Orient of North Carolina
Attn: Ill. Deputy James Upchurch
January 14, 2016
Fraters of the Orient of North Carolina:
I pray that the blessing of the Grand Architect of the Universe has reached every family and home. The New Year brings about a new beginning and a new start for many things personally, professionally and Fraternally.
As you may know, we left last year’s United Supreme Council’s Triennial Session with new leadership and a call to institute policies that reflect a new era in this United Supreme Council. Therefore, as your Sovereign Grand Commander, I want to assure you that your Orient and United Supreme Council is alive and will survive the current obstacles before us.
Status of the Deputy of North Carolina
The Deputy of the Orient of North Carolina is SGIG James Upchurch and that has not changed. He represents our United Supreme Council. Members of our United Supreme Council are still members of our United Supreme Council and no other.
Bogus Supreme Council
As many of you have heard, the losers of this year’s past election took it upon themselves to leave the Triennial Session and a couple of days afterwards, incorporated a clandestine, bogus and irregular styled Supreme Council in the District of Columbia. Their ultimate goal was and remains to confuse the present Prince Hall sodality into believing they are legitimate and to purposely spread lies, peddle degrees to membership that typically would not become Sovereign and/or Grand Inspectors General under our United Supreme Council.
These “willfully” expelled ex-SGIGs have maneuvered their way into Grand Lodges and duped some of the most respected Prince Hall Freemasons into trading Masonic Regularity for Blue and Purple Crowns or the promise of elevation to the 33°. They have also begun to attempt to brainwash our Fraters into voting to leave our United Supreme Council, a process that is not allowed by our Constitution.
As Sovereign Grand Commander, I empower the Most Illustrious Deputy for the Orient, to act swiftly and immediately on the following actions which are required by our Constitution and Regulations:
- If you recognize the clandestine, irregular and bogus Supreme Council the Constitution requires that you will be “willfully” EXPELLED!
- If you bring a resolution before your Consistory to recognize the clandestine, irregular and bogus Supreme Council the Constitution requires that you will be willfully EXPELLED!
- If you have Scottish Rite Masonic Intercourse with member(s) of the clandestine, irregular and bogus Supreme Council the Constitution requires that you will be willfully EXPELLED!
All of the above are required responses that are to be exacted from your Oath of Fealty that each Scottish Rite Mason of this United Supreme Council took upon entering the Lodge of Perfection, Chapter of Rose Croix, Council of Kadosh and Consistory, and it reads as follows:
“That I will hold in allegiance to the said Supreme Council and be loyal thereto, as the Supreme Authority of the Rite, so long as I may continue to reside within its jurisdiction. I will hold as illegal [emphasis added] and spurious [emphasis added] every other Body that may be established within its jurisdiction, claiming to be a Supreme Council; and every other Body of said Rite within the same jurisdiction that does not hold its powers mediate or immediately from said United Supreme Council, and will hold no communication whatever in Scottish Rite Masonry with any member of the same, nor allow them to visit any Body of the Rite of which I may be a member; and I will dispense justice of my brethren, according to the laws of equity and honor. And should I violate this, my solemn Vow and Pledge, I consent to be expelled from Masonry and all the rights therein, and in any Body of the Rite, and to be denounced to every Body of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the world as a traitor and foresworn.1”
Given the current status of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and its membership options offered by its leadership, the United Supreme Council has enacted a protected status for the Fraters of the Orient of North Carolina. No Frater of this United Supreme Council is required to join the clandestine, bogus and irregular Slaughter Supreme Council. Your membership shall remain with our organization as long as you continue to pay dues.
Legal remedies are available if any Frater is harassed, suspended or expelled, merely for having membership in our organization! If you are suspended or expelled for mere attendance at our function, please contact your Deputy for the Orient and our Grand Attorney- General for advice!
Each Mason has the right to belong to any Jurisdiction that they choose, should your Grand Lodge Constitution allow it. If a situation exists in a Mason’s jurisdiction that he is opposed to the Mason can join another jurisdiction where the situation does not exist. If a Grand Master takes unilateral actions for his own benefit that prevents the Mason from belonging to an organization which the Mason prefers then the Mason can move to a jurisdiction that recognizes the organization and maintain all of his other Masonic affiliations and status.
While there is an irrevocable umbilical tie between Ancient Craft Masonry and the Scottish Rite, there is a need to do what is right in the eyes of the law in respect to protection of our corporate interests and our membership.
Social media has become a common factor with today’s society to include a vast majority of our membership. With that, we understand that it is being used as a vehicle for both positive and negative reactions.
There are those who are utilizing FaceBook as a tool to defame and haphazardly attempt to disparage and discredit our leadership and United Supreme Council. These actions highlight the true character of those men involved in the situation as a means to ultimately destroy every shred of history, love and ultimate standing of this United Supreme Council. It requires a Frater to ask one’s self, “If you really cared about this United Supreme Council, why would you stoop to such lowbrow tactics to garner support?”
The need for information has also left a vacuum amongst the Fraters that has emboldened the rhetoric of some of these same men. As a result, the use of FaceBook to include another website has proffered a storyline based on the messaging of these men versus a true representation of the facts.
