Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What is the residency requirement to submit a petition?

The answer depends on the type of petition, but the question usually comes up when someone is considering submitting a petition for the degrees. Keep in mind that in Minnesota every lodge has concurrent jurisdiction with every other lodge throughout the state, so a man can petition any lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota as long as he meets the requirements. Here is what the Minnesota Masonic Code says on the residency question:
SECTION C9.10 No Lodge shall initiate any person except upon his personal and voluntary petition, nor shall such petition be received unless the petitioner has therein fully answered all questions required to be contained in such petition by the laws of the Grand Lodge; nor unless such petitioner shall have been an actual resident in the jurisdiction of the Lodge for ninety (90) days immediately preceding the date of his petition. Petitions are part of the records and must not be destroyed after they have been acted upon.
And it goes on to state in G14.02 ... A petitioner for affiliation or plural membership need not be a resident of the State of Minnesota. So the residency question really only pertains if it is a petition for the degrees.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Past Grand Masters' Luncheon

No tough question this time, just a brief report on one of the nice perquisites of being a Grand Secretary. I have enjoyed a close working relationship with the past 18 Grand Lodge of Minnesota Grand Masters, three while I was the Grand Treasurer and 15 since becoming the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. In addition to these fine Masons I have also had the distinct privilege of getting to know most of the other living Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota over these past several years. So when we have a chance to get most of them together in one place, that is a real treat. The Grand Lodge of Minnesota hosted a little luncheon and they gathered on August 2nd at the Minnesota Masonic Home in Bloomington. Here is the photo memorializing the event.


Seated, left to right: MWB Alyn Dull, 1983; MWB Donald Severson, 1978; Grand Master John L. Cook; MWB Verne Long, 1973; MWB John Peterson, 1981; MWB Warren Clark, 1993.
Standing, left to right: Jr. Grand Deacon John Gann; Jr. Grand Steward John Studell; Jr. Grand Warden David Olson; MWB Steven Johnson, 2006; MWB Neil Neddermeyer, 2003: MWB Thomas McCarthy, 2009; MWB Thomas Jackson, 2008; MWB Charles Baltos, 1991; MWB Jack Benson, 1995; MWB Donald Sether, 1986; MWB Eric Neetenbeek, 1996; Deputy Grand Master Thomas Hendrickson; MWB Roger Taylor, 2001; MWB Samuel Dickinson, 1980; MWB Ward Sonsteby, 1989; MWB Philip Soderberg, 2000; MWB Donald Flood, 1985.
Not pictured, Grand Secretary Douglas Campbell, Photographer.

Knowing that our most senior Past Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother D. William Tiffany, would not be able to attend the luncheon at the Minnesota Masonic Home on August 2nd, some of us gathered at his home near Redwood Falls a week earlier to greet and visit with Bill.



Kneeling next to the left of MWB Bill Tiffany, is MWB Verne Long, 1973; standing next to Bill is Grand Master John L. Cook, Jr.
Standing first row, left to right: MWB Samuel Dickinson, 1980; and MWB Philip Soderberg, 2000. Standing in the back row, left to right: MWB John Peterson, 1981; MWB Ward Sonsteby, 1989; MWB J. V. Christianson, 1997; and Grand Secretary Douglas Campbell.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grand Lodge Recognition Process - Minnesota Syle

Brother Doug,
Over the past several years our lodge has raised several Brothers of Liberian descent. One of our members traveled to his home country Liberia. There he visited a Lodge and was well received. He had a conversation with the Master and their Master would like to become, for lack of a better term, a "Sister lodge" of our Lodge. To my knowledge, I have heard of only this one member communicating with a Lodge in Liberia, (again, I will speak to this Brother about the situation). I do know that many of the members we have raised spoke of how hard it is to become a Mason in Liberia. And I assume that many of them, should they travel back to their home countries would want to be accepted into a Lodge.
I realize that our member should not visit a clandestine lodge nor should he converse Masonically with a clandestine Mason. With that said, I would like to see if I can get the recognition process moving. What can we do to get started?
W. Brother Al

