by: Harry J. Noble
Britannia Lodge #18
Ponoka, Alberta, Canada
Published March 1994
Republished March 2008
Clark G. Johnston, Past Master
Beacon Lodge #190, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
(Please Note: This is a reproduction from 1994
It has not been updated to reflect any innovations since then)
TRUE ETIQUETTE: "It is true Etiquette to do the right thing in the right way, at the right time, and in the right place, as it is equally Etiquette to say the right thing in the right way, at the right time and place." [Freemasonry and its Etiquette]
Over the past 275 years, Freemasonry has developed many accepted etiquettes, protocols, and courtesies, which govern Masons in their conduct, both in and out of Lodge.
Some matters of conduct, such as Rules of Order in the conduct of a meeting, are well known by all. These rules are found written into many of the Lodges bylaws. But most other rules of conduct, the Etiquettes of Masonry, are largely unwritten, and come to the attention of Masons only through accident, observation, and the efflux of time.
The younger members of our Craft are anxious to know more about Masonry. The older members would, I believe, enjoy refreshing their knowledge of Masonic procedures; and all members ought to be familiar with common rules which govern the conduct of the individual Mason.
To that end I have attempted to gather into this booklet many of our Masonic Etiquettes. May they be read, and accepted, in the spirit intended, that is, to provide friendly instruction to the Brethren, all for the good of Masonry.
Harry J. Noble, P.M.
ETIQUETTE ‑ means "the prevailing set of rules of behavior and manners, the accepted and polite way of doing things. . . . It is natural therefore that Freemasonry should have its own etiquette, to regulate those aspects of Fraternal courtesy which are peculiar to the Craft." [Grand Lodge of Canada (Ontario): Meeting The Challenge ‑ The Lodge Officer at Work]
PROTOCOL ‑ "really means 'diplomatic etiquette” . . . Masonic protocol is concerned primarily with the formalities of receiving and welcoming Grand Lodge officers into a constituent lodge." [Meeting The Challenge]
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Etiquettes (or Protocols) In The Lodge Room.
- Alberta Lodges are called "Craft Lodges". The term "Blue Lodge" is colloquial and not acceptable.
- The presiding officer of a Lodge is called "Worshipful Master". The title "Sitting Master" is improper and to be avoided.
- Lodge members are to be called "Brethren" rather than Brothers.
- Lodge officers who are also Past Masters, are to be addressed as 'Brother Secretary', and not as 'W. Bro. Secretary', or 'Brother Director of Ceremonies', and not as 'R.W. Brother Director of Ceremonies'. It is the office being addressed, not the title of the office holder. There are only two "Worshipful" officers in a Lodge, the W.M., and the I.P.M.
- Whatever the dress custom for your Lodge, it is uniformity of dress among the officers, rather than style that contributes to the dignity. Dark business suits worn by all on the same occasion are quite acceptable. Colored tuxedos and colored bow ties are out of place in a Masonic Lodge.
- A Grand Lodge officer ought not to dress less formally than the Grand Master or his D.D.G.M., but neither should he dress more formally.
- In Alberta, the apron must be worn outside the suit jacket. (Except in the rare case of tails). (With full Evening Dress the apron should be worn under the coat).
- An officer should not wear a sports Jacket and nobody should wear a sport shirt in lodge; they are too casual and Informal.
- Grand Lodge officers are always invited to seats in the East. [This courtesy can also be extended to visiting Worshipful Masters or a Brother of any rank whom the Worshipful Master wishes to honour]. It is a traditional courtesy, but not obligatory, to invite visiting P.M.'s and W.M.'s to a seat in the East.
- Those visitors who are entitled to take over the chair of Worshipful Master ‑ The G.M., P.G.M.s, D.G.M. or D.D.G.M. of the district ‑ should be invited to assume the gavel.
- The G.M., D.G.M. or D.D.G.M. is invited to address the Brethren just before the closing of the Lodge. Nobody speaks after him, except the Worshipful Master with his expression of appreciation.
- The duty assigned to the I.P.M. or J.W. in a Canadian Rite Lodge and to the S.D. in a York Rite Lodge of closing the V.S.L. or H.B., need not be taken from such an officer even in the presence of a G.L. officer, but it is the custom to offer this closing ceremony to the highest ranking G.L. officer present.
[The above list of etiquettes is summarized from the paper of M.W. Bro. Robert E. Juthner, Grand Master, entitled: Protocol and Etiquette; which were copied from “Meeting The Challenge”]
- Punctuality: Brethren will exhibit the best etiquette if they are on time for meetings. The W.M. and officers should arrive well before meeting time to ensure everything is ready, and to greet the brethren. It is not only discourteous to the Master and the Visiting Brethren, but also gives the Lodge a very bad image, for a meeting to start later than the scheduled time. If the W.M. is tardy in opening Lodge, the members are entitled to a word of apology. If an officer's tardiness has delayed the opening, he should offer an apology or explanation to the W.M. before going to his station.
- Before entering the Lodge Room you should always be properly clothed. It is a mark of careless behavior to walk up to the altar while tying your apron strings.
- The W.M. should return all salutes, even when seated.
- Prompting: it is not in good taste to prompt, unless specifically asked for assistance by a brother. The wise W.M. will name a brother to be official prompter, and will announce the fact to the Lodge. No rituals are to be in evidence in Lodge while at work, except one in the hands of the appointed prompter.
"There ought to be only one prompter (be he who It may) and he should follow carefully the entire ceremony throughout and be ready to offer the missing word when (and not until when) called upon to do so, either by a glance or a gesture from the performer. Many ceremonies are spoiled by the varied and often incorrect interpretations of those whose duty it is to keep quiet. ... In the Temple they should restrain themselves and leave prompting to one ‑ and only one." [London Grand Rank Ass'n Bulletin, 1967]
- Balloting: Protocols:
(a) Lodge members: When the ballot box is on the altar, each brother, on approaching the altar, makes the sign before voting.
(b) Visitors to Lodge: All visitors in attendance at a Lodge during formal balloting, shall rise in turn, in their places, salute the W.M., and then reseat themselves upon being recognized by the W.M.
(c) It is Etiquette for the Lodge room to be in complete silence, without whispering or conversing or moving about, or discussion of the Candidate, or any information about how a member has voted.
(d) Secrecy of the Ballot: It is un‑Masonic to announce an intention to black ball a candidate. (It is un‑Masonic to reveal the way you have voted or intend to vote). [Grand Lodge of England ruling 1864] It is an offence of the highest order to divulge your vote at the balloting of an applicant.
(In 1926 Maryland Grand Lodge upheld the sentence of expulsion of a member who had willfully exposed his own ballot.)
(e) It would be highly improper for the Master, or Wardens, to declare the number of black balls in a ballot. Similarly, no member has a right to ask how many black balls were cast against a candidate.
(f) In Lodges where two black balls are required to reject, no difference should be made in the declaration of the ballot in cases where one candidate has one black ball and another none. Both are accepted, and the result should be announced precisely in the same way for both candidates.
(g) Canvassing to secure an unfavorable ballot is unmasonic. Such a practice is strongly condemned as entirely opposed to the spirit of Masonry. Members may speak as to the reception of a candidate before a ballot, but not after. [Robertson: A Digest of Masonic Jurisprudence]
(h) Masonically speaking, no brother has a right to question any other brother's action in casting a black ball, nor can any question be asked concerning such brother's motive in so doing.
