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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.



Fred K. Bauer, Grand Master.

Shrine Membership

Page 2000-84, 06/14/2000, on Shrine membership.

"It saddens and disappoints me to tell you about a most serious problem which may occur in the next few weeks. It is my understanding during the July Session of the Imperial Shrine Convention, a new class of membership will be proposed that will not include the prerequisite that a candidate shall be a Master Mason. If approved, this would have a serious affect[sic] on Freemasonry as we know it today.

"I am pleased to tell you, it is my understanding that Aleppo and Melha Temples are against this proposal and will vote accordingly.

"Membership, or the lack of it within the entire fraternity, is a national problem. The above proposal is an alternative to alleviate that problem within the Shrine. This solution, however, may not solve the problem and, in fact, may lead to further decline in membership. Do not be misled, non-Masons may not be part of Freemasonry. Therefore, if this proposal were approved, Freemasonry would have to divest itself from Shrine. I truly pray we will never see this happen. So mote it be."

Page 2000-109, 09/13/2000:

"I am happy to advise during the Shrine Imperial Session held in Boston the first week of July, the so-called civic/social membership call item was unanimously withdrawn from consideration. You may remember this was a proposal to allow non-Masons to join the Shrine organization. In addition, as I'm sure you have heard or read by now, the Shrine delegates voted to eliminate the previous prerequisite that before you could be a Shriner, you had to be a member of either the York or Scottish Rite Masonic organizations, thus ending 122 years of fraternal associations with those bodies. Our Grand Constitutions, unlike some other jurisdictions, makes no reference or provisions to this situation. Therefore, as Grand Master, I will not comment on this recent turn of events, one way or the other, with this exception: we have come too far as a Masonic family to allow petty arguments within the Craft. If we are to continue to succeed in the years ahead, we need to continue to be a united fraternity."

Note: as of the present, the prerequisite of Master Mason is still in place; see the Shrine online site for requirements.

Grand Lodge Relief Funds

Page 2000-141, 12/13/2000, on distribution of relief funds.

"With full appreciation and respect of the several positions taken by the Past Grand Masters of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, concerning the proper distribution of the Grand Lodge and Lodges Relief/Trust funds, the present Past Grand Masters and I feel a review and revision is in order. For decades our regulations provided only for the relief of Master Masons, their families and to any Grand Lodge charities. This was later revised to provide for the distribution to the various collateral bodies' charity funds and still later to include DeMolay and Rainbow.

"Although these wonderful causes and organizations should remain our primary consideration, Masonry was founded as a charitable organization for all mankind. We have as example, distributed some of these funds to D.A.R.E., the Scholarship Program and to our Child Identification Program (CHIP). In addition, we feel strongly that the members of each Lodge should have the direct and complete control of their individual funds. Therefore, effective immediately, Relief/Trust funds may be distributed as follows:

  • By proper notice and vote of the members of a Lodge, and in accordance with each Lodge's By-laws, Relief/Trust Funds shall be distributed at the will and pleasure of the Lodge, subject to legal and tax considerations.
  • Any funds given to a Lodge for a specific cause or charity shall be distributed accordingly, including its income growth, if requested to be established in that manner.
  • Primary relief shall be given to Master Masons and their families.
  • It is proper to consider for distribution, any of the Grand Lodge Charities, the Collateral Bodies Charity Funds and the Order of DeMolay and The International Order of Rainbow for Girls.
  • It is recommended that a minimum of between four (4%) to five (5%) percent of the value of the Relief/Trust funds be donated annually to charitable causes.
  • If approved by the Lodge, funds specifically designated as such may be used for the operations of said Lodge.

"By order of the Grand Master, this 13th day, December, 2000."

Internet Service Providers

Page 2000-145, 12/13/2000, on internet service providers.

"Recently there has been much activity by various organizations soliciting members of the fraternity and Lodges, to purchase their Internet Provider programs. Some offer various discounts, others may return a sum of money to them or to the Lodge etc. It should be emphasized, Grand Lodge has not approved any of these Internet Providers. And, furthermore, it is strictly prohibited for such solicitation directly to the met-fibers of the fraternity by masons or the companies they represent. We recognize the Internet is a public communication tool which anyone may use. However, it is the selling of the service by masons to masons that is prohibited. Advertising on a Website to join the various Internet Providers, is of course an activity over which Grand Lodge has no control or authority."


Fred K. Bauer, Grand Master.

Candidate Proficiency

Page 2001-157, 12/12/2001, on candidate proficiency.

"From time to time, we are asked what constitutes suitable proficiency, as provided for in the Grand Constitution of our Grand Lodge (Section 420). The answer has been and remains to the satisfaction of the Worshipful Master of the Lodge. In 1999, I asked the Grand Lecturers to provide us their opinion of what constitutes "minimum proficiency." Following lengthy discussions, they agreed with the guidelines as provided on page 65 of Freemasonry In Massachusetts, Members Handbook:

  • The position of the Great Lights during each degree
  • The due guard and sign of each degree
  • The grips, pass grips and words of each degree
  • The Five Points of Fellowship,
  • The Grand Masonic Word and the Grand Hailing Sign.

"The Grand Lecturers further provided minimum proficiency should not require a member to know all the questions and answers. It was suggested that a candidate should learn the obligation and be able to read the entire cipher of the candidate's lecture."


Donald G. Hicks, Jr., Grand Master.

Lotteries and Games of Chance

Page 2002-26, 03/13/2002, on lotteries and games of chance.

"Our Grand Lodge has a long standing “Resolution” prohibiting games of chance, 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 any other device or activity whereby the individual participant may be able, through the element of luck or chance, to win a greater value than he pays, and each Masonic Body within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge is hereby enjoined to observe the letter and spirit of this resolution; and Be it further resolved that all the 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 enjoined to respect the purpose of this resolution.

"Brethren, this resolution adopted by our Grand Lodge, March 8, 1939, amended and reaffirmed June 8, 1977, is still in full force and effect, and will be enforced by this Grand Master."

Membership (Grand Lodge Award)

Page 2002-81, 06/12/2002, on the Grand Lodge Membership Award.

"Today the District Deputies have a copy of the application for the Grand Lodge Membership Award. A complete package will be sent to each lodge. This application is only two pages, with brief instructions. The application is to be submitted to the District Awareness Officer on or before September 30, 2002. Detailed information and suggestions for developing a membership program is contained in Blue Pages manual developed by the Masonic Awareness Committee. Your Grand Lodge has provided the working tools. It is now your responsibility to pick up the tools and begin building membership."

Approaching the East and Photographs

Page 2002-115, 09/11/2002, on approaching the East, and photographs.

"There has been a long-standing tradition that only Masons should approach the East of a Lodge. In our efforts to be more open in our public meetings, it is my opinion that it is permissible for guests, male or female, to be escorted to the East of a Lodge, on the level, to make presentations or be present during a presentation. However, only Masons may be seated in the East of a Lodge.

"It is also my opinion that it is permissible for photographs to be taken within a tyled Lodge, with the permission of the Master. However, no photographs are to be taken during degree work."

