Lodge Minutes

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by tomasball, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    The laws are pretty strict about lodge minutes. One certain part interests, me...the rule that only masons may examine the minutes.

    My lodge has, for as long as I can remember, had the practice of toting the minutes book down to the bank every year as documentation when we change the signers on the bank account. I guess we're breaking the rules here, but I wonder what else the banks would settle for. Has anyone got more experience with this than I do? Insights?
     
  2. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    That would be correct that non-Masons are not permitted to exemine the minutes.

    Art. 338. Inspection of Minutes: By Whom. The minutes of the Lodge are the private records of the Lodge and no copy of same or any part thereof, shall be made or used for other than Masonic purposes. They shall be securely kept and preserved by the Secretary, and shall be open for inspection at reasonable times by the officers and other members of the Lodge, or by such other Masons as have an appropriate reason therefor, but not under any circumstances by those who are not Masons.

    But the minutes for the purpose you described can be taken care of in this manner.

    Art. 338a. Summary of Minutes Permitted. For purposes of providing accurate historical and genealogical information con-cerning the Lodge and its members, a summary of the minutes and records of the Lodge may be prepared and published in a form and manner that would not bring discredit on the Masonic Fraternity and the Lodge or any of its members, past or present. If the sum-mary is sponsored by the Lodge, it must be presented to, and approved by, the members of the Lodge prior to publication.
    Sources of Lodge information include, but are not limited to, Lodge minutes, Annual Returns to Grand Lodge, Masonic records of individual Masons, membership files, general Lodge documents, records and files, and Lodge correspondence. Additional sources of information include Grand Lodge Proceedings, Minutes of the Grand Lodge, and Lodge records in the Archives of the Grand Lodge.
    In preparation of the summary, the Lodge is to strictly conform to the applicable provisions of Art. 506; Art. 405a; Art. 421; Art. 427; Art. 594; Art. 602; and Art. 605. Further, the summary cannot contain any libelous matter which would include the following: (a) blackening the memory of the dead; (b) injuring a living person’s reputation and exposing the person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule or financial injury; (c) impeaching any person’s honesty, integrity, virtue or reputation; or (d) publishing a person’s natural defects so as to expose that person to public hatred, ridicule, or financial injury. The summary may include, but is not limited to, the following listings:
    1. Members of the Lodge;
    2. Past Masters and Affiliated Past Masters;
    3. Officers of the Lodge;
    4. Changes in Membership for any reported year including names of Members:
    a. Raised;
    b. Affiliated;
    c. Reinstated;
    d. Demitted
    In addition, the summary may include awards presented to Lodge Members, obituaries of deceased Members, recognition of Members for past historic, patriotic or community services pro-vided, or awards given, as reflected in the minutes of the Lodge.
     
  3. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    The way we handle it in our Lodge is that we propose a resolution, reduced to writing, stating which Brethren, listed by name & office held, are authorized to conduct our banking business. After the resolution has been approved by the Brethren at a stated meeting, we present a copy of it, duly certified & sealed by the Secretary, to each financial institution we deal with. We've never had a problem with any of the banks.
     
  4. Bigmel

    Bigmel Premium Member Premium Member

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    We do the same thing that Bro Bill_Lin’s Lodge does and we have no problems with the financial institutions. I Retired from a Bank and all they want is a legal document that will protect them if something happens.
     
  5. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    This is a perfect example of how too many rules conflict and there is functionally no rule.

    How about this:

    Minutes of the lodge are the property of the lodge and may be used as the lodge, by vote, deems appropriate.
     
  6. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    I don't know that there are too many rules in this situation. Lodge minutes shouldn't be read by non bretheren. However, banks need a legal document to hold onto when transferring names on accounts etc. Lodges make a reduce form of the minutes for the bank to fulfill that legal requirement, without giving them a full set up minutes which would contradict GL law. Seems very straight forward and quite functional to me.

    My college fraternity had the same rule (minutes were private) and (in theory) had to present minutes to the bank to transfer names on the account as well. Although the bank didn't always ask for the minutes (Wells Fargo is, in my experience, largely incompetent), we would bring them the portion relating only to new officer elections, not about the rest of the meetings business. Compromised reached, all parties happy.

    ---

    Do we take minutes at officer installations? It's a public ceremony. If we do take minutes, couldn't those be used in transfer of names on the accounts? If we don't, disregard my statement.
     
  7. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    The overarching concept here is that what goes on inside a tiled meeting is privileged. The only records kept are the Secretary's minutes, and there are clear restrictions on how those can be used and who can read them. I can easily see the purpose of that, and I think Bro. Bill's solution is likely the correct one. I don't really see where there are any rules in conflict. Art. 338a, I think, was written to give guidance to those who want to write a history of their lodge, and refer to the minutes as a source.

    The meaning of tiling a meeting seems to escape some people these days, I have noticed. It's not just a ceremonial formality, after all, it establishes the environment for a true fraternal meeting. I have had people act surprised when I told them they couldn't take a picture of a tiled meeting. They argued that they can find no mention of that in the lawbook. To me the principle is simple...a tiled meeting is exclusive. Taking a picture for non-masons to look at subverts the process of tiling. Am I wrong?
     
  8. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    No, I agree entirely Tomas. Having a duly tyled lodge makes the environment comfortable, as you can (or ought to be able to) trust every man in the room in confidence, without worrying about the discussion in the lodge leaving the lodge, regardless of its nature.
     
  9. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    Like Bro. Benton, I agree wholeheartedly. The tiling of a meeting is symbolic as well as functional. If it was for everyone to see, the WM wouldn't purge the lodge room before the meeting and we would just keep the door open. That's why tiled meetings are called closed meetings instead of open meetings.
     
  10. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    Minutes are generally only those things that are "proper to be written".

    My point being is that there are two competing rules.

    Prepare a separate document signed by the defacto president (the worshipful master) or what have you and turn them in. There is no other corporation in the world turning their minutes into a bank.

    If you are an LLC, S, or C corp you can even substitute minutes with a document declaring the existence of an annual meeting and not surrender the minute order.
     
  11. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Solid advice Frater Cliff Porter.
     
  12. Hippie19950

    Hippie19950 Premium Member

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    We had been taking a copy to the bank as many have said, but this year, we started writing up a Resolution as Bro. Bill said, and they accept it. This is a bank known pretty much across the State, but is not outside the State. They get a little cranky at times, but we've always been OK with them. Bro. Treasurers wife is in the upper ranks of it locally, and she is the daughter of our Chaplain. I'm sure that helps a lot too. Now that I think of it, there are several working there, male and female who have family ties to Masonry. Maybe we are just lucky after all. :)

    Hippie
     
  13. wwinger

    wwinger Registered User

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    Agreed, but we should be able to create an extract of the minutes pertaining to the bank accounts, (or any other matter that has to be disclosed to the outside world), sign it by the WM and have it certified by the Secretary, (including the seal).

    Works for me.
     

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