(i) Every Mason worthy of the name will not suffer personal pique or private animosity to impel him to cast a black ball when the candidate measures up to all the qualifications of our institution and would be a worthy member of our order.
(J) The Worshipful Master of a Lodge is not obliged to take a ballot upon a candidate whose name appears upon the notice of the meeting. If he decides not to take action at that meeting he should so state and should not call for the report of the committee. It is not proper, after the report of the committee has been read, for the Master or the lodge to decide by vote or otherwise to postpone the ballot until a later meeting. If the report of the investigating committee is read, the Lodge must immediately proceed to ballot and the acceptance or rejection of the applicant must be settled without postponement or the Intervention of any other business. [Massachusetts G.L., G.M.'s address, 1926]
- Jewels of Office: “It is strictly forbidden to wear, in a Craft Lodge any Masonic clothing, honorary or other jewels belonging to any Degree which is not recognized by it, and is not under the authority of, the Grand Lodge”. [G.R.A. Regulation 4.02]
- Handling and Care of Rituals: “Members are to avoid any laxity in the care and handling of their copies of 'The Work'”. [Grand Secretary, 1952]
- Warrants of Other Orders In Craft Lodge: "Masonic decency, as well as a sense of the Masonic unities, would seem to suggest that all these alien warrants [of higher degrees] be taken down ‑ at all events, whilst a Craft Lodge is working – by virtue of the warrant of a Grand Lodge, which has explicitly declined to recognize any of them." [John T. Lawrence: Masonic Jurisprudence, London, 1923]
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Rules of Order ‑ Etiquettes at Lodge Meetings. Rules of Order for the conduct of a Lodge may be specified in the Lodge Bylaws, and if so, they are obliged to be followed. Where they are not specified, all discussion is regulated by the direction of the Master.
[The following Rules of Order are as timely today as when printed in 1881 [A Digest of Masonic Jurisprudence Henry Robertson, Toronto]
- All remarks are addressed by courtesy to the W.M.
- Two brethren should not attempt to speak at once, nor should one interrupt another. Interruption is the prerogative of the W.M. alone.
- When two or more brethren rise to speak at the same time, the Master shall decide as to the one who, in his opinion, is entitled to the floor.
- Thoughtless brethren sometimes forget a courtesy due the officers of the Lodge by whispering and talking. To do so upsets the dignity of the proceedings.
- No brother shall speak twice on the same question, unless by permission of the Master. Unless in explanation, or as the mover of a motion in reply. [Regulations 1.03.03].
- No brother shall be so unmasonic as to interrupt another while speaking, or disturb him by hissing, applauding, unnecessary coughing, loud whispering, or other unseemly noise.
- No personal or abusive remarks, or other improper language, shall be used by any brother in debate.
- If the Master indicates a desire to speak while a brother is on the floor, that brother shall immediately sit down, that the Master may be heard.
- All brethren shall observe the first call of the gavel.
- No visitor shall speak on any question, unless by permission of the Master.
Additional Lodge Etiquettes
- Should you be called on by the Master to express your opinion on any subject which may be brought before the Lodge, it must be done temperately, and in becoming language. All levity and jesting on serious subjects should be carefully avoided. [The Book of the Lodge, 1864]
- 'The fact that the presiding officer in a Lodge or province is acting in an illegal or irregular manner has been held to be no justification for treating him with disrespect." [Lawrence: Masonic Jurisprudence, p. 93]
- Applause In Lodge Room (English Lodges): Lodges in England, New Zealand and Queensland restrict 'Masonic Applause' to one 'knock', or one 'clap of the hands'. The reason, said The President of the Board of General Purposes of Queensland, in 1927, was that: "Every member of a lodge is equal, and the only Masonic acknowledgement of anything that is done is one knock and no more. And everybody should be treated exactly the same."
A Frequent Offence:
"If a friend has been elected to receive the degrees of Masonry it is the pleasing task of the Secretary to inform him of the fact and if rejected it is his unpleasant task to do so. Too many times has a brother told his friend of what has transpired and the pleasure of getting the news from the Secretary is lost upon the applicant. The very fact that you do not tell him impresses him with the solemnity of the fraternity." [Grand Lodge Bulletin, June, 1948]
ADDRESSING THE MASTER
"Sir" and "Worshipful Sir":
Question: Is it correct to address the Master as "Sir", or as "Worshipful Sir"?
Answer: Neither is correct. He should always be addressed as "Worshipful Master". [H.F. Inman: Masonic Problems & Queries] To address the W.M. as "Worshipful" is also improper, as being totally devoid of the respect due to the high position which the Master holds.
Question: What is the correct mode of address to use to a Past Master acting temporarily as Master?
Answer: He should be addressed as "Worshipful Master". Although not actually the ruler of the Lodge, he is Master for the time being, and is therefore invested with plenary powers. [H.F. Inman: Masonic Problems & Queries] Similarly, on Step Up Night, or other occasion where the Senior Warden assumes control of the Lodge meeting, he will be addressed as Worshipful Master, for he is the Master for the time being.
Sign While Addressing Master:
Question: Is it necessary to maintain the sign all the time while addressing the Master?
Answer: It is unnecessary to maintain the sign while addressing the Master at any length. The correct procedure is for a Brother to stand to order and salute on rising to speak, and to salute again before resuming his seat. [H.F. Inman: Masonic Problems & Queries]
Entrance During Meetings:
- A member entering the Lodge after the meeting has commenced, must of course wait for the Tyler to obtain permission from the W.M. to gain admittance. On entry the Brother will advance in due form to the Altar, salutes, the Worshipful Master returning the salute, either sitting or standing. He then finds his way to the nearest seat. In either form of entering, it is a ceremonious action on the side of both the Lodge and the Brother, and Etiquette requires that it be correctly performed. If a Brother ignores the Etiquette, or is unfamiliar with it, the Senior Warden may whisper instructions in his ear for him to follow. [H.L Haywood: How to become a Masonic Lodge Officer]
- "In the case of late comers, the Tyler should be particularly careful not to disturb the Lodge by making his announcement on the door of the Lodge at an inconvenient moment." (Freemasonry and its Etiquette]
Question: A Past Master is admitted to Lodge ‑ late ‑ The Lodge is called up ‑ Does the Sitting Master rise ‑ or remain in his chair?
Answer: The W. Master must also rise and salute the late‑comer. It is discourteous to remain in his chair to return the salute of the incoming Past Master. The W.M., on rising, calls up the brethren, who shall rise, and remain standing until their visitor has taken his seat.
Question: A Master Mason is admitted late to Lodge ‑ Does the W. Master rise or remain in his chair?
Answer: The Master remains seated. For the Master to rise, automatically then the members would rise.
Etiquettes Regarding Candidates:
- It is desirable that a Past Master should assure the Candidate that nothing is being done without a meaning; that there is a good historical or traditional reason for every detail; and that in due time the whole will be explained, and will be made perfectly clear to him. [Freemasonry and its Etiquette]
- Decorum in the Preparation Room: It is inappropriate to jokingly mislead candidates with stories about "riding the goat", etc. Stewards are in complete charge of the candidates, who should not be distracted by misguided humorists. None but the Stewards should be with the Candidates in the Preparation Room.
- The initiation, passing, and raising ceremonies must be performed with dignity. It goes without saying that the candidates must be properly prepared. The rights and interests of the Candidates are violated if their coaches and mentors do not adequately prepare their charges for this important Masonic journey.
