Other Useful Masonic Information

There is much Masonic history involved up thru world history from Eastern Europe, England & into the United States.   Many famous people, presidents of the United States, military generals, explorers, etc. have belonged to the Masonic organization.

By improving your Masonic education, you personally gain knowledge of the ancient craft of Freemasonry which then can give you some insight as to history & can help you to pass it on to help educate your Masonic brethren.  Plus the fact that Masonic history is rather interesting.

                         Our motto is to "take a good man & make him better"  

This section is dedicated to informing lodge members (both new & even as a reminder for older ones who have been absent for a while) as to some internal operations, or floor work of the lodge, & observations from within the lodge that can help provide smooth operations.   Also added here is traditional information obtained from numerous sources that may be of information to our members.

You may see some variations within the jurisdiction at different lodges, which are the result of long-standing customs or traditions in lodges.  Others are simply the ingenious interpretation of the Grand Lodge Standard Work symbolism.  We have assumed that these are acceptable, in either case if they are truly a sign of Masonic integrity in the lodge, probably no one will object.

There is another group of variations which has somewhat confused the situation.  These are the variations which are the result of errors, gradual departures from old procedures, arbitrary changes, & inherited mistakes.  These are the ones that should be addressed.

It is suggested that you contact your lodge secretary & request a copy of the  "Suggested Guidelines for Lodge Floor Work" & the "Lodge Officers Handbook", from which should answer many questions for both the new & older members.

Upon your first setting within a lodge after you have been given the First Degree, there may well be a few things you will be exposed to that may have not been explained by your coach.  This could possibly be mostly tradition, or that has been handed down from mouth to ear for centuries.  The following are in somewhat of specific order.

One important thing to remember is that most of the members in our lodges will be of an older generation & MAY have a hearing impairment problem.  Hearing aids are just that, an aid, not a cure.  If you address the Lodge please speak up.  If you are an officer please understand the use & speak into the microphone as communication is the key to understanding operations in any well run organization.  Guessing doesn't cut it if you are voting on a important situation.  And you may loose a member or two if they repeatedly can not understand what is going on.

(1)  Master :  The Master runs the lodge, WITH support of the other officers.  The Master runs the meeting by Masonic code & not necessarily strictly by Roberts's rules of Order.

The black top hat is the symbol of authority that only the Worshipful Master of the lodge is empowered to wear.  However during degree or installation whomever is the acting Master will wear it during those situations. 

Operation of the Lodge can be performed in any of the three degrees, depending the Masters discretion.  This may be if a new member or visitor is on the sidelines has not advanced to a higher third degree.  Each of these degrees are slightly different, with the 3rd being the normal the Lodge is operated on.  Also each of these degrees opening & closing will follow strict guidelines established by Grand Lodge & written in code found in your cipher.

The one thing that is important is that peace & harmony shall prevail under all circumstances & it is the Masters duty to be sure that no meeting gets out of control & or bitterness prevails.  The Master has to be a person who has the ability to form a friendship bond with the members as a group, to make them feel welcome & look forward to coming to the meetings.  He also needs the ability to congeal any disagreements.

The Master has the prerogative to open or close the lodge in "short form" under certain conditions, as to save time before a degree or if the meeting is running late & it may seem best to go home early.

(2) Senior Warden's Duties :  This position is to assist the Worshipful Master in the functions of the Lodge.

(3)  Junior Warden's Duties :  The Junior Warden is to also assist the Worshipful Master in the functions of the Lodge but to a lesser degree that the Senior Warden.  He is the person in charge of the refreshments, but this does not mean that he is the only one who is looked at to provide the refreshments, wash the dishes, or clean off the tables or the kitchen.  This is the job of the Stewarts, (if there are any) which the Junior Warden oversees.  However any member will be whole-heatedly accepted when the time comes.

Many times the Master will put forth his wishes as to an agenda for the ensuing year.  If this entails special meetings where a dinner is served, the Junior Warden is in charge of this.  Also at these dinners, if a set fee is not established, it is customary to have a donation jar available & and funds accumulated could go into a Junior Warden's fund to replace the cost of the dinners.  If this is the case, then the Junior Warden is responsible for that fund.  

The Junior Warden normally oversees many things.  He is in charge of any others who may step forward on their own & offer to help or possibly cook refreshments.   It makes things hard for him if these others do not make an effort to co-ordinate with him.  If the lodge has a practice of putting on dinners, it is really his job to co-ordinate these, even to the point of possibly having tickets printed if a dinner is going to be a pre-sold event.

