Swedish system of Freemasonry (Svenska
Frimurare Orden) is probably the most unusual constitution with which we
enjoy fraternal relations. It is not,
as may perhaps be assumed, a small and obscure branch of the Craft: the
Swedish system is also used in the rest of Scandinavia and is one of the two
major constitutions in Finland. In Germany, the Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland
use it, in Norway it is found in Den Norske Frimurerorden, in Denmark
it exists as Den Danske Frimurerorden,
and the Icelandic order Frímúrarareglan á
Íslandi is also Swedish. It is not so widely known that it was
one of the three great strands of the historical Russian constitution. Excluding the revived Russian order, it has
over 40,000 members today. It would
therefore be fair to describe it as a major system, and one that differs
greatly from the Anglo-American forms we are accustomed to.
Although I am a
New Zealander, I am unusually well placed to comment on the Swedish
system. I lived in Sweden for ten
years, I speak the language fairly fluently, and I hold a doctorate in
philosophy from the Royal University of Uppsala. I have attended two Swedish workings as a visitor: a first degree
ceremony in Stockholm at the magnificent Bååtska
palatset, and a third degree in my old ‘home town’, Uppsala. Information in English about the Swedish
order is readily available, so the emphasis in this paper will be on the
aspects of their system I consider most interesting, with some personal
observations and comparisons.
point, however, is not Sweden but the Isle of Man. In a web site devoted to fraternal associations and clubs of that
island, two observations on the page about Freemasonry caught my
attention. The first, in reference to
masonry as ‘a system of morality’, is the following comment:
This morality is taught via role
playing in small set-piece allegorical theatrics with the addition of lectures
or catechisms in which the candidate gives set answers to set questions.
The second, referring to the
history of Freemasonry, observed:
Stewart in a
recent Prestonian Lecture discusses the linkage between the members of several
London lodges and the Royal Society to illustrate the interest in the new
rationality and scientific outlook promulgated within lodges at this early
period. However, by the mid 19th
century, he agrees with contemporary French criticism that English Freemasonry
had become a “body without a soul”, having lost its original philosophic
impulse, and was by then (and possibly still is) obsessed by form, procedure,
decorum, status etc.
two observations seem to me especially relevant in discussing certain
significant differences between constitutions of British origin and the Swedish
system. I hope to bring out that
relevance in the following pages.
2. Origins of
the Swedish System
Swedish Rite has been described as ‘a mixture of the pure Rite of York, the
high degrees of the French, the Templarism of the former Strict Observance, and
the system of Rosicrucianism.’ Sweden was one of the first countries to
receive Freemasonry during its expansionary period in the first half of the 18th
century. Masonry came to Sweden in the
early 1730s not from England, where modern organised Freemasonry had begun in
1717, but at second hand from France.
The chief architect of the Swedish order was C.F. Eckleff, who designed
a system with nine degrees.
Subsequently, Duke Carl (later King Carl XIII), who was a devoted mason,
redesigned the constitution to contain ten degrees. This is basically the same system as is used now, though an
eleventh degree has been added, which is awarded only to certain grand officers
of the order.
Swedish Constitution is a closed male order based on the Christian faith, which
engages in personal development, friendship and fundraising for welfare. As such, it is almost unique in its
insistence on candidates being practising Christians. At the beginning of the First Degree ceremony, the candidate must
go through a long catechism in which he affirms his adherence to the Christian
faith, asserts it is the best of all possible religions, and confirms that he
would never abandon it. Although
non-Christian Brethren who are members of other constitutions (except the Grand
Orient) may visit a Swedish lodge, they cannot become members.
history of the Swedish Order is interesting.
In an earlier paper
I claimed that English Freemasonry in the early 18th century was the
bearer of radical Enlightenment philosophy: essentially republican (in the
Lockean sense), deistic and universalistic including (including the
de-Christianisation of the ritual and the admission of freethinkers and Jews). Freemasonry came to Sweden from Christian
lodges in France. French Freemasonry,
although derived from the English, had developed in two directions: one
explicitly Christian, and one whose tendency was rationalist and
nonreligious. The latter was inspired
by the ideology of the English Grand Lodge: the former came from exiled Jacobite
Britons who were, in many cases, Catholics.
At the time of
the formation of the first Grand Lodge, the English situation was unique. As a result of their revolutions of 1640-50
and 1688, they had secured constitutional and parliamentary government. However, Freemasonry neither caused nor participated
in these revolutions. To ensure
respectability, English Freemasons remained silent on any part their members
may have played, and Continental masons carefully reconstructed the mythic
history of origins from Hiram and King Solomon’s Temple, through the Crusades
and Knights-Templar, up to 17th century England.
Catholic Jacobite Chevalier Ramsay’s story of masonry coming to France via the
mediæval kings of Scotland was popular, as it bypassed the English revolutions
altogether. British Freemasons
themselves carefully avoided all mention of association with these
upheavals. The specifically British
origins of Freemasonry already rendered it suspect in most Continental
countries where parliaments, revolutions, bills of rights, and acts of
tolerance were seen as inherently subversive.
to Sweden from the conservative religious branch, carried by Swedish noblemen
who had been initiated in France. At
first it took the form of ‘private lodges’, which bore the name of their
founder, and often met at his home. One
such was Count Axel Wrede Sparre’s lodge, established in 1735. A formal charter was received in 1737
through friherre Carl Fredrik
Scheffer, issued by the French Grand Master Charles Radclyffe, Earl of Derwentwater. The lodge closed in 1747 when Wrede Sparre
left Stockholm to take up an appointment as lieutenant-colonel of the Västgöta
In 1752 the
lodge ‘St Jean Auxiliare’
was founded by Captain Count Knut Carlsson Posse, under charter from the French
Grand Master Louis de Bourbon-Condé, Count of Clermont, a royal prince. Many of the scattered masons from dormant or
shaky private lodges became members of this new lodge. In 1753 the king declared it the Mother
Lodge of all Swedish craft lodges.
Freemasonry grew considerably after 1753, when Carl Fredrik Scheffer was
installed as the first Swedish Grand Master.
In the same year King Adolf Fredrik assumed ‘overlordship’ of all lodges
in Sweden, and thus became the first ‘High Protector’ of Freemasonry.
high-degree ‘Scottish’ (St Andrew’s) lodge was started in 1756 with Chancellor
Carl Friedrich Eckleff as master. In
1759, Eckleff formed the Chapitre
Illuminé (Grand Chapter) ‘L’Innocente’,
and began constructing a high-degree system which originally had nine degrees,
but was later increased to ten. In 1760
the Swedish Grand Lodge was founded, replacing ‘St Jean Auxiliare’ as Grand
Lodge for the Craft, and the present-day organisation of the Order was
established as three branches: St
John’s, St Andrew’s and the Chapter Degrees.
Grand Lodge at that time had no power over the ‘Scottish’ degrees or
Eckleff’s ‘Illuminated Chapter’. In
1774 Duke Carl, later King Carl XIII, became Grand Master of both systems,
whereby all masonry in Sweden came under the Grand Lodge.
Duke Carl was
elected Grand Master of the Strict Observance in 1776, after Baron von Hund
died. However, the selection had political
repercussions, and Duke Carl was forced to resign the office after just two
years. He then set about reforming the
higher degrees, and in 1801 launched the Swedish Rite with eleven degrees,
using the Templar traditions as a basis, which is largely the system in use
today. Duke Carl used Eckleff’s material
and added elements from other sources:
the Strict Observance has left clear imprints on the Chapter Degrees
(VII – XI). By 1800, no less than 4292
men had been received as Freemasons in lodges belonging to the Swedish
Order. This group was as much a product
of the Swedish Enlightenment as it was a reaction against it.
3. The Swedish
Since 1877, the leadership of
the Swedish Order has had its headquarters in the Bååtska palatset (the Bååt Palace) on
Blasieholmen in Stockholm, a magnificent baroque palace from the 1660s. It contains offices, rooms for lodge
activities, and halls for formal dinners, concerts and so on. It has a valuable collection of works of
art, and a significant library. The
Order’s administration is housed in the same district, at Nybrokajen.
The Order has
between 15,000 and 16,000 members in Sweden, arranged in eight provincial
lodges (including one in Finland), 72 local lodges and 70 fraternal
associations. Every year it distributes
about 31 million crowns (approximately 6.25 million New Zealand dollars)
through its charitable trusts to medical research, primarily in the fields of
pædiatrics and geriatrics, as well as to general relief.
king, Carl XVI Gustaf, is the High Protector of the Order, and the current
Grand Master is Professor Anders Fahlman.
