Masonic Etiquette belongs to the empire of good manners – that code by which gentlemen the world over govern their conduct.
For us, it is two fold.
First, a manifest respect for the craft and Second, courtesy to the individual.
In some of our oldest records and literature, the Regius MS, written in 1390, emphasized the necessity of paying due respect to the craft.
Through this Blog we will begin a series of short paragraphs, alphabetically, that form the basis of being good men and true, and circumscribing our behaviors while in Lodge. I’ll only cover 3 each Communication. This will be very short, but an interesting part of Masonic History as well as Education.
Addressing the Chair: The rules of order in Freemasonry, do not permit side discussions among members, during a Communication. The Member who has anything to say to the Lodge, whether it be to enter discussion, or to make or second a motion, must rise to his feet, wait to be recognized by, and then address the Worshipful Master.
Aged and Infirm: Members of the Lodge who, because of age or infirmity, or find it difficult or impossible to attend the assemblies of their brethren , stand in need of special consideration from their lodge… And they, like no others, because of their condition, are so peculiarly appreciative of the kindness and courtesies that may be shown to them. They are legacies of long standing and still Masons.
A lodge will maintain its contact with them, will see that they are visited, will send them messages on special occasions, and encourage its members to remember them now and again with gifts and reminders, or send a vehicle at certain intervals such as are physically able to attend lodge, but have not the means. Some Lodges even have a Patriarch’s Night once a year to honor their aged members. And Lastly:
Altar: Our Customs and traditions prohibit ANY Brother from passing between the Altar and the Worshipful Master while the lodge is open. From ancient times, the precinct between the Altar and the East has been deemed “Sacred Ground”, not to be trodden under foot. There should be NO obstruction between the East and the 3 Great Lights, nor should any brother obscure the Worshipful Master’s view of them.
The fact that Candidates are sometimes placed there supports the interpretation, as it makes their ceremony more impressive and solemn for them to be placed on sacred ground.
The Ballot Box must never rest upon the Holy Bible, but by its side or on its own pedestal or stand by the Altar.
The Altar itself may never be covered or decorated by the national or any other flag.
Any embroidery, sign, or indication of individual or organization other than the Lodge itself or the Grand Lodge is forbidden.