Every year we see legislation in the form of bills and resolutions to propose changes or to address other matters important to a lodge or member(s).
Changes are made every year – PERIOD!
Understand that changes are made on a regular basis. Some occur quicker than others, but changes do occur. We also hear members say, “If you want change, you shouldn’t have joined the Odd Fellows.” For the members who have been in the Order for a while, they have witnessed changes over the years. I can name over 20 changes off hand at any given time. The point being: Do not be hesitant to propose changes in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. If you believe that a change would improve a certain aspect of the Order, propose it. If you believe that the Order could make a specific change that would be more attractive to potential members, then propose it.
It is the resistance of change that is killing the Odd Fellows and the Rebekahs. We remain in this state of decline virtually every year because key members are resistant to ANY CHANGE or those key members who make the decisions fail to follow the code (and changes) as they have been made.
In some areas, we see literally only a few members on the Grand Lodge level controlling everything that occurs. They decide which lodges to target or which individuals to target, to eliminate what they consider a “threat” to their positions in the Order. Even this status quo needs to be changed.
So, we see that to make a change that we must present legislation and gain support for such at the Grand Lodge level. Then, all approved legislation must be sent to Sovereign Grand Lodge to get the vote of that Grand Body. It is a timely process and also extremely “political” within the Order.
For the changes that have been approved, where those in leadership offices fail to abide by, there are remedies. These remedies are a bit more extreme but work. In most states, the risk for a non-profit corporation failing to follow its own code or violating governmental codes can be a risky endeavor, if reported to the right agency. Any matter dealing with the funds of a corporation, and misspending can be an Internal Revenue matter. Any deviation of the Articles of Incorporation can be a matter for the Secretary of State or the Attorney General. In some case, the Department of Justice. These are 4 agencies that more serious matters may be addressed if the Order cannot or does not resolve the issue. Laws protect whistleblowers. That is the remedy for the situation where rules and laws are not being followed.
If you see that a change is needed in the lodge Ritual, then propose it. If you have an idea to make the Order more attractive to potential members, present legislation. Any ideas for positive programs? Surely, you have heard others say, “The Odd Fellows should do this…”. Change is needed for any organization to succeed. Watch those who are reluctant to any change or any ideas brought legally before a Grand Body, where you are simply presenting an idea that you truly believe would improve the lodge or the Order, and where you are utilizing your right and following procedure, in presenting legislation. Watch those who appear angry or even appear to despise you for even proposing an idea. Those are the people killing this Order. Write your legislation.
Past Grand Master
Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Jurisdiction of California
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