When the lodge is at refreshment or after the meeting, the Junior Warden is in charge.   Many lodges utilize this opportunity to have the Junior warden act as Toastmaster at a meal.  This can cover anything during refreshment, as from making sure there is a Chaplain gives the blessing, or do it himself.   He also many times acts as Toastmaster in calling on all brothers present to give a short speech, in doing so, leaving the Senior Warden & Master as last.

There is a special section in the cipher for the Junior Warden to recite when calling the lodge from refreshment to labor, he needs to be aware of this & learn it prior to being subjected to needing to recite it.  It being the old way & different, thereby not used frequently, being replaced by the Master declaring "This lodge is free from restraint until the sound of the gavel in the East".

(4)  Wardens Can Assist Master :  If for any reason the Master forgets to raise, or seat the lodge during proceedings, either the Senior or Junior Warden can rap their gavel to perform that duty.   However they should probably wait until it is obvious the the Master is pre-occupied with other duties.

(5) Secretary's Duties :  The Secretary is the heart of the lodge, taking care of most functioning of a well oiled lodge.  If you want to know what is or has happened in the lodge, ask the secretary.  The Master is there for only a year or possibly 2, whereas the secretary usually pulls duty over many years & is usually a Past Master.  Once the lodge finds a good one, they don't let him go easily.

The secretary is the person responsible for all reports to be properly filed on time & to see that the lodge follows the established Masonic procedure.

The Secretary keeps accurate records of Lodge proceedings & may, for the sake of speeding up the close of a long meeting or at the request of the Master, read the minutes of the meeting in "short form".   This is simply a brief rendition of the meeting, & the full minutes will then be read & approved at the next regular meeting.  He needs to recognize the fact that when doing business, that he speaks in a clear & slow enough voice that the members present can understand what he said, using the microphone as needed.   He can even print off the previous minutes if something important was brought on the floor, pass them out at the next meeting for approval.

All bills & payments will be made TO the Secretary.  All bills (unless having prior approval from the lodge) ORIGINATE from the Secretary's desk.  At the closest stated meeting, the Secretary presents the bills to the Lodge, a vote is taken & the Master declares the bills paid, then the bill order number (in consecutive order) with the name and amount is transferred to the Treasurer who writes the check.  The checks are then given to the Secretary for the 2nd signature & to be mailed out by the Secretary.  The Secretary records & transfers all moneys received to the Treasurer in a manner that also gives the Treasurer a method of tracking dues/donations.

He also keeps track of a membership roster, dues & donations.  He also keeps track of membership longevity & arranges in a timely manner for longevity award pins for those qualifying.  He needs to be well aware of the lodge membership & when a member passes away, be the first one to acknowledge this & record it, then prepare a history/eulogy report to be read in the lodge, then communicates this information to Grand Lodge.

The Secretary takes care of all the correspondence to any other lodge or to/through the Grand Lodge Secretary, everything goes through him.  He has a monthly & year end report to Grand Lodge to send in.  He also has the in formation to process the IRS 990 form at the end of the year. He prepares a up to date roster & forwards it to the Grand Lodge from which they calculate the yearly Per-Capita assessment for the lodge to pay.  There is also a Life Endowment & 50 year membership report that needs to be sent in. 

He is also the contact for all lodge activities because of his access to the membership roster, meaning sending out reminders (e-mails) of upcoming lodge meetings or events to all lodge members and other invitees.

The Secretary in conjunction with the Treasurer, assists in preparing stats & other information including when the financial audit was performed for the Grand Lodge District Deputy's annual visit.

If the lodge is associated with a district wide Past Masters organization, he prepares an information sheet listing the number of members, the number of degrees performed, the number of deaths and if the lodge is financially stable.   This report can be done at the annual meeting by him, or give it to the Master to make this report.

With modern practices, it is mandatory for the Secretary to operate the lodge's business on a computer system, therefore being able to access Grand Lodge web information that is only available thru that media & accessible to him thru a password protected link, AND to be able to make timely monthly & year end reports to GL.  If these are not done before cut off dates, fines of $5 a day will be assessed.

There is information on the Grand Lodge's website & available thru the secretary's portal for critical data to do lodge business , as "All Member Status"  which gives member's full name, ID number, when petitioned, elected, initiated, passed, raised, MM proficiency, lodge status, member status, & deceased.   Another useful data available is the "Good Time Report", which gives membership longevity, & longevity pins presented, allowing the secretary to be prepared by ordering pins to match upcoming presentation event meetings.

Since each lodge could have different election dates, but usually in November, so the new officers take over before the new year.

