Fake Widows Sons?
What's THAT all about anyway? People don't really just 'pretend' to be Widows Sons, do they? They wouldn't just start a group and call themselves something they aren't....
Well, yes - in some cases they do this everywhere, in all kinds of groups! Even back at the formation of the very first Grand Lodge there were rival groups, imitators, dissenters, and merely idle 'troublemakers'. Why? A variety of reasons but usually spite, a strong desire for self-aggrandizement and/or personal recognition seem to top the list.
All three are strong motivators, particularly when someone feels that they can bring themselves greater personal recognition and reward. Today, they can use the internet to create what appears to be 'the real deal' - but better - so that the unsuspecting Widows Sons will wind up joining their group. There are also those who create such organizations as a 'front' for other nefarious deeds. Long before telemarketing and telephones, Masonic degree peddling was a VERY lucrative business, making scam artists a pretty penny. Today with the internet, such scams grow and flourish! . As same as the spurious group forming inside the Widows Sons, these spurious groups do LOTS of dancing around the true issues, while trying to claim "We are legitimate," when they are not, while regular, 'recognized' Grand Chapters merely go about their business as Widows Sons.
The 'not bothering to notice' attitude taken by Grand Chapters and the general tenor of today's WS society seems to be the cause of some taking what they would regard as a 'live and let live' attitude. They'll assert, for example, that these groups have just as much right to be regarded as Widows Sons as those who are recognized and have historical roots to the foundation of the organization. Sadly, though, their logic is based on a flawed assumption: they presume that because someone who has their own ideas for the group has fictitiously joined the Widows Sons, to push their agenda rather than the agenda of the Widows Sons have decided to call themselves Widows Sons, then they actually are. It would be as foolish as my claiming to be a woman, or a car, or a hippopotamus and expecting everyone to recognize me as such. Just because someone CLAIMS to be something, doesn't make it so! I can claim to be Italian - but I'm not. I can claim to be a Doctor of Engineering - but I'm not. Why should someone CLAIM to be a Widows Son when all they've done is join the Widows Sons to introduce support for their own agenda.
Anyone who stands up loudly to proclaim that they're a Widows Son and have a better way of running the Widows Sons should NEVER be regarded as such or paid any attention to.
In the Widows Sons today, if someone is particularly friendly or seems quite intelligent, many of those online will easily succumb to the rhetoric that 'they're a Widows Son even if they are not in line with the organizations goals and therefore not accepted them as such'. They'll tell they have a better, but a "different obedience" as their way is just as legitimate as the one way accepted today. Tired arguments, sometimes personal attacks, loaded with deceit and corruption of principles, are thrown into a discussion, post or email. These blur the matter and ignore the fact that these counterfeit groups simply appear out of thin air with their own agenda. These groups use the internet, as well as the ignorance about the many differences from Grand Chapter to Grand Chapter to claim their legitimacy. 'Dumbed down' arguments like comparing which of two rock bands are better." or "it's the difference between strawberry ice cream and coffee ice cream," completely overlook a structure which assures a certain degree of uniformity in behaviour, that, in their case, is non-existent and is subject only to the whims of their group creator-leader, regardless of his benign motives or unmasonic intent.
The moniker 'fake' seems harsh, particularly to those who bear that label from this website, but what else can one call a group that solicits membership using the symbols of an organization to which they have no formally legitimate respect, other than a better way to run it? Because a tractor uses gasoline, can it be called a motorcycle and driven around on a freeway? These groups will also make claims of having a better way on their websites and may show their leadership in fancy Masonic trappings (sometimes looking like the fake jewelry on a store mannequin) all designed - again - to confuse their illegitimacy.
Then, there is the group that falsly promotes the exact priciples of the Widows Sons to promote their agenda. The writing on their webpage will be an exact match to the writing on the official website, but their goals and agenda are secretly not the same. They use the organization's principles to make themselves appear legitimate. They say what a Widows Son wants to hear, slowly bringing into work their own agenda.
