Report of the special committee on Landmarks
To the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Officers and Brethren of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia:
This committee was appointed by the Most Worshipful Grand Master to examine the Landmarks of the Craft and to recommend which, if any, should be recognized as such by the Most Worshipful the Grand Lodge of British Columbia.
W. Brother Harry Carr, P.G.D., Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, of London, states:
"This is one of the most debatable subjects in Freemasonry and it gives rise to very wide differences of opinion. Any good dictionary will define a "landmark" but masonically the term requires a stricter definition. The past writers on the subject are unanimous on two essential points:
(a) A Landmark must have existed from "time whereof the memory of many runneth not to the contrary."
(b) A Landmark is an element in the form or essence of the society of such importance that Freemasonry would no longer be Freemasonry if it were removed". Many Grand Lodges outside England have adopted specific codes of Landmarks which differ very widely the one from the other, but if the two qualifications described by Brother Carr are used strictly to test those differing codes, it will be found that many such lists of Landmarks seem to incorporate items which really come under the heading of regulations or customs or principles, and tentative lists of Landmarks range anywhere from five to fifty separate items.
Brother Carr is of the view that the following list of Landmarks conforms to the two point test:
1. That a freemason professes a belief in God (the Supreme being), the G.A.O.T.U.
2. That the V.S.L. is an essential and indispensable part of the lodge, to be open in full view when the brethren are at labour.
3. That a freemason must be male, free-born, and of mature age.
4. That a freemason, by his tenure, owes allegiance to the sovereign and to the Craft.
5. That a freemason believes in the immortality of the soul.
In our view it would be presumptuous of this committee to seek to identify specific Landmarks and to recommend them for official recognition by this Grand Lodge having regard to the wide diversity of opinion on this subject and remembering especially the wording of Mackey's 25th Landmark: "The last and crowning Landmark of all is that these Landmarks can never be subtracted from them - nothing can be added to them - not the slightest modification can be made in them. As they were received from our predecessors, we are bound by the most solemn obligations of duty to transmit them to our successors."
In order to avoid ill-found criticism of the lists of Landmarks formulated by other Grand Lodges, in order not to bind our successors in this Grand Lodge with a list of supposed Landmarks based on insufficient masonic scholarship, and in order to preserve the peace and harmony of the Craft we respectfully decline to identify and recommend for official endorsement by this Grand Lodge any specific Landmarks, but wish instead to recommend that the pages headed "The Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry (as formulated by Brother Albert G. Mackey)", which have appeared as an appendix in previous Books of Constitutions of this Grand Lodge, be once again inserted together with the following preamble: "These are published for the information of the brethren but the Grand Lodge of British Columbia does not necessarily adopt or endorse all of them."
O.H. NEW, Chairman,
This report was presented and moved by R.W. Brother O.H. New and R.W. Brother R.A. Gilley seconded its adoption.