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Rules about Visitors to Lodges

The information on this chart comes from information from various sources. It is believed to be accurate, but if anyone has definite information, with citations, about additions or changes in this chart, please send an email message to paulb'at'bessel.org so I can update it.

Information that I feel is especially significant is in bold.

State

Rules about Visitors to Lodges

Alabama  
Alaska  
Arizona  
Arkansas  
California  
Colorado  
Connecticut  
Delaware  
District of Columbia SEC. 91. It is the right of a brother in good standing to visit all regular Lodges unless objection is made by a member of the Lodge, in which case he should not be admitted.
DECISION
1. — As this subject was thoroughly discussed in the several sessions of the Grand Lodge in the year 1870 - and to present the matter in all its bearings would require more space than can be given to it in a digest - reference is made to the printed Proceedings of 1870, pp. 7 to 12, pp. 22, 33, 34, 35, and appendix, containing correspondence with Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries of most of the Grand Lodges on the subject.
2. — Race does not preclude a member of a regular Lodge from visiting regular Lodges, but the brother cannot visit any other than a regular Lodge. — George W. Baird, G.M., Proc. 1896, p. 29.
3. — Held that Section 91 of our Grand Lodge Constitution is mandatory in requiring that a visitor shall not be admitted to a Lodge where objection is made by a Member of it and does not specify the manner in which the objection shall be made; that an objection to the admission of a visitor made to the Master of a Lodge by a member of it is sufficient objection to require the exclusion of the visitor in question. — James A. West, G.M., Proc. 1930, p. 86.
SEC. 94. No Lodge shall permit a visitor to be examined until he shall furnish the Master of the Lodge, or the committee of examination appointed by him, documentary evidence that he was in good standing in a Lodge within twelve months prior to the date on which he presents himself for examination: Provided, That the production of documentary evidence may be waived in case of a visitor whose credibility is vouched for by a Master Mason, known as such in the Lodge in which the visitor is to be examined, the acceptance of such voucher to be determined by the Master of the Lodge prior to the examination: Provided further, That no Lodge shall permit a visitor to be examined who comes from a grand jurisdiction with which this grand jurisdiction has fraternal relations, wherein clandestine lodges are declared by the Grand Lodge of this jurisdiction to exist, or which requires diplomas or certificates to be issued to its members, unless the visitor shall present a diploma or certificate from the Grand Lodge, or otherwise satisfy the Lodge that he is a member in good standing under the jurisdiction of such foreign Grand Lodge.* (*All the Masonic powers in Europe and British provinces and bodies of Masons under their constitutions, require diplomas or certificates to be issued to their members: the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts makes the same requirement.)
DECISION
l. — Has any brother the right to examine a visitor claiming to be a member of the fraternity with the view of introducing him to a Lodge, unless he is authorized to do so by the Grand Master or the Worshipful Master of a Lodge? My answer to this question has been, in every instance, in the negative. The examination of visitors claiming to be members of the fraternity is an important matter and should be done only by those who are known to be qualified to do that duty in such a manner as will leave no doubt in the minds of our brethren that he who claims to be of us has fully proved his assertion and is so pronounced by the brethren to whom the duty of examination may be entrusted. To guard against imposition in this matter and to prevent the introduction of impostors into our midst, I hold, and have so instructed the brethren, when opportunity offered, that all examinations of visitors should be made by a committee appointed by the Grand Master or the Worshipful Master of a Lodge, who are supposed to be better qualified than anyone else to select brethren capable of discharging this important duty. — N.D. Larner, G.M., Proc. 1881, p. 30. Affirmed by Grand Lodge, Proc. 1881, p. 7.
2. — Under consideration of that portion of the subject which relates to the examination of visitors, your committee is of the opinion that it would be unwise to promulgate formal instructions committed to paper, covering this subject, for the use of the committees, lest they might, through inadvertence, find their way into unauthorized hands. As a matter of fact, every case is a law unto itself and presents its own special features, and if due care is exercised in the appointment of committees to examine visitors the possibility of impostors gaining admission within our tiled doors is remote. Of course, care, tact, and judgment must be exercised by the committee, to the end that neither the worthy are excluded nor the unworthy admitted. Their duties must be performed conscientiously and not perfunctorily. The only criticism that your committee has to offer to the present method is the way in which committees are frequently selected. In many instances the visitor’s card is handed by the Master to the Senior Deacon to provide a committee, and he in turn hands it to some brother with directions to select two additional members and examine the visitor. It is believed that if the Master will give this matter his personal attention, always placing on the committee it least one of the older and more experienced brethren, the situation will be fully, met. So far as the esoteric features are concerned, the subject is already well covered in the instructions given by proficiency committees, but, in a case of doubt, questions concerning esoteric matters will prove of great value in uncovering a suspected imposter. — Special Committee, Proc. 1923, p. 29.
Florida  
Georgia  
Hawaii  
Idaho  
Illinois  
Indiana  
Iowa  
Kansas  
Kentucky  
Louisiana  
Maine  
Maryland  
Massachusetts  
Michigan  
Minnesota  
Mississippi  
Missouri  
Montana  
Nebraska  
Nevada  
