Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Rick Boyles is a Past Grand Master of California, and during his time moving up from Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master and Grand Master, he has visited dozens of Lodges. What Rick points out, below, in his article is, fortunately, not a problem in the vast majority of our Lodges. Nevertheless, it is a phenomenon that occurs in some of our Lodges – and those Lodges are the worse for it.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
Bullies in our Midst
In my travels around the state as Grand Master, I found a number of lodges, and other areas of our order pretty much controlled by some forceful individuals. While rank may have its privileges, it also is incumbent upon those in charge to lead by example and not use their rank as a “bully” pulpit. As pointed out by Brother Dave Rosenberg, through a perusal of Sovereign Grand Lodge statistics, our order is quickly shrinking. I was frankly startled by these statistics. I have always assumed our order is around 100,000 nationwide. To hear that our order merely numbers 35,167 on this continent is almost unnerving. California, as small as it is, still comprises 1/9th of all members in North America! Another way to look at these figures is that, on average, if you deduct 4,000 members from the total U.S. members, you have 31,167 remaining, thereupon divided by 49 states plus Canada and Mexico means on average, each jurisdiction averages approximately 611 members! This is truly frightening. The other frightening thing I encounter is the bully mentality that somehow wants to keep this all some type of dark secret.
I have encountered the bully mentality on several fronts, and the traits below only marginally encompass the bullies that we see around us:
a) Bullies expect to be the only person allowed to speak at any function.
b) Bullies expect to be the only person allowed to run for their chosen office.
c) Bullies like to rationalize hatred and prejudice.
d) Bullies control their atmosphere.
e) Bullies don’t want new members unless the new members are just like them.
f) Bullies seem to have all the answers.
g) Bullies cast blame on others without evidence or concern for their fellow members.
h) Bullies don’t allow debate.
i) Bullies are always right.
j) Bullies demand others march in lockstep, dress just like them, and will punish anyone who resists.
k) Bullies demand adherence to set methods of behavior.
l) Bullies assume religious and moralistic superiority over every other member.
m) Bullies have lost any correlation with friendship, love, and truth.
n) Bullies lose many more members than they attract.
o) Bullies have an agenda no longer relevant to our order, and solely based upon their own needs.
p) Bullies lust for power without end or rationality, and can’t define their desire for power in a fraternal sense.
q) Bullies punish others for having an opinion.
r) Bullies threaten lodges and individuals for anything they see as new or different.
s) Bullies want constant recognition but are the first to deny it for others.
t) Bullies see the world as one-dimensional.
u) Bullies know their own pain, misery, heartache, but deny the same in others.
v) Bullies have difficult times thinking without involving themselves in the center of all things.
w) Bullies are essential only to themselves.
x) Bullies threaten others rather than search for solutions.
y) Bullies surround themselves with gangs of followers who no longer question.
z) Bullies are one reason some lodges and some fraternal arms have gone into deep hibernation.
We must all resist the desire to bully or be bullied. In order to grow, we have to emulate our name, remain independent and deny the point of the “bully” pulpit. A house divided will not stand. A house united will keep us strong. Whether you stand for change or like the status quo does not matter; what matters is that you allow your fellow members to co-exist. We must allow and encourage debate, and should not be torn asunder by a mode of dress or a political stance. In order to be a vibrant growing order, we need to be and act like friends, no one more important than the next.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles