Landmarks of Freemasonry
The information on this chart comes from various sources, including Grand Lodge Codes, the MSA pamphlet Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry (1983 edition, the latest I have been able to find), and information supplied to me by brethren in various jurisdictions. If anyone has definite information for additions or changes on this chart, please send email tome at paulb’at’bessel.org so I can update this chart.
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Please see some interesting information (in my opinion) at the bottom of this page, including a list of what Mackey said are the landmarks.
Policy about Landmarks
|Alabama||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Alaska||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Arizona||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.
However, see the listing for Arizona on the webpage of Recognition Standards http://bessel.org/recstand.htm for a list of Principles of Recognition that some consider to be “landmarks.”
|Arkansas||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|California||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Colorado||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Connecticut||Code Section 1003 lists 15 landmarks. This list of landmarks was changed by the Grand Lodge in 1990 (see Proceedings, pages 141-142). This Grand Lodge says, “no innovation can be made upon the body of Masonry without the consent of the Grand Lodge having first been obtained.” (emphasis added)|
|Delaware||This jurisdiction lists Mackey’s list of 25 landmarks in its Code book, but not in its Constitution. It is not clear if it can be said that Mackey’s list, or any list of landmarks, has been adopted.|
|District of Columbia||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks. Its Code book specifically says the listing of Mackey’s landmarks is not part of the Code, but is just listed for information.|
|Florida||Constitution Article 13, Sec. 2, lists 10 landmarks, and then says, “The recognition of the above as Landmarks shall not be construed to mean or imply that this Grand Lodge is in any wise prohibited from recognizing, from time to time, hereafter, by appropriate amendment hereto, other principles, precepts, practices or tenets of Freemasonry as being Landmarks, nor is this Grand Lodge prohibited from reconsidering and, if deemed proper, withdrawing, this recognition of any of the above.”|
|Georgia||It was said that this jurisdiction recognizes “by custom” Mackey’s list of 25 landmarks, but there does not appear to be anything in its Code concerning landmarks. Unclear.|
|Idaho||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Illinois||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Indiana||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Iowa||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Kansas||Constitution, Article 1, Section 1, adopts Mackey’s list of 25 landmarks, with a qualification on the 14th landmark, but then says, Section 2, “The foregoing list of Landmarks is not declared to be exclusive.”|
|Kentucky||It was said that Constitution lists 54 landmarks that have been adopted by this Grand Lodge, but it is not clear if this is still in effect.|
|Louisiana||On Feb. 14, 1989, this Grand Lodge adopted 24 landmarks. They can be found and read at http://www.la-mason.com/landmarks.htm
They include some landmarks not found in any other list, including the following (#24):
Modems and Ancients had separated and formed separate Grand Lodges over one question. The religion belief of a candidate. They agreed – June 24, 1813 on this statement: “Let a man’s religion or mode of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the order, provided he believes in the Glorious Architect of Heaven and Earth and practices the sacred duties of Morality.”
|Maine||The Text Book lists Mackey’s 25 landmarks, but it does not appear that this jurisdiction has specifically adopted them, or any other list of landmarks.
At the Maine Grand Lodge meeting in May 2004 a committee was established to report to the Grand Lodge on the subject of landmarks. This occurred after the Grand Master had issued an edict adopting Mackey’s list of landmarks, but that edict was not sustained by the Grand Lodge.
