Masonic Etiquette Concludes this evening: With ~ Rituals, Signs, Speeches.. and Visitors.
Rituals ~ The geniality and laughter we all love and share in Lodge…at our greeting time, at our dinner tables, and in our Stated Communications…
Are left behind the closed door when it comes to our rituals – especially our Degrees. According to Masonic Etiquette, Mirth has no place in Ritual work, as does applause during a ritual, for a well executed part. Applause afterward is perfectly acceptable, as it is part of paying the wages of the craft, if any be due, to acknowledge and recognize excellence or selfless service. Why? You ask?
Ritual is designed to be effective in the inner life of a candidate…a genuine moral and spiritual experience by which he enters a new kind of life — wherein he will stand obligated to perform duties, and make sacrifices of time and treasure; The Obligations he will take will be morally and Masonically binding upon him, and must be genuine, or he will be led into harmful hypocrisy, if ritual degenerates into play.
The Third Degree especially is of the highest possible seriousness, not a drama or a play but a genuine spiritual experience, for the moral and human lessons portrayed. Theatricality strikes a false note. Costumes must be in good taste and historically correct. There can be no discussion of this ritual in public, nor any pictures of it.
Signs ~ including the due-guard, belong to the inner essence and esoteric life of the craft. Accordingly they should always be given with careful accuracy, and with full decorum. They are honors and tokens of respect, as a salute. No brother should be seated while giving or receiving them, and each will always give them when entering or retiring from a Lodge while at Labor.
Speeches ~ An invited speaker will be accorded courtesy and hospitality as a guest of the Lodge, whether he is a Masonic Speaker or a member of the community. The Worshipful master will have sway as to the topic and length of the talk, as well as to when he will speak. All speeches of a Controversial, Political or Sectarian nature are to be prohibited, so as not to create disharmony or discord within the Brotherhood and the Lodge itself. A speaker who disregards this admonition, even after being made aware, is guilty of a serious breach of etiquette, and will be subject to severe criticism.
The propriety of mentioning to the speaker that off-color stories or verbiage is an affront to Masonic Etiquette is absolutely necessary, lest he offend the Fraternity, The Worshipful Master, the Brethren present, and Deity, who is ALWAYS an invited guest. Vulgarity is counter to Masonic Principles. He can be humorous, without being bawdy, and it will add to the enjoyment of his talk. These apply not only in a tyled Lodge, but also on public occasions, where the Craft assemble as Masons, and especially if ladies are present.
Visitors ~ Finally tonight, we’ll discuss our visitors, as well as. when we are visitors at other lodges. A Lodge’s sense for that which is fitting – it’s – and our own instinct for hospitality and geniality toward visitors is revealed in the manner in which we receive our visitors. A Masonic visitor expects to be asked/challenged/examined, but in a kindly and considerate manner, and the one challenging need to remember that he represents and is speaking for, not only the Lodge but also the Worshipful Master.
There is no place for trickery or to show off superior knowledge or any form of intentional humiliation. That is unkind, unMasonic in spirit…and a violation of Masonic Etiquette. The only duty one has, is to determine that the visitor is a Mason in good standing.
The Senior Deacon should be advised and informed of his presence, and then introduced if he is admitted. Delegations of Brethren visiting other Lodges is a fine custom, and encourages brotherly camaraderie between Lodges. The Worshipful Master should recognize them particularly if Worshipful Masters, Past Masters or Grand Lodge Officers are in the delegation.
Worshipful Master…This concludes Masonic Etiquette…
Thank you Worshipful Master and Brethren!