- 1 EDICTS FROM 1950 TO 1974
- 1.1 EDICTS AND RULINGS FROM 1950 TO 1959
- 1.1.1 1950
- 1.1.2 1951
- 1.1.3 1952
- 184.108.40.206 Unofficial Ciphers
- 220.127.116.11 Candidate Ciphers
- 18.104.22.168 Visitors (Candidates)
- 22.214.171.124 Applicants (Right of Initiation)
- 126.96.36.199 Candidates (Stopped Candidates)
- 188.8.131.52 Lodge By-Laws (Filing of Requests)
- 184.108.40.206 Chain Letters
- 220.127.116.11 Degrees (Directives Regarding Symbolic Work)
- 18.104.22.168 Use of Lodge Funds (Relief)
- 22.214.171.124 DeMolay
- 126.96.36.199 Ciphers (Use In Lodge)
- 188.8.131.52 Degrees (Ritual Changes)
- 184.108.40.206 Anti-Masonic Propaganda
- 220.127.116.11 Past Masters' Diplomas
- 1.1.4 1953
- 1.1.5 1954
- 1.1.6 1955
- 1.1.7 1956
- 1.1.8 1957
- 1.2 EDICTS AND RULINGS FROM 1960 TO 1969
- 1.2.1 1960
- 1.2.2 1961
- 1.2.3 1962
- 1.2.4 1963
- 1.2.5 1964
- 1.2.6 1965
- 1.2.7 1966
- 1.2.8 1967
- 1.2.9 1968
- 1.2.10 1969
- 1.3 EDICTS AND RULINGS FROM 1970 TO 1974
- 1.3.1 1970
- 1.3.2 1971
- 1.3.3 1972
- 1.3.4 1973
- 1.3.5 1974
- 1.1 EDICTS AND RULINGS FROM 1950 TO 1959
EDICTS FROM 1950 TO 1974
The Grand Masters of Masons in Massachusetts have frequently offered opinions and made declarations from the Oriental Chair of Grand Lodge which have the force of Masonic law within the jurisdiction. This page lists those that appear in the pages of the Proceedings.
EDICTS AND RULINGS FROM 1950 TO 1959
Roger Keith, Grand Master.
Instruction of Representatives
Page 1950-190, 12/13/1950, on a Lodge's right of instruction of representatives to Grand Lodge.
The ruling was made in 1947 by the previous Grand Master, and is listed there.
Thomas S. Roy, Grand Master.
Use of Sacred Names
Page 1951-138, 06/13/1951, on the use of 'Jesus'.
"It has been brought to my attention that some of our Brethren are disturbed because they have been led to believe that the Grand Lodge forbids the use of the name Jesus Christ in the lodge-room, or in Masonic gatherings. To them he has the value of God and they feel that Freemasonry denies its boasted tolerance if they are forbidden to use that name, or if any reproach attaches to the use of that name. My understanding of their complaint is that they are not pressing for the use of the name in Masonic circles, but that they do not want to be denied the right to use it; and that should a Brother use the name in a prayer in the way that is natural to him, that no reproach should attach to its use. My answer to the question is that there is nothing in the Grand Constitutions, nor any ruling by a Grand Master, that prohibits the use of the name. No name sacred to any religion that is in conformity with the first of our Ancient Landmarks is prohibited in Masonic circles. The Ancient Landmark is this: Monotheism, the sole dogma of Freemasonry.
"We learn that Freemasonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion. It does not unite races, it unites men. It does not unite opinions, it unites men. No action takes place by which, in Freemasonry, we have a syncretism of all religions. It says that men of different religions, and maintaining those differences, can form a union that transcends the differences of country, sect and opinion. No man is barred from using that name by which God comes nearest to him. However, there is always the matter of good taste, of courtesy. Therefore we are well-advised if in our prayers we use the terminology that is common to all of our religions. In my duties as Chaplain in a Lodge, I have found the prayers suggested in our ritual to have such spiritual meaning and such dignity of expression as to make them completely satisfying to me. I am quite sure that as Brethren we shall strengthen the bonds that unite us as we find a common expression in prayer rather than assert our right to use each his own distinctive phraseology."
Balloting (Factious Balloting)
Page 1951-139, 06/13/1951, on factious balloting.
"From time to time there is a word from the Grand Master on factious balloting. Let me call to your attention again that Section 412 of the Grand Constitutions says: Casting a black ball factiously and without just cause is a Masonic offense for which a member is subject to Masonic punishment. The black-ball is a good thing. We have had some evidence today that it is not used as often as it should be. Perhaps we ought to say that it is not used in the right place. We have members who call themselves Masons who do not belong in our order. Men who would have made worthy Masons are kept out by factious ballots. You who are Masters must drive home forcibly to your members that a blackball should be used only to prevent an unworthy man from being made a Mason. Using the ballot box to pay off a personal grudge is a contemptible act and merits the disapproval of every man worthy of the name of Mason."
Page 1951-140, 06/13/1951, on chain letters.
"Here is another matter that may not be too important, but which should be called to your attention. Just this week copies of chain letters have been placed on my desk. They are being circulated among Masons only, with the suggestion of good fortune if the chain is unbroken, and ill fortune if this chain is broken. Chain letters my Brethren, originate in disordered minds. They are essentially based upon superstition. Inasmuch as Freemasonry has no part in fostering superstition you will please advise all your members who receive such letters to disregard them. Section 705 of the Grand Constitutions reads: Begging circulars or similar appeals from any source, domestic or foreign, shall not be entertained unless they have been approved by the Grand Lodge or the Grand Master. By a broad interpretation, you are virtually forbidden to respond to any such appeals made to you as a Mason unless they have the approval of the Grand Lodge or the Grand Master. Chain letters have the strongest sort of disapproval of the Grand Master.
Page 1951-141, 06/13/1951, on gambling.
"During the last few months, the nation has been shocked and angered by the revelation of gambling, and the association with it of law enforcement officials. I would remind you again of the position taken by this Grand Lodge. At a regular quarterly communication of March 8, 1939, the following resolution was adopted.
"Resolved: that it is inconsistent with the professions and purposes of Freemasonry for any Masonic Body to promote, participate in or profit by any lottery game of chance, door prize or other device or activity whereby the individual participant may he able, through the element of luck or chance to win a greater value than he pays, and each Masonic body within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge is hereby enjoined to observe the letter and spirit of this Resolution: and
"Be it further resolved, that all so-called collateral bodies, clubs or other organizations in Massachusetts whose membership is related to or dependent on Masonic Membership or which in the public mind are likely to be regarded as Masonic organizations, are requested, and all individual Masons owing allegiance to this Grand Lodge are enjoined, to respect the purpose of this Resolution.
"There can be no mistake in the meaning of this resolution. That word enjoin virtually means to prohibit, which means that every form of gambling is prohibited in Masonic bodies. This resolution has been disregarded both in letter and spirit. I am embarrassed in speaking about it because it may be thought that my profession inspires my condemnation of gambling. Believe me, Brethren; I am interested only in preserving the good name of Freemasonry, which cannot remain good with any taint of gambling upon it. In every problem, social or moral or political, we occupy one of two positions. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. If we insist upon trying to profit from gambling of any sort, then we are part of the problem. If we have no part or lot in it, then we are part of the solution. By this action taken over twelve years ago, which I reaffirm today, the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts proclaims that it is part of the solution. In order that none may pretend ignorance of this resolution, I am ordering that it be carried on the September notice of every Lodge in the jurisdiction."
Balloting (Tyler's Right to Vote)
Page 1951-188, 09/12/1951, on balloting.
"Because of some misunderstanding about Section 411 of the Grand Constitutions, I want to make it perfectly clear what it means. I do this after consultation with those wiser than I. The relevant portion of the section reads as follows: Immediately before the business of receiving the reports of investigating committees is commenced, the Master shall permit the entrance of any members of the Lodge who have presented themselves to the Tyler seeking and prepared for admission. During the period from the commencement of the report of such a committee until the declaration of the ballot on the candidate under consideration no one shall be permitted to enter or leave the lodge except only in case of extraordinary emergency. This has been interpreted by many to cover the entire period of balloting on all candidates to be balloted on. It applies, however, to one ballot only. After each ballot, and before the report of the investigating committee on the next applicant, members may be permitted to enter or retire."
Thomas S. Roy, Grand Master.
Page 1952-111, 03/12/1952, on unauthorized ciphers.
"I have been informed that some of the candidates, presumably with the knowledge of Lodge officers, are using what is familiarly known as the Morgan exposé of the ritual to aid them in their lecture work. Please take notice, and let it be known as widely as you can, that the use of such a work constitutes a serious Masonic offense. Upon proof of the purchase, sale, transmission or ownership of such a book on the part of a member or candidate, that member will be immediately suspended and the work halted in that candidate’s progress; such action to hold until the first subsequent meeting of the Grand Lodge, when more seri¬ous penalties will be recommended. The use of any cipher or presentation of Masonic ritual not authorized by this Grand Lodge; or by a Grand Lodge with which we have fraternal relations, is absolutely forbidden."
Page 1952-112, 03/12/1952, on candidate ciphers.
"I have ordered the preparation of individual ciphers of candidates' lectures, which will be available to the candidate while learning the lecture. Each cipher must be returned before he can receive his next degree, or in the case of the third degree, before he can sign the by-laws. In the meantime, ciphers are available for officers only."
Page 1952-112, 03/12/1952, on visitation right for candidates.
"The question has been presented to me several times as to the right of a candidate to visit another Lodge and see the work on the degree he has taken. Please understand that a candidate has no such right. The right of visitation is for members only, and a candidate does not become a member until he has signed the by-laws."
Applicants (Right of Initiation)
Page 1952-112, 03/12/1952, on requirements for initiation.
"Because of the fact that a somewhat loose procedure is sometimes followed in reading applications for initiation, in that the Secretary has not in his possession all of the information which he should have before he reads such an applications I am making the following ruling, or interpretation, whichever you choose to call it. In any case, it is your authority for the procedure as from this date.
"An application for initiation shall not be read to a Lodge until all papers required for the application shall be on file with the Secretary. These papers are the pre-application statement signed by the applicant, the petition signed by both the applicant and his sponsor, the triplicate questionnaire for the use of the investigating committee, and any waiver required for a nonresident application for an applicant previously rejected in another Lodge."
Candidates (Stopped Candidates)
Page 1952-113, 03/12/1952, on the status of a stopped candidate.
"Because of some uncertainty as to the status of a candidate whose advancement has been stopped, I rule that a candidate whose advancement has been stopped by vote of the Lodge in accordance with Section 417 of the Grand Constitutions shall then have the status, of a rejected applicant, subject to all the disabilities thereof. A Lodge, having once voted to sustain an objection to a candidate's advancement, shall not reconsider its action."
Lodge By-Laws (Filing of Requests)
Page 1952-113, 03/12/1952, on filings of by-law change requests.
"Every month we have requests for changes in by-laws on behalf of the Lodges. It is my direction that all such by-law changes be filed in duplicate."
Page 1952-182, 06/11/1952, on chain letters.
A number of Grand Masters had previously issued comments on chain letters.
"Apparently there is a recrudescence of the Chain Letter Nuisance. Our condemnation of a continuance of the practise of keeping them going is not known to all. The hopeful thing is that the nuisance has not realized fully on its possibilities, because there is one born every minute, and we must conclude that we get our share in Masonry. Let me again ask you, Brethren, to impress upon your members to remember that when such a letter comes to them that they told us when they came into Masonry that they were of lawful age, and that they must be adult in their actions as well as in their years."
Degrees (Directives Regarding Symbolic Work)
Page 1952-184, 06/11/1952, on the Third Degree.
"Because of certain incidents that have been brought to my attention in the conferring of the third degree, I wish to caution all those responsible as to what is permissible and what is not." (Here the Grand Master issued three directives affecting certain esoteric part of the work.)
Use of Lodge Funds (Relief)
Page 1952-185, 06/11/1952, on relief.
"I want to emphasize also the importance of giving careful and meticulous attention to all appeals for relief. I fear that there is at times a disposition to take advantage of a technicality that will, so to speak, get the Lodge 'off the hook,' and cancel its responsibility to give aid. Such a procedure is not Masonry. We are to act as Brothers, and a Brother never tries to avoid giving aid, but insists on finding some way by which aid can be given when needed. When a Lodge finds a case of need beyond its abilities, then it must be immediately reported to the Relief Commissioner that the resources of the Grand Lodge may come to the rescue. There is no way in which we can take so severe a beating, both in public opinion and in the private thinking of a Brother, than in our failure to do all that is possible to do to help when help is most needed.
"May I express the hope that the service committees of the Lodges are alert in visiting the sick, and the relatives, particularly the widows, of deceased Brothers. The Master, or his personal representative, should be at the home within hours of the death of a Brother. It brings help where and when it is most needed. It lets those who sorrow know that the Masons care."
Page 1952-186, 06/11/1952, on DeMolay.
"I would go on record as commending those of our Brethren who are sponsoring and supporting the work of the Order of DeMolay. This is an excellent body that has stood the test of years as a character-building force. Every community which has no Council of DeMolay nevertheless has boys who would profit from membership in DeMolay. I hope that the Masters of Lodges in such communities will explore the possibility of sponsoring the organization of a Council. There can be no better investment of time and means than in the lives of the men of tomorrow."
Ciphers (Use In Lodge)
Page 1952-187, 06/11/1952, on use of ciphers.
"At our meeting in March I called attention to the promiscuous use of ciphers particularly in dealing with candidates. I took the rather drastic action of denying ciphers to all but officers and candidate lecturers. This was for the purpose of shutting off all the traffic in ciphers until a method could be devised to control their use.
"The present plan, therefore, is that ciphers may be obtained, beginning June 15, by any Master Mason, who must sign a statement, however, that it is for his own personal use and will not, under any circumstances, be given, loaned or sold to another. Secretaries applying for ciphers for members must see to it that this statement is signed in their presence."
Degrees (Ritual Changes)
Page 1952-220, 09/10/1952, on ritual changes.
"I have been concerned for many years over certain portions of our ritual which are so inconsistent with the high principles of conduct which we teach in our degrees and earnestly strive to practice. I am convinced that these particular portions should be omitted and that such other changes should be made as are necessary to harmonize the whole.
"I presume that I could exercise my authority as Grand Master and order such a revision made. However, I consider it too great a change for any Grand Master to make. A change of this kind should be by vote of the Grand Lodge. Accordingly, I am giving notice that a motion will be made at our Annual Communication in December that certain portions be eliminated from our ritual in each degree, and that such other changes be made as are necessary to make our ritual conform to this change. You have three months to think about it and discuss it, so that nothing can be done in a corner. Incidentally, I have discussed this matter with the Past Grand Masters, and they are agreed that this change should be made."
Note: This almost certainly refers to the inclusion of the Ancient Penalties in obligations; at the Quarterly Communication of 12/10/1952, the Grand Master made the following announcement:
"The Grand Master requested an informal expression of opinion on the general question whether certain changes should be made in our ritual in accordance with the proposal which he had made in his September address. Since the sentiment of Grand Lodge appeared to be adverse to such changes, the Grand Master dropped the matter."
Page 1952-221, 09/10/1952, on anti-Masonic propaganda.
Past Masters' Diplomas
Page 1952-286, 12/10/1952, on Past Masters' Diplomas.
"It has been the custom of this Grand Lodge for many years to present diplomas to retiring Masters. Section 702 of the Grand Constitutions states that The Master of any lodge under this jurisdiction, who has faithfully discharged his duties and complied wit the laws of the Grand Lodge, shall, at the end of his first year, be presented by the District Deputy Grand Master with a Past Master's Diploma. The diplomas themselves state that the recipient has been '... a Light to his Brethren and an Ornament to the Craft. This testimonial of his meritorious services recommends him to the hospitality and protection due to a faithful overseer.'
"Very evidently the award of these diplomas was to be on the basis of merit, and not just for a year spent in the East. However, it has become automatic. The District Deputy Grand Master has presented the diploma at his official visitation in the fall. I understand that some of my Deputies have presented some of these diplomas with something less than complete enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, they have choked somewhat over even the few polite phrases that the amenities of the occasion compelled them to say. In one case, a Master who learned none of the Third Degree ritual, but had some one else do the work on that degree, was given a diploma. It would seem, therefore, that there should be some set of standards to determine a Master's right to a diploma. Such a set of standards is being prepared and will be sent out to you Masters at the beginning of the year. With it will go a questionnaire covering the standards, and providing a good yardstick by which to measure the work the Master has done in his year. The Masters will probably find that they are responsible for things which they have considered the responsibility of some one else. But in the final analysis, the Master is responsible for just about everything in the Lodge, including the correctness of the Secretary's returns and the complete payment by his Lodge of Grand Lodge dues. These diplomas that have been earned will not be presented to the Masters at the official visitation, which often comes weeks before the Master's term of office expires, but will be presented at the fraternal visit of the Deputies in the winter and spring.
"Let me urge upon those of you who are Masters to guard well the work of your Lodge. Especially you should warn degree teams that the work must be done with dignity and decorum. Reports of teams that overstep the bounds of propriety will result in a denial of their right to work in any of our Lodges. The Third Degree is serious business and the Grand Lodge will not tolerate its being turned into a playground for buffoons."
Thomas S. Roy, Grand Master.
Applicants (Investigating Committees)
Page 1953-63, 03/11/1953, on investigating committees.
"A recent occurrence is one of our newer Lodges prompts me to issue a word of warning. An applicant for the degrees was reported on favorably by the committee of investigation and elected to receive the degrees, in spite of the fact he had both court and jail records. Let me emphasize to you who are Masters that you cannot be too careful in appointing your investigating committees, and that you cannot exaggerate to them the importance of their work.
"A Brother is not compelled to accept appointment as a member of an investigating committee, but once having accepted appointment, he should be informed that he will be held personally accountable for the correctness of the information he secures. You who are Masters of Lodges must impress upon your committees the necessity of thoroughly investigating the applicant. One of the most important items of information that should be secured is this: regardless of his apparently blameless character, is the applicant the kind of person who, when he becomes a member, will use the ballot box to avenge himself on one personally objectionable to him. The success of Masonry is determined by the quality of men we take into our membership. We cannot be too careful in screening.
Page 1953-327, 12/09/1953, on installation ritual.
"It has come to my attention that at installation ceremonies the installation ritual provided by this Grand Lodge is being honored more in its breach than in its observance. I have never heard an improvised installation ritual that was any improvement either in content or wording on the Grand Lodge ritual, I would therefore urge that installing officers use the ritual provided, that installations preserve the dignity their importance deserves and not degenerate into a meaningless improvisation of sentimental drivel."
Page 1953-328, 12/09/1953, on liquor.
"Let me issue a word of warning to the Masters and Wardens on the conduct of their social affairs or ladies' nights. Quite recently I was told that the word was being passed that the Grand Master had no objection to the serving of alcoholic liquor on such occasions. Just for the sake of the record, let me say that what I might have said was that I did not consider that I had the right to forbid it. My personal attitude toward liquor is well known. It has never been served at any function of any organization over which I have presided. I have never known any party to be improved by it. Apparently some Masonic parties have been spoiled by it. I would therefore enjoin all responsible officers to see to it that any use of alcoholic beverages is in moderation, that we may indicate that we have learned that the first of our four cardinal virtues is Temperance."
Page 1953-328, 12/09/1953, on DeMolay.
"Not so long ago, in a district where I was visiting, the occasion of which I have forgotten, two members of DeMolay came to me to ask if there was anything I could do to arouse the interest of the Masons in their area in their Council. I said there was nothing I could do officially. However, I can say to you officers that I hope you will try to bring home to your members the importance of the work of DeMolay, and urge them to interest themselves in that work. A Council of DeMolay must be Masonically sponsored. The movement is one of the finest character-shaping forces in America today, and offers us an unparalleled opportunity to make our influence felt for the building of a better America. It may well be that the fame of Freemasonry in the years to come will rest to some degree upon its relationship to the influence of the Order of DeMolay."
Whitfield W. Johnson, Grand Master.
DeMolay (Use of Lodge Funds)
Page 1954-26, 03/10/1954, on the use of Lodge funds and the Order of DeMolay.
"I was asked if a constituent Lodge could sponsor a Chapter of DeMolay, and if so, whether Lodge funds could be used in connection with such sponsorship.
"The Order of DeMolay was organized some thirty-five years ago in Kansas City, Missouri, and was introduced into Massachusetts in 1922 by our senior Past Grand Master, Most Wor. Melvin M. Johnson. He was actively in charge of DeMolay in Massachusetts from 1922 to 1931, and from 1931 to 1951, he was an Active Member-at-large of the Grand Council.
"Under the Grand Constitution, Statutes and Chapter Regulations of the Order of DeMolay, every Chapter requires a sponsoring body composed exclusively of Freemasons to supervise, guide and assist the Chapter. I believe some of the early Chapters were sponsored by constituent Lodges, but in 1930 Most Worshipful Herbert W. Dean ruled that Lodges could not sponsor DeMolay Chapters, nor could Lodges use Lodge funds for this purpose (Page 1930-336). The wording of the ruling is general, and did not specifically mention DeMolay by name, presumably in order to do as little harm to the Order as possible. After this ruling, new DeMolay Chapters were sponsored either by Royal Arch Chapters, Commanderies, Scottish Rite Bodies, Grottos, or by informal groups of Masons who were organized for the express purpose of sponsoring a DeMolay Chapter.
"The great value of the work of the Order of DeMolay has been recognized by most, and probably all, of our Grand Masters in recent years.
"At the Quarterly Communication of March 13, 1940, Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry concluded his address with these words:" Quotation from Page 1940-51 follows)
"In 1942, Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson stated at the Grand Masters' Conference in Washington:" (Quotation from Page 1942-64 follows)
"Most Worshipful Samuel H. Wragg had this to say with regard to the Order of DeMolay:" (Quotation from Page 1946-199 follows)
"In the remarks of both Most Worshipful Brother Perry and Most Worshipfl Brother Wragg it will be noted that the encouragement given to Masons to assist DeMolay was on an individual basis and not on the basis of Lodge sponsorship.
"The matter was discussed again by Most Worshipful Thomas S. Roy in June 1952, as follows:" (Quotation from Page 1952-186 follows)
"It seems clear to me that the Order of DeMolay during some thirty-five years of existence has established itself as the outstanding youth organization for character training, as the youth organization closer than all others to Masonry in spirit, purpose and principle, and as an agency through which the principles and tenets of Masonry can be effectively injected into the life-stream of our society. Although the Order of DeMolay is in no sense junior Masonry, it seems to me entirely proper for any Lodge which wishes to do so to become the official sponsoring body for a DeMolay Chapter, and if necessary, to assist the Chapter financially.
"RULING: USE OF LODGE FUNDS. It is my belief that this is the purpose used by Most Worshipful Brother Roy above referred to, but in order to remove any question as to the official position of Grand Lodge at this time, I now therefore rule that the language of that part of Most Worshipful Herbert Dean's address, appearing on pages 336 and 337 of the 1930 Proceedings of our Grand Lodge, is no longer applicable to a Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, but in all other respects his reference to the use of Lodge funds for the support of other non-Masonic organizations is hereby reaffirmed as an official Grand Masters' ruling.
