April 21, 2014 in Grand Lodge
April 18, 2014 in Grand Lodge
1) More than half of all active members now view the DMC favorably?
2) The largest 15 lodges of the 120 still in existence in the state of California comprise more than half of the order?
3) We quote the code often, yet very few have read it and even fewer understand it.
4) Charters from failing lodges are often given up willingly by those either too tired or too old to continue.
5) This year we would have recorded a net increase in members if our lodges had been keeping accurate count of their existing members.
6) The Grand Encampment Degree work still contains passages which talk about the “brown races”, the “yellow races”, and other racist passages that only a few seem to find offensive.
7) We have members walking around in the military branches wearing medals they did not earn thereby belittling the proud military personnel who did earn them.
8) Lodges that sit dark 90% of the time are destined to sit dark 100% of the time.
9) In order to grow, we need to make our lodges inviting to our members. Members should be encouraged to enjoy the environs; it should not be private property to a select few. Lodges that are welcoming all of the time tend to have much more activity.
10) That we are supposed to treat each person with respect and affection?
11) That we have members within our very order that are suffering?
12) That all of us are unique and that the very fact of this uniqueness is fundamental to the oddity of our order.
13) That attempting to congeal the order into one flat low level of conformity is actually instrumental in our decline.
14) If we don’t relate to technological change, it is destined to bowl us over.
15) Clubs, societies, friends, benefits, have all existed since the very beginnings of our order?
16) We are guided more by mortality rates than anything else, meaning that our order if we do not affect change quickly will fail completely within 10 – 15 years?
17) We are based upon the time honored precepts of friendship, love and truth and no amount of vindictiveness or petty in-fighting belongs within those glorious thoughts.
In closing, there is reason for hope. Those who think membership drives are silly or that the DMC serves no purpose are really not looking at the big picture. We are doomed if we don’t do something, and that something has to have substance not just conjecture. We all have ideas, but it is time to put the ideas into practice. If we really wish to survive, we need to stop these petty arguments, view the order at large and stop acting like little Napoleons, or surely we will all be meeting our end together at our Waterloo.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles, Grand Master
April 10, 2014 in Grand Lodge
Julie Machado, Sycamore Lodge #129, and one of the real spark plugs to
the resurgence and progress of that Lodge, recently wrote to me and challenged
me to write an article on “what makes a good Odd Fellow”. I
accept the challenge!
Here is my list of 25 (gotta be an “odd” number) qualities that, at
least from my perspective, make a good Odd Fellow. If you have
suggestions, please feel free to send ‘em in!
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you feel that the initiation ceremony and
your receipt of the Initiatory Degree was a meaningful and memorable
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you look forward to attending meetings and
events at your Lodge, and attend on a regular basis.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you try to bring in at least one new member
each year and don’t rely on other members to work on membership development.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you have earned your three degrees so that
you could hold an office some day and advance in your Lodge and in the Order.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you take the time to ask your Lodge brothers
and sisters how they are doing and what’s new in their lives.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you volunteer to help on a committee of your
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you helped clean up the Lodge after a meeting
even though no one asked you to do so.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you spoke during Good of the Order and said
something really nice about one of your Lodge mates.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you visited a member who was sick or took the
time to talk to a member who was in distress.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you proposed a new idea or event for your
Lodge and then volunteered to work on it.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you introduced yourself to a prospective new
member of your Lodge and spent some time chatting with that applicant.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you had a good, friendly word for a member of
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you found a way to diffuse a disagreement
among members in the spirit of F-L-T.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you memorized the Odd Fellows Valediction.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you paid your annual dues timely, without
waiting for a reminder.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you carried your dues card in your wallet or
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you keep an IOOF bumper sticker on your car
or wear an IOOF shirt around town.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you have visited a neighboring Lodge.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you urged your Lodge to work on a community
project to benefit your town.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you urged your Lodge to contribute funds to
benefit an Odd Fellows charity.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you worked to bring women and people of color
into membership in your Lodge.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you didn’t immediately say “no” to
a new member’s idea for a Lodge project.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you helped a brother or sister who was in
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you never disparage or say a negative word
about another Odd Fellow.
You might be a good Odd Fellow if you didn’t just talk about “friendship, love
and truth”, but actually lived your life in accordance with those
F – L – T
April 9, 2014 in Grand Lodge
Our order is bounded and guided by our underlining precepts “Friendship, Love & Truth” however some don’t exhibit this behavior externally. Some view the order as a pitched battle for some weird version of superiority. This is almost ludicrous and really presents only a myopic view of a finite area. In my year as Grand Master, I have attempted to remove any political colorings from my judgment. It is not beneficial to our order to act vindictively, and it clearly is not helpful to solidifying our future. A friend of mine says that I have a bit of Pollyanna within me, and I agree, but if we don’t all start to take that attitude, we will cease to exist very quickly. There are many ways in which our order can improve, but first we must admit that other views exist, and that other answers besides our own may have some validity. We should not pass judgment on another member or another lodge without realizing that hatred is in itself self-defeating and by itself affects our good judgment. As Grand Master, sometimes I get negative reports on this lodge or that, but to me that alone is not the defining factor. The first rule of thumb on a lodge or a person is whether or not that person or lodge is a good example of a caring individual or lodge. We must remember our heritage.
A good member should greet every other member with a smile on his face and a smile in his heart. All of us have differing views. All of us no matter how similar also have our own idiosyncrasies. We really can’t all just walk in lockstep, and we should stop attempting to do so. Our order is failing quickly and if we don’t begin to celebrate our diversity, we are in danger of collapsing within the cocoons we are creating for ourselves. Remember that what makes us unique gives us flavor as human beings. Remember that what makes us happy also drives us forward. As long as we don’t hurt anyone else, our happiness and the happiness of those around us should be our main concern.
Because many if not most of us are elderly many of us have had sad experiences in dealing with the deaths of loved ones or longtime companions. Just like many of us, I have had to talk to someone at or near the end of life, and often their last words are filled with regret with either bad decisions or bad words that they have been party to. We need to realize that when we send messages of hate or displeasure we not only harm the recipient, we harm ourselves. If we were to examine the other person’s heart, I believe that we would find that in most cases they are just like us. We need to realize that love for each other is paramount to the growth of our order, and stop acting as if a view on attracting membership or running a lodge is an ironclad truth. None of us have the inside track on truth or morality or honor, and to taunt the code or codes as some type of defense only turns our order against ourselves. Codebooks are tools, not weapons. Just as laws in the outside world have been refined and changed over years, so will codes. An old philosopher said that “Common sense is not necessarily all that common” and that certainly is appropriate here. Let’s remember that first we are guided by our love for one another, and we should see that the codes pale beneath the blanket of our own love.
At our various receptions, I like when we emphasize a person we are honoring favorite things because that gives that person flavor. All of us have favorite things, loves, hobbies, pleasant diversions, and other things that make us happy. Let’s continue that great thing. At this year’s Grand Lodge, first, I am hoping to have about a one minute fun event every morning, such as a song or quick game, also since my mascot is Sherlock Holmes, my appointive officers will all be named “Watson” because that was Sherlock Holmes sidekick (they often traded barbs, and Watson often seems more ingenious than Sherlock Holmes, which is clearly the case here). In short, I want us all to have a good time and remember that through it all, we don’t grow if we don’t learn to enjoy and tolerate each other. All of us have good value, all of us are friends, and all of us should go forward together or we surely will fail beneath a shower of distrust.
In Friendship, Love and Truth, Rick Boyles, Grand Master