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EDICTS FROM 1950 TO 1999

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.



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.

"Three years ago the Grand Master, M.W. Samuel H. Wragg, was asked to give his official interpretation of Section 331 of the Grand Constitutions. This section reads as follows:

"Section 331. The majority of the members of any Lodge, when duly assembled, shall have the right to instruct their representatives in the Grand Lodge.

"This query was prompted by a prevailing difference of opinion as to whether a majority of all the members of a Lodge was meant or a majority of the members present at a meeting of the Lodge.

"Most Worshipful Brother Wragg ruled as follows:

"From the language of Section 331, I can see where the question of whether a majority of the members of a Lodge, or the majority present at a regularly called meeting, is necessary in order for a Lodge to instruct its representatives.

"From a practical point of view, it would seem to me impossible, or nearly so, for a majority of the members of almost any Lodge to be present at a meeting to exercise this power. Perhaps this language applied to a differ¬ent day and age.

"In any event, unless and until better information is before me, my interpretation of this section is that it does not require the presence of a majority of the members of a Lodge but that with a quorum present at a duly called business meeting, instruction may be given to the Lodge representatives by a majority of the members then present.

"My attention has been called to the fact that this important ruling has never been published in our Proceedings. I therefore now rule and affirm the above ruling of Moat Worshipful Brother Wragg and order it to be so recorded."


Thomas S. Roy, Grand Master.

Use of the Name "Jesus"

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."

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."

Chain Letters

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 (Procedure)

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."

Candidate Ciphers

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."

Visitation (Candidates)

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 (Procedure)

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."

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."

By-Laws (Filing for Changes)

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."

Chain Letters

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 practice 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."


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.)


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."


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."

Ritual (Penalties)

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.

Anti-Masonic Propaganda

See 1952 Answer to Anti-Masonic Propaganda.

Past Masters' Diploma

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.

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.

Installation Ritual

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.


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."


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)

Gambling (Door Prizes)

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 applicability 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."

Chain Letters

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."

Residence (Applicants)

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."

Class Lodges

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.

Veteran Past Masters

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 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.


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.

Demits and Certificates of Clearance

Page 1955-234, 09/14/1955, on Masonic law, demits and certificates of clearance.

"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:


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 (Inserts)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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."


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."

Use of Stereopticon

Page 1956-172, 06/13/1956, on the use of a stereopticon lantern.

This ruling reinforces an 1895 ruling by Grand Master Holmes, above. It also appears in the Grand Constitutions (1953 ed., Section 333).

"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."

Gifts to Past Masters

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."

Lodge Finances

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."

Costumes and Special 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."



Laurence E. Eaton, Grand Master.

Use of 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 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."

Past Masters

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."

Lodge Finances

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."

Decorum During Degree Work

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."


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 Master Aprons and Jewels

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:

  1. According to the Grand Constitutions, there is no difference in the design of a Presiding Master's or a Past Master's apron.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Page 1962-169, 09/12/1962, on aprons and jewels.

"[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."

Lodge Finances

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.

Gambling (Door Prizes)

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 also call your attention to the remarks of M.W. Thomas S. Roy (Page 1951-141) and a subsequent ruling by M.W. Whitfield W. Johnson (Page 1954-32).

"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."

Officer Training

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' Aprons

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 (ID 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."

Public Installations

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:

  1. Your Lodge will be in session, hence none but Members of the Craft should be permitted to take part.
  2. Any presentation to the Master must be made by a Mason, for only Masons may approach the East.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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' Jewels

Page 1963-260, 12/11/1963, on Past Masters' 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."

Conferral of Degrees (Interval)

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."

Lodge Finances

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."

Temple Building

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.

Gambling (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."

Taxation (Temples)

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.

Gambling 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."

Table Lodges

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."

Conferral of Degrees (Interval)

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."

Lodge 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."

Costumes (Degree Teams)

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."

Lodge Programs

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:

Dear Brother:

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."

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."

Demits and Suspensions

Page 1968-283, 12/11/1968, on demits 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."

Lodge Funds

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.



Herbert H. Jaynes, Grand Master.


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, 1979) 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:

Ethiopian Blood

  1. 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."


Herbert H. Jaynes, Grand Master.

Table Lodges

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."

Gambling and Liquor (Prizes and Lotteries)

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."

Rainbow and Eastern Star

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' 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."

Lodge Funds

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
Handicaps and Applicants

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.

Entered Apprentice Work

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."


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.

Notice Inserts

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."

Masters' Programs

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.

Table Lodge Ritual

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."


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."

Age Requirement (Candidates)

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.

Note: These references were not found. They were probably mislabeled.

  • 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)


Stanley F. Maxwell, Grand Master.

Demits and Suspensions

Page 1975-28, 03/12/1975, on demits and suspensions.

"The matter of Demits and Suspensions is one of great concern to all of us. I think of it not from a numerical standpoint, but rather of a serious embarrassment to all of us in future years.

"I have become much more aware of the fact that there are three areas affected by demits and suspensions that I feel quite sure are not properly understood by the Membership, and possibly not fully understood by the Officers of our Lodges.

"First, with respect to Masonic Funerals, we have head of several cases where a family has requested a Masonic Funeral Service for their departed only to find that the deceased had taken a demit or had been suspended for non-payment of dues some years earlier. Obviously he is not entitled to a service and this is most embarrassing to all of us.

"Second, we have seen several cases lately where an application has been made for admission to our Masonic Home only to discover that the Member has not maintained continuous membership in the most recent ten-year period. Here again, the family is embarrassed, but more important, a worthy case has to be turned down because of a lack of understanding or neglect.

"Third, I fear it is not clearly understood that Membership in the collateral Masonic Bodies, beyond the symbolic Lodge, is dependent on regular Membership in the symbolic Lodge. We intend to pursue this situation more strenuously in the future than we have in the past.

"I would hope that each Master of a Lodge, or his Representative, would make personal contact with each Brother who requests a demit, or is subject to suspension for non¬payment of dues, before the Member loses his rights and privileges of Freemasonry."

Ritual (Entered Apprentice Lecture)

Page 1975-29, 03/12/1975, on the Master's Lecture in the EA degree.

"You will recall that several years ago it was declared that because the Master's Lecture on the First Degree is the Master's work it should be given in the East, which entailed removing the two ashlars to the East from where they had been customarily resting in the West.

"After much consideration I am reversing that policy. The lecture is still the Master's work and if the Master chooses to give it himself from the East, that is perfectly proper. However, he has the privilege, as he does in all work, to assign a portion of his work to anyone he may designate who is properly qualified. Therefore, we are returning to what I call the Old System so that on the Master's Lecture on the First Degree, part of it will be given by the Junior Warden in the South, part of it will be given by the Senior Warden in the West, and the Master's part will be given in the East. Accordingly, the ashlars are to be returned to the West in all Massachusetts Lodges in order that they may be referred to in the appropriate part of the lecture.

"My reasons for reversing the policy are two in number. First, it is not practicable to keep the candidates standing in one position for the length of time required by the entire Lecture, as I do not think it is the purpose of our Ritual to put anyone under that type of strain. Secondly, it seems inappropriate to have a class of candidates seated in front of the East in order to avoid this situation.

"Accordingly, I now rule that all Lodges will return to our former practice, as I have outlined, with the complete understanding that should a Master wish to give the entire Master's Lecture on the First Degree, it is his privilege to do so in the East."

Page 1975-103, 06/11/1975, on the Master's Lecture in the EA degree.

"At the March meeting of the District Deputy Grand Masters, I requested a return to the former method of portraying the Lectures in the Second Section of the Entered Apprentice Degree. Apparently this information has not reached all Lodges; therefore, I repeat the ruling at this Communication.

"The Lectures in the Second Section of the Degree are Master's work; however, the Master may assign any or all of this work to his other officers. If he does assign the Lectures to the Junior and Senior Wardens, then those portions are to be given at the station of the Junior and Senior Wardens. If the Master chooses to do the entire Lecture himself, then it is done from the East.

"Assuming that the rendition will be shared, the ashlars are to be placed in the West for easy reference. It is my desire that the work be done in the three stations so that the strain of the Candidates is greatly lessened by moving them around the Lodge Room, rather than their standing so long in one place."

Degree Teams

Page 1975-30, 03/12/1975, on degree teams.

"From time to time requests are made to use Degree Teams rather than having the regular Lodge Officers perform the work.

"Degree Teams, as such, are approved, providing they do the work strictly according to our Ritual structure, and are properly clothed.

"Costumes and make-up are not generally approved. Some modification can be allowed, with permission of the Grand Master, but always with the use of Aprons and Collars. For example, we have approved, on occasion, the use of colonial dress when a special program has been planned.

"It must be remembered, however, that all work in the Lodge Room is under the direction of the Worshipful Master, and any Degree Team are guests of the Lodge, and must obey the rules and regulations of Grand Lodge and the bidding of the Worshipful Master. This comment is not in special reference to Degree Teams but bears on my last statement, namely, that the Worshipful Master shall at all times be in control of the work in his Lodge.

"It has come to my attention recently, that particularly in the Third Degree we are permitting too much levity. The degree structure of Freemasonry is intended to teach great moral lessons. It is real serious business. Making a mockery of the actions, particularly before new candidates is not promoting the lessons we are endeavoring to teach.

"I ask each Master to bring this matter under strict control so that our candidates are not turned off, many times not to return to their Lodges. I also ask each District Deputy Grand Master to pay particular attention to this matter, and if not under proper control to report directly to the Grand Master."

Gambling and Liquor

Page 1975-31, 03/12/1975, on gambling and liquor.

"On March 9, 1939, the following resolution was adopted by our Grand Lodge:

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 devise 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.

"On June 13, 1951, Most Worshipful Thomas S. Roy, the then Grand Master, reaffirmed that Resolution with the following statement:

"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 a 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. 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."

"I, again today, reaffirm the original resolution and ask that all Lodges govern themselves accordingly.

"On the question of liquor, let to be stated that liquor is not to be sold on Masonic premises. A recent Lodge Notice indicated that at a planned social event, drinks would be available. Inasmuch as they asked for a volunteer bartender, I could only assume that the notice referred to the sale and/or serving of liquor. This subject can cause us many problems. There is the question of licenses and taxes that could present problems and hardships. I therefore request that the rule, long ago set down, be followed rigidly and that all reference to liquor or cocktail parties be eliminated from all Lodge Notices, including flyers and travel folders."


Page 1975-32, 03/12/1975, on cipher usage.

"It has been reported that in at least one Lodge, the Official Ritual Cipher has been in the hands of one or more Officers of the Lodge while the Lodge was open. These books were authorized and printed for the sole purpose of aiding the Officers to memorize their work.

"Under no condition should they be in evidence during any meeting of the Lodge.

"If an Officer is not prepared to do the required ritual work, there must be a qualified substitute Officer to take his place."


Page 1975-101, 06/11/1975, on DeMolay.

"My Brethren, I am getting somewhat concerned regarding the support our boys in DeMolay are receiving from the Masons in our State.

"Too many of our members apparently feel that by reaching in their pockets and making a cash donation they have settled an obligation. This is not so, even though the funds donated are most appreciated. The great need for these young men is manpower assistance.

"My predecessor asked that a chairman for DeMolay be appointed in each Lodge and that the name of such designee be so listed on the Lodge notice. So far as I know, this has been done, but the real need is for this person to either attend DeMolay meetings of all types or to see that he is properly represented by one or preferably more than one of our Lodge members.

"How can we, as disinterested Masons, expect our DeMolay boys to become interested in our Fraternity when we show so little interest in their activities. I am well aware that we are all busy people, but I am sure that with some dedicated effort we could improve this situation.

"DeMolay is not going to grow as we would like it to grow unless we give it some attention by attendance at meetings and genuine interest in their programs and activities."

The Grand Master added the following commentary at the September 1975 Quarterly (Page 1975-170):

"On August 15, your Grand Master was privileged to join with nearly 500 DeMolay boys and their advisors while assembled in Amherst fort he Annual State Conclave. The Grand Master brought the greetings of the Masonic Fraternity to this group and delivered the keynote address.

"It is to be hoped that our Lodges will continue to actively support their DeMolay Chapters, not with money alone, but more especially with manpower. The greatest need these Chapters have is more adult advisor leadership. Many men now devote long hours to aid in guiding our youth in a great program. This load could be greatly relieved by the addition of more men in the work.

"Why not endeavor to assimilate new initiates into our Lodges by requesting them to assist the DeMolay Chapters? Many times, men are waiting to be asked to fill a need."

Funerals (Clothing)

Page 1975-102, 06/11/1975, on funeral attire.

"Several people have inquired about the mode of dress for Masonic Funerals.

"It is perfectly proper for all Officers of a Lodge to be attired in either dark suit, dark socks and black shoes, together with their Officer's Aprons and the Collars of their Office. It is also proper, if so desired, to dress in tuxedo with Aprons and Collars.

"All other Master Masons attending, including Past Masters and Past or Present District Deputy Grand Masters, should be in conservative dress with white aprons; and no jewels should be worn."


Page 1975-171, 09/10/1975, on liquor.

"One of the most perplexing problems to confront your Grand Master in recent months has been the dispensing of alcoholic beverages in some of our Masonic Temples.

"I am fully aware that many of our Blue Lodges, particularly on Ladies' Nights or other social events, have forsaken their Masonic Homes to go to another establishment where alcoholic beverages are available. In many cases this action has deprived Masonic Associations or Trustees from revenue which they might otherwise have received. Conversely, it has also come to my attention that alcoholic beverages are, and have been, made available in some Masonic Temples in violation of present Masonic regulations.

"It is my understanding that where this has been done, it has been to prevent Lodges from going outside for accommodations and thereby get an extra rental for the use of the Banquet Facilities. I am also well aware of the increasing costs of operation confronting Temple Association, especially for heat, utilities, and taxes where there are Temples not entirely tax exempt. Nor can I overlook the dilemma of shrinking Membership, and the attendant loss of revenue.

"In view of the many problems facing our Blue Lodges at the present time, and taking into consideration the trend of the times, your Grand Master, after due consideration and the report of a Committee appointed to study this matter, hereby rules that alcoholic beverages may be dispensed in any Masonic Temple Apartments or Hall subject to the following restrictions and limitations:

  1. At no time shall alcoholic beverages be introduced into a Lodge Room, except for authorized ceremonial purposes, or those rooms used directly in connection therewith, such as the preparation room, Tyler's Room, or corridors adjacent thereto.
  2. At no time shall Officers of a Lodge partake of alcoholic beverages after a meal and before the opening of a Lodge which they are to attend. At no time shall any Member be admitted to a Lodge meeting while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
  3. At no time shall there be any area allotted to, nor construction of, a permanent servicing facility within any Masonic Temple under this jurisdiction.
  4. The temperate use and dispensing of alcoholic beverages during exclusively social functions, fellowship and banquet periods, always in the confines of the social rooms, banquet room or dining halls, and always under the control of responsible persons, is not prohibited.
  5. The foregoing is not to be construed as a mandate that the use and dispensing of alcoholic beverages must be allowed; whether such is allowed or prohibited, is for the local Masonic body and the Building or Temple Association, as the case may be, to determine.
  6. All applicable laws and regulations, both of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and of the local authorities, shall be observed and complied with at all times.
  7. No Lodge or recognized collateral body as such shall apply for or hold any license required by the foregoing laws or regulations.
  8. Reference to alcoholic beverages, in any connotation, such as cocktails, bar, B.Y.O.B., etc., is not permitted in any Lodge notice, or as an enclosure in the mailing of a Lodge notice. The use of the phrases social hour or social period is not prohibited.

"We must recognize that times change and it is easily demonstrated that in 1975 a substantial number of our Members use alcoholic beverages, always within the bounds of temperance, and the temptation is to leave our meeting places, or in connection with a social function, for an atmosphere and surroundings of a Lodge building.

"It is to devise a policy that recognizes that there are various points of view on this question, and at the same time to preserve our time-honored sacred places and ideals, that the above-related pronouncement is directed."


Page 1975-223, 12/10/1975, on inserts in Lodge notices.

"Two preceding Grand Masters have issued specific instructions that nothing should be included in the mailing of Lodge Notices except such material as directly concerns the Lodge Meetings, unless they are first approved by the Grand Master. Several times recently I have noticed that inserts have been included with notices and the inserts have not been submitted to my office for approval. I have directed the District Deputy Grand Masters to pay particular attention to this matter as I am re-confirming what my predecessors have ruled in this matter. I ask each Lodge Officer to be sure that this ruling is adhered to. We will be lenient to a point, but feel that the material being mailed should be approved."


Stanley F. Maxwell, Grand Master.

Lodge Notices (Inserts)

Page 1976-168, 06/09/1976, on inclusion of materials in notices.