Listed below is a basic Secretary calendar of general time-tables

January -  Be sure an annual audit has been completed within before 30 days of the installation, it be approved & voted on at a stated meeting.  The Secretary needs to have the End of Year annual report to Grand Lodge Secretary by the end of January.

March - Expect a check from Grand Lodge for income interest on Life Membership investment for those enrolled members of your lodge.

April -  Pay Grand Lodge assessment before the 15th of the month.  Expect to receive information from Grand Lodge for the annual communication meeting held in June.

May -  Read the proposed legislation for upcoming annual communication, & get membership directions for those who will attend & will be voting.  It is best to have enough copies printed off to hand out the the members who are interested instead of simply reading / condensing your thoughts of these upcoming resolutions.

June - Grand Lodge annual communication, usually about the middle of the month. Be sure all officers are aware of it & if they are not available to go, have their proxies given to someone who does.

July -  Review with your lodge the Grand Lodge annual communication legislation voted in/rejected proposals.

August - Dues should be paid by July 31 so he can prepare a notice of delinquent members due to Grand Lodge by the end of this month.

November - Set up for annual audit between election & installation, then be entered into minutes by the 2nd stated meeting following the election of officers.

December - Master to put together a calendar for his ensuing year, which is shared with the new Secretary for dispersal to the members.

(6) Treasurer's Duties :  The Treasurer is invested with taking charge of all stocks & property of the lodge, to receive all moneys from the hands of the Secretary, keep just and accurate accounts of the same & to pay out by the consent of the Lodge & order of the Worshipful Master.  Masonic code requires all checks have two signatures, of which are normally the Treasurer & Secretary, however there are usually two other designated members who can be signers, which can be tapped if an emergency emerges.

A lodge resolution can be made & passed to allow the treasurer to write a check that falls under a "Normal Yearly Expenditure"   (property taxes) without being brought as a vote before the membership.  But as a resolution, this needs to be re-voted on yearly & usually at the start of the newly elected officers year.

The Treasurer gives the Secretary a numbered receipt for all monies received.

The Lodge's financial books need to be audited every year within 30 days prior to the election of officers.  This audit will be made where both the Secretary's AND Treasurer's records shall coincide.  With modern practices, it seems prudent for the Treasurer to operate the lodge's financial business on a computer system AND backed up by a paper trail.

(7) Deacon's Duties :  It is their duties to attend the Master & Wardens and to act as their proxies in the active duties of the Lodge
    (A) Senior Deacon: One of the duties of the Senior Deacon is to greet visiting brethren.  It behooves him to write down the names of the visitors of the lodge sign in book, so that he can later introduce them properly.

He also collects the password from the brethren on the north side of the lodge at the opening of the meeting. 

It is the Senior Deacon who escorts a visitor, member or dignitary within the lodge.  While performing a degree, he takes ahold of the members right arm if during the degrees & the movement around the lodge is in a clockwise rotation.  This places the member so that the Senior Deacon is exhibiting the new member to the other members of the lodge by placing him next to the seated members as he is escorted around.   After the member has been advanced to the Master Mason Degree, then the arm is switched to the left arm.  This follows thru for any other officer, as the Marshall escorting the Chaplain, the Senior Deacon escorting visiting dignitaries, or the Master escorting the visiting dignitary to the East, etc.

The Senior Deacon also opens & closes the Bible & the Great Lights during the opening & closing ceremonies of the Lodge.

Also the Senior Deacon is in charge of the ballot box during voting on persons who have petitioned the lodge for membership.  The ballot box is first presented to the Master, Senior & Junior Wardens for verification that it is clear.  The box is then re-presented to these 3 officers for voting in reverse order.  It is suggested that the Senior Deacon when presenting the ballot box to these officers, to place it on the officer's station, the deacon turn around facing away from the officer while the officer is voting.  The officer will then tap the ballot box, indicating he has completed his balloting.   The Senior Deacon, uses this same procedure for the other two officers.

    (B) Junior Deacon: The main job of the Junior deacon is to guard the inner door of the lodge, or relay messages about the lodge while in session.  This could be distributing balloting papers & retrieving the ballots during an election of officers.  He also collects the password from the brethren on the south side of the lodge at the opening of the meeting. 

(8) Marshal's Duties :  The Marshal when escorting the Chaplain, steps forward & escorts the Chaplain to the alter upon hearing the 3 raps from the Junior Warden.   During the prayer at the altar, the Marshal stands one step directly behind the Chaplain at the altar.  When presenting & retiring the flag he grasps the staff so that he does not have to back up, the shaft is held at about a 45 degree angle, forward & away as to not drape the flag on himself.   The flag is NEVER dipped below this angle nor comes in contact with a foreign object.  Initially when picking the flag up, he should be sure that he rotates the shaft so that there is an eagle on top is always pointing forward.

