The North Carolina Mason

January/February 2022

North Carolina Mason

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January/February 2022 The North Carolina Mason Page 5 From the Grand master Apathy can be a lodge killer By Larry B. ompson, Jr. Grand Master Have you ever driven by an unfamiliar lodge building in your travels and, based on outward appearances, find yourself questioning whether the lodge is still active? Do you know of a lodge that consistently struggles with poor participation or has not performed a degree in years? Similarly, we all know lodges that have not held a fundraiser for our Masonic charities in years. Why would a lodge neglect its building? Why does a lodge struggle to fill its chairs on meeting night? Why are we not fulfilling our obligations and supporting our charities? In a word – apathy. Regardless of the perceived problem (finances, membership numbers, partici- pation, lodge culture, etc.), apathy is the cause … and it can be a lodge killer if the source is not identified and addressed. None of us want to see a lodge fail and yet we have 434 lodges that have gone inactive since our Grand Lodge was formed. So, how do we identify the causes of apathy? e first step in addressing this issue is to fully commit to making a change and believing that change is possible. Regardless of how we got there, our perception is our reality. Events in the past got us to this point but it is our current mindset that keeps us mired. Knowing this, we must change our attitude and understand that this will require a signifi- cant amount of work. If we are fully committed there is no room for indifference, and we will begin to see involvement. Change your attitude, and you are on your way to eliminating apathy in the lodge. e next step is to perform a lodge self- assessment and discover the origin of the problem. We cannot ignore the past; the source of the problem must be identified and addressed. If ignored, the source can resurface and hinder progress. A good starting point is to reflect to better days and make note of the things that were taking place that created excitement and motivated your members (lodge improvement projects, fundraisers, community involvement, etc.). You will also want to determine when things started to go wrong, and you will likely find the source of the problem – the reason why members became apathetic. Again, this will require commitment and willpower to make necessary changes. ere will be days when you just do not feel moti- vated to do what it takes – you will have to force yourself to show up with the right attitude and help get things done. Convince yourself that you can battle apathy and over- come it! Apathy can lock a lodge into a tailspin. e good news is that once you are motivated to pull out of the tailspin, it becomes easier to do so. e question is: What is the first step we need to take? Again, a lodge self-assessment is key. Take time to identify positive changes that can be made by writing down agreed upon action items. Pick an easy task to begin with. It does not have to be exceptional, it just has to get done. e key is to find something that you can easily accomplish and motivate your member- ship. e first step may not get you where you want to be, but it will take you one step further from where you do not want to be! As you work through your action plan, do not be afraid to mix in new ideas along the way. Subtle changes to your lodge meetings can have a profound impact, whether it be condensing business (consent agenda), inviting in guest speakers, adding music, candlelight, etc. Lodge improvement projects are another opportunity to generate enthusiasm and improve your curb appeal. Creating an esoteric study group (our Grand Lecturer can help with that) is another great idea that has the poten- tial to change the paradigm. Just this week I received an encouraging email from a young Junior Deacon who is working to make a difference in his lodge. He felt compelled to write after reading "Freemasonry's future is up to us" in the November/December 2021 issue of the e Mason. His lodge is in decline, but he is adamant that his lodge doors will not permanently close while he has his foot in the doorway. He has already willed himself to help effect positive change in his lodge and I know he will be successful. One man can absolutely make a difference! Brother Henry Ford provided us many inspi- rational quotes. Two of my favorites that I find apropos when pondering a path forward are: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right." "Obstacles are those frightful things that you see when you take your eyes off your goal." Commit to making positive changes in your lodge. Assess your needs, set goals, and work to accomplish them. Doing this, you will get your lodge closer and closer to its full potential. You will enrich your community and the lives of your members. You will experience the success that has carried us forward for centuries! ap·a·thy /ˈapəTHē/ noun lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. how do you prefer to get your copy of the north carolina mason? like it delivered in the mail? you don't need to do a thing, just continue to enjoy! want to read it online instead? Send an email to with your name, mailing address, lodge name and number, and the words: "OPT OUT." then go to to subscribe for notification when the online version is available.

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