True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Grand Lodges

Who is the Grand Lodge, anyway? Who are those guys to tell us what to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, what we can teach and how we should teach it, the rituals we should use and the rules by which we should act as masons?

Those are the questions I read on the internet. Well, who are these guys anyway??


Huh? What’d he say?

In a regular Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge is you, the members of the constituent lodges. Like the United States government, the power, the authority, all flows from the members and the chartered lodges. Its really that simple.

Go back to the beginning and take a look at the history of the regular Grand Lodges. I will use the Grand Lodge of California, F&AM as an example of what is usual in the formation of a Regular Grand Lodge.

On April 17th, 1850, in Sacramento three Chartered Lodges presented credentials, and three Lodges under dispensation sent delegates. The oldest recorded California Lodge is California Lodge # 1, which was chartered by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia as California Lodge # 13.

Western Star Lodge #2 (or 98) which was issued by the Grand Lodge of Missouri on May 10, 1848, when it was first Chartered.

The Grand Lodge of Connecticut issued a Charter to Connecticut Lodge No. 76 on January 31, 1849. When the Grand Lodge of California was formed in 1850, it became Tehama Lodge No. 3.

Three regularly chartered lodges come together, and the three can form a new Grand Lodge in a territory where a Grand Lodge does not already exist. A Grand Lodge cannot exist, cannot come into being regularly, without three legally chartered lodges. The power and the authority of all Grand Lodges comes from the lodges, and the members that make up those lodges, that constitute it.

Every Grand Lodge has a constitution, a set of rules by which the Grand Lodge operates, and no Grand Lodge operates without the consent of the brethren. As with any organization, especially a volunteer organization, power, that is in this case, the authority to rule comes from the “ruled” members, and without their consent to be ruled, there is no Grand Lodge.

So, next time you hear someone complain about their Grand Lodge doing this or their Grand Lodge doing that “to” them, remind them that THEY are the Grand Lodge. Its not just a group of amorphous anonymous ascetics “somewhere at Grand Lodge” telling you what to do. They are your representatives, they are YOU.
May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us.


Anonymous said...

My numbers might be a bit off, but it looks like Grand Lodge of California represents 345 lodges. Grand Lodge of Texas has 883. Whereas Grand Lodge of Connecticut only has 93 lodges.

Do you think the effectiveness of a particular Grand Lodge is limited as the number of bodies it governs grows? I mean, I know there are districts and other subdivisions between GL and a regular lodge, but I wonder just how representative a GL can be when it is governing a growing and diverse collection of men.

Anonymous said...

Good question, but when you look at the US Senate, which is composed of 2 delegates per
State, there doesn't seem to be a problem with regard to being represented by their State.


Theron Dunn said...

That's an interesting question, and I do not know the answer. In California, we have four votes per lodge, one for each Junior, Senior Warden, Master, and one for the past master.

District Deputy Grand Masters each have a vote, the past Grand Masters, and elected Grand Officers: Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Senior and Junior Grand Wardens, Grand Secretary, Treasurer, and Grand Lecturer.

I don't think the effectiveness decreases as the grand lodge grows, because my grand lodge was 90,000 men ten years ago and was just as effectively controlled by the brethren then.

Silence Dogood said...

In my jurisdiction, I have no say in Grand Lodge, because our Grand Lodge consists solely of Past Masters. Frankly, they couldn't care less about what I think. Why do we all think that our Grand Lodges are too big to afford direct democracy instead of these Republic/Constitutional Monarchy/Oligarchy messes that we've formed? Sure, there needs to be committees, leaders, etc., but why can't everyone vote? Perhaps in California the GL is doing a good job, however, I have yet to be in a state where there was not a sense of discontent, particularly among the younger members.

Theron Dunn said...

"Silence Dogood"

I am not sure what state you are in, you were very vague about it. I can't address any other grand lodge, as I am not a member of any other grand lodge.

My Grand Lodge is interested in my opinion, and the opinion of all members. ANY member can write legislation, and with the signature of three master masons, can submit the legislation for a vote at the Grand Communication.

At the Grand Communication, three brothers can speak for and three against any legislation. Each brother has three minutes to speak, after which we vote on the legislation.

I wish your masonry was more like mine, however, that written, its up to the brethren to make their masonry what they want it to be. If a majority are ok with it as it is, and a minority are not... well, the majority prevails.

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