|Maryland||Digest includes in the Code Mackey’s 25 landmarks, and it was said this meant they were adopted, although there was no specific mention made of them being adopted at any time. Unclear.|
|Massachusetts||Lists 7 landmarks, and says they are not declared to be exclusive: (1) monotheism, (2) immortality, (3) VSL, (4) legend of 3rd degree, (5) secrecy, (6) symbolism of the operative art, (7) freeborn adult men only|
|Michigan||In 1970, this Grand Lodge adopted 3 items as being the Ancient Landmarks of Masonry: (1) belief in Supreme Being, (2) belief in immortality of the soul, (3) Volume of the Sacred Law indispensable part of the Lodge|
|Minnesota||Code section 2.03 lists 26 landmarks.|
|Mississippi||Code refers to 19 items as generally considered to be landmarks.|
|Missouri||Res. 1853-65 appears to say that this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Montana||This Grand Lodge has never defined, listed, or adopted any landmarks.|
|Nebraska||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Nevada||In 1872 this Grand Lodge approved a list of 39 landmarks.|
|New Hampshire||Constitution Article 2 lists 8 landmarks: (1) monotheism, (2) VSL, (3) secrecy, (4) symbolism of operative art, (5) 3 degrees, (6) legend of 3rd degree, (7) men only, (8) non-sectarian and non-political|
|New Jersey||In 1903 a committee formulated a list of 10 landmarks, but it does not appear that these landmarks were ever formally adopted.|
|New Mexico||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|New York||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|North Carolina||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|North Dakota||Mackey’s 25 landmarks are included in the Code book, but not apparently specifically adopted. Unclear.|
|Ohio||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Oklahoma||Preamble to the Constitution says this Grand Lodge recognizes and has adopted Mackey’s 25 landmarks.|
|Oregon||Constitution, Section 1, lists 25 landmarks, commonly referred to as “Mackey’s.”|
|Pennsylvania||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks, but this Grand Lodge has a Committee on Landmarks (GM, DGM, SGW, JGW, and all PGMs).|
|Rhode Island||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|South Carolina||Constitutions, Article 157, says the landmarks as set forth in the Ahiman Rezon of Brother Mackey govern. (Mackey was from South Carolina.)|
|South Dakota||Constitution, Article 1, lists Mackey’s list of 25 landmarks.|
|Tennessee||MSA report in 1983 said this jurisdiction had a list of 15 landmarks. It is not clear if this is still the case.|
|Texas||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Utah||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
|Vermont||In 1953 this Grand Lodge rescinded all votes that had adopted the 25 landmarks listed in Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, and instead adopted a list of 7 landmarks for this jurisdiction: (1) belief in one God, (2) belief in immortality, (3) VSL on altar, (4) legend of the 3rd degree, (5) secrecy, (6) symbolism of operative art, (7) must be free man, of lawful age, and well recommended|
|Virginia||The Grand Secretary told MSA that soon after Mackey invented his list of landmarks a resolution was presented to adopt his list for Virginia, but this resolution was defeated. He added that almost all of Mackey’s “landmarks” do not meet the prerequisites that Mackey himself listed for landmarks, and neither do other lists of landmarks. This jurisdiction does not have any approved list of landmarks.|
|Washington||The Grand Secretary told MSA in 1983 that this Grand Lodge has never defined the landmarks.|
|West Virginia||In 1928 this Grand Lodge adopted a list of 8 landmarks: (1) belief in God, (2) belief in immortality of the soul, (3) Book of the Law indispensable in Lodge, (4) government by a Grand Master, (5) secrecy of modes of recognition, certain symbols, ballot, obligations, forms of initiation, (6) legend of 3rd degree, (7) Ancient Craft Masonry includes only EA, FC, MM, (8) must be a man, free born, of mature age|
|Wisconsin||This Grand Lodge in its Code lists Mackey’s 25 landmarks, and Roscoe Pound’s list of 7 landmarks, but explains that the subject of landmarks is controversial and no agreement has been reached on how many there are, or what they are. This Grand Lodge has never officially adopted any landmarks.|
|Wyoming||It appears this jurisdiction does not have any specifically approved landmarks.|
It appears that at more than a majority of U.S. Grand Lodges have not adopted any specific landmarks. Many are very unclear about what landmarks, if any, they have or follow.
U.S. Grand Lodges that have adopted landmarks have adopted 3, 7, 8, 10, 15, 25, 26, 39, or 54 of them, and, of course, all have adopted different landmarks. At the same time, almost all jurisdictions refer to the landmarks as things that define what Freemasonry is, and that are unchangeable; so, by implication, it should be obvious and there should be universal agreement about what the landmarks are, and how many there are, but in practice this is obviously not true. Perhaps, as some Masonic writers have said, it is up to each Freemason individually to determine for himself what Freemasonry is, and what its meaning, ideals, and principles are.
