Brothers, I am Confused

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by Darren Raleigh, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. Darren Raleigh

    Darren Raleigh Registered User

    9
    10
    3
    Greetings, Brothers.

    I was raised in 2003, and I regularly demitted from my original Lodge in 2007. I have my demittal letter from my original Lodge, all in due form.

    I have moved several times since then, but seem to be settled in my current home for the foreseeable. Desiring to return to the practice of Freemasonry, I have contacted my local Lodge. The WM and I talked by phone for a while, during which he gave me what he thought was a suitable trial, which I passed to his satisfaction.

    He invited me to attend Lodge today, and I took myself to the Lodge, where he introduced me to his SD, and with his SD there the WM asked me more things and told his SD that he was satisfied that I am a Master Mason.

    I was then introduced to the Secretary, who gave me a petition form and told me that I would have to fill it out, return it with my demittal letter and he would contact my original Lodge to verify my claims.

    He then told me that the Lodge to which I seek admittance would, after my status was confirmed, vote on my joining.

    And that's where I got confused. It was my impression that when I was raised to the sublime degree it was to all of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masonry, and that until and unless I did something to get myself expelled from the fraternity no Lodge, upon my bona fides being confirmed by my original Lodge, could bar me.

    It seems to me that if I am wrong, and if a Lodge has the right to bar a Brother who has been regularly tried and confirmed as a Master Mason, that there is no worldwide fraternity of Freemasonry, just a network of men's clubs who may - or may not - allow in people of their own choosing, regardless of their status with any worldwide fraternity.

    I am perfectly in accordance with having my initiation, passing, and raising to be checked out, but after thinking about it I think the Secretary did wrong in telling me that I cannot enter the Lodge I wish to join until they have voted to approve me.

    I would appreciate knowing the opinions of my brothers on this question.

    Thank you.
     
    Raymond Walters likes this.
  2. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

    679
    313
    63
    First of all this will depend on the rules of the particular Grand Lodge, and they can vary quite a lot.

    But you seem to be mixing up two things, and it's not quite clear from your post. One is your right to visit another lodge, and the other is joining that lodge as a member.
    Your right to visit should in most jurisdictions be ok through you being a Master Mason, and having the necessary paperwork in order as it sound like you do.

    However in order to become an actual member of a lodge, it is quite customary that the lodge both investigates you and votes on you. Both to ensure that you are a good fit for them, but also to guard their West Gate. Often this is just a vote by show of hands, sometimes it's a full on investigation and ballot. Members have rights to vote on lodge matters, candidates, run for office etc. which visitors doesn't.

    If they didn't have a vote, how would they for instance prevent 30 guys from another lodge coming in, joining, voting to sell their building and donate all the funds to Charity? Thought out example of course, but it serves as illustration.

    It sounds like the Secretary admitted you to the meeting, but told you that you'd have to be voted on in order to join the lodge. In which case, he was pretty much in line with Masonic Customs. But again, it depends on the given Grand Lodge Law in question.
     
  3. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

    857
    979
    93
    Exactly what chrmc stated.

    Your rights as a Master Mason are for visitation at Lodges who's Grand Lodge is in Amity with your original Grand Lodge. Even that "right" is not absolute, at least under the Grand Lodge of PA. Here your admittance to Lodge, is left to the Will and Pleasure of the Worshipful Master. He can deny admittance to anyone for any reason and does not have to justify it.

    Membership has to be by petition, the petition has to be read at a Stated Meeting and a masonic Month must pass until it is voted on at a Stated Meeting. This is laid out in the Ahiman Rezon in PA, and no doubt how to handle petitions from Master Masons is also contained in the Constitutions in other Grand Lodges.

    It is nothing personal, I assure you, and likely just a formality. However, here in PA there is no right to membership in any given lodge and the Worshipful Master of a lodge does have the absolute right to bar anyone from admission to his lodge.
     
    SivadSemaj and Raymond Walters like this.
  4. goomba

    goomba Neo-Antient Site Benefactor

    679
    699
    143
    In Alabama, unless it has changed, a Master Mason who is demitted can only visit a lodge within 6 months of the demit. After that he loses the right of visitation. In Maryland it is a hybrid system. You have a set amount of time to visit (can't remember) and after that you can only attend if the WM invites you. In DC a demitted Mason can only visit a lodge twice without permission of the WM.

    However, what is consistent in every grand lodge I know is every person wishing to join a lodge either by petition or affiliation must be voted on. I'll give you an example: a Master Mason petitioned one of my lodges of dual membership. Well turns out he owed at least two members of my lodge large sums of money and had owed it for years. He had never attempted to pay them back. The brothers did not want to bring Masonic charges on the brother or take civil action. However, they did not believe his behavior was in line with our lodge. As a result his dual membership was rejected.
     
    Raymond Walters and Warrior1256 like this.
  5. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    4,330
    3,049
    133
    In Victoria Australia, Constitutionally an unaffiliated Freemason can only visit a Lodge once (we all ignore this). An affiliated Freemason visits at the Masters pleasure, but custom says prove then admit as a Visitor.

    To be admitted as a joining member here, Constitutionally you would need to be voted. There would be investigations before, being had you been excluded and did you leave your lodge in Good Standing, indeed was your Lodge in Amity with our GL..
    To be admitted as a Visitor, Constitutionally you need to be vouched for (by being proved) and we would be interested in if you were financial if you continued to visit.

    I would just submit to their process unless it drags on. However here you would be in lodge with us (but not present during business, visitors are admitted after - and if their meetings are all business, that would be why they are saying don't come).

    You would need to know the Rules to where you are applying (The Grand Lodge Constitution AND the Lodge By-laws).

