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Seeking advice about not joining the officer line…
Posted: 10 December 2017 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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My situation is complex and it’s about declining to join the officers line.

I read somewhere that masons are expected to seek service in the officer line. I realize that many masons do not, however, and in large lodges, there are not enough officer spots for every member to serve. I know I don’t “have” to join the officer line and no one will force me. I happen to be in a small lodge struggling a bit with it’s membership and the officer line. I’m a very active member of the lodge, attend all meetings and degrees, as well as events outside of lodge. Therefore, naturally, folks are looking at me to join the line. I plan to make significant contributions to my lodge but I’ve decided not join the officer line.

My career aspirations are what has led me to my decision not seek a position as an officer. Being an officer is very public and there is no way to avoid that. Some might say that if I’m not willing to be public about my masonic affiliation, I should not be a mason, but I disagree. There are many career fields (judges, politicians, police chief, etc.) where being a freemason is controversial because conspiracy theorist fuel fears about freemasonry miss-using power and being part of a plot to take over the world. I obviously want to avoid these people from making my career difficult and no longer enjoyable. Furthermore, my work includes strong commentary on politics and religion which are not discussed in lodges for good reason. I would never want my positions to be construed by nefarious actors as being the official stance of freemasonry. That would not be good for the fraternity. For these reasons, I’ve decided to keep my participation in freemasonry private and not become and officer.

I realize some brothers here will have strong opinions on this and some will reduce it to a simple response. It’s not simple because lodges are made up of men who have egos. We are all supposed to subdue our passions and practice brotherly love, but when a lodge is struggling with membership and populating the officer line some brothers may not being able to help feeling differently about someone who decides not to serve when asked. I hope my other work in lodge will prove valuable, but I cannot control how some brothers will feel about my decision.

I wanted to ask for advice here before speaking to others in my lodge. I know there is a special award for masons who make significant contributions and never became officers, the William Mercer Wilson Medal. I would hope to one day prove worthy of this. I truly respect and admire brothers who are the public face of our fraternity because it is so very important. Although, I cannot be, I know that I will be of great value to the order.

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Posted: 11 December 2017 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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When I first joined the Fraternity, my mentor said something that applies here: The most important word in Freemasonry is “No”.

The simplest way to answer demands for you to join the line is, “I’m sorry but it is not within the length of my cable-tow.”

It’s the truth and nobody needs to know your specific reasons.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Past Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 11 December 2017 02:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Just speak to the Master and secretary and tell them your reasons. No one will (or shouldn’t!) think any less of you.

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Richard
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Mark (PProvGIWks), Royal Ark Mariner (ProvRAMGR)
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Posted: 11 December 2017 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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As Worshipful Master of my lodge I have dealt with situations such as yours.  Not everyone is able or comfortable joining the line of officers. I understand this and so do the other brothers in the lodge, however everyone can contribute in some form or fashion.  We have brothers who do so in our lodge. They help prepare our meals for the meetings, help with fund raisers, set up the lodge prior to the meetings and then stay and put things away. Several do not hold offices and never have but will guide new candidates during degrees. These are just a few examples. Talk to your Worshipful Master about your situation and then dedicate yourself to doing ANYTHING you can to help your lodge. My last bit of advice for you is to NEVER be ashamed of your affiliation with our ancient and honorable fraternity.

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Bro.Ed Pickett Jr.
Past Master (2017)
La Belle Vallee Lodge No 232 F&AM;
Jersey Shore, Pa.
Initiated 1-14-13, Passed 2-11-13, Raised 3-11-13

Master of Third Veil 2018
Lafayette RAC No. 163
Lock Haven, Pa.
Mark Master 1-16-14,Most Excellent Master 2-20-14, Royal Arch Mason 3-20-14

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Posted: 11 December 2017 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Thanks, all. Bro Pickett - I’m absolutely not ashamed to be a mason. It is the greatest honor of my life and I’m very proud and grateful.

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Posted: 12 December 2017 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I am not trying to steer you one way or another, but you are pretty much doing what an officer does commitment wise when sitting in the lower chairs.

What does your lodge officers do that would expose you publicly?

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I-4-22-13
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R-6-27-13

Junior Warden
Mariners Lodge 150
AASR 32* NMJ NJ Central Valley

F & A M of N.J.