A good example of this type of group is the alliance breakaway group within the Widows Sons. They use all the verbiage from the WSMRA website while they set themselves up as national officers, (which is against the founding landmarks) and extort per member dues for the alliance out of deceived chapters of Widows Sons (which also is in violation of the founding landmarks). They claim the per dues fees are to reimburse Mr. Andy Reynolds for his expenses in the fraudulent trademarking of our logo. He claimed he didn't know of anyone using the Widows Sons logo when he applied for a trademark, after he wrote numerous letters to the Grand Chapter of New York for approval to start a chapter in Rochester, New York. Soon the officers they set up nationally, will be collecting a salary from these extorted permember dues they are collecting. Its a long drawnout scheme that was marketed as logo protection for the Grand Chapters when in fact, will eventually turn into funding paid officers for the alliance breakaway group. The alliance breakaway group is a geniously invented scam to make money off the Widows Sons chapters they have deceived, by using those chapter's belief that another Mason won't lie to them. If you believe that, they will tell you anything they want to promote. One should check their rhetoric for truth before taking any action. And then re-ask your questions a few more times and re-check their answers each time against their previous answers to all your questions. Then contact the WSMRA for verification. You will find that you need to analyze their answers because their answers will be 99% truth with that one added little bit that changes it to support their agenda, making it a falsehood.
Each of these artificial groups have the same agenda in common. They want you to believe that if you join forces with them you'll be a "protected" Widows Son under the false rumours they spread that your patch is going to be taken away by the WSMRA if you don't do as exactly what the WSMRA says. There's only one thing they forgot. You are AUTONOMOUS, and as long as you follow your bylaws, you will be in good standing. In all respects they claim they are a far BETTER group than that old, group (the WSMRA) with its several thousand members) when, in fact, if you join their breakaway group, you're only a member of their own small group of rebel miscreants, you are rebelling against the WSMRA, and you are governed by a not-always benevolent dictatorship. (remember the fraudulent trademarking of our logo)
In the landmarks, there are no national leaders in the Widows Sons. In the alliance breakaway group those who started the rebellion group are the national officers of the alliance, and they are extorting dues from you. Down the road, when their dust settles into a pile of dirt, and is recognized just as that, you that join them will have a chance to denounce them and get back in line with the WSMRA. If you do everything will be back to Widows Sons business., Should you decide not to, you will certainly NOT be accepted as a Widows Son by the betrayed WSMRA group.
Another alliance Senario The beginning of the alliance:
There was a group within the group who have decided they are elite Widows Sons, but they don’t present their ‘elite’ virtue to the membership when recruiting. THE ELITE PART was presented to me when I refused to join or support their group within the group. Now they have began recruiting members using the idea of national leadership, and are keeping the elite part quiet and are pretending to be 'True Widows Sons,' when they are only so in their own minds. While they may consider themselves to be Widows Sons, it is only for recruiting purposes - and therein lies the rub. Because the words Widows Sons are not protected by copyright, trademark or in any other enforceable way, their free use is found everywhere in the world. You yourself, like the Kings Guard alliance Chapter of New York, could start "Joe's Grand Chapter of Widows Sons" tomorrow if you wished. Would any of the Widows Sons recognize you as being a legitimate entity? Only those who are susceptible to your groups deceit. Afterall, another Mason won't lie to you if you are a Mason, will he?
Different Types of Fake Widows Sons
"We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves."
Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902 - 1983)
There are a couple of different types of what has been termed 'fake/counterfeit Widows Sons'. Obviously, this phraseology reflects our individual opinion and is not binding on anyone. Some refer to it as 'sham Widows Sons' and there's a good reason for that. Should a particular organization that we've identified as "fake" feel that they aren't, they're certainly entitled to their opinion - just as we are to ours! Of course, there are several thousand Widows Sons who'll agree with our take on things while a handful or two (maybe even a couple dozen) who'll buy their false argument.
We believe one type of 'fake Widows Sons' involves simple fraud of what the Widows Sons are, or the deceiving of other Widows Sons chapters into following a false doctrine. They may use the internet to deceive. They will create a new group within the group and cause disruptions in the established places of communication. They will send false emails and communications. They will fraud any way they can to serve their own purposes.
