Chapter 86

Masonic Offenses


The Grand Lodge cannot by a general rule circumscribe within equitable bounds the conduct and practices of all members. Therefore, it must be left with the members of the Craft to determine whether or not, in the light of surrounding circumstances a brother is bringing reproach upon Masonry by his conduct, and thereby is, or is not, guilty of unmasonic conduct. A Masonic offense is the violation of the moral law, or the civil law, or of Masonic obligations, or a violation of the laws, usages, and customs of Masonry and, in a general way, a Mason should be guided in his conduct by the following.

1. Where the statute law expressly permits certain conduct or is silent as to it, Masons are bound to obey the moral law and to observe the lessons and duties inculcated in the several degrees.

2. Where the statute law prohibits or commands certain conduct, Masons, in obedience to their duties as good citizens in support of civil government, should obey.

3. Where the statute law permits but does not command certain conduct, and the Masonic law prohibits that conduct, then the Mason must obey the Masonic law as to that course of conduct.

4. If in conducting any business or in pursuing any profession or vocation, a Mason conducts himself, his business, his profession, or his vocation in such a manner as to bring reproach upon himself or his lodge and shame upon the Order, he would for these reasons and notwithstanding the statute law be guilty of a Masonic offense.

5. A Mason's conduct in general and at all times should be such as not to bring discredit upon the Order or to degrade it in the estimation of good people.

6. An Entered Apprentice or a Fellow Craft is subject to the provisions of this chapter.


The following are specific Masonic offenses and, in certain instances, the penalty is specified. These shall not be construed as excluding any other Masonic offenses or unmasonic conduct or penalties not specifically described or enumerated in this chapter or in other chapters of THE CODE.

1. To fail to discharge the duties of a Mason. While this is general in its terms, it includes the following as well as offenses not specified herein, and the penalty shall be fixed according to the gravity of the offense unless it is set forth in THE CODE.

2. To be an atheist at the time of initiation or to become one after initiation. Penalty expulsion. [52-4; 66-4; Preamble I].

3. To be present at the conferring, taking or receiving, of any degree or degrees contrary to duty or in violation of the provisions of THE CODE. [2-6.9; 86-2.58; 86-2.59; 87-1].

A. To be present or to assist in the work of a lodge knowing that its charter or dispensation has been arrested or revoked.

B. To hold Masonic communication or conversation with an illegal lodge, with a person who is a member thereof or who received the degrees therein, or with any person not acknowledged as a Mason by the Grand Lodge. [2-5; 2-6.9; 86-2.58; 86-2.59; 87-1].

C. Penalty for committing, knowingly, any of the offenses described in this Subdivision, expulsion. Penalty otherwise, according to the gravity of the offense.

4. To have illegal carnal intercourse with wife, sister, mother, or daughter of a Master Mason. Penalty expulsion

5. To have illegal carnal intercourse with one who is not the wife, sister, mother, or daughter of a Master Mason

6. To make known, declare, intimate, or indicate in any way the kind of ballot cast by oneself or by a brother, or to declare or indicate the number of favorable, white balls, or unfavorable, black cubes, ballots cast in a secret ballot on a petition or application, or purposely seeking to learn the kind of ballot cast by another. , except if the lodge of which the Mason is a member has enacted the alternate ballot procedure under special local provision Article 19 of lodge bylaws, pursuant to Chapter 44, in which case that procedure is to be followed. Under this regulation it is obvious that it would be a Masonic offense to permit any statement or evidence to be offered at a trial as to the kind of ballot cast by a brother or the number of black cubes or white balls cast. The offense is the publication of his ballot. Penalty expulsion. (This section amended, effective 1/1/ 2009) [68-5]

7. To communicate to the profane, or to a suspended, excluded, or expelled brother or to mention in their hearing anything confidential in nature transpiring in the lodge room, to converse with such persons on the secrets of Masonry or on confidential lodge business, or to disclose the fact that any person has been rejected for any degree or membership, or objected to for advancement; or to make known to them any remarks made within the lodge or elsewhere relative to the Masonic standing, qualifications, or character of a petitioner or a brother. [70-4