"An unfortunate situation occurred recently when a number of our members received a bulletin announcing a trip to England. The letter accompanying the flyer was on one of our association letter heads and signed by one of our members. As near as we could determine, the association had not authorized such an adventure, and certainly Grand Lodge had issued no authority for such an endeavor. Furthermore, it appeared to be a misuse of the Lodge mailing lists. The tour operator claims he 'purchased' the mailing list but would not disclose the seller of such a list. We have reason to question the statement of such a purchase. In any event, let it be clearly stated again, that your Grand Lodge is not opposed to travel plans by a Lodge or Lodges, providing the material being sent to the members is first approved by the Grand Master. No insertions in Lodge notices are to be made that are not directly related to Lodge business, unless they are approved first. Neither are our Lodge membership lists to be used for any commercial promotions.

"Let me say, emphatically, that in no way do we cast any shadow of doubt on our Lodge Secretaries regarding the above mentioned incident. We are most confident in the handling of our mailing lists by the Secretaries. How such a list fell into the hands of a promoter cannot be determined, but the people involved have been warned that any recurrence will bring charges against any member of the Fraternity who may be involved."

Open Houses

Page 1976-169, 06/09/1976, on Open Houses.

"A suggestion has been made that, especially during this Bicentennial Year, it would be nice to have an Open House at many Masonic Temples. This suggestion would apply particularly at Temples that have a ground floor entrance and that are in populated or business areas. Certainly, many visitors from other parts of the country will be in Massachusetts this year, and an opportunity to visit a Masonic Temple would be a cordial welcome to our visitors. Such an undertaking would obviously have to be limited to certain hours and volunteer guides would be essential. The idea is a good one if it can be made attractive to members and non-members. If this suggestion is carried out, I would hope that the Lodge or Lodges involved would make use of our pamphlet, Freemasonry - A Way of Life, as a handout to our visitors.

"Some specific suggestions have been made. A proper sign or placard should be prominently displayed to indicate that the building would welcome visitors. Such a sign should specify, too, the hours the building would be open.

"The guides should be well versed in the operation of the building and be able to explain the several symbols regularly seen in a Lodge room.

"No appeal for funds, verbal or otherwise, should be made."

Liquor and Sunday Meetings

Page 1976-170, 06/09/1976, on Sunday meetings and liquor.

"Two incidents have arisen recently that have been publicized to some extent, so the record should be made clear today.

"One Lodge sent out a Notice that a Special Communication would be held on Sunday afternoon and two candidates would be raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. We do not permit the conferral of degrees on a Sunday. Therefore, the Worshipful Master was obliged to send a notice cancelling the meeting. It is my understanding that the District Deputy had not been consulted on this point of error and thus the cancellation cost the Lodge additional money for mailing the second notice. Further, the notice called for a picnic to follow the Degree work. We have no objection to that, but no reference of any kind should be made in any notice regarding alcoholic beverages.

"We have an established set of rules regarding this subject, and if the privileges now permitted are to continue, then great care must be taken to live within those regulations.

"Another incident occurred when a Lodge was to hold a meeting and no notice again had been sent to the Membership. Here the meeting had to be postponed because our Constitutions clearly call for adequate notification to the Membership.

"We are not particularly happy to have to make such decisions, but we must live within out Constitutions."

Fourth Class of Instruction

Page 1976-170, 06/09/1976, on the fourth class of instruction.

"For several years, our Education Department has been sponsoring a Fourth Class of Instruction to be given the month following that in which a Candidate receives instruction, at the Lodge of Instruction, on the Third Degree. I would like to stress the importance of this special class.

"Much information is given to the newly-raised Master Mason as to his duties as a Mason. He is taught how to conduct himself at the ballot box; how to operate an investigation committee; how to address the various officers of a Lodge; and how to conduct himself when he wishes to visit another Lodge.

"These are important matters and a vital part of the education of a new Mason. The Secretary and Master are required to issue the card of admission to this Fourth Class, and the Officers in charge of the Candidate are requested to make every effort to see that the Candidates attend."

Note also the thorough report on Lodges of Instruction and on the fourth class in particular given at the March, 1977 Quarterly Communication by Rt. Wor. Wyman S. Randall, beginning on Page 1977-55.

Demits and Suspensions

Page 1976-260, 09/08/1976, on demits and suspensions.

"This is a subject of great concern to all of us. This summer, I ran into a situation that greatly disturbed me. A mother of one of our members contacted me relative to her son's dues. The member had been in an accident and was confined to home in a cast and obviously was unable to work. He had not paid his dues and in due course, in accordance with the Lodge By-Laws, was suspended. The member then obtained the funds and sent a check to the Secretary who promptly returned the check, stating that he had been suspended.

"The matter that disturbs me is the fact that, quite apparently, no personal contact had been made. This courtesy has been requested time and time again. If contact had been made, it could readily have been determined that the man should have been granted more time, or possibly even been eligible for remission of part, or all, of his dues. The further concern is the fact that on the night that this man was suspended, there were four others that had the same action taken. How do we know that some further consideration might also have been in order in one or all of these cases? I again ask each Master to be sure that a personal contact is made before a suspension is voted on."


Page 1976-261, 09/08/1976, on discrimination.

"For several years, the Masonic Home has been the recipient of surplus food supplied by the Government and distributed through the School Lunch Program of the Massachusetts Education Department. A few months ago, we were refused further food because of a claim that we discriminate in our Membership.

We, at Grand Lodge, feel that we do not discriminate and that the records can show this to be so. We also feel that, while the dollar value of the surplus goods is not the most important issue, we must defend ourselves rather than have it on records that we simply accepted the government accusation.

"Therefore, a request has gone to each Secretary asking for the following information:

  1. The Number of Blacks in each Lodge.
  2. The last names of (a) American Indians, (b) Orientals, and (c) Spanish-speaking people.

"We know that some guessing will have to take place and we fully realize that many of us get annoyed at Government interference, but Brethren, the alternatives could be much worse. The only information that we will ultimately give to the Agency involved is a number of people in each category. No names, and certainly no addresses, will be divulged. The names are required as back-up information for our final report.

"Even though some of the responses we have already received indicate unhappiness, and even disgust, we urge your cooperation and support for what could affect us in the future.

"The government has indicted, by inference only, that the submission of these numbers will clear the issue."

Grand Lodge Appointments

Page 1976-343, 12/08/1976, on appointments.

"I have been greatly disturbed this last week or two over leaks of appointments about to be made. I am concerned because this is a way to hurt some people, and surely, this is the last thing that we want to do.

"It is our system in Grand Lodge to inquire, after recommendations, whether or not a man would be in a position to accept an appointment to the Grand Lodge. This inquiry is not an appointment and several have had to decline because of personal or business commitments.

"One Member visited with me a few days ago and stated that his District was upset over the newly-appointed District Deputy. As a matter of fact, no appointment had been made at that time. Someone had to tell of the inquiry that we are obliged to make.

"Even more important, one Lodge Notice that we received announced an appointment that also had not been made. This is extremely embarrassing to the prospective appointee and also the Grand Lodge.

"I speak of this at this time, even though I am well aware that the damage has been done, but I urge anyone who receives a letter from the Grand Master regarding service to Grand Lodge to keep the matter strictly confidential. I also urge every Master to be certain that neither he nor a Secretary put any such information in a notice until after the Installation on December 27. This applies to this year and all future years."


Stanley F. Maxwell, Grand Master.


Page 1977-45, 03/09/1977, on alcoholic beverages.

"Last September, 1976, we established certain rules whereby alcoholic beverages could legally be served on or in Temple property. As always, questions arise that call for clarification.

"Rule No. 6 states clearly that the matter of use of alcoholic beverages is solely a matter of local option and no Lodge nor Building Association is required to either accept or reject the matter. It is simply a permissive ruling.

"Rule No. 2 states that, if used, alcoholic beverages shall not be served prior to a meeting. It has been reported that one Lodge opened in the early evening, transacted some business and adjourned for dinner, at which time beverages were served. Following the dinner, the degree work was exemplified. This is a violation of the intent of the specific rule and request is made that alcoholic beverages if used at all, be at the close of the entire Lodge meeting."


Page 1977-46, 03/09/1977, on prizes and games of chance.

"This subject is almost a perennial one. Nearly every Grand Master has had to face the question, at least since the 1930's, and in every instance the rulings have been in the positive, in that no games of change, lotteries, raffles and door prizes or any other device whereby the individual participant may be able, through the element of luck or chance, to win a greater value than that for which he pays, becomes a possibility.

"In fact, such men as our esteemed Past Grand Masters,[Joseph Earl Perry, Claude L. Allen, Thomas S. Roy, Whitfield W. Johnson, and others more recent have re-affirmed a resolution, unanimously adopted by the members of this Grand Lodge in March of 1939 and which reads 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 change, 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.

"Many of our Lodges and Building Associations are again having serious financial problems, even as were experienced in the 1930's and dues in many cases have been increased, and in many more cases probably should be increased in order to meet the needs of our inflationary times. Last summer an urgent appeal was made by a prominent member of our Grand Lodge, speaking on behalf of several Lodges and a Building Association for permission to sponsor 'Beano' in the Lodge Building to aid in the maintenance of that building. The main argument for such an appeal was the fact that the membership had declined to such a point that the Temple could not be financially supported by those remaining members. This appeal was made to the Board of Directors of your Grand Lodge, and after considerable discussion a Committee was appointed to study the request and report to the Board of Directors. Such a request was given in January of 1976 and the following suggestions were offered:

  1. That the Masonic Temple Management Group or their Association be the applicant for a Beano License, and that the Beano Program should be considered as identifying with a physical use of the Temple facility rather that a Lodge or Masonic Club sponsorship.
  2. That a pilot program could be conducted for a specified time, renewable at the option of the Grand Master.
  3. That signs be omitted from the building or grounds of any Masonic Temple due to the distaste and general appearance of the same.

"This report was carefully discussed and considered by the Board of Directors who concluded that they would not object to the Grand Master's granting the suggested permission for a pilot program, but also making it clear that they would not vote for such a program.

"After more discussion, your Grand Master again met with the proponent and agreed to grant permission for a six months' trial or pilot program. The six months will expire in April of this year. I am now going to call on two people; one to present a case in favor of Beano and one who will present a case in opposition. There will be no open discussion on the subject at this meeting, but it will be on our Agenda for the June Quarterly Communication and after discussion, a vote will be taken to either re-affirm the Resolution of March 1939, or to negate that earlier action.

"In the meantime, the Grand Master will authorize an extension of this pilot program in the one city only, for the months of April, May and June of 1977."

Rt. Wor. Henry D. Ramm, Past Senior Grand Warden, spoke in favor of the program, giving examples from the experiences in Lawrence; Rt. Wor. Arthur L. Rockwell, also a Past Senior Grand Warden, spoke against it.

At the June, 1977 Quarterly Communication, a revision of the 1939 Resolution was considered as follows, beginning on Page 1977-103:

"We now come to the making of a great decision regarding the game of Bingo or Beano. We must remember that Freemasonry is fundamentally an educational institution. We must not find ourselves in the position of losing our moral credibility, and certainly we must make our decision on the basis of harmonizing different points of view. Let us accomplish the result in a completely unselfish manner leaving out personalities and deciding the issue on its merits and benefits or adverse effects on Freemasonry.

"The issue before us today is whether we shall re-affirm or rescind the resolution adopted by this Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication of March 8, 1939, which reads 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’s 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.

"Following presentation of the Resolution of March 8, 1939, it was upon motion made and duly seconded, voted unanimously to amend the same by deleting from the second paragraph thereof the commas before the work, and and following the word enjoined, and the words all individual Masons owing allegiance to this Grand Lodge are.

"The Brethren, after discussion, proceeded to ballot. Of the total of 790 written ballots cast, there were 487 to re-affirm the Resolution and 303 votes to rescind the same.

"The Resolution as amended, which follows, was thereupon declared reaffirmed."

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 change, 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’s mind are likely to be regarded as Masonic organizations, are requested and enjoined to respect the purpose of this Resolution.

"The Grand Master indicated his intention to appoint a Grand Lodge Advisory Finance Committee, to be available for the purpose of advising the Lodges and/or Temple Associations in their financial planning."


Page 1977-53, 03/09/1977, on costumes in degree work.

"This subject is another that appears on the horizon almost constantly and it seems again necessary to clarify the picture.

"Degree Teams that operate in tuxedo or full dress with white aprons (although aprons authorized by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts may be used) may operate without specific permission of the Grand Master, provided strict Massachusetts ritual is used and there are no unusual or miscellaneous accessories. It is also clearly understood that at all times such Degree Teams operate under the permission and control of the Master of the Lodge in which the work is performed.

"All other Degree Teams, whether using ethnic, national, or clothing other than tuxedo or full dress must, prior to each appearance, obtain the permission of the Grand Master before operating in any Lodge in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In each instance, white aprons must be worn, (except the official aprons authorized by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts) and further, strict Massachusetts ritual must be followed when working on candidates during any open Lodge session.

"The use of Colonial costumes and regalia during our bicentennial celebration was authorized by for those special occasions which came up during the years 1975 and 1976. They are not approved in 1977 and the future, without specific permission of the Grand Master in each instance.

"When permission to use any type of costume or regalia other than tuxedo or full dress is granted, a Member of Grand Lodge shall be present at the Lodge meeting.

"I refer to a statement made in 1896, that still holds today, that it should always 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.

"Let us all never forget the real meaning in the conferral of our degrees."

Masonic Home Eligibility

Page 1977-94, 06/08/1977, on the Masonic Home and nursing home.

"From time to time, questions arise as to what the qualifications are for admission to our Masonic Home or the Nursing Home, popularly called Juniper Hall. This information is readily available at several sources, but for the record, I will repeat the qualifications here."


  1. A Master Mason, who, for ten (10) consecutive years immediately prior to date of application, has been a Member in good standing of a Lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.
  2. The wife of such a Master Mason.
  3. The widow of a Master Mason, who, for ten (10) consecutive years immediately prior to his death, had been a Member in good standing of a Lodge in said Jurisdiction.

PHYSICAL CONDITION (For admission to the Home)

Applicants must be at least sixty-five years of age, and in good health, considering the applicant's age, ambulatory and not afflicted with any serious mental disorder.

PHYSICAL CONDITION (For admission to Juniper Hall)

The operation of Juniper Hall, our Nursing Home, falls within the scope of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which prescribes four levels of medical care:

  • Level I - Full Hospital care, with a medical doctor on duty at all times.
  • Level II - Skilled nursing care on a twenty-four hour basis.
  • Level III - Supportive nursing care.
  • Level IV - Ambulatory facilities.

Our license at Charlton permits acceptance of Level III and IV cases only; Level III at Juniper Hall and Level IV at the Home. Accordingly, our admissions to Juniper Hall are governed strictly by state requirements and we are limited in the type of cases which can be accepted. For example, we would like to admit multiple sclerosis cases, but are unable to do so because the Department of Public Health requires Level II care.


Applicants must have no relatives (children particularly) who can provide a home for them or supplement their incomes so that the necessities of life can be realized.


If the qualifications noted can be met, the application for consideration must be made to the Master of the Lodge involved, and he will in turn submit it, through his representative to the Board of Masonic Relief, to the Director of Relief in the Grand Lodge Office.

"While the members of the Board of Masonic Relief (Lodge Representatives), are given a complete report monthly regarding the status of admissions to the Home and Juniper Hall, I would like to report to you today that as of today, we have eighty-seven men and fifty ladies as our guests at the Masonic Home. We have space available at the present time for eleven additional men and seven ladies. We also have accommodations for one couple.

"In Juniper Hall, we have 61 beds, and as of now, we have twenty-five men and thirty-five ladies in that facility. Therefore we have a waiting list for Juniper Hall. Guests in the ambulatory section get first preference for nursing needs as the occasion may require.

"As Worshipful Masters who are presiding, and Senior Wardens who will soon preside, you should call on your Representatives to the Board of Masonic Relief at each business meeting in order that our Brethren may become more knowledgeable of the service we are rendering to our Masonic family. I would ask, also, that each Lodge, or each District, endeavor to conduct a pilgrimage to our Masonic Home at least once a year for the edification of the membership and their families.

"Arrangements for proper reception and the use of picnic facilities can easily be scheduled through our Administrator, Worshipful Brother Samuel White."

Duties (Master)

Page 1977-97, 06/08/1977, on the duties of a Worshipful Master.

"The ancient charges, accepted by a Master at the time of Installation, are quite broad, but taken out of context, include the following phrases:

You agree to be cautious in carriage and behavior, courteous to your Brethren, and faithful to your Lodge . . . and to pay attention to all the duties of Masonry on convenient occasions.

In the charge to the Worshipful Master, we further find the following sentences:

Your responsibility for the faithful discharge of the important duties of your position . . . By amiable, discreet and virtuous conduct, to convince mankind of the goodness of the institution . . . One to whom the burdened heart may poor out its sorrows; to whom a distressed soul may seek help. . .