"I further rule that a constituent Lodge under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge may become the sponsoring body for a Chapter of the Order of DeMolay (now officially called International Order of DeMolay) and the sponsoring of such a Chapter shall be deemed a proper Masonic purpose for the expenditure of any Lodge funds which such Lodge may wish to appropriate for such purpose; provided however, that notice of the proposal to become the sponsoring body for such a Chapter) and notice of a proposal to appropriate Lodge funds for such a purpose, shall be borne upon the official notice of the meeting at which such proposed action is to be taken.
"This brings up another question which has presented itself with regard to the use of Lodge funds. The ruling of Most Worshipful Brother Dean heretofore referred to (Page 1930-336) and a ruling of Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott made in June 1917 (Page 1917-138) indicate clearly that the use of Lodge funds should be restricted to Masonic purposes. While the language of Most Worshipful Brother Abbott indicates that in his opinion Lodges have the legal right to use their funds to make donations to worthy organizations, such as the Red Cross, he stated, it would seem clear that Lodge funds should first be applied to the answering and supplying of those calls that come from Masonic sources. Since these two pronouncements on this subject, it has been considered that the base of Lodge funds must be restricted to Masonic purposes."
Use of Lodge Funds (Scholarships)
Page 1954-29, 03/10/1954, on scholarships.
"I have been asked whether or not a Lodge under our jurisdiction may properly use Lodge funds for the purpose of establishing an annual scholarship to be awarded by a committee of Past Masters to a high school student on the basis of a thesis submitted by a high school senior on a subject selected by the committee. Such a plan, highly desirable in and of itself, does not, in my opinion, have a sufficient Masonic purpose to justify the expenditure of Lodge funds. I therefore rule that the granting of an annual scholarship to be awarded to a high school student on the basis of a thesis submitted in competition with other students is not a Masonic purpose and that the use of Lodge funds for this purpose is therefore improper."
War Relief Fund
Page 1954-31, 03/10/1954, on the War Relief Fund.
"In 1917, Grand Lodge established the War Relief Fund for the purpose of providing assistance for those members of the Craft, or their dependents, who might become in need through the first World War. (Page 1942-31ff) In 1944 the provisions regarding this fund were enlarged to enable its use for the relief of Brethren who served in the great Wars of 1917 and 1941, and their dependents (Page 1944-171).
"We now have two needy cases among the veterans of the Korean War. It is the opinion of the Board of Relief, which is shared by Your Grand Master, that the beneficiaries for whom this fund may be used should be broadened.
"A motion will be presented at this session of Grand Lodge to broaden the scope of this fund so that it may be used for the relief of Brethren who have served or shall serve, in the Armed Forces of the United States, and their dependents, and it is my recommendation that Grand Lodge act favorably upon this motion."
At the Quarterly Communication of March 1954, the Board of Masonic Relief was authorized by vote to use the War Relief Fund at its discretion. (Page 1954-46)
Door Prizes and Lotteries
Page 1954-32, 03/10/1954, on door prizes and lotteries.
"The question of raffles, door prizes, lotteries, etc. seems to arise constantly for the consideration of Grand Masters. The matter was fully discussed in 1939 by Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry, who stated:
"Much has been written by Grand Masters of this and other jurisdictions about gambling. Their disapproval and that of the Craft has been unanimous. There is, however, a twilight zone in which are found many activities that fall short of gambling and that even partake of entertainment and voluntary charity but which find their final excuse for existence solely in the element of a chance to get pecuniary value for nothing.
"To ask a Grand Master to be constantly acting as censor of these borderline cases is unfair to him and bad for the Craft, for every such decision prompts some criticism and misunderstanding, and comparison with other decisions; and the cumulative effect is to spread dissension and weaken the solidarity of our Fraternity.
"After more than a year of such experiences I can discern no halfway stopping point, no safe basis for discretion. Any arbitrary frontier merely creates a new series of borderline problems, precedents, comparisons, injustices, dissatisfactions. Any decision by a single individual whatever his position or however much he may consult with others still leaves the suspicion of conscious, or unconscious, personal bias.
"For the benefit of the entire Fraternity, therefore, I now ask this Grand Lodge as a legislative body to enact a law for its own government on this troublesome subject. (Page 1939-85ff)
"Pursuant to the recommendation of Most Worshipful Brother Perry, Grand Lodge adopted the following resolution by unanimous vote:
"Resolved: that it is inconsistent with the professions and purposes of Freemasonry for any Masonic Body to promote, participate in, or profit by any lottery game of chance, door prize, or other device or activity whereby the individual participant may be able, through the element of luck or chance, to win a greater value than he pays, and each Masonic Body within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge is hereby enjoined to observe the letter and the spirit of this Resolution, and
"Be it further resolved that all so-called collateral bodies, clubs, or other organizations in Massachusetts, whose membership is related to or dependent on Masonic membership, or which in the public mind are likely to be regarded as Masonic organizations, are requested, and all individual Masons owing allegiance to this Grand Lodge are enjoined to respect the purpose of this Resolution. (Page 1939-105)
"Most Worshipful Thomas S. Roy reminded Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication of June, 1951 of this resolution and added:
"There can be no mistake in the meaning of this resolution. That word "enjoin" virtually means to prohibit, which means that every form of gambling is prohibited in Masonic bodies. This resolution has been disregarded both by letter and spirit. I am embarrassed in speaking about it because it may be thought that my profession inspires my condemnation of gambling. Believe me Brethren, I am interested only in preserving the good name of Freemasonry, which cannot remain good with any taint of gambling upon it. In every problem, social or moral or political, we occupy one of two positions. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. If we insist upon trying to profit from gambling of any sort, then we are part of the problem. If we have no part nor lot in it, then we are part of the solution. By this action taken over twelve years ago, which I reaffirm today, the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts proclaims that it is, part of the solution. (Page 1951-141)
"I have been asked with regard to the app1idability of a resolution to two proposals.
"One proposal is to give a valuable watch, to be contributed by a member of a Lodge, to the lady who happens to hold the lucky dinner ticket at a Ladies Night banquet.
"The other proposal is to award a valuable prize to the person who happens to make a subscription to an admittedly worthy cause on the lucky subscription blank.
"In each instance the opportunity to participate would be confined to the members of the sponsoring Lodge or group.
"I have carefully considered these proposals, both from the point of view of their legality or illegality under the law of the Commonwealth and from the point of view of their propriety under established practices of our Masonic Law. I have sought for and received the advice of those who I felt were best qualified to advise me.
"In both of these instances, the awarding of the prize was deemed to constitute an inducement to the Brethren to buy dinner tickets in the one case and to make a contribution in the other case. The proposals were both made in the expectation that the offering of the prize to the holder of the lucky ticket or subscription blank would result in the sale of more tickets and in the making of more subscriptions than would be otherwise possible.
"It has been pointed out to me that both of these proposals are used by other responsible organizations with impunity. I believe that I only need to point out that in Masonry one of our fundamental teachings is obedience to civil law. We do not place ourselves above the law, but subject to it. We cannot, consistent with our principles, determine what laws we shall obey and what laws we shall violate. Other organizations may evade or violate the laws of our Commonwealth on the ground that the end justifies the means and that the laws will therefore not be enforced against them. But Masonry will have none of this!
"Without going into a lengthy discussion of either aspect, and in full appreciation of the fact that there are many who would not feel that either of these proposals constitutes a lottery or raffle in the ordinary sense, I am satisfied that both proposals are illegal and both violate the spirit and the letter of what has become accepted Masonic Law in this jurisdiction. I therefore rule that they fall within the proscribed practices."
Page 1954-89, 06/09/1954, on chain letters.
"The chain letter is again with us. This time it purports to be confined to members of the Craft. My predecessors have repeatedly regretted the necessity of warning the Craft against such letters. Grand Masters in other jurisdictions which I have visited during the last six months have felt obliged to warn the Craft to destroy any such letters that come into their hands.
"In 1916 Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson referred to the unwritten law that no attention should be paid to chain letters (Page 1916-17). Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott referred to chain letters as being un-Masonic and prohibited in this jurisdiction (Page 1917-30). Most of the subsequent Grand Masters have had occasion to condemn such letters and have urged the Craft to ignore any that come into their possession.
"The necessity of constant repetition seems to be a reflection upon the intelligence of the Craft, but since the matter has been officially brought to my attention, I feel constrained to add my word of admonition to those of my predecessors.
"Although I do not so rule at this time, I express the opinion that it is conduct unbecoming a Mason and therefore a Masonic offense subject to Masonic discipline for a member of the Craft to send to another member of the Craft a chain letter which contains any Masonic reference and purports to bring good fortune to those who perpetuate the chain and misfortune to those who break it."
Lodge Jurisdiction (Residence)
Page 1954-90, 06/09/1954, on residence and jurisdiction.
"I have been asked whether or not a Massachusetts Lodge has jurisdiction to confer the degrees upon an applicant having a residence outside of Massachusetts as well as a residence within the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Lodge.
"The distinction between residence and legal domicile is well defined. The difficulty arises, however, when it becomes necessary to determine whether the word residence as used in a specific case means mere residence or whether it means legal domicile. A man may have several residences, but he can have only one legal domicile. In our state Statutes, the word residence has sometimes been construed to mean mere residence, and sometimes to mean legal domicile, depending upon the subject matter of the Statute.
Section 405 of the Grand Constitutions prohibits a Lodge from balloting upon a candidate residing in any other recognized jurisdiction . . . without the written permission of the Grand Master of such jurisdiction. Section 403 requires a candidate to apply for the degrees in a Lodge having jurisdiction over the municipality in which the petitioner has last acquired a Masonic residence.
"Our Masonic law in Massachusetts on this question is governed by a committee report accepted by vote of Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication in September 1889, in which the committee squarely decided that the word residence in questions of Masonic jurisdiction means legal domicile (1889-112ff). Upon the adoption of this committee report and its recommendations this became Grand Lodge legislation. In 1910 Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders stated that the practice of this Grand Lodge has been that a man's Masonic residence must coincide with his legal residence (1910-191).
"RULING: I therefore rule that a Lodge does not have jurisdiction to confer the degrees on an applicant who has a residence within the territorial jurisdiction of the Lodge unless such residence constitutes the applicants legal domicile.
"As to the specific facts of the case in question, I am informed that the applicant owns a home in a New Hampshire town bordering on Massachusetts where his wife and son live; that he has a business in Haverhill and an office in Boston; that his residence in Massachusetts is a room in a private home in a Boston suburb which he pays for by the week; that he does not have any of his own furniture there; that this room is maintained as a convenience in connection with carrying on business in Massachusetts; and that he files his personal Federal income tax in New Hampshire and probably votes there.
"On these facts it seems conclusive that his legal domicile is in New Hampshire and not in Massachusetts."
Page 1954-91, 06/09/1954, on class lodges.
"The action which I have already taken in granted a dispensation for the institution of Realty Lodge and several problems now before me awaiting solution, induce me to take this occasion to make some observations on the question of Lodges whose membership, either by charter limitation, by-law requirement, or practice, is limited to members of certain groups. Such Lodges in Masonic parlance are called class Lodges.
"In one sense, all Lodges with territorial jurisdiction are class Lodges, because their right to confer the degrees is limited to those whose legal domicile is within their territorial jurisdiction. But the class Lodges to which I refer are those Lodges whose membership is limited by other considerations than by place of domicile.
"Our Grand Lodge is committed to the principle of class Lodges. We have three so-called college Lodges, the charter jurisdiction of which is not territorial, but institutional. The jurisdiction of these Lodges to confer the degrees is limited by the Grand Constitutions to officers, instructors, students, alumni or employees of the institution named in the charter. My own Lodge is such a Lodge.
"There are also Lodges having regular territorial jurisdiction but which have a class membership either by the requirements of their by-laws or by custom. Thus we have a Lodge whose by-laws restrict membership to those on the active, retired or reserve lists of the various branches of the Armed Forces. We have a so-called daylight Lodge whose membership is largely composed of those who are connected with the theatrical or entertainment profession and who thus are required to meet in the afternoon. We have another lodge whose membership is primarily restricted to members of the newspaper profession.
"We have other Lodges whose membership is entirely or largely limited to members of certain racial groups; for example, there is a German Lodge, an Italian Lodge, and a number of Jewish Lodges. We also have Lodges whose membership is entirely or largely limited to members of certain religious faiths, such as Lodges in which the predominating faith is Christianity and others in which the predominating faith is Judaism.
"Then there are Lodges which because they are either very large or very small tend to limit their membership to relatives of present or former members. They are therefore in effect class Lodges. There are also Lodges whose membership is largely limited to certain economic groups because of the fees, dues and other financial obligations imposed by the Lodge. These are also in effect class Lodges.
"Class Lodges have a particular significance in a metropolitan area, because the class interest tends to furnish a cohesive influence in the Lodge that is likely to be missing in other large metropolitan Lodges. In fact, it tends to furnish a substitute for that close spirit of fellowship and cohesion which is characteristic of Lodges in the smaller communities where every member feels closely affiliated with every other member not only in the Lodge but in the community life.
"I regard a Lodge as analogous to a family group which, within reasonable limitations, is justified in determining whom it will and whom it will not take into the bosom of its family life. This does not imply that if for any reason you do not wish to take me into the close family fellowship of your Lodge I am therefore not worthy to become a Mason; nor does it imply that there is not some other Lodge which would gladly extend to me the privilege of membership. It most certainly does not imply that when I have become a member of the Craft we will not share our Masonic fellowship with each other or that we will not treat each other with all the courtesy and consideration due to those who have knelt at the altar and have bound themselves to a way of life which teaches us to rejoice in each other's welfare and prosperity as our own. It is our common membership in the Craft, and not necessarily our common membership in the same Lodge which conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance. The fact that I might prefer to join your Lodge because your Lodge has more money in its treasury, because it is smaller, is larger, is composed of people in my own income, business or social group, or because of any other reason, does not in and of itself entitled me as a matter of right to come into your particular Lodge even though we both are worthy to share the Masonic fellowship.
"But these broad considerations must be balanced by a recognition of the Masonic spirit of universal brotherhood which should lead us all to strive to make it possible for every worthy applicant who is desirous of enlisting under our banner of universal brotherhood to have the opportunity to do so. This is particularly important where there is only one Lodge in a community. A Lodge having an exclusive territorial jurisdiction should feel a Masonic obligation to see that every worthy applicant within its jurisdiction shall have an opportunity to join our Craft. Lodges with exclusive jurisdiction are usually located in small communities where the feeling of community spirit and cohesion will tend to make it possible for the Lodge to welcome every worthy applicant into its Masonic family.
"However, if a Lodge which enjoys an exclusive jurisdiction, after careful consideration, consciously wishes to become a class Lodge and limit its membership to any given group, the Lodge should surrender its exclusive jurisdiction and welcome the organization within its jurisdiction of another Lodge not limited to any one group in order that the community might be adequately served Masonically.
"The same principle applies in large communities where several Lodges share jurisdiction. Such Lodges should jointly and severally feel a Masonic obligation to see that every worthy applicant shall have an opportunity to become a Mason in one or another of the Lodges which share jurisdiction over the applicant. If one or more of such Lodges consciously wish to become a class Lodge, there should be no criticism or objection as long as every worthy applicant within their joint jurisdiction has an opportunity to join one Lodge or another. But if all of the Lodges which share concurrent jurisdiction wish to become class Lodges and limit their membership to certain groups to the exclusion of others, all should volunteer to share their jurisdiction within a new Lodge not wishing to so limit its membership.
"What has been said is equally applicable to class Lodges which limit their membership to certain groups within the class group, whether this limitation is based on economic standing, family relationship or otherwise. This practice, in my opinion, is not subject to criticism provided it does not in effect leave a worthy applicant in a position where there is no Lodge reasonably available to him. If all Lodges in a given class group so limit their membership to certain sub-groups, to the exclusion of worthy applicants in the main class group, all of the Lodges which in effect share the class group jurisdiction jointly should volunteer to share this jurisdiction with another Lodge which will not confine its membership to any given sub-group.
"I have shared with you my thoughts about class Lodges. I do not expect all to agree with me. There may be a fundamental fallacy in my premise, or in my reasoning from my stated premise. One can never be absolutely sure of the soundness of his own point of view, but since the solution of some problems now before me will depend upon straight and clean-cut thinking on these matters, I consider it proper that my present attitude be expressed as clearly as it is possible for me to formulate it into words."
Lodges of Instruction
Page 1954-183, 12/08/1954, on Lodges of Instruction.
"I call particular attention to the last portion of Section 313 of the Grand Constitutions, which provides that no Lodge shall hold a special meeting on the same day on which the Lodge of Instruction of its District has been scheduled to meet without dispensation of the Grand Master.
"This provision was inserted into the 1953 revision of our Grand Constitutions, and it has come to my attention on two separate occasions recently that Masters of the Lodges are not yet fully aware of the fact that this provision is now part of our statutory law.'
Whitfield W. Johnson, Grand Master.
Past Master Certificates
Page 1955-43, 03/09/1955, on Veteran Past Master's Certificates.
"It has come to my attention that a very few of our Lodges have among their Past Masters one who has been a Past Master for fifty or more years. When the matter was first brought to my attention it was suggested that Grand Lodge might like to take some recognition of a half century of service to the Lodge as a Past Master. The suggestion struck a responsive chord, and as a result a beautifully hand engrossed and illuminated certificate or scroll was designed for presentation in recognition of a half century of service as a Past Master. Presentation has been made in most cases by the District Deputy Grand Master in open Lodge with a suitable ceremony. In at least one instance it was necessary for the presentation to be made at the home of the Past Master because of his inability to attend Lodge."
Eleven Veteran Brothers were listed in the Proceedings.
"There may be other Veteran Past Masters whose names have not been called to my attention, and as time goes on others will attain that venerable status. I hope that the Lodges will call the Grand Master's attention to every Past Master who was installed as Master fifty or more years ago so that this long service can be recognized."
This became a regular feature in the Proceedings during 1955; for example, another list appears on Page 1955-145, at the June Quarterly Communication.
Sunday Lodge Meetings
Page 1955-145, 06/08/1955, on Sunday meetings.
"While there is no provision in Sections 312 or 313, or elsewhere for that matter, in the Grand Constitutions which prohibits Lodge meetings on Sunday, nevertheless it has been generally assumed that there are only two purposes for which Lodge meetings should be held on Sunday; namely, (1) to attend Divine Worship, and (2) to conduct a funeral or memorial service for a deceased Brother. While there may be some other occasion which would justify the holding of a Lodge meeting on Sunday, no such reason comes to my mind. I am sure that the Craft would in general agree that meetings for degree work are out of place on Sunday, not because our Degrees are in any way inconsistent with the spirit of the day, but because Sundays should be reserved as the one day which our members should be free to devote to their religious and family obligations, without any encroachment from Masonic obligations.
It recently came to my attention on a Friday that one of our Lodges had called a special meeting for degree work to be held the following Sunday. Despite the serious inconvenience and embarrassment which I realized would be involved in a last minute shift of plans, I felt that the matter was of such importance that I requested the Master to cancel the proposed Sunday meeting. I am happy to say that he readily complied, although he expressed some surprise that there was an objection to Sunday meetings, particularly where it seemed to meet the convenience of the officers. In order to prevent any possible misunderstanding in the future, I feel that the Matter should be covered by a formal ruling.
I hereby rule that no Lodge shall hold a meeting for the conferring of a Degree on a Sunday, but this ruling shall not preclude the opening of a Lodge on a Sunday for the purpose of attending Divine Worship, conducting a funeral or memorial service for a deceased Brother, or for such other purpose as the Grand Master may specifically authorize.
Ritual (Change to Degree Work)
Page 1955-231, 09/14/1955, on modification to the ritual.
The Grand Master noted that there was a new edition of the ciphers to be released, and made a recommendation regarding changes to the Master Mason Degree.
"In our standard work there is no provision made for a so-called short form of the Master Mason Degree. The short form in common usage for many years was considered by many to be too inadequate. My predecessor, Most Worshipful Thomas Sherrard Roy, prepared and submitted to the Craft in cipher a short form which he felt contained the minimum essentials of the standard work. He included for trial purposes two additions which were never a part of the Standard Work. Three raps were inserted for the Worshipful Master to call up the Craft during the invocation at the beginning of the second section, and one rap was inserted to seat the Lodge after the invocation. There was also inserted some words instruction for the three Craftsmen in the second section (to address the candidate with their respective working tools in their hands). However, these changes are as equally applicable to the long form as to the short form, and if they are to be adopted, the official standard work should be amended accordingly so that the official work and the cipher may be brought into conformity.
"So far as I have been able to learn, it is universally agreed that it is better always to call up the Lodge during the invocation. Accordingly, I recommend to Grand Lodge that the standard work be amended by inserting the necessary raps by the Master to call up the Lodge before, and to seat the Lodge after, the invocation."
This change was endorsed by vote of the Grand Lodge on Page 1955-249.
On the other noted change, the Grand Master noted that a divergence of opinion was present, and determined that he did not wish to make what he called "piecemeal recommendations" to change the standard work.
Dimits and Certificates of Clearance
Page 1955-234, 09/14/1955, on Masonic law, demits and certificates of clearance. (SCC p. 208)
"In my address at the March 1954 Communication of Grand Lodge, I pointed out that our body of Masonic law is derived from the Ancient Landmarks, from the customs of the Craft which have been so long established that they have become Masonic common law, from Grand Lodge legislation embodied in the Grand Lodge Constitutions, committee reports adopted by Grand Lodge and the rulings, decisions, edicts and interpretations made by Grand Masters. I pointed out that I would clearly indicate such rulings as I should make and would include them in my quarterly addresses to Grand Lodge so that they might be published and indexed as such for the information of the Craft.
"I have noticed with increasing frequency the use of the word directive in connection with Grand Lodge matters. However, the term "directive" has no place in the terminology of our Masonic jurisprudence. It is a word that has come into use within the last twenty-five years in connection with the rapidly expanding administrative agencies of the Federal Government. Rulings issued by a Grand Master in the nature of general orders governing matters of administration are properly termed edicts.
"Upon the recommendation of the Grand Secretary, and after carefully considering the reasons advanced by him, I have issued certain edicts in connection with the issuance of Demits, Certificates of Clearance, and Certificates of Good Standing; and in connection with securing certain official information before balloting upon applications for membership by affiliation. The basis reason underlying the issuance of these edicts is for the purpose of insuring accuracy in the Masonic records of the members of our Craft and of making these accurate membership records available for the guidance of Lodges who are acting upon applications for affiliation. These edicts, or rulings as they are generally called, have exactly the same validity as Grand Lodge legislation until they are superseded. These rulings are:
- No Demit or Certificate of Clearance hereafter issued pursuant to the provisions of Sections 505 or 507 of the Grand Constitutions shall be valid unless the Masonic record of the Brother named therein has been entered thereon and has been certified by the Grand Secretary under the seal of the Grand Lodge.
- No Certificate of Good Standing hereafter issued pursuant to the provisions of Section 507 of the Grand Constitutions shall be valid until the Masonic record of the Brother named therein has been entered thereon and has been certified by the Grand Secretary under the seal of the Grand Lodge.