Conduct of Lodge Business

Page 2002-115, 09/11/2002, regarding business to be conducted on any degree, including official visits.

"Section 316 of the Grand Constitutions as amended September 12, 2001, states in part, “all general business of the Lodge .…may be transacted while open on any degree at a Stated Meeting”. In accordance with this amendment, it is the opinion of this Grand Master that a Lodge should be opened on whichever degree will permit all Brethren present to be seated within the tyled Lodge, including the Official Visitation of a District Deputy."


Page 2002-116, 09/11/2002, on redistricting.

"The Grand Lodge Committee on Redistricting submitted their report to the Grand Master on July 9, 2002 with the following specific recommendations:

  • Reduce the number of Districts from forty-four to thirty-one.
  • Districts will only be identified by numbers.
  • Redistricting will be effective on December 27, 2002.
  • The District Deputy Grand Master need not be a member of a Lodge in the District to which he is assigned.
  • If a Lodge moves to a building in another District, the Lodge will be assigned to the District in which the building is located.
  • If in moving a Lodge creates a District of twelve or more Lodges, the Grand Master will appoint a committee to redistrict the area.
  • If a Lodge is meeting in a location other than what is designated on its Charter, the Lodge must submit the Charter to the Grand Secretary for amendment.

"This Grand Master supports these recommendations.

"In preparation for redistricting, the Grand Master requested that the District Deputy Grand Masters submit a written report of the status of the Lodges within their District with a view toward possible realignment of the District. Many Deputies provided detailed reports with well-developed suggestions and the Redistricting Committee reviewed all written reports.

"To paraphrase a statement attributed to Abraham Lincoln, You can please all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time. This appears to be the reaction to the redistricting; some are but not everyone is pleased.

"Information gleaned from the proceedings of 1926 indicate that the Grand Master appointed a committee on redistricting in March and implemented the changes effective at the Feast of St. John in December. Brethren, every District except one has been changed, and before you ask, I can assure you, the District of every member of the committee has changed, and yes, the Grand Master’s home District has also changed.

"Each District Deputy has been provided with a map and a listing of the Lodges assigned to all thirty-one Districts. A large copy of the map together with the listing is displayed in the lobby area on the first floor for your review as you depart today.

"Yesterday, as I was completing this address, I received an email with a comment from a Senior Deacon of a Lodge. His comment was I applaud the idea of re-assigning my Lodge to a new District which, I feel, will add a new excitement and freshness to the relationship between the Lodges and District. This Brother sees opportunity in change.

"Brethren, my request is that you view the District realignment as an opportunity to make new friends in Lodges you may not have had a reason to visit before. Be open to new ideas and spread the cement that unites us into one common mass of friends and Brothers."

Lodges of Instruction

Page 2002-157, 12/11/2002, on Lodges of Instruction.

Note: this ruling effectively reversed the 1995 ruling by Grand Master Lovering abolishing the Lodges of Instruction].

"I have requested the Chairman of the Education Committee, R.W. Richard E. Johnson, to develop a transition plan to have in place by September 2003 a Lodge of Instruction in each Masonic District. The plan will include the process and timing for electing officers of the Lodge of Instruction. The plan will include integrating the best practices of the Masonic Forum into the Lodge of Instruction. The Master and Wardens will be expected to attend and candidates will be expected to attend as the best way to receive instruction on the meaning of the degrees. Incentives will be developed to encourage attendance by junior officers and lodge members. The District Deputies will be responsible for the oversight of the Lodge of Instruction in their respective districts."


Donald G. Hicks, Jr., Grand Master.

Games of Chance

Page 2003-26, 03/12/2003, on games of chance.

Whereas, at a regular meeting of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts on March 8, 1939 it was voted and RESOLVED that:

It is inconsistent with the profession and purposes of Freemasonry for any Masonic Body to promote, participate in, or profit by any lottery, game of chance, door prize, or other device or activity whereby the individual participant may be able, through the element of luck or chance, to win a greater value than he pays, and each Masonic Body within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge is hereby enjoined to observe the letter and spirit of this Resolution; and it was 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 enjoined to respect the purpose of this Resolution.

Whereas, the aforementioned Resolution was born out of a long-standing tradition that gained acceptance as part of our Masonic culture through custom and not constitutional enactment, and

Whereas, lotteries, games of chance, door prizes, or other similar activity are not addressed, banned or forbidden under any provision of the Constitutions and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts A. F. & A. M., nor by any prohibiting language in our Declaration of Principles adopted March 8, 1939, nor the Massachusetts Manifesto of December 14, 1938, and

Whereas, sixty-three years have passed since the acceptance of the gaming Resolution and few remain today who voted adoption on March 8, 1939, and we have entered into a new millennium bringing with it a new society that has chosen to accept and legitimize gaming as a part of its developing culture, and

Whereas, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has since initiated state sponsored gaming to help support the needs of our cities and towns, and, in addition, has passed specific laws authorizing qualifying charitable institutions to conduct games of chance such as raffles and bazaars to help support their charitable purposes, and

Whereas, many of our Lodges and other Masonic bodies are economically challenged and have a serious need for additional funds to pay the ever increasing costs necessary to maintain their buildings and carry out their Masonic responsibilities to help, aid and assist needy brethren, and

Whereas, highly respected religious and charitable institutions, throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, regularly employ legalized raffles and Bazaars to help alleviate their economic dilemma.

Now, therefore, be it Resolved that the Resolution of this Grand Lodge adopted on March 8, 1939, be annulled and that the following resolution be adopted:

It is consistent with the Constitutions and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, our Declaration of Principles and the purposes of Masonry and the teachings of the fraternity to permit Masonic bodies to promote, participate in and profit from a raffle or bazaar as described in and in accord with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 271, §7A, or similar games as described in and in accord with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 10 §38, and in conformity with the requirements of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations Title 940, Chapters 12 & 13 and all other laws, rules and regulations, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Raffle Guidelines to be established by Grand Lodge.

It is further provided that no raffle, bazaar or other such activity shall be permitted by any Masonic Lodge under the Jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge without the written permission of the Grand Master; and it is further resolved that all so-called collateral bodies, clubs or other organizations in Massachusetts that conduct a raffle, bazaar or other such activity, 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 enjoined to respect the purpose of this Resolution and to comply with the laws, rules and regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Raffle Guidelines to be established by Grand Lodge.

Respectfully submitted this Twelfth day of March, 2003.

This resolution was read at the March and June Quarterly Communications, and by a majority vote on 06/11/2003, Page 2003-87, was adopted.

Age of Membership

Page 2003-30, 03/12/2003, on age of membership.

A Mason must be a freeborn male adult.

"During the December 2002 Quarterly, Right Worshipful Robert L. Steadman presented a report titled “Age for Masonic Membership”.

