Updated: November 3, 2020
Brother Peter Sellars has served the Odd Fellows, and continues to serve the Odd Fellows, in many, many ways. He is a Past Grand Master of California of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) and a long-time member of the Grand Lodge Board of Directors. He is one of our Grand Representatives to Sovereign Grand Lodge IOOF. He is a acknowledged and respected leader in his Lodge and the historic Lodge Hall in San Francisco. Peter is also an accomplished historian of Odd Fellowship, and a noted author of several excellent books about the Order. Peter is a charter member of Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) and is a frequent contributor to this DMC Newsletter.
His observations about our fraternity and of the society around us are always interesting and often provocative. In these daunting times, Peter’s message, below, resonates.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
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by: Peter V. Sellars
In some of the recent messages, we have been reading about the numbers of members in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. We continue to work hard to keep those numbers up and to keep them growing.
It is obvious that not everyone in the society around us is a member of the Odd Fellows. Had they joined, they would have learned our principles of Odd Fellowship.
We have witnessed social discord and frustration with the indecisiveness at all levels of government – city, state, and national. I say this without discussing the specific issues, because all of us have our own beliefs, our own issues to deal with, and our own life experiences. And, honestly, no one is “wrong” as we do not all have the same experiences or goals. This message is not about your politics or your beliefs. It is about how we deal with others and what it means to be a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
You, as members, are fortunate, if you truly live up to those principles of Friendship, Love, and Truth. If you obtained those degrees in Odd Fellowship, and you were open and honest when those degrees were conferred upon you, then you are not feeling anything but Friendship, Love, and Truth toward your fellow members.
A reminder of the degree of Friendship, because we cannot have “personal contact” at this time, due to the constraints of this epidemic. But, we must remember each of us gave our “solemn pledge you are now entitled to give and receive the tokens of deathless friendship. Every Odd Fellow is your brother or sister, and his or her family the sacred object of your fraternal care.” Those non-members do not have this bond. They do not have this principle. They are ignorant of such Friendship. During these tense times, it is good to reflect on this degree and the oath you took upon receiving it.
Love, is just that – Love. In this degree, as a reminder, you were reminded that “All Odd Fellows are now your comrades, your advisors and your friends. A solemn duty has been passed on upon you, and you have been taught how it ought to be performed.” Look beyond your daily news source. Look beyond your political beliefs. Look at people for who they are and what activities they enjoy. There are definitely common interests between people. Do not allow these sensationalized influences dissuade the truth – that you actually share more with others – than what is being purported by the media.
Finally, the degree of Truth. Again, we all have our own experiences. We know our own truths while others may not. Regardless, of the individual truths, as members of the Order, our truth is trust in one another. We respect each other because we understand, what others tell us is to be believed, as they, like us, have promised to be truthful. Combine Friendship, Love, and Truth and we have no choice but to know we have common ground. These principles offer us enough common ground that “dispute and discord” do not come between members of the Order.
These coming days, I suspect, there will be some social disillusion with the world outside our Order. We must remember our principles and realize we set the example because we promised to live by them. Do not let the perceived illnesses of society permeate your soul – or your peace. Look toward Friendship, Love, and Truth.