    Rules vary - but make no mistake, Lodges can often regulate who attends a meeting - indeed a WM here can bar any brother who will disrupt the harmony of the lodge and any brother whose admission might see an obligation broken.

    Chrmc has given a good answer, I would just let this play out expecting that within a month or two, you would be a member of the lodge you wish to join (and having your paperwork makes that easy - well done on that!)
     
    Raymond Walters likes this.
  6. Darren Raleigh

    Darren Raleigh Registered User

    9
    10
    3
    Not quite. The WM invited me to the meeting, said that he and the SD were satisfied to have me attend, and the Secretary showed me the door. Actually, he didn't have to - I just faded after I found out that were I to push it I would be the cause of a moment in Lodge between the Secretary and the WM. So waited until everyone was looking the other way and putting their aprons on and quietly disappeared.

    Later I got a call from the WM apologizing for the faux pas. I took the opportunity to explain why I was confused. I thought I was just going to my brother's house, and honestly it's a fair drop from feeling that way to finding oneself shut out.

    If they vote me down I'm still a Mason, just one without a Lodge.

    Thanks to everyone for their replies.
     
    Raymond Walters likes this.
  7. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

    679
    313
    63
    As you say that is highly improper. Normally the Master will have the power to refuse people entry to his lodge (again, depending on the jurisdiction), but the Secretary should never have that. However as we often see the Secretary is a PM that's been sitting in the chair for many years, and sometimes forget that it's not actually his lodge to run.

    Think you handled the situation gracefully, instead of causing a scene. Though I can understand why you are disappointed.
     
  8. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    4,330
    3,049
    133
    Is there another local lodge to join ?
     
  9. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

    857
    979
    93
    Exactly this. The only way the Secretary would have a say was if your original Lodge was not in the book of Lodges Masonic, meaning you would have been considered clandestine. In that case you would not have received a petition, and the Secretary would have to go through the WM, not take it upon himself to deny admittance.

    The Secretary was in error, and I am sure the WM addressed this. I would ask the WM if you will be admitted if you desire to attend again.
     
    Darren Raleigh likes this.
  10. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    3,935
    2,393
    133
    Attending your own lodge is a right and can not be denied. That's one of the reasons the ballot has to be unanimous, though many jurisdictions have redefined what the word unanimous means. But you are no longer a member at your own lodge.

    Visiting a lodge is a right in some jurisdictions, a privilege in others. But it's never absolute. During one of my years in the east I had a member object to a visitor and I had to go to the tiler's room and turn away that visitor. It was a sad duty but it demonstrated that members always have higher priorities than visitors. "Sorry but a member objects".

    All of my jurisdictions vote before admitting a Brother for affiliation. Some as a hand vote others as a ballot. That detail also varies by jurisdiction. I have faced the vote in Washington (now demitted), in Illinois, again in Illinois, in Texas (transferred out) and again in Texas. All in addition to my original ballot for the degrees. Plus appendent bodies and so on.

    I don't know how or why you got the impression that you can become a member without a vote of any lodge in any recognized jurisdiction. Chances are high you will be voted in and if you are not aware of a good reason to be turned down it would be shocking to get refused by vote. But we are deliberately exclusive in this way and always have been.

    Being on "an open demit" you would have been admitted to the meeting unless a member objected in any of my jurisdictions but that might not be true in all jurisdictions. By your report there was no hint that you would be refused admission. As such I have no idea why you left when informed that your petition would need a vote. Those are two completely different issues.
     
  11. Darren Raleigh

    Darren Raleigh Registered User

    9
    10
    3
    I left because I was told that I couldn't come in.
    What should I have done? Taken a seat on the curb outside?
     
    Overworked724 likes this.
  12. goomba

    goomba Neo-Antient Site Benefactor

    679
    699
    143
    I'd strike it up as an accident. The one time I mentioned above is the only time I've seen a MM get not voted in. I've been a member of a total of five lodges and had to be voted on each time.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
     
    Bloke likes this.
  13. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    7,340
    3,333
    183
    Same here in Kentucky.
    Have seen that before.
     
  14. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    4,330
    3,049
    133
    It can be here - but only by the WM and only for a sustained period by vote of the whole lodge.
     
  15. jgil1970

    jgil1970 Registered User

    28
    22
    3
    Where at in WA?
     
  16. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

    858
    899
    113
    I think there could have been some miscommunication, but it's also worthy to note that your demitted in 2007. That means you haven't been a dues paying member of a lodge in 11 years. I don't know about all jurisdictions, but I've never been anywhere new from the smallest lodge to grand lodges that the first thing they wanted to see wasn't a current dues card. Most demits are good for one year.

    And as previously noted, there is a difference between visiting and becoming a member. If the secretary handed you a petition, he was under the impression you wanted to become a member of that particular lodge. If so, in any place I've ever heard about, you'd have to be voted on by the members of that lodge. That doesn't affect your status as a Mason, just that particular lodge.
     
    Warrior1256 likes this.
  17. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

    266
    183
    43
    Being voted in to a new lodge is SOP in most jurisdictions. Why are you concerned about it? If you are accepted as a MM you can visit until the 'join' vote. Not a big deal.
     
  18. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

    2,980
    3,413
    183
    Not all GLs allow an unaffiliated Mason to visit without limitation.
     
  19. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    7,340
    3,333
    183
    Same here.
    Right. As I previously stated an unaffiliated Mason is only allowed to visit for a maximum of 6 months in Kentucky.
     
    Glen Cook likes this.
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    3,935
    2,393
    133
    What you described is being told that you would need to be voted on to become a member. At which point you left utterly ignoring being welcomed as a visitor. No wonder the word confused is in the subject line.
     
    Companion Joe and Warrior1256 like this.

Share My Freemasonry