- No application for affiliation under the provisions of Section 423 of the Grand Constitutions shall hereafter be balloted upon until the Lodge shall have secured a certified copy of the Masonic record of the applicant over the signature of the Grand Secretary which certified copy shall be retained with the application and the report of the investigating committee in the files of the Lodge.
Whitfield W. Johnson, Grand Master.
Lodge Notices (Included Material)
Page 1956-115, 03/14/1956, on the Masonic Inspiration newsletter and what can be sent with Lodge notices.
"In my December address I called attention to the fact that the pamphlet entitled Masonic Inspiration, which was being rather widely mailed to our Massachusetts Masons with the Lodge notices had changed considerably in context from previous issues. I pointed out that although no permission had ever been given by the Grand Master authorizing the insertion of this pamphlet with the Lodge notices, I had taken no affirmative action to prevent its being mailed with the notice.
"However, serious question was raised with regard to some material which was published in the December issue, and in view of the fact that the January issue contained more of the same type of material, in my December address I reluctantly requested the Lodges not to mail out the January issue with their January Lodge notices. The Masters and Secretaries of the Lodges were so notified by letter. A few Lodges which meet early in the month had already sent out their January notices and were therefore unable to comply with this request. I pointed out that this request would apply only to the January issue unless the Lodges were further advised, since I had been assured by the editor that he was going to get back to his original concept of the type of material which would be published. I find, however, from the February and March issues that he is continuing to use the pamphlet to arouse Masonic sentiment to combat a political situation in Spain involving the arrest of some Masons who are Spanish Nationals. I am therefore reluctantly obliged to require the Lodges to comply with the long-established precedent which strictly confines the Lodge notices, and material mailed with the Lodge notices, to official Lodge business except as otherwise specifically approved by the Grand Master.
"It is not my intention in any way to censor what the editor writes in his publication. Any Massachusetts Mason who wishes to subscribe to this publication on an individual basis and to receive it directly from the publisher is privileged to do so. The difficulty, however, is that when it is inserted in the same envelope with the official Lodge notice, it may properly be inferred that its contents bear the official approval not only of the Lodge, but of the Grand Lodge.
"I realize that the March issue has already been mailed. I hope that this comes in time to prevent the mailing of the April issue. No subsequent issues may be mailed until specific authorization has been given by the Grand Master."
In June, 1956, the Grand Master revisited the subject, on Page 1956-217:
"I regret the necessity of again referring to this subject. You will recall that I have previously issued an edict prohibiting the mailing of this bulletin with the monthly Lodge notices. Copies of a circular being currently mailed by the editor to the Masters and Secretaries of our Massachusetts Lodges may no longer send out the bulletin with the monthly notices, the Lodges should order copies for distribution at meetings, ask members to subscribe individually or appoint a Brother to handle orders. The bulletin offers to pay a commission of fifty cents on each annual subscription sold at two dollars. I have been asked whether my edict previously issued would prevent a Lodge from adopting one of these alternative suggestions.
"This publication has no official or quasi-official Masonic status despite the fact that the word Masonic appears on its mast head. It stands on the same basis as any other of the many publications available to all who wish to subscribe.
"The reasons which impelled me to invoke the long-established law against including unofficial matter in the monthly notice are equally valid to impel me to withhold permission for Lodges to distribute the bulletin at Lodge meetings, either by passing them around at the meeting or leaving them on a table in the ante-room to be picked up by the members. By permitting such distribution, an inference might justifiably be drawn that the Lodge, and possibly Grand Lodge, assumed responsibility for the material therein contained.
"I am not presently called upon to rule whether a Mason who solicits subscriptions to this bulletin or otherwise assists in its distribution within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is guilty of a Masonic offense under Section 706 of our Grand Constitutions. However, I will not hesitate to make a ruling on this question if and when any specific case of such solicitation or assistance is officially brought to my attention.
"No question of censorship or suppression of this publication is involved. Anyone, Mason or non-Mason alike, is perfectly at liberty to read this bulletin. If he wishes to subscribe to it, it is as much his privilege to do so through regular business channels as it is to subscribe to any of the many other publications in which he may have a particular interest. Our Grand Lodge does not in any way attempt to dictate its policy or censor its contents. However, it is my duty to take such action as to me seems necessary to avoid, as far as is possible, any inference that the contents of this publication bear the official or unofficial approval of Grand Lodge or of any of its constituent Lodges. This I have done and this I will continue to do so far as is necessary. But I hope that this is the last time that a Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts will find it necessary to refer to this matter. The position of our Grand Lodge should be crystal clear to all who are willing to understand. I respectfully request that all Massachusetts Masons try to see how faithfully the spirit of our position can be supported, rather than to try to see how resourcefully it can be subverted."
Page 1956-167, 06/13/1956, on By-Laws.
The Grand Master presented a problem relating to the By-Laws of Simon W. Robinson Lodge, and made a ruling regarding by-laws of particular Lodges. This bears upon a decision made in 1926 by Most Wor. Frank L. Simpson and one made during the administration of Most Wor. Samuel H. Wragg. The Lodge had an explicit By-Law regarding the consent of two-thirds of all members to all changes (rather than two-thirds of the members present); when adopted, the Lodge had 86 members and now had nearly seven hundred, with only 425 residing in Lexington.
". . . There is an inherent right in every Lodge to adopt, amend, or repeal its own by-laws subject only to the Ancient Landmarks, the common law of the Craft, Grand Masters' Rulings, and the provisions of the Grand Constitutions and Regulations and other Grand Lodge legislation binding on all Lodges within the jurisdiction . . . [but] any by-law which purports to prevent a Lodge from acting otherwise lawfully upon the amendment or repeal of its own by-laws or other legislation must, therefore, be inherently invalid, whether the prohibition is imposed by express words of limitation or by conditions impossible of fulfillment.
"The by-law in question in actual practice prevents the Lodge from acting upon a proposal to amend or repeal its own by-laws by setting up conditions impossible of fulfillment. The fact that these conditions were possible of fulfillment when the by-law was adopted is of no consequence in determining the validity of the by-law under present conditions. While giving due consideration to the lofty motives which prompted the Brethren in 1890 to impose these restrictions, despite the inherent sanctity of by-law provisions relative to Charity Funds, and with the utmost respect for the acknowledged legal abilities of Most Wor. Frank L. Simpson, nevertheless, in ruling on this matter I must be guided by the motto of our Grand Lodge engraved on our official seal, I must Follow Reason.
"RULING AS TO BY-LAWS. Accordingly I hereby rule as follows:
- Any provision in the by-laws of a Lodge which by express limitation precludes the Lodge from acting otherwise lawfully upon the amendment or repeal of any provision of its by-laws or other legislation is invalid and void.
- Any provision in the by-laws of a Lodge which imposes a condition which in actual practice precludes a Lodge from acting otherwise lawfully upon the amendment or repeal of any provision of its by-laws or other legislation, may be declared by the Grand Master to be void and no longer binding upon the Lodge upon an affirmative finding and determination by the Grand Master of the existence of such condition.
- I find and determine that in actual practice it would be impossible for Simon W. Robinson to assemble two-thirds of the entire membership of the Lodge at a meeting for the purpose of taking action upon Article VII of its by-laws, and I therefore declare to be void and no longer binding upon the Lodge that portion of the Section 3 of Article X of its by-laws which reads as follows: provided, however, that any proposition to amend or repeal Article VII, relating to the Charity Fund, or this provision, shall not be adopted except by the consent of two-thirds of the members of the Lodge."
"APPLICABILITY TO OTHER CASES. It occurs to me that other Lodges might find similar provisions and limitations in their own by-laws. I know specifically of one other Lodge having an identical by-law which leads me to believe that perhaps in the latter part of the last century this might have been a standard provision.
"Any Lodge seeking relief under this Ruling should furnish the Grand Master with such factual information as may be necessary to enable him to determine whether or not in actual practice the limitations in the by-laws of the Lodge in question are or are not capable of fulfillment.
"In granting relief under this Ruling, the Grand Master by implication neither endorses nor signifies approval of the proposed action of the Lodge. All that the Grand Master does is to make it possible for the Lodge to exercise its inherent right to act under its own by-laws upon the proposed amendment or repeal, subject only to the Ancient Landmarks, the Common Law of the Craft, Grand Masters' Rulings, and the provisions of the Grand Constitutions and Regulations and other Grand Lodge legislation binding on all Lodges within the jurisdiction."
Page 1956-169, 06/13/1956, on exemplifications.
"Exemplifications have now been held in all of the Districts under the direction of one of the four members of the Board of Grand Lecturers. You will recall that on several occasions I have emphasized the fact the Grand Lecturers have been instructed to coordinate the teaching of the ritual and the floor work in such a way as to achieve substantial uniformity throughout the jurisdiction. (Pages 1954-37, 1954-119). I am very happy that the Craft has graciously responded to this type of instruction, but what is even more gratifying is the fact that Lodge officers have sensed a new atmosphere at these exemplifications. They have sensed that they were present at the exemplifications not so much to be tested and examined, as to be instructed and helped, in the performance of their duties. I wish to express my appreciation to the Grand Lecturers for so successfully interpreting my attitude as to the function of these exemplifications. What we are all striving for is to find the best possible way to do what we all want to do in the best way possible.
"Our system of obligatory exemplifications came into being as a result of a recommendation made in 1895 by Most Worshipful Edwin B. Holmes (Page 1895-303), which was adopted by Grand Lodge the following year. (Page 1896-32). I quote from the committee report recommending the district exemplifications as follows:
"These Exemplifications are schools of instruction and not only give the officers and opportunity to hear the correct ritual, but also to witness the established observances as recommended by the Grand Lodge. By this method all the Lodges will have the same instruction and will witness the same ceremonies. If officers of Lodges are permitted to make innovations in the established regulations, and to introduce ceremonies of their own, the time will soon come when there will be as great a variance as there is now between different Grand Jurisdictions.
"These words are as sound today as they were sixty years ago when they were written.
"As a result of the exemplifications this year, a number of suggestions have been brought to my attention. Some of the suggestions have originated with the Grand Lecturers, some have been made by the District Deputies, some have come from officers of Lodges, and some have been made by interested Brethren.
"Under our present system the Master Mason Degree is exemplified one year and the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft Degrees the following year. It has been suggested with considerable merit that the officers would prefer to have instruction in all three Degrees every year and that an unofficial exemplification could be held once a year to cover the work not being officially exemplified that year. Demonstrations of the work by the Grand Lecturers and a specially trained degree team in various areas of the jurisdiction might well supply this need. I suggest that Lodge Officers wishing to have this additional instruction, either by way of a demonstration or by means of an unofficial exemplification, might request their District Deputy to make necessary arrangements with one of the Grand Lecturers. If on a voluntary basis this proves to be helpful, it might well develop into something more formal."
Degree Work (Costumes)
Page 1956-171, 06/13/1956, on costumes.
"I am reluctant to take official notice of the fact that certain Lodges are using costumes for the Fellow Crafts in the second section of the Master Mason Degree.. However, if the custom goes unnoticed, it might be assumed to have been approved. A situation has recently been called to my attention where the entire Degree Team was dressed in elaborate costumes.
"The law of our jurisdiction was established sixty years ago. The committee report on which this action was based said in part:
"... as a general thing, the costuming destroys that beautiful and impressive simplicity, which has been not only the peculiar characteristic but also the strength of Masonic work. It places in the background the elevating lessons of the ritual, and gives the prominent place, with its lasting impressions, to what is usually undignified and often burlesque, In conclusion we would suggest that in an institution whose precepts are transmitted as are ours, it should al. ways be a cardinal principle to endeavor to inculcate the moral precepts, rather than to exhibit our dramatic abilities, to appeal to the higher nature rather than to the love for the spectacular, to cultivate the substantial, rather than the superficial, elements and possibilities of our work. And, finally, we should strive to cultivate that impressive and intelligent simplicity, which is always the most appropriate vesture for such truths as our ritual is designed to teach.... We therefore recommend the adoption by this Grand Lodge of the recommendation made by the Grand Master on this subject: 'That the Grand Lodge order the discontinuance in this jurisdiction of the costuming of the Fellow Crafts.' (Page 1896-108)
"Until this law of our jurisdiction is altered or repealed, it should be observed. This law is equally applicable to any other officers or members of a Degree Team."
Innovations In Work
Page 1956-172, 06/13/1956, on the use of a stereopticon lantern.
"A stereopticon lantern and slides to illustrate the lecture in the Fellow Craft and Master Mason Degrees is apparently still being used by some Lodges although this has also been prohibited in our Grand Lodge for over sixty years.
"The resolution, as adopted by Grand Lodge and which was incorporated in Section 333 of the 1953 revision of our Grand Constitutions, is as follows:
"Resolved, that the use of the stereopticon, or other devices not in general use of the work and lecturers of the degrees, is hereby prohibited as contrary to the ancient usages and customs of the Fraternity in this Grand Jurisdiction. (Page 1896-32)
"I trust that Lodges which are still using the stereopticon may find it possible to adopt some other method of illustrating the lectures."
Past Masters (Gifts)
Page 1956-219, 09/12/1956, on gifts to Past Masters.
"Evidence continues to be presented to me of the disfavor which is incurred among many of the Brethren of the Lodges which have adopted the practice of soliciting the Lodge members year after year for contributions to be presented either in the form of a purse or a gift to the outgoing Master at the end of his term of office. A year ago after seeking the advice of several Brethren whose opinion I respect, I addressed a letter to all Masters, in which I outlined the problem and the attendant unfortunate implications of such a practice. I pointed out that it was the kind of thing that Grand Lodge or a Grand Master would be reluctant to forbid; but yet, in view of the many complaints that reached the Grand Master as a result of these practices, it is obvious that it is a matter that Grand Lodge could not completely ignore.
"Under our present law there is nothing illegal in this practice. But there are many things which, although not illegal, are in bad taste.
"As I pointed out a year ago in my letter to the Masters, while some official action may eventually be necessary, it would seem obviously much more appropriate if the practice could be kept under suitable control and be voluntarily cut down to proper proportions.
"It has of course been traditional that a Master be presented with a Past Master's Apron or a Past Master's Jewel, or possibly both, upon the completion of his term of office, but an Apron and a Jewel need not run into any great amount of money. In some Lodges it is customary for the line officers who serve with the Master to present him with some inexpensive memento of their association. So long as such a gift is sufficiently modest, this practice should not be considered to be objectionable.
"The privilege of serving a Lodge as its Master should be its own reward and any gift which appears to be in the nature of compensation for this service is entirely inconsistent with this concept. There are some things in life which money cannot purchase. One of these things is the privilege of serving as Master of a Lodge. There are other things in life which could not be possibly compensated for in money or things of monetary value, such as the service which a Master should give to his Lodge. The presentation of a purse of money or an expensive gift to the Master year after year looks too much like attaching compensation to the office. In fact, it cheapens the office by seemingly placing a monetary value upon the Master's services.
"It has been suggested that some legislation may become necessary to clarify this particular issue, but before approaching this problem legalistically, I should like to request that the officers of the Lodges in which this practice prevails make an effort to have the practice discontinued voluntarily as a matter of good taste."
Page 1956-398, 12/12/1956, on balloting.
"I have been concerned about the future of two lodges in which the improper use of the ballot has come to my attention. Under the provisions of Section 413 of our Grand Constitutions, casting a black cube factiously and without just cause is a Masonic offense, for which a member is subject to Masonic punishment. The word factious is defined as meaning addicted to raising dissension. For purposes of this discussion, I am sub-dividing factious balloting into three classifications which I shall call vindictive balloting, discriminatory balloting, and retaliatory balloting.
"By vindictive balloting I refer to the use of the ballot to square a personal grudge against a worthy applicant. Happily, this does not often occur, and when it does, the member casting the black cube is usually known and can be made to see the evil of his vindictive attitude. Such use of the ballot is entirely unworthy of a Mason. Where it is established, it will subject the guilty member to Masonic discipline and to the contempt of his fellow members.
"Discriminatory balloting is a more common and difficult problem to deal with. The word discriminatory is here used in its more common meaning of making an unfair and injurious distinction. The most common manifestation of discriminatory balloting is in the rejection of applicants of a different economic, social or racial group than most of the members of the Lodge. Discriminatory balloting is un-Masonic and evidences a narrow and bigoted attitude which we as Masons try to overcome by our philosophy and teachings, but it seldom evidences a malicious or malevolent attitude. However, in any event, it should be condemned and not condoned.
"Retaliatory balloting is, in my opinion, the most reprehensible type of factious balloting. It is indulged in on the false theory that two wrongs make a right. By its very nature it involves maliciousness and malevolence, because its practitioners say in effect that until applicants whom they sponsor are allowed to pass the ballot box, no other applicant, regardless of how worthy he is, will be permitted to do so. Thus a Lodge stagnates and soon no applicant would have the courage to apply to the Lodge for the degrees.
"When this evil disease breaks out in a Lodge, it is primarily the Lodge and the Craft at large that are being harmed and not the candidate asking admission, serious though it may be to him. The profane has no right to be elected to receive the Masonic degrees in any particular Lodge. Therefore when an applicant is rejected it is not a denial of an inherent right to the applicant, nor does it constitute a wrong against him entitling him to redress.
"However, a Lodge does have a right, and indeed an obligation, to the Craft as a whole to perpetuate itself and to propagate the art of Freemasonry within its charter jurisdiction, and when that right is denied to a Lodge by the evil practices of retaliatory balloting on the part of one or more of its members, the Lodge and the Craft as a whole are being wronged in a manner entitling the Lodge and the Craft to relief.
"Retaliatory balloting is the most reprehensible type of factious balloting for other reasons. As in the case of vindictive balloting, the guilty Brother is usually known to the members of the Lodge - in fact, he often boasts about it; but whereas a Brother who casts a vindictive ballot is usually willing to recede from his position the Brother who casts a retaliatory ballot is seldom willing to listen to the advice of those who have the welfare of the Lodge at heart. He is usually willing to damage, perhaps even destroy, the Lodge rather than retreat from his position, and he often tries to justify his position by insisting that he is acting in support of a principle, thus assigning a lofty motive to a malicious act.
"Too many times he tries to justify his action as being a defense against what he believes to be discriminatory balloting against one of his friends, when the fact may be that his friend has been rejected, not as a result of discrimination but because he was unworthy in the ayes of the impartial and objective members. Seldom is an applicant's unworthiness apparent to his friends.
"For these and many other reasons, retaliatory balloting is too unworthy and indefensible a weapon ever to be justifiably employed in a Masonic Lodge, no matter what the provocation or the superficial justification. Neither the Grand Lodge nor the Grand Master is powerless to deal with such a situation, regardless of how reluctant they might be to exercise their power to do so. If sufficient information is available to identify the guilty Brother, he can be summarily suspended.
"If the guilty Brother cannot be identified, or if he is identified and suspended and his cause is taken up by his friends, the Charter of the Lodge can be suspended. In such a case, the Charter could later be restored to seven former members who could be entrusted with the responsibility of properly conducting themselves as a Masonic Lodge. All other former members of the suspended Lodge would become unaffiliated Masons subject to the disabilities stated in Section 308 of the Grand Constitutions, and thereafter would be required to pass a unanimous ballot to regain their Masonic standing. Obviously, only those whose motives were above question would be able to do so. This would indeed be a remedy, resort to which should be had only in extreme cases. However, it may become necessary for me to resort to this remedy in one or both of the cases which have come to my attention in order to prevent my successor from being inflicted with these unsavory situations at the commencement of his term of office.
"It is my earnest prayer that those creating these situations will be enlightened by the principles which we so earnestly try to instill in the hearts of our Brethren will realize how indefensible their position is and will desist from causing further damage to the Lodge and to the Craft which they profess to cherish."
Page 1956-401, 12/12/1956, on Lodge finances.
"Within the last few months I have had occasion to make a somewhat detailed study of the financial situation of three different Lodges where financial problems had become apparent.
"In one Lodge I found that through inadequate accounting procedures and lack of supervision by the Master, the Lodge had depleted its cash resources without making the transfers to the Permanent, Charity and Building Funds of that portion of the fees for the degrees, as required by the by-laws. It seemed necessary for the Grand Master to withhold the Past Master's Diploma from the Master who must assume responsibility for the proper conduct of the affairs of the Lodge. The new Master and Wardens, with the advice and the assistance of the District Deputy Grand Master, have agreed upon a plan to make up the deficiency. While this will place a considerable burden upon their administrations, nevertheless their willingness to work out the problem and establish the Lodge on a sound financial basis is very gratifying.
"In another Lodge, an examination of the audit report disclosed that the net worth of the Lodge had been reduced during the fiscal year just ended by approximately $2100. Some of this was attributable to some unpaid bills held over from previous administrations, but most of it was attributable to a loss of $1500 incurred during the last fiscal year in connection with a ladies' night. The matter came to the attention of the Grand Master as the result of a vote of the Lodge to transfer $1000 from the Relief Fund to apply toward the deficit incurred in the general operation of the Lodge. I not only felt obliged to withhold the Past Master's Diploma from the Master who permitted this transfer, but I notified the present Master to see that this transfer was immediately returned to the Relief Fund. This was done from the general funds of the Lodge, and was possible only because the collection of the 1957 dues had built up the cash balance in the general account. The present officers are trying to work out some method of liquidating the deficit which the Lodge had intended to cure by this transfer from the Relief Fund, but so far as I know, no plan has yet been agreed upon. As in the other case, it is basically unfair for the present officers to be required to work out a problem resulting from excessive spending by previous administrations, but they show an admirable desire to solve the problem and prevent its recurrence.
"In still another Lodge a Master installed a year ago inherited over $2400 in unpaid bills incurred by previous administrations, with nothing with which to pay the bills except income attributable to his year. He met this challenge by a strict restraint on expenditures and a close attention to the fiscal affairs of the Lodge. During his administration, he was not only successful in paying all of the expenses attributable to his year, but in addition, he was able to liquidate all but $180.34 of the liabilities totaling $2400 which he inherited. This represented a phenomenal demonstration of what can be accomplished where the responsibility for sound fiscal practice is properly understood.
"These three cases which have officially come to my attention lead me to comment that some closer supervision of Lodge finances may become necessary, not only for the protection of the Lodge itself, but also for the protection of the interest which Grand Lodge has in the funds collected in the name of Freemasonry by individual Lodges. It should be clearly understood that constituent Lodges exist, solely at the will and pleasure of Grand Lodge by virtue of a charter issued by Grand Lodge, Under the provisions of Section 305 of the Grand Constitutions each Lodge is declared to be in fact a constituent part of the Grand Lodge which is the representative body of the whole Craft. In the Grand Lodge therefore, resides the fee, that is, the ultimate ownership, of all the property belonging to the Craft as a whole or to any subdivision thereof. Accordingly when the Charter of a particular Lodge is revoked, suspended, or surrendered, all of the assets in the possession of the Lodge must be returned to the Grand Lodge. Since the constituent Lodges merely have what might be termed a life interest in the funds and the property which it accumulates in the name of Freemasonry, with the remainder interest in Grand Lodge to inquire into the way in which the funds are handled becomes clear. Since improper fiscal policies of any one Lodge reflect discredit upon the entire Craft, it seems to me that the Grand Master might properly require each District Deputy Grand Master to secure annually a copy of the annual audit of each Lodge under his Jurisdiction, together with such additional information or standardized forms, as the Grand Master might require to enable him to be sure that every Lodge was properly handling its fiscal affair's. In this way a Lodge whose financial affairs were not being properly handled could be assisted in organizing its finances before irreparable damage had been suffered, either by the Lodge or by the Craft at large. I recommend this suggestion for the careful consideration of my successor."
