Lake Harriet Lodge is one of 160 lodges in the state of Minnesota. All these lodges are governed Masonically by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, A.F.& A.M., a sovereign governing body headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, and recognized broadly by mainstream lodges throughout the world.
The Grand Lodge issues charters to lodges that allow them to function legitimately, tracks their growth and activity, and makes sure they abide by the laws and landmarks of the Craft. Our Grand Lodge sponsors many events and charitable activities, and publishes the monthly Minnesota Mason newspaper.
You can visit the Grand Lodge's website for more information.
Mission Statement of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota
The mission of the Freemasons of Minnesota is to engage and inspire good men, who believe in a Supreme Being, to live according to Masonic tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.
Our mission is guided by the core values of our fraternity:
Freedom – Freemasons champion the liberties and values outlined in the founding documents of the United States of America.
Integrity – Freemasons strive to be honest, truthful and reliable, living in a just and upright manner.
Tolerance – Freemasons embrace diversity of opinion, religious, ethnic, cultural, social and educational differences.
We are pleased to note the presence of another venerable grand lodge in our state...
Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Minnesota
A second organization of lodges, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Minnesota has shared territorial jurisdiction in Minnesota, and we maintain friendly and mutually supportive relations with them. Traditionally made up of black members, like us, Prince Hall lodges have integrated in recent years. The 40 legitimate US Prince Hall grand lodges trace their origin to a lodge founded by a free black man who settled in Boston during the late Colonial Period. His name was Prince Hall, and his grave site is still visible in the "Old Burying Grounds" in Boston. His lodge, originally given a warrant by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1784, gave Brother Prince Hall the right to form additional lodges, from which all Prince Hall lodges trace their origin. The Minnesota Prince Hall Grand Lodge boasts several lodges in our state, located in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth. A few of our brethren are dual members of one or another of their lodges, and a few of their members are dual members with ours.
One of the cherished traditions of Freemasonry is our habit of intervisitation to other lodges. Hearkening back to the middle ages, Masons were one of the few groups of people who could travel freely from country to country, seeking new work as skilled craftsmen and bringing with them news from far off lands. Today, lodges welcome visitors as a highlight of any meeting. In turn, visitors can expect a friendly welcome and enjoy a meeting that may be familiar yet regionally distinct from their home, whether near or far.
To Masons, all grand lodges outside of their own are 'foreign' jurisdictions. Wisconsin is as much a foreign jurisdiction to us, as the Grand Lodge of Japan, or the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia. We make it easier for our members to visit foreign lodges by providing letters of introduction, available through the Grand Secretary in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you travel, you may request that the Grand Secretary alert the grand lodge near your destination that you are coming, especially if you wish to set of a specific lodge to visit. You should give him enough time to respond, and trade letters or e-mails with his counterpart in that land. Again, Florida or Finland, foreign is foreign. Some of the rules are:
Rules of contact - Don't contact the foreign jurisdiction directly, while outside of their territory. Always go through the Grand Secretary until such time as he provides you a formal introduction. These are typically a Letter of Introduction, although in recent years an official e-mail is becoming common. If visiting, or "sojourning" in a foreign land and you have need to contact the Masons there, you can contact them yourself while you are in their territory even if you haven't received a formal letter of introduction from your own Grand Secretary.
Follow their laws - While you are in the territory of a foreign jurisdiction with whom we are in amity (friendship), you are, by custom, bound by their Masonic Law just like you are bound by ours. You therefore have a double tie to the fraternity, requiring that you respect their customs if you wish to participate in their labors and benefits.
Dues cards? - In the US, bring your valid dues card as another proof of membership. Dues cards are preferred here in the US, but not used elsewhere. Outside of the US, the letter of introduction is best.
Know your stuff! - When you travel, expect to be gently quizzed in your Masonic knowledge. Your hosts will want to confirm that you are really a Mason, and will ask you questions that will prove that fact. The letter of introduction will certainly help, as will your traveling with your own apron. Lodges will appoint a committee of two or three to investigate you briefly. They may look for your lodge name and number in the reference book, "List of Lodges," found in most lodge offices.
What to wear - Dress varies from lodge to lodge, and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A dark suit is almost always appropriate and can be accessorized by a pin, and either a dark tie or some kind of Masonic tie. In England and many of the commonwealth nations, a black tie and white gloves are preferred. If the lodge is meeting casually they will advise you of that fact - you can always ask. Surprisingly, even in tropical climates, dark suits are popular for Masonic meetings and evening wear.
Check your business at the door - As you would while visiting other lodges in our state, foreign visitation provides a social connection, and occasionally supports the unexpected humanitarian needs of a sojourning brother. As is the rule here, do not use your Masonic connections for overt business networking or other transparently 'off color' uses. It's considered boorish.
Serious foreign connections - Some grand lodges supplement the correspondence work of their Grand Secretary and staff by appointing a Chancellor, also called a Foreign Secretary. We do not have one here, but you may come across the term when traveling. Another popular program is to appoint Grand Representatives, both "near" and "far," to serve as another connection point to a foreign jurisdiction. These men are the ambassadors of the Craft to foreign lands. As an example, the Grand Master of Illinois has appointed one of our brothers living hear as their "Grand Representative of Illinois, near Minnesota." We, in turn, have appointed one of their members as Minnesota's Grand Rep, near Illinois." --We recommend men local to us, and the appointment is accepted and made by the foreign Grand Master. And vice versa. In all, Minnesota has friendly relations - treaties of amity - with some 175 foreign jurisdictions around the world. We have appointed grand reps in most of them, and they have reciprocated with appointments here. If you have a special connection with another state, province or nation, perhaps by birth, business or regular travel there, you can advise the Grand Secretary or Grand Master of your interest and offer to serve in the capacity of grand rep, if a position is open.
Links to US jurisdictions which are friends of Minnesota.
Links to non-US jurisdictions which are friends of Minnesota.
(Remember, not all jurisdictions will have websites. We'll use airmail for some introductions.)
(To be added) Links to our foreign Grand Reps, who may assist you if traveling here, or if traveling to another jurisdiction.