"Masonry, in early days, was especially noted for its attention to the needs of others, particularly the Brethren of any given Lodge, their widows or their orphans. Today, we follow those precepts pretty well, but in different ways. However, I have been disturbed in recent months when I have heard of several occasions when a Lodge was called upon to perform a Masonic Funeral Service and it was reported that The Lodge found it inconvenient to satisfy the request. One time it was a stormy night, another time the response was that there were other things to do. And even more acute have been the complaints that no Officer of a Lodge has called upon the Widow or Family. It seems to me that nothing could be of more importance than tending to the needs of our Brethren and/or their dependents.

"One a particular occasion reported, a daughter of a deceased Brother called at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of an evening service, and inasmuch as the Lodge involved had a dinner meeting scheduled within the hour, the Worshipful Master called the Master of another Lodge to fulfill the assignment, and I congratulate both Masters for attending to the family's request. The problem arose, however, at the close of the service when the participating Master and Officers did not meet the family, and the Master of the Lodge of which the Brother was a Member did not later make a call on the family, although he did attend the Funeral Service of the deceased on the following day. Attention to details, such as these, are most important to the family of the deceased, and every Master should have a plan to follow in cases of emergencies.

"Worshipful Masters should also study the guidelines for courtesies to be extended when the District Deputy Grand Master or the Grand Master is invited to visit a Lodge. Recently, your Grand Master attended a meeting, on invitation, and it was very evident that no preparation had been planned for such a reception. No officers of the Lodge met the official family, no plans had been made in advance for table seating, and when assembling, no Officer or Member of the Lodge presented himself to the Grand Master. This is, of course, an unusual circumstance because generally a visit of the Grand Master, or his representative, is a well-planned event. I mention the subject to alert future officers to carefully plan such events."


Page 1977-101, 06/08/1977, on alcoholic beverages and liquor licenses.

"Last year, we granted permission to serve alcoholic beverages in Masonic Temples under very specific rules, one of the most important being that final permission must be granted by the Lodge involved and/or the Temple Building Association.

"This relaxing of regulations regarding the use of liquor in Masonic buildings was intended to make it available following Masonic functions, or in connection with purely social functions.

"One of the nine rules established was that no Masonic Lodge was to apply for a liquor license. It now comes to our attention that a Masonic Building Association has applied for a license in one of our local communities, and there has been a considerable protest from neighbors in the immediate area involved.

It was not our intention to sanction such use of the liquor serving privilege, and if a Building Association wishes to rent their property to outside parties serving alcoholic beverages than a one day license should be applied for such use.

"The unauthorized extension of privileges already approved can bring a total review of the regulations and could result in a cancellation of the present arrangements. All Lodges and Temple Associations are required to take due notice of the intent expressed last year in authorizing the use of liquor.

I am reminded of a message delivered by Most Worshipful Conrad Hahn, Past Grand Master of Connecticut, when he spoke at the Northeast Education Conference in 1971, when he said, quoting from a New York Times column,We have had guilds bind us together, but they are losing their credibility because there purpose seems to be so narrow, and too often motivated by selfishness.

"Most Worshipful Brother Hahn continued his message by asking the questions: Is our order losing its moral credibility? . . . Is it motivated in any way by selfishness? . . Is our purpose too narrow? . . . And he closes his paper by saying, Freemasonry is fundamentally an educational institution. As such, it would be seeking the truth of life in every sphere of human activity, and because of the disparity of men's experiences and the clash of their opinions, it should be trying to harmonize their points of view. As such, it has to appeal to the intellect, and not to the blood, where lie the passions that a civilized man must learn to subdue. If you would communicate Freemasonry in the broadest sense of that word, you must be like Chaucer's scholar. 'For gladly would he learn, and gladly teach'."

Masonic Emblems

Page 1977-131, 09/14/1977, on Masonic emblems.

"For three years, your Grand Master has worn, almost without exception, a tie-tack of the Square and Compasses. It has created a lot of conversation and inquiries as to where they might be obtained. I have acquired a stock of these and they are on sale in the anti-room. I recommend the purchase and the wearing of this significant emblem for the good of the Fraternity. Any profit on the sale will be added to the Grand Master's Appeal.

"One other matter relating to Masonic Emblems should also be spoken of. In our travels we see many Masonic emblems attached to the cars we are behind, or that pass us. We must obey the laws of the state and nation in any event, but I am not always proud when a car bearing one of our emblems is speeding, cutting in and out of traffic, or practicing other violations. Also, we should be particularly careful, when trading cars, to be sure that all such identification is removed so that unauthorized people are not using our emblem. The attention of all Masters and Wardens on this subject will be appreciated."

Lodge Funds

Page 1977-131, 09/14/1977, on Lodge charity funds.

"Periodically, this question of permissible use of Charity Funds is raised. This time the question was asked whether or not a gift could be made to a School Department to provide a scholarship in the name of the particular Lodge and Freemasonry. There would be no restriction on its award beyond its going to a worthy and scholastically qualified high school student.

"In 1930, Most Worshipful Herbert W. Dean stated:

"I am convinced that it is an improper use of Funds of a Lodge for the support of non-Masonic organizations by the Lodges in this Jurisdiction. The calls for aid are constantly increasing and every Lodge should conserve its Funds for that purpose."

"In 1954, Most Worshipful Whitfield W. Johnson referred to pronouncements made by Most Worshipful Brother Dean and Most Worshipful Brother Leon M. Abbott (Page 1917-123) wherein it had been stated that Lodge Funds should be restricted to Masonic purposes.

"Most Worshipful Brother Johnson also had this to say (Page 1954-31) regarding 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 a subject selected by this 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.

"In 1968 (Page 1968-92) Most Worshipful Thomas A. Booth referred to all of the above pronouncements and stated, Each of these ruling is hereby affirmed.

"In 1971, Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes (Page 1971-397) reaffirmed the previous rulings and went on to state that the recognized regular and duly constituted Masonic Bodies are listed in Section 700 of the Grand Constitutions. In Most Worshipful Brother Jaynes' dissertation he listed the following institutions and foundations that might be eligible for contributions from symbolic Lodge Charity Funds:

  • Masonic Home, Charlton
  • Masonic Nursing Home, (Juniper Hall) Charlton Supreme Council Benevolent Foundation
  • Supreme Council Education and Charity Trust Knights Templar Educational Foundation Knights Templar Eye Foundation
  • DeMolay Foundation of Massachusetts

"It has also been ruled by several Grand Masters that Charity Funds may be used in support of a Chapter of DeMolay or an Assembly of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

"To this list I will add the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum of Our National Heritage (Northern Masonic Jurisdiction).

"I therefore re-affirm that the Funds of a Lodge may not be used to establish a scholarship fund as has been requested. I further state, however, that if a Lodge wishes to establish such a scholarship and wishes to raise the funds for such an endeavor, either by contributions, bake sale, dance or other method without the use of Lodge Funds, and that may be approved by the Grand Lodge, that the Grand Lodge will not disapprove nor prevent such an undertaking."


Page 1977-199, 12/14/1977, on service.

"With the advent of so many housing for the elderly projects we have many of our members and, in many cases, the widows of former members who live alone, we could organize our service committees to carefully locate all of these elderly people within our communities and assign the telephone numbers to members of the Committee, or to a retired member of the Lodge, so that each designated contact person would make one or two calls daily to assure ourselves that the person called is in a satisfactory condition and whether or not a personal call or a ride to do shopping might be needed.

"The few minutes expended on the part of several of our retired people, men or women, would bring great satisfaction for a needed service, well performed, as well as the great feeling of being cared for on the part of the people being called. We would truly be rendering a Masonic service as well as letting people know in a quiet way, that Freemasonry stands for much more than the conferral of ritual on classes of candidates.

"I have been assured, as of this morning, that the service committee of this Grand Lodge will undertake to promote this program and I ask for complete cooperation from every Lodge in our State. We need to adopt a closer feeling of responsibility for our elder citizens, particularly those who are alone.

"The suggested program would also have a wonderful public relations aspect. People, today, are struggling to live on limited incomes and many of our demits and suspensions, I feel, come from people who are too proud to step forward and explain their situations. A personal contact on a regular basis would enable us to be in a position to recommend remission of dues, when required, rather than revert to the demit or suspension route of solving a problem for people who need our attention and tender loving care."


Arthur H. Melanson, Grand Master.


Page 1978-46, 03/08/1978, on dispensations.

"Many times a Master, or a Lodge Secretary, has telephoned to the Grand Master's Office to request a dispensation to change a meeting night, shorten the time between degrees, or to hold a Table Lodge.

"The reasons for the telephone call is usually that the Lodge notice must be in the hands of the printer within a day or two, and permission for the change would be appreciated when the telephone call is made. The Secretary to the Grand Master has often given that permission when he has been assured that a written request will be forthcoming from the person making the telephonic call. In many instances, such a letter is never received. This makes for confusion in the Grand Secretary's Department when the Lodge notice arrives with the change, and no letter requesting a dispensation is on hand.

"Therefore, no dispensation will now be granted over the telephone except in unusual circumstances, and then only by the Grand Master. This will necessitate Masters putting their program planning house in order and requesting dispensations earlier.

"During the February snow emergency, many dispensations were granted over the telephone. If you were one of these, be sure that the proper letter has come to the Grand Master's Office."

Previous Rulings

Page 1978-86, 06/14/1978, on previous rulings.

"I presume that it is natural to try each new Grand Master to see if he is going to concur in previous rulings. This is especially true of those Members who may find some of the rulings inconvenient or incompatible. I am no exception in this, so let me assure you that the following still stand:

  1. Any enclosures with a regular Lodge notice must be approved by the Grand Master prior to its mailing. Note that this is before mailing, not afterwards. The fact that the enclosure is not sent to the Grand Lodge with the Lodge notice does not make it acceptable. Such notices not sent always surface. Therefore, submit your enclosures for approval with sufficient time for correspondence.
  2. The wording Cocktail Hour, Cocktail Party, B.Y.O.B., and we will provide set-ups or similar wording is not to be used in any advertising relating to a Masonic function. The proper and only acceptable wording for this period of times is "Social Hour.” The meaning of this is well understood. Need I remind you that no alcoholic beverages should be consumed prior to a Lodge meeting?
  3. The stipulation concerning plain white shirts to be worn with tuxedo still stands. This includes the Gates on the Third Degree. Some Lodge Officers seem to be adopting an "anything goes" attitude. Brethren, this is not acceptable.
  4. Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose ruled that each regular Lodge notice was to contain the name of a DeMolay Committee Chairman, so named. Most Worshipful Stanley F. Maxwell continued the practice and I endorse the same. Each regular notice of a Lodge will contain the name of a DeMolay Committee Chairman, so designated. If this person does not know what his duties are, he should contact Right Worshipful J. Henry Johnson, Executive Officer for DeMolay for Massachusetts, or Brother James A. Moller, Executive Secretary for the DeMolay Foundation of Massachusetts."
Ritual Changes

Page 1978-87, 06/14/1978, on ritual changes.

"Our supply of Official Ciphers and the Candidate's Lecture Ciphers is nearly exhausted; therefore it is time to prepare for a reprinting. In considering this reprinting, your Board of Directors noted that professional men are not going into the Fraternity as they once did. It goes without saying that times have changed, and that our current life styles move at a faster pace than our previous ones. As a result, most professional men do not have the time available for meetings to learn to read and commit to memory the Candidates' Cipher. These are good men and true, who ought to be Members of the Craft. Many times they express an interest, but do not have the time to meet our current standards.

"Brother Harry Carr wrote in THE FREEMASON AT WORK concerning the Grand Lodge of England:

Generally we are content to pass our candidates to the Second Degree after answering only eleven questions, to the Third after only nine questions, and although the test for Master Mason may be used for various purposes in some parts of England, the Grand Lodge does not prescribe it and its existence is virtually unknown.

"In the same book, Brother Carr writes concerning Lodges in the United States:

The examination between degrees constitutes a complete resume of the preceding ceremony in Questions and Answers, and they require a memorized repetition of the obligation, too. This would be a sufficiently difficult test even if the test were supplied to the candidate in clear language.

"The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts now requires the candidate to answer 69 questions, plus the obligation, before he can be passed to the Fellow Craft Degree; 38 questions, plus the obligation, before he can be raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, and 48 questions, plus the obligation, before he is permitted to sign his Lodge By-Laws.

"The Constitutions and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts reads as follows:

He (the candidate) shall not be permitted to sign the By-Laws until he shall have attained suitable proficiency, and shall have received the required instruction, in all three degrees. (Sec. 421B)

What constitutes suitable proficiency? The answer to this question has always been determined by each Lodge under the direction of its Master. You will continue to answer this question to your own satisfaction.

"The reprinted Official Cipher - Candidates' Lecture for each degree will contain all the material which is in the present one. However, some of the lines will be printed in bold-faced type making a contrast to the rest of the material. The work printed in the bold-face type will be the minimum amount of material which the Grand Lodge will require a candidate to commit to memory. How much more of the lecture is to be committed to memory by the candidate will be determined by the Master of each Lodge. Some Masters may insist that the candidate learn all, as they now do; others may choose the minimum. The intent is to make optional material available. The decision as to what is used rests with the Master.

"This change will not take effect until the new ciphers are printed and released, possibly this coming September.

"Let us imagine that you have just obligated a candidate in the Entered Apprentice Degree. In that, he has bound himself by certain drastic penalties if he violates this obligation. In the next breath you tell him that you really don't mean it; Masonry's only penalties reprimand, suspension, or expulsion. At this point we have been less than intellectually honest with the candidates. In considering a reprinting of the Cipher, the Board of Directors concur with the Grand Master in the following ritual change, which relocates the ancient penalties. (The Grand Master discussed in detail the ritual modification for the degrees).

"This change will not take effect until the new ciphers are ready for distribution."

A reminder about the ritual change was mentioned at the September, 1978 Quarterly Communication, on Page 1978-120.

Announcement at the December, 1978 Quarterly Communication:

"Proofs for the Candidates' Ciphers and the Official Cipher have been examined by the Grand Lecturers and have been returned to the printer for necessary corrections. The Ciphers will be ready for distribution by the March Quarterly, and the ritual changes found therein will be in effect from that date, March 14, 1979.

"Let me express a word of appreciation for our Grand Lecturers at this time. Brethren, I am not sure that your responsibility is the most popular one in the Grand Lodge line, especailly at Exemplification time. Yours is a most important task, and I have received many compliments on how well you have conducted our Exemplifications and how helpful you have been this past year."

The ritual changes were declared in force as of September 1, 1979, as reported on Page 1979-47 of the Proceedings, March 14, 1979.


Page 1978-120, 06/14/1978, on the Grand Master's concerns.

"I would share two principal concerns of the moment with you.

"The first is this. We lose far too many men each year through demits and suspension for non-payment of dues. Every Lodge should use every means possible to cut this figure down. It was probably near 2,000 this past year.

"As I said to the District Deputies this morning, when I was Deputy Grand Master and travelled with Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose, he gave the Lodges the warm and fraternal greetings of 113,000 Masons. When I travel I bring the greetings of the Symbolic Lodge Masons of Massachusetts because if we are not careful, we are going to be less than 100,000 this next year. In that span of just a few years, we have dropped 12,000 Masons. Brethren, we need to turn the tide and the only way that tide is going to be turned is by those who are in the Lodges. Make sure that if a man is going to be dropped for any reason, that you make every honest effort to see that he is not dropped.

"The second is like unto the first. We need to make a conscientious effort to bring our friends of good moral character into the Fraternity. To ask a man if he has ever thought of becoming a Mason is only to suggest that he ought to give it some thought, If the answer is yes, your road of pursuit is open. If he answers no, you have still planted a seed that in due time may bear fruit.

"There are many men that I have talked with over the years who have said, If I had only known that no one was ever going to ask me to become a Mason I would have joined a long time ago by asking myself. There are probably many men, friends of yours, that ought to be aware that no one is going to ask them. But to ask a man if he has ever thought about it may be just the door that you need to open. Brethren, give this some serious consideration. We are not having a drive to make members, we are looking at our friends who have good moral character, men who ought to be a part of this Fraternity, and we are asking them: Did you ever think about it?

"One other thing comes to mind. I did not count the number on this list which was given to me by the Grand Treasurer, but there are some Lodges that have made no payment whatsoever on their Grand Lodge assessments. There are some that have paid 50%, there are many more who still owe some of their assessment to the Grand Lodge. Brethren, the money which you receive from the membership as the Grand Lodge assessment should be sent to the Grand Lodge when payable and not put in the general funds to be used for other things. I would suggest that each Lodge consider the possibility of setting aside a special account so that the funds do not get into the general budget of the Lodge in the first place. There have been situations where Grand Lodge funds have been used to refurbish or repair, or for other purposes within the Lodge. Brethren, this is not right. In the sense you are a collecting agency for the Grand Lodge. I hesitate to mention this, except that the list each year seems to grow longer. We need to have an awareness that the Lodge itself has a responsibility to the Grand Lodge as well as the membership. If you cannot make ends meet, we have a committee with Right Worshipful David B. Richardson as Chairman, which is willing to sit down with you and representatives from your Lodge and discuss your situation.