Hello W. Brother Al,
Yes, for you or any member of a lodge under the Grand Lodge of Minnesota to be able to converse Masonically with a member of a lodge in Liberia, or any other unrecognized lodge, the lodge’s Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Minnesota would first need to recognize each other. This is not a process that is very easy, nor is it accomplished by an individual Mason or an individual lodge, other than the process needs to start somewhere. The recognition process is complicated and time consuming. The younger Grand Lodge must be the one to request recognition from the older Grand Lodge. My records show that there was a Grand Lodge of Liberia constituted in 2001 and another one in 1883. In either case, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota was constituted in 1853, making us the older Grand Lodge. There is little or no information on the web on the Grand Lodge of Liberia.
Long story short, if the person you are dealing with wants us to recognize his Grand Lodge, then his Grand Lodge will need to make a formal request for recognition. That request should contain their constitution and bylaws, among other things. They will need to certify that they adhere to the long established standards for recognition, which include these elements:
1 Legitimacy of origin
2 Exclusive territorial jurisdiction, except by mutual consent
3 Adherence to the Ancient Landmarks
Before the Grand Lodge of Minnesota would act on such a request, with such action taking place at an Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, the request would go to our External Relations Committee. Before our External Relations Committee will be likely to act on such a request, the foreign Grand Lodge would first need to make its presentation to the Committee on Information for Recognition of the North American Conference of Grand Masters. This part of the process would likely take a year or two at best. The Commission on Information for Recognition was organized in 1951 as a facility to gather, collate and from time to time, revise information on Grand Lodges in other lands, as a service to the Grand Lodges of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America. The Commission neither advises nor recommends that recognition be given to any Grand Lodge, but merely inquires whether or not it considers that a Grand Lodge in question satisfies the conditions of regularity. The Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America meets every February and a report from the Commission on Information for Recognition generally follows within several weeks.
As you can see from what I am saying here, this is a process that can easily take a few years. But like every project, it starts with the first step. If the Grand Lodge of Liberia wants to take that step then by all means, they should do so.
Doug

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Masonic Blogs

RWB Doug,
The Grand Master requested that I contact you and request permission to publish a blog. I have been publishing an occasional blog for a couple of months. I did not even think about requesting permission. The Grand Master already has said he would sign off on it. Is this something that I will need to get renew with every new GM?
Thanks.

Hello Brother,
Blogging on Masonic topics is becoming increasingly popular as the tools to do so become easier to work with. I congratulate you on your enthusiasm for Freemasonry and your willingness to share your thoughts and idea. The Corporate Board of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota has adopted an Internet policy that includes, among many other items, a section on Blogs, It is excerpted below.

The entire policy statement is on our website at http://www.mn-masons.org/lodge-resources/computer-internet-policy.
So with the Grand Master already having approved of your blog, you will be in full compliance if you simply add the disclaimer, “Any views, opinions, or thoughts articulated in postings and/or comments from any contributors to this weblog do not in any way represent the views of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, its constituent lodges, officers, or employees.”

The policy statement is not meant to inhibit your discussion of Masonic topics, but rather to just make it clear that everyone can have their own opinions on things Masonic and if they choose to express them that they are speaking for themselves and not for their lodge or for Freemasonry at large.
Once approved of, as your blog is as soon as you can add the disclaimer, you are approved indefinitely; you need not get reapproved once each year when we elect new Grand Lodge officers. I say indefinitely because should any Minnesota Mason fall out of compliance the Grand Lodge would have the right to rescind the approval and require the blogger to stop publication of his blog. I don’t mean to sound heavy handed but this is not unlike a lodge publishing a newsletter. Should the publisher of such a newsletter decide to start including political rants or other things prohibited by our rules then the Grand Lodge also has the right to demand that the publication of such a newsletter in the name of the lodge be stopped.
Please just shoot me a note when you have updated your blog with the disclaimer and I will note the approval in our records for you and you will be all set.
Doug