Degrees (Costumes and Dress)
Page 1956-403, 12/12/1956, on costumes and special dress.
"My approval has been requested on several occasions for the use of costumes or special dress in the Master Mason Degree. The question of costumes has been easily disposed of because the use of costumes has long since been forbidden by action of our Grand Lodge. Special dress, as distinguished from costumes, is another matter although the two are closely related.
"A variety of dress is used by the officers of our various Lodges. While Lodges using tuxedos and black ties seem to predominate, the officers of a few Lodges wear full evening dress, and at the other extreme, in some Lodges the officers wear business clothes. In at least one Lodge, the officers wear white tuxedos the year round. The officers of two of our University Lodges wear academic dress, and in our Military Lodge, they wear a military uniform. In the Canal Zone, at least one Lodge uses white coats and trousers.
"I have never heard the slightest objection to the regular use of Lodge officers of dress other than tuxedos where the dress is appropriate to the Lodge and is calculated to enhance the dignity of the officers and the solemnity of the work as in the case to which I have alluded.
"The requests to which I refer have come from degree teams who wish to identify themselves by some special dress which is characteristic of their special group. Teams from some allied Masonic bodies would like to appear in the characteristic dress of their organization, thus identifying the team with their particular body. Another typical request comes from Brethren of particular racial groups who wish to clothe themselves in dress of their native land, thus identifying themselves as a particular racial group.
"A great deal of thought has been given to these requests, particularly because in many jurisdictions special dress and costumes in the Master Mason degree seem to be looked upon with favor. While something is to be said for anything which tends to stimulate interest, we must always keep in mind that a Masonic degree is conferred for the benefit of the candidate and not the spectators. It is certainly not for the benefit of the officers or the degree team which may be permitted to participate. Our solemn ceremonies must impress themselves on the mind of the candidate when he receives his degrees, and it is my considered opinion that anything which is superfluous so far as the candidate is concerned will detract from, rather than enhance, the ceremonies.
"In every case in which I was requested to approve the use-of some special or unusual dress by a degree team I have withheld my approval pending further study.
"I have talked with many Grand Masters of other jurisdictions in addition to many members of our own Grand Lodge. Such study and investigation as I have been able to make as my term of office expires, leads me to the conclusion that my approval has been properly withheld and that any tendency to adopt a special dress by a degree team should be discouraged."
Andrew G. Jenkins, Grand Master.
Page 1957-86, 06/12/1957, on balloting.
"It has been recently brought to my attention that in one particular locality it has become the practice to ballot upon more than one applicant by the same ballot. This is apparently an outgrowth of war-time conditions when a very considerable number of applications for the degrees were being considered each month. This practice, in my opinion, is contrary to Masonic usage and quite improper.
"I have therefore directed that this practice be discontinued in the following language:
"I am therefore officially advising you to instruct ________ Lodge Masters and Secretaries that no ballot upon an application for initiation or affiliation or reinstatement, or even on a nomination for honorary membership, should be taken on more than one person at a time. Each Ballot should be secret and on only one candidate."
EDICTS AND RULINGS FROM 1960 TO 1969
Laurence E. Eaton, Grand Master.
Lodge Notices and Mailing Lists
Page 1960-33, 03/09/1960, on Lodge notices and the use of mailing lists.
"Some problems have arisen that need mention. One is the general rule that Lodge notices shall contain nothing but Lodge business. There have been some exceptions granted in special cases. It would be easier to say no and stick to it; however, it is not our intention to be dictatorial, and we attempt to judge all requests on their merits. Where these requests border on the use of our membership lists for business purposes, they become a problem. No one will deny that we should not use our membership lists to solicit business of any kind; yet attempts have been made to have the Lodge officers get around this general prohibition by various methods.
"It has also been suggested in certain instances that the Grand Master was in favor of certain projects because he did not object to them. Let me assure you that the Grand Lodge has no connection with any one selling photographs, insurance or cemetery lots.
"One offers the inducement of a free album to get the Master of a Lodge to use his membership list; another states that the matter has been talked over with the Grand Master, which is true, but when Grand Lodge sponsors something, you will know about it through regular channels. Because the Grand Master has not ruled against a project is no assurance that it has the support of Grand Lodge, and none of these present projects has that approval."
Page 1960-34, 03/09/1960, on dispensations.
"Another matter which seems to be of very frequent occurrence is that of requests for dispensations, generally to shorten time between the degrees or to confer the Entered Apprentice Degree upon the night of election.
"The time between degrees is governed by Article 337 of the Grand Constitutions and provides that a dispensation may be issued but only in cases of necessity or extraordinary emergency. Article 414 states that a candidate must be notified in writing of his election to receive the degrees, and that the notice shall specify the time and place when and where he is to receive his first degree, which time shall not be the meeting at which he is elected. It does not provide for a dispensation; neither does it state that any number of days must elapse between election and the conferring of the first degree.
Page 1960-141, 06/08/1960, on balloting.
"All of you know that at the installation of the Master of a Lodge he is presented the Book of Constitutions and admonished to have it read in his Lodge, that none may profess ignorance of its requirements. I wonder how many of you have heard it read, and sometimes I wonder if some of you have ever read it yourselves. I have read it through several times, and usually I can find something each time that was not noticed before. Many a question that is presented to me is solved by looking to see what the Grand Constitutions have to say on the subject.
"There have been several cases lately that have come to my attention, embarrassing to the Lodge officers and tending to cause friction in the Lodge, that would never have occurred if the Constitutional requirements had been observed. I would refer you, to Sections 400 and 423 particularly concerning balloting. If the Constitutions are not followed and it comes to my attention, I must declare the ballot illegal. The Constitutions specify just how a ballot shall be taken and the routine to be followed. Before balloting, the door should be tyled to see if any Brethren are present in the ante-room desiring admittance. No one should then enter or leave unless in extreme emergency until the ballot has been completed. All the members must vote, unless excused by the Lodge, not by the Master, and this would mean a vote to excuse an individual Brother, not a vote to excuse those not wishing to vote. The Master should announce that all the Brethren should vote. Occasionally one hears a Master say; Have all the Brethren voted who wish? Let's never hear that again; the Brethren have no wish in the matter. If the Master is not sure, he can ask if all the Brethren have voted, and if there is no response, it would be in order to assume that they have all voted. In this matter, the secrecy of the ballot is preserved.
"There is another point in Section 507, with regard to reinstatement. The ballot must be secret and be decided by a majority vote of the members present, if the period of suspension is not longer than five years. This would require a Master to take a count of the members present and provide ballots for a yes or no vote. It is not a majority of the votes cast that decides, but a majority of the members present. If the period of suspension is longer than five years, the ballot must be clear and unanimously favorable.
"I know that these little irregularities seldom cause trouble until a complaint is made; and these remarks are not intended to, and do not, set aside any of the Constitutional requirements. If I have left anything out, it is not a precedent for any short cuts; if I am wrong in any way, you still must follow the Grand Constitutions.
"Brethren, let's follow the book, it will save a lot of trouble for all those involved, including the Grand Master."
"Sword of Bunker Hill"
Page 1960-162, 09/14/1960, on "Sword of Bunker Hill."
"Having had several inquiries as to the Swords of Bunker Hill and having expressed an opinion based on reports from other jurisdictions as to my doubts of their reliability as an organization predicated on the prerequisite of Masonic membership, I have gathered what information was available to try to determine whether the Order is a suitable activity for members of the Masonic Fraternity.
"I have read the Proceedings of their annual meeting for 1959, and have examined their Grand Officers' Roster and the Director or Orders, Regulations and Edicts of 1959. I have met and talked with members in Massachusetts and other states.
"A Grand Master is in a kind of predicament when someone says to him Do you approve of such and such a thing? One does not desire to become a dictator, and I have come to learn that I must be somewhat wary, because there are those who will use a statement that something is not objected to as a permission to go ahead with it, on the assumption that while the Grand Master does not want to endorse that particular project, he does so in effect, when he does not forbid it, thus implying consent or approval.
"The situation has progressed to the point where it can be no longer ignored. I will make no ruling at this time, believing that Massachusetts Masons have the ability to reason out their proper place with this group without any ruling from the Grand Master forbidding them to be associated with it. However, in my opinion they (the Swords) are not financially able to carry out their proposed objectives. A life membership, which includes initiation, of six dollars, of which two dollars goes to those who find the candidate and two to the group which puts on the degree plus another dollar, to the grand body, does not go very far in any program.
"Their degree is based on history well known to Massachusetts Masons, which has been considerably distorted; improper language is used in their ritualistic work; their application forms do not require certification by a Lodge Secretary that the applicant is in good standing in his Lodge; and reports from other jurisdictions tend to indicate their general irresponsibility. As one Brother said to me; Sure, we all sometimes act and talk a bit off color, so what? You can have a lot of fun at one of their meetings. But he did not think a Masonic temple was the proper place for them to meet.
"I believe this Brother summed up about right. It is my opinion that under the present organization and ritual Massachusetts Masons should not become affiliated with it, and that its meetings should not be held under a Masonic or quasi-Masonic banner and I am definitely of the opinion that they should not be permitted to meet in Masonic halls or temples.
"I remember an old Past Master of my own Lodge who saw to it that it was impressed on all new Master Masons that the lodge-room should be considered a sacred spot and that no one would ever think of walking in at any time while smoking or wearing a hat."
Page 1960-163, 09/14/1960, on toleration.
"If we read the newspapers today, it is not too difficult to see the wisdom behind the ancient ruling which forbids the discussion within a Masonic Lodge of matters of religion or politics, or of anything else that might tend to arouse angry discussion and impair the harmony of our meetings. This is something that it would not be difficult for non-Masons to ascertain, if there was the desire. Nevertheless, we read that men identified as Masons are being accused of fomenting religious intolerance. These accusations have not been leveled against Massachusetts Masons but are usually a quote from someone who is identified as 'a Mason.'
"In view of this situation, many thinking Masons are exercising great caution in their remarks and actions, even to the point of cancelling certain events that they feel could be construed by those who may be unfriendly to our Craft as an improper gesture or demonstration (especially around election time).
"It might be in order to remind our Brethren that Masonic Lodges or other organized groups of Masons do not take sides or enter into discussion of political matters; that they pass no resolutions, nor do they attempt to influence legislators in the performance of their duties.
"But how about the individual members: We put no restriction on their activities or on their minds. As long as they act lawfully, as Masons they should be free to act in any manner that their consciences may direct.
"With regard to the so-called oath of the Knights of Columbus, which is again in circulation and is alleged to contain un-American features and to be true because it appeared in the Congressional Record back in 1913, the truth of the matter is that it was lifted out of the Congressional Record without the accompanying context.
"It is interesting to note that in 1914 four Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of California investigated this matter and made a report to their Grand Lodge. In their report they stated that on the authority of the supreme officers of this order in the United States, they were furnished with a complete copy of all the work, and they found that the Order of the Knights of Columbus is dedicated to the Roman Catholic religion, charity and patriotism. Protestants and Masons were not referred to in their ceremonials and pledges. They found nothing in the entire ceremonies of the Order that to their minds could be objected to by any person, and so reported to the Grand Lodge.
"Within the past week, while thinking of this Quarterly meeting and trying to prepare for it, I came across an article in the California Mason, which they had borrowed from another Masonic publication, the Wisconsin Mason, in effect as follows: There is the over-zealous or impulsive Mason who feels the urge to announce to the world, or to declare to his Brethren, that Freemasonry 'stands for' or is 'opposed to' another organization or to any religious, political or social program. Let him pause and ask himself first by what authority he speaks for the Masonic Fraternity as a whole. He should reflect upon the fact that the Craft has been held together for centuries because it permits the utmost latitude to its members in their interpretations of their religious, political, and social duties, and that if it should undertake to favor or oppose any organization or any movement, it would probably disintegrate into groups having few purposes in common."
George Washington Masonic Memorial
Page 1960-165, 09/14/1960, on the George Washington Memorial.
"You have all heard more or less about the George Washington Memorial at Alexandria, Virginia, on more than one occasion. Many of you have seen it, and do not need to be told that there is much work remaining to be done before it is finished. You may also know that it has been the policy of the George Washington Memorial Association to contract for only such work to be done as could be paid for from funds on hand. The building of the Memorial has therefore been necessarily slow, and doubtless somewhat more costly than to have had it completely built in one operation. However, many famous structures have taken years to build, and whatever the conditions have been, we now have the structure practically completed. We should see what can be done to finish the job.
"Money is needed for the completion of the building and its surroundings, and to establish an Endowment Fund for its maintenance. A plan has been suggested that each Grand Lodge contribute a sum equivalent to ten dollars for each of its Lodges, and also ask each of its members to contribute one dollar to the Memorial Fund.
"We have recommended the Ten Dollar per Lodge contribution by the Grand Lodge in the budget for this year, and anticipate in the not-too-distant future an undertaking requesting contributions from our members to average one dollar per member. Some Grand Lodges have already completed such a program to suitably endow the Memorial, and report a very favorable and successful reception."
Page 1960-249, 12/14/1960, on liquor and social functions.
"There has been a continued use of circulars and flyers in connection with Lodge functions which carry the Masonic emblem and the information that cocktails or other alcoholic beverages will be served. (My previous advice has been that this subject can be adequately covered without advertising it to the public; the mention of a social hour should convey a sufficient information.) However, I now rule that no Lodge shall use its name or the Masonic emblem on any publication, circular, flyer, invitation or other material which refers to the use or sale of alcoholic beverages at a social dinner or any other function of the Lodge."
Page 1960-249, 12/14/1960, on Past Masters.
"There has also been raised the question of 'what constitutes a Past Master.' This question is often asked in connection with the wearing of a Past Master's Apron or a Past Master's Jewel, or the eligibility of the individual for an office which has a prerequisite that he be a Past Master. When Most Worshipful William Parkman was Grand Master, a formal report was adopted by Grand Lodge on this matter on December 14, 1864, which stated that the question often had arisen and had always been answered in the same way. A Brother who, having been duly elected and installed, has served one term as Master of a Lodge working under the jurisdiction and authority of some Grand Lodge, is alone entitled to the rank and privileges of a Past Master.
"I am aware that calling this to your attention will bring up the question of presiding Masters who have not completed a term of office wearing Past Master's aprons and jewels. So while we are on this subject let me say that the answers to those questions are plainly given in the Constitutions. Section 817c contains the regulation covering Master's and Past Masters' Aprons. They are the same. Section 812 regarding jewels says that the jewel of the Master is the square, while the jewel of a Past Master shall be the blazing sun within the square and compasses extended on a quadrant.
"The highest ranking officer of any Lodge is the Master, and no other is entitled to wear the badge of his office. One might ask why a Presiding Master might wish to wear a jewel of lesser rank."
Page 1960-251, 12/14/1960, on Lodge finances.
"In 1932 Most Worshipful Curtis Chipman urged Lodges to have their financial officers bonded, a need for this security having been indicated. He said: "The intent of bonding is to protect not only the Lodge but the officer himself. Placing officers now in office under bond is no reflection on their integrity and should not be so regarded even by the most sensitive. In referring to this subject in December of 1933, he reported that in one year sixty-six per cent were bonded as against thirty-six per cent the year before, and then he said: The matter of audits is of equal or even greater importance than bonding. Many Lodges have by-laws which provide that the Master and Wardens shall examine the accounts of the Treasurer, Secretary and Trustees, but from many painful instances that have been brought to my attention; I am led to believe that in too many instances this sort of an audit is ineffectual in preventing serious loss.
"Most Worshipful Roger Keith, in September of 1949, called attention to these words of Most Worshipful Brother Chipman, and urged any Lodges not following the practice to adopt it without delay.
"I know of no serious trouble at the present time, but some matters that have come to my attention recently indicate that the foregoing should again be called to your attention; and I recommend that not only should all Lodges have their financial officers bonded, but that they should elect someone skilled in accounting to audit their books every year. Bonding is of no use if you have losses and do not know it; someone skilled in accounting should make a thorough audit every year."
Page 1960-??, 12/14/1960, on liquor and Ladies' Nights. (SCC p. 242) can't find this
Page 1960-??, 12/14/1960, on Masonic etiquette. (SCC p. 243) can't find this
Laurence E. Eaton, Grand Master.
Page 1961-27, 03/08/1961, on balloting.
"It has come to my attention that there have been some cases where 'collective' balloting has been resorted to, and may even be the regular procedure. I would call your attention to the ruling by Most Worshipful Andrew G. Jenkins at the June Quarterly Communication of 1957, in the following language:
". . . no ballot upon an application for initiation or affiliation or reinstatement, or even on a nomination for honorary membership, should be taken on more than one person at a time. Each ballot should be secret and on only one candidate. (Page 1957-86).
"It might be well to note that when a matter does not seem to be covered in our Grand Constitutions there is the possibility that a ruling has been made on the subject. The Grand Secretary's office can very easily check on that for you."
Degree Work (Decorum)
Page 1961-27, 03/08/1961, on degree work and decorum.
"Search of the Proceedings would undoubtedly substantiate the statement that every Grand Master, at least once during his administration, has found it necessary to refer to the conduct of certain officers in the work of the Third Degree, and to caution the Masters of Lodges that it is their responsibility to see that unseemly enthusiasm or exuberance is not permitted to creep in.
"Because of reports that are being received altogether too frequently, I must refer to this subject again and remind the Masters that they are responsible for the orderly and Masonic conduct of the business and work in their Lodges at all times. This applies perhaps with special regard when a visiting team or group is to participate in the work, to ascertain in advance what their practice is and instruct them what is required of them. This is equally applicable whether there are regular officers assigned to these tasks, or whether friends are temporarily filling the stations."
Waivers of Jurisdiction and Jurisdiction On Rejected Applicants
Page 1961-173, 12/13/1961, on waivers of jurisdiction, and regarding jurisdiction over rejected applicants.
"With due respect for the reasons for jurisdictional lines between our Lodges, I would inform you that careful attention has been and will continue to be given to requests for permission 'to entertain the application' of candidates living in the jurisdiction of other Lodges. These requests should be accompanied by detailed reasons why the man wants to apply to a Lodge other than the one in the town or city where he lives. We are now living in an age where distance is not a problem. Prospective candidates cannot be expected to know our laws or methods. Several cases have come to my attention lately which indicate that on a state-wide basis, we may be losing many good candidates because they are not permitted to join the Lodge of their choice. In some instances where a release was finally granted after some delay caused by insufficient or incorrect information, the prospective candidate felt that he had been 'tried and found wanting' and no longer held a favorable opinion of our Fraternity.
"Section 416 of the Grand Constitutions spells out the procedure for the granting of a waiver of jurisdiction over a rejected applicant. Hitherto it has been the custom for the granting Lodge to send such waiver direct to the requesting Lodge with the result, frequently, that the Grand Secretary is embarrassed by not having record of the waiver and recommendation.
Therefore I rule that whenever a waiver of jurisdiction over a rejected applicant is granted by a Lodge in accordance with the provisions of Section 416 of the Grand Constitutions and has been attested by the Secretary under the seal of the Lodge, it shall be immediately sent to the Grand Secretary to be validated and recorded. The Grand Secretary will then forward the same to the Lodge named in the waiver to receive it."
Laurence M. Eaton, Grand Master.
Page 1962-140, 06/13/1962, on territiorial jurisdictions.
"This matter has given me great concern for some time and the references in our Proceedings since 1926 have been reviewed.
"There are those who think there should be no jurisdictional lines and others who think releases should never be granted. Somewhere between the two extremes must lie a solution.
"We must remember that those seeking membership know little about our laws. Some have thought that they were rejected when a release was not granted. There are also others who may have reasons (good to them) why they want to join a distant Lodge. We decide whether we think a candidate is one who will make a good member, has the proper character, etc.; there well may be candidates who reject a certain Lodge because of the character or reputation of some of its members.
"All in all, it is a complicated problem with many 'public relation' angles. How to handle the matter without creating ill feeling on the part of both sponsors and candidates is the problem.
"You can now see, Brethren, how or why there are problems along this line that finally reach my desk for decisions. Most of these problems come about through the fact that Brethren complain about situations in which they find themselves. The Grand Master looks into the matter, and then finds that somewhere along the line the constitutions or regulations or instructions were not followed. I am not as familiar with them as I might be, but in them are the answers to most questions. Also there is a file available where decisions on various subjects can be rapidly located.
"Some years ago Grand Lodge in its wisdom placed the power to give 'permission to entertain' in the Grand Master. They were trying to eliminate 332 Masters, that is, 332 different minds, trying to act uniformly on the matter; it was getting troublesome.
"Therefore, I should like to review this subject before Grand Lodge. It has often been stated that the Grand Master has the power of granting releases, and that he does not have to consult anyone in the matter. This is correct, but it is not the kind of answer that I should like to receive. When the whole story is told, there is more to it.
"Any of you may drop me a line regarding your thoughts on this Matter. I believe that we need to overhaul our procedure somewhat.
"I take it for granted you know how to request permission to entertain. The Grand Master can grant it without consulting anyone (See Section 404). However, that is not just how it is done and I desire to have our instructions followed. First, the request is referred to the District Deputy, or in rare cases, directly to the Master of the Lodge where the candidate resides. The form used states in part, Please inform the Master of the following-named Lodge or Lodges of this request, and ascertain what objections, if any, are held to the granting of it by the Grand Master. Now no Master should say 'no objection' if he doesn't know the applicant, He should meet the applicant, if he is unknown, and ascertain if he is a fit candidate for Masonry. He also can inform him about jurisdictional lines (which the requesting Lodge should have done) and that there is a Lodge in his home town where he might be welcome. He is then able to report intelligently. This has been working out to some extent, but bear in mind the Master does not grant or refuse the release; he merely informs the Grand Master of his objections, if any.
"The next important thing, if the request is granted, is stated on the 'permission' to the Master, quote: You are enjoined to use special care in the investigation of applicants living outside your jurisdiction, extending the investigation to the locality in which the applicant lives. This creates a problem, but it is a condition of the release.
"There are two thoughts: jurisdictional lines protect a Lodge's life in that other Lodges cannot raid its territory; they also protect the quality of our initiates in that the local people can best know their neighbors, and that that poorly qualified men do not seek admission where they are unknown, to our later regret.
Past Masters (Apron and Jewel)
Page 1962-141, 06/13/1962, on Past Masters' apron and jewel.
"On December 14, 1960, at the quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge (Page 1960-249), I referred to What Constitutes a Past Master and to what was formally adopted on December 14, 1864, by the Grand Lodge describing a Past Master as one who has served one term as Master of a Lodge and is alone entitled to the Rank and privileges of a Past Master. I also called the attention of the Brethren to Section 817(C) of the Grand Constitutions which indicates that the apron of a Master and Past Masters are the same; and to Section 812 regarding the description of the jewels of a Master and a Past Master.