"I don't happen to belong to a country club but I was talking with someone recently who does. He pays $500. a year to belong to the country club and plays golf three times. I don't know what your Lodge dues are. I suspect that with the organizations I belong to they may come to $100., but I certainly would not equate my country club with my Fraternity because my personal feeling is that I get much more out of the Fraternity than I wold out of the country club. So Brethren, when you are considering dues take a good look at the whole situation. If you are operating your Lodge with dues that have not been changed in ten years, you are behind the times. You need to take a good look at tit. That is not the best note I can end on, I am sure, but these are concerns of mine that we must face as members of this Grand Jurisdiction if we are to make the progress that we want to make in the years ahead."

The Grand Master spoke to these concerns further at the December 27 Stated Communication in his address on 1979 objectives, beginning on Page 1978-215.

"I would set before you this day two objectives for achievement in 1979. I believe that their achievement is essential to the ultimate survival of Freemasonry within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. . . the first objective is to turn the corner on our membership loss. It is little comfort to note that the collateral bodies are facing the same problem. Our Grand Lodge total losses in 1977 were 2,697 by death; 938 by demit and 1,118 by suspension for non-payment of dues. To turn the corner we must reduce the latter two figures. We have no control over the first. That is in the hands of the Great Architect of the Universe.

"In so far as possible, every Master must interview every member of his Lodge who requests a demit. The real reason for the request should be ascertained, and where feasible, all other alternatives should be explored and maybe one adopted. In other words, is this demit necessary?

"The same route should be followed with those who are being suspended for non-payment of dues. None of this should be routine. . . Every man is worth it. Masters, in every instance, ask yourself, is it necessary to let this man go?

"We also need to do what I will call particular procurement. Hear me well on this for I do not want to be misunderstood or misquoted. I have struggled with this concept for some time, and I now believe it to be right. You all know particular men, upright men of good moral character who ought to belong to the Craft, to your Lodge. There is nothing to prevent you from asking this man if he has ever thought of becoming a Mason. There is no reason that you should not seriously cultivate this man for Masonry. Cultivation is the process, not pressure . . . We, you, must become more particularly aggressive. There are still men waiting to be asked to join Masonry. We can no longer afford the luxury of hiding our light under a bushel. . .

"We must also carefully nurture those whom we raised. Their sponsor, or some other person so designated, should be their Masonic buddy until at least their first Masonic birthday. Masters, make certain that they are integrated into the life of your Lodge before you begin to pay less attention to them. The deeper you wear the path from your Lodge room to their home, the easier for them to find their way back to your Lodge room.

"The second objective is to put DeMolay on its feet in Massachusetts. How important is DeMolay to Masonry? In the long run, I do not honestly know. If we now depended on DeMolay for our candidates we would not survive. But let's face it, the Fraternity has not dealt kindly with DeMolay. We have given the Order, over the years, only token allegiance. We have treated it like the proverbial ste-child. Not quite sure what to do with it. Either we Masons are responsible for DeMolay in Massachusetts or we are not. If we are, and I believe we are, I urge you to adopt it this year as never before. In the vernacular, Let's stop messin' around. . . .

"First, let us strengthen and undergird those Chapters which are now in operation. If your Lodge sponsors a Chapter, make sure that the Advisory Board is not bored. Help it to help the boys put new and renewed life into the Chapter. Get behind and push and shove until the Chapter really begins to move. Attend Chapter meetings yourself. Let the boys know that you Masons really care about them and their future. . . Second, let us revive those Chapters which once were. Breathe life into those dry bones that they may live again. This will take time, not money; a commitment of hours, not a donation. . . Third where possible, let us organize new Chapters. Literature and help is available for this task. Every Masonic Lodge now has a designated Chairman of a DeMolay Committee in its monthly notice. . .

"Two objectives, neither of which I can achieve, but with your dedicated help, we can go beyond our wildest dream for success."

Grand Master's Objectives

Page 1978-215, 12/13/1978, on the Grand Master's objectives for 1979.

The Grand Master made a special address following the election of officers in December 1978, regarding his objectives for the Fraternity, and in particular his objectives for the support of DeMolay.

"I would set before you this day two objectives for achievement in 1979. I believe that their achievement is essential to the ultimate survival of Freemasonry within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. That over the long haul, they are indeed a matter of life and death. Their accomplishment will take an all out effort on the part of every one of us. And even then, they must be elusive. However, I choose to be optimistic. We begin by asking each and every Lodge to make their objectives for 1979. Let us gear up and go to work.

"The first objective is to turn the corner on our membership loss. It is little comfort to note that the collateral bodies are facing the same problem. Our Grand Lodge total losses in 1977 were 2,697 by death; 938 by demit and 1,118 by suspension for non-payment of dues. To turn the corner we must reduce the latter two figures. We have no control over the first. That is in the hands of the Great Architect of the Universe.

"In so far as possible, every Master must interview every member of his Lodge who requests a demit. The real reason for the request should be ascertain, and where feasible, all other alternatives should be explored and maybe one adopted. In other words, is this demit necessary?

"The same route should be followed with those who are being suspended for non-payment of dues. None of this should be routine No stone should be left unturned, no avenue left unexplored, no road left untravelled, to rectify the situation before these men are suspended. Work, sure, but let us preserve what we have. Every man is worth it. Masters, in every instance, ask yourself, it is necessary to let this man go?

"We also need to do what I will call particular procurement. Hear me well on this for I do not want to be misunderstood or misquoted. I have struggled with this concept in my mind for some time, and I now believe it to be right. You all know particular men, upright men of good moral character who ought to belong to the Craft, to your Lodge. There is nothing to prevent you from asking this man if he has ever thought of becoming a Mason. There is no reason that you should not seriously cultivate this man for Masonry. Cultivation is the process, not pressure. If you believe that Masonry has something important to offer a man, that will enrich every facet of his life, you should not deny him the opportunity of embracing Masonry if he so wishes. We, you, must become more particularly aggressive. There are still men waiting to be asked to join Masonry. We can no longer afford the luxury of hiding our light under a bushel. The final decision of whether or not to become a Craftsman is the individual's alone. It is of his own free will and accord. You are blazing a trail; he must decide whether or not to follow it. If we are going to turn this corner, you are the people who are going to make it possible.

"We must also more carefully nurture those whom we raise. Their sponsor, or some other person so designated, should be their Masonic buddy until at least their first Masonic birthday. Masters, make certain that they are integrated into the life of your Lodge before you begin to pay less attention to them. The deeper you wear the path from your Lodge room to their home, the easier for them to find their way back to your Lodge room.

"The second objective is to put DeMolay on its feet in Massachusetts. How important is DeMolay to Masonry? In the long run, I do not honestly know. If we now depended on DeMolay for our candidates we would not survive. But let's face it, the Fraternity has not dealt kindly with DeMolay. We have given the Order, over the years, only token allegiance. We have treated it like the proverbial step-child. Not quite sure what to do with it. Either we Masons are responsible for DeMolay in Massachusetts or we are not. If we are, and I believe we are, I urge you to adopt it this year as never before. In the vernacular, Let's stop messin' around.

"DeMolay has something very important to contribute to the life of every boy in your community. If you are concerned about your youth, you owe it to them to make DeMolay membership available. This Grand Lodge has contributed $10,000. per year, for the past few years, to the DeMolay Foundation for the on-going work of DeMolay in Massachusetts. Are we getting our money's worth? I think not, because we have made this the end of your responsibility. I am no less guilty than anyone else. But by the grace of God, we are going to begin to move.

"We must begin with a commitment of manpower. This is not someone else's job. It is yours, and yours, and yours. As one DeMolay was heard to say to a group of Masons, We don't need to see your money. We need to see your bald heads at our meetings.

"Nothing is impossible for the members of this Grand Lodge to do, when they set their minds to do it. Let us vow now to help DeMolay to stand tall in Massachusetts this coming year.

"First, let us strengthen and undergird those Chapters which are now in operation. If your Lodge sponsors a Chapter, make sure that the Advisory Board is not bored. Help it to help the boys put new and renewed life into the Chapter. Get behind and push and shove until the Chapter really begins to move. Attend Chapter meetings yourself. Let the boys know that you Masons really care about them and their future. I am sure that you will get a like response. Sure, invite the boys to put on a Degree in your Lodge, but better yet, get to know them in their environment.

"Second, let us revive those Chapters which once were. Breathe life into those dry bones that they may live again. This will take time, not money; a commitment of hours, not a donation. In a recent conversation the Grand Master of the Order of DeMolay said to me, when queried about what makes a successful DeMolay Chapter, Show me a successful DeMolay Chapter, and I will show you a DeMolay Chapter with committed, consistent adult leadership. It is quite simple. You men, here assembled, are the key to the success or failure of DeMolay in Massachusetts. You cannot forego the responsibility, therefore assume it and make DeMolay go like it has never gone before.

"Third, where possible, let us organize new Chapters. Literature and help is available for this task. Every Masonic Lodge now has a designated Chairman of a DeMolay Committee in its monthly notice. Give him a live vibrant committee and put him to work. We are surrounded by boys. Don't stop to ask, What will DeMolay do for my Lodge? Rather ask, What can my Lodge, through DeMolay, do for the young men of my community? The dividends will return to the Lodge in due time.

"Two objectives, neither of which I can achieve, but with your dedicated help, we can go beyond our wildest dream to success. Go forth and achieve in the year ahead for God, for Country, for Masonry and for DeMolay."


Arthur H. Melanson, Grand Master.

District Grand Lodge

Page 1979-42, 03/14/1979, on the District Grand Lodge of the Canal Zone.

". . . While it was a most enjoyable and stimulating experience to be with our Brethren and their ladies, in the Panama Canal Zone, we could not help but be aware of the problems which they face on October 1, 1979, when the Canal Zone as an entity will cease to exist. Such was the concern of much of our conversation and consultation.

"In 1917 our Grand Lodge entered into a Treaty with the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Panama concerning our seven Lodges which were in existence in the Canal Zone when the Grand Lodge of Panama came into being. Essentially the agreement was that our Lodges would not make Masons of any Panamanian citizens and the Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Panama would not make Masons of any United States citizens. There are two Lodges in the Republic of Panama under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, Lodge of St. Andrew No. 1140 and Lodge Thistle No. 1013. Our Lodges enjoy harmonious relations with these Brethren and it was my privilege to meet many of them and their ladies.

"The 1917 Treaty talks specifically about the Canal Zone, a territorial distinction that will cease to exist after October 1, 1979. Therefore Right Worshipful Thomas C. Peterson, District Grand Master, appointed a Committee to explore the future relations of the District Grand Lodge of the Canal Zone with the Grand Lodge of Panama. This Committee is chaired by Right Worshipful Richard H. Kinsey, Past District Grand Master. The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Panama appointed a similar committee chaired by Most Worshipful Walter Watson, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Panama. I met in session with both of those Committees and discussed in broad terms the basis of what the Brethren want to call a Mutual Agreement. Most Worshipful Brother Abadi was also present at this meeting. I have empowered by Warrant Right Worshipful Thomas C. Peterson, District Grand Master, to act for the Grand Master in arriving at a Mutual Agreement with the Grand Lodge of Panama which will be signed by the Grand Master when ratified by the Grand Lodge.

"Beyond this agreement there are some immediate problems to be attended to. Every Lodge will soon be in the process of filing the necessary papers that will enable them to be recognized as a charitable institution under the laws of the Republic of Panama. Such recognition among other things will enable them to conduct their affairs and hold their property without being subject to government taxes. The building in which one of our Lodges meets, and which they own on leased land, is between two buildings which the Government of Panama will take over on October 1, 1979. The Government wants this Lodge building also The Government is willing to purchase this building, and Right Worshipful Brother Peterson is negotiating with Government officials on this matter. The building in which Sojourners and Army Lodge meet is owned, as is the land, by Sojourners Lodge. This building is in Cristobal. In 1921 Sojourners Lodge purchased the land and building from the Panama Railroad Company. IT took a special Act of the United States Congress, in 1921, to make this possible. This is the only privately owned property in the Panama Canal Zone. The proposed Treaty of 1967 contained a clause exempting this property from the transfer of lands to Panama. There is no mention of this property specifically in the treaty which will soon take effect. Thus the members of Sojourners Lodge are concerned about their land and building. It is a magnificent building with a covered roof garden. It is here that we had a most enjoyable evening of dinner and dancing on January 24.

"Candidates for our Lodges come primarily from the military with some scattered civilian employees of the Canal Zone. With the military being decreased and many civilian employees considering leaving the Canal Zone, the supply of available men for candidates will continue to shrink.

"Let us keep these our Brethren in our thoughts and prayers as October 1, 1979 approaches and passes us by."

At the September Quarterly Communication, the Grand Master reported further on the negotiations on the Agreement of Mutual Understanding, Page 1979-140:

"On September 30, 1979, the effective date of the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977, the Masonic Treaty between the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Panama will end, because the Canal Zone, as such, will cease to exist. For almost a year, at the request of the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Panama, a Committee from the District Grand Lodge of the Canal Zone has been meeting with a Committee representing the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Panama to draw up an agreement of Mutual Masonic Understanding to replace the Treaty of 1917 as amended in 1921.

"I met with this combined Committee during my sojourn in Panama last January. At that time, I felt excellent progress was being made. Upon returning to Massachusetts, I authorized Right Worshipful Thomas C. Peterson, District Grand Master, to consummate the negotiations to the point of approval by this Grand Lodge. On August 27, 1979, Right Worshipful Brother Peterson informed me that the negotiations had come to an impasse. The area of disagreement concerns the jurisdiction of candidates. The final proposal voted upon by the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Panama, and submitted by their Committee, differs greatly from the original Treaty. This proposal is not acceptable to the District Grand Lodge Committee, and the Grand Master supports them in their decision. If no agreement is reached, the District Grand Lodge will continue to operate with no restrictions or recognition. This means that all candidates will stand in open Jurisdiction."

At the December Quarterly Communication, Page 1979-183, the Grand Master noted that negotiations were continuing regarding the Agreement of Mutual Understanding, but that no agreement had yet been reached.

George Washington Memorial

Page 1979-45, 03/14/1979, on the GWMMA.

"Most Worshipful Stanley F. Maxwell presented the following resolution:

That beginning September 1, 1979, and until otherwise ordered by Grand Lodge, there shall be contributed for each initiate five dollars ($5.00) to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association. This amount shall be added to the initiation fees by the Lodge. These amounts shall continue to be collected by the Lodge by the District Deputy Grand Masters at their Official Visitations, and remitted with the Returns.

"Most Worshipful Brother Maxwell spoke in support of the resolution as follows:

"This matter is of grave concern to all Masons. The George Washington Masonic National Memorial is the only National Masonic Monument in these United States. It is literally owned by all the Grand Lodges of the United States. It attracts nearly 200,000 visitors each year. Dedicated in 1932, after many years of construction, it has been in continuous operation for nearly Fifty Years and the upkeep and maintenance is becoming a major expense.

"In addition to day-to-day maintenance and upkeep, there is at the present time a real need to completely renew the roofs over the two Lodge rooms. They have been patched many times to stop leaks, but now we have reached the point where they should be stripped and rebuilt. The present cost is estimated at $60,000.00 each, or a total of $120,000.00. In addition, approximately $20,000.00 is urgently needed to re-plaster and re-paint where leaks have occurred.

"I am sure we need not dwell on the increased costs of labor, fuel and utilities. We are too well personally experienced in those areas.

"During 1978, the income from the Endowment Fund was $197,823.00. Donations from Grand Lodges approximated $65,000.00, totaling $262,823.00 income, while the expenses came to $281,000.00 leaving a shortage of some $18,000.00 This will increase in years ahead unless we find a way to add to the Endowment Fund of the Memorial.

"In 1930, this Grand Lodge unanimously voted to collect $1.00 from each initiate in our Lodges, such money to be turned over to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association, and this has been done on a regular annual basis. Today, we ask for an affirmative vote of the Grand Lodge to increase this amount to $5.00 per initiate. It is long overdue."

The resolution was adopted by unanimous vote.


Page 1979-102, 06/13/1979, on applicants.

This portion of the Grand Master's Address was a follow-up to his 1978 remarks regarding the discussion of Freemasonry with potential candidates.

"I urge you to continue to practice 'particular procurement.' Make it possible for that particular person, whom you know to be a good man, to find his way to your Lodge room door. While you may open the door, he must cross the threshold of his own free will and accord. He must make up his own mind as to whether or not to follow the trail you blaze.

"I believe that many of our Lodges are beginning to raise more candidates than they have for quite some time. Let us make sure that we are doing more than raising candidates. Make sure that we are making intelligent Masons of these men. Do not short change them. Remember, we teach a little by what we say, we teach much by what we do."

Masonic Home

Page 1979-103, 06/13/1979, on the Masonic Home.

"I wish to call your attention to a problem facing the Grand Lodge with regard to the operation of our Masonic Home. Since the days of government food surpluses, the Masonic Home has participated with other charitable organizations in a monthly allocation of available surplus goods. At times this had been very important but at the present time it is only a nominal monetary value to our Grand Lodge. However, for a number of years the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services has been pressing for evidence of non¬discriminatory practices in our admission policies at the Home. The first notice to us apparently was a letter dated June 21, 1972 and repeated assurances of our non¬discriminatory policy have failed to satisfy their regulations.

"Grand Lodge Counsel conferred with the representative of the Washington office at the Regional office in Burlington, on May 30, 1979, and received informal suggestions of steps to take to establish compliance.

"I am aware that all Massachusetts Masons have from time to time been assured of the non-discriminatory policies of our Grand Lodge and our hiring policies at the Masonic Home. I am also assured that our Members are well aware of our non¬discriminatory policies in connection with the requirements for Masonic Membership, and the admission requirements to our Masonic Home. Once again, however, I am calling them to the attention of the Master, Wardens and Proxies of our Massachusetts Lodges, in an attempt to comply with the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rules and Regulations issued thereunder. Therefore, by authority in me vested as Grand Master, I issue the following Edict:

  1. Our Masonic Home is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any applicant for employment by reason of race, color, creed or national origin.
  2. An applicant for Membership in a subordinate Lodge under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts who is otherwise qualified is not disqualified for Membership because of race, color, creed or national origin.
  3. Any Member of a Lodge under the Jurisdiction of our Grand Lodge who is otherwise qualified, and his Wife, or the Widow of any such Member, is eligible for admission to our Masonic Home regardless of race, color, creed or national origin.

"This Edict will be printed in full in the 1979 official Grand Lodge Proceedings of our Grand Lodge, a copy of which goes to every Lodge under the Jurisdiction of our Grand Lodge. It will also be printed in the next issue of the Grand Lodge News, which is mailed to every Member of every subordinate Lodge of our Grand Lodge. We will also notify all agencies supplying personnel to our Masonic Home that the Masonic Home is an equal opportunity employer."


Page 1979-105, 06/13/1979, on DeMolay.

" . . . In December, 1978, I challenged you to get behind this program and push and shove until DeMolay stood tall in our Jurisdiction. Things are stirring, but the greatest need is still manpower. Many of you are waiting for the parade to pass you by instead of becoming a participant. If this program is ever to become effective you are going to have to do something about it, whether or not your Lodge sponsors a Chapter at the moment. You can not leave this responsibility to someone else. The time is now to seize the opportunity. Let's get going before it's too late."

The Grand Master made further remarks at the December Quarterly Communication, Page 1979-182:"

"One of the emphases the Grand Master challenged you with for the year 1979 was to enable the Order of DeMolay to stand tall in your Jurisdiction. We are beginning to see this happen, but I cannot stress strongly enough the need for Masonic leadership. This may come as a surprise to you, but the boys do not need your money; they need you. Become acquainted with the boys and their program. Visit a DeMolay Chapter. Better yet, invited the DeMolay Committee Chairman in your Lodge to go with you."


Page 1979-177, 12/12/1979, on street advertising.

"From time to time the Grand Master has been asked about the possibility of having a street sign to display at the entrance to a town or city, like the Service Clubs. The purpose would be to let people know that there was a Masonic Lodge in the Community, and when it met. We should be reminded, however, that no number of street sings will help if there is not indication on the building that it is a Masonic Temple.

"A sample of the acceptable sign has been prepared by the Bucholz Signs, Inc. of Springfield. This is the only sign that will be acceptable. It will be this size and contain only this information. Arrangements can be made to purchase them from the sign company. Information concerning the sign is available from the Supply Office on the second floor. Please see Right Worshipful Henry D. Ramm."

Masonic Emblems

Page 1979-178, 12/12/1979, on Masonic emblems.

"No Masonic Emblems are to be used on private business stationary, bank checks or displayed in any way that would solicit business because one is a Mason. It has come to the Grand Master's attention that the square and compasses with the letter G is being used on bank checks and business letterheads. This is not permissible and should cease wherever noted."



Arthur H. Melanson, Grand Master.


Page 1980-91, 06/11/1980, on healings.

"So far this year there have been entirely too many healings by the Grand Master. These are due primarily to wrong or insufficient information being printed in Lodge notices concerning candidates. Masters and Secretaries, please make sure that all of the necessary information is published and that it is accurate. I refer to Section 422, page 59 of the Grand Constitutions."


Page 1980-91, 06/11/1980, on dispensations.

"The Grand Master is willing to grant a dispensation for a legitimate reason, as he interprets it, but he refuses to guess at reasons for a request. If you seek a dispensation, please give the dates involved and the reason for the request. If the number of days between degrees is to be shortened, give the name of the candidate for whom the request is made and the degree as well as the number of days involved."

Candidate Clothing

Page 1980-92, 06/11/1980, on candidate's dress.

"I believe that receiving the Degrees in a Masonic Lodge is an important and special experience in the life of any man. Therefore, he should dress accordingly. A suit jacket and necktie should be worn. Similar dress should be worn at the Lodge of Instruction. It behooves the Members on the sidelines to set a good example and tone for every meeting. This is not only true in dress, but also in attitude and attention.

"As in all things, common sense must be used. Would you sit in a Lodge Room on a warm June evening with an overcoat on? Proper dress for the occasion is what I am advocating. Brethren, let us not become weary in well doing."


Page 1980-92, 06/11/1980, on Grand Lodge protocol.

"The Grand Master, with the Grand Marshal, is willing to visit any kind of a Masonic function within the limits of his schedule. When such a visit does take place, the protocol of the Grand Lodge takes precedence over any other. The greatest number of errors are made in table seating and speaking. Remember, it is the office of the Grand Master that is always honored, never the person. If you have doubts or questions in this matter, consult with the Grand Marshal."

Henry Price Medal

Page 1980-229, 12/29/1980, on the M.M. Johnson Henry Price Medal.

At the Grand Lodge Installation in 1980, Grand Master Melanson invested the new Grand Master, J. Philip Berquist, with a solid gold Henry Price Medal.

"As the outgoing Grand Master places this solid gold Henry Price Medal on the breast of the incoming Grand Master, we here lay the foundation for a tradition in our Grand Lodge.

"This particular Medal was caused to be struck by Most Worshipful Thomas Sherrard Roy to honor Most Worshipful Melvin Maynard Johnson. Not having previously been presented a Henry Price Medal for his dedicated service to Masonry, this Medal was presented to Most Worshipful Brother Johnson at the September Quarterly Communication, 1952, to mark the 60th Anniversary of his initiation into the Craft and his almost 50 years as a Grand Lodge Officer.

"As the only one of its kind, it seems fitting and proper that it should be displayed by the Grand Master. This Medal is only to be worn by the Grand Master at a Quarterly Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts and at the Annual Installation of Grand Lodge Officers and the Feast of Saint John.

"My Brother, when you leave the office of Grand Master, you are to pass the Most Worshipful Melvin Maynard Johnson Henry Price Medal on to your successor with this same admonition.

"May this Henry Price Medal adorn the breast of each Grand Master of our Grand Lodge, until time shall be no more."

The Medal is still presented to each successive Grand Master at his first installation.


J. Philip Berquist, Grand Master.

Roman Catholicism

Page 1981-21, 03/11/1981, on Roman Catholicism.

"In clarification of recently published news releases relating to membership of Roman Catholics in the Masonic Fraternity, I am satisfied by my correspondence and conversation with members of the Roman Catholic clergy that there has been no change in their stand concerning Masonry in Massachusetts and that our Catholic Brethren are not subject to excommunication because of their membership in our Craft in this Jurisdiction. I have been assured of this."

At the June, 1981 Quarterly Communication, the Grand Master reported on the recent report of a clandestine lodge in Italy; on Page 1981-61:

"I must comment on the notoriety occasioned by the existence of a "secret" Lodge of so-called Masons in Italy which attempted to control much of the government of the country. It is understood that this Lodge is clandestine and not recognized by the Grand Orient of Italy, with whom we have fraternal relations.

"Further comment on the poor media coverage of a Vatican pronouncement concerning excommunication for any members of the Church belonging to the Masonic Fraternity! This does not apply to Massachusetts Masonry, and I have been assured by the Office of Cardinal Medeiros that the amicable relations which we enjoy will continue. There is no threat of excommunication. It is entirely possible that the Encyclical issued by Pope Clement VII in the 1700's and reiterated by Pope Leon VIII will be revoked this year, hopefully, if the damage done by this Italian revelation is not serious, in the eyes of the Church.

"It is vitally important that the publicity which Masonry engenders in Massachusetts, be it our Blood Program, C.P.R. Program, lending of Hospital Equipment, or Public Ceremonies, is favorable and properly noted by the press."

Degree Teams

Page 1981-23, 03/11/1981, on degree teams.

"I would briefly mention other projects which are underway, and the use of Degree Teams in our Lodges is one which has received attention over the years. I am very much in favor of Degree Teams presenting work in our Lodges, and encourage each Worshipful Master to request of me permission for a Degree team to work when such is to occur. A Committee is presently studying guidelines under which these Teams may work, and I would inform you with respect to these Teams that only Massachusetts Ritual will be exemplified upon a Massachusetts Candidate, and similarly out-of-state Teams will not be permitted to use out-of-state Ritual except upon their Candidates.

"I wish to reiterate at this time that which my predecessors have so often stated, that any action which detracts from the lesson of the Master Mason Degree does a disservice to our Fraternity and will not be tolerated.

"In accordance with my indication to you earlier, I will diligently strive for a closer association with all Masonically oriented groups and bodies and will join with them in the promotion of the principles for which we stand."

Table Lodge

Page 1981-61, 06/10/1981, on the Table Lodge Ceremony.

"I am indebted to Most Worshipful Arthur H. Melanson for the extensive work he has done in revising the Table Lodge Ceremony and the circumstances under which it will be performed. It is anticipated that the completed ceremony in booklet form will be available in the early fall. I am most appreciative of his efforts and do feel that this can become a very meaningful and enjoyable event for our Lodges."

Grand Master's Award

Page 1981-91, 09/09/1981, on the Grand Master's Award.

"I am happy to announce to you that the Grand Master's Award is a reality and thanks to the committee who worked diligently upon the requirements and the department heads who added their expertise, the District Deputy Grand Masters now have a copy of the optional and required areas of concern for a Lodge and I present them to you at this time."

Grand Master's Award

At the December, 1981, Quarterly Communication, the Grand Master made the following remarks, on Page 1981-128:

"On a more pleasant note, I am greatly pleased and heartened by the number of Lodges whose Masters and Wardens have indicated their intention to pursue this award. These range from none in some district to every Lodge, as many as eight, in others.

"We would have hoped that every Lodge would make such a commitment but realizing that with the problems some are experiencing this would be impractical. I commend those who have indicated their intention to attempt to fulfill the requirements for the award and hope that all are successful."

Sunday Meetings

Page 1981-127, 09/09/1981, on Sunday meetings.

"I quote from the Proceedings of our Grand Lodge of 1955 when Most Worshipful Whitfield W. Johnson stated, and I quote;

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.

"I, therefore, state that ruling remains in force - 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 Sunday for the purpose of attending Divine Worship, conducting a Funeral or Memorial Service for a deceased Brother, or for such other purposes as the Grand Master may specifically authorize."


J. Philip Berquist, Grand Master.

Building Insurance

Page 1982-70, 06/09/1982, on insurance.

"Each of our Lodges and Building Associations has received an insurance questionnaire which is vital in the evaluation of our insurance program, both in Grand Lodge and throughout the jurisdiction. Insurance premiums are a major expense to our Building Associations, and in many instances, we are tragically underinsured as we found in the Salem fire. Insurance has been a continuing concern and one which we feel can be somewhat solved by Grand Lodge self-insuring up to a certain amount and a blanket policy negotiated for the remainder This is being studied and your cooperation in responding promptly to the questionnaire is urged.

"The Waltham Masonic Temple fire which occurred after I had written the above prompts me again to urge your immediate cooperation in responding to the questionnaire as this tragedy is again evidence that we must protect our property in sufficient amounts to allow replacement of that which is replaceable Please assure yourself that you have fulfilled this request."

Public Relations

Page 1982-156, 12/08/1982, on public relations.

"I request that each Master appoint within his Lodge a man who will perform the function of Public Relations Representative from that Lodge whose duties shall be to contact the local media, including newspapers, radio and television, as far as possible, to promote Lodge acclivities and inform the public of events of the Lodge coming in the future, including the Regular Meetings and the Degree to be exemplified.

"I have asked the District Deputy Grand Masters to oversee and report to me on this program."

Memorial Services

Page 1982-158, 12/08/1982, on Lodge memorial services.

"I would at this time suggest that each of our Lodges hold an Annual Memorial Service for those who have died during the preceding year, either in the Lodge quarters or in a Church, to which members of the families of our departed Brothers are invited."

Anniversary Medal

Page 1982-160, 12/08/1982, on 250th Anniversary medal.

"I will at this time issue the following ruling:

"A Commemorate Medal is hereby created and authorized in recognition of the 250th Anniversary of Regular and Duly Constituted Masonry in the Western Hemisphere and the founding of the Provincial Grand Lodge in Boston, Massachusetts on July 30, 1733.

"This Medal may be worn by all Massachusetts Masons who are in good standing in 1983 and can be worn in addition to no more than two other jewels or medals and to their outside furthest from the heart.

"The Medal may be worn with gold square affixed thereto by Past and Presiding Masters who served their Lodge as Worshipful Master during the year 1983.

"The Medal may be worn with the square and compasses affixed thereto by all Masons who served the period from September 1982, through March 1984.

"The Medal may be worn with Committee bar affixed thereto by all Grand Lodge Officers for 1983 and for all Masons who shall have served as members of any of the Committees related to the 250th Anniversary.

"The Medal may be worn by Masons of other Jurisdictions to whom the same has been presented by the Grand Master subject to the permission or regulation of that Grand Master or Grand Lodge.

"This ruling will take effect on this date, the 8th of December, 1982.

"The conclusion of the 250th Year will occur on December 27 when a new Grand Master will be Installed and may well be the greater cause for celebration."


J. Philip Berquist, Grand Master.

Funeral Attire

Page 1983-137, 06/08/1983, on dress for public funerals.

"The Grand Lecturers unanimously have urged me to rule that the proper dress for a Masonic Funeral is white aprons for all with white gloves for the Officers of the Lodge, and no collars or pocket jewels to be worn.

"I respect the traditions of many Lodges in regard, and therefore will not, at this time, make such a ruling, but would urge that this be adopted where no strong feeling or tradition exists. It is my feeling that the simplicity of this practice and the equality of all Masons, regardless of station, in the presence of the remains of a deceased Brother, is appropriate. I would not be adverse to Past Masters wearing Past Master's Jewels if the decedent is a Past Master. I would not object to all Members of the Funeral Procession wearing white gloves.

"I am much indebted to each of these Grand Lecturers for the tremendous service which they provide for our Grand Lodge and to each of the Lodges and Districts in this Jurisdiction. I ask that they arise and receive your generous applause for their fine efforts."

Protocol (Retiring from Lodge)

Page 1983-138, 06/08/1983, on retiring from a Lodge room.

"I will mention for your consideration the impropriety of retiring from a Lodge Room while the Lodge is in session without approaching the West of the altar and saluting the Worshipful Master with the appropriate Due Guard and Sign. It is also improper, and discourteous, to retire from this Grand Lodge without prior permission and without appropriately saluting the Grand Master. Your consideration will be appreciated."

Grand Lodge Dues

Page 1983-138, 06/08/1983, on Grand Lodge dues.

"The Grand Lodge Dues, which are collected through each Lodge, are monies which are paid to Grand Lodge in installments to ease the burden of multiple payments, but are the property of Grand Lodge. It is most improper that these monies be employed to either pay Lodge bills or to generate interest for the Lodge use. Too many Lodges are not responding to Grand Lodge bills seasonably, and I must warn that the Board of Directors of our Grand Lodge will take action in the imposition of penalty charges upon those Lodges who make a practice of this procedure."

Building Insurance

Page 1983-213, 12/14/1983, on insurance.

"The Insurance Committee, under the chairmanship of R.W. William N. Woodland, has submitted its conclusions that our Masonic Buildings are grossly under-insured, throughout this Jurisdiction, that premiums are a major expense of our Building Associations, and that a mandatory Grand Lodge program will provide all our temples with adequate insurance at substantially reduced premiums. We must implement such a program in the coming years."

Masonic Education

Page 1983-213, 12/14/1983, on education.