Article II.
Weblogs, Blogging, Texting, Twitter and Other Forms of Electronic Communication
Section 2.01 The following policies regarding various forms of communication, electronic and otherwise are established in the Jurisdiction of Minnesota:
  • (a) Under no circumstances should the use of computers in any form including cell phones be allowed in the Lodge room during a tyled meeting with the possible exception of the Lodge Secretary and Treasurer and/or the use of a computer to present a slide show or video then only with the permission of the Master.
  • (b) Members who are required to be on call such as, but not limited to law enforcement, fire or medical professionals, cell phones or other types of communication instruments will be allowed but must be muted or in silent mode during a tyled lodge meeting. If a call comes in for the member, he should excuse himself from the meeting and take the call outside the Lodge room so as not to disturb the meeting.
  • (c) The disclaimer statement below must be included on every blog/forum hosted by a member of Minnesota Freemasonry that will discuss subjects related to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota or its constituent Lodges.
  • (d) Permission from the Grand Lodge of Minnesota must be obtained before matters of policy can be placed on or discussed on blog sites or communicated in any other form of communication.
  • (e) Despite disagreement, respect must always be shown to the Fraternity, its members and families.
  • (f) Blogging activity or any other form of communication must in no way be contrary to the obligations of Freemasonry. This includes, but is not limited to the prohibition on certain discussions about balloting or other matters that the Master would expect to be kept confidential.
  • (g) All the provisions of the “Computer Use Policy” which apply to the promoting of information over the internet also apply here.
  • (h) Masons are encouraged to follow the “Bloggers Code of Ethics” below.
Section 2.02 Disclaimer
(a) Any blog created by any member of Freemason under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota that will discuss any Masonic topic of any kind must include the following disclaimer.
(i) “Any views, opinions, or thoughts articulated in postings and/or comments from any contributors to this weblog do not in any way represent the views of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, its constituent lodges, officers, or employees.”

Section 2.03 Blogger Code of Ethics
(a) I will tell the truth.
(b) I will write deliberately and with accuracy.
(c) I will acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly.
(d) I will preserve the original post, using notations to show where I have made changes so as to maintain the integrity of my publishing.
(e) I will never delete a post.
(f) I will not delete comments unless they are spam or off-topic.
(g) I will reply to emails and comments when appropriate, and do so promptly.
(h) I will strive for high quality with every post – including basic spellchecking.
(i) I will stay on topic.
(j) I will disagree with other opinions respectfully.
(k) I will link to online references and original source materials directly.
(l) I will disclose conflicts of interest.
(m) I will keep private issues and topics private.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lodge Meetings at the Minnesota Masonic Home?

Hello Brother Grand Secretary,
I am trying to get some preliminary information about Masons that are at the Masonic Home in Bloomington. Does the Grand Lodge have this information? I ask because I am planning on bringing forward the possibility of seeing if our Lodge is interested in having a lodge meeting at the home and invite the Masons that are residents there for a lodge night and a Masonic program. This is strictly in the idea stage only and I would like to try to get an idea of some information. I am working on the our lodge's history and this is something that had been done in the past and I thought that this would be a great thing to do for the Masons at the home.
If the Grand Lodge does not have this information, could you provide a point of contact at the home that I could direct this question to.
Thanks,
Brother Shawn

Hello Brother ,
Lodges do hold meetings here at the Minnesota Masonic Home from time to time and in fact, the Home has most of the necessary paraphernalia to allow you to set up a lodge room without needing to bring too much from your lodge. You would need to bring along your officer aprons and jewels and of course, the lodge charter. To move the charter to a temporary location would also require a dispensation from the Grand Master. Once you have a date picked and have cleared it with the folks who handle the scheduling here at the Home, then the lodge Secretary or Master should request the dispensation. The person to talk to about reserving the room and any refreshments would be Jaime Rennich, 952-948-7800, or e-mail jaime.rennich@mnmasonic.org.
Now, as to a list of Masons, no, we don't really have a formal list; privacy and HIPPA concerns place some restrictions on what we can ask and even what we can tell if we do know something. But we do informally know of several Masons who reside at the Masonic Home and they also often times put up little signs in the elevators and elsewhere to let the residents know of the upcoming lodge meeting. There is also a group that meets here, the Dan Patch Masonic Club, and if you get word to them they could help spread the word to their members and elsewhere around the Home.
When you get something set up as to date and time just have someone let me know so we can get the dispensation for you and also start spreading the word.
Doug

Just When Are Lodge Dues Due?

