The three links of our Order spell out what makes Odd Fellowship distinctive among all fraternal orders. The links spell out the letters F – L – T which we all know stands for Friendship Love and Truth. To be very frank, if everyone of us followed those three little words, membership in the Lodge and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows would be a very sublime and happy experience. Failure to follow the guidance of F – L – T will transport us to an unhappy place, inevitably leading to discord, conflict, and the continued diminution of our Order’s membership as Odd Fellows drift away from the Lodge. After all, who wants to be a member of an unhappy or discordant Lodge. It’s uncomfortable at best, and discordant at worst.
F – L – T means to treat other members as our brothers and sisters. It means that we treat them as we would like to be treated. It means that we have to be respectful and kind to others in our fraternity. There is no problem discussing, debating and even disagreeing on issues that come up in the Lodge Hall, but there is no place for being disagreeable or rude.
One of the surest ways to fracture a Lodge is to foment or pass on rumors about other members. That should never happen.
Another sure way to bring down a Odd Fellows Lodge is to disparage another member, particularly behind that member’s back. Not only is this rude and cowardly, it injects negativity into the Lodge. The Lodge Hall is meant to be a place of peace, a place where members can leave the distractions and turmoil of the outside world behind. The Lodge Hall should never become its own little microcosm of distraction and turmoil.
To practice F – L -T as a member of the Lodge, you have to treat each member as a friend and family, you have to treat each member with kindness and respect, and you must always speak the truth – never under any circumstances should you disparage another member. A member who fails to practice the principles of F – L – T means simply that the person is no longer a true Odd Fellow. This sort of member sows discord. That sort of person injects venom into the Lodge experience. Such a person will diminish the Lodge because it directly affects the future of the Lodge. Disgusted members will drift away and may even depart, unless the Lodge leadership takes action against the negative member. Potential new members will see the discord and will have less incentive to join.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
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