The results of the ULRF questionnaire

Published on by Winnie

The ULRF does not have access to the GLNF membership list. Having obtained the e-mail addresses of roughly a third of the Brethren the questionnaire was sent to 15000. The response of more than 4500 is an exceptional result. More than 10% of the entire GLNF membership and 30% of the addressees.


The split between ULRF adherents and non-adherents was 55 / 45 and almost 100% of those who replied to the questionnaire gave their personal details, an indication of the confidence they attribute to the Union.


To the 24 questions 18 obtained more than 90% favourable response, 5 more than 80%  and 1 more than 70%. The only conclusion to be drawn is that the Brethren want reform and that they give a mandate to the ULRF to implement that reform.


Perhaps the most important question was n° 24.


If François Stifani is still in place after the Court of Appeal decision of January 13th and the AGM of February 4th would you adhere to the solutions proposed by the ULRF if they meant your pursuing your path outside the GLNF ?


-  Totally agree                                          60%

-  Partially agree                                       30%

-  Partially disagree                                  6.7%

- Totally disagree                                     3.3%


The results (in French) can be viewed on this HERE 8-c Résultats du sondage (3) 8-c Résultats du sondage (3)


Comment on this post

Arturusrex 01/15/2012 16:06

As for "cowans", I see we all enjoy and benefit from the Freemasons' Guide and Compendium by Bernard E. Jones. Really Winnie, you ought to buy yourself one before the Scottish pound is devalued to
only three or four As!
F&S Arturusrex

English Brother 01/14/2012 07:34

Hi Winnie.

"Cowan" has a more specific meaning than "profane". A cowan is an impostor, someone who falsely claims to be a mason. This meaning is evident from the records of early operative Lodges in Scotland,
where the word was clearly used to describe men doing (or seeking) work as stonemasons without being members of the Lodge.

The word is probably derived from Lallans, the old language of the Scottish Lowlands, which differs from the more widely-known (and still widely-used) Gaelic of the Scottish Highlands.

The word "cowan" is still sometimes used in rural areas of southern Scotland and northern England, with the specific local meaning of a builder of dry-stone walls, i.e. unmortared rough-cut stone
walls used to demarcate farmers' fields. This is in keeping with the older meaning - their work is related to stonemasonry, but requires far less skill than the precisely-fitted stones and fine
carvings of real stonemasons.

Tamino 01/15/2012 10:53


English Brother 01/11/2012 23:23

It may be your view that regularity of origin doesn't matter, and I don't doubt that there are also others who take that view.

Nevertheless, in UGLE's published conditions for Recognition, regularity of origin is right at the top of the list, and most other regular GLs also regard it as critically important. The essential
reason is that it is only regularity of origin which definitively distinguishes between genuine inheritors of the masonic tradition, and cowans who have merely bought a ritual book and proclaimed
themselves to be "masons" out of thin air. I trust we all agree that guarding ourselves against cowans is a fundamental masonic principle.

Winnie 01/13/2012 11:42

Thank you for teaching me the word "cowan". Despite my Scottish - irish azncestry all my
masonic life has been here in France and in French. "Cowan" occurs in the Emulation Rite. For those like me who are unfamiliar with it : 

Q. "What is your duty?"

A. "To keep off all cowans and eaves-droppers".

Nobody knows the origin of it, except that irt was used in 16th century Scotland, apparently referring
to workers who worked together with the masons, but had not regularly completed their course of apprenticeship. they were not allowed in to the secrets.

The word came to be used in the 19th century very much as the French use the word "profane", with the
difference that the cowans knew masonry from the outside but were still kept out, whereas the profane usually know nothing about it. 

As for "Regularity of origin" we are venturing into the area of the chicken and the


English Brother 01/10/2012 16:06

The irregularity of GLdF is not only in its visiting policy (which might one day be rectified), but also it is irregular in origin (which cannot be rectified).

As clearly explained in Alain Bernheim's paper on the subject (available at, the current GLdF was erected by a Supreme Council in 1894, not by
any regular GL nor by regularly-warranted Lodges, and this is therefore an irregular origin. It has no connection with the original 18th-century GLdF.

Winnie 01/11/2012 16:16

While agreeing that the GLDF's arigins come from a Supreme Council late in the 19th century, and respecting the need to remember historical background I feel
it is far more important to consider the situation today and look to the future. In which case my point stands, the only difficulty with the notion of Regularity for the GLDF is the intervisiting
rights with the GO.

And that is the principal, if not the only reason why many GLNF Brethren are in a quandary. I am talking of grassroots members who are not miltant opponents
to Stifani and CO. They are what is often called the "silent majority". They are heartily sick and tired of the crisis, they are more than disgusted with the current management, they cannot see a
short to medium solution within the GLNF and they don't want to leave Freemasonry. For those who labour under the A&ASR it is logical to look toward the GLDF. But when they become aware of
the intervisiting stumbling block, they pull back.

English Brother 01/10/2012 15:44

Winnie, you say "The Jurisdictions do not interfere in the internal affairs of the GLNF but they are the sole bodies authorised to modify and interpret the Rite. There is no conflict here with the
UGLE concept of Regularity and Recognition." I disagree, I think there is a conflict on exactly that point. The globally-agreed concepts of regularity and recognition require that a GL has
sovereignty over the Craft degrees and cannot share its authority. A regular GL can modify the Craft degrees of any Rite authorised for use in its Lodges, and external bodies (such as a
higher-degree body) cannot have a veto over the GL's right to do so. The procedure for reviewing rituals and recommending any changes is commonly delegated to a committee of specialists in the
particular Rite, but the over-riding authority must always lie with the GL alone.