New Hampshire  
New Jersey The following was adopted in 2004.
NJ Constitution:
10. Section 45-06: Amended to read: If a member of a lodge objects to the admission or continuance in the lodge of a visiting brother (officers of Grand Lodge excepted), it is the duty of the Master to conduct an inquiry into the reason for the objection, which must be for Masonic reasons. The Master shall, thereafter, have the discretion to decide whether to exclude the visiting brother or to overrule the objection. ADOPTED.
New Mexico  
New York  
North Carolina  
North Dakota  
Ohio  
Oklahoma  
Oregon  
Pennsylvania  
Rhode Island  
South Carolina  
South Dakota  
Tennessee  
Texas From an email:
In Texas, a visitor who is a member of a Texas Lodge may only be excluded upon proof of Masonic charges having been filed against him.
A visitor who is not a member of a Texas Lodge MAY be excluded upon the objection of a member of the Lodge, at the discretion of the WM. If three members object, the visiting Brother MUST be excluded. No reason need be stated.
Title III, Chapter 6, Article 383- Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas
Utah  
Vermont  
Virginia 1924 D-9, §-2.48, §-2.135
The Master directs and controls the affairs of his Lodge and the exclusion of visitors is a proper exercise of his prerogatives, when he deems it in the best interest of his Lodge. (J. H. Price)
VISITORS
Sec. 2.133. Who May Be Permitted to Visit a Lodge. — Any Master Mason who is a member in good standing of a Virginia Lodge or of a Lodge holden under a Grand Lodge recognized by the Grand Lodge of Virginia may be permitted to visit any just and legally constituted Lodge open in any of the three Symbolic Degrees.
An Entered Apprentice or a Fellowcraft who is eligible for Masonic instruction may be permitted to visit a Lodge working in any degree which he has received. (1975)
DECISIONS
1909 D-17, §-2.48, §-2.133
Everyone admitted to a Lodge, whether a member or not, must have the Worshipful Master's permission. (J. W. Eggleston)
1916 D-4, §-2.133
Members of Lodges holden under Grand Lodges not recognized by Virginia cannot visit in Virginia Lodges. (J. B. Wood)
1916 D-7, §-2.133
German Masons given right to visit Virginia Lodges (despite involvement of their country in World War I at the time.) (J. B. Wood)
1919 D-14, §-2.133
No member of a Virginia Lodge can visit a Lodge holden under a Grand Lodge not recognized by Virginia, nor can a Virginia Lodge receive visitors from a Lodge holden under Grand Lodge not recognized by our own Grand Lodge. (E. L. Cunningham)
1926 D-1, §-2.112, §-2.133
An E.A. or F.C. may be admitted as a visitor to Lodge working in the degree he has received - if there be no objection from any member of the Lodge. (C. H. Callahan)
1936 D-8, §-2.133, §-2.135
Admission of a visitor is always in the discretion of the Master, subject to the right of any member present to voice his own objection, which is sufficient to exclude visitor.
A subordinate Lodge has no right to admit a visitor owing allegiance to a Grand Lodge which Virginia does not recognize. (T. W. Hooper)
1959 D-8, §-2.133
Question was raised by member of the Armed Forces overseas about visiting Oregon Military Lodge in Germany, which also allowed Negro visitors, Grand Master advised that each Grand Lodge had its own rules and regulations and visiting in any Lodge holden under a Grand Lodge with which we are in fraternal relations is proper.
(E. S. Wallace)
Sec. 2.134. Visitors Must Be Examined Unless Avouched For. — If no Brother present can avouch for the visitor, the Master shall appoint a committee of Brethren skilled in the work to examine him.
DECISIONS
1915 D-6, §-2.134
If Brother has sat in Lodge with another Mason or if he knows from legal Masonic examination or other legal information that a third person is a Mason, he may avouch for him. It is the Master's unquestioned prerogative to require an examination of any visitor seeking admission to his Lodge. (P. K. Bauman)
Sec. 2.135. A Visitor, Other Than a Grand Officer or a District Deputy Grand Master Cannot Enter, or Remain in Lodge if Any Member Objects. — If any member of the Lodge objects to sitting in the Lodge with any visitor, except an officer of the Grand Lodge or the District Deputy Grand Master, the Master shall refuse him admittance, or if he has been admitted, require him to withdraw.
DECISIONS
1906 D-23, §-2.135
Every Lodge is a household, belonging to the members thereof, and each and all can say who shall not be permitted to visit, other than the Grand Officers and District Deputy Grand Master who has supervision of the Lodge, and the Master cannot say nay.
(T. N. Davis)
1909 D-13, §-2.135
Member cannot file permanent objection to admission of a visitor. His right to object exists only when he is present. (J. W. Eggleston)
1909 D-14, §-2.135
Member cannot object to the presence of a visitor at a Lodge banquet if the Lodge desires to entertain him. (J. W. Eggleston)
1909 D-48, §-2.135
A visitor cannot object to the presence or admission of another visitor. (J. W. Eggleston)
1924 D-9, §-2.48, §-2.135
The Master directs and controls the affairs of his Lodge and the exclusion of visitors is a proper exercise of his prerogatives, when he deems it in the best interest of his Lodge. (J. H. Price)
1936 D-8, §-2.133, §-2.135
Admission of a visitor is always in the discretion of the Master, subject to the right of any member present to voice his own objection, which is sufficient to exclude visitor.
A subordinate Lodge has no right to admit a visitor owing allegiance to a Grand Lodge which Virginia does not recognize. (T. W. Hooper)
1990 D-27, §-2.135
A member cannot object to the presence of a Masonic or other visitor in his Lodge on grounds of race. Whether the objection is premised on race to be determined by the Worshipful Master. (C. F. Cobbs)
Sec. 2.136. What to be Done Before Visitor Can be Examined. — Before the visitor can be examined as to his knowledge of Masonry he must state the name and location of the Lodge of which he is then, or was lately a member, or in which he received the Masonic Degrees, which shall be reported to the Master, or the Lodge, before a committee of examination can be appointed.
Washington  
West Virginia  
Wisconsin  
Wyoming  
 

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