"The report indicates the age requirement to become a Mason has not been absolute throughout the Masonic World. Masonic history reveals the age to become a Mason has been as high as twenty-five and as low as sixteen. Currently more than half the Grand Lodges in the United States permit membership at an age less than twenty-one years. Two of our neighboring states, Vermont and New Hampshire, have established eighteen as the age to become a Mason. In 1916, Right Worshipful Roscoe Pound, a Past Deputy Grand Master and Dean of the Harvard Law School, was quoted in our Grand Lodge Proceedings as saying that the Mason must be a man, free born of full age according to the law and custom of the time and place. The law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1973 clearly defines “full age” as eighteen years of age.

"Therefore, it is the ruling of this Grand Master that effective immediately, in accordance with the law and custom of this time and place, at eighteen years of age, a man is a male adult and is of full age to become a Mason in this Grand Jurisdiction."

Campaign For Masonry

Page 2003-158, 12/10/2003, on the Campaign For Masonry.

"Brethren, as many of you are aware, we are currently in the early stages of a capital and endowment fund campaign for the Fraternity. For nearly a year, we have been in a study and planning phase to prepare for the effort, which is being called The Campaign for Masonry. This historic project will support Masonic Charitable programs, Blue Lodge Charitable endeavors, and Masonic Health System.

"This extraordinary effort is a first for the Fraternity — we have never given members of the Craft the opportunity to support Masonry on such a significant scale. Through this campaign, we seek to raise a minimum of $10,000,000 to guarantee the future of Masonry in Massachusetts. Extraordinary needs require an extraordinary effort, and we are all being asked to go above and beyond what we have done in the past. To date, our initial success has been tremendous as we already have over $725,000 pledged to the campaign from just a small number of brothers — some of whom are here today.

"I am happy to report today that we will officially kickoff the campaign in January 2004. Throughout the coming year, each lodge will be asked to participate, and you will be hearing much more about the campaign in the coming months. We are conducting this campaign in phases, so not every lodge will begin immediately. However, your district leadership will contact your lodge leadership in advance before your lodge campaign is set to commence.

"Through this campaign we will be asking each brother to consider making a substantial commitment. I ask that you begin to think about making The Campaign for Masonry a philanthropic priority, and as you are contacted, consider making a pledged commitment to the Fraternity over a period of years.

"I have no doubt that this campaign will reap many benefits for Masonry in Massachusetts. It will provide us with much needed long-term financial support, as well as energize brethren from all areas of the Commonwealth to make the Fraternity a personal and philanthropic priority.

"I thank you in advance for your support of this exciting project."


Donald G. Hicks, Jr., Grand Master.

Electronic Communications

Page 2004-29, 03/10/2004, on electronic communications.

"Today we have listened to a discussion with respect to the proposed amendment to the Grand Constitutions Section 711, relating to written or printed notices of Lodge meetings containing Masonic information must be in sealed envelopes. The proposed amendment will be presented to the craft for a vote at the June Quarterly meeting. This amendment, if approved, will authorize the use of a Lodge Web Page and/or e-mail to communicate with lodge members with information about the business of the lodge. While the use of e-mail or an open website to inform members of pending lodge applications for membership and other lodge business is not formally authorized, lodges that employ 'password protected' methods available to members only may continue the use of electronic communication methods, pending the adoption of the proposed amendment. The requirement for continued use is that the Grand Secretary’s Office be informed of the password for each lodge. Lodges that are using a website or e-mail without 'password protection' to communicate confidential information are required to immediately employ 'password protection' or cease publishing confidential information. If the proposed amendment is passed, 'password protection' will be required and must be provided to the Grand Secretary. Detailed website and e-mail guidelines will be published.

"The Grand Lodge Board of Directors has authorized installation of equipment which will permit the Grand Lodge to host lodge websites without cost. When the equipment has been installed, lodges will be informed of the availability of the hosting service."

The proposed change to the Grand Constitutions was approved at the June, 2004 Quarterly (Page 2004-61), and stated:

Section 711. All written or printed notices of Lodge meetings containing any Masonic information beyond the time and place of such meeting must be sent out in sealed envelopes. Any electronic display of such information must be password protected and any electronic communication thereof must be in accordance with guidelines established by the Grand Lodge.

Campaign For Masonry

Page 2004-30, 03/10/2004, on the Campaign For Masonry.

"As you are aware, we are currently in the early stages of a capital and endowment fund campaign for the Fraternity. For over a year, we have been in a study and planning phase to prepare for the effort, which is being called The Campaign for Masonry. This historic project will support Grand Lodge Masonic Charitable programs, each Blue Lodge throughout Massachusetts, and our Masonic Health System.

"The current generation of Masonry has been the recipient of our forefathers’ generosity for many years. In recent years we have increased our charitable efforts, but we now need to set aside the necessary funding to ensure that these programs will be around for future generations. This campaign is our opportunity to provide for those who will follow us, just as our forefathers left us with what we have today. We need to ensure the Fraternity’s viability and visibility for our children and grandchildren.

"A project of this scale is a first in Massachusetts Masonry — we have never offered members of the Craft the opportunity to support Masonry on such a significant level. Through this proactive campaign, we seek to raise a minimum of $10,000,000 to guarantee the future of Masonry in Massachusetts. Sometimes extraordinary needs require extraordinary efforts, and we are all being asked to go above and beyond what we have done in the past.

"To date, our initial success has been tremendous as we have almost $900,000 pledged to the campaign from just a small number of the brethren — several of whom are here today. Some districts have already begun campaign activity and their enthusiasm has been very encouraging.

"The campaign is being implemented in a phased approach, so that we may personally present the campaign to each of our Brethren. Not every lodge will participate immediately. The first “block” of lodges, consisting of five districts, began holding their first campaign meetings just this month. Throughout 2004, each lodge will be asked to participate, and you will be hearing much more about the campaign in the coming months. Your district leadership will contact you well in advance before your campaign is set to commence.

"Through this campaign we will be asking each brother to consider making a commitment. I ask that you begin to think about making The Campaign for Masonry a philanthropic priority, and as you are contacted, consider making a pledged commitment to the Fraternity over a period of years.

"I have no doubt that this campaign will reap many benefits for Masonry in Massachusetts. It will provide us with much needed long-term financial support, as well as energize brethren from all areas of the Commonwealth to make the Fraternity a personal and philanthropic priority.

"I thank you in advance for your support of this exciting project."

The Grand Master expounded further in his remarks at the June, 2004 Quarterly (Page 2004-73):

"During recent quarterly meetings you have heard me speak about the Campaign for Masonry. I’m pleased to report substantial progress as we near completion of the first phase of the campaign. To date, 55 lodges have been working with the campaign office and several hundred members have pledged close to $1.1 million. As you know, these funds will be used to benefit Grand Lodge charitable works, the Masonic Health System and local Blue Lodge Charitable programs.

"The primary objective is to offer every brother an opportunity to participate in the campaign by making a pledge. To accomplish this, the campaign is being conducted in phases by district. The work has already begun to meet with the District Deputies in the next phase of Lodges, and they will soon begin contacting the officers in their districts. The goal is to have a campaign committee for each lodge in Phase Two in place by August 1, 2004.

"I thank those of you who have already made a pledge or who have volunteered your time. I thank you for your hard work, dedication and commitment to make it possible for us to ensure the future of our many charitable works."