There is nothing in the code that specifies which hand the flag is carried by, & the code says military protocol does not apply here.  But by the nature of where the flag is positioned during lodge session & where it is normally positioned when not in session, due to the weight of the flag, both hands seem appropriate & with it crossing his body slightly from right to left.

(9)  Chaplain's Duties :  The Chaplain performs the opening & closing prayers of the lodge & at funerals of our departed brethren gone to that house, not made with hands.  He can also ask the blessing if the lodge has refreshments.

(10)  Stewart's Duties :  The Stewarts are recommended to carry their staffs in the same manner as the Deacons when performing their duties within the lodge room.  It is also the Stewarts job to prepare the candidate in the preparation room.  It is suggested that if you expect to be sent in this position, that you learn, (or write it down in code) the actual dressing of the candidate for each degree.  As it is embarrassing to have the candidate enter the lodge & you missed something that needs to be quickly retrieved & finish your job.

If the refreshments need attending to before the final closing of the lodge, the Stewarts may excuse themselves early (like about the time the W M calls for sickness & distress) by advancing to the alter, saluting the Master, on the degree the lodge is in session on, then advancing to the Junior Deacon at the door, who does the appropriate knocking, the Tyler returns the knocks & the Deacon then lets him or them out of the lodge meeting where they can attend to refreshments so that when the lodge is closed, they are ready in the dining room.

The Stewarts duties should be outlined by the Junior Warden (their supervisor) so that newly appointed Stewarts have a well defined idea of what is expected of them.

(11)  Tyler Guards The Door :  The Tyler is the guard at the door, ensures everyone checks in by filling in their name in the Tylerís Book, which records who attended every meeting, and collects visitorsí information for the Secretary.

The Tyler will be that the outside of the DOOR OF THE LODGE, WHEN IT IS IN SESSION, which should never be opened from the outside.  But only by the Junior Deacon from the inside AFTER he has given his prescribed number of knocks, the returning knocks from the Tyler on the outside & then the door is opened from the inside by the Junior Deacon.  Even if there is not enough bodies to actually have a Tyler outside the door, the Junior Deacon it is suggested that he should simulate the Tyler's knocks.

As a prelude to opening the meeting, the Master will ask the Junior Deacon to see that the Tyler is at his post & close the door.  In this circumstance if the door is closed, since the lodge is not yet in session yet, the Junior Deacon can open the door with no knocks involved.

(12) Tyler Not Shut Out :  Shortly after opening the lodge, the Master will usually direct the Junior Deacon to have the Tyler secure the outer foyer door & invite him to set WITHIN THE DOOR & observe the lodge if he wishes.  This accomplishes 2 things in that the Tyler is not shut out from the lodge meeting & at the same time does not require him to enter, advance to the alter & salute the Master as if he was actually entering the lodge.  HOWEVER if the Tyler does close the door behind him & sets WITHIN the lodge room itself,  he would then be required to advance to the alter & salute the Master with the sign of the appropriate degree.  But he would then be out of touch with the outer door if a visitor arrived late & desired admission.

Now there is at one instance when the Tyler would be initially setting within the door where he would have to go to the alter & salute, & that is during balloting, as All lodge members present are required to cast a ballot.  Here, usually some other brother who has already balloted will offer to set in for the Tyler who then advances to the alter, salutes the Master, & does his balloting.  After the balloting is complete & before the Senior Deacon delivers the ballot box to the Wardens for inspection, the Tyler would then re-advance to the alter, re-salute the Master & move back to his chair within the OPEN door of the lodge.   The OPEN DOOR reference is so that IF anyone would approach the outer door, he could simply slide his chair back outside, close the lodge's inner door, do his job with the visitor & carry on from there.

(13) Musician : Some Lodges also have an official position for a musician, which is also appointed. A little ambiance can liven up a meeting, and give a sense of refinement.

(14) Carrying the Staff :  The Deacons may carry their staffs in either hand depending on the circumstances.  The proper method of carrying the staff is to hold onto it securely with the hand, allowing the lower section to rest alongside, under the forearm & elbow.  The staff is held at approximately a 45 degree angle pointing straight forward, not like a hay fork in the field.  The tip of the staff should be carried with the "spear" end pointing vertical when moving around the lodge so the brothers can see it better to identify the brother's position who is carrying it.  But when the staff is deposited in a receptacle, it is rotated so that the face side of the "spear" is facing the Master.