We will ensure that informational updates such as this will keep the membership informed and ensure that this uncivilized attempt to destroy Prince Hall Scottish Rite Freemasonry will not gain any credibility or traction.
United Supreme Council Actions
We are proud to have just hosted our 129th Annual Session, in Memphis, TN. Admittedly, we were forced to face some of the most trying and pressing issues this United Supreme Council has ever seen. From the theft and embezzlement of United Supreme Council funds to the attempted character assassination of our membership and United Supreme Council’s character, we faced the hard issues head on and worked to reconcile every matter that came before us.
The meeting forced our Active members to come together to unify our United Supreme Council for the purpose of addressing our internal issues. As a result of our discussions, our collective decision led to the implementation of strict adherence to standardized business practices, reliable management/oversight of staff and the execution of strict financial auditing and transparency. As a result, we are still alive and well!
The USC passed a resolution required by the Court to take affect to resolve the issues that were plaguing the USC. As a result, the following were carried out and their statuses are highlighted as the following:
- Continued to pursue criminal actions of theft and embezzlement – Ongoing;
- Enactment of strict accounting and reporting procedures – Complete;
- Censure and Reprimand the Sovereign Grand Commander and Past-LGC – Complete;
- Required the SGC to repay any questionable transaction within 18 months – Ongoing;
- The vehicle remains the property of the USC for use of the sitting SGC – Complete;
- The AXA Annuity remains under the ownership of the USC with the USC as the beneficiary – Complete;
- The SGC appoints a security Officer to work with law enforcement – Complete;
- Law enforcement be contacted informing them of full transparency and assistance with the matter – Ongoing;
- The SGC appoints a security Officer to work insurance companies – Complete;
- A claim has been filed with our insurance company to recover the funds that were stole–Ongoing; and,
- Establish security protocols involving sensitive data – Complete.
Erroneous information has been circulated via the bogus Supreme Council that individual Consistories should “hold” membership dues and place it in “escrow” before sending it to the United Supreme Council.
I want to be perfectly clear, if any Consistory, Officer and/or Frater within a Consistory “holds” membership dues and /or places it in “escrow ”, which falls outside of our Constitution & General Regulations’ procedures, the USC will take every action that the law allows both criminal and civil to recover the funds. Membership dues should be immediately transmitted as required by our laws.
Additionally, misleading information is being spread within our Consistories to “vote to recognize and leave our United Supreme Council”. To be clear: NO CONSISTORY of this United Supreme Council shall leave, only individuals. The Consistory is chartered by our organization and shall remain under our organization.
Our USC does not want to lose any member, but if members of the Consistories choose to seek membership in the bogus Supreme Council, they will leave everything with the Consistory! In accordance with our Constitution & General Regulations:
“If any Subordinate Body under this jurisdiction be temporarily or permanently dissolved, the officers thereof shall deposit their dispensation, charter, manuscripts, statutes, rules and regulations and all papers, monies, properties appertaining to the Body, with the Deputy for the State or Territory, or forwarded to the Grand Secretary-General, H.E. that the same may be deposited in the archives of the United Supreme Council. The United Supreme Council shall have custody of the property, real or personal of a Subordinate Body that voluntarily or involuntarily surrenders its Charter and shall administer and/or dispose of same as it sees fit2.”
This means that all monies, historical documents, rituals, accounting information, banners, regalia and/or furnishings remain the property of the United Supreme Council. Should any monies or other aforementioned property not be turned over, law enforcement shall be involved in regards to theft, conversion and/or any other applicable laws based on those Officers and Fraters who voted and caused the same to be done. Additionally, the Deputy for the Orient is empowered to conduct an immediate concise audit of all of the books of each Consistory in the Orient.
The United Supreme Council faced some tough obstacles this past year and we are not finished. As a result, we’re attempting to institute as many protective protocols and management policies that will enhance our business operations, to include implementation of policies to restore the trust of our membership. While the impact of the changes will not immediately be felt, ample communications and updates will be prepared for the Fraters.
Understand that as we move forward and become more frugal, policy oriented and centered on the ceremonial education and responsibilities of the Scottish Rite, we are moving towards our “Re-Birth”.
The bulk of our Scottish Rite brethren will never have any interaction with the United Supreme Council directly, aside from becoming elevated to the rank of Grand Inspector General or coronation to the rank of Sovereign Grand Inspector General. North Carolina’s Council of Deliberation and the work in your allotted Valleys is vital for the growth and vitality of the Southern Jurisdiction.
While the mandates of the United Supreme Council or directives given as Sovereign Grand Commander may feel extreme, the Fraters must understand they are for the betterment of the Rite. As stated in our Constitution & General Regulations:
“An appreciation of the structure and government of the Rite is essential for a competent and thorough consideration of this Constitution. An acknowledgement of the Authoritarianism of the government is inescapable. A Supreme Council is not a body of delegates. It is not created by subordinate bodies, but creates them. It is the sole source of their government as well as its own3.”
Each and every Frater’s participation in the Scottish Rite is essential. I maintain an open- door policy without retribution. Should any Frater have a question and/or comments, please feel free to contact your Deputy for the Orient at your leisure. Also, please bring all the questions you may have to the Council of Deliberations, and you may ask questions and ease any likely apprehensions you may have.
Godspeed and Save our Rite!