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Brother Gardner (100) presented the report of the Committee on Chartered Lodges, which was
E, YOUR committee having in charge the Returns of Chartered Lodges for the year 1900, beg leave to submit the following report:
The committee met in the Library building, at Cedar Rapids, early in February, and spent several days in checking and correcting the returns. An idea of the amount of work this committee had to do may be gained by stating that the report of every lodge in Iowa, about five hundred and twenty-five in number, had to be carefully gone over, and in many cases compared with the reports of previous years, and after this was done, it was necessary for us to correspond with about two hundred lodges before the necessary corrections could be made. This has been done, and we are pleased to report that the returns have all been corrected and a perfect balance struck between the Grand Lodge and every subordinate lodge in this jurisdiction, and we believe satisfactorily in every case. The uniform courtesy shown this committee by the Secretaries of the lodges with whom it was necessary to correspond relative to errors and corrections in their reports is heartily commended. While we presume there will probably never come a time in this jurisdiction when every subordinate lodge will send in a correct report, in exact accordance with the Code, we know that a careful reading of the Code and a careful study of the instructions contained in the report will obviate a great many errors. For instance: We believe every Mason in Iowa knows that when a brother dies he is no longer a member of any lodge in this jurisdiction at least, yet seventeen lodges report members who had died during the year, and when they made their report at the end of the year they included them as members in good standing. Many other lodges still adhere to the practice of reporting on net instead of total membership. This is an error that is most generally made, and for which no excuse can be given.
We believe that many of the errors in the annual reports of the subordinate lodges in Iowa are caused by the crude and imperfect manner in which many lodges keep their records, and we recommend that the necessary steps be taken to insure a uniform system of keeping the records of every Masonic lodge in this jurisdiction. From the information gained through correspondence with lodges we are led to believe that a great many lodges do not keep a correct roster of their membership. It should be the imperative duty of every Master and Secretary to see that a roster is kept showing the exact date every member was initiated, passed, and raised; also when every member was dropped, reinstated, etc. The roster should show the exact date when a brother ceases to be a member, and the cause therefor, and should date back to the organization of the lodge and include the name of every member the lodge ever had.
Too much care cannot be exercised in the selection of a Secretary, and it appears to this committee that if the Master would become more familiar with the actual work of his Secretary much good might be obtained which would be of mutual benefit to both officers. In four cases the returns were so confused that it was impossible for us to correct same, and we were obliged to send these four returns back to the respective lodges with the request that a correct and exact copy of the books of the lodge as shown on January 1st, 1901, be sent us, which we had to accept as a basis for future returns. From the evidence that we were able to obtain we were forced to the conclusion that the officers of these four lodges did not keep a correct record of the transactions of their lodges.
We desire to call the attention of the Masters and Secretaries to another error very commonly made, and that is the incorrect listing of the names of members on pages 2 to 7. For instance: In the returns for 1898 the name of W. E. Blank might appear. In 1899 the name of William Edward Blank; while in 1900 might be found the name of Bill Blank. The committee would naturally presume that this man Blank is one and the same person. We therefore recommend that hereafter a uniform manner of listing the names of members on pages 2 to 7 be adopted by giving at least the first name in full. For example: William E. Blank.
In some lodges we observe that there have been wholesale suspensions for non-payment of dues, and we believe that there are hundreds of good loyal Masons who would be enthusiastic workers in the fraternity today had the Master and Secretary performed their duties. There are few men, indeed, who are willing to be suspended for non-payment of dues, and in every instance where a brother is unable to pay, if the proper representation is made to the lodge, we have every reason to believe that his dues would be remitted, and the brother continued in good standing; and the Master and Secretary who lose sight of the fraternal feeling which should exist between them and their lodge and endeavors to force collections by purely business methods should never be officers of a Ma
sonic lodge. We notice in some lodges that year after year there is not a single suspension for non-payment of dues, while in other lodges they suspend from ten to fifteen per cent of total membership for non-payment of dues. We believe that many of the foregoing errors could be avoided if the Masters and Secretaries would confer more frequently with each other relative to the duties of the Secretary.
Another matter that has been brought forcibly to the committee's attention during the year is the great number of non-affiliate Masons in Iowa. While we have no means of knowing the exact number, we know of one particular instance where in a city of fifteen thousand people there are one hundred and twenty-five Masons residing there who do not belong to the local lodge. Some of these belong to lodges in other Iowa towns, others to lodges outside of this jurisdiction, while a great many of them have been suspended or have their dimits, which they have never deposited, and we would recommend that an effort be made to secure the name of every Iowa Mason who is either a non-affiliate or a member of some lodge outside of this jurisdiction, and all reasonable effort be made to induce him to become a member of the lodge in the locality in which he resides. This can be done through the united efforts of the Masters and Secretaries of our lodges. If this is accomplished it would mean a great addition to the membership of Masonry in the Grand Jurisdiction of the State of Iowa.
The returns for 1900 show that Masonry in Iowa is steadily and surely growing. The increase of nine hundred and ninety-six members being the very largest in the history of this Grand Lodge, which fully demonstrates the worth of our time-honored institution in the opinions of the foremost citizens of this the best state in the Union. The following is a recapitulation of the membership in this Grand Jurisdiction December 31st, 1900:
Extra increase (names omitted in previous years).
The discrepancy has been explained in the previous reports, and the same conditions exist this year, and will exist in the years to
We recommend that a credit of 75 cents be allowed Canopy Lodge, No. 290, on Grand Lodge dues for 1901 on account of a supposed error in returns for 1900, which, upon investigation, we find does not exist.
Your committee desires to congratulate the Masons of Iowa on the splendid conditions of the fraternity financially, numerically, and otherwise, and we hope that each member present will return to his home fully determined to continue the good work and thus aid in the further upbuilding of the grandest organization that the world has ever known.
Brother Craig (110) presented the report of the Committee on Library. On question of adoption, same wasAdopted.
TO THE MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND LODGE OF IOWA:
OMMITTEE on Grand Lodge Library, which the law says shall "consist of one only, and whose duty it shall be to report matters of interest in respect to such Library, with recommendations in regard thereto," begs to submit a report somewhat briefer than many reports upon this subject have been, with the hope that the report may receive close attention as read by the committee, and that afterwards when it has been printed in the Proceedings that it may not be entirely ignored by such of our brethren of this Grand Jurisdiction as read our record. This report has been prepared with the hope that it may be, in part at least, upon new grounds. The general field of such a report must be the same, and much reiteration must be made. Indeed, ours is an everchanging body, and as brothers go and brothers come much must be kept constantly before the Grand Lodge, else important information be lost to the newer member. So, while your committee has a hope for some new matter, he realizes that he must in part say practically what has been said for the Grand Lodge Library during the last dozen years by his predecessors:
"In the best books great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours."
The influences of life are numberless. Even visible life begins the influences surrounding his parent's life make deep and lasting impressions upon his future life and conduct. The surroundings of his childhood-his parents, his brothers and sisters, his playmates, his school-fellows, his fellow-workers, the pursuits of