- The rights and the interests of each candidate require that the Lodge officers are similarly well prepared. Etiquette demands that the Lodge officers perform their several duties in an impressive manner, with orderliness, accuracy, and solemnity.
- Sponsors' Etiquettes to Candidates: There are several courtesies and etiquettes for which each Sponsor is responsible, including: (a) providing initial direction on dress code to candidates; (b) introducing their Candidate to other Lodge members; (c) being among the first to congratulate the Candidate on his progress through the degrees; (d) being in attendance, not only when the petition is read, but also at each of the degree presentations.
Etiquettes Regarding Officers:
- Worshipful Master: "if, upon coming to the East, a Master finds that slovenliness and a general indifference in Etiquette have crept into the Lodge he ought to find an early opportunity to address his officers and members on the subject. . . . It is as much his duty to govern the Lodge in etiquette as in its business, its balloting, its debate, its conferring of Degrees." [H.L. Haywood: How to become a Lodge Officer]
- "If it becomes necessary for a Master to rebuke a member who has been unruly, he may do so after the Lodge is closed, in person, and in private. If it is required that a rebuke be administered while the Lodge is in session, the method to be used is in the Master's discretion but the Etiquette required of him is that he shall administer it in a manner so as not to attract attention to himself or to the member or so as to create a disturbance." [How to become a Masonic Lodge Officer, p. 183]
- "When debaters become so personal as to forget brotherly acts in the warmth of partisanship, a Master Is justified in closing debate for the time, to act on the question when cooler moments arrive. A Master may always call from labor to refreshment, to permit "cooling off." If he does this with a smile, and some remark about his own need for a little reflection, he will offend no one." [Claudy: The Master's Book, 1935, pp. 45, 46]
- "One in authority should refrain from exercising that authority until the situation becomes intolerable and every means of amicable settlement are exhausted." [M.W. Bro. John Neilson, G.M. Kansas, 1927]
- Secretary: "The practice of some Secretaries of asking the Lodge to confirm notes of minutes and then, at any time in the future that suits their convenience, writing the minutes of record and considering them confirmed by the lodge should not be tolerated by the Master." [Claudy: Masonic Harvest, p. 264]
- The Lodge Secretary must not allow access to his mailing list or books to any unauthorized person.
- Lodge notices are held (English Courts) as privileged documents if enclosed in a sealed envelope. Courtesy still dictates that it should be sent to the recipient's private address, or else marked "Private."
- Tyler: By the nature of the Tyler’s duties, he is the first to meet and greet all Lodge members and visitors. He is the first, by the location of his office, to extend to all the hospitality of the Lodge. The etiquette of his office requires that he never act officiously. Politeness, pleasing conduct and good manners come to mind as requisites of the Tyler.
- Junior Warden: The 1967 Grand Master (M.W. Bro. Gordon Towers) was opposed to unmasonic social activities'. "It would be deadly for us to encourage our membership to participate in social functions that are not in accordance with the civil law as well as Masonic law. ... There is no right way to do a wrong thing. ... Let us see to it that the Junior Warden exercises that authority that has been conferred on him."
- Director of Ceremonies: Should perform his function with the least intrusion possible, and to assist in ensuring the meeting is carried out without confusion and with dignity and efficiency.
- Board of Benevolence: At no time in the presentation of a request to the Lodge for assistance should the name of the Brother or relative be revealed. The name should not matter and if the Worshipful Master has done his preparations properly, then the Lodge, having elected him to govern, should trust his judgment. [1987 Grand Lodge Bulletin]
- Past Master: (a) Never seek to impose a contrary opinion upon the Worshipful Master when in open Lodge assembled, except in those cases when his counsel has been requested; (b) never raise your voice to prompt when the Director of Ceremonies (or some other officer) has been detailed as prompter; (c) never bring personal bias or rancour to the floor of the Lodge; (d) never withhold your assistance when you have been properly called upon, if it is within your power to give it; (e) the Past Master should be the unobtrusive guide and counsellor to his brothers.
- Past Master: "Suggestion and advice should be welcomed by any Master from any brother, especially any Past Master. But the Past Master who insists on running the Lodge through a weak presiding officer, or the weak presiding officer who permits it, both injure the reputation of the highest station." [Claudy: Masonic Harvest]
- Past Master: “A Past Master without influence in his Lodge is an impossibility. ... and he ought to possess the manhood to direct his influence toward serving his Lodge in the best and most unselfish way possible, else he is not keeping the faith." [Texas G.M., 1926]
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Etiquette ‑ Members With Dues In Arrears: It is Masonic courtesy for the Lodge Officers to have an interview with any Brother who is liable for suspension (Non Payment of Dues) before the suspension is put into effect. In 1968 the Grand Secretary, E.H. Rivers, recommended that when a member is one year behind in his dues a personal visit should be arranged to ascertain what the problem is. It is also suggested that it is Masonic Charity that if a member is unable to pay, from sickness or any good cause, his dues ought to be remitted.
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Admission of Visitors:
- The manner of visitors being examined by the Examining Committee is a matter of Etiquette. (The substance of the examination isn't). They are not called upon to test his proficiency in the Ritual or to be personally inquisitive.
- It is important to remember that the purpose of such examinations is to let true Masons into the Lodge while keeping out those who are not Masons. No difficulties should be presented to those who give proper evidence of membership. [Grand Lodge Bulletin, Nov., 1987]
- Examinations of Visitors should be made individually rather than in groups. [Ruling: Whiting, G.M., California, 1935]
- "When an intended visitor has failed the examination and has no brother to vouch for him, it is a most reprehensible and unmasonic proceeding for a Mason to lecture the visitor in the work without authority. It shows an utter want of the caution and prudence commended in our earliest lessons, and thereby an imposter may gain admission and foist himself upon the Craft by fraud." [Ruling: Traylor, G.M., California, 1880]
- A brother must not be permitted to visit a Lodge under an assumed name. [Ruling: Keesling, G.M., California, 1917]
- A wise Master, if he were to decline to receive a visitor, would exercise that power only after discussing his reservations with the would‑be visitor in private.
- If a visiting brother should be present when a ballot is about to be taken for his admission as a joining member, he would be expected to retire during the balloting. [Grand Lodge of England decision, December, 1888]
- There are occasions when it would be in good taste for a visitor to retire voluntarily from the Lodge meeting. One example suggested "is when discussion as to the Lodge's finances are matters in which the presence of a visitor might be irksome." [* ... his temporary retirement would be a testimony to his Masonic good feeling." says' an Old Past Master in Freemasonry and its Etiquette]
- "It has been held that it is improper to request visitors to retire from the Lodge in a case where the conduct of a Brother was to be discussed. Possibly the reason is such a matter affects the whole Craft." [Masonic Enquire Within, 1925, pub. by The Masonic Record Ltd.]
- "When a Past Master of a Lodge visits another Lodge, he is not legally entitled to sit with the Past Masters of that Lodge on the left of the Worshipful Master. To do so would be to displace some Past Master of that Lodge, and would therefore be a breach of etiquette." [Everden: Freemasonry and its Etiquette, p. 348]
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Visitation ‑ Conflict of Meetings: There is an etiquette, supported by common sense, that with a little effort, co‑operation and direction, meeting nights of all lodges in a district be arranged so that no two lodges have meetings on the same night. This permits inter‑lodge visitations.
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SOLICITATION OF NON‑MASONS.