"It was my opinion at the time that this subject was well covered in the report of the committee in 1864, and by Section 812 and 817(C) of the Grand Constitutions. However, the question is still being asked of some of the District Deputies by Lodge officers who do not seem to think that what I had to say was definite. I would repeat my query in December of 1960, asking why the ranking officer in a Lodge should want to wear any jewel other than a Master's jewel; and also I would think the Past Masters would jealously guard their prerogative of wearing a Past Master's jewel, showing that they had completed a term as Master.
"To clarify the situation, I now repeat and confirm what was then said, and rule A Brother who, having been duly elected and installed, has served one term as Master of a Lodge working under the jurisdiction and authority of some Grand Lodge, is alone entitled to the rank and the privileges of a Past Master, and remind all concerned that one of the privileges of a Past Master is the right to wear the jewel of a Past Master, as described in Section 812 of the Grand Constitutions.
"I am notifying those suppliers of Masonic aprons and jewels that we know of just what the requirements of our Grand Constitutions are regarding Masters' and Past Masters' aprons. If this provision does not meet the approval of the Brethren, it is always permissible to change the Grand Constitutions.
"To summarize, I would like to point out to you the following:
- According to the Grand Constitutions, there is no difference in the design of a Presiding Master's or a Past Master's apron.
- If it is the custom of your Lodge to present a Past Master's apron to your Master at the time of his installation as Master (this is fundament-ally wrong if we are to consider the Past Master's apron a reward for work well done), the apron should be made in accordance with the provisions of Section 817(C) of the Grand Constitutions. This will eliminate the confusion of a Presiding Master's wearing a Past Master's apron as we know it at the present time.
- The presentation of a Past Master's jewel to a Presiding Master at the time of his installation is in violation of the ruling just made.
Past Masters (Apron and Jewel)
Page 1962-169, 09/12/1962, on jewels and aprons.
"[M]uch thought and time has gone into the matter of jewels and aprons. You no doubt all know that last June the Grand Master rather forcibly called attention to the provisions of the Grand Constitutions regarding Masters' jewels and Past Masters' jewels, Master Masons' aprons, Masters' aprons, and Past Masters' aprons. Brethren, we really kicked up a hornet's nest on that one. We have all promised to abide by the Constitutions of this Grand Lodge. It is my opinion that all the buzzing that I have heard is because no one has ever paid the slightest attention to what the Constitutions say about aprons for fifty years, more or less.
"The Grand Constitutions describe very clearly the approved apron for Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts, Master Masons, Presiding Masters and Past Masters, and prohibits the use of any variation. Let me briefly review the subject. A Master Mason's apron is 12" x 14", white lambskin (not Cloth), blue backing, blue border 2" in width and 1 1/2" on the flap. It may have blue tabs and silver tassels, and three blue rosettes. Did you ever see one? A Presiding Master's apron or a Past Master's apron is the same size as a Master Mason's apron, of lambskin, symbols instead of rosettes; and it may have a square embroidered on it and may have a silver border and fringe. Where has the authority come from for larger aprons; or aprons with the all-seeing eye on the flap and a Past Master's jewel embroidered? It would appear that thirty-two years ago these regulations were revised and that they did not invalidate any aprons then being worn; again no one paid much attention. Well, enough of that; what to do about it. We should either abide by the Grand Constitutions or we should change the Constitutions. It is my sincere opinion that we might do both. I Think that the Constitutions should spell out when and by whom a Past Master's apron and jewel may be worn, and that there should be a distinction between Presiding and Past Master's aprons. Possibly a Past Master's jewel should be authorized on a Past Master's apron to distinguish it from 1 Presiding Master's Apron. If this situation has gone on for so long a time, I guess it can go on a bit longer.
"A committee will be appointed to go into the matter and bring in recommendations for any desired Constitutional changes at the December meeting regarding the aforesaid comments. I recommend that any of you having any suggestions regarding the entire matter send them at once to my office."
Page 1962-235, 12/12/1962, on lodge finances.
"The financial affairs of some few Lodges have been brought to the attention of the Grand Master, and considerable investigation has been done. A reference to the 1956 Proceedings will show that the very same problems were present six years ago. M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson devoted 2 1/2 pages to a discussion of the problem. The situation has not changed; either the Lodges in question did not hear about the problem or they have decided to go their own way.
"Those affairs fall into two categories. There is the Master who for reasons best known to himself does not seem to be able to operate his Lodge on its regular income. There is a tendency to over-stretch on ladies' nights, the number of invited free guests at dinners, etc., with the result that a deficit of several hundred dollars must be met by an appropriation from Lodge reserve funds. Rather than penalize the many because of the few, I have instructed the District Deputies to watch their Lodges and if necessary to require monthly financial reports from those who are offending. A Master is responsible and must live within his income.
The other matter is in regard to funds claimed not to be 'Lodge Funds.' Some are known as Philanthropic Funds. They seem to come about because a Master of a Lodge wants to contribute to worthy charities from which the use of Lodge Funds would be improper.
"These Funds are solicited from the Members of the Lodge. They then become Lodge Funds, or do we have an improper use of the membership list? The Lodge has no control of the fund. It would be simple for a Lodge, by a change of by¬laws, to make the funds legal, or assume control of it, but then its use for non-Masonic purposes would be illegal.
"My Brethren, let's get down to earth on this matter. There is no question in the minds of most of us as to what constitutes a Masonic purpose. Our Masonic law must be upheld; if the law is unpopular it is possible to amend our Constitutions. However, until that time comes I feel it is necessary to rule as follows: Money solicited from, or raised by, the members of a Lodge is the property of the Lodge; and the Lodge must have control of said money or any fund of which it becomes a part. There would be no objection to a Master or a Committee having a small sum to be used at their discretion, but to replenish this sum it would be necessary to have the money come from the Lodge through regular channels replacing what had been spent for some Masonic purpose.
"It is the duty of the District Deputies to be familiar with the financial condition of their Lodges; and if the problem cannot be handled locally, it should be reported to the Grand Master.
"It might also be well to point out that it is not considered good taste to solicit the membership for a gift to a retiring Master. It could well lead to a condition where monetary value was placed on the office.
Page 1962-236, 12/12/1962, on the use of alcohol.
This declaration was in reference to an earlier ruling on the subject.
"There is a ruling against Lodges indicating that alcoholic beverages are being used at functions sponsored by a Lodge. Some few stil apparently try to circumvent the ruling. Violations can well lead to suspension from office and withholding of the Past Master's diploma."
A. Neill Osgood, Grand Master.
Door Prizes (Games of Chance)
Page 1963-55, 03/13/1963, on door prizes.
"It comes to my attention with increasing frequency that Lodges are sponsoring various affairs at which door prizes, or other gifts, are offered as an inducement to attend or to purchase tickets for the affair.
"I call your attention to the resolution adopted by Grand Lodge in 1939, which is as follows:
"Resolved: that it is inconsistent with the professions and purposes of Freemasonry for any Masonic Body to promote, participate in, or profit by any lottery, game of chance, door prize, or other device or activity whereby the individual participant may be able, through the element of luck or chance, to win a greater value than he pays, and each Masonic Body within the Jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge is hereby enjoined to observe the letter and spirit of this Resolution; and
"Be it further resolved, that all so-called collateral bodies, clubs, or other organizations in Massachusetts whose membership is related to or dependent on Masonic membership, or which in the public mind are likely to be regarded as Masonic organizations, are requested, and all individual Masons owing allegiance to this Grand Lodge are enjoined, to respect the purpose of this Resolution. (Page 1939-104)
"I definitely concur with the decisions of my predecessors, and ask that the Masters of our Lodges strictly comply with the provisions of the above-mentioned resolution and ruling. It should be unnecessary to remind you that failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.
"Please bring this matter to the attention of your Lodge Officers."
Page 1963-56, 03/13/1963, on officer training.
"From the many instances in which Wardens and newly installed Masters have found it necessary to consult the Grand Lodge with regard to rules, proper procedures, and the avoidance of practices repeatedly frowned upon, it is evident that their predecessors have made little or no attempt to acquaint them with such items as basic knowledge. Year after year requests are received to initiate on the night of election, to hold a Ladies Night on a Sunday. We find the repetition, after the lapse of a year or so, of the unsanctioned mention of a cocktail hour, or a new approach to the old idea of a door prize. This cannot be willful disregard of what is proper; it must be ignorance! Without in any way suggesting that calls for information should be curtailed, I do suggest that it is part of the responsibility of any worthy occupant of the East of a Lodge to provide an adequate training for all junior officers; and further, to see that each Warden is capable of performing all administrative functions of a Worshipful Master."
Past Masters (Apron)
Page 1963-204, 09/11/1963, on Past Masters' Aprons.
"Prior to our June Communication, it was a frequent custom to present a newly-installed Master with what was known as a Past Master's Apron. This was not considered wholly improper as there was not an officially recognized difference between the apron of a presiding Master and that of a Past Master; they were of the same design according to the provisions of our Grand Constitutions, although the design which was authorized was seldom adhered to in every detail.
"No longer does the situation of these two identical aprons prevail. The amendments to the Grand Constitutions adopted at the last Quarterly Communication provide for the Past Master of a Lodge an apron different from that which is authorized for the Worshipful Master. Since the aprons are no longer interchangeable, I believe it is timely to review the conditions which permit the wearing of a Past Master's Apron.
"On December 14, 1864, the Grand Lodge adopted the following definition of a Past Master, which has never been repealed, but which still remains in full force and effect:
"An actual Past Master is one who has been duly elected to the office of Worshipful Master, at the regular Annual Election, and who has been regularly qualified and Installed, and served the full term of office.
"Until a Brother has fulfilled all the requirements of the foregoing definition, including that of serving a full term of office as Worshipful Master, he does not become a Past Master in this Grand Jurisdiction; nor may be assume any of the prerogatives of a Past Master, of which the wearing of a Past Master's Apron is one.
"It seems unnecessary to suggest to the Lodges that they should present aprons only to those who may wear them with propriety. In any event, the mere possession of a Past Master's Apron confers on its owner no right to wear it on any Masonic occasion, irrespective of when or from whom it may have been received.
"I do not believe that any Master who takes a normal pride in high office which he fills would care to risk the pity or scorn of better-informed Brethren by appearing before them in Masonic regalia which he is not entitled to wear. Therefore, I ask you who are here today to carry this information promptly to your Lodge, and make such that each Master and Warden is thoroughly aware of what is seemly and proper in the use of the Past Master's Apron. Furthermore, the District Deputy Grand Master's are directed to require and maintain a strict conformity to these standards by the Members of their Suites and others within their Districts."
Lodge Finances (Identification Numbers)
Page 1963-206, 09/11/1963, on identification numbers (lodge finances).
"As most of you know, all banks and corporations paying interest and dividends are asking the payee for his Social Security Number, Employer's Identification Number, or Tax Account Number which they are required to report to the Internal Revenue Service in connection with any payments in excess of $10.00 a year. Many of the constituent Lodges receiving these requests have asked for instructions how to proceed.
"I have sought the assistance of M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson, both as Past Grand Master and attorney in this matter, and in keeping with his suggestions, I make the following recommendations to the Lodges:
If a constituent Lodge already has an Employers Identification Number (as many of them no doubt have if they are paying Social Security on the Secretary's salary) it should supply this number in connection with all interest and dividends received by the Lodge for the account of any of its Funds. If a constituent Lodge does not have an Employer's Identification Number and has not already applied for such a number, it should supply the Grand Lodge's Identification Number in connection with all interest and dividends received by the Lodge for the account of any of its Funds. The Grand Lodge's Identification Number is 04-1383607.
"The foregoing recommendation is based on Section 305 of the Grand Constitutions which provides that the "fee" (i.e. the ultimate title) to all property belonging to the Craft as a whole or a subdivision thereof resides in the Grand Lodge since each Lodge is a constituent part of the Grand Lodge.
"Since the use of identification numbers was designed to track down income escaping taxation, it should make no difference to the Internal Revenue Service whether the identifying number used is the number of a constituent Lodge or of Grand Lodge, because neither Grand Lodge nor its constituent Lodges are subject to the payment of Federal Income Taxes. Neither are they required to file Federal Income Tax Returns of any kind. The use of Grand Lodge's number will simplify matters for everyone, including the Internal Revenue Service."
Page 1963-207, 09/11/1963, on public installations.
"The time of year is now at hand when the majority of the Lodges will be installing new lines of Officers. Because of the wide-spread use of Public Installations, we as Masons will be under frequent scrutiny both by our own Members and by those who are not a part of the Fraternity. Once again we will have an opportunity to confirm or deny to families, friends, and neighbors, that the prestige which our Craft so widely enjoys is, in large measure, fully deserved.
"To those who will arrange or conduct these Installations, I offer this reminder of a few simply but important requirements which should be carefully heeded by any who participate in such a public occasion:
- Your Lodge will be in session, hence none but Members of the Craft should be permitted to take part.
- Any presentation to the Master must be made by a Mason, for only Masons may approach the East.
- A token intended for a non-Mason will reach the recipient in a dignified manner if the Marshal is directed to take it to where the person is sitting.
- An item not easily carried, such as a bouquet used to decorate the East, may properly be designated for its recipient with the request that it be taken after the meeting.
- The ritual provided for the Installation of Lodge Officers is dignified and meaningful; few of those who change it deliberately succeed in making a worthwhile substitution.
- Installing Officers should strive to create and maintain interest for all who are in attendance. Poor preparation, halting delivery, long-winded reminiscent, excessive presentations: any of these will detract from the general enjoyment of the evening.
- In opening or closing a Lodge with any present who are not Masons, ritual will not be used. At the Master's nod, or other pre-arranged signal, the Chaplain is conducted to the altar for prayer and the lights attended, all in proper sequence; then the Master simply declares the Lodge opened or closed.
- A little extra thought and preparation will insure a smooth performance of the ritual and create much interest in Freemasonry on the part of the families and friends of those Brethren who have been selected to serve as Officers. We must not permit carelessness or incompetency to engender an attitude of public indifference towards us or our concerns. On the contrary, we must enlist the services of our most competent and conscientious Past Masters and confirm to all who honor us with their presence that Masonry is worthy of the High esteem in which it is generally held."
Past Masters (Jewel)
Page 1963-260, 12/11/1963, on Past Master's Jewels.
"At the last quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge the attention of the Craft was directed to the circumstances under which the wearing of a Past Master's apron is appropriate and permissible. From such comment as has come to my attention, I believe that the Brethren are happy to have received a statement which can be easily and accurately interpreted upon which to base their conduct in this regard.
"In my remarks at that communication I made no reference to the wearing of the Past Master's Jewel. That I avoided the subject was not an oversight; there were certain practices connected with the use of this jewel to which I wanted to give further consideration.
"Some Lodges possess as a cherished memento the Past Master's jewel of their first Master or some other distinguished member. Frequently, this treasured emblem is entrusted to the custody of each new Master on the occasion of his installation, to be preserved and transmitted to his successor. The practice has developed of the Master's wearing this jewel whenever he represents his Lodge officially.
"As Masons we recognize, and readily appreciate, the desire on the part of a Lodge to honor and perpetuate the memory of one who has made an outstanding contribution to its earlier history. It is probable that the initial instances of the wearing of a Lodge-owned jewel were prompted by such motives. Nevertheless, as a result of this usage another practice has developed, that of a Lodge acquiring a Past Master's jewel for the purpose of providing its current Master with a temporary or 'traveling' jewel during his term of office.
I quote to you again the definition of a Past Master, which the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts adopted on December 14, 1864, and which still governs the Brethren of this jurisdiction: An actual Past Master is one who has been duly elected to the office of Worshipful Master, at the regular annual election, and who has been regularly qualified and installed, and served the full term of office.
"We as Massachusetts Masons should comply with our own definition of a Past Master. We should not display the jewel of a Past Master under any circumstances whereby the rank of the wearer might be misinterpreted. I, therefore, recommend that the Lodges explore other ways of displaying any jewels of Past Masters which are the permanent possession of the Lodge. I direct that the wearing of the jewel of a Past Master be confined to those who have attained the rank of Past Master."
A. Neill Osgood, Grand Master.
Page 1964-78, 03/11/1964, on chain letters.
This commentary is based on previous declarations by other Grand Masters.
"It is with considerable regret that I bring to your attention a matter which by its very nature should never receive the least consideration from any intelligent Member of our Fraternity. During the past ten weeks I have been receiving from disgusted recipients many samples of a Chain Letter purporting to be sent by Masons to other Masons suggesting that good fortune will come to those who do not so demean themselves. Every teaching of our Fraternity seeks to promote Light, to exalt Trust. Yet, if the names on all the Chain Letters which I have in my files be indeed those of Masons who have voluntarily placed them on such a communication, we now face the fact that we have among our Members some who would willingly ally themselves with ignorance and superstition. Lest there be those who would pass this matter off as nothing but simple jest, let me report that I know of one instance in which the receipt of one of these letters at the home of a Brother whose wife had been recovering from a period of mental depression caused immediate and serious consequences. Such a result was not intended, but the cause of it should never have happened, particularly among Masons.
"I rely on all of you for the exercise of good judgment in the future, and for the stamping out of this infantile and unwarranted practice."
Page 1964-176, 06/10/1964, on DeMolay.
"During my visits to other Grand Jurisdictions and in my discussions with other Grand Masters I have noted that an increasing number of Grand Lodges are showing interest in the Order of DeMolay by providing financial support for a statewide DeMolay program in their respective jurisdictions. Some time ago I appointed a committee consisting of M.W. Joseph Earl Perry, Chairman, M.W. Andrew G. Jenkins and M.W. Laurence E. Eaton to consider what part if any our Grand Lodge should take in supporting a program in Massachusetts.
"This committee prepared a detailed and lengthy report which was presented to our Board of Directors. They recommended that our Grand Lodge should support a DeMolay program in Massachusetts, and recommended the appropriation of $10,000 a year for a period of five years to finance the establishment of a state headquarters and the employment of a professional youth-worker to supervise and encourage DeMolay within the Commonwealth. The Directors accepted and adopted the report. It was hoped, with Grand Lodge taking the initiative, that additional financial support would be forthcoming from other sources.
"At the May meeting of the Board of Directors an initial appropriation of $5,000 was made to establish the program. I am informed that the services of a professional youth-worker, who is a member of the Craft, a former DeMolay and presently a Boy Scout Executive, has been secured and that he will soon be available to start planning a state-wide DeMolay program to be initiated next fall."
Page 1964-176, 06/10/1964, on the interval between degrees.
"A rather large number of requests for dispensations to shorten the time between the conferring of degrees continues to be received. Where the period concerned is a matter of one or two days a dispensation is frequently granted. Requests for a greater curtailment of time interval between degrees are usually denied.
"From some of the requests, I have gained the impression that a few Lodges may be more concerned in adapting the progress of the Candidates to its other programs, or to the convenience of its Officers than to the needs and education of the Candidate himself.
"The most important function of a Lodge is to mold the petitioner who has been attracted to us and accepted for admission into an alert, inquiring, intelligent Mason. This significant challenge should be our primary concern. The constitutional time provided for the important task of furnishing stimulation and enlightenment is already so short that its abbreviation increases the possibility of failure. I urge the Lodges to keep constantly in mind the successful development of the Candidate into an active, intellectually inquisitive Mason above all other considerations."
Page 1964-213, 09/09/1964, on Lodge finances.
"The consideration of a budget for Grand Lodges prompts me to express the wish that more of the Lodges would follow such a pattern in the conduct of their own finances. In a period when the number of candidates is declining, it becomes increasingly important that a newly-installed Master, from the beginning of his term, have a realistic understanding of the probable income which will be available for the operation of his Lodge, and a practical plan for meeting expenses as they become due. It is a prime responsibility of each Worshipful Master, and should be a matter of personal pride, that he turn over the Lodge to his successor in as good financial condition as when he took office, or better.
"Many Lodges deposit in a single bank account their own general funds together with the amounts collected as per capita payments required under the Grand Constitutions to be assessed by the Lodge upon its members. These assessments are often referred to by the members themselves as Grand Lodge dues.
"On occasion, a Master has directed the Lodge Treasurer to pay bills of the Lodge with the sums received from members for their per capita assessments. This is improper, and denotes a lack of financial responsibility on the part of the individual making the demand. Any Lodge Treasurer who refuses to comply with such an order will have the firm backing of the Grand Master."
Page 1964-214, 09/09/1964, on Temple building.
"The dedication of a new Masonic Temple, or the laying of a corner-stone for one, provides me with reassurance of the faith of the Brethren in the future of our Fraternity. It is definitely an act of confidence when the members of a Lodge unite in providing attractive surroundings for their future meetings.
"Much thought, careful planning and sound financing have been evident in each building program with which I am familiar. Many have been completed, and others are under way. However, the erection of an appropriate meeting-place, even a small one, is still a large undertaking for a single Lodge. Greater consideration might well be given by Lodges now contemplating a building program to the possibility of a join enterprise borne by two or more Lodges. Such action was made feasible by the amendment of Section 322 in 1961."
A. Neill Osgood, Grand Master.
Games of Chance (Prizes and Lotteries)
Page 1965-381, 12/08/1965, on prizes and lotteries.
"Once again I find it necessary to re-emphasize the stand which the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has taken relative to prizes and lotteries. The need to do so arises from several recent instances in which notice was given to the effect that a prize would be awarded to some individual attending a Ladies Night, Family Party, or other function sponsored by a Lodge, or group of Masons; or to someone holding a lucky ticket.
"In each instance I have brought to the attention of the Worshipful Master of the Lodge our Law concerning this matter. I have required that his entire mailing list be notified that no prize would be presented or drawing taken place, that the letter from the Grand Master be read at the next Communication of the Lodge and entered in the records of the meeting, and that the Grand Master be informed of the fulfillment of these requirements.
"In all cases prompt and willing compliance has been made. The answers received indicate a genuine desire on the part of the Lodge Officers to conform to our Laws, and that a lack of information and understanding on the part of new Officers and Committee Chairmen is at the root of most of these failures to comply. A further review of the matter seems now to be necessary to overcome a very evident lack of knowledge.
"Our law regarding prizes is contained in the resolution adopted by the Grand Lodge on March 8, 1939, by unanimous vote. It is as follows:
Resolved, that it is inconsistent with the professions and purposes of Freemasonry for any Masonic body to promote, participate in, or profit by any lottery, game of chance, door prize, or other device or activity whereby the individual participant may be able, through the element of luck or chance, to win a greater value than he pays, and each Masonic body within the Jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge is hereby enjoined to observe the letter and the spirit of this Resolution; and Be it further Resolved that all so-called collateral bodies, clubs, or other organizations in Massachusetts whose Membership is related to or dependent on Masonic Membership, or which in the public mind are likely to be regarded as Masonic organizations, are requested, and all individual Masons owing allegiance to this Grand Lodge are enjoined, to respect the purpose of this Resolution.
"The word enjoined means commanded or directed; it also connotes a prohibition against the specified action. As used in the foregoing Resolution, it requires the obedience of all individual Masons owing allegiance to this Grand Lodge in respecting the purpose of the Resolution. Any Mason who fails to do so must be deemed guilty of un-Masonic conduct.
"For those who would study this matter more fully, I call attention to the remarks of M.W. Thomas S. Roy, Grand Master, in the Proceedings of 1951, p.141f, and M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson, Grand Master, in the Proceedings of 1954, p.35f.