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Posted: 13 December 2017 01:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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We list our lodge officers on the lodge website.

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Posted: 13 December 2017 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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reachingforlight - 10 December 2017 08:32 PM

...Being an officer is very public and there is no way to avoid that. Some might say that if I’m not willing to be public about my masonic affiliation…

I’m having a hard time realizing why you would think that being an officer is any more or less public than being a member? Ultimately, you are the one who decides how public your membership or involvement in the lodge is. The lodge cannot publish your name or membership in any form without your permission and if they are doing so then you can request that they remove your name from say something like a website.

But if you truly are active in your lodge and it’s events doesn’t that mean that you are being seen by the community anyway? For example, at a fundraiser or charitable event? Or does your lodge not do anything related to your community?

My point is: You decide how much or what information about you, if any, is made public. If you do not want anything made public then say so to your lodge. Being an officer shouldn’t be any more public than being a member, and that should not deter you from progressing through the line.

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Bro. David Howard
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

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Posted: 13 December 2017 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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reachingforlight - 13 December 2017 01:44 AM

We list our lodge officers on the lodge website.

That is true. I wish our site would password protect certain areas such as this.

I will say that my name will not be associated with Freemasonry in a google search unless my lodge name is included with the search query.

I’m wondering if that is something you can address with your lodge?

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I-4-22-13
P-5-29-13
R-6-27-13

Junior Warden
Mariners Lodge 150
AASR 32* NMJ NJ Central Valley

F & A M of N.J.

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Posted: 14 December 2017 06:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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I always thought it’s a serious masonic offense to reveal that somebody is a Mason if himself never revealed that. Publishing names of Masons on a website without their agreement doesn’t seem legit to me.

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Posted: 14 December 2017 11:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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mystic-tie - 14 December 2017 06:09 AM

I always thought it’s a serious masonic offense to reveal that somebody is a Mason if himself never revealed that. Publishing names of Masons on a website without their agreement doesn’t seem legit to me.


It’s not. And if a lodge does then all you would have to do is to request they remove your name and they should comply. If not then I would go to the Grand Lodge about it.

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Bro. David Howard
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

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Posted: 03 January 2018 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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reachingforlight - 13 December 2017 01:44 AM

We list our lodge officers on the lodge website.

Kind of a late reply here, but we have a corrections officer in our line this year. I’ve omitted his name from the the public. Only those who log in to our website can see his name. Logins are reserved for members of our lodge only.

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I-4-22-13
P-5-29-13
R-6-27-13

Junior Warden
Mariners Lodge 150
AASR 32* NMJ NJ Central Valley

F & A M of N.J.

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Posted: 04 January 2018 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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I think you are unduly concerned, but I see no issue with not serving as an officer. Being a local lodge officer really isn’t all that public. Having controversial views, as long as not racist or bizarre, does not reflect adversely on the lodge. I defended a reported murder case whilst serving as a GL officer. People said bad things, but never mentioned the lodge.

You could also have the lodge list you by your initials, as often done in English Masonry.

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G A Cook
F&AM; of Utah
UGLE
AF&AM; of Oklahoma

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Posted: 06 March 2018 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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A bit late on the reply here as well..

One of the primary reasons people join the line of their lodge is to help “give back” and guide their lodge along the path…

From your original post, it appears as though you are already deeply involved behind the scenes.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

Any brother should be understandable when it comes to the potential conflict of being a Mason and their chosen career field.

Now, that said, you also indicated that your lodge is small and there are few people who are able or willing to take up positions in the line.  While I have not been a Mason long enough to give sound advice, I would respond with the following…

Only you can gauge your ability to perform your duties to yourself, duties to your family and duties to your lodge. (I use this order on purpose)  Exposing yourself to potential conflicts in your career field is a detriment to your ability to provide for yourself and family, and potentially your lodge.

I will finish with this last comment.. as previously mentioned, the most important word in Masonry is “No”.  While some, in your lodge, may not like the answer, they are not walking in your shoes.

I wish you well, brother!

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Brother Ken

St. John’s 1P, RI
EA 10/19/16
FC 1/18/17
MM 3/15/17
Signed By-Laws 5/17/17

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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