- It is Illegal to solicit men to petition for the Degrees in Masonry. If a non‑Mason, with the intent to petition, is In search of information about the Fraternity there are certain facts which it is lawful to give him, though never with a view to persuading him to seek membership. The Mason is to speak for the Fraternity, not for himself; is not to argue about it; is to be tactful in both silence and speech. That is the Etiquette, and it is in this instance based on courtesy. [Haywood: How to become a Masonic Lodge Officer, p. 180]
- There is a fine distinction between 'proper' and 'improper' solicitation. There is no doubt that pressure or urging a man to join is "improper" solicitation.
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Apology for Non‑attendance.
Question: Is there any rule requiring that a Brother must send a written apology for non-attendance at his Lodge?
Answer: The answer, as found in an English Masonic book, is:
"There is no written law, but ordinary courtesy demands it. It is also in accordance with the demands of Masonic tradition." [Herbert Inman: Masonic Problems and Queries. ‑ an English publication]
[The by‑laws of early English lodges contained lists of fines to be imposed for absence, swearing, and drunkenness).
The answer, in Alberta, regretfully, is that Alberta Masons do not appear to be such sticklers for Lodge attendance. However, it can be said that for Lodge officers not to show up, or at least give the Master fair warning of non‑attendance, would show a great lack of courtesy and consideration for the well‑being of the Lodge.
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Crossing the Lodge.
Question: Is there a reason for Masons not crossing the Lodge between the Master in the East, and the Altar? [York Rite]
Answer: Brethren do not pass between the Altar and the East in a Masonic Lodge at labor because the Master is supposed to have the Great Lights constantly in view. In theory, at least, he draws inspiration for presiding over the Lodge from the Altar and must not, therefore, be prevented from seeing at any time. The custom is but a petty courtesy, but it is rooted in a fundamental conception of the Craft ‑ that the Altar is the centre of Masonry, and that the Great Light it bears flow all there is of Masonic inspiration and truth and light.
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TITLES IN MASONRY
- "Grand Lodge titles are familiar to most of the brethren, but are sometimes confused or handled loosely. The Grand Master is addressed initially as "Most Worshipful Sir”. All Past Grand Masters are addressed as "Most Worshipful Sir" or as "Most Worshipful Brother Blank". . . . All appointed officers, past and present, are entitled to “Very Worshipful". Such expressions as "The Right Worshipful Sirs". Worshipful Jones". and "Brother Bill", are carefully to be avoided. Proper Masonic usage would call for "The Right Worshipful Brother or Brethren", "Worshipful Brother Jones", and "Brother Jackson". [Grand Lodge of Canada (Ontario): Beyond the Pillars)
- M.W. Bro. Kenneth L. Crockett, P.G.M., in a research paper [Lodge Protocol and Grand Lodge Protocol] provides a 'rule of thumb' guideline in addressing Masons by title:
"If a brother wears a crimson apron, call him a Very Worshipful Brother. If a brother wears a blue Grand Lodge apron, call him a Right Worshipful Brother. (It may turn out that he is a Very Worshipful Brother, but have you ever heard of a Captain being called a Major and being insulted by the mistake?) Err on the safe side."
- The correct official designation of rank of Alberta Grand Lodge officers is to be found in our Grand Lodge Constitution, section C 6.02.
- In Lodge, members are to be addressed or referred to by their proper title; it being a breach of etiquette to address or refer to them as "Mr. Blank,", or "Blank".
Titles During initiation: A candidate should be introduced merely by his Christian and Surname, without any preface such as Mr., Professor, Major, Doctor, or whatever it may be. [Approved by Harry Carr: The Freemason at Work]
Question: On occasion there will be reference to: Bro. (Rev.) John Doe; or, Wor. Bro. Dr. Samuel Byers; or, Bro. Capt. John Doe; etc. Is it permissible, or correct, to use professional or civic titles in Freemasonry?
Answer: In 1918, the Grand Master of Illinois, (A.H. Scrogins) criticized Alberta for referring to our Grand Master as: M.W. Bro. 'Doctor' H. Darling, and stated: "The use of professional and civic titles in Free Masonry is not in good taste."
Titles of Visitors: If an officer of another Lodge is introduced as a visitor the Etiquette of Masonic Courtesy requires that his title be used in courtesy when the introduction is made.
Titles In Correspondence: Do not use a Brother's Masonic title in the address on the envelope. It is, however, proper to begin the letter by using his Masonic title. The salutation in the letter would then be written as:
Dear Sir and Brother, ‑ or
Dear Sir and R.W. Brother, ‑ as the case may be.
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Grand Honors: When we receive someone with GRAND HONORS, we are, by signs, conveying the following message:
1 ‑ WE WELCOME YOU WITH JOY;
- WE RECEIVE YOU WITH RESPECT AND HONOR;
- WE GREET YOU ON THE SQUARE;
- WE SHOW OUR APPRECIATION OF YOUR PRESENCE.
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Behavior of a Mason in a Lodge: Laurence Dermott, the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of England, gave the behavior of a Mason to be:
" . . . he is to pay due respect, and be obedient (in all reasonable matters) to the Master and presiding officers: He must not curse, swear, nor offer to lay wagers; nor use any lewd or unbecoming language, In derogation of GOD'S name, and corruption of good manners; nor behave himself ludicrously, nor jestingly, while the Lodge Is engaged in what is serious and solemn; Neither is he to introduce, support, nor mention any dispute or controversy about religion or politics; nor force any brother to eat, drink, or stay against his inclination; nor do or say any thing that may be offensive, or hinder a free and Innocent conversation; least he should break the good harmony and defeat the laudable designs and purposes of the ancient and honorable fraternity." [Laurence Dermott: AhIman Rezon, (or a Help to All That Are or would be, Free and Accepted Masons (1774), p. 351
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Question: What if unhappily a quarrel arises, and there are differences of opinion so acute between two Brother Masons as not to admit of ready composition?
Answer: It will be to the advantage of the Lodge that one or both of them stay away. There is no sacrifice a Brother should not be prepared to make to preserve harmony and goodwill within the Lodge." [John T. Lawrence: Highways and By‑Ways of Freemasonry, 1924, p. 220]
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Canvassing for Office.
Question: What solicitations and canvassing (electioneering) for Grand Lodge office, or for Lodge office, is permitted?
- It is improper before an election to speak in the body of the Lodge for or against any candidate.
- The practice of canvassing or soliciting votes is entirely opposed to the spirit of Freemasonry. Brethren should cast their votes or deposit their ballots without solicitation, and solely as their sense of duty demands. Merit and ability alone are the true grounds of preferment among Masons. Every brother should cast his vote against the party who resorts to such improper methods for the purpose of obtaining office. [Robertson: A Digest of Masonic Jurisprudence]
- The Grand Master of Alabama, in 1901, had this to say:
"We do believe that Grand Lodge should, with strong grip, choke the life out of political methods ‑ canvassing for office, etc."
- The Kansas Proceedings of 1935 had this report:
"Without any hesitation, we must say that such practices [electioneering for Lodge, or Grand Lodge office, or allowing brethren to solicit for the candidate] are not Masonic and should not be countenanced. A Masonic office should come as a reward for merit and faithful service and not as a matter of political preferment or as a result of solicitation. The privilege of free, voluntary, and intelligent choice must always be the rule and guide without electioneering. To allow such practice to continue will tend to create discord and iII feeling."
- The Grand Lodge of New Zealand, in 1913, adopted the following rule:
"If any Brother shall canvass for or otherwise solicit nomination for Grand Lodge Office on behalf of himself or any member of Grand Lodge, he shall be deemed guilty of an offence, become disqualified to hold any office in Grand Lodge, and at the discretion of Grand Lodge or any of its delegated authorities may be subject to censure, admonition, fine, or suspension."