]. (this regulation amended, effective 1/1/2012)

8. To fail willfully to obey a Masonic summons lawfully issued and served. Penalty expulsion. [83-1; 83-1.2; 87-13.2].

9. To write, print, typewrite, paint, mimeograph, multigraph, photograph, photostat, prepare, edit, compile, or in any other way or manner to make, record, publish, any paper, pamphlet, manuscript, monograph, book, photograph, picture, photostat, volume, cryptograph, cipher, writing, printing, typewriting, or sound recording not specifically authorized by this Grand Lodge, setting forth, or purporting to set forth the forms, rites, ceremonies, or degrees of Symbolic Freemasonry, or any part or portion thereof, or extracts or excerpts therefrom. Penalty expulsion or revocation of charter.(This subsection amended, effective 1/1/2002)

10. To fail or refuse, upon written notice or request, or upon oral demand of the Grand Master, within three days from receipt thereof, to deliver to him or to any person designated by him any instrument referred to in Regulation 86-2.9. Penalty expulsion or revocation of charter.

11. To violate a Masonic obligation or an oath lawfully taken.

12. To arrest the legitimate work of a lodge, as by "blackballing," from captious, sinister, or unworthy motives provided such motives and conduct are voluntarily avowed by the brother, because they cannot be assigned to him by any one. Penalty expulsion.

13. To make threats or declarations which, if put into effect, would unlawfully retard the work of a lodge or disturb its harmony.

14. To solicit votes by any means, direct, or indirect, to promote the election of one's self, or of anyone else, to office in his lodge or in the Grand Lodge in violation of Regulations 86-2.16, 54-3.3.B. [54-2.2.A; 54-2.2.B; 54-2.2.C; 54-2.2.D].

15. To try to influence the vote of another, either favorably or unfavorably, for any person for any Masonic office. However, one may state if asked whether, in his opinion or judgment, a particular person is well qualified by good character, ability, or Masonic knowledge to discharge the duties of a particular office. [86-2.16; 54-3.3.B].

16. Electioneering in any way for one's self, or for anyone else, for office in the Grand Lodge is prohibited as unmasonic, and any brother found guilty of the offense shall be ineligible to office for two years, or if in office shall forfeit the office held by him and in addition thereto, he may be punished forunmasonic conduct. [54-3.3.B; 86-2.14; 86-2.15].

17. To declare to non-Masons that he has withdrawn from his lodge and renounced Masonry while at the same time maintaining his lodge membership. (this regulation amended, effective 1/1/2012)

18. To misrepresent, or conceal, or to practice fraud or deceit, willfully about any fact in his petition for the degrees to a lodge in which he is later initiated, or to the Committee of Investigation appointed on his petition. Penalty expulsion.

19. To petition a lodge for the degrees, falsely answering that he has never petitioned another lodge for the Symbolic degrees when asked the question in his petition or by a Committee of Investigation. Penalty expulsion.

20. To fail willfully to reveal that he has committed a heinous offense before being made a Mason. Penalty expulsion.

21. To fail to disclose any physical disability on his petition. [78- 11]

22. To solicit a profane to petition for the three degrees of Symbolic Masonry. [43-3.6]

23. To recommend a petitioner for the degrees of Masonry, knowing that he has been rejected by another lodge, whether in this or any other jurisdiction, within one year preceding the date of the petition.

24. For a lodge to accept a petition of one who has been rejected within six months preceding the date of petition. (This subsection amended, effective 1/1/2009) [70-1.2; 70-2].

25. To attempt to influence improperly the action of a Trial Commission or any member thereof by privately discussing the facts or evidence of a case pending before the commission with a member thereof.