"It is my request that each District Deputy Grand Master and Lodge Officer present today make an earnest effort to acquaint our entire Membership with this segment of our Masonic Law."
Page 1965-383, 12/08/1965, on taxation of Masonic Temples.
"Under the provisions of an Act of the Massachusetts Legislature passed in 1957, those portions of Masonic Temples used for our purposes are exempted from local real estate taxes. Where a part of the premises is rented for business, or other purposes not related to the Fraternity, that portion is still subject to tax.
"This information was widely publicized to our membership at the time the law was enacted, and most Lodges have availed themselves of the tax relief so provided. Recently, however, an alert Master, questioning the size of the tax bill received by his Lodge, found that the Town had been collecting taxes on the entire property for many years because there was a store occupying the ground floor. The matter has now been adjusted with the local tax authorities, and will result in an annual saving of several hundred dollars for the Lodge.
"If your Lodge seems to be paying excessive taxes on a Temple which is partially exempt, an inquiry into the basis on which the taxes are assessed is indicated. The time so devoted may prove to be financially rewarding."
Thomas A. Booth, Grand Master.
Games of Chance and Liquor
Page 1966-54, 03/09/1966, on prizes and lotteries, as well as cocktails.
"It would seem unnecessary to bring these subjects to your attention again. They have been mentioned by several Grand Masters, the last mention being at the December quarterly last year. In spite of this, the problem has continued to be a source of annoyance. Each case has met a prompt response from your Grand Master. In each case the offender has complied with the directive to retract the notice or flier. It would be much better, however, if the subject were given serious thought beforehand and avoid this unnecessary correspondence and expense of notices of retraction. The rulings of previous Grand Masters are still in force, and I shall expect compliance with them."
Page 1966-198, 06/08/1966, on table lodges.
"The practice of conducting Table Lodges seems to be on the increase. Justification for holding Table Lodges is supposedly found on the basis of increased member interest, and greater attendance. No definite evidence has so far has been presented, however, that would indicate an improvement of attendance at business meetings or when the degrees are being exemplified. In fact, suggestions have been made that the conduct of a few Brethren either during or after the occasions adds little to the stature of the Lodge or Masonry in general.
"Therefore, with an open mind, and on the assumption that an occasional Table Lodge may have some value as an interesting diversion, if conducted in a proper manner, I shall require that permission for holding a Table Lodge be first obtained through the District Deputy Grand Master, and that a Grand Lodge Officer be present during the Ceremony. The Master of the Lodge will be held responsible for the proper conduct of the meeting."
Page 1966-199, 06/08/1966, on the interval between degrees.
"This matter has had the attention of previous Grand Masters. Requests for dispensations to shorten time between degrees become more numerous at this time of the year. Some of these have been granted because I have felt that there was a lack of understanding of the reasons required for the use of the dispensation grating power. Because of the increasing frequency of these requests I am obliged to state that these requests will be refused in the future unless the circumstances are unusual, a hardship to the candidate might result, or the candidate is in the active Military Service. The convenience of the Officers or the desire to finish a candidate's degree before the Summer vacation cannot be considered a valid reason for such a request."
Page 1966-237, 09/14/1966, on DeMolay.
"At the recent DeMolay Conclave in Amherst the representatives of the Chapters voted to institute a program among the Chapters of Massachusetts to assist the financing of the Massachusetts of DeMolay Foundation. Legislation was passed to assess each DeMolay Chapter at the rate of fifty cents per member per year toward the support of the Foundation.
"You will note that in the Budget for 1967 which will be presented to you later for your consideration there is a continuation of the annual Grand Lodge contribution of $10,000 toward the support of the DeMolay State program.
"I urge increased interest and activity on the part of our Lodges and Masons in Massachusetts to sponsor and contribute to the support of the DeMolay programs."
Page 1966-323, 12/14/1966, on Lodge programs.
"In June, I requested the District Deputy Grand Masters to obtain from each Master-Elect a copy of his proposed program for the coming year. Some have complied with this request completely; some only partially. Some of the programs submitted are excellent, showing considerable thought and planning. They show a desire to present varied programs in addition to degree work, all of which I am sure will be reciprocated by the members of the Lodge by a greater attendance. Others show only that they hope to present degree work for ten consecutive months if they receive candidates. It should be obvious which are the active Lodges and which Masters will have a successful year. Diligent planning is a vital element of success."
Thomas A. Booth, Grand Master.
Lodge of Instruction (Attendance)
Page 1967-95, 03/08/1967, on Lodge of Instruction attendance.
"The attendance of officers at meetings of Lodges of Instruction ranges from excellent to poor. Education is a very important part of our Grand Lodge program. Can it be that the lack of interest of some officers in this program is responsible in part for the lack of interest of new Masons in the work of their Lodges. Careful attendance records are kept at meetings of the Lodges of Instruction and poor attendance of officers will be brought to the attention of the District Deputy Grand Master."
Page 1967-508, 12/13/1967, on costumes for degree teams.
"The question of costumes or special dress for Degree Teams is brought periodically to my attention. A great deal of thought has been given to these requests in past administrations and the more recent requests have received my serious consideration. The answer, however, must be the same. For while it may be said that the wearing of costumes or special dress tends to stimulate interest which is desirable, we must remember that a Masonic Degree is conferred for the benefit of the candidate and not for the benefit of the degree team which may be permitted to participate.
"It is important that our solemn ceremonies make a deep and lasting impression on the mind of the candidate, and anything that tends to distract his attention from the lessons being Wight is undesirable and should be discouraged.
"In general this has been the opinion of my predecessors with which I concur."
Page 1967-509, 12/13/1967, on Lodge programs.
"Reports from our District Deputies and in some cases from Masters of Lodges show an earnest attempt to provide programs of interest to Lodge members. Such programs coupled with a sincere personal interest displayed by the officers I am sure will do much to strengthen attendance. A mere statement in a notice or a short announcement from the east by the Master that he is pleased to see them there will not suffice. It is the personal contact, the welcome hand, the expression of brotherly love and good fellowship by all the officers that will bring them back. Let's make our Lodge meetings a place to meet our friends."
Thomas A. Booth, Grand Master.
Lodge of Instruction
Page 1968-31, 03/13/1968, on Lodges of Instruction.
"Reports for the first five months show a falling off in attendance at our Lodges of Instruction. All Lodge line officers are expected to attend, and it is particularly important that the Master and Wardens be present. Lack of interest on their part is reflected in a corresponding lack of interest on the part of junior officers. Some excuses for lack of interest have been received. Among them the statement that the work of the officers in opening and closing is poorly done. This is hard to understand when we realize that most officers of Lodges of Instruction are past or present officers of their Lodges. Lack of interesting programs is another complaint. Obviously no one subject will interest all who attend and a variety of programs or subjects are desirable.
"Our lecturers and our speakers donate a considerable amount of their time in preparation for speaking as well as in traveling long distances to and from a Lodge of Instruction. We are fortunate to have their services. I am sure their efforts are appreciated by most of our brethren.
"Occasionally one of our speakers for personal reasons finds it necessary to resign. Our Director of Education will welcome any suggestions regarding additional speakers that he may add to our list.
"Basically, the problems of any Lodge of Instruction must go back to its Executive Committee. The Executive Committee of each Lodge of Instruction is composed of the Masters and Wardens of each. Lodge in its area. It is difficult for the Committeeman to operate successfully without their cooperation and support. Our Director can advise, make recommendations and suggestions, but the success .of any Lodge of Instruction must depend on an active, interested Executive Committee that believes it can be successful and is willing to prove it."
The Grand Master made further remarks in his address on 06/12/1968:
"Our Director of Education, R.W. Norman A. Ray, reports satisfactory progress in our Lodges of Instruction although a few of the trouble spots remain. It is disappointing to see the lack of interest among the officers of a few of our Lodges. It is reassuring, however, to find that this problem occurs in only a few Lodges and that officer interest and attendance in most cases is being maintained. Our Education Committee is studying ways and means for developing a Leadership Program for Lodge Officers. Good leadership is essential to the success of any organization. Instruction in the Constitutions and Regulations, By-Laws, Protocol, Grand Masters' Rulings, the development of Lodge programs, should provide confidence and incentive so necessary to those who will be leaders of the Craft in the future."
The Grand Master made further remarks in his address on 09/11/1968:
"... In the past six months serious consideration has been given to a program for Lodge officers. This program would give them instruction on Grand Lodge Constitutions and Regulations, duties of elected officers, Masonic protocol, Grand Lodge programs in Relief, Service, Education, Library and Museum. In short, information that would prepare an officer to be a Master of his Lodge.
"It is expected that a pilot program will be started in a few Lodges of Instruction this coming season. Your earnest support and cooperation will be needed. Your opinions and suggestions will be welcome.
"An intelligent, well-informed leadership is vital to the success of every Lodge. Your interest and active participation in this program will be a means to that end."
The Grand Master made yet other remarks in his address on 12/11/1968:
"The reports of R.W. Norman A. Ray, Director of Education, indicate that some Lodges of Instruction are successful, interest is good, officers' attendance is good. In others, interest is low, officer attendance in many cases poor. With a few exceptions this pattern has repeated itself for several years. Deeming our education programs of great importance, and feeling that a well-informed officer would be the best officer, that instruction in the constitutions and regulations of Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge relief and service programs, information regarding our Masonic Home and Nursing Home, information on Grand Lodge protocol and the Grand Master's rulings would have a direct bearing on the successful conduct of a Lodge officer, and consequently on member interest, attendance and perhaps even on prospective candidates, I requested our Director of Education to institute a Leadership Program for officers starting with Junior Wardens in order to prepare them for duties of Master of a Lodge.
"Our Education Committee has spent considerable time and given much study to this project. The program has been started. The first pilot program was held at the 26th Lodge of Instruction in New Bedford on November 22nd. Attendance was excellent, interest high. Thirteen of the fifteen Junior Wardens in the 26th and 27th Lodges of Instruction were present and good reasons for the absence of two were given. Several requests were made for copies of the Grand Constitutions which will be provided. Interest was expressed in the continuation of the program. Meetings in other districts are contemplated and I urge all interested officers to contact our Education Department. I sincerely believe that this type of program can go far in relieving the problems that many of our Lodges have today."
Page 1968-35, 03/13/1968, on membership.
"The problem of declining membership is brought up on frequent occasions. Along with it concern is shown for the lack of attendance and lack of interest.
"Loss of membership is of some concern but not the disaster as someone brethren feel. Membership charts will show peaks and valley over the years, the 1920s and 1930s being prime examples. The 1920s were post war years. Membership climbed rapidly. The 1930s were depression years. Membership declined rapidly. The 1960s are not post war years, neither are they depression years.
"Regardless of the war in Vietnam, regardless of civil strife, regardless of the increasing costs of welfare, our country enjoys its highest level of prosperity. Finances, then, can hardly be used as a reason for our membership problem.
"The past two years have shown new admissions almost equal to losses by death. Losses by demit and suspension have been almost equal to the net loss. Signs indicate that new admissions this year are running close to last year's figures. Demits and suspensions are the problems to which every Master must give serious attention. We can do something to reduce demits and suspensions. Every Master should consult with his Wardens and Secretary, investigate every request for a demit, visit every member in danger of suspension, form a committee to visit personally every delinquent member if in the area and if our of town write him a personal letter. ay who might otherwise be demitted or suspended will be saved if a personal call is made.
"Perhaps you will find a few who for personal reasons are unable to pay their dues. In those cases you should consider remission of dues. Let us show a personal interest in our members. You will find that they will respond.
"Lack of interest and poor attendance go hand in hand with poor ritual, poor floorwork, lack of variety in programs or no programs at all, lack of personal contact, lack of sociability, fellowship and true brotherhood.
"Membership, interest, attendance. In the final analysis they are all one, and one answer to the probelm is leadership.
"When we have good leadership, we have interest, good attendance, good ritual, good programs, good officer-material on a waiting list. This follows in both large and small Lodges. In these Lodges we have fewer demits and suspensions. We have a wholesome atmosphere of good fellowship and brotherhood."
In his September address, the Grand Master further expanded upon this topic; see Page 1968-148.
"At our June Communication I requested all Lodge Secretaries to send in a report of all members demitted or suspended this past year; this report to be sent in immediately after action has been taken. A number have been received. I have written a personal letter to each of these Brethren expressing regret for the necessity of the Lodge action and pointing out the loss of privileges resulting from that action. The letter reads as follows:
I am informed by the Secretary of your Lodge that you have been suspended from membership for non-payment of dues. I sincerely regret the situation that made this action necessary. At one time you were proud to be a member of our great Masonic Fraternity and I am hoping you might desire to renew your membership.
A member allowing his membership to lapse automatically severs his membership in all other Masonic bodies as well as the Shrine. He loses the opportunity to participate in the benefits of our Blood Donor Program and the opportunity to receive the service of our Masonic Home in Charlton and our Nursing Home in Shrewsbury. The services of our Relief, Service, and Education Departments as well as the Library and Museum are no longer available to him. Perhaps you have overlooked these services.
The greatest satisfaction of being a Mason, however, lies in the opportunity to serve our Brethren less fortunate than ourselves. This is Masonic charity and brotherly love. Charity is not alms giving but the willingness to help a Brother, to sympathize with his misfortunes, to respect his point of view when it differs from your own, to give him timely advice, to help him to overcome his problems, to realize that no man is perfect, and therefore to forgive his errors. This is the way we live in Masonry every day; this is the reason for our Masonic Home, for our Nursing Home; this is the reason so many of your Brethren donate their blood in our Blood Program, to help their Brethren in need.
Masonry as you know has no insurance program and guarantees no material benefits. It does offer the opportunity to enjoy Masonic fellowship. This is undoubtedly the reason you sought admission. But fellowship is the reciprocal duty of all Masons. It should be freely offered and as easily accepted.
We want you and we need you back as a member of our Fraternity. I hope you need us and will write to your Secretary in the very near future and start on the way towards full reinstatement.
Cordially and fraternally yours,
Thomas A. Booth, Grand Master
"So far I have received three replies, each from a demitted Brother indicating that he is still interested in Masonry and has affiliated with a Lodge in another jurisdiction. We regret losing these members, but are happy that they continue their interest in this great Fraternity.
"In order that we may evaluate the results of this effort properly, we must know how many members renew their membership by paying up their dues or by re-affiliation. Lodge Secretaries therefore are directed to advise my office regarding the reaffiliation or lifting of suspension on any member whose name was reported.
"A few letters received from Lodge Secretaries give me the impression that the only contact made with a delinquent member is by letter. In many cases this is insufficient. Personal contact is necessary. Perhaps a member has lost interest in his Lodge and in Masonry because he feels the Lodge has no interest in him. It takes the personal touch to correct that impression. This is the responsibility of the Master and officers of every Lodge. They must make the first move."
The Grand Master also made remarks in December; see below.
DeMolay and Rainbow
Page 1968-87, 06/12/1968, on DeMolay and Rainbow.
"The involvement of various youth groups in demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, etc., should be of serious concern to us as Masons. Efforts in the direction of improved education, civil rights and equal opportunity are being hampered indirectly by an apparent lack of patriotism, love of country, respect for constitutional authority, law and order.
"Against this background, DeMolay and Rainbow are important as a means of helping to guide our youth to a purposeful and responsible adulthood. We have a stake in these organizations. We should assume some responsibility for them.
"At the Quarterly Communication of March 13, 1940, Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry concluded his address with these words:
"Prominent among the organizations that work for this critical age group are the Order of DeMolay for Boys, which this year celebrates its twenty-first birthday, and the somewhat younger Order of the Rainbow for Girls. To them all Masons may well give special support. Because they are more like Freemasonry than perhaps any other youth organizations and because they are sometimes mistakenly considered to have some connection with Masonry, it is especially important to try to see that they are properly conducted. Under the guidance of proper leadership they can be invaluable aids to youth, but if unwisely led, they can be harmful to youth and a discredit, however unfairly, to Freemasonry. The machinery for service is already devised. The leadership is the vital factor."
"The great value of the work of the Order of DeMolay has been recognized by most and probably all of our Grand Masters in recent years.
"Steps have been taken (in recent years) to support the Order of DeMolay and to authorize and encourage participation in its local Chapters on the part of constituent Lodges and individual members. Similar action has not been taken on behalf of the Order of Rainbows for Girls. Most of these girls are the daughters of Masons or have a Masonic connection.
"The sponsoring of Assemblies of the Order of Rainbow for Girls is perhaps best left to the Order of the Eastern Star to which they are most closely associated, but because most of these girls are daughters of Masons or have a Masonic connection, they, too, should share our active support.
"The position of Grand Lodge regarding the Order of DeMolay was clarified by a ruling by M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson set forth on Pages 29-30 of the Proceedings of 1954. Re-affirming M.W. Bro. Johnson's position at that time, I now rule that the language of that part of Most Worshipful Herbert W. Dean's address appearing on Pages 336 and 337 of the Proceedings of 1930 of our Grand Lodge is no longer applicable to a Chapter of the Order of DeMolay or Assembly of the Order of Rainbow for Girls but in all other respects his reference to the use of Lodge funds for the support of other non-Masonic organizations is hereby re-affirmed as an official Grand Master's ruling.
"I further rule that a constituent Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge may properly expend Lodge funds in support of an Assembly of the Order of Rainbow for Girls provided that notice to appropriate Lodge funds for such a purpose shall be borne upon the official notice of the meeting at which such proposed action is to be taken.
"While financial support may be desirable in a few cases, your personal interest, however, is vital. A little time and effort extended in their behalf will do much to provide encouragement, guidance and incentive to these leaders of tomorrow."
Lodge Solicitation of Funds
Page 1968-91, 06/12/1968, on solicitation of public funds.
"Several requests have been made for approval of special events such as card parties, outdoor movies, ball games, etc., sponsored under the name of the Lodge and for the purpose of supporting Masonic charities, and in one case to aid in the building of a Masonic Temple. In each case the intent has been to seek the support of the general public. While the cause is worthy, the propriety of seeking financial support for Masonic programs from the public is doubtful. As an organization we have always been proud of our record in the field of charity, relief and service. As individuals we support public charities as our conscience directs. As Masons we should support Masonic charities to the full extent of our ability. The use of Lodge funds for other than Masonic purposes is not permitted. Likewise the solicitation of funds for Masonic purposes from the general public is not permitted."
Use of Lodge Funds
Page 1968-92, 06/12/1968, on use of Lodge funds.
"Reports coming into the Grand Master's Office indicate the desire among Lodges to use Lodge Funds for other than Masonic Purposes. I must refer you to rulings of M.W. Herbert W. Dean, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1930, page 336, and M.W. Leon M. Abbot, Grand Lodge Proceedings June 1917, page 138, also M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson, Grand Lodge Proceedings 1954, page 30. In each of these rulings it is indicated clearly that the use of Lodge Funds should be restricted to Masonic purposes. M.W. Brother Johnson, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1954, page 31, ruled also that the granting of an Annual Scholarship to be awarded to a high school student on the basis of a thesis submitted in competition with other students is not a Masonic purpose, and that the use of Lodge Funds for this purpose is therefore improper. Each of these rulings is hereby affirmed.
Page 1968-93, 06/12/1968, on taxation.
"The attention of Lodges is directed to a recent development that has seriously threatened the tax exemption of Masonic Temples. While it is difficult to deal with a highly technical legal question in an address of this nature, I think it is in order to outline in general the tax situation applicable to Masonic Temples.
"The General Laws of Massachusetts (See Chapter 59, Section 5 Third) grants tax exemptions to real estate owned by Massachusetts literary, benevolent, charitable, scientific and temperate societies.
"In 1955 the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that a constituent Lodge chartered by our Grand Lodge was a charitable organization. (See Peakes vs. Blakely, 233 Mass. 281) As a result of this case the Commissioner of Corporations and Taxation issued a ruling that such portion of a Masonic Temple as was used exclusively for Masonic purposes was tax exempt. (See also 1957 Grand Lodge Proceedings 110). Many Temples have been erected during the last decade by Lodges which otherwise could not have afforded to pay taxes in addition to the other carrying charges, and Lodges which had previously been burdened with heavy taxes were able to apply the tax saving to other Masonic purposes.
"In 1960 another fraternal organization seeking the tax exempt status of Masonic Temples naturally felt that they should enjoy the same privilege. They were either unable or unwilling to bring themselves under the general charitable exemption and they proceeded to secure the passage of a Special Act of Legislature granting special tax exemption to them. (See Acts of 1960 Chapter 95.) In 1966 three other fraternal groups being either unable or unwilling to comply with the general charitable exemption status secured a Special Act of the Legislature granting special tax exemption to them also. (See Acts of 1966 Chapter 404.)
"Predictably the desire to share this tax exemption status spread to other groups and the current Legislature was confronted with no less than 14 requests for special tax exemption statutes. Faced with this avalanche of requests, and anticipating that additional requests would be filed every year, the House Committee on Taxation felt that the time had come to call a halt, and the Committee introduced a bill which not only repealed the Special Acts previously passed but also specifically provided that Masonic Temples should no longer be exempt under the general statutes applicable to all other literary, benevolent, charitable, scientific and temperance societies. (See House Bill 3966.)
"This bill quietly passed the first and second readings, and when it came up for the third reading it was passed to be engrossed. At this point we were alerted to what was happening and enlisted the assistance of a member of the Craft, but not a member of the Legislature, who is familiar with legislative procedures and he pointed out to the key people in the Legislature that our tax exemption was based on a Supreme Court decision and the general exemption statute applicable to all charitable organizations. When the importance of this bill was fully realized, reconsideration was requested. This held the matter in abeyance for a few days and we were given an opportunity to explain our position to the Committee on Taxation. One of the fraternal groups which had previously secured exemption under a Special Act became very active in an effort to save their exemption. On reconsideration the bill was defeated by a narrow margin thereby saving the special tax exemptions previously granted under Special Acts as well as our exemption under the general charitable exemption statute.
"The Commissioner of Corporations and Taxation immediately advised the local Boards of Assessors in all of the Cities and Towns of the Commonwealth to revoke the exemptions previously granted under the Special Acts. He pointed out, however, that some of the fraternal organizations previously enjoying special exemptions might be able to qualify under the general charitable exemption statute.
"As a result the Assessors of at least one City have already taken steps to require the Masonic Temple in that City to establish its legal right for exemption under the general statute. We assume other Boards of Assessors will do likewise. It is our feeling that we should have no serious difficulty in establishing our right to this exemption, but it is a technical legal matter and the local Lodges and Temple Associations should secure the assistance of some local member of the Craft who understands and is competent to deal with this technical problem. Masters and Wardens who meet in Temples which have been exempt should alert the responsible officers of their Temples to the seriousness of the situation.
"The whole question of charitable tax exemption which is becoming a heavy burden to the Cities and Towns of the Commonwealth is being studied by a Commission. (See House Bill 4043.) No doubt the Legislature will seek other ways to try to repeal the tax exemption on Masonic Temples if other fraternal groups are unable to secure tax exemption for their buildings. It therefore becomes increasingly necessary to keep abreast of any developments.
"Our Grand Lodge owes a special debt of gratitude to our Brother who so effectively assisted in presenting our point of view to the key people in the Legislature, and who has constantly kept us informed on the day-to-day developments in this matter which is so highly important to the financial welfare of Massachusetts Masonry."