In Alberta, without the harshness of the New Zealand rule, we have the same objections to electioneering.
- "We cannot see any virtue in ... permitting a subordinate lodge upon resolution to nominate one of its members for an elective office in Grand Lodge and mail copies of same to other lodges and Masons in the [Province], setting out the brother's qualifications." [R.W. Bro. V.H. Macaulay, Committee Member on Fraternal Correspondence, reporting in 1928 Gr. Lodge Proceedings (p. 217) on a Kentucky resolution.]
- In 1956, M.W. Bro. R.S. Sheppard, Alberta Grand Master, admonished two Lodges that "had transgressed rather seriously in permitting mention to be made [in their Lodge Notices] desirability of voting for certain candidates in the election ... of this Grand Lodge." [1956 Proceedings, p. 153]
# # #
" . . . Courtesy is also a Masonic virtue, because it is the product of a feeling of kindness, but it is not so specifically spoken of in the Symbolic degrees, where brotherly love assumes its place, as it is in the orders‑ of knighthood." [Mackey: Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, p. 181]
# # #
Courtesies to Visiting Grand Lodge Officers.
- "Lodges receiving Grand Lodge officers should make it their business to see that the visitor is properly accommodated, that he is greeted at once by a member detailed for the purpose, and that he is given full information before the meeting as to what will be expected of him. It is no pleasant experience to be called on without notice to make a presentation to a Brother one has never seen, and without any instruction as to the nature of his special service. . . .
"Masonic hospitality implies courteous and kindly reception of the distinguished visitor." [A.M. Mitchell, P.G.M., Grand Lodge Bulletin, November, 1942]
- It was the recommendation of the 1977 Grand Master (M.W. Bro. A.0. Aspeslet) that visitations of Grand Masters be published in the Lodge Notices, to ensure the greatest number of Lodge members be in attendance.
# # #
Seniority of Past Masters
- Worshipful Master: Although the W.M. is not a Past Master until he has held the office of Master of the Lodge "for a period of twelve months and until his successor has been installed", a reigning Worshipful Master is not only paramount in his own Lodge, he is entitled, in his Lodge, to precedence over all Past Masters during his year of Office.
- Among Brethren of the same rank seniority is regulated by the time of their appointment, but is a matter of precedence.
- Affiliated Past Master: A Past Master affiliating takes rank as to seniority in the affiliating Lodge, from the date at which he became a Past Master, and not from the date of affiliated.
- A Past Master who has been 'Suspended N.P.D., on re-election back into the Lodge, loses his seniority and ranks as the newest Past Master.
# # #
Advancement by Rotation:
- No Brother is entitled of right to claim advancement by rotation. "All preferment among Masons is grounded on real worth and personal merit only, therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by seniority, but for his merit."
- In Alberta, and most other jurisdictions, the proposition of rotating D.D.G.M.s among Lodges in the districts is either prohibited, or disapproved in the strongest terms.
# # #
Processions: The Order of Precedence.
The order of precedence of the Lodge as a body, must be in a fixed order. This includes such functions as when formally proceeding into a banquet, marching in a body to attend church, to lay a cornerstone, dedicating a building, consecrating a Lodge room, conducting a funeral, or entering a Lodge room ceremonially. It is customarily the function of the Director of Ceremonies to maintain the decorum.
'Freemasonry and it’s Etiquette' describes the process as
"The Tyler, with a drawn sword, heads the procession; next follow Entered Apprentices two and two; then Fellow‑Crafts, followed by the Master Masons, juniors leading; next the Assistant Officers of the Lodge, the lowest first; then Past Masters, juniors first; next the Immediate Past Master; the Worshipful Master, supported on the right by the Senior Warden, and on the left by the Junior Warden, each of the Wardens carrying his Column. After these come ... District Grand Officers, the lower in rank going first, Grand Officers bringing up the rear... "
M.W. Bro. Kenneth L. Crockett [in research paper: Lodge Protocol and Grand Lodge Protocol] succinctly puts the protocol as follows:
Rule 1: "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first." The most senior Grand Lodge officer shall bring up the rear, preceded in order by the other Grand Lodge officers according to lessening seniority of rank.
Rule 2: Should any Past Grand Lodge officers also be present, line them up in the same order of precedence as present Grand Lodge officers, but place them in front of the present Grand Lodge officers,
Rule 3: An exception to Rule 2. Should Past Grand Masters also be in attendance, they should be lined up immediately in front of the senior Grand Lodge officer being received, and according to year of office."
# # #
Saluting With Wands: "It is suggested that the Deacons and Stewards, when asked to perform his duty, rises, salutes the W.M., takes up his wand, carries out his duty, returns to his station, deposits his wand, salutes the W.M. and is seated." [Ruling: 1977, Committee on the Work (Alberta)]
Carrying of Wands: The following is suggested as the correct method of carrying the wands (or rods) by the Deacons:
"While standing, the rod is held in a perpendicular position resting on the floor, in front of the shoulder, the hand grasping the rod and the forearm horizontal.
"While marching the rod is carried between the upper arm and the body, inclined forward to an angle of 23 and one half degrees, and the hand retaining its grasp of the rod. The rod is usually carried in the right hand but may be carried in the left hand when occasion requires." [quoted with approval by A.M.M., Alberta reviewer of 1926 Minnesota G.L. decision]
# # #
The Unattached Mason: By “Unattached Mason” is meant one who has ceased to be a member of a Lodge.
- "A Mason owes a duty to the Lodge in the jurisdiction he happens to be sojourning, and is bound to obey its summons in any matter, such as personal service in attending upon the sick or distressed. This is why a Masonic traveler, should he make a stop for any length of time within the jurisdiction of another lodge, ought to visit the lodge, make himself known to its members and tender his services in case they might be needed, either for work in the lodge or in any other capacity in which one of its own members might be expected to serve. This is no more than right, because he himself may at any time need such services in accident or distress. He would then feel more at liberty to call for them." [R.C. Blackmer: The Lodge and the Craft, p. 272]
- It is of interest to note that unattached Masons lose every one of their Masonic privileges, "but they do not lose a single one of their Masonic responsibilities. As men of honor, the peril of all their Obligations is with them till the end of their lives." [John T. Lawrence: Sidelights of Freemasonry)
- Resignation ‑ Demit of Member: "The resignation of a member dissolves all connection between himself and his former Lodge, but it does not at all affect his general relations with the Fraternity, or his obligatory duties as a Mason." [Robertson: Digest of Masonic Jurisprudence]
- Relief for Unattached Mason: "An unaffiliated Mason (that is one who is not a member of some regular Lodge) is not entitled to Masonic relief. But if a Lodge chooses to assist an unaffiliated Brother, it is at liberty to do so. The principles of Masonic charity are liberal enough to include all in their operation." [Robertson: Digest of Masonic Jurisprudence, 1881]
- Limitation on Visitations: In some jurisdictions, demitted Masons are only allowed to visit any Lodge one time only, and that being for the demitted member to select and join another Lodge. In Alberta, a demitted member "may visit any one Lodge, subject to the prerogative of the Worshipful Master, not more than twice during his secession from the Craft." [Gr. Lodge Regulation, R3.11.03] (But in British Columbia the ruling in 1924 had this added: "If allowed to visit after that it is by the grace of the Lodge.")
