- 1 CONSTITUTIONS AND REGULATIONS OF THE MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND LODGE OF MASONS IN MASSACHUSETTS
- 1.1 THE CORPORATE GRAND LODGE
- 1.2 CONSTITUTIONS AFTER THE RELINQUISHMENT OF THE ACT OF INCORPORATION
- 1.3 THE RE-INCORPORATION OF GRAND LODGE
- 1.4 THE 1918 GRAND CONSTITUTIONS
- 1.5 THE 1930 GRAND CONSTITUTIONS
- 1.6 THE 1939 DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
- 1.7 1940 RESOLUTION OF SYMPATHY
- 1.8 1944 PROCLAMATION ON MASONRY SERVING THE ARMED FORCES
- 1.9 1946 REPORT ON NEGRO FREEMASONRY
- 1.10 1952 ANSWER TO ANTI-MASONIC PROPAGANDA
- 1.11 1981 GRAND MASTER'S AWARD
- 1.12 1994 VISION STATEMENT
- 1.13 1998 MASSACHUSETTS PROCLAMATION
- 1.14 2002 AGE FOR MASONIC MEMBERSHIP
CONSTITUTIONS AND REGULATIONS OF THE MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND LODGE OF MASONS IN MASSACHUSETTS
The original Constitutions for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts were compiled by a committee appointed by Most Wor. John Cutler, Grand Master, in April 1792. They are reproduced in the front of Volume II of the Proceedings, covering the years 1792-1815. A revised form of the Grand Constitutions appeared in June 1811, and is reproduced in the same volume of the Proceedings starting on Page II-515. This edition of the Grand Constitutions was prepared by a committee headed by John Dixwell, a future Grand Master, and was the foundation of all future revisions to the Grand Constitutions (made by amendments voted upon by the Grand Lodge and reported in the Proceedings.) At certain intervals the entirety of the Grand Constitutions was reprinted in the Proceedings. Each new full revision is reproduced below, with annotations for intervening amendment and revision.
THE CORPORATE GRAND LODGE
ACT OF INCORPORATION
Subsequent to the Act of Incorporation, the Grand Constitutions were reworked as a set of by-laws for the regulation of the Grand Lodge. Most of the text of the 1819 By-Laws comes from the 1811 Grand Constitutions, but there are some significant differences in procedure and some notable additions not considered in the earlier document. This set of by-laws was considered and revised during 1818 and was published in the Proceedings with the September, 1819 Quarterly communication.
CONSTITUTIONS AFTER THE RELINQUISHMENT OF THE ACT OF INCORPORATION
Following the surrender of the Act of Incorporation in 1833, the Grand Lodge continued to use the 1819 version of the By-Laws. By 1843, there was sufficient need to revise them that they were replaced with a "new Code, so much of what may properly be termed the common, as well as statute law of the Fraternity." (from the report of the committee, October 11, 1843.) It is certainly true that the 1843 revision substantially expands and explains numerous practices, regulations, and procedures that were overlooked (or observed by fiat) prior to their publication.
The text of the 1843 Grand Constitutions begins on page IV-618.
In this version of the Grand Constitutions, sections will have a link to the 1819 By-Laws that covers the same subject, where appropriate.
THE RE-INCORPORATION OF GRAND LODGE
Following the sale of the Temple in 1858, the Grand Lodge sought and obtained a new Act of Incorporation. This Act was extremely similar to the 1817 version, except that it specified larger amounts of real and personal property to be held by the Corporation, and in addition to granting privileges it also subjected the Grand Lodge to all liabilities set forth in the Massachusetts Statutes. The Grand Lodge immediately proceeded to organize itself under this act.
In 1916, the Grand Lodge petitioned the Great and General Court for revision in the acts authorizing the Grand Lodge to hold property according to its Act of Incorporation.
THE 1918 GRAND CONSTITUTIONS
Following the appointment of a committee by Grand Master Leon M. Abbott to throughly revise the Grand Constitutions. The new revision was organized with three-digit section numbers, replacing the former Part/Article/Section structure that had been in place since 1811.
The text of the 1918 Grand Constitutions was reprinted in full in the 1918 Proceedings.
- Pre-Application Statement, adopted by Grand Lodge in 1937.
THE 1930 GRAND CONSTITUTIONS
THE 1939 DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
From the report of the Committee on the Declaration, March 8, 1939:
In early 1938, the Most Worshipful Grand Master appointed the undersigned a committee to prepare and present to Grand Lodge a manifesto or Declaration of Principles which might be used both within and without the Fraternity, as an official statement of the principles, aims, and purposes of Freemasonry.
