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These landmarks of Freemasonry represent the core values and principles that guide its members in their pursuit of personal and moral development, as well as their contributions to society.


1 / The Modes of recognition.

Among all the Landmarks, the Modes of Recognition are the most authentic and beyond dispute. They do not allow for any deviation, and any attempt to alter or add to them has consistently proven to be detrimental, violating the ancient principles of Freemasonry.

2 / The division of Masonry into 3 symbolic degrees.

The division of Symbolic Masonry into three degrees stands out as a Landmark that has been relatively well-preserved compared to others. However, even in this case, the spirit of innovation has left its mark. The separation of the concluding part from the Third Degree has resulted in a lack of consistency regarding the ultimate teachings of the Master's order. This has led to variations in how the Royal Arch in England, Scotland, Ireland, and America, as well as the "high degrees" in France and Germany, guide the candidate towards the ultimate goal of symbolic masonry.

3 / The legend of the third degree.

The Legend associated with the THIRD DEGREE is a significant Landmark, and its authenticity has been carefully maintained. It is worth noting that across various Masonic rites practiced worldwide, the fundamental aspects of this legend are consistently imparted and upheld.

4 / The government of the fraternity by a Grand Master.

The fourth Landmark of the Order is the administration of the fraternity by a presiding officer known as the Grand Master, who is chosen through election from among the members of the craft.

5 / The prerogative of the Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the craft.

As a result of this longstanding tradition, rather than any specific regulation, the Grand Master takes the seat of authority during every Grand Lodge meeting. Additionally, when in attendance, the Grand Master has the privilege to preside over the meetings of any Subordinate Lodge.

6 / The prerogative of the Grand Master to issue dispensations for conferring degrees at irregular times.

The established Masonic regulations stipulate a waiting period, typically a month or another specified duration, between the submission of a membership petition and the election of a candidate. However, the Grand Master has the authority to waive this probationary period and permit immediate initiation of a candidate. This privilege was initially held by all Masters before the introduction of the probation requirement, and since no law can diminish the Grand Master's authority, this power remains with them, even though Lodge Masters no longer have it.

7 / The prerogative of the Grand Master to issue dispensations for opening and holding Lodges otherwise not established.

By virtue of this authority, they can bestow upon a suitable group of Masons the permission to convene and conduct degree ceremonies.

8 / The prerogative of the Grand Master to make Masons on sight.

The Grand Master, with the participation of at least six other Masons, calls forth a Lodge, and without a prior waiting period, administers the degrees to the candidate in their presence. Following the initiation, the Lodge is disbanded, and the brethren are dismissed. These Lodges, convened for specific purposes in this manner, are referred to as occasional lodges. It's important to note that this is the sole method by which any Grand Master in the institution's history has been observed to "make a Mason at sight."

9 / The necessity of Masons to congregate in lodges.

This doesn't imply that any of the ancient Landmarks specifically mandated the permanent establishment of subordinate Lodges, which is a notable characteristic of the current Masonic system. Instead, the Landmarks of the Order consistently emphasized that Masons should periodically assemble, whether for operative or speculative work, and these gatherings were to be termed "Lodges." In the past, these were impromptu gatherings convened for particular objectives and later disbanded, with the brethren dispersing and planning to reconvene at different times and locations as dictated by the circumstances.

10 / The government of every lodge by a Master and two Wardens.

The requirement for a Master and two Wardens is just as crucial for the proper establishment of a Lodge as a current-day constitution warrant.

11 / The necessity that every lodge, when duly congregated, should be tyled.

The necessity for this regulation arises from the secretive nature of Freemasonry. Given its status as a clandestine organization, it is imperative to safeguard its entrances against the intrusion of outsiders. Therefore, this rule has likely been in place since the inception of the Order and is rightfully considered one of the most ancient Landmarks. The role of the Tiler is not contingent on any specific decree from Grand or Subordinate Lodges, although they may assign additional responsibilities to the Tiler, which can vary across different jurisdictions. However, the primary duty of protecting the entrance and preventing unauthorized individuals, known as cowans and eavesdroppers, from entering, is an age-old tradition and forms a crucial part of the governance of Masonry.

12 / The right of every Mason to be represented in all general meetings of the craft and to instruct his representatives.

In the past, these collective gatherings, typically occurring on an annual basis, were referred to as "General Assemblies," and they were open to all members of the fraternity, including the newest Entered Apprentice Masons. Today, they are known as "Grand Lodges," and only the Masters and Wardens of the Subordinate Lodges are invited. However, this invitation is extended to them as representatives of their lodge members. In the earlier days, each individual Mason attended as their own representative, while nowadays, they are represented by their lodge officers.

13 / The right of every Mason to appeal from his Lodge's decisions to the Grand Lodge.

