. "Under the tongue of good report"

    Have all Mason's on this blog forgotten these words. Brothers in the Widow's Sons are that... and they ride motorcycles. What is next? Castigation of Masons who are farmers because some crop that comes to market and people get ill from eating it, chicken farmers send their product to market and someone gets ill from mishandling it? Financial planners get thrown under the bus because the stock market crashes and their clients loose money? This is not an expectation as these groups are looked at in the individual aspect much as Bernie Madoff!

    Shame on you for this!

    I recently rode my motorcycle in the Eagle Point, Oregon 4th of July parade- wearing my WS vest and my Shrine Fez-- the cheers were deafening. Support for these organizations was excellent. Children to Grandparents cheered my representation of the Masonic organizations. They did this as they know our values and the work we do. Respect. This is the 'respect' earlier eluded to that comes from those bikers in 1% organizations. Not from a relationship- but from the knowledge of our protection of women and children "widows, orphans, mothers, sisters" and the generosity and healing we do with our hospitals and other philanthropic work.

    I see in these posting how easily many brothers are throwing rocks at we who ride motorcycles...also. I personally consider this to be a very severe Masonic Offense!

    Frank Springer PM Cascade 208-- Hillah Temple-- East Wind Widow's Sons

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  13. "Under the tongue of good report"

    Have all Mason's on this blog forgotten these words. Brothers in the Widow's Sons are that... and they ride motorcycles. What is next? Castigation of Masons who are farmers because some crop that comes to market and people get ill from eating it, chicken farmers send their product to market and someone gets ill from mishandling it? Financial planners get thrown under the bus because the stock market crashes and their clients loose money? This is not an expectation as these groups are looked at in the individual aspect much as Bernie Madoff!

    Shame on you for this!

    I recently rode my motorcycle in the Eagle Point, Oregon 4th of July parade- wearing my WS vest and my Shrine Fez-- the cheers were deafening. Support for these organizations was excellent. Children to Grandparents cheered my representation of the Masonic organizations. They did this as they know our values and the work we do. Respect. This is the 'respect' earlier eluded to that comes from those bikers in 1% organizations. Not from a relationship- but from the knowledge of our protection of women and children "widows, orphans, mothers, sisters" and the generosity and healing we do with our hospitals and other philanthropic work.

    I see in these posting how easily many brothers are throwing rocks at we who ride motorcycles...also. I personally consider this to be a very severe Masonic Offense!

    Frank Springer PM Cascade 208-- Hillah Temple-- East Wind Widow's Sons

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  14. Although the Edict has been issued, please remember we are all Masons and we all want the good of masonry to continue.
    As with any organization there will always be differences of opinions. The ability to get along and be proud to be a brother is our strongest attribute. Don't drive potential members away because of an Edict but show them how we all draw together as brothers. Change comes slow and more slowly in Masonry. Be patient and watchful as with most things, this to shall pass.
    I love to ride and I love to be a mason, I love to show them both off anyway I can and draw good men toward the light. We are in a great time to build our membership base which is sorely overdue. Do not let one Edict seperate us, but draw us all together. Widows Sons continue your good work and support of widows and orphans, your time will come, just not yet. Lead by example and let's capitalize on the moment to build the good of masonry.
    Ben Thorpe
    Wingate, TX

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  15. What is wrong with this masonry? They were people who formed a group because they share the same passion for riding a bike. I think they should be allowed as long as they conform to the by-laws.

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  16. Every now and then along comes a Grand Master who's ego exceeds his judgement. Where harmony used to exist, now there is discontent and disruption. Edicts are important when the craft is threatened, and should be used cautiously. Masonry is undergoing change and unfortunately there are the "good old boys" who resist change at the expense of the craft, and for their own personal agenda. Every Grand Lodge has them, they think they are "protecting" the craft when infact they are destroying it. MWBro Caron will be remembered for his edict and anything good that he did will be superseded by his edict which he may feel was for the good of "his fraternity" but in the future will prove to be the act of a backward thinking individual with little to no insight into the future and development of the craft. Too bad for him, the Widows Sons are not disappearing, but are expanding around the globe faster than any other Masonic organization. Texas is just behind in the times and unfortunately is looked upon as a backward, antiquated jurisdiction. The Brothers there have my sympathies, much like the old boys group that declared the use of the internet to transmit Masonic documents forbidden. Now today don't they look foolish and backward. MWBro Caron will soon be joining this group but will look even more foolish as he has signed his name to the edict and identified himself as a backward thinking individual. The use of power should exercised by the wise to demonstrate wisdom, as improper use of power only exhibits foolishness.

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  17. I just moved to Austin, form Mobile Al. and am a member in good standing with the Widows Sons Dixie Travelers, and the Mobile Al. Blue Lodge #895 Loop Lodge and am wondering if there is a WS Chapter in Austin. Please call me Chris Nicholas (Gator) 251-377-1249.

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  18. This is exactly why I will not associate with a Texas Lodge. I am a proud MM. My mother lodge is Harry S. Truman #1727 in South Korea, on the roles of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Grand Lodge of Hong Kong, allowed us to form Widows Sons under Harry S. Truman, why does Texas not allow? I am disappointed. I did not become a mason to be governed, I became a mason to become a better person. I don't see how becoming a Masonic Motorcycle Rider makes me a bad person, therefore how can it be a masonic violation.
    What next? Will the Grand Lodge of Texas be mandating who we can marry, or what color you have to be to enter a lodge? How about drinking Alcohol? Is that still allowed?
    I will be relocating to San Antonio next, from South Korea, next month and I will go over to LA, OK or NM to associate with Masons.

    Ride Proud!!!

    Patrick P. Demele

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  19. I looked up this forum for my own curiosity as I have a cousin in Texas that is pursuing further light he works at hd in texas and I spent hrs telling him about what a great experience he will have w the widows sons I am a blue lodge mason york and Scottish rite a shriner and jester shame on u texas do u not know shriners drill team or jow shame on u

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  20. I have great concern for the reasons that such an edict has been issued. Rejecting worthy Master Masons that ride motorcycles and basically making them outcasts is not the answer. I pray that a resolution will happen. If Texas is going to embrace Prince Hall Masons, then we need to reconcile our differences among our own first.

    Ellis J. "Flak" Vest
    West Virginia Widow's Sons
    Grand Chapter Chaplain

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  21. If there is anyone still monitoring this thread, I am a MM in Texas and would like to see the Widows Sons establish chapters here. I am also in another MC and if there are an MMs out there who would like to join me, contact me. 254.317.8190.

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  22. You might want to check with the Grand Lodge of Texas to see if this prohibition has been lifted. I don't believe it has.

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