R. W. Brother Doug, 12/12/2009
The dues record and membership rolls at our Lodge seem to have been neglected over the years. This past year 5 brothers were stricken from the rolls who were paid up through 2004, 2005 and 2006. There were 11 total brothers in this category but 6 have agreed to pay or have settled up already. Next week is our annual installation and it was brought to my attention that three officers were paid only through 2008. 2 of the 3 brothers have stated that they will pay through 2010 before that night and I am waiting for a response from one other. This situation has brought to light that I am not fully aware of the rules on membership rights. My interpretation of the rules pertaining to dues are as follows:

There are 3 levels of Membership pertaining to dues:
  1. A member in Good Standing
  2. A member who is delinquent
  3. A member Suspended for non payment of dues
If a member has a dues card for 2008 then that member is a member in Good Standing until December 31, 2009 and is awarded the right to be installed on December 21, 2009. On January 1, 2010 that said member would then become delinquent of their dues and loose the right to serve as a member or attend meetings there after until they become current. Then after all the contact over the year and attempts to bring the member current at the annual meeting on the first meeting in December that member would be stricken for nonpayment of dues and loose all rights as a Master Mason until brought current with the books.
Could you please advice on the correct way to handle these dues situation so I can work this year to bring our rolls current with Grand Lodge standards?

Dear Brother Secretary,
Anyone who has a 2010 dues card can be admitted to lodge meetings during the year 2010. If I came to your meeting on 1/1/2010 and I could only show you a 2009 dues card then I should not be admitted. Lodge meetings are for Masons in good standing only. There are sections in the Minnesota Masonic Code dealing with members who are so delinquent that they are in danger of being suspended from membership (two years of dues past due), but they do not deal with a Brother who is past due but not yet in danger of being suspended for nonpayment of dues. And in particular, no member of the lodge not in good standing should ever be installed into an elective or appointed office. If this has been your personal practice or the practice of your lodge, then you should make arrangements to correct these errors as soon as possible.
Sorry, but in particular, your interpretation that a member with a 2008 dues card could be somehow installed into office in December of 2009 is completely wrong. The fact that he might be suspended a few days later should lead you to a different conclusion than you have drawn.
Doug



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grand Lodge Roster Numbers

Where do we find the roster number or the Grand Lodge number for our new Master Masons? Does the Grand Lodge assign these numbers?
Another Secretary
The Grand Lodge numbers, also sometimes known as roster numbers, are actually supposed to be the line number for each new Master Mason as he signs the lodge bylaw book. This should be done immediately after the charge is read when they are raised to the Master Mason Degree. These numbers are used to assign a unique number to every member, in the format of lodge number hyphen roster number: LL-RRRR. Or in the case of the Grand Secretary who happens to be a member of Cataract Lodge No. 2: 2-3352.
A new member affiliating from another lodge would also sign the bylaws and that line number is again used to assign his roster number to him. A former member being restored to membership or reaffiliating does not re-sign the bylaws and as such, is not assigned a new number; he would retain his former roster number.
Doug

Grand Lodge Fees and Assessments

Can you tell me the fees that are due to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota for our new Brothers?
A Secretary
There are three fees for each new Mason:
$5.00 for the George Washington Masonic Memorial
$12.50 for the Grand Lodge of Minnesota Help Aid and Assist Fund and
$8.00 known as the raising fee, which is split 50% into the Grand Lodge of Minnesota Reserve Fund and 50% into the Grand Lodge of Minnesota Benevolence Fund. So you see that these fees total $25.50 for every new Mason.
But only the first two, the $5.00 and the $12.50 are due at the time of the Master Mason Degree. The last fee, the $8.00, is due with the year end annual report to the Grand Lodge.
So for four new members a lodge Secretary would send a check right after the Master Mason Degree for $70.00 and hold off on the other $32.00 until the lodge files the next annual report. You will see the line on the annual report to aggregate these fees for the entire year at one time.
Doug

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Petitions and a Petitioner's Age

RWB Doug – I have a question…well, another question.
One of our members has a son who will turn 18 on next March. He would like to petition the Lodge. Our Lodge has scheduled degrees to start in late March. Can a petition be read in Lodge if the candidate is not yet 18, but will be when the degrees begin?
We just want to make sure we play by the rules.
Thanks!

