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Recognition Standards of Grand Lodges or other Masonic Groups

The information in this chart was prepared by Paul M. Bessel, Executive Secretary of the Masonic Leadership Center. If anyone wants to send me email, especially if any of the information on this chart is not correct or if you know of additional information that should be included, please send me email by clicking on my name Paul M. Bessel.


U.S. Grand Lodges listed first, in alphabetical order (after the Commission on Information for Recognition of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America). Then non-U.S. Grand Lodges are listed.

The standards of the Commission on Information for Recognition, and of the UGLE, are from the book:
Grand Lodge Recognition: A Symposium on The Conditions of Grand Lodge Recognition, Compiled and Published by The Commission on Information for Recognition of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America, published by Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, then in New York, 1956.

Recognition standards are listed below for:

Commission on Information for Recognition of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America
Arizona
California
District of Columbia
Indiana
North Carolina
Texas
Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

England, Ireland, and Scotland
England
France (GLF)


Commission on Information for Recognition
of the
Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America

Standards adopted for use by The Commission for Information for Recognition of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America in the 1950's

I. Legitimacy of Origin

That the Grand Lodge requesting recognition has been lawfully formed by at least three just and duly constituted Lodges, or that it has been legally recognized by a Grand Lodge in fraternal relation with the Grand Lodge from whom recognition has been requested.

That such Grand Lodge must be "under the tongue of good repute" for an adequate number of years before such fraternal recognition is extended. An existence for such a period as satisfies the Grand Lodge whose recognition is sought, during which time the highest standards of the Craft have been practised [sic] by the applicant Grand Lodge, may cure what would otherwise be considered illegitimacy of origin.


II. Territorial Sovereignty

That it is an independent, self-governing organization, having Masonic authority within the governmental territory over which it assumes jurisdiction -- whether Country, Province, State or other political subdivision; or else shares such exclusive territorial jurisdiction with another Grand Lodge by mutual consent and/or treaty.


III. Ancient Landmarks

That it subscribes fundamentally, ritualistically and in all its relations to the Ancient Landmarks, Customs and Usages of the Craft. This requires adherence to the following.

1. Monotheism -- An unalterable and continuing belief in God.

2. The Volume of The Sacred Law -- an essential part of the furniture of the Lodge.

3. Prohibition of the discussion of Religion and Politics.


Arizona

Grand Lodge of Arizona

Arizona has 8 items called "Principles of Recognition" by which we presume to test the regularity of other GLs. Several of these are considered Landmarks by others:


1. That such Grand Lodge shall have been established lawfully by a duly recognized Grand Lodge or by three or more regularly constituted Lodges.

2. That a belief in the GAOTU, and His Revealed Will, shall be an essential qualification for membership.

3. That all Initiates shall take their obligation on or in full view of the open Volume of the Sacred Law, by which is meant the revelation from above which is binding on the conscience of the particular individual who is being
initiated.

4. That the membership of the Grand Lodge and individual Lodges shall be composed exclusively of men; and that each Grand Lodge shall have no Masonic intercourse of any kind with mixed Lodges or bodies which admit women to membership.

5. That the Grand Lodge shall have sovereign jurisdiction over the Lodges under its control, i.e., that it shall be a responsible, independent, self-governing organization, with sole and undisputed authority over the Craft of Symbolic Degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason) within its jurisdiction; and shall not in any way be subject to or divide such authority with any other power claiming any control or supervision over those degrees.

6. That the three Great Lights of Freemasonry (namely the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Square, and the Compasses) shall always be exhibited when the Grand Lodge or its subordinate Lodges are at work, the chief of these being the Volume of the Sacred Law.

7. That the discussion of religion and politics within the Lodge shall be strictly prohibited.

8. That the principles of Ancient Landmarks, customs, and usages of the Craft shall be strictly observed.


California

The Constitution of the Grand Lodge F&AM of California:
Section 220.

Grand Lodge shall recognize as a sovereign Grand Lodge only Grand Bodies that:

a. Are regularly formed by subordinate Lodges which trace their origin to regular and legitimate Ancient Craft Masonry.

b. Hold undisputed sway as the acknowledged supreme power in Ancient Craft Masonry in the territory in which they claim jurisdiction, must not render allegiance or obedience, in any sense whatsoever, to any other Masonic power or Supreme Council, must recognize the exclusive jurisdiction of all other Grand Lodges in their respective territories, and must not presume to project their authority or sovereignty into the territory of their Grand Lodge;

c. Confine their authority and the exercise thereof to the three degrees of Craft or Symbolic Masonry; and

d. Recognize and support the Ancient Landmarks which include, particularly, the Three Great Lights and belief in a Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul.

