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LIFE MEMBER

It is the custom in some Lodges to permit a member to become a life member by paying dues for some number of years, say twenty-one to twenty-five), determined by the By-Laws of the Lodge or the immediate payment of a sum of money, after which he is released from any subsequent payment of quarterly or yearly dues. Such a system is of advantage in pecuniary sense to the Lodge, if the money paid for life membership is invested in profitable stock, because the interest continues to accrue to the Lodge even after the death of a member.

A Lodge consisting entirely of life members would be a Lodge the number of whose members might increase, but could never decrease. Life members are subject to all the discipline of the Lodge, such as suspension or expulsion, just as the other members. Such Life Membership is, however, not recognized by the Grand Lodge of England, which restricts the privileges of the Craft to those who continue to be subscribing members of some Lodge (see Report, June 1873, Grand Lodge of England). The Grand Lodge of Scotland permits the commutation of Annual Contributions by a single payment (Law 176), but has therefore decided it is illegal to stipulate for payment of the life-membership fee by installments (Digest of Scottish Masonic Jurisprudence, R. E. Wallace-James, page 8). On the subject of paying dues by a single outlay the Grand Lodge of Ohio (Masonic Code, page 57) has an interesting decision. "It is improper, because leading to improvidence in the present, and therefore unjust to those who succeed the present membership, for Lodges to receive from their member's dues in bulk in lieu of annual dues, and the Grand Lodge declares any such Regulation or By-law inexpedient and void."

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry


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