The Masonic Trowel

... to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree ...

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

 Masonic quotes by Brothers

Search Website For

Add To Favorites

Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!

List of Contributors

PDF This File

Print This Page

Email This Site To ...




Civilized society has, for the past five hundred years, recognized that adherence to a standardized process of conducting business provides the difference between chaos and order. For centuries, societies promulgated rules to govern their meeting process. From Parliamentary England came the rules of order which governed our first legislature, the House of Burgesses. Following the establishment of the United States Constitution, the Presiding Officer of the Senate, Vice President Thomas Jefferson, further refined the rules of order by writing his Manual Of Parliamentary Practice. This manual was adopted by both houses of Congress and the then existing state legislatures.

Within a few decades, the organization of societies of various types - political, cultural, scientific, charitable, religious and fraternal - created a need for additional rules other than those utilized by legislatures. To meet this need, Luther S. Cushing, a clerk of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, wrote, in 1845, the Manual of Parliamentary Practice: Rules of Proceeding Debate in Deliberative Assemblies. In 1871, Major Henry M. Robert recognized that a comprehensive set of rules was required to govern societies at every level. Thus, Major Robert became convinced of the need for a new kind of parliamentary manual “‘based, in its general principles, upon rules arid practices of Congress, and adapted in its details, to the use of ordinary societies”. In 1876, Robert’s Rules of Order was printed and, to this date, the revised editions provide the foundation for the manner in which we conduct the business of society, including the Masonic fraternity.

The purpose of this section is to review briefly the proper rules of order for you to follow while conducting the important business of your Lodge. It would be impossible, for the purpose of this notebook, to cover completely everything contained in the 594 page Revised prior to ascending the Edition. However, each Lodge should maintain a copy and East, you should review the material so that you are familiar with its contents and can quickly reference applicable sections should the need arise.

The following is a brief explanation of the basic rationale and principles which govern the manner in which you should govern your Lodge:

1. Protection for The Membership

The rules of order are designed to protect the rights of the majority, the minority against the majority, each individual member, those absent from meetings and all the above groups together.

2. Pattern of Formality

To insure peace and harmony among the brethren, it is vitally important for you to insist that all members of the Lodge, the Master included, adhere to strict guidelines in the use of the following formal modes of address and behavior:

a. Always insist in the use of formal titles and the term “Brethren” when speaking within the Lodge.

b. All members should only address the Master. If speaking to another, their comment should be conducted through the Master.

c. To speak, a member must first rise, address the Master and be recognized before obtaining the floor.

d. Follow the standardized order of business found in your Manual.

e. Never allow the motives of another Brother to be addressed from the floor. Every Brother is to be considered honorable and seeking the best interests of the fraternity.

3. Announce

When finished with one category of business, announce the next order of business so that the brethren can be aware of the flow of the meeting. You are Master of the Lodge and the pattern of formality is only governed by the manner in which you wield the gavel. Insist upon proper decorum and you will increase the peace and harmony that prevails within the temple.

4. Making a Motion

It is important to remember that business can only be brought before the membership in the form of a motion unless it is a routine task such as reading the minutes of a previous meeting. The process of bringing business before the Lodge is as follows:

a. A Brother must rise and obtain recognition from the Master. In the case of a committee report, the Brother is called upon by the Master to give his report.

b. The Brother then makes a motion or makes his committee report and then a motion. In either case, he resumes his seat. Long or complicated motions should be in writing and then immediately forwarded to the Master. Also, a few words spoken in preparation, prior to making a motion, is appropriate, but allow no speeches and leave extensive comment to the debate.

c. If the motion is inconsistent with the order of business, the Master should state: “I declare the motion is out of order.” Never state “You are out of order or your motion is out of order”.

d. The purpose of a second is to insure that time is not wasted when only one member is concerned about an issue. A second to the motion means that the issue should come before the Lodge. No specific recognition is required to make a second. Additionally, making a second only reflects the intention that the issue should come before the Lodge, not that another Brother favors the proposal. If no second is given, drop the motion and proceed to other business.

e. When a motion and a second are completed, the Master repeats the motion calls for discussion, and then, after the debate has ended, asks “Are you ready for the question?”