This Grand Lodge shall recognize only one Grand Lodge in any state or territory of the United States unless the Grand Lodge which we recognize with exclusive jurisdiction over that state or territory chooses to waive
its right to maintain exclusive jurisdiction and permit concurrent jurisdiction. In the event of such a waiver, this Grand Lodge may also recognize such additional Grand Lodges in that state or territory as have been granted such concurrent jurisdiction.


District of Columbia

Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia
Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition
(District of Columbia Grand Lodge Proceedings 1953, pages 47-48)

1. That a belief in the G.A.O.T.U. and His revealed will shall be an essential qualification for membership.

2. That all Initiates shall take their Obligations on or in full view of the open Volume of the Sacred Law, by which is meant the revelation from above which is binding on the conscience of the particular individual who is being initiated.

3. That the three Great Lights of Freemasonry (namely, the Volume of the sacred Law, the Square, and the Compasses) shall always be exhibited when the Grand Lodge or its subordinate Lodges are at work, the chief of these being the Volume of the Sacred Law.

4. That the membership of the Grand Lodge and individual Lodge shall be composed exclusively of men; and that no Masonic relations shall be had with mixed lodges or bodies which admit women to membership.

5. That the Grand Lodge shall have been established lawfully by a duly recognized Grand Lodge or by three or more Lodges which can show that they have consistently professed and practiced the established and unaltered principles of regular Freemasonry.

6. That the Grand Lodge shall have sovereign jurisdiction over the Lodges under its control; that it shall be a  responsible, independent, self-governing organization, with sole, undisputed and exclusive authority over the Craft or Symbolic Degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason); that it shall not in any way be subject to, or divide such authority with, a Supreme Council or other Power claiming any control or supervision over those degrees; and that it does not extend its authority into, or establish lodges in, a territory occupied by a lawful Grand Lodge, without the expressed consent of said Grand Lodge.

7. That the dominant purposes of Freemasonry are charitable benevolent, and educational; that the discussion of sectarian religion and partisan politics shall be strictly prohibited from all activities under its auspices; and that the principles of the Ancient Landmarks, usages and customs shall be strictly observed.


Indiana

The GL of Indiana, at SR 56.010, has set out the following Principles of Recognition "as set out by the United Grand Lodge of England (and adopted by the Grand Lodge of Indiana):"

A. Regularity of origin; i.e., each Grand Lodge shall have been established lawfully by a duly recognized Grand Lodge or by three or more regularly constituted Lodges.

B. That a belief in the GAOTU and His revealed will shall be an essential qualification for membership.

C. That all initiates shall take their obligation on/or in full view of the open Volume of the Sacred Law, by which is meant the revelation from above which is binding on the conscience of the particular individual who is being initiated.

D. That the membership of the Grand Lodge and individual Lodges shall be composed exclusively of men; and that each Grand Lodge shall have no Masonic intercourse of any kind with mixed Lodges or bodies which admit women to membership.

E. That the Grand Lodge shall have sovereign jurisdiction over the Lodges under its control, i.e., that it shall be a [sic] responsible, independent self-governing, with sole and undisputed authority over the Craft or Symbolic Degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason) within its jurisdiction, and shall not in any way be subject to or divide such authority with a Supreme Council or other power claiming any control or supervision over those degrees.

F. That the three Great Lights of Freemasonry (namely, the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Square and the
Compass) shall always be exhibited when the Grand Lodge or its subordinate Lodges are at work, the chief of these being the Volume of the Sacred Law.

G. That the discussion of religion and politics within the Lodge be strictly prohibited.

H. That the principles of the Ancient Landmarks, customs and usages of the Craft shall be strictly observed.

[Historical Reference: 1930, 188.]

[Taken from the 2001 Indiana Blue Book of Masonic Law] 


North Carolina

Grand Lodge of North Carolina

SEC. 6-1 RECOGNITION OF GRAND LODGE.

Fraternal recognition may be extended to another grand lodge when it appears to the satisfaction of this Grand Lodge, a committee having first considered and reported thereon:

1. That such grand body has been formed lawfully by at least three just and duly constituted lodges, or that it has been legalized by a valid act issuing from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, or from a grand body in fraternal relations with this Grand Lodge.

2. That it is an independent, self-governing, responsible organization with entire, undisputed, and exclusive dogmatic and administrative authority over the Symbolic Lodges within its jurisdiction, and not in any sense whatever subject to, or dividing such authority with, a supreme council or other body claiming ritualistic or other supervision or control.

