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The Term "Obedience" as Applied to "Masonic" Groups

Brother Rogers

Registered User
Greetings, everyone. I've been mulling over something for a while now, and figured I'd start a thread here to ask about it. My question relates to the term "Obedience" when used in reference to a Grand Lodge or other "Masonic" group.

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I have never heard this term used by regular Masons in the two jurisdictions with which I am familiar, namely, Alabama and Texas. When I see this term used online, it is an automatic red flag for me that this person is most likely not a regular Mason (as defined by my Grand Lodge).

Have any of you encountered this term in use by regular Masons or a regular Grand Lodge?


Brother Rogers

Mike Martin

Eternal Apprentice
Premium Member
It's a term quite regularly used in Continental Europe (mainly France, Belgium and Italy) and it has come about due to the huge variety of organisations that use the descriptor "masonic".

As an example in France as a man you have many choices of Grand Lodge that you may join you can join: a) GLNF - men-only non Atheists, GLdF - men-only incl. Atheists. A Woma can join GLFF - Women only - no Atheists. Then you have GOdF and LDH which both admit Men & Women incl. Atheists and there are others but too small members wise to get mentioned much.

Glen Cook

G A Cook
Site Benefactor
Many experienced masons use the word. I use the term and I’m considered a regular Mason by your grand lodges. I’m happy to provide the names of senior masons in both who will vouch for me.


Premium Member
I have regularly heard the term used as referring to a Grand Lodge. I also am a Regular Freemason.

Maybe this entry from the Masonic Encyclopedia will help.

Obedience of a Grand Body
Obedience, used in the sense of being under the jurisdiction, is a technicality borrowed only recently by Masonic authorities from the French, where it has always been regularly used. Thus 'the Grand Lodge has addressed a letter to all the Lodges of its obedience" means "to all the Lodges under its jurisdiction." In French, " toutes Les Loges de son obedience." It comes originally from the usage of the Middle Ages, in the Low Latin of which obedientia meant the homage which a vassal owed to his lord. In the ecclesiastical language of the same period, the word signified the duty or office of a monk toward his superior.

Brother Rogers

Registered User
Thank you for the clarification, brothers! I'm guessing it's somewhat of a regional thing, as so many things are in the Fraternity.


Premium Member
I think this has been resolved by posts above.

As an aside in Australia you rarely hear "Obedience"- more commonly "Constitution" or "Grand Lodge" or "Jurisdiction".

Seeing the word "Obedience" does not trigger concern in me. I've also learned "Grand Orient" and "Most Regular Grand Lodge" can also be groups my GL and UGLE are in Amity with.

Short version, your GSec is always the ultimate keeper of this knowledge and I have been lead astray by other "experts" including a Past Chairs of Fraternal Relations of our GL.

All that said, on the web, I don't worry too much about recongination and regularity because we are in a social and not masonic space.