26. To participate in forming a club for social or for non-Masonic purposes and to adopt the name Masonic Club, or any other name, derivation, phraseology, designation, symbol, or title peculiar to Masonry, or which would identify it with Masonry in the minds of the public or with other Masons, or to participate in forming any club within the membership of a lodge. [43-3.11; 86-2.46; 86-2.47]

27. To commit, or to enter any plea other than 'not guilty' or to be convicted of, a felony under the laws of the State in which committed or tried, or under the laws, civil or military, of the United States of America . Penalty expulsion. (this regulation amended, effective 1/1/2012)

28. To violate the moral law or to violate the criminal statutes involving moral turpitude. [66-1.11].

29. Drunkenness is a serious Masonic offense.

30. To manufacture, transport, sell, or possess intoxicating liquor in violation of the laws of the State of North Carolina or of the United States of America . Penalty expulsion. [43-3.3].

31. Obsolete (This section amended, effective January 1, 2009) [43-3.3].

32. To conduct, promote, participate in, profit by, aid or assist, in the name or in behalf of Masonry, in any lottery, game of chance, door prize, or other device or activity by any name, whether or not permitted by public authority. This subdivision covers both individual brethren and Masonic bodies in this jurisdiction and the so called collateral bodies or other organizations in North Carolina whose membership is dependent upon or related to Masonic membership or which are likely to be regarded as Masonic organizations in the public mind as well as individual Masons, within the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge, are enjoined and required to respect the purposes of this regulation. In addition to the power and authority contained in Chapter 58 of THE CODE, the Grand Master shall have the authority to direct the Judge Advocate to institute a Masonic Trial against any Master Mason within the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge whom he believes, after investigation, to have been or is a party to the promoting of a lottery, or game of chance of any kind or character. [ 43-3.12 ] (This subsection amended, effective 7/31/2000


33. To be a professional gambler, or to keep a gambling establishment, or permit gambling in any form in any place under his control. Penalty expulsion.

34. To play cards or dice, or otherwise, in any manner, gamble for money or for things of intrinsic value.

35. To use or allow the use of lodge room for lotteries, games of chance, gambling, or other purposes which would discredit Masonry. [43-3.12; 43-3.16]. (This subsection amended, effective 1/1/2004 )

36. To use profanity, or habitually take the name of God in vain, or to utter blasphemy, is a serious Masonic offense.

37. To abuse or injure his wife or a member of his family.

38. To abandon or desert his wife or family.

39. To fail to observe and preserve the sanctity of the marital relation.

40. To fail to provide for his wife and family when capable of doing so.

41. To refuse willfully and persistently to meet pecuniary obligations which he is able to discharge. This is an infraction of the moral law. [43-3; 90-2].

42. Obsolete (This subsection amended, effective 1/1/2004 )

43. Obsolete (This subsection amended, effective 1/1/2004 )

44. To wear the square and compasses, or any other Masonic emblem, or the emblem of an organization composed exclusively of Masons, when he stands excluded, suspended, or expelled, or when he is an Entered Apprentice or a Fellow Craft.

45. To use the Masonic name, emblems or devices, or the faith and credit of Masonry for secular business or political purposes; or the name of any order generally known or considered as a Masonic body on business or political cards, signs, letterheads, stationery, advertisements, or in any other manner whereby the owner might be identified as having Masonic connections except for legitimate recognized Masonic purposes as defined in Subdivision 45 of this regulation. [43-3.8; 43-3.9; 89-1; 86-2.48].