3. That it makes Masons of men only.

4. That it requires conformity to the following which the Grand Lodge of North Carolina considers necessary in a Masonic Body:

A. Acknowledgment of a belief in God, the Father of all men.

B. Secrecy.

C. The symbolism of operative Masonry.

D. The division of Symbolic Masonry into the three degrees practiced in North Carolina.

E. The legend of the Third Degree.

5. That its dominant purposes are charitable, benevolent, educational, and for the worship of God, and that it excludes controversial politics and sectarian religion from all activities under its auspices.

6. That the Sacred Book of the Divine Law, chief among the Three Great Lights of Masonry, is indispensably present in the lodges while at work.

7. That it occupies its territorial jurisdiction exclusively, or else shares the same with another by mutual consent, and that it does not presume to extend its authority into, or presume to establish lodges in, a territory occupied by a lawful grand lodge without the expressed assent of such supreme governing Masonic body.

8. That it was not formed in occupied territory against the wishes of a recognized grand lodge in that territory, and that it does not warrant lodges in territory occupied by a regular recognized grand lodge against the wishes of that grand lodge.


Texas

Grand Lodge of Texas

Art. 18. (18). Recognition Criteria of Other Grand Lodges. Fraternal recognition may be extended to a Grand Lodge when it appears to the satisfaction of this Grand Lodge, a Committee having first considered and reported thereon:

1. That such a Grand Body has been formed lawfully by at least three just and duly constituted Lodges, or that it has been legalized by a valid act issuing from the Grand Lodge of Texas, of from a Grand Body in fraternal relations with this Grand Lodge.

2. That it is an independent, self-governing, responsible organization with entire, undisputed and exclusive dogmatic and administrative authority over the Symbolic Lodges within its jurisdiction, and not in any sense whatever subject to, or dividing such authority with, a Supreme Council, or other Body claiming ritualistic or other supervision or control.

3. That it makes Masons of men only.

4. That it requires conformity to the following, which the Grand Lodge of Texas considers necessary in a Masonic Body:

A. Acknowledgment of a belief in God the Father of all men.
B. Secrecy.
C. The Symbolism of Operative Masonry.
D. The division of Symbolic Masonry into the three degrees in Texas.
E. The legend of the Third Degree.
F. That its dominant purposes are charitable, benevolent, educational and religious, and that it excludes controversial politics and sectarian religion from all activities under its auspices.
G. The Sacred Book of the Divine Law, Chief among the Three Great Lights of masonry, indispensably present in the Lodges while at work.

5. That it occupies exclusively its territorial jurisdiction or else shares the same with another by mutual consent; and that it does not presume to extend its authority, or presume to establish Lodges in, a territory occupied by a lawful Grand Lodge, without the expressed assent of such supreme governing Masonic Body.


Virginia

Grand Lodge of Virginia

Adopted February 13, 1935

Application for fraternal recognition by a foreign Grand Lodge shall be referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Correspondence which shall make a thorough investigation of the application and make a recommendation to the Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge may extend such recognition if it appears to its satisfaction:

The foreign Grand Lodge in question represents a substantial unity of the Freemasons of the territory over which it assumes jurisdiction: i.e., the country, province or state, or else shares such territorial jurisdiction with another Grand Lodge by mutual consent.

It has been lawfully organized by three or more regular Lodges or that it has been legalized by a Grand Lodge recognized by this Grand Lodge.

It is an independent, self-governing organization, having sovereign Masonic authority within its jurisdiction.

Its ritual is fundamentally in accord with the Ancient Land marks, customs, and usages of the Craft. This involves:

(a) Monotheism;

(b) The Volume of the Sacred Law, a part of the furniture of the Lodge;

(c) Secrecy;

(d) The symbolism of the operative art;

(e) The division of Symbolic Masonry into the three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason;

(f) The legend of the Third Degree.

It makes Masons of men only.

It is non-sectarian and non-political: i.e., that its dominant purposes are charitable, benevolent, educational, and moral.


Wisconsin

Chapter 37 - Laws of the Grand Lodge

37.03 Recognition of Other Grand Lodges. Recognition of other Grand Lodges is the exclusive prerogative of this Grand Lodge and the following shall be the rules to guide in the fraternal recognition of other Grand Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons:

Rule 1. Such Grand Lodge must be sovereign, independent and supreme - the sole governing body over its constituent lodges.

Rule 2. It must be in possession of and exclusively control the work of the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees in the lodges under its authority.

Rule 3. It must display the Volume of the Sacred law on its altars; require a belief in Deity; make Masons of men only; exclude religious and political questions and discussion from its lodges; and must conform to, abide by, and uphold the Ancient Landmarks of Ancient Craft Masonry.