A second involves groups started by a disgruntled Widows Sons, ostensibly in competition with the present administration. It is done primarily out of spite (not exactly a "Masonic" virtue!) and in order to 'prove' that they were right and everyone else was wrong. Although this isn't always why things like this occur, it is a predominant theme and, with the help of the internet, they can present a VERY persuasive appeal that they're legitimate while the founding or mainstream organization from which they split is not. You'll note that these groups make grandiose claims but they're quite short on facts. You'll see a lofty address by a supposed leader or spokesman of the breakaway group telling how wrong the organization they broke from really is. The breakaway group will be made to look much bigger than it is. Why? Because they don't want anyone to realize that it's a small group of a few members from a few states making up their organization! Better to recount wonderful imaginary events than to admit that nothing has happened. They will recruit a few members of a state, dividing the state, using their wile, gile, and sometimes even force, but their members usually remain the same or nearly the same as when their revolution began, gaining few who remain in their circle of deceit for a short time. The theory that it is very difficult to wake up everyday and live a lie will come into play after time and the honest members will accept the fact they have been deceived and leave the breakaway group.
There's also a 'variation on their theme' whereby they will deceive a Mason in good standing and make him think he is more to them than he really is. He will decide that they can not offer Widows Sons something they don't have. This usually leads to a dead end with the breakaway group follower being bled dry of whatever this breakaway group can drain from him, and then he is moved out of the limelight and into the background.
Members in this group will rave that they're 'true Widows Sons' even when they are not recognized as anything other than a newly formed rogue group within the group who are out of line with the whole and trying to force their ideas on the membership. They become indignant when others laugh at them or demean their attempts at 'dress-up'. To avoid the stigma of non-recognition, they use the internet to find a couple of other self-created members, get recognition from them and will then assert that, indeed, they ARE recognized – not only by the ones they call the stupid, REGULAR Widows Sons who they claim are so behind the times because they acyually believe the Widows Sons have evolved into what they attempted to evolve it into today.
It's really simple: if you claim to be the King of Siam, you might get your brother-in-law to go along with the claim if he sees that you'll recognize him as the Oligarch of Oganamy. (Yes, that does sound awfully childish but that's the way it works brothers, believe me!) All of this can cause great difficulties for those who've gotten involved thinking they'd found 'the real deal'. It can also cause someone to lose a considerable amount of time, money, and respect before they realize that they've gone down the wrong path.
Should you become a member of one of these counterfeit groups, you can call yourself a Widows Son but you'll never gain recognition - outside of the handful of others in your so-called 'chapter' that will acknowledge you as such.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, a Widows Son will choose to leave the group. Usually their departure is uneventful and everyone goes on to their separate lives with the departing member putting the part of his life involving Widows Sons behind. However, in some cases, these individuals have decided that they can create a 'better' Widows Sons and set out to prove it by setting up their own organization or organizations in direct violation of Widows Sons custom and tradition (and, in modern times, Masonic law). With the internet, they can create grandiose websites, complete with an international forums, or blogs and with links to other legitimate Widows Sons groups. They always seem to use titles, key words and wording that, to a neophyte or someone unfamiliar with Masonic 'jargon' seems quite convincing.
Sometimes, the person who perceives themselves to have been aggrieved will never be content with a few letters and intemperate online postings. In the Widows Sons in the United States, for example, a group of twelve Widows Sons who wanted to start a national chapter and set up regional officers to rule over more than one jurisdiction within the Widows Sons were refused due to the founding purposes and goals of the Widows Sons. Then after being refused, they determined this group to be an ‘elite group’ of Widows Sons, better than the rest of the Widows Sons and began promoting an alliance website for their group with a new and improved forum. Today, this alliance group of dissident Widows Sons are trying to convince the entity of Widows Sons what they have determined as 'correct' way to run the Widows Sons, when the Widows Sons have grown in leaps and bounds without their small group controlling the entity through national officers. They write soliloquies about what they saw as proper Widows Sons conduct, slandered those who don’t agree with them in private emails, and attack the character of those who do not support their wickedness, forgetting their obligation as a Mason, and the fact that they had pledged themselves to a behavior far different from the manner of behavior they are exhibiting. Their acts, though, are visible to only a few Widows Sons, so one must ask: to what end?