King Carl XVI Gustav declined requests to become Grand Master, and
instead his uncle, Prince Bertil, took up the position. Prince Bertil died in January 1997, and was
succeeded by Gustaf Piehl, who was in turn succeeded by Anders Fahlman in
September 2001. The 200-year-old
tradition of the monarch being Grand Master is now definitively, if not
irrevocably, broken. Duke Carl (later
King Carl XIII from 1809-1818) became Grand Master in 1770, and after him, all
kings were Grand Masters until 1973, when King Gustaf VI Adolf died. Until recently the Pro Grand Master and the
Deputy Grand Master were also members of the Royal Family.
system consists of eleven degrees, organised into three different lodge levels. The craft masonry lodges are called ‘Lodges
of St John’. Degrees IV-VI are
conferred in the ‘Scottish Lodges of St Andrew’. Above that is the ‘Chapter Lodge’, which is Templar
Freemasonry. The XIth degree
is an honorary degree given only to the Grand Officers of the Order (and royal
princes). The craft degrees are still
compatible with international systems, but the particular Christian content is
stronger in the higher degrees.
numerous lodge buildings throughout Sweden.
Most contain either a St John's lodge or a St John's and a St Andrew's
lodge, but only the Provincial Grand Lodge buildings have Chapter Lodges. The three lodges meet in separate halls,
since the physical design of the lodge rooms is different. In many places, there is no lodge building
(since these tend to be very expensive), and masons meet in fraternal
associations called brödraförengingar (‘brotherhood
clubs’). These perform a simplified
version of the masonic rituals, usually without degree workings; they need a
special permit to give degrees. Where
there is only a lower lodge, there is usually a brotherhood club for Brethren
of the higher degrees. In some regions,
lodges and/or brotherhood clubs meet in halls not owned by the Order, often
rented from the Oddfellows or some other reputable society.
be recommended by two faddrar
(sponsors, patrons and mentors), one of whom must hold at least the seventh
degree, and the other at least the third.
Applicants must be a minimum of 24 years old, Christian, and of good
repute. There is only one form of
accepted ritual for each degree, and deviations are not permitted. The degree workings were established in
1800, but the language of the rituals is from the 1700s, which gives a similar
impression to the workings of the New Zealand Constitution (the language of our
rituals is essentially that of 1813 or earlier, with Victorian interpolations
Members do not,
as a rule, remain members of a St. John’s Lodge when they move on to a St.
Andrew’s Lodge. When a Master Mason is elevated to the IVth/Vth
degree, a ‘letter of transport’ is sent to the St Andrew's Lodge of his
choice. He ceases to be a member of his
Craft Lodge and pays all dues to the St Andrew's Lodge. The same thing happens on passage from St
Andrew’s to Chapter Lodge. Since this
is not international standard, some Brethren have asked for a reform so that
they can remain members of their Craft Lodge.
This request is currently under consideration.
one degree to the next is far from automatic.
A Brother has not only to be regular in attendance, he has to give proof
of his proficiency and of his knowledge of Freemasonry. Advancement proceeds according to a fixed
set of rules with a minimum required time in each degree, a minimum number of
visits in that degree, and certain other requirements. A Brother does not petition for advancement:
when the requirements are met, the Worshipful Master and Deputy Masters
of his lodge petition for him. Brothers
are expected to advance when summoned to receive a higher degree. The XIth degree is an honorary
degree conferred on a maximum of 80 Xth degree Brothers.
The Swedish rite
is progressive and continuous. Each
degree leads to the next, and each sums up the contents of the preceding
degrees. The system is grouped into
three divisions as follows:
St. John's (Craft) degrees (S:t Johannesloge):
I Apprentice (S:t Johannes Lärling)
II Fellow Craft (S:t Johannes Medbroder)
III Master Mason (S:t Johannes Mästare)
St. Andrew's (Scottish) degrees (S:t
IV-V Apprentice-Companion of St. Andrew (S:t
VI Master of St. Andrew (S:t Andreas Mästare)
Chapter (Templar) degrees (Kapitelloge):
VII Very Illustrious Brother, Knight of
the East (Riddare av Öster)
VIII Most Illustrious Brother, Knight of the West (Riddare av Väster)
Enlightened Brothers of St. John's Lodge (S:t Johanneslogens förtrogne bröder och Tempelkommendörer)
Enlightened Brothers of St. Andrew's Lodge (S:t
Andreaslogens förtrogne Bröder, Riddare av purpurbandet, och Tempelprefekter)
On top of the system is (Stora
Enlightened Brother, Knight Commander of the Red Cross (Riddare och Kommendör med Röda korset)
There are approximately 60
freemasons in Sweden currently holding the XIth degree. No longer termed the Illuminated Chapter,
they are present or past members of the Grand Council or Grand Officers, and
constitute the Swedish Grand Lodge. Sweden
is unique in having a civil order, equivalent to a British knighthood,
instituted in 1811 as the Royal Order of King Carl XIII. It is conferred by the king only upon
Freemasons holding the XIth degree, with the number of members
limited to 33 (three of whom must be ordained) at any given time. It is not, however, a Masonic degree. The rank of Grand Master is sometimes
referred to as the XIIth Degree.