"Under the leadership of M.W. Arthur Harris Melanson as Director of Education, substantial, innovative and important changes are being proposed in our Education Program. The Education Committee met for the first time in a committee and has subsequently met on several occasions to reorganize this area of great concern to our Lodges, their officers and candidates."


Page 1983-219, 12/14/1983, on recognition of Masonic bodies.

"Following the report of Most Worshipful Stanley Fielding Maxwell and remarks by the Grand Master, the amendments to the Grand Constitutions which were proposed at the Quarterly Communication of June 8, 1983 and considered at the Quarterly Communication of September 14, 1983, were adopted as follows by the required majority of two-thirds of the votes cast:

Section 700 amended to read:

Whereas, this Grand Lodge recognizes no degrees in Masonry except those conferred under the regulations of the Grand Lodges of the various states and territories of the United States and Governments throughout the world; and, whereas, it admits the following-named organizations to be regular and duly constituted Masonic Bodies, namely:

The General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International; The Grand Royal Arch Chapters of the Several States and Territories of the United States, and the Royal Arch Chapters and other Bodies under their jurisdiction; The General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International; The Grand Councils of Royal and Select Masters of the several States and Territories of the United States, and the Councils under their jurisdiction; The Grand Encampment of the United States; The Grand Commanderies of the several States and Territories of the United States, and the Commanderies under their jurisdiction; The Supreme Councils of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of the United States, and the various Bodies under their Jurisdiction; The Imperial Council of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America, and the Temples under their jurisdiction.

Therefore, any Mason admitted unto any other Orders, as Masonic (as distinguished from Masonic-related), is acting un-Masonically, and for such conduct shall be liable to be expelled from all the rights and privileges of Masonry, and shall be ineligible to membership or office in any Lodge or in this Grand Lodge.


David B. Richardson, Grand Master.

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  • Page 1984-107, 09/12/1984, on Grand Lodge dues.


David B. Richardson, Grand Master.

Grand Lodge Dues

Page 1985-31, 03/13/1985, on Grand Lodge dues and budget.

"The continued loss of membership, combined with the increased cost of services, has left us with a deficit budget. I have appointed a Committee to review the entire financial structure of the Grand Lodge, and recommend any ways where costs can be reduced in our building expenses, as well as the administration of the Grand Lodge.

"The Financial Study Committee has recommended an increase in the contributions made by the Lodges and bodies using the building. This adjustment has already been made by the Board of Directors. It has also been recommended by this Committee that a motion for an increase of three dollars ($3.00) per year in the Grand Lodge dues be presented to Grand Lodge. This motion was made at the December Quarterly, and in accordance with the Grand Lodge Constitutions will be discussed at this Quarterly, and voted on at the June Quarterly.

"In order to do whatever is possible to reduce the cost of operation of our Grand Lodge building, I have been authorized by the Board of Directors to engage the services of a competent engineer to completely review our building and make recommendations wherever any savings can be made. The Board of Directors has also authorized the services of a business analyst to study the operation of Grand Lodge, and point out to us where the efficiency can be increased and expenses reduced if possible.

"I hope that the Grand Lodge will vote a small increase in dues to balance our budget, while the administration in all departments does everything in its power to reduce expenses without reducing any services to the Craft. With the continued improvement in this part of the City of Boston, I feel that we must all do our part. Not just to keep a building, but to have a Masonic Temple which we can be proud of and will reflect a vibrant part of the future."

At the June Quarterly Communication, the Grand Master made further remarks on the proposed increase of Grand Lodge dues.

"A Grand Master's Newsletter has recently been issued which many of you have received. However, for those who may not have access to a copy of this letter the highlights are as follows.

"The principal reason for the increase in dues is to balance our budget and give us an opportunity to investigate all ways possible to bring under control the cost of maintenance of this building, and to determine whether or not it is feasible to continue to operate this Grand Lodge building. If it is decided that we would be wiser to move out of the city into the suburbs where we could have a more efficient building with sufficient parking, then we do not want to be forced into hasty decisions which we will regret later. It is my opinion that we should continue to use this building as long as possible, as the value is increasing every day that this area is improved by renovation and new construction such as Lafayette Place, the Transportation Building, New England Medical Center, and the new Wang Merchants Building. In order to make a logical and sensible decision in this matter, authorization has been given by the Board of Directors to get professional help to assist in determining how to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of the upkeep of this building. As indicated in the Newsletter, authorization was also given to hire a consulting firm to make a complete study of the Grand Lodge operations in an attempt to increase the efficiency without further increasing our expenses. These surveys are now underway, and a full report is expected by the December meeting."

At the December Quarterly Communication, the Grand Master noted the following:

"I can report to you at this time that the promised survey of the Grand Lodge operation, including the Masonic Home, is being worked on by the national accounting firm of Main Hurdman, and we are in the process of revamping our electrical situation in this building to complete a sizable saving in our electric light bills."

Lodge Notices

Page 1985-32, 03/13/1985, on Lodge notices.

"A copy of your Lodge Notice should be sent to the Grand Master's Office, the Service Department, the Education Department, and of course the Grand Secretary with your monthly reports. If you wish your notice displayed in the Museum, to possibly attract visitors, send an additional copy there. All Lodge Notices should announce the next Lodge of Instruction, after mailing, even if it is in the next month."

Public Relations

Page 1985-32, 03/13/1985, on public relations.

"I hope that every Lodge is still using a Public Relations person to keep local papers, radio, and even Cable TV apprised of your meetings. This is especially important if the gathering is one that can welcome non-members and guests, such as Installations and Ladies Nights."

Anti-Masonic Publicity

Page 1985-129, 09/11/1985, on anti-Masonic publicity.

"Many of you have questioned whether or not a public statement would be made regarding the flood of articles which have appeared recently implying many different things about Masonry which we know to be not true. There will be no public statements made, as it is my feeling that all men who have taken the three degrees of Freemasonry know the truth about Masonry and do not need a public statement to emphasize it. Those who are judging our Fraternity by small parts of the ritual, including our symbolic penalties, in forming an opinion of our organization without knowing the real truth will not be silenced by any public statement issued through the news media. Therefore, I feel silence is the strongest defense against this type of publicity. However, I hope that every man here will do whatever possible in a personal way to explain our Fraternity to those who are willing to listen and wish to know the truth about Freemasonry."

Grand Lodge Dues

Page 1985-150, 12/11/1985, on Grand Lodge dues.

"I have once again requested, through the District Deputies, that all Grand Lodge Dues collected by the individual Lodges should be placed in a separate account, as this money is only collected by the Lodges as agent for Grand Lodge, and therefore should not be commingled with the Lodge Funds.

I trust that each of you representing your Lodges here will take this information back to the Lodge Master and Treasurer so that these instructions can be followed out. On their Official Visitations the District Deputies will be checking this matter in 1986."

Lodge of Instruction

Page 1985-151, 12/11/1985, on Lodge of Instruction.

"We have completed one year under the new form of the Lodge of Instruction, and are now into the second year. We have made some changes as you all know for the second year; however, attendance at the Lodges of Instruction, especially by the members who should be continuing their Masonic education through the Lodge of Instruction, is not what it should be.

"I am now working with the Education Committee and the Director of Education to make adjustments and improvements in the Lodge of Instruction to bring it back to what it should be.

"Many of you, over the last year and a half, have complained to the Education Committee or to the Grand Master about dissatisfaction with the Lodge of Instruction. However, very few have made any constructive criticism that would help in correcting the existing problems. Therefore, I am charging each of you, as representatives of your Lodge to our Grand Lodge, to make known to the Education Committee or the Grand Master anything you feel would improve the format of the Lodge of Instruction and thereby attract a larger percentage of our members to attend.

"It is impossible to educate our membership in Masonic ways so that they can spread the word of Masonry throughout the world if they are missing at Lodge and Lodge of Instruction where this information is available. Will you all please sit down and write your suggestions within the next month and send them on to the Grand Lodge so that they can be reviewed and discussed by our Committee in time to implement them into next year's Lodge of Instruction We want every Lodge in Massachusetts to have an opportunity to participate in the planning of the future of our Lodge of Instruction."


David B. Richardson, Grand Master.

Gambling (Raffles and Door Prizes)

Page 1986-75, 06/11/1986, on raffles and door prizes.

"It has been brought to my attention that many Masonic affiliated bodes, as well as some Lodges, are still having raffles and door prizes at their meetings. It is well known that this has been a forbidden activity for many years in our Lodges in Massachusetts. Therefore, I expect that this practice will cease immediately, and if funds need to be raised that there will be some other form of fund raising employed."

Liquor and Drug Abuse

Page 1986-95, 09/10/1986, on alcohol and drug abuse prevention.

"I wish to report to you that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has agreed to participate with most of the other Grand Lodges in the country in setting up a Fund that will be used to assist organizations, which upon investigation are found to be doing good work in helping to eliminate the Abuse of Drugs and Alcohol in our Youth today. This Committee has been formed and is under the direction of M.W. Herbert Emanuelson, Past Grand Master of Connecticut, and I am sure that we all realize what an important part this work will play in the future of our county."

Grand Lodge Survey

Page 1986-95, 09/10/1986, on the operational survey of Grand Lodge.

Following the Grand Master's directions in 1985, a survey was conducted on the Grand Lodge and the Masonic Home.

"I am pleased to advise you that the survey on the Grand Lodge operations and the operations of our Masonic Home has been completed, and the report has been submitted to our Board of Directors. A Committee has been appointed to study this report, and make the necessary changes and improvements in our operation where needed."


Albert T. Ames, Grand Master.

Lodge Funds (Charity)

Page 1987-27, 03/11/1987, on Masonic charity funds.

"It has been brought to my attention that the Charity Funds of many Lodges are either being used improperly or, in some instances, not at all. I would say to you that some of the usages of Lodge Charity Funds are: The Masonic Home in Charlton, The Masonic Education and Charity Trust, the TROWEL Magazine, DeMolay, and needy Brethren, their widows and orphans.

"It has been long held by Masonic tradition that the only funds which should be given to public charity, i.e. School Scholarships or Jaws of Life for a Fire Department, etc., are those funds which have been raised for that specific purpose. That is not to say these are not worthy causes, but that Lodge Charity Funds are for the benefit of Masons."


Page 1987-28, 03/11/1987, on DeMolay.

"I will be brief on this subject for now. Most of those who know me know that when I get started on this one I can go on for a while. Let me just say that we must support this program. I am not one to say that DeMolay is the future of Masonry. However, I will say and refuse to be corrected that DeMolay and the thousands of other young people out there ARE the FUTURE. My Brothers, I say to you that the only true legacy that we have to offer the world is these young people, and it is important that we give them the guidance they need. We will grow old and pass on, and the youth will grow up and lead our world. Hopefully we, you and I, will have taken the time to set the proper example for them to follow. They need us. Let us not fail them. Youth, as fast as it slips away more arrive. It is up to you and me to see that our youth is properly trained. YOUTH - THE ONLY TRUE FUTURE."

The Grand Master made further remarks on DeMolay and Rainbow at the June Communication, on Pages 1987-66 and 1987-67.

Grand Lodge Programs

Page 1987-28, 03/11/1987, on new programs.

"There are two new programs that I want to share with you. First is a statewide relay that is being organized by Brother Glen R. Parker of Siloam Lodge in Westboro. The intention is that Siloam Lodge will open in Lee, Massachusetts, on Friday, June 5, 1987. The Master will pass the gavel to the first participant and so on across the state ending here at Grand Lodge on Sunday, June 7, as the gavel is passed to the Grand Master who will close the Lodge. A motorcycle or motor-home escort is planned. Brother Parker will be looking for help along the way. This will be a great opportunity to expose Masonry to the people of Massachusetts.

"The second project is the Drug and Alcohol Program which was approved in concept by the Conference of Grand Masters in 1986. A National Headquarters has been set up at the George Washington National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. More will be available on this soon."

Masonic Education

Page 1987-66, 06/10/1987, on education.

"I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Right Worshipful Lynwood Harriman, District Deputy Grand Master of the New Bedford 30th Masonic District, as the new Director of Education. Right Worshipful Brother Harriman brings to us a very distinguished background in education, having just retired as the Superintendent of Schools in Fairhaven after 29 years in that position. He told me that he finally graduated on Sunday. He said that he had to stick with it until he got it right I have issued some new challenges to the director and the education committee, to develop a correspondence course for our officers and members, [and] an instruction program for both District Deputies and Lodge Secretaries. These, along with our Lodges of Instruction, will help to improve our Grand Lodge."

At the December Quarterly Communication, a report of the Education Committee was presented; Page 1987-135:

To the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Wardens and Members of Grand Lodge:

The operation of the Education Department began in September with a new Director, three new Training Instructors and 384 Candidate Instructors, of which 133 were new and 251 were recertified. We are most indebted to these dedicated brethren, who give so freely and unselfishly of their time and talents, to advance the cause of Masonic education within this Grand Lodge jurisdiction.

During the summer, the Education Department revised the Candidate Instructor's Manual to accommodate the reinstitution of the third session, or Section C of the candidate's instruction sessions. We are indebted to Right Worshipful Ralph Duncan for his assistance in the redistribution of the material. The Director, with the assistance of Right Worshipful Ronald E. Jackson, revised the Manual for the Lodges of Instruction. This manual delineates the structure and govemment of the Lodges of lnstruction; the program planning process and division of responsibilities of the officers and Executive Committee of the Lodges of Instruction; and the relationships of the Lodges of instruction to the Education Committee Representatives and the District Deputy Grand Master Overseers.

The revision of the Manual for the Lodges of Instruction required the revision of the rituals for the opening, closing and installation of Officers of the Lodges of Instruction in order that the changes be consistent with the requirements of the Education Department for each of the officers.

The Masonic Temple Tour Guide was revised and expanded in order to have it ready for the Grand Master's Open House program on October 4th.

Currently, we are planning to update the Blue Lodge Educator's Handbook. We wish to be prepared to stress in the coming year, with the assistance of the District Deputy Grand Masters, that the primary responsibility for Masonic Education is best accomplished within the structure of the Symbolic Lodge. We will be working, in the future, to support this type of education by increasing assistance to the Masters and Wardens at the Blue Lodge level in the planning and execution of dynamic and innovative programs of an instructive nature, not only for the candidates, but also for the Craft.

I have completed a first draft of a Secretary's Handbook, intended to assist the Blue Lodge Secretary in the performance of his duties and in helping him to conform to the requirements of the Grand Secretary's Office, particularly those relating to changes in procedures necessitated by the computerization of records and reports. This manual will be in a loose-leaf type binding, whereby any future revisions may be instantly inserted in place of any existing portion as necessity for revision may require. I am assisted in this task by a committee from the Massachusetts Masonic Se€cretaries' Association. This organization will be working to plan and conduct a series of training seminars, similar in format to the wardens' workshops. These seminars will be presented, in the spring, at two or three locations across the state, in order to discuss and review the procedures required of Lodge secretaries and distribute copies of the new Manuar. when each Lodge has been supplied with the new Manual, we will recommend that the existence and availability of the Manuar be ascertained in each Lodge at the time of the annual Visitation of the District Deputy Grand Master.

If time, energy, and resources permit, I shat be working to the end of deveroping and/or adapting a training program for the craft, which may be presented in the Lodge or in a correspondence course.

I eamestly solicit reactions and suggestions for the improvement of the Masonic Education programs within this jurisdiction. we would be most appreciative of constructive criticism of our programs and of the presentations of our Forum leaders. There are many Masonic scholars within this jurisdiction, with far more expertise than I, in the history, philosophy, and writings of Masonic scholars of antiquity. I would sincerely welcome input from any of those Brethren, who might wish to contribute suggestions or submit outlines of topics for incrusion in our Lodge of Instruction Forum Leaders program. I would respectfully solicit communication from any, who may be willing to share the resurts of their own personal study and research for the benefit of the rest of our beloved Fratemity. we are all engaged in that ceaseless search for further Light, whereby to build and improve our own moral and Masonic edifice.

Public Relations

Page 1987-67, 06/10/1987, on public relations.

"Although we are still in a decline I am encouraged to see new and younger members coming into our lodges. I am most pleased to report that in the last two weeks I have had the privilege of seeing four third degrees, at Alpha Lodge, West Roxbury Lodge, Victory Lodge and Norumbega & Brookline Lodge, and I was pleased and proud of the ritual and the manner in which the degrees were presented. It seemed to me that I could sense a pride in Masonry and as long as we have that, I know that our future will be secure. Perhaps not without its problems, but then nothing in life worthwhile is easy."

Grand Lodge Business Manager

Page 1987-67, 06/10/1987, on the establishment of a business manager.

"As I stated at the Feast of Saint John in December, one of my priorities would be the establishment of the position of Business Manager or Administrator as soon as was practical. I am pleased to announce that as of July 27, 1987, that position will be filled by Brother Robert Sylvester of North Reading, a Mason for 22 years, a member of Fidelity Lodge and who is presently employed as the disbursing officer of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I feel that Brother Sylvester is well qualified for the task that awaits him."