Comments about various Masons’ efforts to write a list of landmarks
Mackey’s list of landmarks were written in October, 1858, by Albert G. Mackey of South Carolina, in the American Quarterly Review of Freemasonry, volume 2, page 230. Mackey’s list of landmarks was later included in Mackey’s Text Book of Masonic Jurisprudence. Many other Masonic writers have disagreed with Mackey about this subject. H.B. Grant of Kentucky prepared a different list of landmarks in 1889 and 1893, and they were printed in the Masonic Home Journal. John T. Lawrence disagreed with both lists in Masonic Jurisprudence and Symbolism in 1908. Roscoe Pound, who was Dean of Harvard Law School and a prominent Masonic legal thinker and writer, wrote Masonic Jurisprudence. He disagreed with Mackey’s list of landmarks and proposed his own, shorter list (see below), in an address to the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons of North America in 1952, published in Masonic Addresses and Writings (Macoy, 1953). Melvin J. Johnson of Massachusetts wrote that almost everyone would agree with Pound that the landmarks are the “universal, unalterable, and unrepealable fundamentals” of Freemasonry, and then each Mason would proceed immediately to disagree about what should be included on the list of things that are “universal, unalterable, and unrepealable” in Freemasonry.
Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia has an extensive, and very good article about “Landmarks,” at pages 358-370.
Mackey’s list of landmarks
|1||Modes of recognition|
|2||Division of symbolic Masonry into three degrees|
|3||Legend of the 3rd degree|
|4||Government of the fraternity by a Grand Master|
|5||Prerogative of the Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the Craft|
|6||Prerogative of the Grand Master to grant dispensations for conferring the degrees at irregular times|
|7||Prerogative of the Grand Master to give dispensations for opening and holding Lodges|
|8||Prerogative of the Grand Master to make Masons at sight|
|9||Necessity for Masons to congregate in Lodges|
|10||Government of lodges by a Master and 2 Wardens|
|11||Necessity of tiling lodges|
|12||Right of every Mason to be represented in all general meetings of the Craft and instruct representatives|
|13||Right of every Mason to appeal from his Lodge to the Grand Lodge or General Assembly of Masons|
|14||Right of every Mason to visit and sit in every regular Lodge|
|15||No unknown visitor can enter a Lodge without first passing an examination|
|16||No Lodge can interfere in the business of another Lodge or give degrees to brethren of other Lodges|
|17||Every Freemason is amenable to the laws and regulations of the Masonic jurisdiction in which he resides, even though he may not be a member of any Lodge|
|18||Candidates for initiation must be men, unmutilated (not a cripple), free born, and of mature age|
|19||Belief in the existence of God as the Great Architect of the universe|
|20||Belief in a resurrection to a future life|
|21||A “Book of the Law” is indispensable in every Lodge|
|22||Equality of all Masons|
|23||Secrecy of the institution|
|24||Foundation of a speculative science upon an operative art, and symbolic use and explanations for the purpose of religious or moral teaching|
|25||These landmarks can never be changed|
Roscoe Pound’s list of landmarks
|1||Belief in God|
|2||Belief in the persistence of personality — the immortality of the soul|
|3||A “book of the law” as an indispensable part of the lodge|
|4||Legend of the 3rd degree|
|6||Symbolism of the operative art|
|7||A Mason must be a man, free born, and of age|
I. Concerning GOD and RELIGION.
A Mason is oblig’d by his Tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a
stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg’d in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ‘tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a perpetual Distance.
II Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATES SUPREME and SUBORDINATE.
A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be
concern’d in Plots an Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself
undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion,
so ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos’d to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their
Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer’d the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted
the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish’d in Time of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel
against the State he is not to be countenanced in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as any unhappy Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime though the Loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown hi Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being, they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.
III Of LODGES.
A Lodge is a place where Masons assemble and work; Hence that Assembly, or duly organized Society of
Masons, is call’d a Lodge, and every Brother ought to belong to one, and to be subject to its By-Laws and the
General Regulations. It is either particular or general, and will be best understood by attending it, and by the Regulations of the General or Grand Lodge hereunto annex’d. In ancient Times, no Master or Fellow could be absent from it especially when warned to appear at it, without incurring a sever Censure, until it appear’d to the Master and Wardens that pure Necessity hinder’d him. The persons admitted Members of a Lodge must be good an true Men, free-born, and of mature and discreet Age, no Bondmen no Women, no immoral or scandalous men, but of good Report.
IV Of MASTERS, WARDENS, FELLOWS and APPRENTICES.