peculiar structure, the emblem of Swedish Freemasonry is not the international
square and compasses, but the red Maltese cross of the Knights Templar. The motto of the Order is Veritas Persuadet (‘the truth
convinces’). The Order’s purpose and
content is personal development (from a Christian basis), fraternal sociability
and brotherly love; which are manifested through lodge workings, discussions,
communal meals and other social events; plus contributions to worthy charities.
signet ring of the Order is issued in the VIIIth degree, and is worn
on the index finger of the right hand. At
this level, a Brother is also obliged to design his coat of arms, which is hung
in the Chapter Hall of his Provincial Grand Lodge.
4. The Workings
of a Swedish Lodge
As the Swedish
Order maintains a high degree of secrecy about virtually everything connected
with its workings, and there appear to be no authoritative ‘exposures’, the
only way a non-Swedish mason can gain any detailed knowledge about its
ceremonies is to learn Swedish and attend lodge meetings as a bona fide visitor! I shall therefore make a few remarks about
my observations of the two degree workings in which I have participated, but
only in very general terms, so as not to offend against the hospitable Swedish
masons’ strict sense of fidelity.
In a Swedish
First Degree ceremony there is much that is familiar, and much that is
strange. There are, for example, no
working tools, and the symbols on the tracing board are quite different. The entire floor of the lodge room is
black-and-white mosaic, and a floor cloth is carried in and spread out in the
centre with great ceremony. There are
no wardens in the west and south:
instead, two bevakande bröder (‘guarding brothers’ or ‘overseers’)
sit on throne-like chairs side-by-side in the west, facing the Master. As they have no pedestals, they signal the
knocks by striking the hilts of their swords with small hourglass-shaped
hammers worn on chains around their necks!
Yet, in spite of the many differences, the gist of the ceremony remains
familiar, and passages in some charges bear a strong resemblance to those in
our own ritual. The essence of the
degree is the same.
the Third Degree, the general outline is familiar (even if the central figure
in this working is Adoniram, not H.A!). Where possible, the ceremony is conducted
not in the St. John’s lodge room, but in a special room in the vaults of the
building. The theatrical element is,
once more, much greater than in the constitutions we are familiar with. Interestingly, the backdrop to the Master’s
pedestal is black with silver teardrops, such as we use only in Lodges of
Sorrow. In this degree, as in all
except the First, the candidate is required to present a paper on what he has
learned from the previous degree. This
paper must be approved before the ceremony can proceed.
There is no
‘business session’ prior to a degree working:
the ceremony begins immediately the Brethren are assembled. Meals are taken after virtually all masonic
meetings, and are considered as an integral part of the working. The dress code has been relaxed in recent
years, as in our own Constitution. Some
masons still wear a tailcoat with black waistcoat, but a dark suit and tie are
also acceptable. There is a different apron for every degree,
and the third degree regalia, which is what Swedish masons wear when visiting
craft lodges abroad, is easily recognisable by its vivid blue and yellow
between Swedish masonry and the Anglo-American systems is that there is no
procedure whereby all Brethren take turns at holding the lodge's offices. Lodges are large; for example, the city of
Uppsala has over 500 masons but only two lodges. There are many officers, but a Master holds office for six years,
and others for at least one year, usually longer. A member must hold at least the VIIIth degree to
become the Master of a lodge. There is
no rank of Past Master in the Swedish system, and a Master whose term has
expired simply resumes his normal place amongst the Brethren.
