Where does he get off....

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by owls84, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Ok so I have heard there are 34 Lodges that have not paid their annual returns. I am told they are currently in arrears. Then I was told that the Most Worshipful Grand Master may suspend them come June 1st but they are looking for other options. Keep in mind I am told there are multiple Lodges that have not paid from last year and are still "Working". My question is this, what gives the Grand Master the power to NOT susspend these Lodges? The Article CLEARLY states they should have to give their Charters up yet they have not. It is my understanding that the GM is there to enforce the Laws that have been passed by the Grand West. It was explained to me he does not have absolute power. (This was told when racism came up. I was told he can't enforce something that is not there) So why now? Is it pick and choose?

    Art. 492. (525). Annual Returns by Lodges: Penalty for Failure to Make. On June first of each year any Lodge which stands suspended for failure to send in its returns to the Grand Secretary and make payment of its dues and contributions for the previous year shall cease all work; but any Lodge, so suspended, may, on delivering its returns and paying its dues to the Grand Secretary on or before the next Annual Communication thereafter, have its charter and other property returned to it and be restored to good standing by the Grand Lodge; otherwise its charter shall be forfeited.

    I am looking for guidance here? Just really from everyone how they see it. I can't find anything that says he can diviate from this or ANY law that has been put in place.
     
  2. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    They don't want to close any lodges down. Which is the problem. If your Lodge cant submit it's dues, it's time to close the doors. We have way to many Lodges in Texas. They are dead weight.
     
  3. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    tough situation. wiser men than me need to deal with it.
     
  4. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Sirus, you being a member of GL how do you feel about a GM that doesn't follow what you voted on and implemented. My question is still, does he have the power to do this? Is there something that ables him not to? Or to pass it to the next GM? Is there somewhere we can go to see who is in arrears?
     
  5. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    I'm not happy about it. But, its part of the go along get along system. 'Who can best work and agree' has been pushed way to far. Everyone is sooooo afraid of hurting feelings by shutting down lodges. We simply don't have enough men to justify it.
     
  6. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    That is a load of BS. Wiser men don't need to do anything but follow the law as it is written in our blue book on this one. Close the doors, plain and simple.
     
  7. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    But I can't do anything as a Secretary to change this. The change has to come from you and your peers. Right?
     
  8. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Change what though? The Gl could insert the word MUST in the language of the law. Hay, maybe that's it! We got another idea for a resolution!
     
  9. cambridgemason

    cambridgemason Premium Member Premium Member

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    in some cases there is a certain protocal to follow with suspending a Lodge for non payment of dues. I can not speak for Texas, but at times they will put together a committee to look into the matter as to why the Lodge can not pay the dues. At other times the Master and perhaps some of the other top officers of the Lodge are called into the office of the GM to discuss the matters and come up with some sort of plan. To come in and either close the lodge or take away it's charter, there is some work that needs to be tended to and in the eyes of GL it is sometimes easier to work with the Lodge than close it. The first step is the DDGM, he is notified by GL and he informs the Master, if nothing is done he requests a meeting with the officers or the Master and from there goes to GL. This is something that is not knew to Masonry, I have researched my GL proceedings over the years, and some were closed up for that purpose, the interesting note is that during the anti-masonic era or the Morgan affair, 3/4 of the lodges were never properly closed. They just stop paying the GL dues, never turned in their charters, and years later when they may have reoriganized themselves, they were denied their original charter for that fact of non-payment of dues. I know of one lodge that was formed in 1777, in 1828 when the anti period hit they had a hard time with collecting dues, and thus could not pay GL, meetings became fewer and fewer, until 1832 they stopped altoghter. The DDGM at that time looked into the case, but could not come up with any money and informed the GL that the lodge closed up, owing the GL its dues. The lodge also never turned in the Secretary books, lodge seal and charter til 1933. In 1854 they reorganized themselves again, having much of the regalia and property of the Lodge in safe keeping as well as the original charter, but the GL refused to issue them the original date of 1777. They keep the original name but had to use the date or organization of 1854. 3/4 of the lodges here in massachusetts never recovered from that period, one of the main things was that they stopped paying GL dues, stopped attending GL sessions and never turned in the charter. On another note, I know of the lodge that was formed in 1818, rather small, the master of the time was well off and the Lodge had some funds, during the anti period, the lodge went dark, not closed, but out of his pocket and lodge funds he still paid GL dues to the GL and submitted reports, he also from history kept the charter safe by hiding it in a hollowed out pear tree on his land, and when the time came years later, the lodge was allowed to reorganize themselves and use the date 1818 since the GL dues were paid.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  10. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Josh, what does the actual article say regarding suspending these lodges? The one you posted deals with how an already suspended lodge in arrears can resume labor.
     
  11. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    I knew by posting on here I would get an answer.

    Section 3. – Charter Suspended for Failure to Make Returns or Pay Dues.

    If any Lodge shall fail to make its annual returns or to pay its annual dues within such time as may be prescribed by law, it shall not be represented in the next Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge; and if it continues in neglect of either of these
    duties for six months after such Annual Communication, it shall stand suspended, unless the Grand Master, for good cause shown, shall grant it further time.


    That is where the the change would be. Remove "unless the Grand Master, for good cause shown, shall grant it further time."

    It is $14.25, If the Lodge secretary sent a message to all the members and was told we need an additional $14.25 to help or we will be shut down and the members don't respond. How is that helping Masonry? I mean you can't tell me you can't find $14.25 in your change bowl. Don't get tme wrong there are other charges but come on. Really? Your thoughts?
     
