As previously mentioned by me in an earlier post, I originally held membership in the Prince Hall Affiliated Grand Lodge system, and the last PHA Grand Lodge I belonged to before joining mainstream Grand Lodge of Texas in 2001 was the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of South Carolina.
After several years of negativity experienced with my mainstream Masonic membership, in 2011 I decided to explore returning my membership back to Prince Hall Grand Lodge of South Carolina, which was the last place I held PHA membership before joining mainstream GL of Texas.
I decided to petition for reinstatement, was accepted back, issued a dues card by the lodge and later a demit at my request. When I sought to use that demit to affiliate with another lodge in South Carolina, a lodge that then Grand Master Curtis Mansel belonged to, a lot of chaos & commotion ensued by GM Mansel, who after a fictitious investigation determined that I could NOT belong to "his" Grand Lodge after having held mainstream membership.
GM Mansel arrived at his conclusion based on the fact that he claimed he could NOT find any record of me having previously held membership in MWPHGL of SC, though proceedings from 1997, 1998, and 1999 should show me listed as a member (which those proceedings do).
Because my name appears in those proceedings, what type of investigation could possibly have been done, and how does one preclude a person from membership when one's own GL Constitution doesn't speak on or address the situation in any way, shape or form?
See, a possible issue was this... I had already been initiated, passed & raised in the usual Prince Hall manner and had proof of those events, so that precluded me from needing "healed" to come back to Prince Hall. The worse that could have been done with me was to re-obligate me, which was actually what I reasonably expected to have happen.
[Remember, I have been given the degrees of Freemasonry twice, once in PHA in 1990 and second in mainstream GL of Texas in 2001. I will NOT ever take another Masonic degree as long as I live as I have been tried, never denied and am always willing to be tried again if necessary.]
That re-obligation never happened, as GM Mansel decided I could NOT hold membership in "his" Grand Lodge, which once again left me in a state of Masonic limbo with this difference... it was from the hands of a Prince Hall Freemason who simply had an issue for personal reasons, not that I had committed any masonic offense, had never been suspended nor expelled. It was personal, and that was it!
His personal dislike of many persons led him to suspend numerous members of his own lodge, eventually arresting the charter of that lodge and suspending others holding position in Prince Hall Grand Lodge of SC.
At this point the rest is history, GM Mansel showed himself to be a tyrant lacking leadership capability, and in a true system of checks & balances was voted out by the membership of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of SC in December 2013.
As stated earlier in this writing, his actions left me in Masonic limbo again. I just have the gift, or curse on drawing controversy or pointing out fallacy...SMH!
All of these events show that it takes each individual, coming together with other individual members to effect positive changes in the best interest of any organization, especially Freemasonry, where the vote or opinion of an individual does matter, and carries weight.
Once again, I pray that my sharing serves as useful information to someone and that lessons learned can be applied.
Raymond Sean Walters a/k/a Renaissance Man
The Twice-Raised Freemason