Are You a Masonic Tourist?
When you go on a business trip or on vacation, do you find yourself packing your dinner jacket, apron and assorted regalia? If so, you may be a Masonic Tourist.
Most of the lodges in the kingdom welcome Masonic Tourists. But each lodge has its own particular rules and requirements concerning visitations. Therefore, please check with the Lodge Secretary of the lodge you would like to visit well in advance of your trip.
In general though, most of the lodges in Thailand follow these basic rules:
Recognition. Visitors must be from a constitution in amity with the lodge you wish to visit. Please check with your Grand Lodge or Lodge Secretary to confirm prior to visiting. You can also usually find this information on your Grand Lodge’s web site.
Legal Information. Visitors are required to provide legal information that they are a member in good standing in a recognized lodge. This may be provided in the form of a diploma, letter of good standing or dues card.
Testing. All visitors will be tested by a senior member of the host lodge in the usual manner known to Masons. Please allow a little extra time before the meeting to allow for that. Even though Masonry is universal, modes of recognition may differ slightly between the different constitutions. Be patient and work with your host.
Dress. The members of most lodges dress in black tie and dinner jacket (tuxedo for my American friends). Visitors may visit in dark business suit, white shirt and dark tie.
Cost. There is no cost to join a meeting. However each lodge takes a collection for charity (200 to 500 baht is a fine donation). Most lodges will offer a cash bar prior to the meeting and a harmony (or dinner) after. Visitors may be requested to pay a dining fee. Costs vary with each lodge so please check with the host Lodge Secretary.
Greetings. Visitors are encouraged to stand at the end of the meeting and give a greeting from their lodge. The Director of Ceremonies will usually prompt you when it’s your turn. A typical greeting might be something like, “Worshipful Master, I bring warm, fraternal greetings from Such and Such Lodge, No. 1234 on the roll of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Wherever in the town of Such.” You get the idea. If you’ve never done this before, be brief!
Visitors Response. The harmony (or dinner) following the meeting will include a number of toasts. One toast will be for the visitors. A lodge officer may ask you to respond to the toast. So, think up a few clever things to say about the city; compliment that evening’s work; and commend the candidate for his great bravery. Keep it clean. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before. You will be better than I was in my first visitor’s response. Anyone would be!
To me, one of the best parts of being a Mason is the ability to travel and see the rituals of my beloved Craft performed in new and interesting ways. Masonry opens new worlds enabling the “Masonic Tourist” to meet and befriend people from every level of society. By all means, grab every opportunity you have while you’re in Thailand to visit the wide variety of lodges here.
And as always, if you have any other questions about visiting please email us.