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Now that you know who composes the Grand Lodge of California and who composes the largest voting block within the Grand Lodge, it is time to learn how we select and elect our Grand Lodge leaders.

So how does one become a Grand Lodge Officer? The following was obtained from the Palmetto Mason and is typical of California and other Grand Lodges.

For those that actively seek a position in the Grand Lodge, be careful of what you wish for.  Ideally, the office seeks the Brother – not the other way around.  Appointment or nomination to a Grand Lodge office should actually come as a surprise to the Brother being so appointed or nominated.

There are many good reasons for this.  First of all, seeking an office gives the impression to many other Masons that one is politicking, which is generally looked upon as un-Masonic activity.  In addition, in the process of seeking an office, a Freemason can easily find himself in the realm of favor payback if he achieves that which he sought.  This can cause a conflict of interest when it comes to decision making.  Owing favors can easily cloud one’s good sense of fairness and execution of Masonic law. 

As for “being careful of what you wish for,” service in certain Grand Lodge offices can be mentally taxing – if one is conscientious.  It seems that this hits many Grand Lodge officers like a pile of bricks once their term comes to an end. 

There is no doubt about it. Serving as a Grand Lodge officer is a great honor, however, it carries significant responsibility.  It is a burden that no one should actively seek.  The burden should seek the man.  If one is Grand Lodge materiel, then the burden will find him.

Article 4 of our California Masonic Code (CMC) governs the selection of Grand Lodge Officers.  In summary, there are three ways of becoming a Grand Lodge Officer:  (1) Selection by committee or by Executive Committee, (2) Nomination and (3) Appointment by the Grand Secretary or the Grand Master.


  1. 1.     SELECTION


  1. A.    SELECTION BY COMMITTEE – CMC §404.420 provides that a committee of 39 brethren (as of 2015) composed of the Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master, the Grand Wardens, the Past Grand Masters (25 as of 2015) and a member of Grand Lodge appointed annually by the Grand Master from each division (10 as of 2015) shall identify and recommend to the Craft for election the name of a brother as the next Junior Grand Warden (he is called the Junior Grand Warden-Recommendee).  Once identified, his name and biography is mailed to each Inspector (who will promptly communicate the information to the Masters and Wardens in his district) and to such other members of Grand Lodge as the Grand Master determines. At the subsequent meeting of the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge the voting members of the Craft will make their decision as to whether or not to elect this recommendee.  It is expected that, without objection by the Craft, the Junior Grand Warden-Recommendee, once elected, will, as with the Senior Grand Warden and Deputy Grand Master, be regularly elected each year to higher office terminating with that of Grand Master.


  1. B.    SELECTION BY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – CMC §404.430 provides that each year the Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master and Grand Wardens shall identify and recommend to the Craft for election the next Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary and Grand Lecturer.  Once identified, their names and brief biographies are mailed to each Inspector and to such other members of Grand Lodge as the Grand Master determines.  At the subsequent meeting of the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge the voting members of the Craft will make their decision as to whether or not to elect the recommended brethren.


  1. 2.     NOMINATION

As the last order of business at each annual communication (CMC §403.055.), those entitled to participate in the balloting process will nominate and elect seven brethren to serve as Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Senior and Junior Grand Wardens, Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary and Grand Lecturer.


The election of the top seven Grand Lodge Officers is handled in the same manner as the annual election of officers at a constituent lodge:  the Grand Master seeks nominations for each office after which voting or balloting is conducted (depending whether or not there are additional nominations) and the results announced.


It is during the nomination process that a member of the Grand Lodge may approach a microphone on the floor of Grand Lodge and recommend another brother to an elected office.


IMPORTANT – There are two important sections and one important fact to remember regarding nominations for election and they are included in CMC §403.060 and CMC §404.410.


  • CMC §403.060 (B) prohibits "Electioneering", which is the distribution of ANY circular or other written communication to Lodges or Masons concerning the election of officers in Grand Lodge, except as provided in Sections 404.420 and 404.430 of this Code.


  • CMC §404.410  requires that each RECOMMENDEE for election to any Grand Lodge office provide his biographical sketch to the Grand Secretary no less than two weeks prior to the start of Annual Communication. Any OTHER MEMBER desiring to be NOMINATED for election as a Grand Lodge officer MAY provide his biographical sketch to the Grand Secretary no less than two weeks prior to the start of Annual Communication.


Additionally, the brother making the NOMINATION of another brother for an elected office SHALL include ONLY the NAME and current TITLE of the nominee. At the conclusion of the nomination process, if there are multiple nominees, the Grand Orator will read only the facts from each biography submitted for each nominee, if received by the Grand Secretary at least two weeks prior to the start of Annual Communication, in the order of their nomination. If the Grand Secretary did not receive a biographical sketch for a nominee by the required date, the vote shall be taken without reading a biographical sketch for that nominee.


  1. 3.     APPOINTMENT


Once the Grand Master is elected, CMC §404.440 provides that, with the approval of the Grand Master, the Grand Secretary may appoint an Assistant Grand Secretary.  This section also allows the Grand Master to appoint all remaining appointed Grand Lodge positions (26 as 2015).  Selection for those offices varies among Grand Masters and usually represents those whose past service deserves appropriate recognition.  However, CMC §404.000 provides that, at a minimum, each appointed officer must be a member in good standing of a Constituent Lodge and, other than the Grand Chaplain, Grand Organist and Assistant Grand Organist, must also be a Past Master of this Jurisdiction or a Master or Warden of a chartered and duly constituted Lodge of this Jurisdiction.


Hopefully you will find this information useful in your continued effort to perfect your personal ashlar.


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