Friday, June 12, 2009

The Ancient Landmarks

Dear Brother Grand Secretary,
I am doing some research on the the Ancient Landmarks adopted in the United States and England and I could not find when the 26 Landmarks of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota were established. Please, could you give me a little history on their origin in Minnesota.

The Grand Lodge of Minnesota was formed in February 1853. Our constitution published as an addendum to the Proceedings of the convention establishing the Grand Lodge of Minnesota enumerated 26 ancient landmarks, each of which is substantially the same as the 26 ancient landmarks contained in our constitution today. So while I cannot tell you definitively where our ancient landmarks originated, I can tell you that they are as old as the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. As the Grand Lodge of Minnesota was formed by three lodges in 1853, one from the Grand Lodge of Ohio, one from the Grand Lodge of Illinois and one from the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, one might assume that our 26 landmarks might have come from one of these three grand jurisdictions. But a quick reading of the publication published by the Masonic Service Association in Silver Springs, Maryland, “Ancient Landmark of Freemasonry, as adopted followed or undecided by the fifty-one Grand Lodges of the the United States” does not seem to indicate any similarity between our 26 ancient landmarks and the ancient landmarks of those three grand jurisdictions today. It would take more research by an interested party to know whether one or all those three grand jurisdictions have substantially changed their enumeration of the landmarks over the past 156 years, but I can tell you that ours have not changed substantially in that same time frame. Every one of the subjects of the 26 landmarks in 1853 is still the same subject of that landmark today, although in some cases their have been word changes to them.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the Masonic Service Association publication that I refer to above, but if you are a student of this subject then you really should have a copy. It was originally published in 1932 and updated several times over the years, most recently in 1983.
I thank you for your interest. Below you will find the 26 ancient landmarks of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota as they exist today.
Doug Campbell,
Grand Secretary
SECTION C2.02 The Ancient Landmarks are those principles of Masonic government and policy which are among the parts of Masonic law or rules of government that may never be altered or disturbed, as, for instance, the universal language of Masons, and those peculiar marks of distinction by which they are separated from the profane, and by which they are enabled to prove themselves as the "Sons of Light."

SECTION C2.03 The following are enumerated from the Ancient Constitutions as having the force of Ancient Landmarks of the Fraternity, having been generally received and acknowledged by Masons as such:

  1. That belief in the Supreme Being, "The Great Architect of the Universe," who will punish vice and reward virtue, is an indispensable prerequisite to admission to Masonry.
  2. That the moral law which inculcates charity and probity, industry and sobriety, and obedience to law and civil government, is the rule and guide of every Mason, to which strict conformity is required.
  3. That obedience to Masonic law and authority, being voluntarily assumed, is of perpetual obligation.
  4. That the rites and ceremonies (which include the unwritten language) of the true system of the Ancient York Rite, and which constitute a part of the body of Masonry, are immutable, and that it is not in the power of any man to make innovations therein, except when in Grand Lodge convened.
  5. That contentions and lawsuits between Brethren are contrary to the laws and regulations of Masonry.
  6. That charity is the right of a Mason, his widow and orphans, when poor and destitute, to demand, and the duty of his prosperous brother to bestow.
  7. That Masonic instruction is, like charity, a reciprocal right and duty of Masons.
  8. That to visit Masonicly is an inherent right of Masons, but no visitor shall be received into a Lodge if any member present objects.
  9. That a candidate for Masonry must be a man of mature age, free born, of good report, hale and sound, having no maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art and physically able to conform substantially to what the several degrees of Masonry respectively require of him. If a candidate is unable to so comply with the physical requirements, he shall nevertheless be eligible to receive the degrees of Masonry, if, after favorable action by the Constituent Lodge, his petition for degrees, accompanied by a detailed report of the nature and extent of his disabilities, is approved by the Grand Master.
  10. That the Grand Master may make Masons at sight, and may grant a dispensation to a Lodge for the same purpose, but in all other cases a candidate must be proposed in open Lodge, at a Stated Communication and can only be accepted at a Stated Communication following, by the scrutiny of a secret ballot, and a unanimous vote, and must pay a fixed price before admission.
  11. That it is the duty of every Mason to be a contributing member of some Lodge.
  12. That a Mason who is not a member of a Lodge is still subject to the disciplinary power of Masonry.
  13. That the Master and Wardens of every chartered Lodge are of right and inalienably representatives in, and members of, the Grand Lodge.
  14. That no one can be elected Master of a chartered Lodge, except at its first election, but a Master Mason who shall have served as a Warden.
  15. That every Mason must be tried by his peers; hence, the Master cannot be tried by his Lodge.
  16. That no appeal to the Lodge can be taken from the decision of the Master, or the Warden occupying the chair in his absence.
  17. That Masonic intercourse with a clandestine, suspended or expelled Mason is a breach of duty and an offense against Masonic law.
  18. That a restoration of the privileges of Masonry by the Grand Lodge does not restore to membership in a Constituent Lodge.
  19. That the failure of a Lodge to meet for one (1) year is cause for the forfeiture of its charter.
  20. That it is the duty as well as the right of every chartered Lodge to be represented in the Grand Lodge at its communications.
  21. That this Grand Lodge has supreme and exclusive jurisdiction, as exercised, within its territorial limits, over all matters of Ancient Free and Accepted Masonry, and accepts the right of the Grand Lodge of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Minnesota as having supreme and exclusive jurisdiction over matters pertaining to that Grand Lodge.
  22. That no appeal lies from the decision of the Grand Master in the chair, or the Deputy Grand Master or Grand Warden, occupying the chair in his absence.
  23. That the office of the Grand Master is always elective, and should be filled annually by the Grand Lodge.
  24. That the Grand Lodge, composed of its officers and representatives, must meet at least once in each year, to consult and act concerning the interests of the Fraternity in its jurisdiction.
  25. That all officers of the Grand Lodge or Constituent Lodge must be Master Masons.
  26. That no subject of sectarian or political character can be discussed in a Lodge, and any Mason proposing such a subject renders himself liable to the disciplinary action of the Lodge.