Again, only ones godparents(s) can “certify” them as legitimate. with one exception:
1. If the godparent is deceased, then a member of your Egbe who has participated in or witnessed your ceremonies, or your work can vouch for you.
So-called priestly members/elders who happen to descend from your particular branch of ATR and are acting as the representative on a religious board, but have no direct affiliation with your Egbe does not qualify him/her to “certify” you.
Please note that joining a religious organization is not bad. It is always a good idea to support an African religious organization that respects your legitimate Egbe, and protects your interest, if that organization is acting in your interest as a political and not spiritual entity. Meaning that their objectives are fighting on behalf of the religious rights of all African-based traditions to exists in America within their respective own milieu (paths, protocol, laws etc.,) However, the religious organization itself must also be legitmate, ethical and respecting of the laws and protocols of your particular Egbe, House, Honfour etc.
Religious organizations are also beneficial to join, if your own godparent(s) are active members in supporting the efforts of said organization in fighting for your religious rights.
However, if an organization is shockingly proclaiming itself as “the” “world’s certifying body for all” African-based traditions, and commences to establish spiritual protocol and ritual laws in an attempt to undermind or to subtly coerce all African-based Egbes/Houses to follow their directives, this can prove dangerous and misguided. Thus, rendering the appearance of its operating as a “cult.”
These actions should also act as a red flag that either the organization does not respect, or they poorly understand the cosmological, social and spiritual mechanism of African religious houses, and thus they must be carefully scrutinized and avoided.
“Organizations” such as this will ultimately face stiff opposition, resentment, and constant conflict from the elders and initiates of various Egbes who understand how African spirit houses really operate.
If you learn anything about African-based traditional religions, understand that:
1. The only political body or spiritual entity that can “certify” you are your godparent(s).
2. The best organization to support is your own Egbe. They can also serve all of your certification needs if they apply for their own 501c(3) religious status, offering the same exact benefits to you as an initiate of their house.