5. Discussion or Debate

The issue is now before the Lodge for debate and decision. If a Brother does not rise for recognition, proceed to vote. If a Brother rises for recognition, proceed with the debate utilizing the following procedures:

a. The Brother who made the motion has first priority in debate.

b. If two or more Brothers rise, the first standing has the right to be recognized. The Brother recognized has the floor and should not be interrupted unless he has violated the rules of order or proper decorum. He maintains the floor until seated. There is no prior claim to the floor by rising before the floor is yielded.

c. If any modification to the motion is made, it must be made prior to the Master repeating the motion and asking “Are you ready for the question?”

d. No Brother, except the mover of a question (who has the right to the last debate), should speak more than once. This rule may be dispensed with by the Master if he deems it proper to permit it.

e. A speaker should confine his comments to the merits of the motion. He should only address his comments to the Master and not engage in personal attacks, allusions to the motives of others, or the mentioning of names.

f. The Master must, at all times, be fair and impartial. Make sure all sides are heard and attempt, as much as possible, to afford ample opportunity for both sides of the question, alternating the sides, if necessary.

g. The Master may, at any time, speak. The Brother on the floor should sit down while the Master is speaking, unless his remarks are in the nature of a question directed to the Brother. The Master should not enter into the debate. However, if it appears necessary to do so, he should turn the meeting over to a Warden or a Past Master, leave the East and make his comment.

h. The debate cannot be closed or the question moved, unless by special rule or a 2/3rd vote of those assembled, until all members have been afforded the opportunity to speak.

i. There are other classes of motions that can be interjected at this point to assist in treating or disposing of a main motion. These will be discussed later in this chapter.

6. Voting

After the debate has closed, the Master again asks “Are you ready for the question?” repeats the motion and calls for a vote. If there is any confusion or doubt as to the motion’s intent the Master should explain the motion and describe the effect of both a yes and no vote. Utilize the following procedures for voting:

a. The voting procedure in Masonic Lodges is usually by a show of hands, a voice vote or a rising vote. The only exceptions are votes on petitions for degrees, affiliation, restoration and an objection after initiation. Votes in these instances are by the ballot box. Also excepted are elections of officers with more than one candidate, when a written ballot should be used.

b. The Master should call for the vote by saying All those in favor of the motion signify by raising your right hands. -Those opposed’. Always call for the no vote, no matter how overwhelming the affirmative vote. In this instance, the Master simply announces the result of the vote.

c. If a member rises to demand a standing vote, abide by the request unless the vote is obvious or the tactic is being utilized to delay the meeting.

d. If a vote is not conclusive, then it is proper to have a standing vote. In announcing such results, state the number of votes for and against.

e. The majority rules except when required by the Constitution, By-laws or the rules of order. The following are the exceptions to the majority rule:

1. A 2/3 vote is required to amend the By-laws, request a change of meeting place and to determine the validity of an objection after initiation.

2. A 3/4 vote is required to approve the consolidation of Lodges.

3. A unanimous vote is required to approve applications for dispensations by the Grand Master.

f. The Master only votes to break a tie (except when balloting on candidates).

g. The vote is not effective and a member can change his mind until the Master announces the result.

h. Certain business, such as the reading of the minutes or when there is apparently unanimous consent, can be dealt with by saying “If there be no objection...” and ‘There being none, the motion is adopted.”

i. After the vote has been announced, proceed to other business.

The authority of the Oriental chair is in your hands. The Grand Lodge does not expect you to be an expert, but wants you to be familiar with Parliamentary Procedure. You should know, in general terms, the proper procedure to be utilized and how to reference the materials.