Page 1968-145, 09/11/1968, on taxation.
"A number of Lodges have received tax assessments due to the publicity accorded the decision of the General Court denying tax abatements to certain Fraternal or Social Organizations. It is important that Lodges and Temple Associations be well informed as to the proper procedure for handling any new or increased tax assessments.
"Obviously Grand Lodge cannot be responsible for the initiation of action toward tax abatements on local Temples. Lack of time, insufficient personnel, and unfamiliarity with local conditions would make this impossible.
"Our legal counsel therefore has drawn up the following letter which has been sent to all Masters and Secretaries:
To Masters and Secretaries of all Lodges:
Taxation of Masonic Temples
If you meet in a building or a Temple owned by your Lodge or by a Masonic Temple Association, it is urgent that you refer this letter without delay to the Building Committee Chairman or the Temple Association Treasurer. Please notify me promptly of the name and address of the person to whom it has been referred.
Masonic Temples for some ten years have been exempt from real estate taxed under G.L. Chapter 59, Section 5, paragraph 3rd (c) except for such portions of the building as may be rented for commercial purposes.
However, we have learned that 1968 tax bills on Masonic Temples are being received by Lodges and Temple Associations in some cities and towns. Our Grand Lodge attorney informs me of a recent development which has made buildings belonging to other fraternal groups liable for real estate taxes should not change the tax exempt status of Masonic Temples. Therefore, it is imperative that if a tax bill is received, immediate steps should be taken to file an application for a tax exemption and abatement. This application must be filed prior to October 1st, or within 30 days after the bill was mailed if the bill was mailed after September 1st.
The legal questions are involved and the abatement procedure is very technical. Accordingly, the services of a local lawyer experienced in such matters should be secured immediately if a tax bill is received. If your local lawyer will get in touch with Whitfield W. Johnson, 73 Tremont Street, Boston, 02108, he will be glad to give your lawyer some background information and some legal citations which may be helpful in applying for an exemption.
Cordially and fraternally yours,
Thomas A. Booth, Grand Master
"If your Lodge or Temple Association has received a new or increased bill for taxes, it is important that you act right away."
Dimits and Suspensions
Page 1968-283, 12/11/1968, on dimits and suspensions.
"I am still concerned by the number of demits and suspensions.
"In September, Lodge Secretaries were requested to report the names and addresses of demitted and suspended members to my office. Provision was made for sending this report in on a separate sheet of paper with the Annual Returns to the Grand Secretary's Office.
"It was my intention to write each member demitted or suspended a personal letter asking him to reconsider and re-affiliate. Only one-half of the Lodge Secretaries have reported. All Members so reported have received my letter. I have received only a few replies indicating affiliation in another Lodge out-of-state, or requesting information as to re-affiliation procedure.
"Reports from the Lodge Secretaries are important. I urge every Master of a Lodge to inquire of his Secretary if this report has been made. We must have them at once.
"In order to evaluate this project, it will also be important that the Secretaries report the results of this effort. It will need the combined efforts of the Lodge Secretaries, Masters and Wardens to contact these demitted or suspended Brethren once more and urge them to re-affiliate. A personal letter from the Grand Master may open the door, but the interest of the Lodge Officers is vital if we are to keep it open."
Page 1968-301, 12/11/1968, on Negro Masonry.
"This committee consisting of all the living Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge has given, and is giving, earnest and continuous study to the subject referred to it and has been in friendly contact with some of the leaders in Negro Masonry. The subject is important and complicated and deserves the continuing interest of our Grand Lodge but it is our unanimous judgment that no formal action by this Grand Lodge would be wise or desirable at this time.
Herbert H. Jaynes, Grand Master.
Lodge Funds (Charity and Relief)
Page 1969-259, 09/10/1969, on charity and relief funds.
"There has been some inquiries at my office and I am sure the District Deputy Grand Masters have had similar ones from constituent Lodges, asking how they can free certain funds for use in operating their Lodges; funds that they have not been able to use for such purposes; usually the Charity and Relief Funds. In some instances the size of the Charity and Relief Funds in a Lodge have grown well beyond the probable need in the foreseeable future.
"I have asked a Committee to report to me on this matter and after full consideration they have returned a unanimous report that under certain conditions may permit limited general use of the income from Charity and Relief Funds. This report has been placed in the hands of the Grand Lodge Committee on Charters and By-Laws to assist them when considering new By-Laws or changes in the By-Laws of constituent Lodges.
"A suggested standard By-Law offered by the Special Committee, which consists of M.W. A. Neill Osgood, Chairman, M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson, R.W. Thomas G. Walters, and R.W. Robert P. Beach, is as follows:
After the needs of the Lodge for appropriate and authorized relief shall have been met during the preceding year without recourse to the principal of the Relief Fund, not more than one-half of the unexpended income of the Relief Fund, accumulated that year, may be transferred to the General Fund and/or designated for any other Masonic purpose, provided that an equal amount shall be added to the principal of the Relief Fund, by majority vote of the members present and voting at any regular meeting, such proposal having been borne on the notice of said regular meeting.
Page 1969-261, 09/10/1969, on Negro Masonry.
"I want now to speak to you about a matter which has concerned this Grand Lodge for many years. I have reference to our relationship to Negro Masonry. Our continuing Committee of Past Grand Masters appointed to study Negro Masonry in the United States, has this subject constantly in mind. I know that in some areas of our Grand Jurisdiction there exists an interest in our relationship with Negro Masonry, especially Prince Hall Masonry, and that several Lodges have in years past expressed the hope that our Grand Lodge would recognize Prince Hall Masonry. I believe that the interest of our Lodge and our Members is increasing, and I am not surprised that it does gain some impetus because of our increased awareness of the basic justice of civil rights.
"The problem, however, is not easily solved, nor easily defined. There are those who urge that we re-affirm our resolution of 1947. Some think that we should Masonically recognize Prince Hall Masonry. Some believe that we should invite Prince Hall Masonry into our Grand Lodge structure as a Provincial Grand Lodge, and there are those who argue for the status quo which permits a man, whatever his color, to make application for membership in Masonry and be accepted if found worthy.
"As with civil rights, our country is Masonically divided in its reaction to the recognition of Negro Masonry. We cannot view without dismay the prospect of Masonic disharmony in this country, whatever its cause. Relationships between Grand Jurisdictions are best developed and preserved at the level of the Grand Lodge in each jurisdiction.
"Representatives of a number of jurisdictions that share this Masonic problem have met on two occasions to exchange views and to consider possible actions and reactions. I have made every effort as your Grand Master to foster harmony between our Grand Lodge and all those which I have visited. My effort has been to discover whether a united approach is possible to the common problem of the Grand Lodges in the states in which Negro Masonry exists, and to develop a tolerant attitude among the other Grand Lodges which will result in a Masonic understanding of any future action which our Grand Lodge might take.
"Within Massachusetts our relationship with Prince Hall Masonry had been until recently at the Grand Lodge level. Our Committee on Negro Masonry, consisting of our presiding and Past Grand Masters, have held two fraternal and mutually helpful dinner meetings with the Prince Hall Grand Master and some of his Past Grand Masters and Officers. In the Spring of this year, I invited M.W. Brother William E. Reed, Grand Master of Prince Hall Masonry in Massachusetts to still another dinner under similar circumstances. It was decided to postpone it until Fall, and on September 4th I extended another invitation.
"I hope that this information will indicate to you the extent of my interest and concern, and that of all our Grand Lodge Officers. I ask for your indulgence in attempting to arrive at the solution which will be best for Massachusetts Masonry and for Masonry in the entire United States, and will be just and Masonically equitable to our Negro Brethren.
"This can best be done, and must be done, at the Grand Lodge level. If our constituent Lodges become involved or communicate with the Grand Lodges of other jurisdictions, whether recognized or not recognized, without a full knowledge of what has already been done, they are working at cross purposes to our Grand Lodge and may be performing a disservice to the other Grand Lodges. I call your attention to Section 703 of the Grand Constitutions which reads as follows:
Inter-jurisdictional correspondence shall in all cases be conducted through the Office of the Grand Master except as he may otherwise order.
At this time I request, in the hope that it will not be necessary for me to enjoin, our constituent Lodges, their Officers and Members, to strictly observe the provisions of Section 703 and to refrain from communication, either officially or unofficially, on Masonic matters with any unrecognized Grand Lodge, or with its subordinate Lodges, their Officers or Members. It is fundamental Masonic Law of long standing that such communications be conducted by the respective Grand Lodges.
"I strongly urge our constituent Lodges to feel free to tell the Grand Master of their concern or hope for action on any matter at any time, but I request that no Lodge enter upon a program of circularizing other constituent Lodges or urging concerted action with such Lodges on the matter of Negro Masonry.
"Please be assured that this subject will continue to be of great concern to me, your Grand Lodge Officers and the Grand Lodge Committee on Negro Masonry.
"Our principal purpose as Masons must always be to so strongly inculcate the teachings of Masonry in the minds and hearts of our Members that those teachings will be evidenced in their individual lives, in the Community and in the World.
"In like manner the solution of this problem must ultimately come from the hearts and minds of Masons who profess love of all mankind, and who rejoice in a universal friendship under God, the Father of us all."
EDICTS AND RULINGS FROM 1970 TO 1974
Herbert H. Jaynes, Grand Master.
Negro Masonry (Prince Hall)
Page 1970-337, 06/10/1970, on Prince Hall national meetings.
"During the middle days of August, Boston will be host to the Conference of Grand Masters of Prince Hall Masonry, followed within a few days by the meetings of their Imperial Shrine and their system of Scottish Rite Masonry and other related Prince Hall bodies.
"There will be literally thousands of Prince Hall Masons and their families in the City of Boston. I am sure that all of us will welcome the opportunity to offer a friendly smile and words of welcome to indicate to our friends our pleasure in having them in our midst.
"Increasingly I have become aware that one or more Bodies in Massachusetts, having a close tie to Masonry, restrict their applicants to non-Negroes, supporting their position by the statement that they take their lead from the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, and stating that the Grand Lodge does not accept Negroes as members.
"That is not true. I want to make it crystal clear that the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts makes no distinction between men because of the color of their skin, or of their race, or of the their creed. I will no longer permit this misconception to be circulated in this Jurisdiction without challenge. A continuance of this attitude will result in the withdrawal of all support and sponsorship of the Body or Bodies involved."
Page 1970-390, 09/09/1970, on Rainbow.
"At our June 1970 Communication, I said that I had become increasingly aware that one or more bodies in Massachusetts having a close tie to Masonry restricted their applicants to non-Negroes, giving as their reason that they follow the lead of our Grand Lodge and that our symbolic Lodges are not permitted to accept Negroes as Members. I said the statement is untrue, and you know that it is not true. Influencing my remarks was the action of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls in withdrawing recognition from the Auburn, Massachusetts Assembly of Rainbow in October 1969 shortly after the Supreme Deputy for Massachusetts, on the occasion of her first visit to Auburn Assembly, noticed a colored young lady among the Members. This has greatly disturbed the Members of Auburn Assembly, and of course their advisors as well. Knowledge of the action is widespread among the Assemblies of Rainbow Girls of Massachusetts and is causing them very real anguish as they find themselves involved in an organization with high ideals, but still does not permit the Membership of a Negro girl.
"I have received untold telephone calls and some correspondence with reference to this matter. One young lady, a Member of another Massachusetts Assembly, says: This ruling shocked, hurt, and infuriated me to think that an organization like Rainbow should have such a rule. It is impossible to sit through an assembly meeting without thinking that everything we do and say does not hold true because of this one rule. She adds that: The reason given is that Masons, among others, sponsor Rainbow, and Masons do not allow Negroes, so Rainbow cannot allow Negroes. She makes the strong point that the Order of DeMolay in Massachusetts is also sponsored by Masons and they are allowed to have Negroes in their Chapters.
"Letters from concerned Brother Masons express chagrin and fear for the harm that may be done our Fraternity by such indiscriminate and erroneous statements.
"I acknowledge that the Order of the Rainbow for Girls has no official tie with the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, that it is a separate organization and I have been very careful not to seem to interfere. However, as the opportunities have presented themselves, I have discussed this matter with Mrs. Agnes MacLeod, Supreme Worthy Advisor, Mrs. Martha Marie Whitfield and Judge Lavern Fishel, Supreme Parliamentarian, as well as with Mrs. Ona Carnes, Supreme Deputy for Massachusetts. My discussions with the first three who comprise the Jurisprudence Committee of the Supreme Assembly, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, did not involve the Auburn Assembly impasse at all. As Grand Master, my appeal was that the Order of Rainbow in Massachusetts be permitted in fact to follow the lead of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts with respect to the eligibility of Negroes for Membership.
"Subsequent to the Biannual meeting of the Supreme Assembly of Rainbow in Cleveland, Ohio, in late July, I wrote to Brother Fishel (August 13, 1970) with copies to the other Members of the Jurisprudence Committee expressing the hope that as much in advance of our September 9th Communication as possible I might learn whether such freedom of action is now permitted in Assemblies of Rainbow in Massachusetts, and if not, what if any action has been taken. I said that I would be delighted to report at that meeting that such may be done and added that it would give me the opportunity to make a fist strong move in fostering a closer tie between the Order of Rainbow for Girls and our Massachusetts Masonry. Hopefully it would become as close as that we presently enjoy with the Order of DeMolay. I have had no reply.
"I wrote on August 19, 1970 to Mrs. Carnes, the Supreme Deputy for Massachusetts, a somewhat similar letter, expressing concern and curiosity as to what had transpired and the hope that she might give me some good news both for our Masonic Craft and the Order of The Rainbow for Girls. By telephone on September 1, I learned from Mrs. Carnes that the Auburn situation is unchanged following a discussion or hearing accorded four representatives of the Auburn Advisory Council in Cleveland by the Jurisprudence Committee. She said: Any Assembly that is failing to comply with the decisions as they affect eligibility for membership shall have their charter revoked and all recognition by the Supreme Assembly withdrawn. I find no fault with that statement; it follows closely the pattern of the relationship between our Grand Lodge and the symbolic Lodges. I only wish the color requirements were less severe.
"With reference to my hope for easing of the ruling with reference to Negroes in Massachusetts, Mrs. Carnes told me the there has been no change from the oft-repeated statement through the years by those in authority that anyone with any percentage of Ethiopian blood would not be accepted to membership. Subsequently she told me that at the Supreme Assembly sessions the Jurisprudence Committee I mentioned earlier was authorized and directed to serve as a fact-finding committee to collect factual data and report to the next Supreme Assembly Session. They meet biannually; hence it appears that there can be no action for at least two more years.
"My options are several, including the enjoining of Massachusetts Masons and all other Masons residing in Massachusetts from serving on the Advisory Broads of the Assemblies. A narrow view of the whole unhappy situation would seem to indicate that we emphasize our position by our action.
"To do so would result in hurting and abandoning our daughters and their friends that are Members of recognized Massachusetts Assemblies. I am not willing at this point to take action that would harm and possibly destroy in Massachusetts an Order that had done so much for so many young ladies. I am proud that my daughter is a Past Worthy Advisor. Her association with the Order did much to mold her into the fine young wife and mother that she is. My present attitude therefore is to hope that patience may overcome prejudice and prove more conciliatory than precipitate action.
"I urge all of our Massachusetts Masons who are Members of Advisory Boards of the Order of Rainbow for Girls to continue their great contribution to a basically fine organization and prayerfully work toward the disregard of a girl's color and the increasing regard for her character.
"In the meantime, I shall offer to Auburn Assembly, should they wish it, and to any other Assembly that finds itself in a similar position, should they desire it, every possible support just as long as the Assembly continues to be an influence for good among our daughters and their friends.
"Maybe one day, black will be among the colors of the Rainbow.
"I am more than grateful than you can possibly realize for your acceptance of this report."
Page 1970-597, 12/09/1970, on Rainbow.
"In my remarks of September 9, 1970 at the Quarterly Communication of this Grand Lodge, I reported my concern that the Order of the Rainbow for Girls had withdrawn recognition of the Auburn, Massachusetts, Assembly of Rainbow in October of 1969 because the Assembly had accepted a Negro young lady as a member. I told of my contacts with the Jurisprudence Committee of the Supreme Assembly, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls made in the hope that at least in Massachusetts the Order would follow the lead of our Grand Lodge with respect to the eligibility of Negroes for membership.
"I stated that I had written on August 13, 1970 to Judge Laverne Fishel, Supreme Parliamentarian, and a member of the Jurisprudence Committee of Rainbow expressing the hope that I might learn what action had been taken at the Supreme Assembly of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls on the occasion of their biannual meeting in late July, and said that as of our meeting date, September 9, 1970, I had not received a reply.
"Judge Fishel wrote on September 17, 1970 that the Supreme Assembly had resolved that the policy and guide lines of admittance to membership as regards race, creed and color in the Order of the Rainbow for Girls would be as pronounced in the decisions of the General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. Further, said he, it was resolved that any Assembly failing to comply with this policy and guide line is subject to having its Charter revoked and recognition withdrawn by Supreme Assembly.
"On September 21, 1970 I asked him if he would tell me what is the policy and what are the guide lines as pronounced in the decisions of the General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star to which his September 17th letter referred.
"The Judge's September 30, 1970 reply reads as follows:
"Pursuant to your request of September 21, 1970, the following is submitted.
"Contained in the Decisions of the General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, 1876-1955, Page 12, the following language appears:
- No person with any percentage of Ethiopian blood can be elected or initiated to membership. M.W.G.M. Chapin 1922, Page 48.
"It is my understanding that this question is on the Agenda at General Grand Chapter this year in Wisconsin."
"Your Grand Master wishes more than anyone else for a close rapport between the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts and the Order of the Eastern Star. No single action could accomplish this more quickly than the abandonment of the decision of one Most Worthy Grand Matron of forty-eight years ago.
"There would seem to be the opportunity for such action when the Massachusetts Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, meets in annual conclave in May, 1971. Your Grand Master will hopefully and prayerfully listen for word that the approaching impasse has been avoided."
Negro Masonry (Prince Hall)
Page 1970-598, 12/09/1970, on interjurisdictional correspondence and Prince Hall.
"At the September 1969 Quarterly Communication I requested, in the hope that it would not be necessary for me to enjoin, our constituent Lodges, their Officers and Members to strictly observe the provisions of Section 703 of the Grand Constitutions which reads:
Interjurisdictional correspondence shall in all cases be conducted through the Office of the Grand Master, except as he may otherwise order.
and to refrain from communicating either officially or unofficially on Masonic matters with any unrecognized Grand Lodge or with its subordinate Lodges, their Officers, or Members. In September of this year I became aware that one of our Lodges proposed to vote at their next communication on a motion that one or more Prince Hall Freemasons be invited to seek an admission to a subsequent regular meeting of the Lodge and that if such Prince Hall Freemasons satisfactorily passed examination by a committee appointed by the Master, they were to be admitted to the regular meeting of that Lodge.
"The Grand Secretary of our Grand Lodge, upon learning of this proposed action, notified the Secretary of the Lodge that if the Brethren should take affirmative action on the vote proposed at their meeting, such action would be void and have no effect in view of the fact that the admission of visitors not having a duly authorized uniform card was in direct violation of Section 501 of the Constitutions and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.
"At my direction the Worshipful Master did not allow the proposed vote to be taken. In confirming this directive in a letter dated October 6, 1970, I expressed my reluctance to conclude that the action was taken in deliberate violation of the Grand Constitutions and Masonic Common Law, although there were a number of Past Masters of the Lodge in the meeting room. His attention was called to that portion of my remarks included in the Grand Master's address of September 10, 1969, which I have just read. I added that in view of the then present situation, and to dispel any possible doubt in his mind or in the minds of his Officers and Members who might succeed his as Master, I was enjoining him and his successors in office as Master of his Lodge from presenting to the Lodge for action the proposed vote, or any vote of similar purport, at any time in the future unless and until the injunction should have been removed by me or by one of my successors in office.
"I ordered that the Master and his Members individually and collectively as a Lodge were perpetually enjoined from engaging in Masonic conversation or Masonic intercourse of any nature whatsoever, either personally or officially with any person not a Member of a Lodge under the Jurisdiction of a regular Grand Lodge recognized as such by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. It is a fundamental Masonic Law of long standing that such communications be conducted by the respective Grand Lodges. Although I do not at this time change the wording of my admonition of September 1969, and although I will continue the use of the word request rather that enjoin, similar action in the future by any Massachusetts Lodge or Member thereof will be dealt with as though it was a violation of a Grand Master's edict."
Negro Masonry (Prince Hall)
Page 1970-600, 12/09/1970, on Prince Hall Masonry.
"You will recall my report to you of attendance at a pleasant luncheon as a guest of William Reed, the Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons in Massachusetts, in August, at the Parker House on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of Grand Masters of Prince Hall Masonry. I described it as a completely informal luncheon. It was not during their Conference Sessions. The invitation read: Please accept this special invitation to be with us and many friends on August 14, 1970 at the Parker House between 11:30 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. for a high Social Gathering.
"Because of highly erroneous newspaper reports of that which I considered a simple, friendly gesture, attendance at the luncheon has been misunderstood by the leaders of many Jurisdictions throughout the Country. They have expressed reactions varying from mild curiosity to great concern.
"My statement to them has been that my appearance on the occasion of the 1970 Conference of Grand Masters, Prince Hall Masons, which was held in Boston, as it is once every ten years, was not at a meeting of their Conference. It was a completely informal luncheon. I did not meet with them during their deliberation, nor participate in their Conference work.
"All of those with whom I have discussed this matter have expressed understanding and ready acceptance of my statement.
"I hope that my presence at the Luncheon may have served to demonstrate that men of good will everywhere should seek out and can find some common grounds on which to meet and discuss their mutual aims and aspirations.
"On August 28, 1969, I was requested by William E. Reed, Grand Master of Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts, to lay before our Grand Lodge their petition for a re-affirmation of the resolution of our Grand Lodge in 1947 relating to the regularity of origin of Prince Hall Masonry when tested by the Masonic Laws and Customs prevailing in the 1780's. This resolution was rescinded by our Grand Lodge in 1949, and there still exist differences of opinion as to the correctness of the conclusions in the 1947 resolution.
"I am not questioning the legitimacy of African Lodge #459 which was constituted by a Charter issued to Prince Hall by the Grand Lodge of England, although that Charter dated September 29, 1784, was considered by the Grand Lodge of England in 1813 to have become ineffective.
"Prince Hall was working under a Warrant from the Grand Lodge of England. He promised to be governed by the Laws of that Grand Lodge.
"R.W. James W. Stubbs, the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, has written that he knows of no instance of an English Lodge assuming the right to constitute other Lodges. Within the past year, that position has been restated by Brother Stubbs in the following letter to the Grand Secretary dated December 11, 1969:
Further to your letters of 28th November, the receipt of which I acknowledged on 4th December, the position with regard to the Prince Hall organization as seen by the United Grand Lodge of England is that it claims descent from the Warrant issued on the 29th September, 1784 in favor of fifteen men of color residing in Boston, Massachusetts, to form a Lodge (then No. 459) on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of England. That Warrant, which like any other Warrant issued to a private Lodge, gave no power to the Masons of that Lodge to form other Lodges.
