Freemasonry: The Naked Truth

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Freemasonry in Dundee

Becoming a Freemason in Dundee

Becoming a Freemason

There are a number of masonic manuscripts that are important in the study of the emergence of Freemasonry. Most numerous are the Old Charges or Constitutions. These documents outlined a "history" of Masonry, tracing its origins to a biblical or classical root, followed by the regulations of the organisation, and the responsibilities of its different grades. More rare are old hand-written copies of ritual, affording a limited understanding of early masonic rites. All of those which pre-date the formation of Grand Lodges are found in Scotland and Ireland, and show such similarity that the Irish rituals are usually assumed to be of Scottish origin. The earliest Minutes of lodges formed before the first Grand Lodge are also located in Scotland. Early records of the first Grand Lodge in 1717 allow an elementary understanding of the immediate pre-Grand Lodge era and some insight into the personalities and events that shaped early-18th-century Freemasonry in Britain.

Other early documentation is included in this article. The Kirkwall Scroll is a hand painted roll of linen, probably used as a floorcloth, now in the care of a lodge in Orkney. Its dating and the meaning of its symbols have generated considerable debate. Early operative documents and the later printed constitutions are briefly covered.

The schism between French and English Freemasonry is popularly supposed to originate at a general assembly of the Grand Orient de France in September 1877. Accepting a recommendation in a report by a Protestant minister, Frédéric Desmons, the assembly, on a majority vote, amended its constitutions to read "Its principles are absolute liberty of conscience and human solidarity". The words "Its principles are the existence of God, the immortality of the soul and human solidarity" were struck out. The United Grand Lodge of England's (UGLE) response was a resolution in March 1878 that "the Grand Lodge, whilst always anxious to receive in the most fraternal spirit the Brethren of any Foreign Grand Lodge whose proceedings are conducted according to the Ancient Landmarks of the Order, of which a belief in T. G. A. O. T. U. (the Great Architect of the Universe) is the first and most important, cannot recognise as ‘true and genuine’ Brethren any who have been initiated in Lodges which either deny or ignore that belief". Relations between the two governing bodies effectively ceased, purportedly because the French body had removed the requirement for a belief in a supreme being. However, UGLE had just entered into fraternal relations with the Grand Orient of Belgium, which had removed the Great Architect from its constitutions in 1872, a relationship which lasted until 1921. The reasons for the split are obviously deeper and more complex than the official records suggest.

Mutual distrust between English and French Freemasons was apparent in the 1850s, when French Masonic refugees were appalled at the relationship between UGLE and the Monarchy, aristocracy, and the Anglican church. The English distrusted the mysticism of French Masonry, and its ideals of Fraternity and Universality.

Desmons' review had been prompted by the Lausanne Congress of Supreme Councils of 1875. Eleven countries were represented at an attempt to unify the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. An agreement on colonial lodges would have seen the UGLE as the only recognised masonic Grand Lodge in British colonies, in spite of the Scottish and Irish lodges already flourishing there. The Scottish delegate, Mackersy, who also represented Greece, withdrew. His letter of withdrawal cited his jurisdiction's disagreement with any shift from the requirement for a member to believe in a personal god. He said that he believed the congress would agree to a non-requirement, or the specification of a vague universal principle. In avoiding ratifying a treaty which would obliterate Scottish lodges in the colonies, Mackersy sparked a debate that led to the removal of a requirement for an open volume of scripture in French lodges. The English interpretation of this as a slide towards atheism was probably partly prompted by the difficult political relationship between Britain and France at that time.

The gulf between UGLE and GOdF widened due to the French body's active engagement in politics, on a personal and organisational level. All discussion of politics and religion is expressly banned from English lodges.

Legacy of the Schism

During the First World War, many American lodges relaxed their opposition to the Grand Orient de France to allow servicemen to engage with other masons while in France. Many of these continue to allow their members to associate with continental Freemasons.

In December 1913, UGLE recognised a new Grand Lodge in France. The basis of this recognition was the series of obligations that the Independent and Regular National Grand Lodge of France (later the Grande Loge Nationale Française) imposed on its lodges. These were:

While the Lodge is at work the Bible will always be open on the altar.

The ceremonies will be conducted in strict conformity with the Ritual of the "Regime Rectifié" which is followed by these Lodges, a Ritual which was drawn up in 1778 and sanctioned in 1782, and with which the Duke of Kent was initiated in 1792.

The Lodge will always be opened and closed with invocation and in the name of the Great Architect of the Universe. All the summonses of the Order and of the Lodges will be printed with the symbols of the Great Architect of the Universe.

No religious or political discussion will be permitted in the Lodge.