The declaration was presented to the Conference of Grand Masters in February 1939, and presented the final form of a declaration to be recommended to the various Grand Lodges. The committee for Massachusetts noted that it has in mind the attacks on Freemasonry in the past as well as in the present. Freemasonry is again in the middle of a war. Some of the battles in that war have already been won by its enemies . . .
One attack is by those in control of the civil affairs of a nation who insist that they shall dictate to all the citizens of that nation how they shall think and act . . . In such nations no society which preaches liberty - civil, religious, and intellectual - as does Freemasonry, can be permitted to exist. Against such domination Freemasonry has no defense from the time that liberty is crushed until it rises again.
The other attacks . . . are largely propaganda, much of which is deliberately false and mendacious. . . Against this sort of attack Freemasonry has a defense if it concise form it will state its principles, aims, and purposes, give the proclamation or declaration official sanction, and make it available for use within and without the Fraternity. The committee made reference to the Declaration of 1831 and its effects against Freemasonry's opponents.
The following is the original text of the Declaration.
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
Freemasonry is a charitable, benevolent, educational, and religious society. Its principles are proclaimed as widely as men will hear. Its only secrets are in its methods of recognition and of symbolic instruction.
It is charitable in that it is not organized for profit and none of its income inures to the benefit of any individual, but all is devoted to the promotion of the welfare and happiness of mankind.
It is benevolent in that it teaches and exemplifies altruism as a duty.
It is educational in that it teaches by prescribed ceremonials a system of morality and brotherhood based upon the Sacred Law.
It is religious in that it teaches monotheism; the Volume of the Sacred Law is open upon its altars whenever a Lodge is in session; reverence for God is ever present in its ceremonial, and to its Brethren are constantly addressed lessons of morality; but it is not sectarian or theological.
It is a social organization only so far as it furnished additional inducement that men may forgather in numbers, thereby providing more material for its primary work of education, of worship, and of charity.
Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of the individual man, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community. Thus it impresses upon its members the principles of personal righteousness and personal responsibility, enlightens them as to those things which make for human welfare, and inspires them with that feeling of charity, or good will toward all mankind which will move them to translate principle and conviction into action.
To that end, it preaches and stands for the worship of God, truth and justice; fraternity and philanthropy; and enlightenment and orderly liberty, civil, religious, and intellectual. It charges each of its members to be true and loyal to the government of the country to which he owes allegiance and to be obedient to the law of any state in which he may be.
It believes that the attainment of these objectives is best accomplished by laying a broad basis of principle upon which men of every race, country, sect and opinion may unite rather than by setting up a restricted platform upon which only those of certain races, creeds, and opinions can assemble.
Believing these things, this Grand Lodge affirms its continued adherence to that ancient and approved rule of Freemasonry which forbids the discussion in Masonic meetings of creeds, politics, or other topics likely to excite personal animosities.
It further affirms its conviction that it is not only contrary to the fundamental principles of Freemasonry, but dangerous to its unity, strength, usefulness, and welfare, for Masonic bodies to take action of to attempt to exercise pressure or influence for or against any legislation, or in any way to attempt to procure the election or appointment of governmental officials, or to influence them, whether or not members of the Fraternity, in the performance of their official duties. The true Freemason will act in civil life according to his individual judgment and the dictates of his conscience.
1940 RESOLUTION OF SYMPATHY
In December 1940 the Grand Lodge adopted a resolution of sympathy with European Brethren and their families.
1944 PROCLAMATION ON MASONRY SERVING THE ARMED FORCES
1946 REPORT ON NEGRO FREEMASONRY
The Grand Master appointed a committee in March 1946 to consider the matter of Negro Freemasonry.
1952 ANSWER TO ANTI-MASONIC PROPAGANDA
At the September, 1952 Quarterly Communication, Grand Master Thomas S. Roy presented an address seeking to refute attacks on the Fraternity made by religious groups through public statements and pamphlets.
1981 GRAND MASTER'S AWARD
At the September, 1981 Quarterly, Grand Master J. Philip Berquist presented the Grand Master's Award guidelines.
1994 VISION STATEMENT
At the December, 1994 Quarterly, Grand Master David W. Lovering presented a Vision Statement and goals to achieve.
1998 MASSACHUSETTS PROCLAMATION
At the September, 1998 Quarterly, the Grand Lodge read a Proclamation from Massachusetts Governor A. Paul Celucci, announcing Freemasonry Recognition Day.
2002 AGE FOR MASONIC MEMBERSHIP
At the December, 2002 Quarterly, Rt. Wor. Robert Steadman presented a report on the historical precedents for age requirements for Masonic membership.
By a ruling of Grand Master Hicks at the March, 2003 Quarterly, the membership age was reduced to 18.