About the only time the Stewarts will usually carry their staffs would be during a degree & then is usually carried in the left hand.

(15)  Escorting :  When any officer is escorting another brother, (especially during the degree when the candidate is blindfolded) is is best that he reaches inside the brother's arm, taking ahold of the brother's wrist from the inside, allowing both forearms to be pressed together.  In this manner the escorting officer has control in directing the brother.  This is very useful in that many older brothers may become unsure on their feet at times which gives them reassurance.

(16)  Learning Your Proficiency or Floor-Work :  One more important thing, not usually covered is that when learning your degree, or any memory exercise later when you may be elected or appointed to a chair in the lodge is to memorize the lines correctly.  Do not interject your own words or punctuation, as much of the words are basically Old English & not a common pronunciation today.  

Also, if you are a coach & not sure of the EXACT wording, consult an older/experienced member for the correct word or pronunciation of it.   Since this is in code & passed down from mouth to ear, even some older members may have learned it wrong.  Or seek out the District Deputy who has a printed out "Red Book".   See if you can make arrangements to have him bring it to a meeting so you can clarify a word or two if needed.  If you learn it wrong to start with, it is very hard to relearn it correctly.  Any rendition of coded ritual that is not word perfect, to many of the old-timers, labels you, or your coach as slightly disconnected.   If it is close to perfect, you may well get a congratulations for a job well done.

If, as a new officer or degree team member, if you are approached by a member, after lodge meeting, suggesting you had a word or two wrong, do not take it wrong, as he is really trying to help you.   And as we all know, some people have problems with communication skills.  There may well be one exception here, as it is considered poor taste to point out a possible dropping of a line or two by the GRAND MASTER when doing a closing, etc. while visiting a lodge.  Is it possible you did not hear exactly what he meant to say?

(17) Officers Titles :  Titles of officers in the organization are established.  A member who has not served as a Master of a lodge is referred to as "Brother".   Once he has attained the position of Master, he is referred to as "Worshipful" Brother.  If he has been appointed as a District Deputy of the Grand Lodge, he is thereafter referred to as "Very Worshipful".   The elected Grand Lodge officers other than the Grand Master are referred to as "Right Worshipful".   And the Grand Master is referred to as "Most Worshipful".  These titles carry on even after the person has stepped down from his position.

(18)  Fellowship & Identification :  One thing that you will observe in any lodge you attend, is that as you walk in, about everyone will walk up, & shake your hand.  If you are visiting a lodge, they will also introduce themselves.  This is one reason for you to obtain a membership badge.  Many of us old guys can not remember a name if voiced verbally, (and probably can't hear good enough anyway) but seeing it in print kind of helps in most cases.  Plus, if the Senior Deacon needs to introduce you as a visiting officer or brother to the lodge, he can read off your name badge during the presentation.

If you have a new face show up at a lodge meeting or function, make it a point to seek him out & strike up a conversation with him.  Remember that no brother is an outsider.  Make him feel welcome, introduce him to other brothers if he has not been already.  He may have just moved into the area & is looking for a new lodge to transfer to & first impressions really do count.

(19)  Arriving Late :  If you happen to arrive at a meeting after it has started, of your own lodge, or a lodge where you have visited before where someone can vouch for your being a Mason, identify yourself to the Tyler.  If he is satisfied you are a Mason, he will inform you the degree that the lodge is functioning on & give the prescribed knocks on the inner door.  The Junior Deacon responds with his knocks & opens the door.   The Tyler will inform the Deacon that there is a Mason without the door desiring admission.  The Junior Deacon will then wait for an opening in the ongoing lodge proceedings to inform the Master that there is a Master Mason without the door who has been properly vouched for & desires admission.  The Master will respond, by "admit him".

You then advance to the alter & salute the Master with the sign of the appropriate degree.   The Master acknowledges you & you then take a seat on the sidelines.

This could also apply if you happened to be at a meeting where, for say a dinner, that the lodge was opened prior to the event & then called from "Labor to Refreshment", or possibly at an open installation & was called into "Off Session" for the installation.   After the event, & the lodge is called back "On Session" if the Senior Warden does not acknowledge that all present are Masons, you as a Mason are now in the lodge room that is session, & if you most likely were not at the initial opening, it would seem appropriate that you now approach the alter & salute the Worshipful Master with the appropriate sign.

(20) Leaving Early :   If you have to leave the lodge room for any reason before it's final closing, wait unit there appears to be a open spot between happenings, you may then excuse yourself early by advancing to the alter, saluting the Master, on the degree the lodge is in session on, waiting for him to acknowledge you, then advancing to the Junior Deacon at the door, who does the appropriate knocking, the Tyler returns the knocks &  Deacon then opens the door & lets you out of the lodge.