The Grand Master expounded further in his remarks at the September, 2004 Quarterly (Page 2004-128):

"The Campaign for Masonry is entering the second phase of lodge activity this month. There are nine districts, consisting of seventy-one lodges participating in Block II. Previously we had been working hand-in-hand with twenty-five lodges on this campaign and we are looking forward to working with the rest of the lodges as we progress through this historic effort.

"I am pleased with the response we have received from the brethren. New pledges are being made every week ranging from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. No gift is too large or too small in this campaign. I thank each of you, once again, who have contributed financially and with your time to this campaign.

"I would especially like to thank the following lodges for their exemplary performance in their campaigns thus far: Wilbraham Masonic, Beth-Horon, William Parkman, Longmeadow, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Friendship, Charles River, Meridian, Golden Rule, Norfolk, Garden City and Good Samaritan.

"Once again, this campaign will raise funds solely for Grand Lodge charitable programs, Blue Lodge charitable programs, and the Masonic Health System. A project of this scale has never been attempted in Massachusetts Masonry — we have never offered members of the Craft the opportunity to support Masonic charitable programs on such a significant level. I hope you will each make your own pledge when asked.

"I thank you in advance for your support of this exciting project."

The Grand Master's final remarks on the subject were presented at the December, 2004 Quarterly (Page 2004-188):

"During the past year several hundred volunteers have been helping me spread the word of a wonderful project we are currently undertaking. Many Brethren have already participated in The Campaign for Masonry, others have not yet had the opportunity, and some of you might still have questions about it and have not yet made your decision.

"As you know, this is my last Quarterly. The campaign began under my watch and I am a supporter, both as a donor and as a volunteer. We, the Masons of today, have benefited from the generosity of our forefathers and will continue to benefit from their contributions to Masonry for years to come. But our Forefathers, despite their preparedness, could not have envisioned Masonry as it is today. They may have assumed that Masons would have continued to raise money to add to the endowment they built for us. They may also have assumed we would have continued giving to Masonry at the same pace they did; however, this is not the case. Even with their vision, our forefathers could not have known the costs of the programs we are supporting today.

"We, as individuals, have long supported Masonic charities with our time and talent. Now we are asking the Masons of today to support these programs with their treasure. This campaign is an opportunity for this generation of Masons to contribute to the endowment in the same way our Forefathers did – with the foresight to prepare Masonry for the future. Funds from this campaign will be directed specifically to today’s charities.

"We can help to secure the financial stability of our Masonic Charitable Works and our Masonic Health System by contributing to this campaign. So far we have received commitments totaling more than $1.7 million for this purpose.

"It is important to note that the Campaign for Masonry is not a campaign for Grand Lodge. The Campaign for Masonry is directed only toward our charitable works. Many would say that giving to charity is the most important thing we do at Grand Lodge. I agree.

"I ask for your help in making sure our generosity will continue for future generations. When a campaign volunteer asks to meet with you to explain the campaign, please give your brother the courtesy to listen and then help us by making a pledge to the campaign.

"I have already recognized those lodges that have been working hard for the campaign: Beth-Horon Lodge, Wellesley Lodge, William Parkman Lodge and Wilbraham Masonic Lodge.

"You may or may not know that each lodge has a goal for the campaign – based on the size of its membership. These four lodges have each surpassed their goals for the campaign and I wish to thank them publicly for their efforts. Among these lodges they have raised a total of $272,000!

"Remember my brethren, Providing Relief takes more than a handshake."


Jeffrey B. Hodgdon, Grand Master.

Master's Path

Page 2005-31, 03/09/2005, on Master's Path.

"As a businessman and Masonic leader I have learned over the years that education and planning are the two essential ingredients for success. You must have the knowledge to plan your work and then you must have the discipline to work your plan. The Master’s Path Program is a unique opportunity for those Masons who are moving up to the leadership position in their Lodge to learn first hand how to plan their work. I have established a policy which states, any person to be installed a Worshipful Master must have attended the Master’s Path Program within thirty months of his Installation. However, it appears that many of the Brethren do not believe there is a need for them to attend the Master’s Path, especially if they have already served or are currently serving as Worshipful Master. I believe it is just the contrary. As you should all know by now the learning process never ends. If one is serving as Master for a second or third time it indicates to me that the Lodge needs to get back to basics for something is truly lacking.

"Brethren, this rule is not to torment or punish any of you, but rather to encourage you to get as much up-to-date information and knowledge as you can so that you may, plan your work and work your plan. It is a proven fact that the Lodges that continually attend this program are the most productive Lodges in the jurisdiction as relates to activities, sideline attendance and membership. I might note that I will be personally opening each Master’s Path session giving those present the ability to meet me first hand and ask whatever questions they may. Needless to say I will also be noting those Lodges not represented."

Applicants (New Process)

Page 2005-79, 06/08/2005, on the new membership application process.


Application Information

"Proposed changes to the application process should in no way change the quality of the person a Brother wishes to propose as a member. Utmost in the mind of the sponsoring Brother should be that the proposed candidate understand fully the nature, meaning and purpose of Freemasonry. The moral and spiritual aspects and aims of the Craft should be made perfectly clear to the candidate so that all of them will understand that it is a system of morals based upon a belief in God. A full understanding by the applicant that this belief strives to show the duties that every member owes to God, country and their neighbor and the fact that they must be inspired with a sincere desire to perform those duties honorably, thus building their character as well as the character among the Brotherhood of Masons. The reward for their efforts will always be the promise of God of the immortality of the human soul and the fact that they may live respected and die regretted.

"As the need not to attend a pre-application interview to obtain an application is one of the primary changes to the process the above principles must be understood by the sponsor and the applicant so as to save embarrassment at the application interview, which is still required. The interview process will not change in any way but before a Lodge can accept the completed application the candidate must answer all questions appropriately and to the approval of the committee and must read, understand, and sign an application statement. Any deviation or refusal on the part of the applicant to live up to these requirements will result in the Lodge simply not accepting the application for processing.

Application Procedures

"All current and newly distributed applications from the Grand Lodge will be authorized for use and should be available to every Brother of the Craft to carry on their person. Over time, applications may come in many different varieties and for many different reasons, but, ultimately they will all be processed the same way. As a way of clarifying the process the following procedures must be followed:

"If a prospective applicant of good character has shown an interest in joining the Craft he should be afforded the immediate opportunity to receive and complete, in his own handwriting, an authorized Grand Lodge application from his sponsor. The sponsor should then take that application and arrange with the Lodge a convenient time for he and the applicant to attend an application interview.

"The prospective applicant for the degrees must then appear before the Master and Wardens or before an application committee, of which the Master should be one, for an examination as to his fitness and only after the committee has formed a favorable impression of the applicant and the applicant has read and signed the application statement, may the committee accept the application. Any deviation from this procedure, such as the applicant wanting to take the application statement away for careful reading prior to signing, would prohibit the acceptance at that time of his completed application. If the applicant should fail to sign or decline to sign the application statement, under no circumstances may his application be accepted by the committee.