This reflects a
fundamental difference between the Anglo-American systems and the Swedish
Order. While British, American or New
Zealand masons are waiting for their next office, Swedish masons are waiting
for their next degree. Nobody stays put
after becoming a Master Mason:
everybody passes on to the high degree section of the Order. This also means that Sweden has no selection
of many different high degree systems, such as exist in Britain or New Zealand;
it is one integrated system. It
normally takes about two years to become a Master Mason, and 15-20 years to
reach the Xth degree.
consequence, lodges tend to be fewer but larger than we are familiar with. For instance, Stockholm, with over one
million inhabitants, has only four craft lodges. Each of these has hundreds of members, and holds about one lodge
meeting per week. Lodges with selective
memberships, such as policemen, lawyers, soldiers or some other profession, as
can be found in England, do not exist.
In order to
visit a Swedish lodge, one must be at least a Master Mason, and belong to a
lodge which is recognised by the Swedish Order of Freemasons. For the degrees above the third, one needs
to be member of a foreign high degree system; there are conversion tables
between the degrees. The Xth degree, however, does not
receive visitors, like American 33-degree masonry, which does not accept
visitors in its highest degree.
5. Social and
Religious Criticisms of Swedish Freemasonry
is regarded with some awe by Swedes in general, whether they approve of it or
not. Demographically, it has moved
steadily away from being the preserve of royalty and aristocracy to a
predominantly upper-middle class membership, a profile similar to
Rotary’s. The general criticism is that
such organisations form elite decision-making bodies. Anders Westholm, Associate Professor of Politics at Uppsala
University, commented on alleged masonic elitism to a Swedish newspaper:
To the extent that an organisation contributes to a reduction in the
diversity of opinions and decision alternatives, it is a danger to
democracy. It could lead to
international recruiting to elite appointments. — Expressen 12/1/95
the same criticism is applied without distinction to Rotary,
Lions and the Oddfellows! More significant
is the religious criticism of Swedish Freemasonry. The State Church (Svenska kyrkan, evangelical Lutheran) has no apparent
problems with masonry, and many of its members, clergy and even bishops are
masons. The minority Free Churches (Missionskyrka, Evangeliska frikyrkan, Pingstkyrkan, all rather Baptist-like), on
the other hand, consider membership of Freemasonry incompatible with membership
Duke Carl, later King Carl
XIII, developed the moral philosophy of the Swedish Rite, and through two major
ritual revisions in 1780 and 1800 he created the system which in essence
remains unchanged to this day. Since
Carl was affected by the gnostic and esoteric fashions of his time, his
revisions brought these elements into the higher degrees.
The gnostic and Rosicrucian 
elements in the Swedish order are the major stumbling block. One Swedish mason offered the following
Brothers of higher degrees than myself have stated that there are traces
of deism and gnosticism in these degrees, which unfortunately is a consequence
of these streams existing in society at the time that Freemasonry took its
form. These days they are treated just
as an expression of a spirit of the times, an historical phenomenon. We are unfortunately obliged to retain them,
because the different degrees of Freemasonry are intertwined and changes
threaten to destroy the whole structure.
The official defence is that Freemasonry takes no position on any
matters of faith, but is intended to be a school of moral philosophy on general
Christian ground, “to live right to be able to die right”. — “Bengt”, anonymous Swedish Freemason (my
Catholics are forbidden to join the
Swedish order, but on different grounds from the church’s ban on other
constitutions, i.e. that they are not exclusively Christian. One Catholic priest explained the church’s
opposition in the following terms:
We consider that this [that Catholics can be Freemasons]is not
possible: because the Freemasons are in
principle relativistic, they are by their nature a more modern version of the
gnostics, they are the heirs and acknowledgers of a type of Enlightenment
theology and philosophy which is incompatible with the Catholic faith… the
Christian faith is principally public… one cannot build an esoteric entity,
“Ecclesiola”, within the greater community and separated from it, where only
the elect would be admitted and which claims to have a special, secret
tradition which only these elect may share; a “secret knowledge” which would
imply a “higher stage” of the Christian faith — that is exactly what the
gnostics claimed — and one cannot celebrate a type of esoteric quasi-sacrament
and simultaneously be a Catholic. — Anonymous Catholic priest (my translation).
Whatever the truth of these
charges, Swedish masons themselves seem untroubled by any potential conflict
with the doctrines of the state church, and the state church itself has not
found any reason to condemn Freemasonry on these grounds. As far as I am aware, the esotericism of the
Swedish higher degrees is an element that is not found in our own Knights
Templar or Rose Croix orders.
