Question: What is Perpetual Membership?
Answer: The Perpetual Membership Program was adopted at the
159th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge. When adopted, it became
a part of the Uniform Code of Bylaws for all Particular Lodges and
will be found in Chapter 24, Section 3.03 of the Digest. Perpetual
Membership allows a Brother to voluntarily give to his Particular
Lodge an amount of money equal to his annual dues times 20. He is no
longer required to pay annual dues.
Question: Why is the cost of a Perpetual Membership fee set
at 20 times Lodge dues?
Answer: The multiplier of 20 sets an amount that, if
invested at 5%, will return interest income to your Lodge equal to the
same amount of money it would have received in annual dues from you.
Question: Is this beneficial to my Lodge?
Answer: Yes. The interest income from this money is
available for use by your Lodge and the Grand Lodge every year, even
after your death.
Question: Why should a portion of the interest income
continue to be paid to Grand Lodge after my death?
Answer: Every Mason comes under the jurisdiction of a Grand
Lodge. The operation of the Grand Lodge is important to each of us.
The Grand Lodge programs, the operation of the Masonic Home, and the
operation of every Lodge depends on the operation of the Grand Lodge.
Question: Why do we need Perpetual Memberships?
Answer: Unfortunately, we have experienced losses in
membership during the past several years. These losses can have
adverse effects on the finances of Particular Lodges. If that Lodge
owns its building, the fixed costs of upkeep and operation are spread
among a decreasing number of members. Like the Masonic Home Endowment
Fund, the money from Perpetual Memberships will be used as an
endowment fund for your Particular Lodge. Only the earned interest
will be used to support your Lodge and the Grand Lodge. A Perpetual
Membership is a way to contribute to an endowment fund for your Lodge,
insuring future financial security.
Question: What is the difference between a Perpetual
Membership and a Life Membership?
Answer: By Masonic Regulation, the money from a Life
Membership is regulated as follows: Half the amount is put in a
special trust account which can not be spent until your death. The
remaining half goes directly into the General Funds of the Lodge. Upon
your death the money held in trust can go into the General Funds of
the Lodge. With a Perpetual Membership the entire amount goes in a
special trust account. The principal amount can only be reduced the
first year. After your death, the interest earned from the money will
continue to be returned to your Lodge and Grand Lodge forever.
Question: Why can the principal be reduced the first year?
Answer: Because each Lodge depends on dues from this new
Perpetual Member. The money returned from this Fund is generated by
the interest earned. There could be a shortage of interest earned the
first year depending on when the Brother becomes a Perpetual Member.
If he joins early in the year there will probably be enough interest
earned to return an amount equal to his annual dues. If he joins late
in the year, or on the last day of the year, it is unlikely that the
interest earned will equal annual dues. In this case the principal
will be reduced to return to his Lodge at least as much money as it
would have received in dues.
Question: When will the Lodge receive this interest income?
Answer: At the time of the annual return billing.
Question: If the Grand Lodge per capita tax was to increase,
will it effect me?
Answer: No. A Perpetual Member will no longer be subject to
the per capita tax.
Question: What takes the place of the per capita tax?
Answer: To protect your Lodge from future Grand Lodge per
capita tax increases on Perpetual Members, the per capita tax will be
replaced with a proportionate ratio payment.
Question: What does proportionate ratio mean?
Answer: It is a ratio that is fixed at the time a Brother
becomes a Perpetual Member. For instance, if your Lodge dues are $25,
multiplying by 20 establishes a Perpetual Membership fee of $500. At a
5% return your Lodge receives $25 in interest, the same amount it
would have received in dues. Of that $25, currently seven dollars is
payable to Grand Lodge for the per capita tax. Using the example of
$25 dues and with the current per capita tax of $7 this means that
7/25 of the interest earned is returned to Grand Lodge and the Lodge
keeps 18/25ths. As this ratio is frozen at the time a Brother becomes
a Perpetual Member, a Grand Lodge per capita tax increase will not
effect it. The Lodge continues to keep 18/25 of the money earned and
returns 7/25 to Grand Lodge in lieu of per capita tax. If the per
capita tax was increased to $10 and the Lodge increased the dues to
$30, then any Brother becoming a Perpetual Member at that time would
join at a fee of $600. The proportionate ratio in this case would be
20/30 for the Particular Lodge and 10/30 for the Grand Lodge.
