Is it time for some national unity among Masons?

Recently, I attended an Entered Apprentice degree at a local lodge here in Kansas and was allowed to assist in conducting one of the candidates through the degree. It was an experience that I greatly appreciated and enjoyed. Degree work has been my favorite part of being a Freemason since I was raised to the sublime degree and I hadn’t witnessed any degrees in a couple of years.

I was thoroughly enjoying the experience when the new Brothers entered the lodge room to receive the lectures when my enthusiasm suddenly disappeared. The two Brothers were positioned in front of a television screen where they watched a video of a man giving the lectures.

I was abhorred.

I had heard rumors from different places throughout the country that some lodges had been using such methods, but I honestly regarded them as a dirty rumor. This was not the impressive and solemn degree conferral that these new Brothers deserved. So, I decided to get involved and talked to the lodge’s leadership after the degree. I explained that I knew nearly all of the lectures by memory. The only issue is that I had memorized South Dakota’s ritual. I was sure that it wouldn’t be a problem. I had seen Brothers from other states give lectures before with the appropriate level of approval. Why would this be any different?

Unfortunately, in this situation I was told that I must give the lectures straight from the Kansas ritual. Only being slightly disappointed by this, I decided to learn the lectures. However, I was not ready for how difficult it is to re-learn a lecture with a slightly different cadence and verbiage.  I am still working on that little project, but my motivation has waned. I realized that I do not plan on living in Kansas for a long time and that eventually, I will have to learn some other state’s ritual. It is a lot of work just to learn a new way to convey the same information, especially since every Masonic lodge in the U.S. could receive some greatly needed assistance if a few Grand Masters would get together and have a little conversation about this subject.

In a world where people move long distances and rarely stay in one place throughout their whole life, why can we not perform another state’s ritual in our lodges? Now, some would say “We can’t have a nationalized ritual!” I am not so naive to think that this would be a simple undertaking. We wouldn’t develop a solution to that in a century. What I’m proposing is that when one grand lodge recognizes another as regular and recognized, that it also accepts that grand lodge’s ritual as being acceptable to be performed in that state.  It is a simple concept (that I’m sure would meet resistance) that could make a huge difference. I have met a number of Freemasons that have moved to another jurisdiction during their Masonic career and had to give up administering a lecture solely because they were in another state. In many of those instances, the new lodge that they were attending was in need of someone new to give that same lecture!

I’m not proposing some sort of sweeping change. I’m not proposing that we teach ritual from other states in our lodges. I’m just proposing that we give the individual lodges and the individual Masons an opportunity to provide a better ritualistic experience to our new Brothers by giving a them a little bit of latitude to use Brothers from other jurisdictions to accomplish this.

I think that this little bit of national unity among Masons is a very reasonable proposal.

Posted in The Euphrates and tagged , .


  1. In today’s era of travel and communications, I whole heartedley agree with your sentiments. I would however suggest that this is not a matter of national unity, but a unity of masons across the globe, from my hometown lodge in England to the lodge you mention in Kansas, if it is recognized, surely rituals should be respected?

  2. At our lodge, we have a man that moved from Colorado. We have him do our bible lectures. He has mixed our Nebraska lecture with his Colorado lecture. They work great together. He has done some charges also and he reorders thing around so it flows a little better. Never have had a problem with our Grand Lodge/brethren not accepting the way he communicates lectures.

  3. In British Columbia Canada we have four, yes four official rituals! The Canadian, The Ancient (American), the Australian, and the Emulation.

    Even within the “official” rituals there are numerous variations because a Lodge that was in existence to the official ritual being published in 1952 could continue to use its original ritual. We don’t get hung up on what is supposedly proper.

    A variety of rituals makes for interesting visiting and besides how is the candidate going to know if a guest participant isn’t reciting that jurisdictions version. The degree is supposed to be for and about the candidate, and I for one would rather see it delivered well, verses word exact!

  4. Unity is a big word, if you don’t understand it, ( together as one) if you ask me we should come together often because we all live once here on earth but no matter what, we all will be together an speak the same one day when we we get to that place upstairs then we won’t have to think about joining hands we will be together Moving Forward God Bless.

