Minute Fact: Governance

Governance in Regular Freemasonry emanates from the Grand Lodge. 

Three essential texts inform the study of Regular Masonic Governance:

1. The Charges and Regulations in the 5 editions of the Constitutions of the Premier Grand Lodge, prior to the Union: Anderson 1723, 1738; Entick 1756, 1767; Noorthouck 1784.

2. The summaries of 9 Charges and 6 Regulations in the Installation Ritual in William Preston’s Illustrations of Masonry, especially in the 1775 and 1781 editions; also 1804.

3. The UGLE Book of Constitutions; 37 editions: 1815, 1819, 1827 . . . 2009.

The interested researcher may wish to examine:

1. The changes from Anderson’s Charges (1723) to the UGLE “Antient” Charges (1815).

2. The changes to the Charges and Regulations in the Installation Ritual from the 1775 to the 1781 edition of Preston’s Illustrations, and the reasons for these changes, including the term “antient” charges, and the “innovation” inversion.

3. When, whence, why, by whom, and how the 1827 UGLE Constitution was changed to include Preston’s corrupted Installation promises, as the “Summary of (the) Antient Charges and Regulations”.

4. The changes from the 1853 UGLE Constitution to the 1856 GLC Constitution.  (Viz: from “A free man” to “Free-born” and “Free by birth”, in “Proposing Members”.)

The following UGLE texts are significant:

  • The decision that outlawed “free by birth” and “free-born” (1847-09-01)
  • Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition (1929-09-04)
  • Aims and Relationships of the Craft (1938-08)
  • The correction of the Innovation Inversion (1986-12-10)
  • BGP Report on Women and Freemasonry (1999-03-10)
  • Information For The Guidance Of Members Of The Craft (2009)

Cf: https://sites.google.com/site/tsmr99/essential-sources

Peter Renzland 2011-03-19 -- All Rights Reserved 

Questions that Grand Lodge (GL) Members may Ask Themselves:

1. Are the Minutes of the Grand Lodge deliberations accurate, complete, and timely?

2. Are proposals from GL members to the GL membership altered by the officials?

3. Do the officials give fact-based reasons for their determinations and dismissals?

4. How many Grand Lodge Members are there in my GL?    How many lodge members?

5. How many GL members attend the GL deliberations?  How many non-officials speak?

6. Do the officials help or impede the efforts of GL members to participate in governance?

7. Are the officials perceived as trustworthy, helpful, competent, and reasonable?

8. Are the structures, rules, policies, and practices perceived as principled and coherent?

9. Do the system, the culture, and the practices strengthen or disenfranchise the GL?

"In Freemasonry we have nothing to hide. The Grand Lodge publishes its Proceedings every year, disclosing all business transactions." -- Raymond S.J. Daniels, October 2009

"The Book of Constitutions (rule book) has been in the public domain since the first edition was published in 1723" -- UGLE website 2011

“in fact, the government of every Grand Lodge is completely despotic.” -- History of Grand Lodge of British Columbia, 1871-1970, 1971 p.512

"Our systemic failure to operationalize our rhetoric runs contrary to our values and interests" -- Richard Colvin 2007-10-27, published 2009-12-02

“The history of Masonry ... is fanciful, unreliable and pretentious to a degree that often leads to absurdity.” -- 1917 Albert G. Mackey: Encyclopedia of Freemasonry p. 75

"A peculiar system of governance, veiled in oligarchy and obfuscated by privilege." cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neofeudalism