The Grand Master also made remarks at the September Quarterly Communication, on Page 1987-98:

"July 27, 1987, marked the beginning of a new era in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. On that date Brother Robert Sylvester of Fidelity Lodge started his labors as the Business Manager of our Grand Lodge. Our goal is to have a more efficient business-like office with a total integration of all departments with one manager in charge. I am pleased with the progress to date as the Business Manager is here fulltime every day, he is able to keep the Grand Master advised of what progress is being made or what problems are being aced. One of which was dues cards. I am happy to be able to say that all are now in the mail. Unfortunately the original shipment from the printer was wrong (the fault of the printer, not ours) and the entire lot had to be redone. With this accomplished, we ran into more complications in our printer here. However, the problem is now solved and I thank you for your understanding."


Page 1987-99, 09/10/1987, on protocol.

"I have this day instructed the District Deputies to make known in every Lodge that it is not proper for any Mason to write to the Grand Master with a copy of that correspondence going to a third party, whether the letter is one of praise or complaint. As Grand Master I have endeavored to reply to every letter that has crossed my desk, however, I will no longer acknowledge any correspondence which indicates that copies have been sent to a third party nor will I address the concerns contained therein. Remember that correspondence with the Grand Master is a personal matter, and must be treated as such.

"I have also, on more than one occasion, been asked the status of a Distinguished Service Medal or some other Honor or Award, although a letter stating that such inquiry is not appropriate has been sent. Such inquiries will undoubtedly produce only a negative effect.

"I have also instructed the District Deputies on the proper wearing of aprons at Masonic Funerals. Except for Lodge Line Officers performing the Service, who are to wear the Apron of their office, the only apron to be worn is plain white. If there is any question please ask your Deputy."


Albert T. Ames, Grand Master.

Adam's Rib

Page 1988-33, 03/09/1988, on the "Adam's Rib" program.

"After a complete study of the program presented by Paul Dean Lodge with reference to the Adam's Rib Program as presented to me in writing, I find no reason why this program in the form of a Ladies Night cannot be continued, however, it is not to be held in a Tyled Lodge. Further, this reference is made only to the Adam's Rib Program as presented by Paul Dean Lodge, and still does not permit any other such program until such time as it has been reviewed and approved by this Grand Lodge."

Masonic Awareness

Page 1988-34, 03/09/1988, on the Masonic Awareness Committee.

"Worshipful Joel Peterson, of Marine Lodge in Falmouth, and his committee have been hard at work on this program, and are planning to have workshops in the fall across the state. The first step is to have a Masonic Awareness Chairman for each Lodge, Therefore. it is my direction that each Master appoint a chairman for the Masonic Awareness Committee of his Lodge, and that his name, address and telephone number be listed on all Lodge Notices. This appointment is to be made and filed with the Grand Master's Secretary, Worshipful William Young, prior to May 15, 1988."

At the June Quarterly Communication, the Grand Master made further remarks on this program; Page 1988-68:

"Worshipful Joel Peterson and his committee have this program together to be presented at various locations across the state in the fall. I am pleased to report that most Lodges have complied with the request of this Grand Master by listing the name of the Lodge chairman on the monthly notice."

At the September Quarterly Communication, the Grand Master added the following, Page 1988-94:

"Worshipful Joel Peterson and his committee have been at work most of the summer and have just sent to press the material for a notebook on Masonic Awareness that is to be given out to the Awareness Chairman of each Lodge that attend the upcoming Awareness Program that are to be presented at three locations around the state in the month of October just after our Open House. The dates and locations are:

  • October 15, 1988 - Masonic Temple. Lowell
  • October 22, 1988 - Masonic Temple, Springfield
  • October 29, 1988 - Tri Town Temple, East Bridgewater.

"Registration will be 8:30 AM with coffee, and the program will be completed by 12:30 PM. A letter dated September 1, 1988, has been sent to every Lodge in the state informing them of this schedule, along with a reply card. Please send in the replies and please attend. You and your Lodge will benefit as will ultimately the Grand Lodge."

The Grand Master made the following announcement at the December Quarterly Communication, Page 1988-127:

"Worshipful E. Joel Peterson and his Committee did an excellent job presenting this program in October on three separate Saturday, and in three separate locations around the state, and the attendance for the most part was good. However, about one-quarter of the District Deputies and one-third of the Lodges, for whatever reason, did not attend. Therefore, I have addressed a letter to each informing them of a special workshop that is to be presented on January 21, 1989, in this Grand Lodge Building, and it is expected that all will be there. Much good has already come of this program and if you will give it a chance, and support it, I know that your Lodge will benefit by it."

Secretaries' Handbook

Page 1988-63, 06/08/1988, on the Secretaries' Handbook.

". . . our Education Department, under the direction of R.W. Lynwood P. Harriman, has now completed and printed the Handbook for Lodge Secretaries and on the following dates: June 15, in Boston at the Grand Lodge Temple; June 18, in Wareham at Social Harmony Lodge; and June 25, at Mount Holyoke Lodge in South Hadley, there will be classes of Instruction.

"To the best of my knowledge, all secretaries have been notified of these meetings, and are encouraged to participate in one of these seminars. The new manual will be handed out at that time. This type of instruction has not been undertaken for several years, and with the many changes that have occurred in lodge secretaries I feel that this is a great step forward in having a better relationship between Grand Lodge and the constituent lodges. I ask for your cooperation in this project."

Lodge Notices (Inserts)

Page 1988-69, 06/08/1988, on lodge inserts.

"In the three months that have just passed, more than 30 Lodges have included inserts in the monthly notice of their Lodge without prior approval of the Grand Master. I remind you again that proper Masonic protocol dictates that all such inserts require prior approval from the Grand Master."

The Grand Master added the following remarks at the September Quarterly Communication on Page 1988-94:

"I am pleased to announce that in the past quarter the number of violations in his regard have all but disappeared. I congratulate you and ask you to keep up the good work. This information should be passed on to the Lodge Secretaries. Remember that all flyers which are to be sent with the Lodge Notices must have prior approval of the Grand Master."

Grand Master's Award

Page 1988-95, 09/14/1988, on the Grand Master's Award.

"I would like to point out to you that there have been a few small changes in the Grand Master's Award Program this year. First and foremost is that at the time of making application to the District Deputy Grand Master of your intent to participate, a letter of intent (only a letter of intent) must also be sent to the Grand Master. Second, there is a change in the required and optional items. For a complete copy of the updated Grand Master's Award Program please contact Right Worshipful William Young, the Grand Master's Secretary. Remember, you must give notice of your intent to 'participate in this program both to the District Deputy, and to the Grand Master within 30 days of your Installation."

Masonic Symbols

Page 1988-96, 09/14/1988, on displaying Masonic symbols.

"I would ask that you give a second thought as to what you might do to bring Masonry to the attention of the public in a positive way. Perhaps it would be that you again start to wear a Masonic Pin in your lapel or a Masonic Ring on your finger so that when you are about in the world doing good, perhaps as a public official or servant, or helping someone in need, or just being a good citizen attending town meeting, your church, or synagogue, or just your daily work in an honest and upright way, people will know that you are also a Mason. We need not hide nor be ashamed of the fact that we are Masons. We should be proud to display the emblem that is universally recognized as that of the Masonic Fraternity and identifies us as such."


Albert T. Ames, Grand Master.

Masonic Awareness

Page 1989-70, 06/14/1989, on the Masonic Awareness Program.

"You know we have been looking for many years at the decline of Freemasonry. The numbers going down and we talk about doom and gloom and that's what we presented, and if that's what we presented then that's what we are going to be. Let me present the other side, and I'm not saying that the curve has turned and that we are going up and that we are growing by leaps and bounds, but let me tell you what has happened in this jurisdiction in the very immediate past. Since Marine Lodge and the 15 or 18 candidates that they gleaned from their Masonic Awareness Project; first in Tri-Town Temple one Lodge ended up after an Awareness Night with 4 members from one family coming in, sons and grandsons, and you might think well that's not too unusual: well, it is, because those men were sons and grandsons of a Past Master. A Past Master, certainly has had the information of Masonry for years, but just never passed it along and the Awareness got him off dead center and got it going. On Monday evening of this week Simon W. Robinson Lodge raised 5 men, all by the name of Shaw. Brothers and cousins I am sure. Again, a family coming in together.

Recently the District Deputy from the Lowell 12th Masonic District held a District-wide Awareness Program. From that I am told that there are 38 new applications for Freemasonry in that area. I received a letter from a Master in the western part of the state in a small Lodge; I don't know how big it is, I don't know how big their Lodge Room is either, but the letter was full of enthusiasm - he was encouraged because he had only three vacant seats. I am sure that you can all sit here and picture that Lodge, regardless of its size, having been empty for many many past meetings. What encouragement that is, and I think that we should go forward with this positive attitude. So I would say to you that I believe that our Awareness program is working."

Public Relations

Page 1989-71, 06/14/1989, on public relations.

"I suppose you are supposed to say the downers first, but, I didn't so I'll say them now. We have a bit of a problem sometimes with our Public Relations. A couple of things which have come to my attention that I will share with you only so that they do not happen again.

"First, I was told of a situation where a member reported that a business associate of his came to him and said, 'The other day I was at such and such a location, and I saw an automobile with all of those Masonic Emblems across the back pull into a handicapped parking spot without the proper plate, and it was very obvious the person driving was not handicapped, because he quickly popped out of his car and popped into the local establishment.' My Brethren, that is the wrong impression, and I know that there is not a person in this room who would do this. If we are going to display the symbols, which we should, we must remember that it carries with it an obligation. We profess to teach Brotherly Love, not only amongst our Members but to all mankind, and certainly there was no Brotherly Love displayed in that instance."

Masonic Funerals

Page 1989-71, 06/14/1989, on Masonic funerals.

"Also, with reference to Masonic Funerals, it has come to my attention on more than one occasion that for whatever reason Masonic Funerals at the request of a family have been denied, or have been presented very poorly. I would say to you first, if you, as Master of your Lodge, are not capable of presenting the Masonic Funeral in a dignified manner, and are unable to read the service as printed in our Manual, you should ask another to do it for you and that the same should hold true for your Chaplain. And, please, in your Lodge take the time to review just what is going to happen at a Masonic Funeral Service. We do not need at this particular time to display ourselves poorly.

"I am going to give a decision here today that is not in writing, but will be in writing, that should a Masonic Funeral be requested by the member of a family, and there is any doubt with reference to the members standing in the Lodge, the service is to be performed, and if it is in error, the Grand Master will take the necessary corrective actions. Now, I say this because very recently the family of a Brother was refused a Masonic Funeral because he had been suspended two or maybe two and one-half years prior, which means he was not a member in good standing, and the Grand Constitutions says he cannot have a Masonic Service. But upon review, and there is no time for review between the request for a Funeral Service and the Service, upon review it was found the Brother had been in a Nursing Home for some 10 years. Undoubtedly, therefore, his dues had been paid for at least 6 or 8 of those years, and not one member of the Lodge contacted him or his family. Yes, maybe his family was remiss in the fact that they did not contact the Lodge, but after these 6 or 8 years, whatever it was, we then suspended him. Probably by sending that registered certified letter which the family received and thought, "Well, Dad will never be able to go to Lodge again so don't worry about it," and they didn't know the implications. So the man was denied, the family was denied. Fortunately, one of our Grand Chaplains became aware of it and took the necessary actions and it has been corrected. A service has been conducted in his behalf for the benefit of the family. Let me say again, my Brethren, if there is any question whatsoever, if there is any doubt in your mind, then perform the service and I will correct it if there is an error that has been performed. I think we will do more good for our Fraternity then we will harm by having performed the service for a departed brother."

Unable to locate the page reference for the following:

"It has recently been brought to my attention that on occasion a Masonic Funeral has been denied for reasons that cannot be immediately substantiated. Sometimes it has been said that a man's Membership has lapsed or that he has been suspended or that he has recently taken his Third Degree and has not yet signed the By-Laws, and various other reasons.

"When funeral arrangements are being made there is hardly time for a thorough investigation, and it sometimes leaves a bad impression on the family when a Lodge refuses, for whatever reasons, to perform a Masonic Service.

"Therefore, as Grand Master, I put forth the following edict: A Masonic Funeral having been requested by the immediate family, of one who is, or is known to have been, a Master Mason, such Masonic Funeral Service is to be performed by the Lodge upon which the request was made. Should there be any question concerning the present status of the Brother, the Service is to be performed and the questions answered afterwards. If later documentation proves that the Service was performed in error, the necessary healing actions can be addressed by the Grand Master and only the Grand Master.

"Brethren, I believe that we can do more to promote the public image and good will of Masonry by fulfilling a family’s request rather than deny it on the basis of possibly lapse of Membership or unpaid dues, or some other such notion. It is expected that we will do our best to be of service to our Fellow Men and their loved ones."



Edgar W. Darling, Grand Master.

Prince Hall

Page 1990-55, 06/13/1990, on Prince Hall Masonry, and on Connecticut recognition.

"This has become an emotional issue in some areas instead of being handled in the proper Masonic manner. After a great deal of reading on the subject, and talking to other members of Grand Lodge, your Grand Master has had to make decisions to keep the emotional issue out and maintain the principles and standards that have governed Masonry since time immemorial. As you may have heard the Grand Lodges of Connecticut and Nebraska have recognized Prince Hall Grand Lodge that are chartered and have jurisdiction only in their respective states. They have also permitted visitations between Prince Hall Masons in their states and Lodges Chartered under their jurisdictions. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts does not concern itself with how these Grand Lodges decided that the Prince Hall Grand Lodges in their states met their requirements for recognition, but at present we do not recognize Prince Hall nor have we been asked to. Our concern would be Prince Hall Masonry in Massachusetts, and whether they could meet our standards for recognition, which are the same standards we require any Grand Lodge in the world to meet if they request recognition.

"I have met with Most Worshipful Chester Isles, Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons in Massachusetts, who informed me that all Prince Hall Grand Lodges obtained their charters from his Grand Lodge and they have sovereignty over the states or areas specified in their respective charters. There is no single Prince Hall Grand Lodge or Grand Master over all the Prince Hall Grand Lodges. They do meet, as we do, at their Grand Masters Conference to discuss issues, but the decisions are not necessarily binding on their respective jurisdictions. They are all independent of one another. Therefore, as of now, Most Worshipful Chester Isles and the other Prince Hall Grand Lodges do not recognize Connecticut or Nebraska nor do they allow visitations by their members to Lodges chartered by the Grand Lodges of Connecticut or Nebraska.

"In the course of our discussion he indicated that Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts would be interested in starting dialogue with us in hope that we might establish recognition between the two Grand Lodges and eventually visitations by its members. I informed him that I had no objections, but that there were several hurdles that his Grand Lodge needed to overcome before our Committee on Foreign Relations could bring the subject of recognition to Grand Lodge for a vote by our members. I advised him that normally a request by any Grand Lodge for recognition should be presented to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Grand Masters Conference who would first review it and then recommend the same to all the Grand Lodges for consideration. Although this is not a binding requirement of the Grand Masters Conference, we could reluctantly consider by-passing this step and go directly to our Foreign Relations Committee for their review and recommendation. I explained to Grand Master Isles the major hurdle Prince Hall Masonry had to overcome was their authenticity and legality in the eyes of our Mother Grand Lodge - England, who considers them to be clandestine.

"According to our Mother Grand Lodge, Prince Hall Masonry takes its legality from African Lodge Number 459 which England Chartered before the year 1800. In 1813 the Grand Lodge of England revoked the African Lodge Number 459 Charter along with other Lodge Charters England had issued, which included some of ours, because they had not had communication from or paid any dues to the Mother Grand Lodge for a period of five years. These Charters were supposed to be returned to England to be marked void and placed in their archives, the same as we do today when two Lodges merge and one charter is returned to Grand Lodge. Even though African's Charter was not returned, but as I understand is still in a vault in Boston, it is never the less null and void. To further complicate the matter, African Lodge was only chartered to make Masons, bury their dead and march in parades. They were not authorized to form new Lodges. This information was given to us in a letter during Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes' term as Grand Master by Right Worshipful James W. Stubbs, who at the time was Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England. This information is stated in our 1970 Grand Lodge Proceedings on pages 601-603. A copy of these pages was given by me to Most Worshipful Isles at his request for study and action. Another area of concern was the same issue raised by Most Worshipful Jaynes in 1970 with Most Worshipful Reed, who was Grand Master of Prince Hall at that time, relative to the two other black Grand Lodges Chartered in Massachusetts under the names of George Washington Carver Grand Lodge and Hiram Grand Lodge and whether or not Prince Hall would recognize them. Most Worshipful Isles said they are clandestine and would not be recognized. I informed him that Most Worshipful Reed, when he left the meeting in 1970, indicated it would appear they would have to put their house in order before they could talk to us about recognition, particularly in regard to their stand on the other black Grand Lodges. Most Worshipful Isles then said they would have to look further into the matter and hesitantly withdrew his earlier comment about the other black Grand Lodges and Prince Hall. I pointed out that Prince Hall's stand could prove embarrassing to us if for any reason either or both of these black Grand Lodges were found to be acceptable to us for recognition. We would not want to be put in a position to settle disputes between two or more black Grand Lodges operating in the same state. As an aside to our dilemma, in 1960 there were registered in New York nineteen black Grand Lodges of which Prince Hall was only one.

