-by Greg Davis, August 11, 2019
Landmark 9: The prerogative of the Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the Craft within his jurisdiction, to make Masons at sight, in a regular lodge, by the consent thereof, and to grand Dispensations for the formation of lodges.
Presiding over Lodges
So here it is in a nutshell.
The Grand Master is the BIG Kahona.
Think about this for a minute!
Anytime he chooses he may “preside over EVERY assembly of the Craft within his jurisdiction”.
Now that is power, baby.
Imagine a circuit of electronic lodges. Picture if you will, big screen T.V.s in every lodge.
The Grand Master’s face splashed on every single one in the state, and all at once.
Star Wars? Too many movies, you say?
Sit in any company today and you will find the same. Thankfully I work for one where the head dog believes in being out in front of the team, and pressing the flesh (he typically gives his speeches to us up close and personal; of course with a large, multi-National company like ours, that is not ALWAYS possible. But when we see him on the silver screen, it still feels like he is right there with as, as he visits operations often.
Same can be said of the GM (Grand Master).
He is no different than a CEO.
But scratch the future (most lodges have not gotten past dual-entry accounting in big green books).
Change comes slow in Freemasonry (as Brother Larry Price recently addressed in the most-previous article regarding the Landmarks: “On Innovation“).
It is normally the hallmark of a good leader to put a great deal of stock in the officers he has chosen to represent him.
This would be the WMs, and their Principle Officers (the SW and JW).
I do not see a time when Grands will preside over every meeting, at every lodge. But it is nice they have an avenue to address us all, and all-at-once!
Thus the push for electronic lodges.
Making Masons at Sight
So New Providence has first-hand experience with this one in our esteemed brother (now watching over us in the celestial lodge) – David Douglas.
We had the extreme privilege of witnessing Most Worshipful Grand Master Dwight Hastings preside over David’s “Mason on Sight” degree.
It was quite the event. The Grand Master had what we all thought a “tailor-made” degree in that elements of the preceding degrees were interspersed throughout the whole affair.
For those who do not know the back story, Brother David was suffering from an inoperable brain tumor that inhibited his ability to learn the lectures.
If memory serves me, he learned his EA before the ravages of his malady took effect.
It is fortunate that our forefathers had the foresight (ahem) to program this Landmark into our pantheon, as such a deserved man (like David) might not otherwise fulfill the dream of becoming a Master Mason.
I ran into Most-Worshipful Hastings at Grand Lodge the following year, and he told me he had the privilege of performing two that year (and he said it was the greatest honor of his term).
The second, I understand, was for a soldier who was up against a terminal situation as well.
Grand Dispensation to Form Lodges
Also a function of the Grand Master, he can make lodges “on sight” (well, sort of).
He has a great deal of prestige, this fellow, the Grand.
Forming lodges is probably one of the most-revered of his duties.
I sometimes wish he had the power to “re-form” them (and really, and truly, he does in item 1 – presidence over lodges).
So, the Grand Master, in nutshell, can serve as Worshipful Master over all lodges, make a Mason on sight, and form lodges at his discretion.
I would say that is a pretty full plate (that, and visiting all the other encampments throughout the known universe).
And there you have it.
Landmark Number Nine: all about the Grand!