Glossary

Browse the glossary by clicking on any of the letters below.

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Alphabetically Arranged with Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References

U. D. 

Letters placed after the names of Lodges or Chapters which have not yet received a Warrant or of Constitution.  They signify Under Dispensation.  In the United States when a Lodge is started it is known as being Under Dispensation and after a certain time has elapsed and the members are found worthy they receive a regular Charter.  

Unfavorable Report

Q.  When the committee on the investigation of a candidate makes an unfavorable report what is the usual procedure? 

A.  In some Lodges a vote is taken anyway; but the more sensible course and that which is followed in many jurisdictions is to consider the candidate rejected.

Uniface

Having a design on only the obverse side of a coin, badge or medallion.  The reverse side is blank.

Uniformity of Work

It is claimed by Freemasonry that from time immemorial the forms for opening and closing the Lodge, and the Rites and Ceremonies of the degrees have been unaltered, that they are uniformly identical today throughout Masonry, and any alterations or changes would be a violation of the solemn oaths of the Order.  The Entered Apprentice is solemnly charged that he is never to "suffer an infringement of our Rites, or a deviation from established usages and customs."  The requirement for committing to memory, and the oral tests for advancement, of all the fundamentals of Freemasonry, particularly of the distinctive Rites, Ceremonies, and symbols, reasonably guarantees this uniformity and its perpetuation from one generation to another.  This distinctive element of Freemasonry appears to have many advantages over the usual monitorial system commonly practiced in Fraternal institutions.

United Grand Lodge of England

The Grand Lodge of England assumed that title in the year 1813, because it was then formed by the Union of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient, the "Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England according to the Old Institutions, "and the Grand Lodge of Moderns, the "Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons under the Constitution of England. "The Body thus formed, by which an end was put to the dissensions of the Craft which had existed in England for more than half a century, adopted the title, by which it has ever Since been known, of the United Grand Lodge of ancient Freemasons of England.

Union of 1813, The

At one time two conflicting Grand Lodge Bodies were in existence in England. One, known as the Grand Lodge of England, originally with four old Lodges assembling at London on June 24, 1717. This Lodge we will designate as the Grand Lodge of the Moderns, that being the name by which they were known during the famous controversy, in spite of the fact that they were in existence long before the other competitor. There as on for the designation Modern in this instance is that parts of their ritual and ceremony had been modified or changed, as time went on, from the ancient workings of the Freemasons. The other Lodge, while of more recent establishment, became known as the Grand Lodge of the Ancient because they claimed that their ceremonies had come down from the ancient or Operative Lodges without change.

This Grand Lodge of the Ancient was also known as of Atholl Masons, it having been headed by Lord Atholl. They elected their first Grand Master on December 5, 1753, their membership at that time consisting largely of Irish Freemasons then resident in London. This Ancient Grand Lodge became strong as time went on. The Grand Lodge of the Moderns was weakened by dissension within its own ranks between the Operative and Speculative Lodges, some of whom joined the opposing Grand Lodge of the Ancient. The famous Laurence Dermott was for many years the head of the Ancient. Dermott was selected Grand Secretary of the Ancient February 5, 1752. After much conflict between the Ancient and Moderns a Union was consummated, the Articles of Union being signed November 25, 1813, by the Dukes of Sussex and Kent, the Grand Masters of the two Lodges. Later, December 27, 1813, the Act of Union confirmed this agreement at a joint meeting of the two Lodges and the present United Grand Lodge of England came into existence.

Unity

Recorded in the one hundred and thirty-third Psalm is a song of the degree of David, and refers to the beauties of brotherly love, the mystic tie of fraternalism, the tie that binds men together into one temple of living stones.  Psalms 133;1-3

Universality of Masonry

The boast of the Emperor Charles V., that the sun never set on his vast empire, may be applied with equal truth to the Order of Freemasonry.  From east to west, and from north to south, over the whole habitable globe, are our Lodges disseminated.  Wherever the wandering steps of civilized man have left their footprints, there have our temples been established.  The lessons of Masonic love have penetrated into the wilderness of the West, and the Red Man of our soil has shared with his more enlightened Brother the mysteries of our science; while the arid sands of the African desert have more than once been the scene of a Masonic greeting. Freemasonry is not a fountain, giving health and beauty to some single hamlet, and slaking the thirst of those only who dwell upon its humble banks; but it is a mighty stream, penetrating through every hill and mountain, and gliding through every field and valley of the earth, bearing in its beneficent bosom the abundant waters of love and charity for the poor, the widow, and the orphan of every land.

Untempered Mortar

In the lecture used in the United States in the early part of the nineteenth century, and in some parts of the country almost as recently as the middle of the century, the Apprentices at the Temple were said to wear their Aprons in the peculiar manner characteristic of that class that they might preserve their garments from being defiled by untempered mortar.  This is mortar which has not been properly mixed for use, and it thus became a symbol of passions and appetites not duly restrained.  Hence the Speculative Apprentice was made to wear his Apron in that peculiar manner to teach him that he should not allow his soul to be defiled by the "untempered mortar of unruly passions."

Unworthy Members

We are forced to admit that there are men in the Masonic Order whose characters and lives reflect no credit upon the Institution, whose hearts are untouched by its sublime moral and religious teachings, and to whom Masonry means nothing in its higher and nobler aims and purposes.  They are in the Temple, but not of the Temple; members of our household, but not of us; they are of Israel, but have not the faith of Israel.  Some Lodges may have been remiss in conferring on them the Degrees.  Masons persist in the hope of making them better.  But the Institution is not responsible for what they are, and should not be unduly criticized.  The merciful thing is to bear with them and hope and pray for the regeneration of their heart by God, who alone can perform such miracles.

Upright Posture

The upright posture of the Apprentice in the Northeast Corner, as a symbol of upright conduct, was emphasized in the ritual by Preston, who taught in his lectures that the candidate then represented "a just and upright man and Mason."  The same symbolism is referred to by Hutchinson, who says that "as the builder who raises his column by the plane and perpendicular, so should the Mason carry himself toward the world."  Indeed, the application of the Corner-stone, or the Square Stone, as a symbol of uprightness of conduct, which is precisely the Masonic symbolism of the candidate in the Northeast, was familiar to the ancients; for Plato says that he who valiantly sustains the shocks of adverse fortune, demeaning himself uprightly, is truly good and of a square posture.

Urea formaldehyde

One of three thermosetting plastics using formaldehyde, the others being Thiourea which came out at about the same time, and Phenol, commonly known as Bakelite, invented in 1907.  All were introduced at about the same time in 1925.

Urn

In Freemasonry, the cinerary urn has been introduced as a modern symbol, but always as having reference to the burial of the Temple Builder. In the comparatively recent symbol of the Monument, arranged probably by Cross for the Degree of Master in the American Rite, the urn is introduced as if to remind the beholder that the ashes of the great artist were there deposited. Cross borrowed, it may be supposed, his idea from an older symbol in the advanced Degrees, where, in the description of the tomb of Hiram Abif, it is said that the heart was enclosed in a golden urn, to the side of which a triangular stone was affixed, inscribed with the letters J.M.B. with in a wreath of acacia, and placed on the top of an obelisk.

 

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