  5. You bring up an excellent point. I was initiated in Florida, and had to travel immediately to Utah. The Lodge there graciously taught me my Florida catechism, and approved my recitation even though it differed markedly from the Utah version. Some years later I began my journey through the chairs in North Carolina, where even a slight deviation from the OSW met immediate verbal censure. As you correctly stated, even though I “knew the work”, re-learning phrases which essentially have the same Masonic meaning seems like a parsimonious adherence to “proper” ritual.

  6. IT is funny that this subject has appeared. I was raised in Cincinnati and in the NORTHERN JURISDICTION OF Scottish Rite. Presently I reside in Missouri and this is the SOUTHERN JURISDICTION OF Scottish Rite. Any Degrees I witness here in Missouri will not be accepted toward my SCOTTISH RITE PASSPORT issued to me from the Valley of Cincinnati.
    The Degrees in the Southern Jurisdiction are totallay differen from what I experienced in Cincinnati Valley.
    In YORK RITE, there is no JURISDICTIONAL DIFFERENCE as I have been told ? ? ? ?

  7. I would happen to agree with Redcoat. Each lodge should be doing the official work of that lodge, whether it be work required by a Grand Lodge or by the traditions of that Lodge. That being said, I agree that using a video is just wrong. I would rather the lectures be read.

    As to Richard’s question on the York Rite, although there is a General Grand Chapter ritual, each state around where I am, each state has its own ritual like each Grand Lodge.

  8. in arguement and appreciation of the founding tradition and historical rituals in civilization and respect to my brothers of all most worshiped grand lodges i total argue it’s time for some national unity and sancitions among masonary.

  9. I enjoy seeing the variety in Masonic degree work. People often forget that there are about 100 regular grand lodges in the United States and that means over 100 different ways of doing ritual. Keeps it fresh for me though I see the logic to what you are saying.

  10. I think this is a great idea – allowing rituals from other recognized states to performed in a different state/country. There would probably have to be some sort of quick parliamentary procedure performed in order to abide by the respective state/country’s official codes and bylaws. Otherwise I don’t see any problem. I’ve seen degree work from two different states, and they’re both slightly different, but those differences make it more interesting.

  11. I totaly agree with the Author, in todays world when everbody is traveling. The lodges around the world should recognize each others ritual (beacuse the meaning is the same) and can probably announce to the candidates before such a lecture, that the deliverer is of a particular state or country.

  12. I agree with the Author that the rituals of other states/countries/constitutions should be given due recognition and the a visiting brother should be not only allowed to give the lecture from his own ritual but should be welcomed to do so. In todays busy world, brethren find it difficult to memorise the Craft, RAM, MMM, Chapter and rituals of other Side orders, re-learning the same ritual in a diffrent way ( when the meaning is same) is frustrating. The Candidate may be told that the visiting bro. is giving the particular lecture from his constitution.

  13. I think what more people need to realize is that there is no unified Masonic ritual within a state – even if you have a cypher it ends up being different from Lodge to Lodge. In particular the lectures at the end of a degree aren’t particularly useful as an initiatory item. They should be used for instruction and discussion.

  14. I was raised in Utah, now live in Pennsylvania, have petitioned and been accepted by a local lodge. I am planning on being here for about 2 years while I finish a BS degree. I am not sure if I will return to Utah when finished, depends on the job market. When I left UT, I was memorizing the EA and FC degrees. The PA version is totally different, wording and cadence. I plan on going through the chairs while here, if they will allow me to. To me, it would make sense that if you recognize such and such Grand Lodge of the state of such and such, you also accept the ritual that goes along with it. Living in Philly, I am a very short distance from New Jersey, Delaware and New York. With Pennsylvania being one of the bedrock places of Masonry I wonder if we could start something.

  15. i agree big time—–allthough i was expelled 3 years ago with out a trial from my grand lodge—-i lectured–funeral sevices ect ect—-in my 20 years of masinic work i visited about 90 lodges in ark—no telling how many in other states—-setting in principal chairs some times—we need to except one anothers way of doing work after all its to the same point and for the canadate—


  17. Change Is Always Good, The More Us Brothers Learn It Will Be The Change In Our Younger People Coming up Because They Also Must Know How To Live On the Great Planet Of Ours Remember When Two Come Together Anything Can Happen Moving Forward God Bless All.

  18. Learning new things in life is always a good thing after we learn things we as brother and sister must pass this on and give our young people something to start building on we are all like plants we come from a seed so that we can bloom and sprout in our world today Moving Forward God Bless All.

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