- "A Mason may call on a stranger who has been reported to him as a member from another Lodge in another community. To do so belongs to the Etiquette of the Fraternity, and is a courtesy any Mason may be glad to extend or to receive. When making a Masonic courtesy call a Brother presents himself at the door as coming on a Masonic visit, makes it clear that he is not there in his private capacity, and may introduce himself in the name of his own Lodge, for to do so is a prerogative of membership. The Brother visited may then converse with him about Masonry and may give information about his own Masonic connections." [Haywood: How to become a Masonic Lodge Officer, p. 180]
- There is no constitutional obligation, but it would be a very desirable and Masonic action on the part of the Worshipful Master to get in touch with some prominent Freemason in the neighborhood where a Brother is removing himself, so that the desirability of joining a more accessible Lodge might be put before him, before he has had time to become accustomed to the feeling of lost membership.
# # #
Resignation of a Member:
- Effective Resignation: A Resignation of Membership is effectual and irrevocable as soon as it is communicated to the Lodge: it may be withdrawn by the writer at any time before being so communicated. [Everden: Freemasonry and its Etiquette, Reuling of G.L. of England, March 1894]
- The resignation, when so communicated to the Lodge, is effective from the date on which it is written, and not from the date on which it is communicated to the Lodge.
- It is within the ambit of the powers of the Worshipful Master, and would be a Masonic courtesy, to approach the demitting Brother for a reconsideration of his intention - care must be taken not to read the resignation letter in Lodge until after his final decision has been ascertained.
# # #
The Sick Mason: 1. Just as it is your duty as a Mason to visit a Brother who is ill, so it is equally your duty to report your own illness. "You have no right to interfere with their discharge of what they believe to be their duty, and you interfere just as effectually if you fail to have your own illness reported as if you fail to report that of other Brethren." [Carl H. Claudy: A Master's Wages]
2."The Lodge is always vitally interested in the welfare of its members. Most lodges are questioned by the Worshipful Master before the close of each meeting: "Do any of the brethren know of any of our members who are in sickness or distress?" Fraternal visitation, comfort and relief promptly follow report of any such cases." [Dudley Wright: The Ethics of Freemasonry. p. 7]
# # #
FESTIVE BOARD ETIQUETTES
Question: At the festive board, following a Lodge meeting, is there any head table precedence in the seating arrangements?
Answer: (1) Etiquette requires that Grand Lodge officers are placed at the table in order of precedence on the right of the Master, with the Immediate Past Master and Chaplain on his immediate left, and beyond them the Director of Ceremonies and other senior officers.
(2) "A pleasant" Festive Board custom observed in many lodges is for the initiate to be placed at the Master's right hand, which gives the other brethren the chance to tell him that it will be years before he sits there again, if ever ‑ It never fails." [G.S. Blakey in "The Worshipful Master”]
Question: At the Festive Board, when called upon by the Junior Warden to speak, what is the proper opening acknowledgement to the gathering?
(1) Except in special gatherings the following is sufficient: "Brother toastmaster, and brethren".
(2) With the presence of Grand Lodge officers, courtesy indicates that a member rising to speak, may, but is not required to acknowledge these officers, as being repetitive, as long as the Junior Warden (Toastmaster) has introduced the guests to the brethren present.
# # #
Question: Is there a protocol for speaking at the Banquet, or at the Festive Board?
- The Guest Speaker: If the Grand Master is present, he should invariably be the speaker and if the District Deputy Grand Master is present on his official visit, he is the speaker.
- If the guest speaker's address is the principal event of the evening, it should close the programme. It is an anticlimax for the Worshipful Master to call on some other Brother for "a few remarks,"
- The Lodge summons sent before a visit of a special guest should contain complimentary references to him and the next summons should include an expression of appreciation, or a mention of the favourable impression left by the guest.
# # #
Program Agenda at Festive Board (suggested): A fairly full program might be conducted in the following order:
(a) Call to order and Invocation
(b) One stanza of "0 Canada"
(c) Dinner, dessert, tea or coffee
(d) Toast to "The Queen and the Craft"
(e) Welcome by the Junior Warden, or presiding officer
(f) Introduction of head table guests, introducing guest of honor last.
(g) Guest speaker, or entertainment;
(h) Expression of appreciation to the speaker or entertainer.
(i) Toast to "The Grand Master and his Officers"
(j) Response by senior Grand Lodge officer present
(k) Toast to "The Visitors"
(l) Response by a Visitor
(m) Worshipful Master's closing remarks.
(n) Junior Warden's Toast
(o) One stanza of "God Save the Queen", or joining in "AuId Lang Syne".
(p) Junior Warden, or Chairman, adjourns the festivities.
TOASTS AT MASONIC BANQUET, OR FESTIVE BOARD:
- At all Masonic banquets or social hours two toasts are mandatory:
"The Queen and the Craft", and
"To the Grand Master and his Officers", but not "To the Grand Lodge” [Grand Lodge ruling, 1985] The brethren, on rising, raise their glasses, one sip is taken, and the glasses are returned to the table. Glasses are not touched together. 2. The toast to the Grand Master and his Officers "may be very brief, and it need have no response but is usually responded to by the highest ranking Grand Lodge officer present. It should never be omitted, not even in the absence of Grand Lodge officers." [M.W. Bro. Juthner: research paper 'Protocol and Etiquette'] [Only incumbent Grand Lodge Officers, including Past Grand Masters, are entitled to receive the toast and to remain seated when it is proposed.
- Harry Carr [Freemasonry At Work] says that the honor of reply (to the Grand Master toast) must be offered to the Senior Grand Lodge officer present. It would be an affront to him if anyone else is asked to reply.
- "A long speech is not essential in either proposing or acknowl edging the toast, but wherever any formality is observed one may properly expect that remarks about Grand Lodge and Grand Lodge officers will be pertinent, correct, and informative." [Grand Lodge of Canada (Ontario): Beyond the Pillars]
- On the evening of the initiation of a Candidate, it is proper custom to propose a Toast to the Candidate. This is important to the newly initiated brother. The toast may be given by a Past Master, who can address the Candidate sympathetically and instructively. The honor of proposing this toast is often regarded as the prerogative of one of the sponsors.
- "The Candidate should be told ahead of time that he may be called on for a few words in reply. Give him some time to collect his thoughts, especially after all that he has heard during the degree." [Meeting the Challenge, p. 921]
- The person toasted, if present, remains seated until the toast is drunk; nor does he touch his glass or take a sip until the others have drunk the toast, otherwise he would be drinking to himself, an immodest procedure.
- It is rude, to the point of insult, to refuse to drink an offered toast.
- Contrary to some recent innovations seen at Masonic Festive Boards, toasts, including that to 'The Queen and the Craft', are not proposed until the meal is ended, or nearly ended, and just before speeches commence. Smoking at the banquet table, if permitted at all, is not permitted, or acceptable, until after the toast 'To The Queen and the Craft.
- No musical items should be called for, or smoking permitted, until after those Grand Lodge Officers whose names are mentioned in the toast list have replied." [Instructions of Board of General Purposes, Grand Lodge of New Zealand, 1927]
- Junior Warden's Toast: (a) The Junior Warden should be allowed to propose the toast "solo" [says M.W. Bro. Juthner], after which the Brethren repeat the words in unison. Brethren do not join in until the Junior Warden has proposed and given the toast. (b) [Bro. John McKechnie [Fiat Lux Research paper, October 5, 1991] says that most Lodges do not properly give the Junior Warden's Toast, and that this Toast should be handled as follows:
HAPPY HAVE WE MET!