(21)  Seating in The Lodge :  If you are a new member visiting a lodge with a fellow brother, who also may not be well known to the other lodge, OR the visiting lodge may have a replacement or a new Junior Deacon who has not had the chance to become acquainted with many members of other lodges, you may encounter a situation whereby you may be challenged when the Deacon walks the line trying to identify the visitors/members.  Here it can save some embarrassment if you sit on the forward (East) side of your fellow experienced brother, who can then vouch for you, because he is either known in that lodge, or has just had someone vouch for him.

Also on occasion, a brother may draw a blank as to the password, especially on a lesser used degree.  If this happens, the Deacon should inform the Master that there is a brother without the word.  If it is obvious the brother is a Mason, the Master will usually inform the Deacon to give the forgetful brother the word.

(22)  Opening of Lodge :  At opening of the lodge, the Master requests the Senior Deacon to open the great lights & for the Junior Deacon to inform the Tyler that the lodge is now open on which-ever degree the lodge will be functioning on.  The Junior Deacon allows the Senior Deacon to get about 1/2 way thru his bible opening ceremony so the final timing will be executed at nearly the same time.  At the time the Bible is prepared usually either the Junior Deacon or Senior Warden will turn on the overhead spotlight onto the now open Bible.

Then all about the same time, the Junior Deacon knocks on the door of the lodge, the Tyler answers, the door is opened by the Deacon, verbiage is exchanged, the door is closed & the Junior Deacon then moves straight forward, stopping just short of the alter at the same distance as the Senior Deacon will soon be.  At this same time the Senior Deacon having completed his opening, preparing the bible & arranging the lights, steps to the north side of the lodge very near the timing of the Junior Deacon's advance.   The Junior Deacon leads off, with "The duty is performed Worshipful Master", followed by the Senior Deacon with the same response.

The above is the same as the closing of the lodge, except the verbiage between the Junior Deacon & the Tyler.

(23) Warden's Columns :   On each of the Junior Warden's & Senior Warden's podiums there is a small wooden column.  These are to represent just where the lodge is during a session.  For instance when the lodge is in session, the Senior Warden's column should be standing upright.  If the lodge is at refreshment then the Junior Warden's column stands upright & the Senior Warden's is laying down.  When the lodge is called back to labor, the Junior Warden lays his column down & the Senior Warden stands his up at the same time.

(24)  Respect Others :  If you are an officer & the lodge has microphone/speakers, by all means use them.  The bulk of the members now days will be older & may well have a hearing impairment.   Just because they may wear hearing aids does not guarantee that they will be able to hear clearly.   If the officers station has a microphone it does not mean it is functional if you are speaking 12" above it, so adjust it to your level.  Then make your point & sit down.  Do not ramble on & on.  If you can not get your point across in 30 seconds, no one will even be listening for the last part of it.

On the other hand some persons speak with such a soft voice that it is about impossible to even hear them even in a normal conversation.  If you happen to be one of these, & are speaking from the sidelines on an issue, try to practice so that you may project your vice so as to be heard.

(25) Ask Permission To Speak :  Always STAND & ask the Master's permission to speak.   In some of the older lodges it is common practice to, when standing & when requesting this permission, to salute the Master with the hands in the position of being placed on the Bible when taking a degree.  This was considered by some as showing tribute to the Master.   However, I find in "Washington Lodge Officers Handbook" that it is not appropriate, however they recognize that traditions are sometimes hard to break.

(26) Courtesy to Master :  It is considered common courtesy to the Master if you intend to present some new major discussion item or motion on the floor of the Lodge, to brief the Master beforehand so he can place it in his agenda if deemed appropriate.

(27) Different Jurisdiction In Different States :  Some jurisdictions of the Masonic family will be sanctioned under Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, while others you will see only as Free & Accepted Masons.  This is basically the same organization, with their charter originating from a different Grand Lodge.  Basically the only thing you may see different is there are some differences in how they open & close a lodge & as to wording in doing so.

(28)  Some Conceptions of Wearing a Masonic Ring :  Wearing Masonic jewelry is covered during one of your instruction lectures while progressing up to as Master Mason, so it will not be covered here, but there is one thing about the Masonic ring that has been tradition in the Pe Ell lodge that I had the opportunity to be Master in.  This lodge like many old line lodges reserved the First degree to be put on by the Junior Warden.  The Second to the Senior Warden & of course the Third degree for the Master to perform. 

