Over the years certain procedures, known as Rules of Order, have been developed to govern the making of group decisions in an orderly fashion. Often known as “Parliamentary Procedure” (and many times governed by a specific set of rules known and published as “Robert’s Rules of Order”), usual rules of order are, in many details, not applicable to Masonic Lodges, which have developed a special set of rules to govern business procedures within themselves.
The rules of order, as outlined, recognize general rules of parliamentary law as used in other Legislative bodies, unless they conflict with the Masonic Code or Masonic usage. However, usually ‘custom’, or ‘rules of order’ within the individual Masonic Lodges, governs their parliamentary procedures. While often followed in general, “Rules of Order” are actually the Master’s ‘will and pleasure’ and “should never be introduced where they, in any way, interfere with the established customs or Landmarks of Freemasonry or with the high prerogatives of the Master”.
In a secular body, the presiding officer is subject to the dictates of the organization and may be removed by it…The Master of a Lodge is not controlled by the Lodge and can only be removed by the Grand Master. In a secular body the presiding officer’s decision can be overturned by the body itself…The Master’s Decision in a Masonic Lodge can only be appealed to the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge. The Presiding officer of a secular body is supposed to conduct its meetings according to the “Rules of Order”…The Master of a Masonic Lodge is totally responsible to the Grand Lodge, The Grand Master and the fraternity in general for all that his Lodge does and, as such, is clothed with all the authority needed to exercise full control.
But, just as the Masonic Lodge is sometimes said to represent King Solomon’s Temple and the Master is said to represent King Solomon; so must the good Master exercise the Wisdom of Solomon in his governing of the Craft. He must be careful not to either over-exercise his authority or fail to exercise it; for either way he will drive his members away from the meetings.