  12. Gerald.Harris

    Gerald.Harris Premium Member Premium Member

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    It is $14.25, If the Lodge secretary sent a message to all the members and was told we need an additional $14.25 to help or we will be shut down and the members don't respond. How is that helping Masonry? I mean you can't tell me you can't find $14.25 in your change bowl. Don't get tme wrong there are other charges but come on. Really? Your thoughts?

    Brother Josh, before I would attempt to answer this question, I would want to know the details concerning each lodge that was in danger of going suspended. Are they located in Rural or Urban areas, how many of their members are endowed, what is the average age of the brethren who comprise the lodge, ect?
     
  13. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    You are absolutly correct Brother Gerald. This is somethig that only the GM should look at but what I am told and I am still awaiting correct numbers from GL is there are 34 Lodge that could not pay annual returns. That being said it is being left to the next GM to decide what to do with them. There are a lot of variables I know that need to be looked at but just to say oh the endowment took a hit so we can't pay is not a very good reason to me I wouldn't think. I would like to know that they have exausted all options. This is where our LAMP committee could come in. I would expect them to really get on the ball and help this. It just seems that it is so little money to NOT be able to raise. I know Lodges will 150 members (15-20) that are cative that raise this with a community fish fry. I just have a hard time swallowing that a Lodge can't pay annual returns. Again, don't think I'm saying you need to pay but really 34 Lodges. I am just having a hard time thinking that these lodges exausted all options to be given a chance. The officers should know that this money is due each year and it is $14.25 per member that is not a 50+ year mason.

    Thanks for the responses by the way.
     
  14. Gerald.Harris

    Gerald.Harris Premium Member Premium Member

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    All of these things are very important and I agree that the dollar amount is minimal, ( I wonder what is going to happen when the per capita gets to 25-30 Dollars) and that any decent fundraiser will net the amount in question. I still have to wonder if perhaps some of the lodges are now filled with brethren who are over 50, I don't personally think this is the case, but some of the rural lodges just don't have the population to draw members from. I have listened to some of our members on this forum say that we have too many lodges. I believe that could be a true statement in some of our more urban settings, but I am not so sure it is so in some of the old country lodges. I would hate to know that I had to tell a good brother who has served the craft faithfully for many years, that he can't practice Masonry unless he is prepared to drive a hundred miles or more to go to Lodge. I am as perplexed as you are. This is a real problem, and I for one would like to work on the solution, I served on the Lamp Committie last year as a replacement for a brother who could not finish his term, and I do agree that one of the things that the committee could do, is to assist some of the lodges in learning how to promote means of reaching some sort of finiancial stability in their own areas. I am looking for the committe to be very active in 2010 .
     
  15. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Lol, yeah, good catch. Too many urban lodges, and not enough rural members.
     
  16. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I would hate to tell a Mason he could not practice masonry unless he could travel 100 as well but what got them in that state of affairs. If a rural Lodge has trouble attracking members and they only have 30-50 on their members how does that effect their ability to pay 14.25 to GL. Even if you are the brokest farmer such as myself you can afford 14.25 a year extra on dues that breaks down to 1.80 a month if you need payment plans. these lodges should get creative to fix their problems bit IMHO they did see this as their problem to fix and did nothing now they have a boat with a huge hole and nobody wants to make them get out of it or even tell tehm they are sinking. There is alot of responsibilty that comes with being a mason making sure your lodge is financial sound is one of them.
     
  17. Bigmel

    Bigmel Premium Member Premium Member

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    All Lodges in Texas have ther same problem as my lodge. we have 224 members. of this number there are 99 living endowed members (53 deceased endowed), 58 members that are 50 or older, that leaves 68 dues paying members. our per capita was about $ 2400.00 this year. Up until this year the per capita was paid for by endowed members returns with a little left over. We were lucky I mailed out a letters at first of this year after GL said no endowed fund would be paid this year. 98% of our membership sent in at least the 14.25 and many much more. Our notification to members were not doom day letters just facts and the brothers gave extra because they wanted to. We had to put up a new roof and floor in lodge dining room and kitchen. That was $80,000.00 insurance paid about $64,000.00. But our lodge had to take care of the rest. But we As Masons Did what we had to do as good men and we made it work. and we will continue to make it work because we want to keep our lodges 126 year histoy moving forward.
     
  18. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    We have this problem in my jurisdiction, too. When a lodge cannot or will not be current in their obligations.... it is dead, have a funeral. To me, it is the only honorable thing to do. What makes us Masons? I would like to think that I would give to the relief of any worthy brother or lodge in distress. The operative word is "worthy". If a lodge is not worth adequate support from its members, then what are we, the GL, or anyone else to do. I may not be as eloquent as I should be in expressing myself, but I am realistic.
     
  19. js4253

    js4253 Premium Member Premium Member

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    My Lodge has 66 members and not very much money. I guess we should shut the doors, we have been active for 130 years but so what.
     
  20. Bigmel

    Bigmel Premium Member Premium Member

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    Bro Hale I would say that that depend on you Members. The Number of members or how much money you have does not matter. If you lodge meets its obligations and you have enough brothers to open and close your lodge that is all that should be required. I have seen Lodges with 50 members do and accomplish more in there lodge and community than lodges with 500 members. It depends on the Brothers Commitment to their Lodge, Community and The Craft
     

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