Rule 4. Lodges forming a new Grand Lodge must be at least three in number and must trace their descent from regular sources recognized by this Grand Lodge.

Rule 5. Recognition will not be extended to a new Grand Lodge that shall have been formed in occupied territory against the wishes of a recognized Grand Lodge in that territory.

Rule 6. Recongition will not be extended to a Grand Lodge that shall warrant lodges in territory occupied by a regular Grand Lodge against the wishes of that Grand Lodge.

Rule 7. In countries where the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction does not apply, two or more Grand Lodges occupying the same or overlapping territory, recognizing each other as regular and conforming in
all other respects to our requirements, may be recognized.

Rule 8. Grand Lodges of Scottish Rite descent, having renounced allegiance to any other superior authority, and having since had a long established and continuous existence during which they have conformed to all our
requirements, may be recognized.

Rule 9. Although the original formation of a Grand Lodge may have been irregular, if it has had a long continuous and uninterrupted existence and otherwise conforms to our requirements, it may be recognized.


Wyoming

The following is quoted from page 122 of the Masonic Code of Wyoming:

Requisite for the recognition of other Grand Bodies

Fraternal recognition may be extended to a foreign Grand Lodge when it appears to the satisfaction of this Grand Body that the following requisites have been complied with, the Committee on Masonic Correspondence having considered and made its report thereon:

I. That such Grand Lodge has been lawfully formed by three or more just and regular lodges.

II. That it is a responsible independent self-governing organization with undisputed and exclusive authority over the Symbolic lodges within its territorial jurisdiction, and not subject or under authority of any Supreme Power claiming control over the three Symbolic Degrees known as the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.

III. That its membership is composed of men only.

IV. That it adheres in principle to the Ancient Landmarks, traditions, customs and usages of the Craft as set forth and adopted by the Grand Lodge of England in 1723, which involves:

     1. The belief in the existence of one God, the Father of all men.
     2. The belief in Immortality.
     3. The presence of the Three Great Lights of Masonry in the lodges while at work,   which must include the Sacred Book of the Divine Law.
     4. The division of Symbolic Masonry into three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.
     5. Belief in secrecy.

V. That it is non-sectarian and non-political and excludes discussions on these subjects from all meetings held under the auspices of a lodge.


England, Ireland, and Scotland

The AIMS and RELATIONSHIPS of the CRAFT
Agreed and Issued by the GRAND LODGES of ENGLAND, IRELAND and SCOTLAND
in August 1938

This Statement was subsequently endorsed and confirmed, particularly in regard to paragraph (7), by UNITED GRAND LODGE of ENGLAND on 7th September 1949

The only differences in the Statements issued by the Grand Lodges were the name and details of the individual Grand Lodge appearing within the text of the Statement. In this case, the version issued by the United Grand Lodge of England is quoted.

1. From time to time the United Grand Lodge of England has deemed it desirable to set forth in precise form the aims of Freemasonry as consistently practised under its Jurisdiction since it come into being as an organized body in 1717, and also to define the principles governing its relations with those other Grand Lodges with which it is in fraternal accord.

2. In view of representations which have been received, and of statements recently issued which have distorted or obscured the true objects of Freemasonry, it is once again considered necessary to emphasize certain fundamental principles of the Order.

3. The first condition of admission into, and membership of, the Order is a belief in a Supreme Being. This is essential and admits of no compromise.

4. The Bible, referred to by Freemasons as the Volume of the Sacred Law, is always open in the Lodges. Every Candidate is required to take his obligation on that book or on the Volume which is held by his particular creed to impart sanctity to an oath or promise taken upon it.

5. Everyone who enters Freemasonry is, at the outset, strictly forbidden to countenance any act which may have a tendency to subvert the peace and good order of society; he must pay due obedience to the law of any state in which he resides or which may afford him protection, and he must never be remiss in the allegiance due to the Sovereign of his native land.

6. While English Freemasonry thus inculcates in each of its members the duties of loyalty and citizenship, it reserves to the individual the right to hold his own opinion with regard to public affairs. But neither in any Lodge, nor at any time in his capacity as a Freemason, is he permitted to discuss or to advance his views on theological or political questions.

7. The Grand Lodge has always consistently refused to express any opinion  on questions of foreign or domestic policy either at home or abroad, and it will not allow its name to be associated with any action, however humanitarian it may appear to be, which infringes its unalterable policy of standing aloof from every question affecting the relations between one government and another, or between political parties, or questions as to rival theories of government.