In doing this, their tradition was that after you as Master, gave the Master Mason degree to your brother, then you could wear your Masonic ring with the points of the compass pointing outward.  This represented that YOU HAD GIVEN that degree by representing how the compass was placed on a poor blind candidate upon entering the lodge.   And you now were wearing your ring as a Past Master.

You may hear different sides of the wearing of the ring & they both make some sense, so I guess maybe what suits you.

(29)  Flag  Salute :  The National Defense Authorization Act for FY-2008 (Public Law 110-181) was signed by President George Bush on January 28, 2008, and included a section (Section 594) addressing this issue.  

According to the law : "All persons present in uniform should render the military salute.  Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform MAY render the military salute.  All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.  Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention.  All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes".

As of January 25th, 2009 Grand Master Douglas E. Tucker issued the following edict:  "All members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are not in uniform are authorized as per the United States Code, title 36, Section 301(b)(1) to render a hand salute."

However it is noted that the above will only be during the presentation of the flag, and NOT during the "Pledge of Allegiance".

(30)  Floor Work :  When any officer, elected or appointed, moves around the room during the lodge in session, (not on a degree) they should move as close as possible in straight lines, turn at 90 degrees, (simulating a square), & then continue on.  This would also be the path the Marshall travels when presenting or retrieving the flag.  They should NOT cut corners.

(31) Election of Officers :  The elected officers of a lodge are for a year & include the Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, & Secretary.  The other officers are appointed by the incoming master.  These include the Chaplain, Marshal, Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon, Senior Steward, Junior Steward and Tyler.  There could be an Organist included here if applicable & he does not have to be a member of that lodge.

The election is NOT a nomination/second type situation, but usually a member will indicate beforehand that he would consider accepting an office if voted in.  The vote could be taken numerous times to get to where someone would get a majority & then he accept the position.  A member who can not be in attendance the night of the meeting, can let it be known that he would fill that position IF elected.

 However NORMALLY, the chairs are filled using a MOVE UP the ladder system, being employed.  This system may break down when there has been so many re-runs that a member being old/forgetful does not want to be recycled AGAIN, or the lodge is short of new recruits.

(32)  Help With Degrees if Possible : It is regarded as poor taste by some, or somewhat offending the officer who asks if you would help out in performing a degree.  Be there & help if at all possible for you to do so.  Just because you have never done it before or hesitate because you are rusty & unsure may not be justifiable.  If the lodge has few members to put on a degree, they need all the bodies possible to make a showing for the new prospective member.  If in doubt ask for help to learn your new part.

(33) Dress Code :   Dress code has for many years been basically an unwritten code that the members of the lodge normally wear a black or dark colored suit with a tie.  A nice dark sport jacket with dark grey pants or with a bolo tie is also very accepted.  This is not mandatory, but in some of the older lodges you may get frowns when dressed in sport or casual type clothing.  However the lodge will not turn away men in any attire.   Working men when coming directly from work are also welcomed.

(34) Visiting Other Lodges:  As in many organizations, meeting new persons & sharing experiences is enjoyable, therefore traveling to other lodges is a way of doing this.  Participate in this if possible.   This also places more bodies in a lodge & many times in the smaller lodges may even allow them to fill the chairs during a meeting.  This in the long run will possibly contribute to them precipitating to your lodge

If you are on vacation & the opportunity arises to attend a lodge, you will need to prove you are a mason.  You will need to show your current paid up dues card, do a brief question/answer session & possibly recite or repeat the Test Oath from your Monitor.   Learn this universal Test Oath, as it is one of the possible requirements you may need to recite to enter a visiting lodge that there are no other brothers who have sit in lodge with you before, which can vouch for you as being a Mason.

This is not the time to have the interviewing committee (usually 3 members) to be overzealous in that they require you the visitor to go overboard in reciting your whole 3rd degree obligation, as there are many things that the committee can ask & be satisfied that you are indeed a Mason.  Once the committee is satisfied, it is the duty of one of them to introduce you to & inform the Deacon that you have been interviewed & they are satisfied that you are a Mason.

(35) Closing Lodge :  At the close of the lodge the Master will ask the Senior Warden, "How shall Masons meet?", the Warden, at his station, holding his jewel in front of him, who gives his response.  The same is then asked of the Junior Warden.  And finally the Master steps down onto the floor of the lodge & gives his response.  At this time if any members are standing on a elevated seating area, it is common practice for them to also step down onto the same floor level as the Master.  This is to show that at that as the lodge closes all members are standing equal.  And at this time, those on the floor should try to place themselves around the alter, lined up on both sides of the hall, forming a closed rectangle.