In this case, however, the rebel alliance group is seeking to create a 'competing' group within the Widows Sons. In some cases, though, an individual will decide they should start an organization of their own and will create (almost entirely on the web where probing questions can be ignored) quasi-Widows Son body calling them Widows Sons - or a 'Higher Council' or some other phraseology designed to confuse everyone. They'll use the symbols and nomenclature of 'regular' Widows Sons alongside personalized rules and requirements. Such groups are usually referred to in Masonic parlance as 'clandestine' although we should quickly note that there's no standard agreement amongst 'regular' Masons as to how to use that word so that no confusion as to definition exists.
From my perspective, it allows a total abandonment of the rules of conduct, principles of founding, and behavior required of a Widows Son Within the 'regular group of Widows Sons and Grand Chapter realm, there are certain expectations, certain protocols, certain things that are and are not acceptable. With counterfeit groups, there are no sanctions (save their removal by a Grand Lodge). The Widows Sons were built on an interlocking of trust whereby all members are truly Brothers. While it is easy to point to the (thankfully very rare) exceptions, in the main the system functions quite well and has for some seventeen years. In our internet age, many of the counterfeit groups will accept a member based on submission to following their changing of objectives for the Widows Sons with little or no attention paid to anything else, their protestations notwithstanding.
While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, in cases where it comes from spite or anger and serves to confuse those not involved, one can hardly acknowledge it as being "Masonic".... Further, it is now a well-established rule of the Widows Sons that no new chapter can be started without the original founding bylaws and landmarks in place, the Grand Chapter Founding support system in place, and an established Grand Chapter in line with the Landmarks chartering them.
It's not, then, possible - at least within normal, accepted Widows Sons protocol - for any Joe Blow to go ahead start his own group within the group - but that's what can and is happening today! Such bodies are subject to the capricious rule by (normally) one person who likely will serve for the life of the organization or his own, or he will hand pick the next ruler, so unlike 'regular' Widows Sons governing where terms of office are limited and are subject to vote of the membership. In these spuriously-formed groups, there's no history to consider when making decisions and there's always the need for them to 'justify' their own existence by claiming what the organization they broke from is not doing.
Lots of heat - often little light
I’m really not trying to flog a dead horse here. However, the general attitude of a few online Widows Sons is 'Oh, I've heard enough about this already. Let them do what they want. It doesn't bother me.' That really isn't true even though they may think it is. In point of fact, it generally involves LOTS of people. The United Grand Lodge of England found, to their ultimate dismay, that not designing to address the criticisms raised against Freemasonry and to go on their own way pretending such things didn't occur ultimately resulted in their being castigated for much that had nothing at all to do with them. So, too, today with a Counterfeit (Bogus - Fake) Widows Sons Chapter being formed: some Widows Sons will argue that bringing all this up just gives attention to cause them to do more.
One wonders though: will those who talk like ostriches be the ones to explain to the general public that the drug pusher or gun runner was not a 'real' Widows Son when, after all, he'd been holding public events in Widows Son's name? That's just ONE relevant example we've got our site on - and there are/will be many, many more.
It also happens that, for whatever reason, regular/recognized Widows Sons won't realize the potential harm in acknowledging others as 'Widows Sons brothers' outside of the rules of the Widows Sons in which they've sworn to uphold. They may not know of the person's prior 'bad acts' and often, these can be easily dismissed or ignored as there's no 'clearinghouse' for such things (except, perhaps, right here!). Ultimately, when the bogus group does something untoward or worse (and it's bound to happen because, having walked away from rules and obligations of the Widows Sons once, there's nothing to prevent this group within the group from doing it multiple times), we wonder what those silent Widows Sons will say. "Ooopsss. Sorry!" won't quite make it.
Bottom line: it's time to STOP CODDLING COUNTERFEITERS AND FRAUDS!
The Official Widows Sons website is: http://widowssons.com
The Official WS Forum is at: http://forum.widowssons.com
PLEASE DO NOT BE CONFUSED OR MISLED BY A ALLIANCE BREAKAWAY GROUP OF DISGRUNTLED WIDOWS SONS WHO HAVE SET UP THEIR OWN WEBSITE AND FORUM VERY SIMILAR TO THE OFFICIAL SITES.