"A final concern I raised was the position of his collateral bodies, namely York and Scottish Rites, would take if we should start dialogue and eventually reach recognition. His first thought was they would not be interested but he had not discussed it with them. I advised him I had spoken off the record to our York and Scottish Rite Bodies, and they indicate that they would like to be kept abreast of any discussions and would consider appropriate action as deemed necessary.

"After exchanging a few more pleasantries, Most Worshipful Isles left my office with the comment that it appears the ball was in his court, and he would have to get back to me with the answers and solutions to our concerns. I suggest his major hurdle was to contact or go to England and resolve their dispute and obtain recognition with our Mother Grand Lodge - England, and then proceed on the other issues one at a time. I further reminded that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, through its various Lodges since colonial times, has accepted men of all race, color or creed, and we continue to accept all qualified men. He thanked me for my frankness, and said our discussions were very open and most helpful. We parted in peace and harmony.

"Based on the above, and due to Connecticut's decision relative to recognizing Prince Hall Masons of Connecticut, until further notice no dispensations will be issued for any Lodge to Connecticut to work a degree, nor will any Connecticut Lodge be granted a dispensation to work in Massachusetts. I deeply regret this decision, but I do not feel we should go against our Mother Grand Lodge of England and that it is up to Prince Hall to resolve the problem with England before we can act legally."


Edgar W. Darling, Grand Master.

Visits to Connecticut

I have not found this text in the Proceedings. - 01/05/1991, on visits to Connecticut.

"I regret this long delay in responding to requests for dispensations. Due to recent changes instituted in other Grand Lodges relative to Prince Hall Masonry, I have had to review each request in depth to ascertain its effect on Massachusetts Masonry, Prince Hall Masonry, and in this case, Connecticut Masonry.

"As you are aware, recently the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Connecticut recognized the Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Connecticut, Inc., and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Connecticut, Inc. recognized the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Connecticut and they mutually agreed to Rights of visitation in Grand Lodge and constituent Lodges where-so-ever assembled.

"Whereas, at present, Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Connecticut, Inc. does not recognize the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts does not recognize the Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Connecticut, Inc., and therefore in the eyes of each Grand Lodge we are considered Masonically to be clandestine to the other, and therefore to avoid any embarrassment between Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Connecticut and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and their respective members, I will not grant any dispensation for Connecticut lodges to meet in Massachusetts or Massachusetts lodges to meet in Connecticut until further notice.

"Furthermore, this subject of Prince Hall masonry or any other such subjects are not to be discussed outside your Lodge room either in writing or verbally, but should be referred through the proper channels to our Committee on Foreign relations chaired by M.W. Stanley F. Maxwell as specified in our Constitutions and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts A.F. & A.M. Dated 1989 in Section 712. Any other correspondence should be addressed to our Grand Secretary, M.W. David B. Richardson. I regret this decision but it has been reached after an in-depth study ands consultation with our Committee on Foreign Relations and other past and permanent members of Grand Lodge and I believe this is the only fair and equitable decision that can be reached at this time.

"Often times those who mean well and try to resolve situations without knowing all the facts or background information working through the proper channels, as set forth in our Grand Constitutions and Regulations, can do more damage than good. Please take due notice therefore and govern yourselves accordingly."

Masonic Funerals

Page 1991-78, 06/12/1991, regarding Masonic funerals.

"I have spoken about the funeral services many times and just when I feel we have turned the corner another letter comes to me on still another complaint. I have discussed this with our District Deputy Grand Masters and they will go into further detail with you about the complaints I am receiving. Always remember – a funeral service is to remember a departed Brother. Let his family know we care and share their grief and stand ready to help them in their hour of sorrow. It is not an ego trip for any Brother to be on before the public. Because many Lodges and members have the idea they should stand in front of the casket and block the view of those seated in the church or funeral parlor and thus exclude the family from seeing the service, I am requesting from now until further notice that only six Brothers be at the casket. Three at the head and three at the foot. All others should be seated or stand in the rear behind the mourners so as to not block their view. Those at the head should be the Marshal, Master and Senior Warden, or the Brothers designated to fill those positions. At the foot should be the Chaplain. Junior Warden and one additional person designated by the Master. In this manner the casket will be in full view of everyone who is seated. In the event the Master or Chaplain cannot finish the service once started, they can pass the book to the Brother next to him to finish the service. If it is your custom for all the Brothers to place the evergreen on the casket, this can be done after the six at the casket do so by coming in ones or twos, depending on the size of the crowd, and placing the evergreen without a lot of fanfare and depart. Remember, what the public sees is what they perceive of our Fraternity. If they cannot see, the uninformed feel we are performing some strange mystic ceremony from which they have been excluded. Our funeral service is one that radiates great feeling and beauty. Don’t destroy it by not thinking of the family and their friend’s feelings during this time of grief and sorrow."


Page 1991-79, 06/12/1991, regarding alcohol use.

"In 1975 Most Worshipful Stanley Fielding Maxwell issued the directive relative to alcohol and when it may be used in conjunction with Lodge functions. I have discussed this with your District Deputy Grand Masters and asked them to see that every Lodge in their district is in compliance, has a copy of the directive and fully understands it and the liability incumbent on those who choose to use it in conjunction with Lodge functions. The District Deputy Grand Master is to report back to me the results of his findings. Most of you are in compliance with the directive. Those who misunderstood its meaning, I request they make the necessary corrections to avoid any embarrassment."


David W. Lovering, Grand Master.

Public Relations (SBC)

Page 1993-81, 09/08/1993, on the Southern Baptist Convention vote.

"Some of you may be aware that the Southern Baptist Convention at their annual meeting voted by an overwhelming majority that belonging to the fraternity known as Freemasonry is a matter of personal conscience. While there seems to still be some confusion on the part of the Southern Baptist Convention, most Grand Lodges are happy with the result. Others say we have not heard the end of it. While I have asked that inquiries be addressed to Grand Lodge there is nothing wrong with your telling anyone who asks about the good things we do and encourage them to talk with Masonic leaders."


Page 1993-129, 12/08/1993, on Freemasonry and religion.

"Once again Freemasonry has been attacked as a religion, as Devil Worshippers, satanic cults, etc. Even local Churches have banished members who have a Masonic affiliation. There have been a few cases where our members have renounced Freemasonry as they believe it interferes with their religion. Extremism today in all sorts of activities seems to be the norm. Of course, the media relish the material as fodder for their evangelism. Our answer has to be the good Work that we do and that we need to be public about it. I wonder if these extremists are happy to know that if they go to a hospital and need a blood transfusion that in all probability they are getting blood donated by a Mason. Maybe that blood will induce them to think differently about Masonry."

Lodge Financial Records

Page 1993-129, 12/08/1993, on Lodge financial records.

"One of the unpleasant duties occurs when a Lodge surrenders its Charter. Two Lodges during the past year have found it impossible to continue either by merging or by operating as a daylight Lodge. What is the responsibility of Grand Lodge in these situations? In both cases had we known of the Lodge's financial condition we may have been able to assist them at a time when that assistance would be useful. Usually, Lodges do not seek help from Grand Lodge until it's too late. For this reason I am asking that each Lodge furnish to Grand Lodge annually a copy of their financial records and condition together with the same information from Lodge building associations or corporations. In some jurisdictions the Internal Revenue Service is auditing individual Lodge records. Lodges will be advised shortly as to the specific information required. Hopefully, we will be able to provide standard Lodge accounting forms for your use and reporting. Any Lodge that does not now have its records audited by someone skilled in accounting is acting for trouble and should immediately correct the situation. Lodges that are not fiscally responsible who then turn to Grand Lodge for help may find less sympathy than they expected."


David W. Lovering, Grand Master.

Lodge Buildings and Insurance

Page 1994-62, 03/09/1994, on ownership of Lodge buildings and insurance.

"The Insurance Committee has discovered that a number of building associations thought they owned their building but in fact did not. One Lodge was given the building in the early twenties by a Brother and the Lodge has been using it, paying taxes on it, maintaining it, etc., but it turns out that the original owner never recorded the deed in the Registry of Deeds so that his heirs became the owners. It took three years to straighten that out. You ask why the Insurance Committee is concerned. It turns out that if these Lodges had suffered a loss during this period the building was covered but the insurance company would pay the owner, not the Lodge building association. Therefore, we are asking each building association to send Grand Lodge a copy of their Deed or Certificate of Title together with a copy of the Articles of Incorporation if they are incorporated or a copy of the Declaration of Trust if they are a trust. If you are neither, then a copy of the building association By-Laws.

Use of the Word "Temple"

Page 1994-109, 06/08/1994, on use of the word 'Temple'.

"You may recall that about one year ago we were concerned about the upcoming Southern Baptist convention. Part of the public misunderstanding about our fraternity is the confusion about religion. While we know that we are religious but not a religion, others don't. Adding to this confusion is the use of the word "Temple" when referring to our Lodge Buildings. There are some 58 Masonic building associations in Massachusetts with the word Temple in their title. 186 Tremont Street is no exception. We are currently getting quotations to change the name to Masonic Building. I am asking every Lodge Building Association to consider doing the same. I ask each of you to use a word other than Temple when referring to where a Lodge meets. Masonic Building, Masonic Hall, Masonic Apartments, Freemason's Hall; all are acceptable and I'm sure that there are others as well."


Page 1994-109, 06/08/1994, on suspensions.

"We have instituted a new procedure with respect to suspensions for non-payment of dues. Each Lodge Secretary has been sent instructions for implementing these procedures. I am concerned that many Brothers are suspended without our determining their ability to pay or their general welfare. Therefore, a personal contact is necessary prior to any reminder that the Brother is delinquent. What is most disturbing is the fact that our Lodges have suspended some 63 Brothers who were over the age of 88 at the time of suspension, including two that were 97, and just this past week we had a request to suspend a Brother who is 102. Since a Brother is entitled to Life Membership in Grand Lodge at no charge at the age of 88, no Brother 88 or older may be suspended by his Lodge for non-payment of dues without a dispensation. For Brethren in this age bracket with whom the Lodge has lost contact, the Grand Secretary has a procedure to remove him from the count in your Lodge by granting a special Demit so that the Lodge is no longer responsible for his Grand Lodge Dues."

Grand Lodge Scholarships

Page 1994-139, 09/14/1994, on the Grand Lodge scholarship program.

"I am happy to announce a new venture for your Grand Lodge in the form of a scholarship program. This program is designed to provide meaningful scholarships to children of Massachusetts Masons who are high school graduates and enrolled in accredited colleges, universities or vocational schools, based upon the criteria of scholastic achievement, school or community activities and financial need, without regard for sex, race or religious affiliation; also, to maintain a relationship with each student throughout his or her academic career which provides an understanding of the tenets of Masonry, fosters Masonic values, and offers continuing support, financial or otherwise, as long as the selection criteria are maintained.

"The details of this program have not been completely finalized, but it is our hope that we will be able to accept applications for the next academic year. We know that a number of Lodges and affiliated groups also offer scholarships and we intend to compile a list of scholarships available to our through the Masonic Fraternity. If your Lodge or group offers such a scholarship program, please send the details of your program to my office."

Note: the details of the scholarship program were provided in December, beginning on Page 1994-158. The deployment of this program was in contrast to earlier rulings regarding the use of funds for 'non-Masonic' purposes.

Shrine Requirements

Page 1994-140, 09/14/1994, on Masonic prerequisites for the Shrine.

"I am also happy to inform you, if you haven't already heard, that the Shrine of North America has reiterated its prerequisites of Scottish or York Rite membership for membership in the Shrine. I attended the Imperial sessions in Denver and can report to you that everyone that I talked with was adamant about their feeling towards Freemasonry. With that in mind, I am participating in a Task Force to focus long range plans of Freemasonry and the Concordant Orders towards a common goal to avoid working at cross purposes."


David W. Lovering, Grand Master.

Prince Hall (Recognition)

Page 1995-44, 03/08/1995, on Prince Hall recognition.

"Today is an historic day for this Grand Lodge manifested by your vote to recognize the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. You will recall that at the December Quarterly, we announced that on that day the United Grand Lodge of England granted recognition to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. We have had several meetings with the Grand Officers of Prince Hall and the Committee on Foreign Relations has made an investigation regarding the regularity of this Grand Lodge, and by your vote, this has been accomplished.

"It is interesting to note that this is the third time that recognition has been requested by Prince Hall and the second time that a favorable vote was taken. In 1947, this Grand Lodge voted to recognize the legitimacy of Prince Hall. This vote was rescinded in 1949 due to the withdrawal of recognition of our Grand Lodge by a number of other Grand Lodges. We were 48 years ahead of our time. In 1970, no vote was taken because of the position of the United Grand Lodge of England. There is much literature and many dissertations on this subject, and it my hope that all of that is now behind us and we can now offer the hand of friendship to these Brothers. There is still some work to be done as the United Grand Lodge recognizes only the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and none of the others. I expect that there was some discussion of this subject at their Quarterly meeting today, and we will keep you posted. In the meantime, I must caution you that the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is the only Prince Hall Grand Lodge recognized by Massachusetts."

Note that M.W. Edgar R. McLean, Prince Hall Grand Master, gave remarks at the June 14, 1995 Quarterly Communication, beginning on Page 1995-105.

Candidate Instruction

Page 1995-178, 06/14/1995, on candidate instruction.

"Since the late 1920’s, our Candidates have received non-ritualistic instruction at a Lodge of Instruction. Over the intervening years, there have been a number of changes in the format and course material used by the Lodges of Instruction. It is now time for another change. Effective January 1, 1996, Candidates will no longer receive instruction after each degree. Candidate instruction will be presented in January, April and September at Grand Lodge for all candidates who have completed their degree work. Attendance by the candidates will be voluntary, but they will be encouraged to take advantage of the program. This instruction will also be presented at other times and at other locations as deemed necessary, for instance one class may be held annually at the Masonic Home. Any Candidates currently in process will continue to receive instruction at the regular Lodge of Instruction until January 1st. In other words, no new classes for Entered Apprentices of Fellow Crafts will start after November 1st, and no candidate classes will be held after December 1st.

"This program will be open to any interested Master Mason. It s anticipated, however, that each Lodge will send one member to accompany its Candidates. The tentative schedule will include a registration period, a presentation by an outstanding Grand Lodge presenter of about 45 minutes duration, a tour of the Masonic Building, a chance to meet the Grand Master and senior Grand Lodge Officers, followed by lunch and a question and answer period.

"Lodges of Instruction will continue, for the time being, to present non-ritualistic instruction to Lodge Officers and members generally as approved by the Grand Master. Attendance will be voluntary, but still a requirement for the Grand Master’s Award.

"Course material has already been prepared and approved. Also in preparation is a members Handbook containing information on the history and legends of Freemasonry, important reference material about our charities, collateral bodies, procedures to visit other Lodges, Masonic Awareness activities, and a host of other useful material. This handbook will be presented to each Candidate after his raising. Candidates must still prove themselves proficient in each degree as specified in the Grand Constitutions. Upon satisfactory demonstration of proficiency in the third degree, the candidate may sign the Lodge By-Laws and be issued a Dues Card."

"Information concerning these changes is being mailed to each Lodge Master and Secretary."


Arthur E. Johnson, Grand Master.

One-Day Class

Page 1996-258, 12/11/1996, on One-Day Classes.

"Society is and has been changing rapidly. What we have known as the standard work week, dinner hour and regular family schedule has become a thing of the past. Today it is frequently necessary that both parents work to meet the normal financial obligations necessary to support their family. Many men find it difficult, if not impossible, to commit their schedule to take the degrees in their local Lodge.

"The Grand Lecturers are studying our current ritual to design an appropriate method of conferring all three Masonic Degrees in one day. Following are the ground rules which I plan to use in setting up this one day class:

  1. Candidates will petition the Lodge, make application, and be balloted on in the exact way we do today.
  2. The individual Lodges will determine which candidates they want to be included in the one-day class.
  3. The one-day class will be conducted by the Grand Lodge.
  4. A minimum of one year's advance notice of the date for this class will be given.

"I recognize and respect that a change in a tradition as important as the degrees for candidate is a difficult change for some of our most devoted Brothers to accept. I understand and respect your feelings predicated on your dedication to the Fraternity. I give you my pledge that it will be done with the dignity and respect you have reason to expect. I believe this change necessary to make membership available to deserving men whom Masonry can benefit."


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