All preferment among Masons is grounded upon real Worth and personal Merit only; that so the Lords may be
well served, the Brethren not put to Shame, nor the Royal Craft despis’d: Therefore no Master or Warden is
chosen by Seniority, but for his Merit. It is impossible to describe these things in Writing, and every Brother
must attend in his Place, and learn them in a Way peculiar to this Fraternity: Only Candidates may know that no Master should take an Apprentice unless he has Sufficient Employment for him, and unless he be a perfect
Youth having no Maim or Defects in his Body that may render him uncapable of learning the Art of serving his
Master’s Lord, and of being made a Brother, and then a Fellow-Craft in due Time, even after he has served
such a Term of Years as the Custom of the Country directs; and that he should be descended of honest
Parents; that so, when otherwise qualifi’d he may arrive to the Honour of being the Warden, and then the Master of the Lodge, the Grand Warden, and at length the Grand Master of all the Lodges, according to his Merit. No Brother can be a Warden until he has pass’d the part of a Fellow-Craft; nor a Master until he has acted as a Warden, nor Grand Warden until he has been Master of a Lodge, nor Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow Craft before his Election, who is also to be nobly born, or a Gentleman of the best Fashion, or some eminent Scholar, or some curious Architect, or other Artist, descended of honest Parents, and who is of similar great Merit in the Opinion of the Lodges. These Rulers and Governors, supreme and subordinate, of the ancient Lodge, are to be obey’d in their respective Stations by all the Brethren, according to the old Charges and Regulations, with all Humility, Reverence, Love and Alacrity.
V. Of the MANAGEMENT of the CRAFT in WORKING.
All Masons shall work honestly on Working Days, that they may live creditably on Holy Days; and the time
appointed by the Law of the Land or confirm’d by Custom shall be observ’d. The most expert of the
Fellow-Craftsmen shall be chosen or appointed the Master or Overseer of the Lord’s Work; who is to be call’d
Master by those that work under him. The Craftsmen are to avoid all ill Language, and to call each other by no
disobliging Name, but Brother or Fellow; and to behave themselves courteously within and without the Lodge.
The Master, knowing himself to be able of Cunning, shall undertake the Lord’s Work as reasonably as possible, and truly dispend his Goods as if they were his own; nor to give more Wages to any Brother or Apprentice than he really may deserve. Both the Master and the Masons receiving their Wages justly, shall be faithful to the Lord and honestly finish their Work, whether Task or journey; nor put the work to Task that hath been accustomed to Journey. None shall discover Envy at the Prosperity of a Brother, nor supplant him, or put him out of his Work, if he be capable to finish the same; for no man can finish another’s Work so much to the Lord’s Profit, unless he be thoroughly acquainted with the Designs and Draughts of him that began it.
When a Fellow-Craftsman is chosen Warden of the Work under the Master, he shall be true both to Master and
Fellows, shall carefully oversee the Work in the Master’s Absence to the Lord’s profit; and his Brethren shall
obey him. All Masons employed shall meekly receive their Wages without Murmuring or Mutiny, and not desert the Master till the Work is finish’d. A younger Brother shall be instructed in working, to prevent spoiling the Materials for want of Judgment, and for increasing and continuing of brotherly love. All the Tools used in working shall be approved by the Grand Lodge. No Labourer shall be employ’d in the proper Work of Masonry; nor shall Free Masons work with those that are not free, without an urgent Necessity; nor shall they teach Labourers and unaccepted Masons as they should teach a Brother or Fellow.
VI. Of BEHAVIOUR.
I. In the LODGE while CONSTITUTED.
You are not to hold private Committees, or separate Conversation without Leave from the Master, nor to talk of
anything impertinent or unseemly, nor interrupt the Master or Wardens, or any Brother speaking to the Master:
Nor behave yourself ludicrously or jestingly while the Lodge is engaged in what is serious and solemn; nor use
any unbecoming Language upon any Pretense whatsoever; but to pay due Reverence to your Master, Wardens, and Fellows, and put them to Worship. If any Complaint be brought, the Brother found guilty shall stand to the Award and Determination of the Lodge, who are the proper and competent Judges of all such Controversies (unless you carry it by Appeal to the Grand Lodge), and to whom they ought to be referr’d, unless a Lord’s Work be hinder’d the meanwhile, in which Case a particular Reference may be made; but you must never go to Law about what concerneth Masonry, without an absolute necessity apparent to the Lodge.
2. BEHAVIOUR after the LODGE is over and the BRETHREN not GONE
You may enjoy yourself with innocent Mirth, treating one another according to Ability, but avoiding all Excess, or forcing any Brother to eat or drink beyond his Inclination, or hindering him from going when his Occasions call him, or doing or saying anything offensive, or that may forbid an easy and free Conversation, for that would blast our Harmony, and defeat our laudable Purposes. Therefore no private Piques or Quarrels must be brought within the Door of the Lodge, far less any Quarrels about Religion, or Nations, or State Policy, we being only, as Masons, of the Universal Religion above mention’d, we are also of all Nations, Tongues, Kindreds, and Languages, and are resolv’d against all Politics, as what never yet conduct’d to the Welfare of the Lodge, nor ever will.
