Autonomous does NOT mean you can do anything you desire because you
are autonomous and don't have to listen to any rules.
means your grand chapter will never be ruled by someone who is
an outsider of your jurisdiction.
Any national, international or regional
committee, representative or coordinator will take away your grand chapter's autonomy, and give your
authority to operate your jurisdiction to someone from outside your
jurisdiction. Even when it's promoters claim it will be a body with no ruling authority.
The regional or national body will begin its advancement to
authority by aligning a group of states into a region into a
regional majority. They then have power. If you keep your
autonomy, you will never lose it. Do not support anything
other than Grand Chapters governing their jurisdiction.
No body from outside your jurisdiction should ever make the
decisions you should be making from inside your jurisdiction.
Below are letters about autonomy pertaining to Freemasonry and the
It seems to me that with every different Grand Lodge, having
sometimes slightly different bylaws, and often having bylaws
that are completely 180 degrees from another state, on
certain matters, that the only way to have autonomy is the
way it was designed; autonomy state by state. It doesn't
mean "we answer to no one". It never did. It means we answer
to our Grand Lodges. It is designed to work this way, and
the bumps in that road have been gone for a long time (
regarding autonomy anyway ). If not, there would be a
National Grand Lodge, to whom we would all owe allegiance.
There would be one set of by bylaws for the entire country.
But brothers, there isn't. Although I never say never, I
would bet there never will be.
Since we all take an oath to obey the edicts and bylaws of
the Grand Lodge of our State, WSMRA leadership on a national
level would be a tough road. I travel, and state to state,
country to country, rules and regs can vary, on many
different issues. So having regional or national leadership
positions across state lines, is really impossible.
Don't forget, all of us are brothers, and most of the great
ideas we have for improvements in Masonry, have come and
gone a dozen times, long before we were born.
The Widows Sons were formed on those exact principles. Its
our obligations that bind us, and should be enough to cement
us together. Time arguing over leadership positions that
don't and can't, by our Masonic bylaws, exist, is kind of a
All Past Masters have had to sit through meetings where well
intentioned brothers, have come up with some way they think
can improve Masonry, and our brothers roll in their graves.
But being the ever enlightened bunch we are, we keep at it,
We form sides, then committees, endlessly discuss
improvements,and then the bitterness starts to raise its
head. Men who have been friends for years, can stop talking
to each other. Any PM out there ever have to close a Lodge
with the very very short closing ceremony, because of
bickering? I have. The truth is as Masons, we were set up to
govern ourselves, lodge by lodge, within the boundaries of
the rules and regs of our states Grand Lodge. The Widows
Sons formed on those same principals. So please put all the
nastiness aside, it has never accomplished one positive
thing, already it is hurting our ability to form in some
states. Just remember your obligations, and Masonry and the
Widows Sons will be just fine. We don't need more
leadership, we just need to be good and true Masons.
I used to be asked in my younger days, to give presentations
Lodges and Brothers about both the esoteric and exoteric
parts of our lessons. Most of you should remember in your
first degree lecture, a certain point within a circle, embordered by two parallel perpendicular lines, and atop the
circle sat the book of knowledge. It is explained, that the
point is you, the circle, the boundaries beyond which you
should never let your passions lead you, the book of law
sitting on top the circle, the two lines beside the circle.
Explained at the time, the book is the holy scriptures ( the
book of law) and the lines are symbolic of Saint John the
Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. Also explained at the
time, is you should conduct yourself within those
boundaries. That is the esoteric explanation. An exoteric
look at it teaches another lesson, it shows how we Lodges
and Widows Sons's Chapters are set up.
Remember that in any talk or letter about the Widows Sons,
the word Lodge should be able to be exchanged for Widows
as we have exactly the same foundation. All laws, bylaws,
edicts bind you in both organizations.
Anyway, back to the practical lesson, it turns out to he an
historic one as well.
The point in the circle is you.
The circle is the place you live and practice masonry on a
The book of law, is just that, the book of laws by which you
The two parallel perpendicular lines, are your borders, your
state lines, your chapter lines. The book of laws, is your
bylaws, your Grand Lodge bylaws, your oath to honor Masonic
principles you signed when forming your Grand Chapter.