I. Criteria

A. It is Organized.

B. It is Short.

C. It is Worthwhile.

II. Organized Meetings

A. Prepare an agenda ahead of time.

B. Verify before the meeting what committees are ready to report and on what. When possible, have written reports.

C. Verify with the Secretary before the meeting the business which he will present.

D. Plan Lodge activities before meetings and announce the arrangements. Don’t plan the details of an activity at the Stated Meeting.

III. Shorter Meetings

A. Arrive early and verify that the Lodge room is set up.

B. Start on time.

C. See that Secretary’s minutes are concise, brief and cover all aspects of debate.

D. Committee Reports:

1. They should be brief, concise and written.

2. They should tell when, where, who, why and how much.

3. They should present all alternatives: pros and cons.

4. The committee members should be prepared to answer all questions.

E. Eliminate reading unnecessary correspondence, where appropriate.

F. Aim for a 60 minute Stated Meeting.

IV. Worthwhile Meetings

A. Make them Entertaining and Friendly:

1. Have a Stated Meeting supper.

2. Include families and guests at the supper.

3. Have entertainment for non-Masons in the dining room during the Stated Meeting.

4. Use greeters, at the door when people arrive and depart. Help those who need it from, and to their automobiles.

5. Everybody smile! Make everyone feel welcome, particularly strangers, new members and those who have not been to Lodge recently.

B. Educational:

1. Everyone should learn something new from attending.

2. Have someone present 5 minutes of Masonic information at each Stated Meeting.


Here are some resources you can use for your Lodge programs.


Mayor’s office    Police Department

Fire Department    City Manager’s Office

Board of Supervisors    Chamber of Commerce

Gas Company    Department of Water & Power

Telephone Company


Corporation Officers    Tourist & Convention Center

Board of Realtors Officers    Better Business Bureau

Major Employers    Trade Talks (history of jewelry, etc)

Demonstrations    Travel Agents
(cake & ice cream decoration, e tc)

Professional Talks    Airport/Yacht Club Officials
(Successes & failures)    Airline/Steamships (packing demonstrations)

Department Store Presentations
(fashion/make up trends, etc)


Superintendent of Education    University President

School Board Chairman    School Administrator

Principal/Vice Principal


Professional Team Public    Professional Athlete

Relations Officer    Athletic Director

Coach (high school, college)    Sports Writer

Athlete (high school, college)


Singers    Musicians

Actors    Magicians

Hypnotists    Barbershop Quartets

Sweet Adelines 
(Comedy group)    Dance Teams

High School/Church    (Scottish Dancers, etc.)
(Glee Clubs/Choirs)    Shrine Chanters

Corporate Entertainers (Union bank singers, General Telephone’s, “General Happenings, etc.)


Speakers Bureaus    Toastmasters, Inc.

TV or Radio personalities    Newspaper Editor

Sports Photographers    Social Security Benefits

Hobbies    Camera Clubs
(trains, stamps, coins, gems, etc.)    (films, slides)

Chefs (cooking demonstrations)


Specialists    Hospital Administrators

Health Care Costs    Exercise Programs

Medical Insurance    Medicare/Medicaid


Layman’s Night Committee    Research Lodge Speakers

(speaker)    Scottish Rite Players

Shrine Chanters    Research Lodge papers


P.O. Box 357
Centerville, Maine



    A.    Dues    $
    B.    Fees    $
    C.    Suppers    $
    D.    Other    $_____



    A.    Per capita tax    $
    B.    Secretary supplies    $
    C.    Bank fees    $
    D.    Sec./Treas./Custodian fees    $
    E.    Lodge maintenance    $
    F.    Oil    $
    G.    Electricity    $
    H.    Telephone    $
    I.    Insurance    $
    J.    Postage    $
    K.    Printing    $
    L.    Special Ladies    $
    M.    Other    $__________     



back to top

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United States or elsewhere.
It is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion
of Freemasonry, nor webmaster nor those of any other regular Masonic body other than those stated.

DEAD LINKS & Reproduction | Legal Disclaimer | Regarding Copyrights

Last modified: March 22, 2014