Life Membership for outgoing Masters

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by dbindel, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. dbindel

    dbindel Registered User

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    Brethren,

    Under Grand Lodge of Texas law, is it appropriate to award a Life Membership to each Master of a lodge upon completing his term?

    I seem to recall reading that Life Membership was intended for truly exceptional service and was not intended to become something commonplace (this may have been opinion or something from another jurisdiction - I cannot recall the source.)

    I searched through my lodge's copy of the law book and could not find this guideline, but I believe our copy might not be 100% up-to-date.

    Can anyone clarify this point with references to the law?

    Thanks,
    David
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  2. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    I will look when I get home, but it is uncommon to give life memberships out on a regular basis. If some of the lodges I belonged to gave them out to PMs, everyone in the lodge would have multiple life memberships.
     
  3. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    dbindel asked "Under Grand Lodge of Texas law, is it appropriate to award a Life Membership to each Master of a lodge upon completing his term?"

    No.

    Art. 315. Life Membership.
    A Lodge may grant only one life membership in any one Masonic year and only for distinguished service rendered to the Lodge; and one additional life membership during any consecutive Masonic three-year period and only for long and distinguished service.....

    As you can see, a Lodge may not issue life memberships every year. If a Lodge wishes to honor its Past Masters, it may vote to purchase endowed memberships in the Brethren's names.
     
  4. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    Differences between life and endowed:
    - Life is free (except for certificates)
    - Life doesn't cost the lodge per capita each year
    - Life pays no returns since there is no investment
    - Endowed costs a minimum of $500
    - Endowed members cost the lodge a per capita fee each year ($14.25 this year, $25 next year)
    - Endowed memberships are supposed to pay a return each year (recently they have not)

    Did I miss anything?
     
  5. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Not so. Again from Art. 315: "Life members are exempt from paying dues to the Lodge; but the Lodge is not exempt from paying to the Grand Lodge its per capita contributions on account of its life members."
     
  6. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    We vote each year to purchase an Endowed Membership for the outgoing Master at the end of his year.
     
  7. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    Oops, it was late at night. I confused it with art. 316 which says 50 year members don't pay per diem. Good catch Bill. Sorry for the misstated info.
     
  8. dbindel

    dbindel Registered User

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    It sounds like a Lodge may issue at least one life membership each year, and a possible second (in one year) on a triennial schedule.
     
  9. dbindel

    dbindel Registered User

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    Oops... I misread the law. Here's my take on it now, illustrated by example:

    Year - Life Membership Awarded?
    2000 - Awarded
    2001 - Awarded
    2002 - Can't Award (2 awards in a 3-year window have already been made)
    ...

    Thanks for the clarification Bro. Bill!
     
  10. dbindel

    dbindel Registered User

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    Further thought: this law is worded very poorly.
     
  11. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    What? Grand Lodge Law confusing? Say it ain't so! :wink:
     
  12. MikeMay

    MikeMay Premium Member

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    Okay "It ain't so!" :001_tongue:

    It's not....much.
     
  13. Timothy Fleischer

    Timothy Fleischer Registered User

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    My two cents for this discussion is this:
    Why would a lodge want to either spend the money for an Endowed Membership ($500) or issue a Life Membership to its Past Masters. The title Past Master is more than sufficient honor, in my opinion, than either of these two. The privilege of being a Worshipful Master is one that should be highly regarded. A Worshipful Master should be humbled by the vote of his brethren to sit in the East.

    Now, I am from a small lodge in which many of our members have sat in the East more than once (including myself), so the issuing of a Life Membership or and Endowed Membership each year would have very detrimental effects on the lodge bank accounts.

    However, I still feel that the honor of having been elected as Worshipful Master, which means much more than being elected President of any other social or service group, is so great that no further honor is required of the brothers.
     
  14. Ashlar

    Ashlar Registered User

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    Though I am not a Texas Mason , if this was brought up on the floor of my lodge to award outgoing Masters a life or endowed membership , I would be very vocal in voting it down and I am a PM and now sitting Master . As Timothy stated , in the long run it would be detrimental to the lodge . As the price of utilities , insurance etc etc grows , that would mean less income going into the lodge's coffers to cover it's expenses and every dollar counts . And I would hope that a Past Master , with the economy the way it is , would turn it down if their Lodge/GL had this option and support their lodges . We have 50 year members in my lodge who have received their gold cards (life memberships) from the Grand Lodge who still faithfully pay their dues every year .
     
  15. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I agree entirely. Save the honor of an endowed or life membership for those who have truly gone far "above & beyond".
     
  16. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    Isn't that what the Golden Trowel is for?
     
  17. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    It should be but so many Lodges have decided to give GT's out every year that the honor has been devalued. If it was only given out for exceptional service to the Lodge and the community, as intended, it would mean much more.
     
  18. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Probably one of the best said things on this site.
     
  19. Timothy Fleischer

    Timothy Fleischer Registered User

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    I agree Brother. When we hand out the Golden Trowel on an annual basis, we devalue it completely. A Lodge can have a Mason of the Year if it wants to give out awards on an annual basis.
     
  20. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    I am thinking this is the way it is to be done. You can do one each year but only one additional one every 3 year period.
     

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