Question: Why can't I just make a donation to my Lodge and
let it use the money to pay my dues?
Answer: There is nothing to prohibit this, but consider the
following advantages of Perpetual membership: first there are no
regulations compelling a Lodge to place money in a trust fund in your
name; secondly, the Perpetual Membership Fund is relying on
professional investors to get a higher rate of return.
Question: What if I want to donate more than the minimum
Answer: The Regulation only sets a minimum amount for a
Perpetual Membership Fee. There is no limit to the amount a Brother
may voluntarily give to increase his Perpetual Membership. Our
computer program at Grand Lodge is designed to handle twelve
additional donations per member each year.
Question: We don't expect interest rates to fall below 5%,
but what if they do?
Answer: If interest rates fall below 5% then the Lodge will
receive less than it would have received in dues. We hope that will
never happen. However, if it did occur the Grand Lodge portion is also
reduced. Remember that the proportionate ratio paid to Grand Lodge is
based on the interest earned. So in this case Grand Lodge would
receive less than it would have normally received in per capita tax.
In other words, Grand Lodge shares in the loss. Using the example of
$25 dues and a 4% return: The Lodge receives 18/25 or $14.40 and Grand
Lodge receives 7/25 or $5.60. But, please remember, interest income
will still be coming in from the accounts of deceased Perpetual
Question: What happens if interest rates rise above 5%?
Answer: Particular Lodges and the Grand Lodge benefit! Let's
again use the example of dues of $25 and a Perpetual Membership fee of
$500. If we earn 8% interest on the $500 it will return $40.00. This
will be divided 18/25 or $28.80 to the Particular Lodge and 7/25 or
$11.20 to the Grand Lodge.
Question: Is there a reduced rate for older members?
Answer: No. The program is not really designed as a
membership program. Its intent is to create a trust fund for each
Particular Lodge. The primary funding of this account is from
Perpetual and Memorial Perpetual Memberships. It is a way for a
Brother to make a voluntary contribution to his Lodge and Grand Lodge.
By making a donation of his dues times 20 he is relieved of paying
Question: If a Particular Lodge levies a special assessment
on its members, is a Perpetual Member exempt?
Answer: A Perpetual Member IS NOT exempt from special
assessments made by his Particular Lodge, but he IS exempt from
special assessments made by the Grand Lodge. It is not the intent of
this Regulation to interfere with the finances of any Particular
Lodge. The exemption from Grand Lodge assessments is for the
protection of the Particular Lodge.
Question: What about Memorial Perpetual Memberships?
Answer: Memorial Perpetual Memberships can be donated in the
memory of a deceased Florida Mason who was in good standing at the
time of his death. The fee for this membership is the dues and per
capita tax which were in effect at the time of the remembered
Brother's death. We have set a minimum fee of $200 for this type of
membership ($10 minimum dues times 20). There is a lot of interest in
this type membership.
Question: What if I transfer my membership to another Lodge?
Answer: If you affiliate with another Florida Lodge, your
Perpetual Membership moves with you. If you affiliate with a Lodge
outside Florida, the Perpetual Membership Fee remains with that
Florida Lodge. If you did affiliate with a Lodge outside Florida and
later returned to your Florida Lodge, your Perpetual Membership is
Question: What happens if a Perpetual Member is suspended or
expelled for unmasonic conduct?
Answer: The application form for Perpetual Membership states
that the applicant understands the Perpetual Membership Fee is
non-refundable. So, although a Brother may be suspended or expelled
and may not have a dues card, the money remains with the Lodge.
Question: Has any other Grand Lodge implemented Perpetual
Membership and if so, has it been successful?
Answer: Yes, the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma and at least six
other Grand Lodges, have adopted Perpetual Membership Programs. Our
Perpetual Membership program is closely patterned after the Grand
Lodge of Oklahoma's. In the two years since its adoption, Oklahoma has
gained over 2400 Perpetual Memberships.
Question: How can I become a Perpetual Member?
Answer: An application form is available from your Lodge
Secretary. It must be processed through your Lodge.