3. BEHAVIOUR when BRETHREN meet WITHOUT STRANGERS, but not in a LODGE Formed.
You are to salute one another in a courteous Manner, as you will be instructed, calling each other Brother, freely giving mutual instruction as shall be thought expedient, without being ever seen or overheard, and without encroaching upon each other, or derogating from that Respect which is due to any Brother, were he not Mason: For though all Masons are as Brethren upon the same Level, yet Masonry takes no Honour from a man that he had before; nay, rather it adds to his Honour, especially if he has deserve well of the Brotherhood, who must give Honour to whom it is due, and avoid ill Manners.
4. BEHAVIOUR in presence of Strangers NOT MASONS.
You shall be cautious in your Words and Carriage, that the most penetrating Stranger shall not be able to
discover or find out what is not proper to be intimated, and sometimes you shall divert a Discourse, and
manage it prudently for the Honour of the worshipful Fraternity.
5. BEHAVIOUR at HOME, and in Your NEIGHBORHOOD.
You are to act as becomes a moral and wise Man; particularly not to let your Family, Friends and Neighbors
know the Concern of the Lodge, &c., but wisely to consult your own Honour, and that of the ancient Brotherhood, for reasons not to be mention’d here You must also consult your Health, by not continuing together too late, or too long from Home, after Lodge Hours are past; and by avoiding of Gluttony or Drunkenness, that your Families be not neglected or injured, nor you disabled from working.
6. BEHAVIOUR toward a Strange BROTHER.
You are cautiously to examine him, in such a Method as Prudence shall direct you, that you may not be impos’d upon by an ignorant, false Pretender, whom you are to reject with contempt and Derision, and beware of giving him any Hints of Knowledge. But if you discover him to be a true and genuine Brother, you are to respect him accordingly; and if he is in Want, you must relieve him if you can, or else direct him how he may be relieved; you must employ him some days, or else recommend him to be employ’d. But you are not charged to do beyond your ability, only to prefer a poor Brother, that is a good Man and true before any other poor People in the same Circumstance. Finally, All these Charges you are to observe, and also those that shall be recommended to you in another Way; cultivating Brotherly Love, the Foundation and Cap-stone, the Cement and Glory of this Ancient Fraternity, avoiding all wrangling and quarreling, all Slander and Backbiting, nor permitting others to slander any honest Brother, but defending his Character, and doing him all good Offices, as far as is consistent with your Honour and Safety, and no farther. And if any of them do you Injury you must apply to your own or his Lodge, and from thence you may appeal to the Grand Lodge, at the Quarterly Communication and from thence to the annual Grand Lodge, as has been the ancient laudable Conduct but when the Case cannot be otherwise decided, and patiently listening to the honest and friendly Advice of Master and Fellows when they would prevent your going to Law with Strangers, or would excite you to put a speedy Period to all Lawsuits, so that you may mind the Affair of Masonry with the more Alacrity and Success; but with respect to Brothers or Fellows at Law, the Master and Brethren should kindly offer their Mediation, which ought to be thankfully submitted to by the contending Brethren; and if that submission is impracticable, they must, however, carry on their Process, or Lawsuit, without Wrath and Rancor (not In the common way) saying or doing nothing which may hinder Brotherly Love, and good Offices to be renew’d and continu’d; that all may see the benign Influence of Masonry, as all true Masons have done from the beginning of the World, and will do to the End of Time.
Books about this subject
Mackey, Albert G. A Text Book of Masonic Jurisprudence. Published by Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, New York, 1869.
Pound, Roscoe. Masonic Addresses and Writings. Published by Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, New York, 1953.
Coil, Henry Wilson. Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia. Revised by Allen E. Roberts. Published by Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, Richmond, 1996.
Bede, Elbert. The Landmarks of Freemasonry. Published by Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, New York, 1954.
Shepherd, Silas H. The Landmarks of Freemasonry. Published by the Wisconsin Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research, 1924.
Links about this subject
Dr. Charles H. Wesley Masonic Research Society (CHWMRS)
On Mackey’s “25” Landmarks . . . what’s so ancient? by David L. Gray (CRM2)