HAPPY HAVE WE BEEN!
HAPPY MAY WE PART,
HAPPY TO MEET AGAIN.
And the spontaneous response by the Brethren will be:
HAPPY TO MEET!
SORRY TO PART!
HAPPY TO MEET AGAIN !
Bro. McKechnie concludes his paper thusly:
"I think I am safe in saying that the Junior Warden is toasting each and every brother present and in responding, each brother drinks to the health of the Junior Warden and each other ‑ a very appropriate way to conclude a Masonic gathering."
Conduct at the Festive Board
Question: Is there a limit to wit and humor at Masonic banquets?
Answer: In 1938, M.W.Bro. V. Harold Macaulay, G.M. of Alberta, had this item ordered to be read in all Lodges:
“… Vulgarity in the form of double entendre or smutty stories may pass for humor in radio or the movies, but it is for the most part counterfeit."
"The offensive practice fortunately is only occasional, but It Is disturbing to hear of Masonic banquets at which members were disgusted by the relationship of off color stories. In such cases it is usual that the first story told seems to call forth a peculiar form of courage on the part of a later speaker.
"Now, I prefer to think it is Inexperience rather than lack of intelligence which is responsible. However, as your Grand Master I say that this practice must cease. I suggest to presiding officers that offenders receive immediate reproof. .. ."
Further Festive Board Etiquettes
- Every Masonic banquet room should be equipped with a lectern, as a courtesy to the speaker, and a convenience to the toastmaster.
- Those proposing toasts should be given ample notice in order to prepare appropriately. In many instances time limits should be set‑for toasts (i.e. two minutes); and responders could also have time limits suggested (i.e. five minutes).
- It is very improper practice to allow suggestive and questionable stories to be told at the Festive Board.
- It is the 'Festive Board', or 'Refreshment, not “Fourth Degree”!
# # #
Non‑Masonic Speakers at Festive Board: M.W. Bro. J.A. McRae, in 1943, as G.M. of G.L. of Canada (Ontario), criticized his Ontario Masons for the practice of inviting non‑Masons to be speakers at their Lodges. Except in unusual circumstances, his objection is included here as an improper practice. On this point, part of his address is as follows:
"The other practice to which I refer is that of having non‑Masons as speakers. I have pointed out already that the non‑Mason has no familiarity or particular knowledge of our usages and customs. Unless specially warned, such a speaker may easily transgress the bounds placed on every Mason. Aside from this there is the question of a certain pride. ... Whatever opinion he may have formed [of Freemasonry] it has obviously not been sufficiently cogent to induce him to apply for admission into our ranks. ... lodges so far ignore Masonic propriety that men are invited to address the Craft at refreshment, who, not to put too fine a point on it, are not likely, under any circumstances, to become Masons. ... why such an invitation should be extended and why accepted, is almost beyond comprehension. ... To go frequently outside our ranks for speakers is seemingly to confess a poverty of talent in our lodges. If this were really the case, it would be a sad state of affairs indeed."
# # #
Behavior of a Mason When Out of Lodge:
- "As to the behavior of the brethren when out of Lodge, I hope the short space between each Lodge‑night will not admit of forgetfulness of the decency and good decorum observed In the Lodge, which may serve them as an unerring rule for their behavior and conduct in all other companies and places; and like the worshipful discreet master of a Lodge, rule, govern, and instruct their families at home in the fear of God and love of their neighbors, while they themselves imitate the member's obedience, etc., in paying due respect to their superiors." [Laurence Dermott: AhIman Rezon, p. 36]
- Masonic etiquette extends so far that "if a Brother be injured, you must protect him; if slandered, you must justify him; it persecuted, you must defend him: so far at least as it may be prudent to do without compromising your own interests." [The Book of the Lodge, 1864]
- "When a Brother uses offensive expressions in the heat of discussion, do not retort, but take time to consider quietly whether they were momentary emanations of the spirit, or whether they were intended as a premeditated insult; if the former, dismiss the subject from your memory, if the latter, forgive him, but be cautious how you trust him in the future.” [The Book of the Lodge, 1864]
- In visitations, by members, of Brethren who are ill or infirm, all common courtesies and etiquettes apply, including visiting at times not inconvenient to the shut‑in, etc. In addition, however, other Brethren should be made aware, in Lodge, of the Brother's indisposition.
# # #
Masonry and Business:
Question: May I use Freemasonry in business?
Answer: 1 (1) If the question is whether the Mason should make use of certain knowledge of which he is the possessor in order to gain an undue advantage over a rival or competitor, the answer is a direct, absolute, and unqualified "No!". (2) On the other hand: "The true Freemason always mixes his Masonry with his business. Commercial, financial, political, and professional life needs to become permeated with the true principles of the Craft." [Dudley Wright: The Ethics of Freemasonry]
Answer 2: "Members of the Craft are strictly forbidden to use the fact of their membership as a means of promoting business or of securing private advantage. They are forbidden to use any of the emblems of Freemasonry on a sign or in any other way on business premises, business correspondence paper, or in connection with any business advertisement. A Masonic Certificate must not be displayed or allowed to be displayed on business premises." [Ruling: Grand Master, G.L. Ireland, 1926]
# # #
Masonry and the Civil Law: The Committee on Jurisprudence, Grand Lodge of Maine, 1927, strongly supported their G.M. in refusing Masonic intervention concerning a Mason under arrest in a foreign country (automobile accident) with this admonition:
"Any attempt by Masonry to interfere with the due process of law in order to assist any member of the Fraternity is almost unthinkable. A person of sufficient intelligence to be made a Mason, who has been admonished in every degree to be obedient to the laws of the country in which he resides, should be less entitled to our consideration than one who has never had the benefit of Masonic instruction. Masonry must, and Masons should, conform and submit to the civil laws." [G.L. Proceedings, 1927, Review of Maine G.L., p. 223]
# # #
Publicity Through the Press: 1. "The desire for publicity is unhealthy and unMasonic. To advertise one's self or one's lodge is contrary to the teaching of our Order." [M.W. Bro. McBurnaby, 1921 G.M. of Quebec]
- An Australasia Masonic Conference in 1921, on the subject of public attacks on Freemasonry from outside the Craft, was of the opinion that no public reply should be made to any outside attack on Freemasonry.
# # #
Intemperance: In 1913, M.W.Bro. D.D. Darrah, the G.M. of Illinois, remarked on intemperance as follows:
"Temperance as taught in Masonry is not a narrow term. It does not mean simply abstinence from strong drink, but temperance in all things, in thoughts, words and actions. Plainly speaking it means that instead of going into the highways and byways, and mounting on the hill tops to proclaim a brother's shortcomings we go to him in private, and whisper good counsel in his ear and give him that correction which his error demands. We pay strict regard for the rights of others so long as they relate to the law of property, and the preservation of life, but when it comes to a man's reputation we are not always so careful, and the abandon with which Masons peddle idle gossip, leaving in their wake the slime of petty scandal and suspicion, and with seeming delight, blacken and destroy, regardless of crushed hearts and ruined homes, is appalling. Words intemperately spoken often cause more reproach to Masonry than intoxication. Let us banish . . . “They say,” “I hear,” “It is rumored. “
The Grand Master then quoted President Hadley, of Yale University:
"Many a man who would be ashamed to start gossip or slander is willing to repeat it. Many a man who would scorn to strike his neighbor behind his back is content to stab his neighbor's reputation by the utterance of half truths which are worse than lies in their effect."