46. To use, or be a party to using, the Masonic name or emblems, or the names or emblems of orders and organizations generally known or considered as Masonic bodies as a part of the style and title, or designation of any business firm, concern, company, corporation, association, enterprise, or calling organized or prosecuted for profit; or for a livelihood, or by way of advertisement unless such business shall be the printing or publishing of Masonic books, papers, or periodicals, or for the manufacture and sale of Masonic supplies. When applied to a cemetery, temple association hospital, employment bureau, relief organization, or charitable enterprise controlled and conducted wholly by Masons or by Masonry, such use must be authorized and approved by the Lodge Service Commission with right to appeal to the Grand Lodge. This subdivision shall apply to the use of Masonic Symbols and phraseology peculiar to Masonry. This subdivision does not apply to the use of Masonic emblems on the tombstone or other marker of the grave of a deceased Mason who died a member of a lodge. [86-3; 25-1; 25-2; 43-3.8; 43-3.9; 43-7; 43-8.1.D; 43-8.1.E; 89-1; 86-2.48].

47. Obsolete (This subsection amended, effective 1/1/2003 ) //

48. To manufacture or sell a Masonic emblem, square and compasses, for use on a commercial vehicle, or on business premises, or to use the same thereon. [86-2.46].

49. Obsolete. (This subsection amended, effective 7/31/2000 )

50. To traduce, slander, libel, or falsely accuse a Mason.

51. It is a Masonic offense for any brother or any lodge to issue, promote, or to be voluntarily a party to the issuing or to the circulating of a chain letter containing

A. a promise of personal reward or gain,

B. a threat of any nature or

C. a solicitation of any kind.

D. On conviction of the brother, the maximum penalty shall be suspension for not less than three years for the first offense and for any succeeding offense the penalty shall be named by the Trial Commission under the Trial Code.

E. If a lodge be guilty, the penalty shall be a fine of not less than $100.00, or the arrest of its charter.

52. The members of a lodge individually or as a group shall not, as Masons, do those things the lodge is prohibited from doing. [43-3.1; 43-8; 38-1; 87-14].

53. It shall be unmasonic to exemplify the monitorial parts of the degrees in public or in the presence of a profane. [42-4; 43-3.14; 44-7 (Art.22Q); 68-7.1; Chapters 24; 45; 72; 73; 74].

54. No brother may have in his possession any copy of the Vocabulary after the same has been accounted for to the Grand Secretary as lost or destroyed. (This subdivision amended, effective 7/31/2000 )

55. It is an offense for any brother to fail to deliver up, any copy of the Official Standard of the Work owned by the lodge or the Vocabulary which may have been receipted for by him, when it is called for or demanded by his subordinate lodge, the Grand Master or his authorized representative. [26-3.14].

56. Obsolete (This regulation amended, effective 1/1/2002 )

57. It is an offense for any brother to make any copy of or from, either in whole or in part, or to make or permit to be made any writing whatever in any copy of the Official Standard of the Work or of the Vocabulary, or to violate any rule or regulation made to govern the use of the same.

58. It shall be a Masonic offense for any Mason within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge to visit, or to affiliate with, or to become a member of, or be a promoter of, any organization, body, or group claiming to be Masonic, or representing itself in the name of Masonry, which has been refused recognition, or declared illegitimate by this Grand Lodge, and upon conviction for a violation of this section, he shall be liable to be expelled, and while he continues to be such a member or promoter, he shall be ineligible to membership or office in any subordinate lodge, or to membership in this Grand Lodge. [2-6.9; 87-1; 86-2.].

59. Any Mason in this jurisdiction who shall confer, communicate, or sell, or who shall assist in, or be accessory to, the conferring, communicating, or selling, or who shall solicit anyone to receive or apply for any degrees called, claimed, or represented to be Masonic, but which have been refused recognition, or declared illegitimate by this Grand Lodge, may be expelled from all the rights and privileges of Masonry. [87-1; 86-2.3].


This Grand Lodge has in no manner authorized and is in no way responsible for the creation of insurance companies or mutual benefit associations called Masonic.

1. This Grand Lodge is neither legally nor morally responsible for any agreement, contract, or other act of any such associations.

2. Any Mason in this jurisdiction who, to induce any person to join or become interested in any such company or association, shall make representations in conflict with this section, is guilty of unmasonic conduct. [86-2.46].