(36) Help With Janitorial Duties :  Most small lodges do not have a janitorial service.  Offer to help clean the lodge, restrooms, take out the garbage, or any little thing that allows the lodge to function.  Even offering to perform minor carpentry or plumbing jobs or even washing the windows would be greatly appreciated.

(37) Check The Building Before Leaving : If anyone turns the heat/lights/stove or coffee pot on in the lodge building, it should be their duty to at least check & see that these are also turned off at the end of the meeting.   A heating unit inadvertently being left turned on during cold winter months can amount to a heating bill of over $1000 a month before it has been caught.  This can be disastrous to the tight Temple Board budget.

(38) Cell Phones :  In this modern day & age, it would be very advisable to turn off your cell phone (or at least the ringer or Airplane Mode) while attending the lodge meeting.   It would be very inappropriate to engage in a cell phone conversation in the lodge room while it is in session.

It would also be very bad manners to engage in texting while sitting on the sidelines during a meeting.

(39) Liquor :  Liquor in the lodge building has in the recent past been approved by the Grand Lodge of Washington.  This however is approved for the dining area only & NOT on the floor of the lodge room.  This can be a sticky issue to be sure it is legal & possibly ethical to some people, as to not offend some or providing temptation to others.  Therefore each lodge should deal with the issue before it arises.

Since F&AM Lodge #28 can rent out the facilities to the public that may utilize the kitchen, any alcohol that may be used at a lodge meal or Lodge function should NOT be kept in the main kitchen refrigerator.  There is a special refrigerator in the basement to be used for this purpose.

(40) Lodge Members :  Extract from Washington Masonic Code, Sec. 17.14 B.L.  "The annual dues of members of lodges shall be payable in advance on the 1st day of January of each year.  Any member who has not paid his dues for the current year before December 31st thereof, & who has not been granted a remission of his dues or an extension for a definite period of time in which to pay his dues, shall cease to be a member of the lodge and his name must be dropped from the roll".   NPD -- Non Payment of Dues

Yearly dues for Chehalis F&AM has been set at $60 for some years.  The membership at numerous meetings has wrestled with the need for more funds, but has decided to not raise the yearly dues because of some members being on limited incomes, but to inform the members & hope they may make donations to make up the difference.  Therefore the lodge has PAID the yearly Grand Lodge assessment, leaving little for lodge operations.  At the same time Grand Lodge's expenses have went up, therefore increasing the lodge's yearly assessment.  The year 2015, this assessment alone is $26.00 per member.  This means only $34 of your $60 goes into the lodge operations.

As of late in the year of 2018 a motion was made & passed to add a $120 a year assessment for 2 years to bolster the finances.

Therefore those of you who may be life members, the interest on your money that was invested by Grand Lodge (and with the interest rate currently being low), it would be hoped that you LIFERS & yearly members also consider making a donation to the lodge to help make up the difference.

(41) Temple Board :  In most lodges, the lodge does not own the building, but rents it from a Temple Board, who is the actual legal owner.  This board is made up of appointed members of each fraternal Masonic organization using the building & has it's own officers.  They have their own set of bylaws & are elected at the April meeting.  They meet regularly & the Treasurer pays the lights, water, sewer, taxes and all bills associated with maintaining the building. 

They have no obligation to raise money, but can request the concordant bodies for funds to cover operations.












Shortly after Hitler's rise to power, and possibly as early as the year 1934, there was an awareness that Freemasonry was in danger.  The German Grand Lodge of the Sun in Bayreuth (one of the pre-war German Grand Lodges) realized the imminent problems that faced them and started to wear this little blue flower, the Forget-Me-Not, in place of the Square and Compass, to identify them as Masons. 

This was to allay attraction by the Nazi forces in the process of their confiscation and appropriation of Masonic Lodges and property.  Masonry at this time was underground and thus the Brethren had need of a readily recognized identification.

It was also said that Hitler liked this little flower & he thought that those that wore it were doing so to show support for him.

This little blue flower worn in the lapel distinguished those refusing to allow the Light Of Masonry to be extinguished and during the Nazi era marked a Brother whether he was in the cities or in the Concentration Camps.

The Grand Lodge of the Sun was re-opened in Bayreuth in 1947 by Past Grand Master Beyer and a blue shaped pin shaped as a Forget- Me-Not was adopted as the official emblem of the first annual convention of the survivors of the bitter years of semi-darkness, which brought the Light of Masonry again into the Temples.

This simple flower blossomed forth to become the Fraternity's meaningful emblem and perhaps the most widely worn in the world.


Originated 03-20-08 , Last revised 11-14-2019