Our Minnesota Masonic Code is quite clear on this subject, a man must be 18 years old to petition the lodge:

ARTICLE XIV. Petitions

SECTION G14.01 A Lodge is authorized to receive five (5) types of petitions: For degrees; for affiliation; for plural membership; for reinstatement; for restoration.

A petition for degrees must be accompanied by an amount not less than one-third (1/3) of the whole fee for degrees, at the time of election, and must be the free and voluntary act of the petitioner, without improper solicitation. It shall clearly express a belief and trust in God, a favorable opinion of Masonry, a promise, if accepted, to conform to the usages and customs of the Fraternity and the Constitution and General Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Minnesota.

It shall state the place of his birth, the present residence, with street and number, if there is one, his present occupation and, if not self-employed, the name and business address of his employer and the specific nature of their business.

It shall further state the length of his consecutive residence in this State and in the Jurisdiction of the Lodge to which the petition is addressed; whether ever rejected by any other Masonic Lodge anywhere and, if so, when and by what Lodge or Lodges, and the post office address thereof.

It shall show the petitioner's age to be no less than eighteen (18) years.

It shall be signed with the full name of the petitioner and must be recommended by two Master Masons in good standing, at least one of which must be a member of the of the Lodge petitioned and the other may be a member in good standing of a Lodge recognized by this Grand Lodge. (4/99)

No petition can be legally received which does not contain all of the foregoing data.

In accordance with the basic principles and the Ancient Landmarks of Masonry, every petition for membership in a constituent Lodge of the Grand Lodge shall be received and acted on without regard to the race, color, creed or national origin of the petitioner.

The bold emphasis above is mine.
I suggest that you allow the young man to come to some open lodge events, encourage him to read about the fraternity and talk with Masons to give him a head start. But he must wait until he turns 18 to submit his petition.
Doug

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just what is the tax status of a lodge?

R.W. Brother Grand Secretary,
Some confusion. What is the tax status of the Grand Lodge? I know its not a 501c3, but is it tax exempt and are donations deductible? Are the local lodges covered under the Grand Lodge status?
Thanks,
Ken

The Grand Lodge of Minnesota and all of the constituent lodges under the Grand Lodge of Minnesota are tax exempt entities under section 501(c)(10) of the IRS code. Below you will find what the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p557/ch04.html#d0e7694) says about both 501(c)(8) and 501(c)(10) - Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Domestic Fraternal Societies. Disregard what it says about 501(c)(8), that is similar but not us, we do not provide an insurance benefit.
The bold under tax treatment is something that I call your attention to. A contribution to the lodge, under the IRS regulations, is probably tax deductible to the donor in most situations, as long as the contribution is used exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
So my interpretation of the rules is that while a tax deductible contribution cannot be used to pay the lodge property taxes, it can be used to provide a scholarship. Etc.
I trust this has answered your questions and if so, you are now an expert on this just as much as your Grand Secretary.
Doug

501(c)(8) and 501(c)(10) - Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Domestic Fraternal Societies
This section describes the information to be provided upon application for recognition of exemption by two types of fraternal societies: beneficiary and domestic. The major distinction is that fraternal beneficiary societies provide for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits to their members or their dependents, while domestic fraternal societies do not provide these benefits but rather devote their earnings to fraternal, religious, charitable, etc., purposes. The procedures to follow in applying for recognition of exemption are described in chapter 1.
If your organization is controlled by a central organization, you should check with your controlling organization to determine whether your unit has been included in a group exemption letter or may be added. If so, your organization need not apply for individual recognition of exemption. For more information see Group Exemption Letter in chapter 1 of this publication.
Tax treatment of donations. Donations by an individual to a domestic fraternal beneficiary society or a domestic fraternal society operating under the lodge system are deductible as charitable contributions only if used exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
Remember we are not (c-8), just similar to that status.
Fraternal Beneficiary Societies (501(c)(8))
A fraternal beneficiary society, order, or association should file an application for recognition of exemption from federal income tax on Form 1024. The application and accompanying statements should establish that the organization:
1. Is a fraternal organization,
2. Operates under the lodge system or for the exclusive benefit of the members of a fraternal organization itself operating under the lodge system, and
3. Provides for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits to the members of the society, order, or association or their dependents.
Lodge system. Operating under the lodge system means carrying on activities under a form of organization that comprises local branches, chartered by a parent organization and largely self-governing, called lodges, chapters, or the like.
Payment of benefits. It is not essential that every member be covered by the society's program of sick, accident, or death benefits. An organization can qualify for exemption if most of its members are eligible for benefits, and the benefits are paid from contributions or dues paid by those members.
The benefits must be limited to members and their dependents. If members will have the ability to confer benefits to other than themselves and their dependents, exemption will not be recognized.
Whole-life insurance. Whole-life insurance constitutes a life benefit under section 501(c)(8) even though the policy may contain investment features such as a cash surrender value or a policy loan.
Reinsurance pool. Payments by a fraternal beneficiary society into a state-sponsored reinsurance pool that protects participating insurers against excessive losses on major medical health and accident insurance will not preclude exemption as a fraternal beneficiary society.


