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EDICTS FROM 1975 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.



Stanley F. Maxwell, Grand Master.

Dimits 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."

First Degree Lectures

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."

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."

Use of Ciphers

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 1875-101, 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."

Masonic Funerals (Attire)

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."

First Degree Lectures

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."


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."

Lodge Notices (Included Material)

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 (Included Material)

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."

Sunday Meetings and Liquor

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."

Lodges of Instruction (Fourth Class)

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.

Dimits 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."

Games of Chance

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."

Costumes In Degree Work

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

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."

Master of Lodge (Duties)

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."

Liquor (and Liquor Licenses)

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."

Use of Lodge Funds (Charity)

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."

Lodge Service

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."

Liquor, Notices (Enclosures), DeMolay (Lodge Chairman)

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 (Symbolic Penalties)

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."

Membership (GM's 1979 Concerns)

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.

Canal Zone

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 Masonic 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.

Candidates ("Particular Procurement")

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

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."

Street Advertising

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 Dress

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."

Grand Lodge Protocol

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."

Membership (Grand Master's Vision)

Page 1980-167, 12/10/1980, on the Grand Master's vision.

"As I come to the end of my term as Grand Master, I emerge with the following convictions concerning Masonry in the next decade.

"Almost every Grand Jurisdiction is struggling to find a way to stem a diminishing membership. There is no question that the number of members suspended for non-payment of dues is larger than it ought to be. This needs to be seriously and continually addressed by every Lodge as well as the Grand Lodge.

"I believe more than ever, however, that the future of the Fraternity lies in Particular Procurement. Though the process may seem strange and unusual to us, we need to ask those good men who are our friends and colleagues, Have you ever thought about becoming a Mason? You may be surprised at the number of men who were waiting for someone to raise the question with them. We can no longer afford not to confront Particular men with the aformentioned question. Our survival depends upon it: time will pass us by. I hasten to say that we are neither recruiting members nor establishing membership quotas.

"I believe that we will see more consolidations in the future. Not only because some Lodges are having difficulty in security officers, and others are facing a decreasing membership, but more so because many Lodges will no longer be able to afford to operate their Temples by themselves. Symbolic Lodges and Collateral Bodies will have to join hands to meet the rising costs of energy and maintenance and thus preserve the Temple.

"I believe the Lodge will have to become more family centered. That wives will go to the Temple with their husbands and enjoy their own program while the husbands attend to their Lodge work. The evening would end with some kind of combined involvement. What better place for a candidate to bring his wife while he takes his degrees? It is a splendid opportunity for her to meet and get acquainted with the wives of the members, as well as the members themselves. She will hear the story of Masonry from a woman's point of view, and perhaps get some of her unasked questions answered. She is becoming a part of the Lodge family at the same time that her husband is. On many occasions affairs will be planned to include children of all ages. The DeMolay Chapter and Rainbow Assembly will make progress because parents will want it to be so.

"I believe that more time must, not should but must, be spent in making our candidates more Masonically literate, and our members better candidates more Masonically literate, and our members better prepared and interested in becoming officers. We must be increasingly concerned about raising Masons and not candidates. The Grand Lodge Department of Education must design and implement programs for officer education that will prepare a member to be an officer and aid him while he is in office. This needs to be beyond what is now being done.

"I believe that if this Fraternity is to grow in the next decade, we must engender a new sense of pride in what we belong to and what it is we do. In short, I believe we will have to live like Masons in every sense of the word. This may not always be easy, but do it we must."

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 Lodges

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."

Lodge 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 Medals

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.

Masonic Funerals

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."


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."


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."

Recognition of Masonic Bodies

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.

Grand Lodge Dues

Page 1984-107, 09/12/1984, on Grand Lodge dues. (SCC p. 124)


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."

Lodges 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.

Games of Chance

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."

Alcohol 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."

Operational Survey of Grand Lodge

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.

Use of 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.

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

Grand Lodge 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."


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."

Grand Lodge Protocol

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" Program

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."

Grand Lodge 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 (Enclosures)

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 Emblems

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.

Negro Masonry (Prince Hall) and Connecticut

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.

Negro Masonry (Prince Hall) and Connecticut

01/05/1991, on visits to Connecticut.

I have not found this text in the Proceedings.

"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.

Religion (Southern Baptist Convention)

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."

Religion (and Freemasonry)

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 Finances (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.

Temple Ownership 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.

Temple (Word Use)

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 Membership

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."

Vision Statement

Page 1994-169, 12/14/1994; Vision Statement


Freemasonry in Massachusetts will be the outstanding international organization for men. It will enhance and strengthen the character of the individual man by providing meaningful opportunities for fellowship, charity, education and leadership. It will thereby contribute to the improvement of the individual member, his family life, his community, and his world.

The following principles will aid us in fulfilling the Vision Statement.

  • Freemasonry will promote the highest standards of honesty and integrity and the enhancement and strengthening of the character of its members.
  • Freemasonry will be open to all men of ethical and moral quality who believe in a Supreme Being regardless of race, creed, or national origin.
  • Freemasonry will promote and provide opportunities for involvement of its members in individual and organized charitable activities.
  • Freemasonry will promote and provide opportunities for education of its members and the community as a means of encouraging freedom, tolerance and understanding.
  • Freemasonry will provide leadership opportunities and training for its members.
  • Freemasonry will meet the fellowship and fraternal needs of its members.
  • Freemasonry will strive to be viewed by the family as an outstanding organization. It will provide opportunities for family enrichment through programs of fellowship, discovery, learning, involvement and entertainment.
  • Freemasonry will will strive to be viewed by the community as an outstanding organization. It will contribute to the community and the lives of its citizens by the active involvement of its lodges and its members.
  • Freemasonry will encourage its members to be active participants in their respective places of worship.


David W. Lovering, Grand Master.

Negro Masonry (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.

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

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 Classes

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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