Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Let’s get the mental juices going early this morning! Here is an article from Rick Boyles, Past Grand Master of this Jurisdiction, one of the founders of DMC, and the current Chair of the DMC Committee of the Grand Lodge of California IOOF. I forward Rick’s recent article for your reading pleasure.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
Make Light the Strain on Each Individual Heart…
So now almost everyone agrees that our order is shrinking, and that the time for waffling on this subject is over. The next response should be: what are we going to do about it? Our order can’t survive just sitting on chairs around one table, talking about our illnesses, fearing the door opening with someone new. It’s time to see the world not as it was but as it has become.
“Prejudice comes from not knowing.”… A couple years ago I wrote a newsletter for the DMC suggesting that we march in the annual Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco. I heard a few negative remarks regarding this, but really I think negativity in all cases stems from ignorance. Our order will not only cease to grow but will in short order die if we don’t begin to realize that all people no matter what race, gender, or walk of life are welcome within our walls. My earlier paper on the Gay Pride Parade made note of the simple fact that many groups now appear prominently in the parade and it’s time we join those ranks. I am working on organizing our first appearance. If you think our fraternal order should not be involved, consider this, we would be one of the only fraternal groups not involved in the parade.
But that begs the question, who are we exactly? Some lodges have begun to try and flesh out an answer. Recently, I attended an excellent initiation ceremony based on the ceremonies performed in 1896 in full costume, put on by the Cupertino/Mountain View/True Fellowship lodges. This was the first time I had ever participated in such a ceremony and it was quite impressive. There are many methods by which we can encourage growth, not all involving modernization, but clearly involving change of any type. We need to find the substance of our order no matter where or when it resided. As often noted, we no longer educate the orphan but we can certainly aid the young. We no longer directly bury the dead, but we can assist a member’s loved ones upon that member’s passing. The point being that we have to be more than a place to get free supper and a statement of F., L., & T., ; we have to walk the walk, but here’s the key, not to the point of exhaustion. Everyone is free to set their own pace.
Many of those who aspire to leadership or some who presently lead imply that greater effort is needed. I can’t disagree more. The point is that our own involvement should appear effortless. We don’t really need to walk in lockstep with someone who thinks it imperative that we lift that barge, tote that bale. No, the important thing is a change of heart, and mindset. We need to look at the world as it has become and stop trying to demand that our members do more. To be frank, many of our members have become tired and disenchanted with demands we seem to place upon them. If you, dear reader, do a lot for our order, that is admirable but not necessarily transferable to anyone else. I have seen this type of disappointment on the faces of many of our elder members, who plainly have grown tired of all the requirements placed upon them. I have spoken to prospective members who may attend dinners and other public functions but who resist joining because they don’t want to have great demands placed upon their time or pocket book. If anyone wants to join a lodge there should be no greater demands than to be happy and to enjoy each other’s company. The groups I have seen that are growing or at least not diminishing are placing no great demands upon their normal members. Until we realize this simple fact, we will continue to lose members from exhaustion, old age, and worst of all, disinterest. Many hands make light work, and also make light the strain on each individual heart.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles