John Mauk Hilliard's Seven Principles

The following has been excerpted with permission from the web page of
St. Alban's Lodge No. 1455 -- Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons, TX

The entire page above is well worth reading.


St. Alban's Lodge No. 1455 and its members aspire to emulate a strict interpretation of the "Seven Principles of Traditional Freemasonry" as enumerated by Worshipful Brother John Mauk Hilliard, Past Master of Independent Royal Arch Lodge No. 2, New York Constitution. These are:

1) RITUAL EXCELLENCE: This principle demands that the ritual be completely and artistically rendered from memory. This is the single most fundamental element of traditional Freemasonry. This includes the requirement that every man learn the lectures through the trial questions and answers of each degree.

2) EDUCATION: This principle demands that a regular program of education and indoctrination be followed grounding the membership in the rich and complex history, literature, culture and traditions of the craft of Freemasonry.

3) THE TABLE LODGE (or Festive Board): This tradition is indispensable as nothing can replace the experience of Freemasons sitting down together to a meal, presided over by the Worshipful Master and Wardens, where conviviality and the traditions of the lodge and the fraternity can be observed and preserved. (The Table Lodge stands in direct contrast to the increasingly more common practice of serving a meagre meal of spaghetti, sandwiches, or barbecue on paper plates before or after the monthly meeting.)

4) CHARITABLE OUTREACH: The lodge should have an ongoing program of charitable outreach to the immediate community. The charitable program of the lodge should be provided for separate and apart from the lodge treasury and its annual budget.

5) ELEGANCE OF DRESS: This should preferably include black tie (or dark suit) at all regular meetings, degree conferrals, and festive boards of the lodge. A Freemason's dress for lodge meetings should exhibit the same respect for his lodge and his fellows as he would exhibit when attending a friend's wedding, a child's christening, a nephew's graduation, or any other significant event. This principle also includes other regalia, accoutrements, and surroundings as best as the lodge resources can muster. A lodge should be well kept and in good repair outside, and well furnished and decorated, neat and clean on the inside.

6) SELECTIVITY AND EXCLUSIVITY: A scrupulous screening of candidates and affiliates insures that only the most excellent of men, superior in character, ability, honesty, and potential are admitted. Compatibility with the membership is an important characteristic to consider. Balloting on affiliations should ALWAYS be done by secret ballot.

7) COMMITMENT: A demand for a real sacrifice of time, talent, and means from those who seek to exercise leadership in the lodge is indispensable. A commensurate commitment from those members who only wish to sit on the sidelines is also important.

In the end, a Masonic lodge should strive to act like the best Masonic lodge it can be. Nevertheless, some tend to model their lodges after a Shrine Club or an Eastern Star Chapter rather than after a traditional Masonic lodge. Traditional Freemasons would argue that these lodges should turn in their charters and become Shrine Clubs or Eastern Star Chapters.

Peter Renzland, President,