Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Today’s DMC Newsletter features an article written by Grand Representative and Past Grand Master Peter Sellars, although it is published under his satiric pseudonym “Thepo O. Restman.”   The article is meant to be sarcastic, sardonic and satiric from start to finish. [Did you notice that “Thepo O. Restman” reads “the poorest man”?]

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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MAKING THE ODD FELLOWS OF TODAY A BETTER ORDER

By Thepo O. Restman

As a fairly successful member outside of Odd Fellows, I joined the Order as a place to gain recognition by my peers of a lodge. This was a readymade organization where I could get to “the top” rather quickly on my vast knowledge of life and my personal successes outside the of the Order. I expected the members to be in awe of my achievements and to be hopeful I could assist them saving their lodge from eventual closure.

When I attended my first few meetings, I noticed the members did not wear proper attire. This was one of the first things I wanted to change. I had heard that the Odd Fellows once wore very nice clothes to lodge meetings. I also heard that the in the mining areas in the 1800’s, that many members dressed poorly. Many of those old lodges are gone probably because they didn’t know how to dress properly. Those members probably didn’t have enough money for decent clothes. It is important to wear a coat and tie to every meeting. I have sought to make this a reality in the Order – to make it a better place for those members who are really dedicated and real Odd Fellows.

Secondly, I saw where we had members who could not read in my lodge. Some even had past criminal offenses on their records. This was unacceptable to me. This Order should have rejected them on the onset. “How could these people have been allowed to join the Order?” I asked myself. What a disgrace! I sought to criticize them and point out their shortfalls. Fortunately, I had the better dressed members now on my side. We were able to form a small group and pressure these lowlifes until they either quit the Order or transferred to another lodge. If they transferred we still wanted others to know about these terrible people. It was mind boggling to me that the Independent Order of Odd Fellows have some ridiculous statement that reads, “To Improve The Character of Mankind,” when it really only needs to reject those who do not meet our standards of excellent moral character and good dress. We should not have to improve anything. We are better than the rest.

Another issue, the extremely low dues. This is the most disturbing matter to address. The dues should be higher than any other organization. I do not care that many organizations have lower dues. The Odd Fellows should be higher than any other group’s dues. If the Masons and Elks charge $150.00, the Odd Fellows should charge $155.00. This would keep those poor people out of our lodges. We won’t need to admit those on low incomes or on welfare. We can simply price the riff raff from joining our lodges. Those on fixed incomes or unemployed just need to learn this may not be the group for them to join. I want to see the Grand Lodge budget include a dues increase every year. This will get the poor dressing folks out of our lodges.

During my degrees, I was pleased to hear a lot of religious connections. I believe in God. The Bible is above all else and I am happy to see that Odd Fellows follow this one and only Holy Book. Without God, there is no way, any of us could live a better life. It is God that makes us rich, better dressed, and keeps us better than the rest of the people. The Odd Fellows cannot accept anything less. If you do not see this as being the most important aspect of Odd Fellows, then perhaps you should not be a member of the Order. I enjoy attending some meetings or even Sovereign Grand Lodge as a visitor and hear the name Jesus being praised within the prayers at the opening or closing. This could be a great organization if we only treated our lodges like churches.

Finally, why did we allow women into our ranks? This seems to have been a major step backward. I praise the lodges that still won’t allow women to join. I look at those lodges and see they do not have to attend Grand Lodge conventions, the camp festivals, the home gatherings, or any other related Odd Fellows event. They seem to be doing great on their own. Of course, they have to say, “Women just don’t apply to join” wink-wink, when we know they don’t encourage women to join. The same for minorities in these lodges. These lodges don’t have black or brown people. They probably set a higher dues, too. With over 20 percent of our lodges in California without women and even more without minorities, this Order may still be saved.

I say, with a higher dues each year, an enforced dress code, and allowing lodges to keep certain people out of the lodges based on gender and race, that this Order can still be saved. We need to strive to attain these goals. Let us work together to make this a better Odd Fellows! This Order was never intended to reflect the makeup of the country, but to be reflective of those it wished to have as members. Let us have enforced dress codes, better people, God in our lodges, and higher dues – and show the world who we are!  In Friendship, Love, & Truth!

 

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