"When the application statement has been signed by the applicant the committee may then accept his application and fees for initiation and immediately forward them, and the application statement, to the Secretary of the Lodge for processing and reading at the next regular communication of the Lodge. However, before an application can be acted upon the applicant must provide three completed copies of the blank provided by the Grand Lodge furnishing information for the investigation committee or in lieu therefore, three completed copies of a similar form prepared by the Lodge itself. Also, as prescribed by Section 406 of the Grand Constitutions, no ballot may be taken on any application until at least a majority of the investigating committee shall have reported to the Lodge in person or writing over their own signatures and that all reports received must be favorable.

"All other procedures relating to the current application process as prescribed in the Grand Constitutions must be followed and adhered to.

Grand Master Dispensations for new Application Process

"To accommodate the application process so that it may take effect immediately the following dispensation in effective this date June 8, 2005: Until further notice, or until permanent changes have been made to the Grand Constitutions as proposed on June 8, 2005, a dispensation of Sections 401 and 402 of the Grand Constitutions is hereby granted to all Lodges and members in the jurisdiction specifically allowing the application process as prescribed by the Grand Master on June 8, 2005 to take effect immediately."

The Grand Master described the membership Program, "Pass It On", at the September, 2005 Quarterly Communication, beginning on Page 2005-102.

Lodge Ambassadors

Page 2005-102, 09/14/2005, on Lodge Ambassadors.

"I will be requiring that each Lodge list their Lodge Ambassador on their communications as well as on their web site, if one exists, and that the Ambassador be on the agenda at all Lodge meetings and functions to speak. I am also issuing, at this time, a ruling relating to Section 801 of the Grand Constitutions to allow the Lodge Ambassadors the right to wear the newly struck Ambassadors Jewel as proper regalia in all Lodges in this jurisdiction."

There was further description of this program at the December, 2005 Quarterly, on Page 2005-136:


"On December 3, 2005, the Masonic Ambassador Program for Massachusetts was kicked off at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington. This effort is being supported and developed by the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Great thanks must go to them, R. W. William Holland, and R. W. Thomas Pulkkinen for all their efforts to make this program a complete success. I have instructed all Masters of all Lodges to appoint a Masonic Ambassador for their Lodge as an integral part of the new Membership Program and I am pleased to report that 85% of the Lodges have made the appointment thus far and that over 68% of those appointed attended the training session.

"Brethren, this appointment is essential to the success you will have in your Lodge as regards membership as well as the implementation of many programs being presented by the membership committee. If you have not named your ambassador yet, I strongly urge you to do so. The District Deputy Grand Masters will be working with you regarding this issue and must keep me informed as relates to both their as well as your progress. I can assure you that this program falls under my guidelines as related to membership.

"You must follow the same guideline as the Master of your Lodge, which is to either lead, follow or get out of the way. With the membership momentum that we have created and will continue to create beginning at the end of this month, there is no room for any other approach."


Jeffrey B. Hodgdon, Grand Master.

Candidates (Signing By-Laws)

Page 2006-114, 09/13/2006, on signing Lodge By-Laws.

"One of the most troubling problems we have faced here at Grand Lodge, and for that matter at the local Lodge level as well, has been the increase in paper work and documentation of the newly initiated members. It appears that due to many requirements relating to new members, as indicated in Section 420 of the Grand Constitutions regarding Lodge Membership, and in particular to the signing of the Lodge By-Laws, many new Brethren to this day have still not been reported to Grand Lodge due to the fact they have not yet signed their Lodge By-Laws. Therefore I make the following ruling:

Effective immediately, all Brethren upon receiving their Third Degree will sign the By-Laws of their Lodge on that same day or evening, as the case may be, and will subsequently be reported to Grand Lodge immediately as doing so.

"All other requirements within Section 420 will remain in effect, however. All candidates must complete those requirements within ninety days of their Third Degree to receive their dues card which, upon issuance of the Grand Secretary’s Office, will be held by the Lodge until satisfaction of that requirement. Any candidate who fails to complete the requirements within ninety days will have his dues card returned to the Grand Secretary’s Office and will be considered to be in a suspended status upon reaching one year of his Third Degree. During that time, the Grand Secretary’s Office will make every attempt possible to contact the candidate and encourage him to complete his requirements of Section 420.

"This ruling supersedes all of the related requirements of Section 420 as well as any similar requirements within a Lodge’s By-Laws. I ask that all Lodge Masters and Secretaries take full advantage of this ruling as well as making the signing of the By-Laws at the completion of a candidate’s third degree both a momentous as well as a memorialized occasion that the candidate as well as the Lodge will long enjoy and remember."

Candidates (Accelerated Degree Program)

Page 2006-195, 12/13/2006, on the Accelerated Degree Program.

"Increasing membership continues to be one of my greatest goals as your Grand Master. As we are still in the process of compiling the information for the Proceedings for the past Masonic Year the numbers are still not complete. However, it appears from all indications that we are making great progress. I continue to receive requests for dispensations for classes greater than five and from all indications, other than a few scattered Lodges, nearly every Lodge is working candidates.

"Our membership message will once again hit the airways commencing on December 27th and run to the end of March. Unlike last year we will be on the air, both TV and radio, continuously across the entire stare. Our message will be similar to the ones we have previously run but will have a slight twist to it as it will allude to a special Grand Master’s Accelerated Degree Program which is scheduled to take place in May.

"The Grand Master’s Accelerated Degree Program, which has been developed by the Membership Committee, will be available to all Lodges on a voluntary basis. Our goal is for every Lodge in the jurisdiction to have five candidates participate in the program. Essentially this program will allow Lodges to complete all three degrees, including the first three classes of Lodge of Instruction, in thirty days. Because of how it works it will not interfere with the usual candidate schedule that many Lodges have because those men may just be incorporated with the special class for whatever degree they were due to receive in May. The entire program will be distributed to the District Deputy Grand Masters in early January and each District Deputy will hold meetings with his District to not only present the program but also to help coordinate all of the necessary people for both degree work as well as Lodge of Instruction for those Lodges in need of assistance.

"My Brothers, look closely at this program. It is similar to what some of the constituent bodies do and has proven to be very successful, especially for those men who want to become Masons but cannot afford the usual three month time frame."


Jeffrey B. Hodgdon, Grand Master.

Lapel Pins

03/14/2007; verbal only, on the wearing of pins.

"No lapel pins will be worn when serving in station as an officer of a Lodge or on a Grand Officer's Suite."

The following explanation was provided by the Grand Secretary:

"This statement has been falsely interpreted as not being able to wear a lapel pin on a tuxedo. You can wear a lapel pin on a tuxedo as long as you are not serving as a Lodge Officer's station or on a suite. You cannot wear a lapel pin on a business suit or sport jacket if serving in a station in the lodge.

"The Grand Master has issued dispensations for several Brothers and Lodges that have traditional lapel pins for their officers."

Lewis Jewel

Page 2007-97, 06/14/2007, on the Lewis Jewel.

"As per Section 808 of the Grand Constitutions I am pleased to announce that effective immediately I, as Grand Master, am authorizing the issuance and wearing of the Lewis Jewel by Massachusetts Masons as being both proper and regular.

