The term “Landmark” is found in Proverbs 22:28: “Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set.” Hence landmarks are those peculiar marks by which we are able to designate our inheritance. They define what is being passed on to us. In the case of Freemasonry, they are called the landmarks of the order.
What defines a landmark of the order? Perhaps the safest method is to restrict them to those ancient and therefore universal customs of the order, which either gradually grew into operation as rules of action, or, have been enacted from a time so long ago that no account of their origin exists.
The first request therefore of a custom or rule of action to constitute it a landmark is that it must have existed from a time when no one remembers anything else. Its antiquity is its essential element. If every one of the masonic scholars were to get together now and agree on a new regulation, it would not be a landmark because it would not satisfy the need for antiquity.
The second request of a custom or rule of action to constitute it a landmark is that it must also be by definition unrepealable. “The Landmarks are those essentials of Freemasonry without any one of which it would no longer be Freemasonry,” said MW Bro. Melvin M. Johnson, Past Grand Master of Massachusetts in 1923.
What are the landmarks of the order? What are those peculiar marks by which we are able to designate our masonic inheritance, as recognized by the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Connecticut?
- Belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, in some revelation of his will, in the Resurrection of the Body and in the Immortality of the Soul.
- The obligations and modes of recognition and the Legend of the third degree.
- The necessity of a volume of the Sacred Law on the Altar.
- The symbolism of the operative art.
- That Masons must obey the moral law and the government of the country in which they live.
- That the Grand Master is Head of the Craft.
- That the Master is Head of the Lodge.
- That the Grand Lodge is the Supreme Governing Body within its territorial jurisdiction.
- That the Lodge has power to make Masons, and to administer its own private affairs.
- Under Connecticut Law, lawful age is 18 years. That every Candidate must be a man of at least eighteen years of age and under no restraint of liberty and well recommended.
- That no candidate can be received except by unanimous ballot, after due notice of his application and due inquiry as to his qualifications.
- That the ballot is inviolably secret.
- That no person can be installed Master of a Lodge unless he be a Past Warden, except by dispensation of the Grand Master.
- That the obligations, means of recognition, and the forms and ceremonies observed in conferring degrees are secret.
- That no innovation can be made upon the body of Masonry without the consent of the Grand Lodge having first been obtained.