So far as the Grand Lodge of England is concerned, the brief history of the matter is that the Lodge in Boston, which was known as African Lodge, became inactive for one reason or another (no dues or communications received from it since the late 1790's) and it was erased from the Roll of our Grand Lodge in 1813, whereupon the Warrant became ineffective. This Warrant may still be in the possession of the Prince Hall Masons in the United States but had it come back into our possessions, as strictly speaking it should have done, it would have been endorsed as cancelled and retained for the records in our archives.
From the English Masonic point of view, therefore, the Prince Hall movement has been acting unconstitutionally by assuming the functions of a Grand Lodge and issuing Warrants to form other Lodges. African Lodge was formed as a Lodge under the Grand Lodge of England and therefore it remained an English Lodge throughout the period of its existence: the Lodge and Members were subject to the regulations of the Grand Lodge of England and they had no authority to use or act on the English Warrant by way of forming other Lodges and then forming themselves into a Grand Lodge.
I hope your Grand Master will find the information helpful in the consideration of the matter by your Grand Lodge.
"On the basis of all information currently available to me as to the Laws and Customs of the Mother Grand Lodge of England, and without prejudice, I feel that no useful purpose would be served by placing the above request before our Grand Lodge at this time.
"Nonetheless, I want you to know that I have the greatest respect for those Prince Hall Masons whom I have come to know. I only wish that there were more areas that appear to exist in which we might exhibit our admiration for the work they are doing."
Herbert H. Jaynes, Grand Master.
Page 1971-68, 03/10/1971, on Table Lodges.
"Early this year it became apparent to me that I would have to closely scrutinize all plans for Table Lodges, and so directed that the following letter be sent to the District Deputy Grand Masters:
"It is the order of Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, that effectively immediately and until further notice no Table Lodges shall be held in this jurisdiction without prior personal approval of the Grand Master, requests for holding the same to be submitted through the District Deputy Grand Masters.
"In processing requests for Table Lodges, District Deputy Grand Masters shall advise the Grand Master by letter of complete details as to participating Lodges, time and place to be held, name of conducting Worshipful Master, name of Grand Lodge Officer who will be present and other pertinent particulars, in submitting their requests for approval.
"Immediately following the holding of an approved Table Lodge, the District Deputy Grand Master of the District in which the Table Lodge has been held is requested to submit a report on the same to the Grand Master.
"This program will continue as long as I am Grand Master. I approved approximately twenty Table Lodges for the month of February, and have received reports from most of the District Deputy Grand Masters who were present. From them I know that most Table Lodge meetings are pleasant gathering involving an unusual ceremony, which includes seven toasts.
"When the meeting is under the direction of one who thoroughly understands the philosophy from which the ceremony has evolved, who has a thorough knowledge of the ritual, and has the respect of the Brethren that enables him to preserve the dignity and decorum which must always characterize a Masonic meeting, it can be a worthwhile and attractive activity to be included in a Lodge program once in every several years. I am grateful to those Masters of Ceremonies who fit this description.
"Now please do not think that as Grand Master I lead a sheltered life. It is not only the favorable reports that reach me. Two recent Table Lodges were boisterous and not under the control of the Masters of Ceremonies.
"It would be unfortunate if the actions of a few were to result in the lack of opportunity for the many to enjoy Table Lodges.
"I am convinced that it is the inordinate consumption of the wine drunk with the toasts that has resulted in the incidents to which I have taken strong objection.
"Such conduct at future meetings will result in the banning of the use of wine and the substitution of grape juice or other non-alcoholic beverages at all Table Lodges."
Games of Chance (Prizes and Lotteries); Liquor
Page 1971-69, 03/10/1971, on social functions, prizes and lotteries.
"As I have examined the Lodge notices that have come to my office during the past several months, I have observed circulars and brochures announcing Lodge functions and offering complimentary drinks, cocktails, door prizes and drawings.
"This is contrary to Grand Lodge procedure.
"Past Grand Masters have dealt with this matter. Most Worshipful Laurence E. Eaton, on December 14, 1960, ruled that no Lodge should use its name or the Masonic emblem on any publication, circular, flyer, invitation or other material which referred to the use or sale of alcoholic beverages at a social dinner or any other function of the Lodge.
"On March 9, 1966, Most Worshipful Thomas A. Booth said much the same, but specifically included prizes and lotteries.
"I re-affirm the statements made by the Past Grand Masters, and assure you that I will require the Worshipful Master of the offending Lodge to issue an immediate retraction by mail to everyone who receives the offending material. I now read that which I gave to the District Deputy Grand Masters as a definite instruction at our meeting this morning:
"Watch your Lodge notices. Nothing but Lodge business and information pertaining to Lodges of Instruction and Visitations by the District Deputy shall appear on Lodge notices except as, from time to time, the Grand Master may otherwise authorize or direct. Brief notices of DeMolay and Rainbow meetings may be made. The Master's message to the members in Lodge notices should always be couched in proper terms and not make use of slang or undignified phraseology. No enclosures are permitted except as previously approved by the Grand Master."
Page 1971-393, 09/08/1971, on OES and Rainbow.
"You will recall my earlier concern the Assemblies of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls in Massachusetts had been, by direction of its leaders both at the International level and the State level, unable to accept Negro young ladies as Members. I related to you that I had been informed that this policy stemmed from a similar prohibition of the Order of the Eastern Star. I concluded that section of my address by saying that the Massachusetts Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, seemed to have an opportunity to protest the restriction and to embrace a more enlightened attitude when they met in Annual Session in May, 1971.
"I am pleased that first move in that direction was taken by a petition to the Most Worthy Grand Matron, of the General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, by Massachusetts Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, requesting the privilege of accepting such applicants into membership in Massachusetts and asked a decision within ninety days of the day of the vote, which I believe was May 15, 1971. I understand that a response has been made, but I have no knowledge of its nature, whether favorable or unfavorable.
"I offer my commendation and applause to the Massachusetts Grand Chapter for its courageous action, and regardless of whether the petition has been granted, urge all Master Masons who are Members of the Order of the Eastern Star to continue to move in that direction. I am confident that they will do so, because as Massachusetts Masons they are a part of the strong band of brethren within the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts which does not have and never has had a requirement as to race, creed, or religion as a basis of Membership."
Past Masters (Past Master Diplomas)
Page 1971-396, 09/08/1971, on Past Master Diplomas.
"Recently I have had the pleasure of signing each of the certificates that are to be presented by the District Deputy Grand Master to most of the retiring Worshipful Masters on the occasion of the Deputy's Official Visitation to the Master's lodge or at some other convenient time. Sometimes I have stopped to reflect on the language of the certificate and speculate on its appropriateness. Over the signature of the Grand Master, and attested to by the Grand Secretary, it states that the Worshipful Master has been a light to his brethren and an ornament to the Craft and that this testimonial of his meritorious service recommends him to the hospitality and protection due to a faithful overseer. To those of you who are to receive the certificate I extend my sincere congratulations. To the several to whom the certificate will not be presented I express my regret that even an understanding and lenient interpretation of the requirements does not permit it. To those who are soon to become Worshipful Masters of their Lodges be aware that you are indeed expected to be a light to your brethren and an ornament to the Craft. May your year of leadership in your Lodge strengthen and support it and each of its members."
Use of Lodge Funds (Charity)
Page 1971-397, 09/08/1971, on Lodge charity funds.
"The question is frequently asked to what organization may contributions be made from symbolic Lodge Charity Funds. I am sure that the question of the use of Lodge Funds has engaged the attention of all Grand Masters, but we have in the record the ruling of M.W. Leon M. Abbott, made in June, 1917, (Page 1917-138), the ruling of M.W. Herbert W. Dean, made in September 1930 (Page 1930-336), and that of M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson in March 1954 (Page 1954-30), and the ruling of M.W. Thomas A. Booth in June, 1968 (Page 1968-92) which indicate clearly that the use of the Lodge Funds should be restricted to Masonic purposes.
"Section 700 of the Grand Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts specifies in detail those organizations which are declared to be regular and duly constituted Masonic Bodies. They are described as those Bodies comprising the York Rite and the Scottish Rite.
"We also have a clear mandate from a succession of distinguished Grand Masters, M.W. Melvin Maynard Johnson, M.W. Samuel H. Wragg, M.W. Thomas S. Roy and M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson that a symbolic Lodge under the Jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge may become the sponsoring body for a Chapter of the Order DeMolay, and the sponsoring of such a Chapter shall be deemed a proper Masonic purpose for the expenditure of any Lodge Funds which such Lodge may wish to appropriate for such purpose. Moreover, M.W. Thomas A. Booth, in June, 1968, (Page 1968-89) ruled that a constituent Lodge might appropriate Lodge Funds in support of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls.
"I believe, therefore, that it is not a relaxation of these rulings, but a delineation of them to state that contributions from symbolic Lodge Charity Funds may be made to the following Institutions and Foundations:
- Masonic Home, Charlton
- Masonic Nursing Home (Juniper Hall) Shrewsbury Supreme Council Benevolent Foundation
- Supreme Council Education and Charity Fund Knights Templar Education Foundation
- Knights Templar Eye Foundation
- DeMolay Foundation of Massachusetts
Page 1971-509, 12/08/1971, on handicaps.
"I have in my hand a letter I wrote to the Secretary of a Lodge in Massachusetts in which I said this: I have no hesitancy in extending my approval of the acceptance of the application of your prospective candidate who is legally blind. We have blind men in our Massachusetts Masonry now; one is a Member of my Lodge, Belmont Lodge, and is a regular and enthusiastic attendant and has been a State Legislator. There are undoubtedly several points in the ritual of the three degrees which a strict interpretation would seem to exclude a blind person. I do not believe that is of such great importance as to withhold from a worthy applicant the privileges of Masonry.
"This leads me to express the hope that our Grand Lodge may soon form a Committee to consider the limits that should be observed when dealing with the applications of handicapped persons. Surely, the throngs of our men who are coming home from Viet Nam injured, deformed in some instances, must cause us to wonder if we can shut our doors to such as they."
Donald W. Vose, Grand Master.
Degrees (First Degree Lectures)
Page 1972-34, 03/08/1972, on First Degree work.
"I have made visits to many Lodges, and the good times afforded your Grand Master have been most gratifying and quite in keeping with the spirit of fraternalism which I hope to foster throughout the state. But nevertheless, I would like to visit a Lodge on the First Degree, and I rather think you know what I am talking about; and I speak to the presiding Masters, and especially to the Junior Wardens. If you like the recent change in the First Degree work, the idea was my own. If you don't, the idea was still my own. Brethren, the reason for all of this is that I feel that the Master's work, his part of the lecture which is delivered in the First Degree, second section, should be given with all the majesty in the East. Whoever is delivering the lecture should be presiding in the East even though he happens to be occupying the office of Junior Warden or Senior Warden, and I rather expect that with so beautiful a lecture the candidate would be duly impressed. That is why I should like to see it done this way. I may leave it pretty much to the Masters, Wardens, and the Grand Lectures to work out the details as to how this change shall be accomplished."
Games of Chance (Beano)
Page 1972-186, 06/14/1972, on beano.
"As you are well aware, the game of Beano has been legalized in Massachusetts, and we have had several inquiries as to the position of the Blue Lodge, or associated clubs, etc., sponsoring the game in a Masonic Temple.
"I must refer you first to the resolution adopted by the Grand Lodge in 1939, which is taken from Page 87 of the Proceedings of 1939:
RESOLVED: that it is inconsistent with the professions and purposes of Freemasonry for any Masonic Body to promote, participate in, or profit by any lottery, game of chance, door prize, or other device or activity whereby the individual participant may be able, through the element of luck or chance, to win a greater value than he pays, and each Masonic Body within the Jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge is hereby enjoined to observe the letter and spirit of this Resolution; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all so-called collateral bodies, clubs, or other organizations in Massachusetts whose Membership is related to, or dependent on Masonic Members, or which in the public mind are likely to be regarded as Masonic Organizations, are requested, and all individual Masons owing allegiance to this Grand Lodge are enjoined, to respect the purpose of this Resolution.
In addition to this, I quote from the opinion of our Legal Counsel:
Beano is now legal, but I think that we agreed that this was not a proper fund-raising activity for a Lodge or other Masonic Organization. The Grand Lodge will not grant permission to any Masonic Temple for the purpose of holding Beano games, regardless of the owner of the Building. I how ask you to completely understand the position of the Grand Lodge with respect to any Blue Lodge or other Masonic related organization sponsoring Beano games, whether in a Masonic Temple or not.
I now ask you to completely understand the position of the Grand Lodge with respect to any Blue Lodge or other Masonic related organization sponsoring Beano games, whether in a Masonic Temple or not.
Page 1972-187, 06/14/1972, on material accompanying Lodge notices.
"The type of material which is to accompany Lodge notices using the regular Lodge Mailing List has been a problem for many years. My predecessor, Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes, issued a memorandum over a year ago which pointed out the material that could be enclosed with a Lodge Notice without the approval of the Grand Master. I recently sent a memorandum to all District Deputy Grand Masters to contact the Masters, Wardens, and Secretaries of the Lodge in their District re-confirming these instructions. I have heard from many of the District Deputies that this has been done.
"Despite these instructions, some Lodges are continuing to enclose material not previously approved by my office, and I ask at this time that the Masters of the Lodges make every effort to comply with these instructions.
"Also, it has come to my attention that some Lodge Notices sent the Grand Lodge Offices do not contain the added material. Please make sure that all persons on your mailing list receive the same material."
Page 1972-193, 06/14/1972, on Masters' programs.
"My predecessors originated a program whereby Masters-elect of our Lodges, as well as some of the Masters, were asked to submit to the Grand Master a proposed program of activities for their coming year.
"I would like to continue this program and ask each of you Masters here today to submit to me at your earliest opportunity a program of the activities of your Lodge for the coming year. For those of you who are Senior Wardens, it offers an excellent opportunity to get together with the Master of your Lodge for assistance in developing your program. I would like to receive these programs as soon after September 1st of this year as possible so that I may have the opportunity to review them and obtain a good picture of the general trend in activities.
"This will not only assist you in planning your year, but if published in advance will give the Brethren of your Lodge the opportunity of knowing what he may expect with regard to degree work, special Lodge functions and social events.
"I ask that you make every effort to comply with this request and have your proposed programs in my office as soon after September 1st as possible."
Page 1972-254, 09/13/1972, on Lodge officers.
"There are Lodges today who are being honored and well served by many of their Past Masters. Whenever a Lodge finds itself in difficulty for officers they fall back upon the Past Masters and it is true that these Past Masters because of their great experience and devotion to Masonry, are able to give the candidates the fine lectures and good Masonry. Yet, Brethren, I call to your attention that if this is done too often and too long we are depriving the future of leadership to which Masonry is entitled. We should be having new young men in our line all the way. We should only in extreme cases call upon our Past Masters to come into service. I thank those Past Masters for the service which they render when this becomes necessary. I was visiting another state not long ago and the Grand Master said that a Lodge member came to him, and advised that the Worshipful Master said they were unable to find a Secretary for the Lodge. They had searched for six months, had been unable to find one and were going to proceed without one. This was the Grand Master's answer: He said to that Lodge that if you do not come up with a Secretary I am going to ask you to turn in your charter, and the Worshipful Master said that I guess we shall have to turn in our charter. The Grand Master said, Do you want me to say to your brethren that you have been unable to get a Secretary? The MAster was a bit hesitant and the Grand Master continued, If I were to get on the telephone and call every member of your Lodge would there be one single member anywhere who would say that he had not been asked to serve as Secretary?
"The Grand Master told the Master to get on the phone or go in his car and see that he had talked to everyone in the Lodge before he told him that there was no one to serve. They found a man. They found a man who had not been in the Lodge for several years. He was a quiet, retiring sort of man, and when they asked him if he would be Secretary he said he had never been asked to do anything in the Masonic fraternity and he certainly would love to be Secretary; and he is now a very fine Lodge Secretary. So I would suggest, Worshipful Masters, particularly those of you who are on nominating committees, that you make a very careful survey of your Lodges before you decide that there is no one to serve. Ask men who have not been to Lodge for years, ask men who have gone away quietly, who have not said much to anyone, for sometimes a man just needs an opportunity, and there is a word I like to use. Put yourself in this man's place.
Full many a rose is born to blush unseen
To waste its fragrance on the desert air
Page 1972-256, 09/13/1972, on demits.
"I would like to say a bit about Demits and Re-affiliations. I have been talking with representatives of several collateral bodies and I note that they are very dedicated Masons. They seek increased Membership in the collateral bodies, and we want them to increase their membership. But the membership that I want to see increased right now is the membership of our Masonic Lodges. I ask that you carefully examine your recent Demits. We can do nothing about those who pass on the Celestial Lodge Above, because we had an influx of Masons during the early 1920's, and those Brethren who are getting on in years are departing in greater numbers.
"Right Worshipful Brother Beach will probably be giving us numbers in a few weeks that will show another decline this year. But if a member Demits, it is something that we can always do something about. If a man cannot afford to pay his Lodge Dues, we should know that and not let him just drop out of Masonry. If a young man, or a man in middle years, drops out of Masonry, I urge you to point out to him the importance of keeping his Membership. Day after day I have heart-rending decisions to make, because men who are approaching the time when they would usually be entitled to the Fifty-Year Veteran's Medal, were unaffiliated for several years during the days of the depression and delayed in coming back. It is a sad thing for a man to think that he is going to get his Fifty-Year Medal - he tells his family and friends - and then we find that he is not eligible to receive that Medal. So try and keep all of our Members within the Fraternity and before you automatically give them a Demit, find out if there isn't some way you can keep them in the Craft or affiliate in some other State. I am asking all of you who are interested in Membership, not only in Symbolic Masonry, but in collateral bodies, to find out the names of those who have Demitted from the Craft and see if you cannot bring them back into the Fraternity, and give them something that they have missed."
Universal League of Free Masons
Page 1972-387, 12/13/1972, on the Universal League of Free Masons.
"The Grand Secretary informs me that an organization known as The Universal League of Free Masons is again attempting to solicit members in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Membership in this body is forbidden to members of our Massachusetts Lodges and I read, for your information, the resolution adopted by this Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication of June 14, 1967:
Whereas an attempt is being made to recruit members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts into a body known as THE UNIVERSAL LEAGUE OF FREE MASONS;
And, whereas this body, while purporting to consist of members from Grand Lodges practicing regular Masonry nevertheless receives members from Grand Lodges we consider irregular;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts considers The Universal League of Freemasonry as outside the limits of regular Masonry, and declares membership in it forbidden to membership of this Grand Lodge.
Donald W. Vose, Grand Master.
Page 1973-119, 06/13/1973, on admittance of visiting Brethren.
"A very startling thing was brought to my attention a few days ago, Brethren, and this should be of interest to all Lodges, although it will be of particular interest to our Lodge Tylers. Not long ago I was advised that a Mason had visited Lodges for seven years without having a Dues Card or having paid any dues. He had received his degrees and then, not having signed the By-Laws, he did not receive a Dues Card. Apparently he did not know that he was required to have one. When he visited Lodges he had always been vouched for, and the Tylers had not asked to see his Card. In another case, a Member in good standing of a Lodge moved to a new locality and began visiting the local Lodge quite regularly. Although he was subsequently suspended from his original Lodge for non-payment of dues, he nevertheless continued to visit the second Lodge, with no current Dues Card. I trust that these are isolated instances and that our Lodges are not admitting visitors without either the Tyler or an Examining Committee requiring them to produce a valid Dues Card. The Lodge Tyler is charged with the responsibility of examining a visitor's Dues Card each and every time he visits the Lodge."
Page 1973-121, 06/13/1973, on DeMolay.
"Brethren, as I travel about the state, I hear good reports about DeMolay but I find there are various areas where DeMolay is neglected. Our Grand Lodge has been contributing $10,000.00 annually to DeMolay in Massachusetts for a number of years. Other Masonic bodies and individuals have also contributed to DeMolay in Massachusetts and, as Grand Master, I thank you for supporting this great movement financially. Brethren, as you all know it takes more than an investment of money to make an operation successful. It takes attention, it takes time, it takes effort. There are areas in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where there is no DeMolay activity at all. There is great opportunity for Masonry to serve in these areas and start a DeMolay Chapter. There are many Lodges where there is no DeMolay activity. If I were to ask in a town why there is no DeMolay they might say, "it is because the Lodge does not do anything about it." If I were to ask the Lodge why there is no DeMolay activity they would say, "There is no need for any DeMolay activity in the Lodge because there is no DeMolay in the town." We will never get started that way. Accordingly, I make the following declaration:
"In order to promote adequately the interest of DeMolay in Massachusetts, it is my direction that the Worshipful Master of each Lodge in this Jurisdiction act as DeMolay Committee Chairman or appoint such a Chairman from his Lodge, for the ensuing year and for each year thereafter, whose responsibility shall be the active promotion of DeMolay. I further direct that the name of, and title of, the DeMolay Committee Chairman shall appear on the Lodge Organization List on the Regular Lodge Notice of each constituent Lodge. Brethren, this is a directive of the Grand Master and is the only one which I have given. The way to cooperate is to include the name of your DeMolay Committee Chairman in your Lodge Organization List the next time your notices are printed for the year. These Lodge Notices will go to press in the near future, throughout the Summer, and the Fall. Make sure that each Lodge has a DeMolay Chairman, and Worshipful Master if you cannot get someone then you are the Chairman yourself.
"Brother James A. Moller is the Executive Secretary for DeMolay in Massachusetts and has all the information which you will need for starting a DeMolay Chapter, or continuing a DeMolay Chapter, or reviving a DeMolay Chapter. His office is located at 73 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, and his telephone number is 227-5157. He will be pleased to hear from any and all of you."
A detailed report on DeMolay was presented by Rt. Wor. J. Henry Johnson at the September Quarterly, starting on Page 1973-185.
Page 1973-128, 06/13/1973, on Table Lodge ritual.
"The Grand Master commented on the ritual prescribed for the conduct of a Table Lodge in this jurisdiction, with particular reference to the first toast. The ritual is not to be varied and the first toast is to be proposed To the President of the United States."
Jurisdiction (Concurrent Jurisdiction)
Page 1973-237, 12/12/1973, on concurrent jurisdiction.
"This coming year I plan to bring before the Grand Lodge the matter of statewide concurrent jurisdiction. This will require several amendments to our Constitutions and Regulations, which will probably be discussed at our March Quarterly Communication."
Applicants (Age Requirement)
Page 1973-238, 12/12/1973, on lowering the age requirement.
(06/13/1973, Page 1973-128): "With reference to the matter of lowering the age for initiation to eighteen years, the Grand Master invited discussion and indicated that he probably would request a committee report for the September Quarterly Communication and ask for an expression of opinion by the Grand Lodge at the December Quarterly Communication."
The Grand Master, by printed ballot, requested an expression of opinion from the Craft on the question of lowering the age requirement for admission to the Fraternity in Massachusetts from twenty-one to eighteen years. The sentiment was overwhelmingly in the negative.
Donald W. Vose, Grand Master.
Page 1974-??, 07/25/1974, on enclosures with Lodge notices. (SCC p. 161)
Page 1974-??, 07/25/1974, on the fourth class of instruction. (SCC p. 162)