"The BACKBITER and SLANDERER may see himself fully represented as in a true mirror; and detestable as the spectacle naturally appears, much more does it seem when masonicaly examined." [Wm. Hutchinson: The Spirit of Masonry in Moral and Elucidatory Lectures, 2nd ed.]
# # #
Masonry and Religion: 1. Masonry interferes with no man's religion or beliefs. Each Mason not only is free in the exercise of his own religious rights and opinions but he is strictly enjoined not to interfere with the religious views of others. [Grand Master of Illinois, 1911]
- Religious Disputes are never suffered in the Lodge.
- Religion and the Hebrew Candidate:
Question: On what book should the Hebrew candidate be obligated to make the obligation binding as it should be?
Answer: While not agreeing that an obligation taken by a Hebrew on the Old and the New Testament bound together would not be binding upon him, I think that In deference to his religious views the obligation should be taken on the Old Testament." [Ruling 1924: Grand Lodge of B.C.]
- "The Board is of the opinion that the wearing of Masonic clothing and regalia, both at religious services in churches and at places of entertainment, etc., when ladies and others who are not Masons are present, should not take place. It is not desired to discourage the meeting of brethren, either for religious worship or on occasions of their extending hospitality to those who are not members of the Order, but it is desired to check the exhibition in public of regalia intended to be worn only in private during the performance of Masonic Rites and Ceremonies." [Instructions of Board of General Purposes, G.L of Now Zealand, 1927]
- Church Parade In Regalia: "The desire of the brethren to attend Divine Service in a body at least once a year to hear a sermon specially prepared for them, is to be commended and encouraged but is the public parade, clothed in regalia, necessary? ... I am strongly of the opinion that there are but two occasions upon which Masons should appear in public clothed in regalia, viz., Masonic Funerals and Laying Corner Stones." [M.W. Bro. TF. English, Grand Master's Address, Alberta, 1927]
Note: Notwithstanding the opposition of this G.M. to the wearing of regalia at divine services, he permitted 33 Lodges to do so. And similarly, it is the prerogative of the Grand Master to issue such dispensations.
# # #
"No Mason can be interred with the formalities of the order, unless it has been by his own special request, communicated to the Master of the Lodge, of which he is a member, before his decease; nor unless he has been advanced to the third degree of Masonry, and has died a member of a regular constituted Lodge. [The last part of this restriction has been waived on behalf of foreigners and sojourners, but does not extend to residents and natives. [Wm. Hutchinson: The Spirit of Masonry, 2nd edition, p. 326]
- It is Masonic courtesy, and a mark of respect to the deceased Brother, that as many Brethren as possible are in attendance at his Last Rites. Poor attendance is a reflection on the Craft, and a poor tribute to the deceased Brother and sorrowing friends.
# # #
CONDUCT and ETIQUETTE OF LODGE VISITORS.
- Visiting brethren who require a Board of Trial should arrive early enough that they may be examined without disrupting or delaying lodge.
- Before a visitor enters the lodge, the Tyler should tell him the degree in which the lodge is working. The advance to the altar should be made smartly, and on the square. It is common courtesy to await the pleasure of the W.M. before giving the S. and S.
- All visitors, whatever their rank, should be received cordially and courteously. After the D. of C (or P.M. or S.D.) has presented them at the altar, the W.M. should greet them sincerely but briefly. If time permits, all visitors should be invited to the East for a personal greeting from the W.M. It would seem discourteous for the W.M. to single out W.M.'s and P.M.'s to receive his personal greeting."
"4. It is extremely discourteous for members and visitors to engage in private conversation while lodge business and ceremonies are being conducted.
"5. Interruption [of speakers] is the prerogative of the W.M. alone."
[Meeting The Challenge ‑ Grand Lodge of Canada (Ontario), pp. 81, 82]
- All visitors in attendance at a Lodge during formal balloting, shall rise in turn, in their places, salute the W.M., and then reseat themselves upon being recognized by the W.M.
- Lodge visitors may speak to a motion before the Lodge only with the permission of the Master. If such permission be granted the visiting Brother would need to exercise considerable tact to avoid offending against the canons of good taste. His remarks should be absolutely impartial, and only in the nature of expert evidence which might be helpful. [Masonic Problems & Queries, p. 235; Lawrence: Masonic Jurisprudence, 3rd ad., p. 141]
- The by‑laws of Lodges naturally vary. A visitor should assume that the by‑laws of all Lodges being visited are as strict as those of Britannia Lodge, namely:
"No visitor shall speak to any question except by permission or at the request of the W.M."
- A visitor, when admitted, has as much right as a member to remain there so long as he conducts himself with propriety and complies with the by.‑laws of the Lodge. [Rule & Teach, p. 124] However, it would be considered courteous of a visitor to retire, when so requested, in order, that the Lodge might discuss, Lodge sensitive matters of internal concern only.
- "If the examining committee has the right to satisfy itself that a visitor is a Master Mason in good standing in a Regular Lodge, the visitor in turn has the right to make sure that the Lodge he has come to visit is itself a Regular Lodge, and he may therefore ask to see its charter. But what if the Lodge is already in session and. the only available copy of the charter is on its walls? It Is Etiquette to grant his request to see the Charter; on the other hand it is Etiquette not to disturb the Lodge by going in to fetch it; in such an impasse the Etiquette of the Lodge should take precedence, and the visitor should be told that if he wishes to examine the Charter, he must come at another time, and before Lodge is opened." [H.L. Haywood: 'How to become a Masonic Lodge Officer, p. 170]
# # #
HARRY J. NOBLE
Britannia Lodge # 18
Meeting The Challenge ‑ The Lodge Officer at Work
- Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario, 1976
Beyond The Pillars
‑ Grand Lodge of Canada (Ontario)
The Director of Ceremonies
‑ Charles J. Carter, 1991
The Freemason At Work
‑ Harry Carr, 6th ed., 1989
Freemasonry and Its Etiquette
- "An Old Past Master”, London, 1919
How To Become a Masonic Lodge Officer
- H.L. Haywood (chapter on Masonic Etiquette)
The Worshipful Master
‑ G.S. Blakey
Ahiman Rezon (or a Help to All That Would Be Free and Accepted Masons)
‑ Laurence Dermott, 1774
Masonic Problems & Queries
‑ Herbert F. Inman
Grand Lodge Bulletins
‑ 1938, Nov., 1942
Protocol and Etiquette:
- Paper by M.W. Bro. Robert E. Juthner, P.G.M. (Alberta)
Lodge Protocol and Grand Lodge Protocol:
- Paper: M.W. Bro. Kenneth L. Crockett, P.G.M., (Alberta)
A Digest of Masonic Jurisprudence, Especially Applicable to Canadian Lodges
‑ by Henry Robertson, Toronto, 1881.
- John T. Lawrence, London, 3rd ed., 1923
High‑Ways and By‑Ways of Freemasonry,
- John T. Lawrence, revised ed., 1924.
Sidelights on Freemasonry
‑ John T. Lawrence, 1909.
The Book of the Lodge, and Officers' Manual
- Rev. G. Oliver, D.D., 3rd ed., 1864
The Spirit of Masonry in Moral and Elucidatory Lectures,
- William Hutchinson, 2nd edition.
The Lodge and the Craft
‑ Rollin C. Blackmer, 1926.
Masonic Enquire Within
‑ Pub. by The Masonic Record, Ltd., London,1925