"The Lewis is an instrument made use of by Operative Masons to raise finished stones into place on the walls of a building which is symbolic of raising a son to a higher level by a father bringing him into the Craft. The Lewis Jewel is a miniature Lewis suspended from two chains below two bars. The top bar contains the name of the father and the date of his initiation. The bottom bar contains the name of the son and his date of initiation. The Lewis Jewel may be worn by a Mason, if at the time of his initiation, his father was a Mason in good standing. An initiate of a deceased father who was a Mason in good standing at the time of his death would also qualify. This therefore allows for the wearing of this jewel by any qualified son to be retroactive.

"Application for the jewel may be made by either the father or son through their own Lodge Secretary who will confirm the dates and good standing of both the father and the son. Applications will be available through the Grand Lodge Supply Room and from the Membership Section of the Grand Lodge Web site. The cost of the jewel will be borne by either the Lodge or the father or son and ideally the Lewis Jewel would be presented by the father upon the raising of the son. Its presentation by the father or the Lodge will be an excellent way of honoring the father and to personify the final words of the General Charge, from generation to generation.

"The Grand Lodge is not involved in the administration of the Lewis Jewel other than this authorization by the Grand Master to make it a proper piece of Masonic jewelry.

"On a personal note, I look forward to presenting one of these jewels to each of my sons, Jeff and Todd, as well as to wearing one myself as my Dad was indeed a Mason in good standing when he departed for the celestial Lodge above. I hope every father, and for that matter, every son in our jurisdiction will do all that they can to achieve the requirement to either wear or present this jewel in the near future."

The Grand Master described some of the presentations of the new jewel at the December, 2007 Quarterly, on Page 2007-190.


Page 2007-101, 06/14/2007, on consumption of alcohol in the Grand Lodge Building.

"Effective this date the consumption of alcoholic beverages is authorized in the following areas of the Grand Lodge Building only:

  • Sub-Basement
  • The third floor, with the exception of Corinthian Hall
  • The ninth floor
  • Private rooms leased on a full-time basis to Masonic tenants

"Under no circumstance may alcoholic beverages be consumed by minors or in any of the Lodge rooms in the building. All Lodges and tenants are fully responsible and liable for the manner in which it is served and the conduct of the users. Any misuse of alcoholic beverages by any Lodge or Building tenant will result in termination of their rights for further use and possible eviction from the building."


Roger W. Pageau, Grand Master.


Page 2008-25, 03/12/2008, on consumption of alcohol in Masonic buildings.

"The Grand Master reminded the Brethren of the policy concerning the use of alcoholic beverages in Masonic buildings within this jurisdiction as set forth by the ruling issued by Most Worshipful Stanley Fielding Maxwell in 1975, which has not been overruled and still stands as a ruling of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.

"The Grand Master emphasized that there shall be no alcoholic beverage consumed by any member of a Lodge prior to a meeting of the Lodge. No alcohol will be consumed until after all Degree work has been completed and the meeting closed, and there shall not be any area allotted to, nor construction of a permanent servicing facility within any Masonic Building under this jurisdiction."

One-Day Classes (District)

Page 2008-27, 03/12/2008, on District one-day classes.

"In our efforts to remain on the cutting edge of membership programs, I wish to announce a new membership initiative beginning in September, 2008. With the start of the new Masonic Year, the Grand Master will grant a dispensation for each requesting district to conduct one One-day class each Masonic year. This class may be performed by a single district or a group of districts; however, each district may only participate in one each year. This event will require coordination with and participation by the District Deputy Grand Master and a Grand Lecturer. Questions regarding the program may be directed to the Grand Master’s Office."

Rookie Award; DeMolay and Rainbow

Page 2008-135, 09/10/2008, on new Grand Lodge programs.

"Along with district one-day classes that I announced last spring, I now introduce two new programs that we will add to Massachusetts to build on our membership efforts.

"The first is the Masonic Rookie Award program developed by the Membership Committee to encourage new Master Masons to become actively involved with their Lodges and Districts. This program will be available to each new Master Mason and will include a series of requirements that he will need to complete to receive a special pin and award certificate. Included in the requirements are attendance at lodge meetings, attendance at additional Lodge of Instruction meetings, participation in lodge activities, etc. These requirements are designed to encourage his active participation in lodge early in his Masonic career with the hope that he will remain active for many years.

"The second program is a Committee on Youth to oversee and encourage participation of the Grand Lodge and our lodges with youth programs that promote Masonic values. This includes DeMolay, Rainbow, Boy Scouts and other programs for youth. Many of you have been involved with these programs as young people and as adults and these programs may have led you to Masonry. Unfortunately, these programs have, for a variety of reasons, suffered significant declines in membership and, like Freemasonry, had some people question their relevance in the twenty-first century. We know that these programs are important because they teach the moral lessons to our youth that they may not receive from any other venue and they are an important source of future Masonic members and leaders. We also know that simply throwing money at these problems is not adequate. We must provide active support with our leadership, guidance and assistance. There are many great young people that seeking adult guidance and provide that guidance and develop the Masons of the future."


Roger W. Pageau, Grand Master.

Electronic Communications

Page 2009-61, 06/10/2009, regarding electronic delivery of Lodge notices.

"A number of lodges have approached the Grand Secretary and me regarding electronic delivery of Lodge Notices. If a Lodge can demonstrate that it is making the notice electronically available in an manner equally secure as the present process including personal email or a secure web site and if the Lodge secretary has in his files a letter signed from the member choosing not to receive a paper copy, the Lodge need only provide him with an electronic copy. This ruling should significantly reduce the cost and time required to deliver Lodge notices along with saving more than a few trees."


Page 2009-137, 12/09/2009, regarding educational programs.

"There are several matters to report in the area of Education.

"The first, as you have observed, is that a Warrant has been issued for the creation of the Massachusetts Lodge of Research. This body will perform research and report on various Masonic topics selected by the Grand Master and the Director of Education and Training. A set of bylaws has been adopted and it will operate under an annual Warrant at the will and pleasure of the Grand Master. We look forward to reviewing the results of their research.

"In addition, two existing programs have been or are being overhauled. These are the Lodge of Instruction that is being modified to reduce its non-Masonic content and increase Masonic instruction for officers and members and the Masonic Leadership Institute program that will be shortened and refocused on the importance of leadership. Our efforts with both programs were directed at making the programs more timely and meaningful."

Balloting (Multiple Candidates)

Page 2009-138, 12/09/2009, on balloting.

"While there must be a separate ballot for candidates for membership and affiliation, henceforth multiple candidates may be balloted upon with each ballot. If the ballots are clear, the candidates are elected. If the ballots are not clear, individual ballots must be taken on each candidate. This is the only part of the ballot process that has changed."

Degree Work Required

Page 2009-138, 12/09/2009, on degree work. (This reprises a 1935 ruling by Grand Master Allen, above.)

"Henceforth, all Lodges must confer the three degrees once each year. If the Lodge does not have a real candidate, they will confer the degree using a Brother as a proxy candidate. Lodges that are active with candidates will have no difficulty meeting this requirement. All Worshipful Masters must perform the three degrees to qualify for a Past Master’s Diploma."

