What is perpetual membership?
There is a difference in the Life Membership and the Endowed Membership. The member pays for his own Endowed membership and the Life Members ship is bestowed on a member by the Lodge. I cannot remember the specifics of the Life Membership, but I think the Lodge has to submit the name to Grand Lodge- it's all kinda fuzzy from there. The Life Membership, as I understand it is a reward from the lodge for members- normally senior members- for a long life of dedicated service to Masonry. I'm sure someone out there has the specifics at hand, but if not, I'll go through my law book later and see if I can dig up the details. I'm also fuzzy on whether the Life Membership returns any funds after the member passes on where the Endowed membership does (when such funds are available).
Quick, someone check me... I'm drowning here in my own fuzzy memory.....
You are correct:
The term Perpetual, or Endowed mean the same thing in different jurisdictions => Dues Current for Life.
The younger and able of us must remember though, endowements in some jurisdictions DO NOT cover the per capita... Even though I am endowed, I make a payment to my Lodge to cover the difference... Becasue I can / am able.
I'm also fuzzy on whether the Life Membership returns any funds after the member passes on
Currently here in Oklahoma we do Perpetual Memberships. Which from what I have seen is a Life Membership, but you still pay the per capita. Currently the Scottish Rite Valley I am a member of has several routes you can take to get a Perpetual ($800 currently) but are still asked to pay the per capita which is around $15. I do not know the inner workings of all this but I assume it is pretty much the same in Blue Lodge as well. I have never checked on it in my Lodge, but I am working towards mine in the Scottish Rite.
The per capita is a fee assessed by the Grand Lodge to each constituent lodge for each member. In Oklahoma right now it is something like $15. So each Lodge has to pay that fee back to Grand Lodge for each of us that are members of the Lodges in Oklahoma. Right now in my Lodge our dues are $60 or $65, I can't remember right off, and of that money the per capita is taken from it to pay Grand Lodge for me to be a member. The remainder of the dues goes to the Lodge to pay for overhead, maintenance, and such.
It is a standard practice for those in my Lodge that have Perpetual Memberships to pay the per capita so the Lodge is not footing the bill entirely on its own. The same would apply to the appendant bodies as well. It's a good thing to pay it on your own since some Lodges like mine have a higher number of Perpetual Members compared to non-Perpetual.
No funds are involved with a Life Membership. No dues are received but the Lodge must remit the per capita to Grand Lodge as long as the honoree is alive or until he becomes a Fifty-Year Mason.
I was under the impression that endowed memberships were a bad thing for the lodge, since the amount the lodge gets back every year is less that it'd receive if the member simply paid his dues and we haven't always even seen returns in the past. I'm just going off my experience from here in Texas though.