8. The Grand Lodge is aware that there do exist Bodies, styling themselves Freemasons, which do not adhere to these principles, and while that attitude exists the Grand Lodge of England refuses absolutely to have any relations with such Bodies, or to regard them as Freemasons.

9. The Grand Lodge of England is a Sovereign and independent Body practising Freemasonry only within the three Degrees and only within the limits defined in its Constitution as 'pure Antient Masonry'. It does not recognize or admit the existence of any superior Masonic authority, however styled.

10. On more than one occasion the Grand Lodge has refused, and will continue to refuse, to participate in Conferences with so-called International Associations claiming to represent Freemasonry, which admit to membership Bodies failing to conform strictly to the principles upon which the Grand Lodge of England is founded. The Grand Lodge does not admit any such claim, nor can its views be represented by any such Association.

11. There is no secret with regard to any of the basic principles of Freemasonry, some of which have been stated above. The Grand Lodge will always consider the recognition of those Grand Lodges which profess and practise, and can show that they have consistently professed and practised, those established and unaltered principles, but in no circumstances will it enter into discussion with a view to any new or varied interpretation of them. They must be accepted and practised wholeheartedly and in their entirety by those who desire to be recognised as Freemasons by the United Grand Lodge of England.


England

Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition
Adopted by United Grand Lodge of England, September 4, 1929

The Most Worshipful, the Grand Master, having expressed a desire that the Board would draw up a statement of the Basic Principles on which this Grand Lodge could be invited to recognize any Grand Lodge applying for recognition by the English Jurisdiction, the Board of General Purposes has gladly complied. The result, as follows, has been approved by the Grand Master, and it will form the basis of a questionnaire to be forwarded in future to each Jurisdiction requesting English recognition. The Board desires that not only such bodies, but the brethren generally throughout the Grand Master's Jurisdiction shall be fully informed of those Basic Principles of Freemasonry for which the Grand Lodge of England has stood throughout its history.

1. Regularity of origin; That is, each Grand Lodge shall have been established lawfully by a duly recognized Grand Lodge or by three or more regularly constituted Lodges.

2. That a belief in the G.A.O.T.U. and his revealed will shall be an essential qualification for membership.

3. That all initiates shall take their obligation on or in full view of the open Volume of The Sacred Law, by which is meant the revelation from above which is binding on the conscience of the particular individual who is being initiated.

4. That the membership of the Grand Lodge and individual Lodges shall be composed exclusively of men; and that each Grand Lodge shall have no Masonic intercourse of any kind with mixed Lodges or bodies which admit women to membership.

5. That the Grand Lodge shall have sovereign jurisdiction over the Lodges under its control; that is, that it shall be a responsible, independent, self-governing organization, with sole and undisputed authority over the Craft or Symbolic degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason) within its Jurisdiction; and shall not in any way be subject to, or divide such authority with, a Supreme Council or other Power claiming any control or supervision over those degrees.

6. That the three Great Lights of Freemasonry (namely, the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Square, and the Compasses) shall always be exhibited when the Grand Lodge or its subordinate Lodges are at work, the chief of these being The Volume of The Sacred Law.

7. That the discussion of religion and politics within the Lodge shall be strictly prohibited.

8. That the principles of the Antient Landmarks, customs and usages of the Craft shall be strictly observed.


France (GLF)

To be recognized by the Grand Lodge of France, a Grand Lodge must: 

1) Conform itself to the Old Charges from Anderson's Constitutions, 

2) Either exist from "time immemorial" (before 1717) or be created from at least three lodges, coming from a regular Grand Lodge and working a traditional ritual. 

3) Exclusively comprise the successively awarded degrees of EA, FC and MM, the Hiramic legend being the basis of the 3rd or MM degree. 

4) Be constituted of mature men only, working in tiled lodges to the Glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe. 

5) Have its candidates apply out of their own free will and accord, and only take in consideration their human qualities, without distinction of race, ethnic origin, faith, social status, wealth, education or nationality. 

6) Work in the presence on the Altar of the Square, Compass and open VSL (generally the Bible). 

7) Prohibit religious and political debate. 

8) Be totally independent of any system of degrees allegedly superior to that of Master Mason. 

9) Be totally independent of any other Masonic body, Church or religion, political system or party. 


Links

Article about U.S. Grand Lodges' Recognition of French Grand Bodies during the 1900s
including general information about Grand Lodge recognition policies and history, including the UGLE

Recognitions by U.S. Grand Lodges
links to charts showing which Grand Lodges around the world are recognized by each of the U.S. Grand Lodges

 


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