Lodge Mergers (Names)

Page 2009-138, 12/09/2009, on mergers.

"Henceforth, when Lodges merge the new Lodge may select the name and precedence of either existing Lodge or a new name, but must have the name selected approved by the Grand Master."

Degree Teams

Page 2009-138, 12/09/2009, on degree teams.

"Henceforth the use of any degree team will require a dispensation from the Grand Master. The request must indicate the Lodge, name of the Degree Team, degree to be performed, date the degree is to be performed and principal contact for the Degree Team."



Roger W. Pageau, Grand Master.

Lodge Returns (MORI)

Page 2010-29, 03/10/2010, on reporting using MORI (the Grand Lodge electronic membership software system).

"I must also remind you that Lodge reporting via MORI will be required as of September, 2010. If your Lodge is not using MORI, I encourage you to adopt it. You will find it is an excellent membership management tool that is very intuitive and easy to use."

The Grand Master made further reference to this requirement in his remarks at the June, 2010 Quarterly, on Page 2010-69.

Grand Lodge Protocol

Page 2010-68, 06/09/2010, regarding protocol.

"I would draw particular attention to the work of an ad hoc Committee on Protocol chaired by our Grand Secretary. It has become apparent to some of the members that proper Masonic protocol was not being followed, in many cases, due to a lack of knowledge and the unavailability of documented guidance. In an attempt to resolve these issues, a committee of knowledgeable Brethren was formed to discuss matters of protocol and develop a written interpretation of their results. The committee has produced a Massachusetts Masonic Protocol Manual, available through the Grand Secretary’s Office, that is designed to address many such issues and questions. Each District Deputy Grand Master present received a copy of this Manual today and is requested to use it as a tool to enhance the Masonic knowledge of the Brethren in their District."


Richard J. Stewart, Grand Master.


03/09/2011, on decorum during degree work.

The Grand Master made the following remarks in his Quarterly address.

"The process of being made a Master Mason in Massachusetts has always been a significant experience. Candidates receiving degrees have enjoyed lasting memories of the impressive ceremony. However, due to certain instances of poor behavior by some brethren during the conferral of the third degree, I, as Grand Master, must put into place some controls to ensure that new Masons in this jurisdiction continue to receive the best ritual that can be conferred. Hence, the following two paragraphs shall be read by the Master immediately preceding the beginning of the second section of the third degree, whenever the third degree is conferred in a Massachusetts lodge; and, the Secretary of the Lodge shall make a record of the fact that it was read:

"The second section of the Master Mason degree should implant in the mind of candidates a deep and lasting impression of the fundamental teachings of Freemasonry. Anything which distracts the attention from the reception of these ideals is foreign to the purpose of the hard work at hand.

"Undue roughness, acting in a manner to arouse amusement of the brethren, or audible laughter from the sidelines cannot fail to produce such a distraction. It is the direction of the Grand Lodge that work will be conducted with the dignity and decorum which the candidate has the right to expect."

"Omission of this reading on the part of the Master, or failure to comply with its intent on the part of any officer or member may become a basis for reprimand or other disciplinary action. The Grand Secretary will immediately notify all lodges in this jurisdiction of this edict. And laminated cards with these two paragraphs shall be provided to the lodges to be read."


06/08/2011, on requirements for dispensations.

"Requests for dispensation have gotten out of control. By this I mean Lodges are requesting dispensations needed anywhere from two weeks down to a day before they are needed. Starting July 1st, any request for a dispensation will have to be in the Grand Master’s Office a minimum of 45 days prior to the date of the event to receive consideration. By setting this guideline we hope to get this matter also under control."

Cell Phone Use

09/14/2011, on cell phones.

"All cell phones carried into a Lodge Room must either be turned off or silenced prior to entering the Lodge Room.

"If an emergency call is received while the Lodge is in session the Brother must not answer the call within the Lodge Room. He must exit the Lodge Room according to proper Masonic protocol and respond to the call outside of the Lodge Room area.

"If a Cell Phone rings within a Tyled Lodge, the Master will instruct the Lodge Marshal to escort the Brother from the room. Re-admittance of the Brother to the Lodge will be at the discretion of the Master.

"Use of cell phones or other devices for texting, audio recording, video recording, or photography within a Tyled Lodge is strictly forbidden, except as has been previously approved for photography. Any reported infraction of this rule is subject to reprimand, suspension, or expulsion from Freemasonry."

Candidate Kits

09/14/2011, on candidate kits.

"Each Lodge will purchase, through the Grand Lodge Supply Room, a kit specifically defined by the Grand Lodge for each candidate within this jurisdiction. The cost of this kit will be included in the candidate application fee."


Richard J. Stewart, Grand Master.

Background Checks for Applicants

03/14/2012, ....

Lodge Officers (Assistant Secretaries and Treasurers)

Page 2012-82, 06/13/2012, on Assistant Treasurers and Assistant Secretaries.

"Over the years there have been numerous cases when a Lodge Treasurer or Secretary is no longer able to do their job in the administration of the Lodge which has caused a serious interruption in the smooth operation of the Lodge.  In a number of cases, the records and history of the Lodge has been lost because of the death or incapacitation of the Secretary or Treasurer.  We need to ensure that the Lodge operation is maintained and that the records of the Lodge are not lost.

"Therefore, it is my Edict that each Lodge will elect a Lodge Assistant Treasurer and a Lodge Assistant Secretary to serve concurrently with the Treasurer and Secretary and other officers of the Lodge.  The Lodge By‐Laws and Grand Constitutions will be amended as necessary to include these new Officers of the Lodge."

Lodge Finances (Signatories To Checks)

Page 2012-82, 06/13/2012, amended Page 2012-118, 09/12/2012, on signatories to Lodge checks.

"It has come to my attention that many Lodges have not been following the good business practice of having proper accountability for the payment of funds from the Lodge.  In some instances large amounts of money have been paid out of the Lodge Treasury without the proper vote of the Lodge and/or without the knowledge of the Presiding Officer of the Lodge.

"Therefore, It is my Edict that all Lodges within this jurisdiction will institute the practice of having two (2) signatures on all checks or other payments written by the Lodge Treasurer (or Assistant Treasurer) one of which must be the Master of the Lodge, unless a voucher system is in place which requires the signed approval of the Master, Wardens, Treasurer (or Assistant Treasurer) and Secretary (or Assistant Secretary) of the Lodge prior to payment.."

Lapel Pins

12/12/2012, on the wearing of pins.

The Grand Master announced a revision of the 2007 ruling on this matter:

"A single lapel pin is permitted on tuxedos for Blue Lodge officers.

  1. The lapel pin must be related to the Blue Lodge Freemasonry.
  2. The lapel pin's size must not exceed the dimension of a quarter (25 cent piece)."

Abuse of this ruling, he indicated, would lead to its revocation.


Richard J. Stewart, Grand Master.

Widow's Sons Club

12/10/2013, on the Widow's Sons motorcycle club.

