I wanted to follow up on this week’s bizarre story about three people, including an aide to California’s attorney-general, who were arrested for running a fake Masonic police department, whose membership claimed a bloodline connection to the Knights Templar. A spokesperson for Freemasonry in California denied to the media that any of those arrested were connected to Masonry in California. “We are so not affiliated with them that I wouldn’t even know where to point you,” California Masonic spokesperson Emily Limón told the Sacramento Bee. However, contrary to these claims, one of those arrested, David Henry, appears to have been a Mason himself, if media reports are true.
According to LA Weekly, Henry, 46, was a member of a Masonic lodge in South Los Angeles, and he wanted to form his own lodge. Grandmaster Van Hibler, 75, told LA Weekly that he had informed Henry, whom he considered to be like a son to him, that a new lodge had to be established by following protocol. When Henry’s efforts to form his own lodge failed, Henry then told Hibler that he would start a police force to protect grandmasters across southern California, somewhat like the way state police protect state governors. Although Hibler declined Henry’s offer of protection, he told Hibler that he could not stop him from creating his own police force, which was to be called the Masonic Fraternal Police Department. Somewhere along the line, Henry and his two fellow suspects developed unusual ideas about the history of their new police force, which was never recognized by the Masons.
In a statement released to the media, the sheriff’s department of Santa Clarita, Calif.—where the MFPD had its headquarters—explained some of their claims:
The group claimed that they were descendants of the “Knights Templar” and that their police agency had been in existence for 3000 years. Additionally, they claimed that MFPD had sovereign jurisdiction in 33 states and across the border in Mexico.
Similar claims appears on the MFPD’s ungrammatical website.
According to Hibler, the three suspects were all related. He said Henry is married to the second suspect, Tonette Hayes, 59, while the third suspect, California Department of Justice employee Brandon Kiel, 31, is the husband of Hayes’s daughter. Both Henry and Hayes had now-suspended private investigator licenses, and both had trained as security guards and had gun licenses in that capacity, accounting for some of the police paraphernalia found at their Santa Clarita headquarters.
LA Weekly reports that California has a number of predominately African American Masonic lodges, and that is an interesting story all its own—but sadly one that is a bit beyond my scope.
These additional details add context to the story and suggest that it is a bit less bizarre than it initially seemed, in that the people involved are apparently related and Henry had been a longtime Mason who seemed to genuinely believe he was doing something good for the Masons. The strangest part is how the three succumbed to fringe history ideas about the Masons and the Templars to the point that they seemed to believe that fringe history could justify their actions and grant them police powers, if we take them at their word.
5/9/2015 05:04:13 am
There are many factions that claim Masonic heritage and use many of the symbols and rites of Masonry. The "official" Masonic organization in America, the one that traces itself back to George Washington, is the Free and Accepted Masons. Unsanctioned lodges, many of which were established in times past when minorities would not be accepted in most official lodges, have varied and sometimes lengthy histories of their own, but are not acknowledged by the Free and Accepted Masons. Each state has it's own F&AM Grand Lodge, and while they are mostly independent there is a national council. Here in New York the F&AM Grand Lodge is located on 23rd St at 6th Ave but there is also the Serenisima Gran Logia, which is not recognized, on 45th St between 8th and 9th. With all the claims of authenticity and how far back Masonry really goes, etc. it's easy to get confused, maybe that's by design. Most Masons who claim to have it all sorted out are taking the side of whichever fraternity they belong to while generally disparaging other lodges as imposters or worse.
H. A. B.
5/9/2015 07:41:45 am
For a long time afterwards, Adoniram's descendants were regarded as sacred by the workmen's guilds who would swear by The Sons of the Widow, thereby denoting the offspring of Adoniram and the queen of Saba.
H. A. B.
5/9/2015 07:55:59 am
For an early example of Freemasonic Templar origins, check out William Francis C. Wigston's book,, Francis Bacon, Poet, Prophet, Philosopher, Versus Phantom Captain Shakespeare The Rosicrucian Mask, chapter V (1891).
5/11/2015 12:18:00 am
The intricacies of Masonic History are exceedingly complicated and confusing, and there is a great deal of conflicting information on it. The fact that so many things, for so many reasons, were not committed to writing -- or much of what was were later destroyed -- makes it all the more difficult to sort things out. The branch of freemasonry known as Prince Hall Masonry, which is historically and still predominantly made up of men of African ancestry, is also very difficult confusing in terms of regularity. There are, however, a few things we do know with certainly. I'm going to try to simplify these for noon-Masons as best I can.
5/9/2015 07:38:35 am
Maybe Scott Wolter had something to do with this. I won't be suprised if Jason and his obsession trying to discredit Scott takes off again. Keep the big one between the ditches Jason, and the little one in your britches!!!
5/9/2015 12:50:43 pm
Well, a clear example of how the conspiracy mindset works. Tell us all, Steve, who is truly obsessed here. After all, you're the one burning the midnight oil to spin up another baseless accusation.
5/9/2015 01:21:02 pm
Wellllll.....not so it's still daylight and only took a few seconds to see who the real loons are here i.e. yourself included
5/9/2015 01:59:41 pm
Yes, because my response, given over five hours after your comment, equals a few seconds. Your lack of denial for making a baseless accusation or obsessive behavior is duly noted.
5/9/2015 02:35:38 pm
5/10/2015 12:55:27 am
Steve! You're back! King of the Long Range Locator! How's it going, Locator Boy?
5/9/2015 08:49:51 am
Each state's Grand Lodge is completely autonomous. The only "national council" in the US is United National Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The Scottish Rite is an appendant organization which holds no jurisdiction or supervisory capacity over the Grand Lodges. Legitimate (regular) Grand Lodges, and their subordinate lodges are those recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England. In the original colonies many lodges existed that were chartered by the Grand Lodge of England. In order to start a Grand Lodge it is necessary to have at least 8 regular lodges in an area (state). So in most cases there were lodges of Freemasons in geographic areas before those areas were states; those lodges would have been chartered by another Grand Lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of England.
5/11/2015 12:43:15 am
I wish to clarify some misconceptions in the above.
5/9/2015 02:52:57 pm
To its credit, Masonry has become much more inclusive over the last few decades but there are still unrecognized lodges that claim a connection to Masonry which regular Masons are not allowed to attend. This could explain why the Masonic rep. claimed they had no relation to Masonry in California, he wouldn't be aware of membership in an unrecognized lodge. Or he could just be saying there's no such thing as Masonic Police they made that up themselves and it has nothing to do with us.
5/10/2015 10:50:07 am
I think the latter is most likely, given the phrasing.
5/9/2015 06:37:39 pm
It's probably worth mentioning that this group was clearly formed as a self-benefit organization perhaps with a goal of fund-raising by claiming to provide protection. A protection - racket with an attempt at clothing it with some legitimacy by attaching it to Freemasonry. This was partly made possible because as mentioned above Freemasonry and its lodges are fairly decentralized without too much active oversight so a couple kooks could have some loose affiliations and then try to profit off of that network by forming a group. In the non-profit world some of these fraternal orders ... police, etc. spend an inordinate percentage of their budgets on fund raising campaigns which in turn finance more fund raising. This is not considered a best practice in the NFP space because only a small percentage of budget goes toward their stated mission. This may have been one of the purposes of this group.
5/9/2015 07:54:27 pm
another 'pyramid' scheme technology passed on by Ancient Aliens to the masons?
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.