Administrators of masonic websites in this jurisdiction are requested to adhere to the "Regulations for masonic websites"; to consider the "Guidelines for masonic websites" when designing websites; and to read this "Statement regarding discussion of masonic business on the internet"
business on the internet
Dear Sir and Brother,
Our Grand Secretary wishes to remind the Brethren of our rules and regulations regarding the discussion of business transacted in a tyled Grand Lodge or constituent lodge of this jurisdiction.
There are three main areas of reference: the secrecy of the ballot; canvassing support for any Grand Lodge office; and endeavoring to obtain support for propositions that may have, or might come before this Grand Lodge or a lodge of this jurisdiction.
There are two distinctly different functions of the internet: email from one person to another, and everything else.
Email sent to one address is private correspondence and is not our concern, although a due regard to the relevant prohibitions in our Constitutions and various Charges should still be followed. Brethren are reminded of one Charge at initiation: "a ready acquiescence in all votes and resolutions duly passed by a majority of the Brethren, and by a perfect submission to the Worshipful Master and his Wardens." The Charges of a Freemason also obligate us in "...avoiding all wrangling and quarrelling, all slander and backbiting...."(Constitutions p. 142.)
An email message does not constitute a circular letter unless, in one posting, it is sent or automatically forwarded to more than one address.
An email message or posting sent to a mailing list of addresses, a chatline, newsgroup or bulletin board service, or uploaded to a website, or otherwise forwarded to more than one address, constitutes a circular letter. That is the interpretation of our Grand Secretarys Office and applies only to the brethren of this jurisdiction.
Permission is not required for circular letters except as noted:
"Circular Letters No lodge, or member of a Lodge with or without the consent of his Lodge, shall circularize other Lodges or members in an endeavour to obtain support for, or expressions of opinion on, a proposition or propositions in which it or he may be interested, without first obtaining the consent or approval of the Grand Master." (Constitutions p.126.)
Discussion of masonic subjects on any mailing list, chatline, bulletin board or newsgroup is not prohibited unless it refers to procedures and processes of specific ballots and decisions taken, or to be taken, in a tyled lodge or Grand Lodge. Specific or detailed discussion of the modes of recognition, or their significance, is also prohibited.
A mailing list, or webpage, with a readership potentially made up of non-masons or members of other jurisdictions, is not an appropriate vehicle for discussion regarding business transacted inside a tyled lodge.
Every lodge by-laws in this jurisdiction should have a section concerning the secrecy of the ballot. Although this is in the by-laws of individual lodges it is considered, by extension and tradition, to apply also to Grand Lodge proceedings.
The position of the Grand Secretarys Office, with reference to our Book of Constitutions, Digest of Rulings and Edicts, rules and regulations, is that the procedures, processes and results of ballots and votes taken in a tyled lodge are not proper topics of discussion outside of that tyled lodge. Concerns and comments should be addressed, through your lodge secretary, to the Grand Secretary for redirection to the appropriate committee or officer of Grand Lodge.
Brethren are reminded that internet communications, by their very nature, take on a life of their own. Words once written are impossible to take back and may reappear in the most inappropriate time and place.
Brethren are urged to practice discretion for the good of Freemasonry.
With fraternal regard,
Community Relations Committee
Grand Lodge of British Columbia
A.F. & A.M.