What is the difference between regular, unrecognized, irregular and clandestine bodies?
At the formation of the primary grand lodges, recognitions were agreed upon between these so called sister grand lodges to abide to a set of rules and regulations which they find essential to these bodies to be considered Masonic. Those regulations include that Freemasonry is a brotherhood of men, a belief in God is mandatory to join the order, The Holy Bible or Quran must be at all times present in the Lodge.
What is the difference then?
- Regular masonry
Masonic bodies who conform to the ancient landmarks of masonry and who are recognized by the majority of mainstream Grand Lodges around the world.
- Unrecognized bodies
Bodies who conform to the ancient landmarks, however not/not yet recognized by the majority of mainstream grand lodges around the world.
- Irregular bodies
Bodies whom have one or more points of the ancient landmarks omitted from their practices and therefore incompatible with the traditional principles of regular freemasonry.
- Clandestine bodies
Bodies which style themselves as Freemasons and use the Masonic symbols and literature to scheme people into fraudulent practices.
Traveling around the world, you will have no doubt seen Masonic Buildings or read online about Grand Lodges in each country.
For the most part, countries that have a Masonic body would have one Grand Lodge that is regular and recognized. Lebanon on the other hand doesn’t seem to follow that rule. In fact the controversy of Freemasonry in the public’s eyes have left no room for proper governance, specially with the civil war, where chaos reigned. As such, today we have several recognized jurisdictions and countless irregular or unrecognized institutions.
In order to differentiate what’s real and what’s not, you need to check the below list and make sure there are no red flags
1. Does your Lodge have women? Recognized Freemasonry is for men only
2. Does your Lodge open a volume of Sacred Law?(Bible and/or Quran in Lebanon) our Lodges cannot open without a volume of Sacred Law.
3. Does your Lodge have a Charter issued by a Grand Lodge that is recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England, Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland? Every lodge must be willing to show and let you examine their Charter even if you are not a member.
4. Did you apply to join of your own free will and accord? Were you interrogated and vetted before even stepping into a lodge? Was there a balloting on your application? Did you go through a ceremony of initiation in the presence of several Freemasons? Your answer should be yes.
5. Does your Lodge confer degrees beyond the 3 degrees, namely the Entered Apprentice , the Fellow of Craft (including the Mark for Grand Lodge of Scotland), and the Master Mason? Recognized Freemasonry only confers these 3 degrees. The higher degrees are part of other appendant bodies which are not given within Lodges operating under a Grand Lodge.
6. In Lebanon currently, there are several Lodges working under ONLY three Grand Lodges; the Grand Lodge of Scotland governed by the District Grand Lodge of Lebanon, the Grand Lodge of DC, and the Grand Lodge of New York.
If your Lodge in question did not meet the above criteria, then you are most likely applying to or have joined an Irregular or unrecognized Masonic Body or worse a fraudulent one.
We have come across many candidates who were misled and taken advantage of by people claiming to represent Masonic bodies in Lebanon only to find they were scammed or found themselves in an unrecognized body, after attempting to travel abroad and visit other Lodges.