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,
Roberts 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 motions 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
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 annoqnces the result of the
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Dont 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 Secretarys 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
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.
1. Everyone should learn something new from attending.
2. Have someone present 5 minutes of Masonic information at each
|Mayors office||Police Department|
|Fire Department||City Managers Office|
|Board of Supervisors||Chamber of Commerce|
|Gas Company||Department of Water & Power|
|Corporation Officers||Tourist & Convention Center|
|Board of Realtors Officers||Better Business Bureau|
|Major Employers||Trade Talks (history of jewelry, etc)|
(cake & ice cream decoration, etc)
(Successes & failures)
|Airport/Yacht Club Officials|
|Department Store Presentations
(fashion/make up trends, etc)
|Airline/Steamships (packing demonstrations)|
|Superintendent of Education||University President|
|School Board Chairman||School Administrator|
|Professional Team Public||Professional Athlete|
|Relations Officer||Athletic Director|
|Coach (high school, college)||Sports Writer|
|Athlete (high school, college)|
(Scottish Dancers, etc.)
(Union bank singers, General Telephones, General Happenings,
|Speakers Bureaus||Toastmasters, Inc.|
|TV or Radio personalities||Newspaper Editor|
|Sports Photographers||Social Security Benefits|
(trains, stamps, coins, gems, etc.)
|Chefs (cooking demonstrations)|
|Health Care Costs||Exercise Programs|
|Laymans Night Committee
|Research Lodge Speakers|
|Scottish Rite Players||Shrine Chanters|
|Research Lodge papers|
BOAZ LODGE, NO.59
P.O. Box 357
A. Dues $
B. Fees $
C. Suppers $
D. Other $_____
TOTAL ESTIMATED INCOME $
2. ESTIMATED EXPENSES
A. Per capita tax
B. Secretary supplies
C. Bank fees $
E. Lodge maintenance
F. Oil $
H. Telephone $
I. Insurance $
J. Postage $
K. Printing $
L. Special Ladies
M. Other $__________
TOTAL ESTIMATED EXPENSES $
SURPLUS (SHORTFALL) $