Like many of you, I have read various articles of declining membership. I have seen the numbers shared by other writers. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which thrived just 100 years ago before its steady decline. There are reasons for this steep decline which...
Many things about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows are admirable. Some time-tested ideas and philosophies have held up well over the centuries, but there are also ways in which we can tell the world we are keeping pace with the times. Change the methods of dues...
When I first joined my Odd Fellows Lodge in California in 2004 we had 27 members on the books. Today, in 2021, we have 325 members - an increase of 1200%. And in the seventeen years between 2004 and 2021, my Lodge has had a net gain of members each and every one of...
Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Recently, I received an email from a long-time and active member of our Order (and of DMC), who resides in a state other than California. I will not reveal the member’s name, or gender, or Lodge to protect the member’s privacy. The member told me the following:
I resigned my membership from my lodge today.
The Noble Grand belittled me in front of my family. This type of treatment caused me to drop out of the Lodge completely.
All the best, sorry to have to give you notice on a sad note. But I will no longer be a member.
All The Best,
This is one of the sadder notes that I have received since we organized DMC ten years ago. The letter-writer goes on to say that he/she has brought in many new members into the Odd Fellows Lodge including the member’s spouse and son – but the Noble Grand was antagonistic to these new members. Apparently, the Noble Grand felt that new members brought change to a Lodge and the Noble Grand was resistant to any change which would alter the status quo to which he has grown accustomed.
There are several things very wrong with this picture.
First, we see the abject failure of that Odd Fellow Lodge’s Noble Grand to exercise the most basic teachings of Odd Fellowship – in particular of the First Degree of Friendship. We have all come into contact with Odd Fellows who act like that Noble Grand, haven’t we? These are people who are often rude or abrupt. They have their way of doing things, and if you don’t like it then too bad – it’s either their way or the highway.
Second, and perhaps even worse, we see the Noble Grand’s conduct played out in public – in fact, acted out right in front of the member’s family. It’s one thing to be rude in private – that’s bad enough. However, it’s geometrically worse to be rude in public, particularly in front of another member’s family.
Third, we see a Noble Grand who is acting as the chief gravedigger at the funeral of his own Lodge. New members are the lifeblood of a Lodge. The status quo is nothing to covet – it is merely a slow demise. An Odd Fellow Lodge’s viability is limited by the lifetimes of its members. It’s really just simple math. A Lodge that fails to bring in new members at least commensurate with departing members is a Lodge on a slow spiral to oblivion. What this Noble Grand seems to ignore is the simple fact that every single member of his Lodge was once a “new member”. Even the Noble Grand was a new member at one point in time.
Rather than criticize a member for being interested in new members, a Noble Grand would be well served in praising members who bring in that essential source of the Lodge’s future viability.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)