THE GRAND LODGE
WHEREAS, The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina is an absolute sovereign Masonic body with inherent power to form a Constitution as its fundamental law and to enact laws for its own government and that of its subordinate lodges, subject to the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry, THEREFORE, the Grand Lodge does hereby ordain, establish, and promulgate this CONSTITUTION, and every Mason within this Grand Jurisdiction is obligated to obey and to conform to the provisions thereof and the laws enacted pursuant thereto.
I. DECLARATION CONCERNING GOD AND RELIGION:
The Grand Lodge acknowledges belief in God to be the great fundamental principle and landmark of Freemasonry upon which our Fraternity is erected. Without an avowal of such belief, no man shall be initiated in a lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, and if a Freemason shall renounce or forsake his belief in God, or if he does not continue to entertain such belief, he shall not remain a member of any lodge. A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey the moral law, and if he rightly understands the art, he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine; but though in ancient times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that country or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves, that is, to be good men and true, or men of honor and honesty, by whatever denominations or persuasions they may be distinguished, whereby Masonry becomes the center of union and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.
II. DECLARATION CONCERNING THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE, SUPREME AND SUBORDINATE:
A Mason is a peaceable subject to the civil powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concerned in plots and conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the Nation nor to behave himself undutifully.
III. DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES:
Pursuant to the settled policy of this Grand Lodge to define and reaffirm, from time to time, certain of the fundamental principles and rules of conduct governing the practice of Freemasonry in this Masonic jurisdiction, it is declared that:
1. The Grand Lodge of North Carolina is a sovereign and independent body practicing Freemasonry only within the three degrees commonly known amongst the Craft as the degrees of Symbolic Masonry, and only within the limits defined in its Constitution, and in the exercise of its sovereign power, this Grand Lodge further declares that it does not recognize or admit the existence of any superior Masonic authority, anywhere in the world, however styled.
2. Freemasonry is a charitable society in that it is not organized for profit and none of its income inures to the benefit of any individual, but all is devoted to the promotion of the welfare and happiness of mankind.
3. It is benevolent in that it teaches and exemplifies altruism as a duty.
4. It is educational in that it teaches by prescribed ceremonials a system of morality and brotherhood based upon the Sacred Law.
5. It is religious in that it teaches monotheism, the Holy Bible is open upon its altars whenever a lodge is in session, reverence for God is ever present in its ceremonial, and to its brethren are constantly addressed lessons of morality; yet it is not sectarian or theological.
6. It is a social organization only so far as it furnishes additional inducement for men to foregather in numbers; more material is thereby provided for its primary work of education, of worship, and of charity.
7. Through improvement and strengthening of the character of the individual man, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community. Thus it impresses upon its members the principles of personal righteousness and personal responsibility, enlightens them as to those things which make for human welfare, and inspires them with that feeling of charity, or good will, toward all mankind which will move them to translate principle and conviction into action.
8. To that end, it teaches and stands for the worship of God; for truth and justice; for fraternity and philanthropy; and for enlightenment and orderly liberty, civil, religious, and intellectual. It charges each of its members to be true and loyal to the government of the country to which he owes allegiance, and to be obedient to the laws of any state in which he may be.
9. It believes that the attainment of these objectives is best accomplished by laying a broad basis of principle upon which men of various opinions may unite.
10. Consistently throughout the two centuries of Freemasonry in the United States, its members have exercised their inherent and absolute right of freedom of thought and action in all matters religious and civil, but solely as individuals and never as Masons. No member or officer of whatever grade has the right to speak or act for, or in the name of, or on behalf of Freemasonry except as to matters definitely Masonic. Believing and practicing these things, this Grand Lodge affirms its continued adherence to those ancient and approved rules of Freemasonry which forbid the discussion in Masonic lodges or meetings of creeds, politics, or other topics likely to excite personal animosities or personal differences.