AF and AM vs F and AM States


MWSA Secretary
AF and AM vs F & AM States?

In actuality, it does not matter whether you join an AF & AM lodge or an F & AM lodge in the United States..

In the United States, every regular lodge is under the jurisdiction of its state Grand Lodge. Due to the fact that there is no Grand Lodge Headquarters for each state's separate Grand Lodge, each state's Grand Lodge is, therefore, its own "headquarters" within that state's jurisdiction.
All Freemasons, both AF & AM (which means Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, as well as F & AM, which means Free and Accepted Masons, trace their allegorical history back to the building of Solomon's temple in the Bible.
All Freemasons trace their symbolic history to the operative (actual) working stone mason era back when these stone masons built the breathtakingly beautiful and highly artistic medieval cathedrals of Europe.
All Freemasons trace their "official" (written) history back to the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London, England, the United Grand Lodge of England, or U.G.L.E, which was formed in 1717.
Free and Accepted Masons
From 1751 to 1813, there were
actually 2 Grand Lodges in England. The difference in F & AM vs AF & AM states goes back to a disagreement between these 2 Grand Lodges in London at that time. One group was called the "Moderns", but was actually the older of the 2 English Grand Lodges. The other group was called the "Antients", which became the "Ancients" in AF and AM. Due to this disagreement, the 2 groups broke into separate Grand Lodges. The disagreement was later healed around 1880, but by that time, there were lodges and Grand Lodges all over the United States that were descended from one group or the other, and so each group kept their corresponding initials with which they were formed.
Most Grand Lodges in the U.S. recognize each other and treat each other's members as valid Masons.
Also, all of the U.S. Grand Lodges recognize (and are recognized by) the official Grand Lodges of England, Ireland, Scotland and the Grand Lodges in most of Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Thailand, India, etc.
Prince Hall Masonic Lodge
Historically, the regular (mainstream) Grand Lodges did not recognize the lodges under the "Prince Hall" Grand Lodges. The Prince Hall Masonic Lodge descends from a lodge of Black Freemasons in Boston begun by a Black man by the name of Prince Hall. Prince Hall Free Masonry began during the War of Independence, when Prince Hall and fourteen other free black men were initiated into Lodge # 441, Irish Constitution, attached to the 38th Regiment of Foot of the British Army garrisoned at Castle called Fort Independence, at Boston Harbor on March 6, 1775. Later, they applied for and received a Charter from the Grand Lodge of England. After Prince Hall passed away, the lodge ceased to function. Many years later, Black Masons established their own Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge. They, subsequently issued charters to Black men for subordinate lodges.
Today, many Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge are recognized by the regular (mainstream) Grand Lodges. Any Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge which is not recognized by their regular counterparts are termed as irregular (non-mainstream) lodges.
AF and AM vs F and AM states grand lodges may be determined as to which state is which, below.

AF & AM States
AF & AM - Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
These 26 AF & AM states include: CO, CT, DE, ID, IL, IA, KS, ME, MD, MA, MN, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OK, OR, SD, TX, VA, WV, WY.
F & A M States:
F & AM - Free and Accepted Masons
These 23 F & AM states include: AL, AK, AZ, CA, DC, FL, GA, HI, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, UT, VT, WA, WI.
All Prince Hall lodges are also F. & A.M.
AFM State:
AFM - Ancient Free Masons
There is 1 AFM state: SC
FAAM - Free And Accepted Masons
District of Columbia

The few intrinsic differences between AF and AM vs F and AM states grand lodges, the AFM grand lodge in South Carolina, and the FAAM in Washington, D.C., however, are minimal and while both AF and AM vs F and AM states exist, in essence, this is not as important as the shared brotherhood between all of these groups.

Bob Franks

Past District Deputy Grand Lecturer

Good article.

Some years ago, before we Recognized PHA Masonry here in NC (AF&AM), a newly Raised Mason asked a more experienced Mason why sometimes he saw "AF&AM" and sometimes "F&AM." The more experienced Mason replied, "F&AM means Prince Hall Masons, they're clandestine."
I pointed out that I had been Raised in Indiana, where the grand lodge is F&AM.
The more experienced Mason suddenly looked like a deer in the headlights! :D

Just stirring up trouble, as usual...