It is expected that there will be a natural courtesy among men who become Freemasons which alone should ensure harmony. In addition, almost exclusively there is abstinence from all topics of political and religious discussion, subjects which could lead to disharmony or at least unpleasantness. We are told this early in our Masonic journey. At the same time we are told to accept readily the wish of the majority and, second, to submit to the will of the Master and his Wardens in doing their job.
Failure to comply with these last two requirements is a major cause of disharmony. All too often the culprits seem to be Past Masters and also those who have been invested in important positions of influence. They want to impose their culture, “the way it was always done”, despite the wishes of the younger or newer members. Some have massive egos. They do not seem to understand that new ideas are needed for reinvigoration. They will try to achieve harmony by demanding acquiescence. I have heard it said that some are likely to use personal intimidation and embarrassment, sulking, threatened withdrawal of their services and “ambushing” the Master in a meeting with a motion with no prior discussion to achieve their ends.
What can be done? Hopefully there will be a senior lodge member who will be prepared to take the dissenters aside and suggest that they change their attitudes or find some other lodge where they could be happier. There needs to be a strong bond between the Master and his Wardens so the Master alone is not trying to deal with the matters. However, regrettably, I have seen that when the rot has set in it is almost impossible to undo and it is better for the one or more who are repressed to leave the lodge – that’s what our ritual tells us to do.
For success a lodge needs more than harmony resulting from acquiescence and good manners. A lodge needs good leadership and these days a little entrepreneurial flair. We have a “product” that needs marketing and we have internal “customers”. The Master and his Wardens need to understand the niche the lodge has in the Masonic fraternity and in the community at large. They need to determine the culture that will best please the majority of the members as well as promoting the growth and well-being of the lodge.
They need to know that lodge attendance takes the precious time of younger members and they want to leave every meeting with a sense of achievement and happiness – they do not want to be the pawns in some power game or the subject of ill humour. If any of these any of these problems are present it is time to move on: far better than just not attending and then allowing you membership to lapse. Just move discretely, quietly and quickly so as to cause no further harm to the lodge.
Duties are certainly owed to a Mother Lodge but foremost we are Freemasons and we should position ourselves so that we can best serve the Fraternity for its benefit and our fraternal enjoyment. I suggest if necessary that you visit widely and find a lodge that best suits your needs and aspirations.
We are fortunate in Lodge Devotion to have quality management and leadership and no disgruntled minority groups. We have a sense of purpose.