Understanding Annual Returns

What is an Annual Return?

An Annual Return, sometimes called a Recapitulation, is an annual report from a Lodge, or Chapter, to the Grand Lodge, or Grand Chapter. The report contains both a summary and detail of the changes that have occurred in the Lodge during the past year. Nearly every jurisdiction that uses MORI uses the Annual Return process.

What are the details included in the Annual Return?

The details of the Annual Return vary considerably from Jurisdiction to Jurisdiction, but at its core, an Annual Return details the Gains and Losses of members over the course of the year.

How does the summary math work?

To understand the math in the summary portion of an Annual Return, let's begin with an example summary for a Masonic Lodge:

Members at the beginning of the year: 200

Gains:
   - Members Raised:     5
   - Affiliations:       2
   - Restorations:       3
       Total Gains:                   +10

Losses
   - NPD:               10
   - Deaths:             5
   - Dimits:             7
   - Expulsions:         1
       Total Losses:                  -23

Variance:                              +3

Members at the end of the year:       190

To calculate the summary, MORI uses the final number from the previous Annual Return as the beginning number for this Annual Return. MORI then adds in the Gains and subtracts the Losses. That gives MORI a tentative final number (NOT SHOWN, but in the example it would be 187). MORI then counts the number of Members in the Lodge as of the end of the year (SHOWN). The difference between the calculated tentative total and the true final number is expressed as a variance.

Why would there be a variance?

It is extremely important that the final number be an accurate count of the members in the Lodge as of the end of the year. Sometimes the math does not arrive cleanly at that number. There are several reasons why this could occur:

  • Removing dupes from the database will create a negative variance: The member was counted last year, and they are simply gone this year.
  • Entering a missing record will create a positive variance: If a missing record is entered into the database and the addition is pushed into the past so as to not create a gain for the current year, the member will have not been counted in last year's total, but is counted in this years.
  • Correcting a member's history can create a positive or negative variance. For example, removing an incorrect NPD event from someone's history will get them counted into this year's final number without a corresponding gain event (e.g., a Restoration).