So when you are at home, at your Lodge, out in your local
habitat. You are asked to conduct yourselves as
Masons/Widows Sons, (as again those words are
interchangeable) within those boundaries.
Each different jurisdiction has a slightly different set of
laws, in some cases, big differences are set in Grand Lodge
So let's look at this idea of setting up regions or having a
national leadership committee. What would you lose? What
would you gain?
You would lose your much misunderstood autonomy. Which BTW,
does not mean you answer to no one, it means you can conduct
your business for your chapter, as you see fit, as long as
you honour the laws of your state, your obligations, and your
Grand Lodges bylaws and restrictions. Let's look at this
regional or national leadership movement, under that
You could be asked by a regional or national leader to go
against your Grand Lodges traditions, bylaws, etc. so you
might very easily find yourself at odds with the leadership
of your Widows Sons Grand Chapter and / or the Grand Lodge
of your state, at the same time, since you are bound by your
states Grand Lodge, you cannot be directed to do anything
against those bylaws, edicts etc. , as a practical matter,
you will have given up what autonomy you did have.
So what do you gain? The burden of having to make your own
choices is lifted, your Grand Chapter having to put in time
to keep their chapters in line. It sometimes seems easier to
let someone else can make your rules. Leave the hard choice
to someone else, but such is the burden and price of
autonomy. You really want to let your fate be decided by
some guy who doesn't understand your local problems?
This United States, Masonry and the Widows Sons were all set
up on the same basic concept. Self governance. The Federal
Government was allowed to do only the things that the
individual states could not do by themselves. But in our
modern society, we have mistakenly looked to blame someone
or something for every thing that goes wrong. So we gave the
federal government more and more power over us, gave up our
autonomy sliver by sliver, until now, people my age don't
even recognize the country, even though we were warned,
never to give up our sovereignty, never allow a man or a
group to amass so much power, that he or they could take
control, to make it smoother for us all. Because take
control is exactly what they do. I warn you, it never makes
it better, it only creates a group of ruling class people
that think they know better than you, how to run your
business, even if they have to break a few laws to do it.
You see it every night on the news. WS's don't have that
problem yet, but our U.S. government is on the verge of
collapse, because we gave up more and more of our autonomy.
There were no taxes before, our leadership gave us those.
There were no ridiculous laws limiting our freedoms, our
leadership gave us those as well. It has been bred into the
last couple of generations, that life should be easy, if
it's not, make a law to fix it.
I speak only for myself here, but every Mason I know over 50
is horrified at how much we have lost. Those who are much
younger, don't remember how it was before, but I do, and so
do a lot of you. I remember that strange man who would come
over and sit with my father, knee to knee, every night for
weeks. I later learned he was learning his proficiency. I
remember the pride in my fathers voice when people asked him
about masonry, and what is the Widows Sons, but a group of
Masons who ride scooters? I have watched the world I know
disappear over the last 30 years, but I have been proud that
my brother Masons, did everything they could to keep the
lodges on the proper track.
How many of you have sat a the dinner table or over a beer
and wished we could get rid of all the corrupted government
leadership and politicians?
So why in the world is there even discussion to create more
of it for the Widows Sons? Why would we even consider giving
power to a few?
I don't know any of the people who advocate this, I am sure
they think it is the right thing, that it would solve
problems. I assure you, it will create 10 times the problems
it solves. Maybe not today, but in the future.
A long life has taught me that those who lust for power are
exactly the ones who should never have it.
Widows Sons are totally capable of governing each of their
own Chapters and Grand Chapters, without the help of some
committee or a person living two states away. Although at
first glance, it could disguise itself as unity, it's not,
it's loss of autonomy.
That was kind of my point, we survive under the bylaws of
our individual states. It has worked for Freemasonry for a
lot longer than any of us will be around. To push for a
governing body, regionally or nationally, will never work. I
got caught in the middle of one of those cross state things
15 years ago, at that moment I realized that no one set of
standards will cover the country or a region. It has to be
on a state to state basis. as I understand WS bylaws, that's
what it says. I won't insult people I don't know, as they
are all my brothers. But it's my experience that if it ain't
broke don't fix it, or if you break it on purpose to get
your way, it's just a way to gain power. I don't know you,
my brother, nor you me, but I have the feeling that most all
widows sons, who have lived masonry for a few years,
couldn't possibly disagree. So Mote It Be.