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Grand Masters’ Disciplinary Powers

Grand Masters’ Powers to Discipline Masons

The information on this chart comes from various sources, mostly email messages from several brethren. If anyone has definite information for additions or changes on this chart, please send email to Paul M. Bessel at paulb’at’ so I can update this chart.

United States


State Policy concerning Grand Masters’ Powers to Discipline Masons
Arizona Our GM cannot suspend or expel an individual Mason. That can only be done by trial.
District of Columbia
Illinois Grand Lodge A.F. and A.M. of Illinois, C&BL excerptsCode 29: The Grand Lodge may reprimand, suspend, or expel any member from its own body for a violation of the constitution, by-laws, or regulations of the Grand Lodge, or for any other unmasonic conduct, and may suspend or expel any accused mason upon appeal.

Code 34: The Grand Master has the power:

c. To exercise the executive functions of the Grand Lodge when not in session.

d. To decide all questions of usage, order, and masonic law.

Code 112: ….. “All edicts and decisions of the Grand Master shall have the force of law until the next meeting of the Grand Lodge.”

Code 196: The powers of a lodge are such as prescribed in its charter or letter of dispensation, by the constitution, by-laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge, the landmarks and general regulations of masonry , and its own by-laws, when in conformity therewith, and are defined as follows: (a and b not listed)

c. The Judicial, which embraces the exercise of discipline over, and settlement of difficulties between, all its own members (except the master), and all masons and non- affiliated brethren within its jurisdiction, subject always to a review by the Grand Lodge upon appeal.

Code 577: The Grand Lodge reserves to itself the right, by a majority vote, at any annual meeting upon a recommendation, as provided in Code 580, to reinstate an expelled mason to good standing in the fraternity, as a non-affiliated mason only, but not to membership in any lodge.

Indiana Article IX, Powers of the Grand Master
(f) He may suspend any member from all rights and privileges of Freemasonry, for good cause shown, until the next annual meeting of the Grand Lodge and such suspension will be effective until such suspension is reversed, ratified or made permanent by the Grand Lodge.
Regulation 43.060 (c) A Mason who has been or shall hereafter be convicted of a criminal charge of homicide, a Class A, B, C or D felony, or who shall plead guilty thereto, or who pleads guilty to a misdemeanor as a part of a plea bargain agreement to reduce a felony charge that contains a factual situation which clearly indicates that the Mason committed the felony charged in a court of competent jurisdiction, may also, by direction of the Grand Master, be expelled from the Order without the preferring of charges and usual Masonic trial; Provided, that no proceedings for such expulsion shall be taken while proceedings for reversal of the judgment of said court shall be pending and undecided. A certified copy of the judgment shall be sufficient evidence to justify such expulsion. Any Mason thus expelled shall retain his right of appeal.
New Hampshire
New Jersey From an email message 11/1/02 — In my 25 years of activity in NJ I am not aware of anything relative to the GM acting against a member .
But here the GM can really do whatever he wants so I would guess he could have done things privately, without any need for publication.
To my knowledge there is nothing in the Constitution that even comes close to this issue.
New Mexico From an email: Chapter II – Powers and Duties of Grand Officers  – Code 20 Grand Master – During the recess of the Grand Lodge the Grand Master shall have power and authority as follows: (e) For good cause shown, to suspend from office any officer of the Grand Lodge or any officer of a constituent Lodge until the next Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge.
Code 401 Penal Jurisdiction  – Each constituent Lodge shall have and exercise penal jurisdiction over every Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master Mason, affiliated or non-affiliated, residing or sojourning within its jurisdiction and over its members wherever they may be sojourning and shall bring to trial every Mason charged with a Masonic offense committed within its jurisdiction. 
A Grand Master could issue a reprimand to an individual Mason, he does not have the authority to suspend or expel. 
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Virginia In 1995, the Grand Master suspended or expelled a mason without trial and without specifying charges against him. The GM simply sent this man a letter saying he was out of masonry for “disturbing the peace and harmony” of “this gentle craft.”
Washington From an email 11/1/02 — I was suspended without trial by the GM of the GL of Washington last year
West Virginia


outside the United States


Grand Lodge Policy concerning Grand Masters’ Powers to Discipline Masons
Canada – Quebec Grand Master of Quebec:
Constitution, GLQ: “Article 49. The Grand Master, during the intervals
between the Communications of the Grand Lodge, may exercise all its
Executive Powers, excepting the granting or amendment of Charters, but
including the following:
j) to suspend any Officer of Grand Lodge, or any officer of a Lodge, and
to restore him from suspension…
p) to exercise all other powers that are not inconsistent with the
provisions of this Constitution…”
France – GLF No section of the General Regulations (code) of the Grand Lodge of
France allows the Grand Master to personally take any disciplinary
action against a Brother. He may have him Masonically tried by his
blue lodge, and the possibility then exists for an appeal from either
side before the Grand Fraternal Jury.
There are a couple of things the sitting Grand Master can do, which
entirely depend on his personality and character: In less serious mat-
ters, he can summon the troublesome Brother to his office and give
him a memorable telling off. Incredible how often this works. In any
more serious matters, he can persuade the troublesome Brother to
demit from the ranks of the Grand Lodge and avoid a lengthy and
revealing trial.
Canada – Ontario Constitution of the Grand Lodge AF & AM of Canada in the Province of Ontario Powers and Duties of the Grand Master

85. The Grand Master may, when such action appears to him to be necessary or expedient, suspend any brother, or arrest the warrant or dispensation of any lodge and suspend the operation thereof until the next meeting of Grand Lodge. He shall report in writing to Grand Lodge the action taken by him, his reasons therefor and his opinion respecting any further action in the matter which should be taken by Grand Lodge.


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