6. Conclusions and Personal Observations
I began this
paper with two observations about Anglo-American Freemasonry, the first of
which, in reference to masonry as ‘a system of morality’, read as follows:
This morality is taught via role
playing in small set-piece allegorical theatrics with the addition of lectures
or catechisms in which the candidate gives set answers to set questions.
Teaching morality by allegory
and symbols makes us actors in a play, where the lodge room is the theatre and
the candidate the protagonist. However,
compared with the Swedish workings, our theatrics are rather poor. Our deacons march the candidate briskly
around the room under the full glare of fluorescent lighting, while the
Brethren sit about, exchanging jocular remarks sotto voce. The atmosphere
is relaxed and friendly.
lodge room, by contrast, is a mysterious and gloomy space, lit only by massive
candles, where figures appear from the shadows to deliver their charges, then
fade away in the darkness. A Swedish
working is an intensely solemn and almost mystical experience. The symbols and ritual of a Swedish degree
are somewhat more explicit than our own, further reinforcing the other-worldly
atmosphere and heightening the shared experience.
observation, in reference to the history of Freemasonry, noted:
….However, by the mid 19th
century, he [Stewart] agrees with contemporary French criticism that English
Freemasonry had become a “body without a soul”, having lost its original
philosophic impulse, and was by then (and possibly still is) obsessed by form,
procedure, decorum, status etc.
This encapsulates what I
consider to be the major philosophic difference between the two systems. Anglo-American Freemasonry, having abandoned
its original engagement in contemporary social and scientific debate, now sets
the expert delivery of ritual as its highest goal. In spite of claims to the contrary, the essence of a ‘good’
working is generally regarded to be proficiency in word-perfect rote learning,
rather than content or meaning. The
philosophical aspect, eagerly debated by our 18th century Brethren,
exists only in an attenuated and vestigial form.
Freemasonry, on the other hand, has retained its original spiritual (rather
than philosophical) impulse, and clearly sets this at the centre of all its
activities. Masonic education, and
proof of learning by candidates as a precondition for advancement, are
considered to be of the highest importance.
While there may be some concerns in common with those expressed by our
own members, e.g. a desire for a
shorter ritual, and more involvement of wives and partners, the Swedish mason
is really a horse of a different colour.
In a recent
to the United Masters Lodge of Research in Auckland, New Zealand, R.W. Bro.
Neil Ingram, Past Provincial Grand Master, commented that the new policy of
‘Openness’, and its related membership recruitment drives, seemed to be
counter-productive. He observed that
around the world:
Masonic jurisdictions focusing on
membership numbers were failing, whereas those focusing on quality of members
and meetings were succeeding.
The less easy it is to
become a Freemason, the more desirable membership is to potential candidates.
In simple terms, things
easily attained are not highly valued.
‘Openness’ is anathema to the
Swedish Order, as expressed by the Past Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Gustav Piehl:
By publishing its rules and
regulations the Order aims at informing the public of its organisational
structure and to explicitly manifest its message. The Rituals themselves will, however, continue to remain strictly
secret. The very proceedings that take
place at a Lodge meeting have always to be kept confidential. The passing through the Masonic degree
structure is intended to reveal empirical knowledge. Should the substance contained in these rituals be published, the
pedagogic model, and the singular experience of each candidate, would then be
lost. It would be like an advance
unveiling of a written test. – (my translation).
Neither are membership drives
acceptable. It is difficult to apply to
join the Swedish Order, and acceptance may be as low as one applicant in
three. Quality, rather than quantity,
is the focus: quality in ritual
(without an obsessive emphasis on rote-learning: in both degrees I have witnessed,
longer charges were read from a leather-bound book), quality in
education, quality of candidates, quality of premises, quality of refectory etc.
In spite of
this, membership is slowly but steadily growing. More significantly, the spread of ages is much more even: members range from the mid-20s to the
mid-80s, but the curve peaks in the mid-40s.
In New Zealand, as we know only too well, the curve is skewed to the
elderly, peaking in the mid-to-late-60s.
This indicates the relative success of Swedish passive recruitment.
Finally, I would
like to thank the Master, Officers and Brethren of Lodge Adolf Fredrik in
Stockholm, and Lodge Stenbocken in Uppsala, for the opportunity to participate
in their degree workings. The warmth of
their reception, their hospitality and fine refectories, and their kindness to
visitors, epitomised what I consider the essence of Freemasonry: tolerance, brotherly love, and peace between
nations. Long may they prosper!
* * *