The Lodge as such will never take part officially in any political affair but every individual Brother will preserve complete liberty of opinion and action.

Only those Brethren who are recognised as true Brethren by the Grand Lodge of England will be received in Lodge.

These "basic principles" were accepted by UGLE itself in 1929, and written into its constitutions.

Dundee; Scots: Dundee Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Dè or Dùn Dèagh is Scotland's fourth-largest city and the 51st-most-populous built-up area in the United Kingdom. The mid-year population estimate for 2016 was 148,280, giving Dundee a population density of 2,478/km2 or 6,420/sq mi, the second-highest in Scotland. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea. Under the name of Dundee City, it forms one of the 32 council areas used for local government in Scotland.

Historically part of Angus, the city developed into a burgh in the late 12th century and established itself as an important east coast trading port. Rapid expansion was brought on by the Industrial Revolution, particularly in the 19th century when Dundee was the centre of the global jute industry. This, along with its other major industries, gave Dundee its epithet as the city of "jute, jam and journalism".

Today, Dundee is promoted as "One City, Many Discoveries" in honour of Dundee's history of scientific activities and of the RRS Discovery, Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic exploration vessel, which was built in Dundee and is now berthed at Discovery Point. Biomedical and technological industries have arrived since the 1980s, and the city now accounts for 10% of the United Kingdom's digital entertainment industry, including mobile app development and gaming. Dundee has two universities – the University of Dundee and the Abertay University. In 2014, Dundee was recognised by the United Nations as the UK's first UNESCO City of Design for its diverse contributions to fields including medical research, comics and video games.

A unique feature of Dundee is that its two professional football clubs, Dundee F.C. and Dundee United F.C., have stadiums all but adjacent to each other.

With the decline of traditional industry, the city has adopted a plan to regenerate and reinvent itself as a cultural centre. In pursuit of this, a £1 billion master plan to regenerate and to reconnect the Waterfront to the city centre started in 2001 and is expected to be completed within a 30-year period. The V&A Dundee – the first branch of the V&A to operate outside of London – is the main centre piece of the waterfront project.

In recent years, Dundee's international profile has risen. GQ magazine named Dundee the 'Coolest Little City in Britain' in 2015 and The Wall Street Journal ranked Dundee at number 5 on its 'Worldwide Hot Destinations' list for 2018. Dundee sits on the north bank of the Firth of Tay on the eastern, North Sea Coast of Scotland. The city lies 36.1 miles (58 km) NNE of Edinburgh and 360.6 miles (580 km) NNW of London. The built-up area occupies a roughly rectangular shape 8.3 miles (13 km) long by 2.5 miles (4 km) wide, aligned in an east to west direction and occupies an area of 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi). The town is bisected by a line of hills stretching from Balgay Hill (elevation of 143 m) in the west end of the city, through the Dundee Law (174 m) which occupies the centre of the built up area, to Gallow Hill (83 m), between Baxter Park and the Eastern Cemetery. North of this ridge lies a valley through which cuts the Dighty Water burn, the elevation falling to around 45 m. North of the Dighty valley lie the Sidlaw Hills, the most prominent hill being Craigowl Hill (455 m).

The western and eastern boundaries of the city are marked by two burns that are tributaries of the River Tay. On the westernmost boundary of the city, the Lochee burn meets the Fowlis burn, forming the Invergowrie burn, which meets the Tay at Invergowrie basin. The Dighty Water enters Dundee from the village of Strathmartine and marks the boundaries of a number of northern districts of the city, joining the Tay between Barnhill and Monifieth. The Scouring burn in the west end of the city and Dens Burn in the east, both of which played important roles in the industrial development of the city, have now been culverted over.

Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom

Becoming a Freemason in Scotland

Council Area            Dundee City

Lieutenancy Area   Dundee

Founded       c. 11th century AD

Burgh charter           1191

City status     1889


 • Body           Dundee City Council

 • Lord Provost         Ian Borthwick

 • Leader of Dundee City Council           John Alexander

 • MSPs         2

 • MPs            2


 • Total           20 sq mi (60 km2)

Elevation       59 ft (18 m)

Population (mid-2016 est.)

 • Total           148,280

 • Rank          4th, Scotland

 • Density      6,420/sq mi (2,478/km2)

 • Urban         158,200

 • Metro          264,890

 • Language(s)         English


Demonym(s) Dundonian

Time zone     UTC±0 (GMT)

 • Summer (DST)     UTC+1 (BST)

Postcode Areas      


Area code(s) 01382

ISO 3166-2   GB-DND

ONS Code    S12000042

OS Grid Reference NO4030

NUTS 3         UKM21

Primary airport         Dundee Airport