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Grand Lodge of California drops recognition of Grand Lodge of Connecticut over ring decision

April 1, 2019 6 comments

Most of you will remember that early in February, Connecticut Freemasons woke up to discover that there now is actually a correct answer to the age-old question of which way to wear one’s ring. The Grand Lodge, tired of the endless debates on Facebook, instructed their DDGMs to quietly “correct” members during their lodge visits so that sitting and past Masters would wear theirs with the points facing out, and those who had never made a trip to the East would have to wear theirs with the points in. The decision was made so that it could be announced and confirmed at the next Grand Lodge annual communication.

Even though the directive is being kept quiet for now, it’s been all over the various Facebook groups, because Freemasons are famous for not being able to keep secrets – so obviously, none of this comes as any surprise.

Now, while the Connecticut Grand Lodge decision is an open secret, it hasn’t been met without some resistance. Naturally there were the usual complainers on the various internet groups in which this was discussed, and several podcasters had some snide comments. However, nobody expected the reaction from the Grand Lodge of California last month:

Whereas the Grand Lodge of Connecticut has cast aside the time immemorial traditions of Freemasons with regard to the correct disposition of the wearing of one’s Masonic ring, and,

Whereas the Grand Lodge of Connecticut has forced upon their members an unnatural and specious decision with regard to the aforementioned,

Be it known that the Grand Lodge of California now holds the Grand Lodge of Connecticut to be in violation of the Ancient Landmarks of the Fraternity, and is now an unrecognized body, and will remain as such until they and their regulations comply with the Landmarks and customs of our order.

Knowing the Grand Lodge of California to be a fairly liberal and progressive minded group, many West Coast Freemasons have expressed surprise that the Grand Lodge has taken such a hard line stance on what is essentially an unenforceable decision that would probably have been rescinded in a year or two. However, others have noted that the Grand Lodge has taken up social justice causes in the past; for example, California no longer uses the term “clandestine” to describe unrecognized lodges or Grand Lodges.

Worse, rumors about the potential dropping of recognition made for tense moments at the Conference of Grand Masters of North America (COGNMA) in February, as many officers from different states quietly aligned, siding with either Connecticut or California.

It is written someplace that “Freemasonry is a progressive science,” but the term was not meant to be used in the modern, political connotation, and it’s unfortunate to see such schisms in our midst. However, we should also keep in mind that much of what we take for granted now were once considered changes, alterations, and deviations from ancient craft masonry.

While no other Grand Lodges have (at this time) indicated that they intend to follow California, traveling men headed to Connecticut should just be aware that some brothers may be paying closer attention to your ring.

In the meanwhile, I’m hopeful that this will blow over, like so many other Freemason fads, and that we can get back to discussing important issues, such as whether it’s better to wear one’s apron under or over one’s jacket.

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Categories: Freemasonry, Rings
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