Domestic Fraternal Societies (501(c)(10))
A domestic fraternal society, order, or association may file an application for recognition of exemption from federal income tax on Form 1024. The application and accompanying statements should establish that the organization:

1. Is a domestic fraternal organization,
2. Operates under the lodge system,
3. Devotes its net earnings exclusively to religious, charitable, scientific, literary, educational, and fraternal purposes, and
4. Does not provide for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits to its members.

The organization may arrange with insurance companies to provide optional insurance to its members without jeopardizing its exempt status.

Questions About the Ballot

An interested Brother writes: I have a few obscure ballotting questions:
What if a brother gets the box to vote and there are no black balls in it? Should he assume that they are all used? Can he refuse to vote, or demand that there be some made available?
What if a brother knows that there are black balls cast, but yet the ballot is declared clear? (suggested to me as being within the Master's power and legend has it that that is how Masters did it in the old days)
Once a ballot is closed can there be objections raised, and a re-ballot ordered?
Does the Sr. Deacon go without the door to get the Tyler's vote, or is he called in to vote?
If business is being conducted on the First Degree, can an Entered Apprentice vote?

I don’t really think that most of your questions are answered in the Minnesota Masonic Code. But definitely, if a Brother is ready to vote and the color or shape that he needs cannot be found, then I think he should make that fact known immediately to the Master. One of the things that is said by the W. Master right before the ballot takes place, is “Brother Sr. Deacon, prepare the ballot box.” Preparing the ballot box must mean more that picking it up off of a table. He should check and be sure there are plenty of all choices available. If the Sr. Deacon does not do that then he should probably be talked to about it before a fresh ballot takes place.
So let me get this right, the second question assumes at least three of the three top officers of the lodge are lying to the lodge in performance of their official duties. I don’t really know how to respond to that. Perhaps
I would assume that a mistake was made but that I as the black balling voter must have made the mistake by putting in a white ball instead of a black ball?
I see no provision anyplace for objecting to a ballot after it has taken place. The sideliners only recourse would be then to object the candidate before or at the time of the Entered Apprentice Degree.
The correct place for the Tyler is outside of a tyled lodge room. But many lodges now make it a practice of inviting the Tyler into the room and then allow him to exit just before the closing. I have no big problem with this other than it is technically not correct and that it really leaves the lodge untyled. But if he is inside then he can vote, if he is a member in good standing of that lodge. The Tyler need not be a member of the lodge for which he is the Tyler. It would be incorrect for the Sr. Deacon to go to the Tyler’s door to have him vote. Members eligible to vote are those members in good standing who are inside the tyled lodge room at the time of the ballot.
And in response to the last question, only members of the lodge can vote. With a change to the Minnesota Masonic Code about ten years ago, we made it permissible for a lodge to open on the Entered Apprentice Degree or the Fellowcraft Degree so those Masons could attend meetings prior to being raised as Master Masons, but that did not change the definition of a member of the lodge:
ARTICLE XIII. Chartered Lodges
Composition - Degrees - Demits - Membership - SECTION G13.01 A Lodge shall be composed of its charter members who shall be petitioners for dispensation whose demits are filed with the Grand Secretary prior to the issuance of the charter and all Master Masons raised while under dispensation. The Grand Secretary shall keep a roll of such charter members. No demits need be filed for dispensation for an Educational Lodge. After receiving a charter, all Master Masons receiving degrees conferred, and all petitioners accepted for affiliation, reinstatement or restoration, by ballot, shall be members thereof. No Lodge shall be named for any living person and shall be numbered according to the dates of their respective charters.
Doug

