[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: May 2002


Subject: Blue Lodge
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 13:17:38 -0700
Message-ID: <870CE16F8EA7A547BE015814A7316C580328B4@NAWELEMREX02VA.nadsuswe.nads.navy.mil>
From: "Cooper, Ivory L  (NASL N44L)" <Ivory.Cooper@navy.mil>
To: <masonry-ask@mit.edu>

A brother and myself were having a discussion concerning blue lodges. I am a Prnce Hall Mason and he is not. He is under the impression that my lodge is not a blue lodge. I am under the impression that any chartered lodge is a blue lodge that only goes up to master mason. Can you please shed a little light on this question as well as explaining the differences between Prince Hall and other Masons.



To: "Cooper, Ivory L (NASL N44L)" <Ivory.Cooper@navy.mil>
Subject: Re: Blue Lodge
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Wed, 15 May 2002 13:17:38 PDT."
             <870CE16F8EA7A547BE015814A7316C580328B4@NAWELEMREX02VA.nadsuswe.nads.navy.mil> 
--------

"Blue lodge" is an informal term for a craft lodge that confers the three degrees up to Master Mason, so you are correct.

"Blue lodge" used to be disparaged by Masonic writers as slang, but it is such a useful term -- to differentiate a craft lodge of master masons from all the other bodies: Royal Arch Chapters, Cryptic Councils, all the various Scottish Rite bodies, etc -- that it caught on and spread widely.

Unfortunately, I have heard this very useful term being mis-used more often these days. Just a few weeks ago, someone at dinner after a lodge meeting asked me "What is your blue lodge?" Of course since I was a member of the lodge where we were meeting, that lodge was one of the "blue lodges" I belonged to. Eventually I was able to figure out that he meant to ask, "What is your mother lodge?" -- what lodge I was raised in.

I hate to see perfectly good words that means exactly one thing being used wrongly to try to mean something else. To me, that's like using a the edge of a builder's square for a chisel: maybe you'll make your point, maybe you won't, but in the meantime you've done the job badly and ruined a good tool in the process.

Finally, all regular Prince Hall lodges descend from an original lodge in Boston that was properly chartered by an English Grand Lodge in the 1700s. For years there were questions as to whether that original lodge had the right to charter other lodges and to eventually constitute itself into a grand lodge, and those questions shadowed the regularity and acceptance of tthe Prince Hall lodges by the rest of regular Masonry. But over the last decade, starting with decisions by the grand lodges of England and Massachusetts, it was declared that the rules about chartering other lodges and such were a lot less stringent back then, and that, since Prince Hall Masonry conformed to the usages of the time, it is a perfectly regular branch of Masonry. In these parts, there are regular visits between the Prince Hall and the mainstream lodges.


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[Another word on the subject...]

Message-ID: <000801c200ff$ef523d80$489687d9@angus>
From: "angus sinclair" <angus@rossiep.fsnet.co.uk>
To: <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
Subject: Blue Lodge/Mother Lodge
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 20:44:33 +0100

Fraternal Greetings from across the pond.

In your May letter, which concerns Prince Hall Masonry, you distinguish between any craft ( blue ) lodge of which a brother might be a member - and I know there a big differences on multiple membership rules - and his " Mother Lodge ".

You defined the Mother Lodge as the Lodge in which a mason is raised to the Third Degree. The three home Grand Lodges here regard the Lodge in which a brother first saw Masonic Light, ie was made a mason, as the Mother Lodge. For various reasons a brother may not have been both initiated and raised in the same Lodge ( I was one such ) but the Lodge of initiation is always the Mother Lodge over here.

Are you different in North America, or did a finger slip on the keyboard?

Keep up the good work.

Best regards

Bro Angus Sinclair
The Carse of Gowrie No871 SC

[Bro. Sinclair is perfectly correct and the error was mine. One's "mother lodge" is the lodge where he was first made a Mason -- that is, where he received his first degree.]


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