The entitlement of every Mason to lodge an appeal against the judgment of his fellow brethren assembled in the Lodge to the Grand Lodge or General Assembly of Masons is a crucial Landmark. It plays a vital role in safeguarding justice and preventing any form of oppression.

14 / The right of every Mason to sit in every regular Lodge.

This is referred to as "the right of visitation." The privilege of visiting has consistently been acknowledged as an inherent right that applies to every Mason as they journey across the globe.

15 / That no unknown visitor be allowed to sit in Lodge without being examined and found to be a Freemason.

Naturally, when it is evident to any brother present that the visitor is a Mason in good standing and another brother can vouch for their credentials, there may be no need for a formal examination. The Landmark pertains primarily to situations involving strangers, who should only be acknowledged following a thorough assessment, proper scrutiny, or reliable information.

16 / That no Lodge can interfere in the business of another Lodge.

Undoubtedly, this is a time-honored Landmark, rooted in the fundamental principles of politeness and fraternal goodwill, which form the bedrock of our organization. It has been consistently acknowledged through subsequent legal decrees of all Grand Lodges.

17 / That every Freemason be amenable to the laws and regulations of the Jurisdiction in which he resides.

Non-affiliation, which is, indeed, a Masonic transgression in its own right, does not release a Mason from the reach of Masonic authority.

18 / The candidates for Freemasonry be required to meet certain qualifications; namely: being a man, of mature age, not a cripple, and free born.

Statutes have indeed been periodically passed to reinforce or clarify these principles, but these qualifications fundamentally derive from the inherent nature of Masonic tradition and its symbolic teachings. They have always been considered as fundamental principles or landmarks.

19 / That a belief in the existence of God be a requirement for membership.

The Legend associated with the THIRD DEGREE is a significant Landmark, and its authenticity has been carefully maintained. It is worth noting that across various Masonic rites practiced worldwide, the fundamental aspects of this legend are consistently imparted and upheld.

20 / That belief in a resurrection to a future life be a requirement for membership.

This particular Landmark may not be explicitly conveyed through precise language like the one before it. However, the concept is conveyed through clear implications and is woven into the entire symbolism of the Order. To embrace Masonry while rejecting the idea of a resurrection would be a nonsensical contradiction. Such a contradiction could only be pardoned by recognizing that someone who muddled their beliefs and skepticism in this way lacked a rational understanding of both concepts and, therefore, had no sound basis for their knowledge of either.

21 / That a "Book of the Law" shall constitute an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge.

The "Book of the Law" is the sacred text that, according to the prevailing religion of a given country, is believed to contain the revealed intentions of the Grand Architect of the universe. Consequently, in all Masonic Lodges situated in Christian nations, the "Book of the Law" consists of both the Old and New Testaments. In places where Judaism is the dominant faith, the Old Testament alone is deemed sufficient. In regions with a Muslim majority and among Muslim Masons, the Koran might be used. Masonry respects the individual religious beliefs of its members, except in matters concerning the belief in God and the logical consequences that flow from that belief.

22 / The equality of Masons.

This equality does not pertain to the undermining of the established social hierarchies and distinctions. Monarchs, noblemen, and gentlemen retain their entitled influence and respect as per societal norms. However, the concept of Masonic equality signifies that, as offspring of a common Creator, we convene in the Lodge as equals. On this level, we all journey towards a shared destiny, and within the Lodge, genuine merit should be esteemed more highly than immense wealth. Furthermore, virtue and knowledge should serve as the primary criteria for Masonic honors and promotions.

23 / The secrecy of the Institution.

Defining precisely what constitutes a "secret society" can be somewhat challenging. If we take the term to refer, as logical language might suggest, to organizations whose objectives are concealed from the public eye, whose activities occur in secrecy, and whose operations are carefully shielded from public view, then Freemasonry does not fit this description. Freemasonry's purpose is not only openly declared but is celebrated by its members. The identity of its members is known, as membership is considered an honorable distinction. It works toward an openly declared goal - the advancement of civilization and the improvement of individual character.

24 / The foundation of a speculative science upon an operative art, and the symbolic use and explanation of the terms of that art for purposes of moral teaching.

The Temple of Solomon holds a symbolic significance as the birthplace of the Masonic institution. Consequently, references to the operative Masonry responsible for constructing this magnificent structure, as well as to the materials, tools, and artisans involved in its building, constitute integral and essential components of Freemasonry. These elements cannot be removed from the institution without completely erasing its identity. As a result, even in the various more recent Masonic rites that differ in other aspects, they all faithfully retain this historical connection to the temple and its operative elements as the foundation upon which their unique variations of the Masonic system are built.

25 / That none of these landmarks can be changed.

These principles are immutable—no elements can be removed from them, nor can anything be appended to them. Not even the slightest alteration can be introduced. Just as we inherited them from those who came before us, we are under the most solemn duty to pass them on unchanged to those who will follow us.

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