Monday, October 26, 2009

One-Day-to-Masonry Petition Procedures

Hello Doug
Our lodge has a petition for the One-Day-to-Masonry and I do not know the proper way to handle this. Could you give the information?
Thanks,
Brother Dave


The One-Day-to-Masonry candidate needs to go through the normal process of petitioning your lodge, having the petition read at a stated meeting, investigation committee work and then being balloted on at a subsequent stated meeting. The candidate can use a regular petition or we also have a special One-Day-to-Masonry petition up on the Grand Lodge of Minnesota website, either one is just fine. Once all that has taken place, then the lodge mails a copy of the petition and the $250 One-Day-to-Masonry fee to the Grand Lodge office. This can be done anytime, sooner rather than later, with a deadline of ten days prior to the One-Day-to-Masonry event. So in the case of the next one taking place at the Minneapolis Scottish Rite Temple on January 19, 2013, we would need the petition copy and the fee no later than January 9, 2013. This ten day advance notice is to allow us time to send the candidate a letter containing the day’s itinerary, a map to help get him to the Minneapolis Scottish Rite Temple and other important information. We also send him a special version of the Quest booklet to help prepare him for the ceremonies taking place as part of the One-Day-to-Masonry.
Lastly, we want at least one Brother from the lodge to plan on coming down to the event so the candidate can know a familiar face or two when he goes to his first lodge meeting back in his home lodge. The lunch fee for the sideliner is $15.00 and can be paid at the door on checking in on January 19th. So please canvass your Brothers a bit and encourage them to plan to come to the One-Day-to-Masonry as your lodge initiates, passes and raises a new member that day.
Doug

Monday, October 19, 2009

Residency Requirements to Join a Lodge

Just what is the residency requirement for a petitioner?

There is a 90 day residency requirement for a man to be a resident of Minnesota when he petitions for the degrees. This can be found in the Minnesota Masonic Code in Section C9.10:
No Lodge shall initiate any person except upon his personal and voluntary petition, nor shall such petition be received unless the petitioner has therein fully answered all questions required to be contained in such petition by the laws of the Grand Lodge; nor unless such petitioner shall have been an actual resident in the jurisdiction of the Lodge for ninety (90) days immediately preceding the date of his petition. Petitions are part of the records and must not be destroyed after they have been acted upon.
All constituent lodges under the Grand Lodge of Minnesota share concurrent jurisdiction.
There is no residency requirement for a petition for dual membership, affiliation or restoration. In other words, a Mason who would like to affiliate with a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota doe not need to be a resident of Minnesota.
Doug

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Lost Symbol a novel by Dan Brown, Revisited

As mentioned, the new Dan Brown novel, The Lost Symbol is generating a fair amount of buzz, both within and without the Masonic world. I have read the book. It is an entertaining page turner just like Dan Brown's earlier books. Does it portray Freemasonry accurately? If you are a Mason, you will need to judge that for yourself, but in my opinion, the essence of the Masonic fraternity comes through loud and clear. Right through the final paragraph as well as the final word in the book, "Hope."
Want to know more about the fraternity and the book? The Masonic Service Association of North America, The George Washington Masonic Memorial and the Masonic Society have co-sponsored a website, The Lost Symbol & Freemasonry, with plenty of information on the book and its Masonic references.
Doug

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Lost Symbol a novel by Dan Brown

We have received a few calls and comments about the new Dan Brown novel, The Lost Symbol. As no advance copies were to have been released, today on September 14th, I am like most of the rest of the world, I have not read the book yet. But having read all of Dan Brown's other novels, I plan on reading this one at my first opportunity. But even after I have a chance to read the latest work, I will not really be in a position to speak for the Minnesota Masonic Fraternity about the book or about Freemasonry in general because our chief spokesperson is always the Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota. Our current Grand Master is Most Worshipful Brother Thomas G. McCarthy and I am sure that he will have some comments on the book and Freemasonry in the coming days and weeks. Be sure to watch the Grand Lodge of Minnesota website for any official response to the book and in the meantime, if the new book is as entertaining as his past books, just enjoy the book.
Doug