"It is the Grand Master’s responsibility to protect and uphold the principles and prerogatives of the fraternity. Any club, association, or group that requires membership in the fraternity as a pre-requisite falls under the authority of the Grand Lodge.

"In 1931, at the March Quarterly Communication, M.W. Herbert W. Dean put it best when he said “the attitude of this Grand Lodge towards {clubs} has… been one of neutrality, as long as their {actions do} not intrude upon {the principles and} prerogatives {of our} Fraternity, or {that} their conduct in any way bring discredit to {the Fraternity.}”

"The time has now come when it is necessary to protect our fraternity’s principles and prerogatives. Recent activities in connection with the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association have underscored a divergence between the practices of their association and the principles and prerogatives of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.

"By its own rules, the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association permits no Chapter to be formed in a Masonic jurisdiction without the consent of its local Grand Lodge. The Widows Sons Massachusetts Grand Chapter never requested or received the permission of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts to operate in this jurisdiction.

"Therefore, it is my edict that no member of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts be a member of any Chapter of the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association. Failure to comply with this edict shall subject the offending member to the disciplinary action of suspension or expulsion."

See the revision issued in 2018.


Paul F. Gleason, Grand Master.

Consumption of Impairment-Producing Substances

03/08/2017, on substances other than alcoholic beverages.

"The scope of all Grand Masters edicts which reference the advertisement, use or consumption of alcohol in Masonic Lodges is hereby expanded to include any drug or substance known to impair human behavior (specifically, but not limited to, marijuana)."

Vision For Growth

03/08/2017, on membership growth.

Brethren, it is our goal to increase the membership of our Grand Lodge by asking each Brother to introduce quality men to the good works of our Fraternity.

With that in mind I charge each of us to present at least one capable man to the foundations of our institution and to initiate him into our Blue Lodges.

To each man assembled; as of TODAY your slate is clean and you are charged to Replace Yourself.

If we work together, train our leaders, strengthen our Lodges, better instruct our members, promote fraternalism and maintain the Tenets of our Craft, it is possible to stop the decrease in our membership and to energize a new generation of Masons. It is not unreasonable because our hearts are in the process and we have committed ourselves to that end.

Since the December 2016 Quarterly Communication of this Grand Lodge, we have initiated 187 new men to Freemasonry and have raised 87 of them to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. It is up to each of us to welcome these men and to further encourage and support their growth as Brothers.

R. W. Robert Johnston Award

03/08/2017, creating a new members' award.

The Grand Master announced that a new award is being created called the Right Worshipful Robert Johnston Award.

Each Lodge may nominate one Brother each year; a Brother who displays his dedication to his Brothers and the Craft, one who is always ready to lend a helping hand to a Brother or to the Lodge whenever there is a need.

This exciting new award is in the developmental stages, and more information will be available in the coming months.

Past Grand Officers

06/14/2017, defining the term "Past Grand Officers".

"The Past Grand Officers of this Grand Lodge shall be listed in Section 208 of the Grand Constitutions, items 6 through 9, specifically:

  • "Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters;
  • "Right Worshipful Past Deputy Grand Masters
  • "Right Worshipful Past District Grand Masters
  • "Right Worshipful Past Grand Wardens."
Requirements for Election

09/13/2017, on election of officers:

"In regard to Rule 1, Page 97 of the Grand Constitutions: Requirements for Election or Appointment of Officers:

"The requirements to elect the first five officers of a Lodge by ballot may be accomplished by show of hands:

  1. If so authorized by the By-Laws of the Lodge;
  2. Upon receipt of a written dispensation of the Grand Master."


Paul F. Gleason, Grand Master.

Widow's Sons

06/13/2018, revising the current status of the Widow's Sons organization.

"The purpose of this ruling is to modify the December 12, 2013 edict of M. W. Richard J. Stewart to allow Massachusetts Masons in good standing to belong to the association known as the Widow's Sons  Masonic Riders Association subject to all of the rules and customs of acceptable Masonic behavior. 

Historically, the Widow's Sons Masonic Riders Association (WSMRA) has established a reputation of both commendable and lamentable behaviors. While providing an enjoyable activity outside of the confines of the lodge, they have led and participated in many successful fund raisers for charitable causes. On several occasions they have banded together to achieve laudableprojects such as building  ramps for wheelchair‐bound victims, collecting hats for childhood victims of cancer and conducting  fundraisers for suicide prevention.  

"Sadly, the ill‐thought actions of a few members have sullied what could have been an admirable reputation. Latenight rallies and parties distressing neighbors and, all too often, displaying a dress and behavior that brought discredit to our fraternity.  These actions led to the overall ususpension of the  WSMRA imposed by M. W. Brother Stewart's edict.  

"In his 2013 edict, M. W. Brother Stewart referenced the comments by M. W. Herbert W. Dean in 1931 on the topic of Masonic related bodies by stating 'The attitude of this Grand Lodge towards them has, I believe, been one of neutrality as long as their activities did not intrude upon our prerogatives as a fraternity, or their conduct in any way brings discredit to Freemasonry.'

"To paraphrase, it is the actions of a member rather than his membership itself that should determine  whether or not disciplinary action is called for. 

"Therefore be it resolved that members of the WSMRA may operate in this jurisdiction just as all other Masons who may belong to other Masonic organizations; their individual conduct will determine their standing in our Fraternity. Accordingly, the last paragraph of the 2013 edict of M. W. Richard J. Stewart is hereby modified to allow Massachusetts Masons to belong to the WSMRA subject to the following specific elements of proper Masonic conduct: 

  • Display appropriate dress and behavior when in lodge 
  • Adhere to rules of civil conduct when in public 

"I conclude this resolution with the words of my predecessor, M.W. Harvey J. Waugh as he addressed this same issue: 

'I earnestly hope that those members of the fraternity who have an interest in these bodies will do all possible to guide their policies to present a positive image of our fraternity for the advancement of Freemasonry in Massachusetts.' "

Dues Amnesty Program

12/13/2018, allowing lodges to grant amnesty to brethren suspended for non-payment of dues:

"Presently Section 507 of the Grand Constitutions requires that a brother suspended for non-payment of dues (NPD) must have both lodge and Grand Lodge dues paid to the date of his suspension in order to be reinstated.

"To reclaim such suspended (NPD) brethren, I am instituting a temporary amnesty program solely for Calendar Year 2019 relieving a suspended brother of the requirement to pay Grand Lodge dues owed up to the date of his suspension. A suspended brother may take advantage of this program only once in his Masonic career and must still pay Grand Lodge dues for the current year.

"Since the Grand Lodge credits any lodge with (no more than) one year’s dues upon notification of a brother’s suspension, the prompt filing of such notification will result in no financial impact to the lodge resulting from this amnesty program.

"I urge each lodge to take advantage of this special program and reach out by personal communication to their suspended brethren suggesting that they apply for reinstatement. (Your communication could be made even more persuasive by offering to relieve the further requirement to pay back dues owed to the lodge as well!)

"Brethren, please consider making this modest effort. It can’t help but benefit both your lodge and any suspended (NPD) brethren who take advantage of it."


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