A FEW THOUGHTS FROM THE GRAND MASTER
Most difficulties faced around the State stem from a failure to read and understand the Handbook of Masonic Law (HOML), the Monitor and the Lodge by-laws. There are a few Masons whose only focus is on appendant bodies and who have no real knowledge of the Handbook or inner workings of the Lodge. They also have not thought of their obligation in a very long time. We have many in the Shrine – I am a Shriner – at all levels, from the newest member to the Imperial Staff, who never darken the door of a Blue Lodge and have not thought of themselves as Masons since they were raised. These fellows have long since forgotten the specifics of their obligation and have no knowledge of the HOML, the Monitor and the bylaws of their home Lodge. This lack of knowledge causes difficulties on occasion. The same is true of Grotto – l am a member- but to a lesser extent. Propinquity is the state of being close to someone or something. Nearness or kinship. Propinquity in friendship can be a problem for an organization like Freemasonry. When we have a member(s) who chooses to associate with those who are un-masonic in their character or conduct, these associations generally lead to problems. Masonry cannot tell you whom to befriend but it is a certainty that being close to felons, perverts, suspended or expelled Masons, atheists and such will almost always lead to problems that the Grand Master or Master of the Lodge will have to address. Choose your associates carefully. You can’t choose your family members but you can choose your friends. Lodges that isolate themselves from the District and from the Grand Lodge, for reasons l will never understand, fail to attend either and view the Grand Lodge with suspicion – they ARE part of the Grand Lodge. The power rests with the Lodges with their three votes at the Grand Lodge session. The power does not rest with the Elected Line, the Past Grand Masters or the ladies that work in the Grand Lodge office. If the Lodges want something changed, they only need to gain the support of the voting delegates at Grand Lodge and affect the change. The change of the Grand Lodge Session, from late January to late June, does not affect the timing of certain requirements in the Lodges. Lodges still need to elect and install officers for the ensuing year by December 27th. Membership cards will still be issued for a calendar year. Per capita payments are due to Grand Lodge before January 15th. The reference is found in the HOML General Regulations Article V, Section 9, Page 27. Do not delay the payment until just prior to the June Grand Lodge Session. Lodges that did not attend Grand Lodge last year and who do not make the January 15th payment date, place their charter at risk. District Lodges establish the dates/places of their quarterly meetings, although the District Deputy Grand Master may schedule an additional meeting. The only requirement beyond four meetings is that the District Lodge shall furnish the name of a Past Master they recommend to serve as District Deputy to the Grand Lodge at least two months prior to Grand Lodge Session so the presumptive Grand Master can detail his list of appointed officers in a timely manner. I hope that l have your support for my EDlCTS. Restructuring the Perpetual Membership program was necessary to stop a program that was damaging the financial stability of the Lodges and the Grand Lodge. The program was a very good deal for the members, which made it so attractive. Please support the SUNSET of the program. I hope that you will elect the new slate of officers, who I appointed, to the Perpetual Membership Board. They are doing a fine job of resolving problems that were found throughout the record keeping and administration of the program. There are $4.7 Million dollars in the program. I have men in place who will be very good stewards of this account. My EDlCT regarding the operation of the Permanent Committee on Work (PCOW) and the creation of a committee to oversee the Master Ritualist Program (MRP) (Digest of Edicts, page 97) was established to be administered by the PCOW. Not wanting to dilute the important work of the PCOW, I decided to move the MRP to a separate committee that will focus on this important work. The PCOW will be working to have the principal officers of our Lodges advance to Level ONE proficiency as a means of improving the work. The three levels of proficiency are designed to get people on track to advance in their work. Life in a proficient Lodge is much more pleasant than sitting through the awkward moments when the officers cannot properly open and close a Lodge. We must work to be better. Taking up the word does nothing to purge a Lodge, or to make a Lodge better, and it has no useful purpose so it will not be tested for any of the three levels of proficiency. Taking up the word may be taught but should not be required for certification. While I support the use of the “Floor Work,” it will not be part of the test for any of the levels of proficiency. It has been made plain to me over time that, historically, the PCOW has come to believe that its work is separate from and not under the control of the Grand Lodge. This is simply not the case. Please see HOML, General Regulations Section 1, Page 15, “All committees and boards are created by action of the Grand Lodge and are subservient thereto. The delineation of the duties of said committees and boards shall not be construed as prohibiting Grand Lodge from instructing, and/or recommending to said committees and boards.” it is my fervent desire that each of you support my EDlCT 2016‐2 on the floor at the next Grand Lodge Session. We should all work together to ensure that the words connected with our work are correct. The remainder of the work is and should be nothing more than suggested. It may be that some Grand Master in the future might want to change what we have done here and to that I say, let him follow his conscience. For now, I assure you that I am doing what I believe is best for Louisiana Masonry.