RW Cameron M. Bailey

Deputy Grand Master, The MW Grand Lodge Of Washington

Like millions of Americans I watched in horror last week as the institutions of our nation were attacked. The United State's Capitol was stormed by a mob, and while receiving much less attention, the fence surrounding our own Governor's home was broken down.

As Freemasons, as members of the greatest Peace Society this world has ever known, we must stand against this. This post stands against this.

I know that at least half of the people who read these words will be from the political right. In this day and age, far too many of us disregard anything said by anyone on the other side.

Before those of you on the right dismiss this post out of hand, please allow me to remind you that I also stood, in a public way, against the political left's riots that shook our nation this past summer. If desired, that post can be read at: The Unsparing Ravages Of Barbarous Force.

I agree with the famous words of Senator Barry Goldwater:

“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.”

What we are seeing in the political landscape of 2020, and now 2021 is not extremism in the way Senator Goldwater used the word, rather it is hate.

The active political left, in large numbers, actually now hates those who disagree with their positions. Likewise, the active political right, in equally large numbers, actually now hates those who disagree with their positions.

This hatred is on full display, each and every day, all across social media platforms.

Unfortunately, far too many men who claim to be Freemasons have embraced this hatred of their fellow man.

I hear, each and every day, about some new political fight between those who are supposed to be Brothers breaking out on Facebook. I'm sorry to have to say it, but this nonsense is completely un-masonic, as pointed out in our own ritual:

“Among whom no contention should ever exist but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree.”

Not to mention the fact that it destroys any hope our Ancient Fraternity has of communicating our true principals to the public at large.

Consider our ritual:

“Where were you first made a Mason?”

If you are a member of our Fraternity, then you know the answer to that question. If you know the answer to that question, then you also know that you can not hate your Brother on social media, and have truly become a Freemason. The profound lessons of our institution clearly didn't make the impression that they should have.

Let us be clear.

Each of us has an absolute right to hold whatever political beliefs we want to hold.

Each of us equally have an absolute right to express these political beliefs as we desire to express them, provided that in doing so we don't trample upon the rights of others.

These rights are granted, not by man, or government, but by God himself.

That is indeed the very founding principal of the United States.

God did not however grant us the right to hate those who disagree with our political beliefs, especially for no other reason than that disagreement.

As Freemasons in this time of political hatred, we would do well to consider the lessons of those Masons who were enemies during our Civil War, yet took the opportunity to assist each other when needed most.

As I close, I would just like to remind all of the Freemasons of this great Jurisdiction that Civility, Civil Society, and Civil Discourse are sacred principals to our Gentle Craft.

“We are now about to quit this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue, to mingle again with the outer world. Amid its concerns and employments forget not the duties which you have heard so frequently inculcated and so forcefully recommended in this Lodge.”

#CivilSociety #CivilDebate #SocialMedia

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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Earlier this month, before the most recent shut down order, I was able to open Chehalis Lodge. This wasn’t done for any regular purpose, rather the Lodge had to open in order to make an extremely serious and rare decision that will impact it, potentially, for generations to come.

In keeping with our Governor’s guidelines at the time, there were only five of us present in the entire building, we maintained social distancing, and the Secretary collected contact tracing information from each of us.

It was the very first time I’ve been able to wear the Deputy Grand Master apron and Jewel since I was installed half a year ago.

It was also the first time I’ve done any Masonic ritual in what has become almost a year. I regret to say, my memory wasn’t good. I had a hunch that I would be rough, and I needed to get the Lodge open quickly so that we could turn on the Zoom feed for everyone who was at home, so I opened the Lodge with the assistance of our printed Standard Work. I decided to close it from memory though, and let me tell you, that was rough. Much rougher than I ever hope to be again.

To my mind, none of that is particularly important though.

What is important is the feeling that I got from being with my brothers, in person, despite maintaining the mandated distance. What was also important was hearing, and once again absorbing, our ritual as so many men have through the generations.

It was to me an uplifting experience, a spiritual experience.

I must confess, although this may sound ‘sappy,’ that it felt very similar to me as my first entrance into Lodge years ago when I became an Entered Apprentice Mason.

It reminded me of a question about Freemasonry:

Is Freemasonry a social organization that is a part of our larger society?

Or

Is Freemasonry a spiritual organization that is set apart from our larger society?

I think that question has likely been pondered by a great many Masons over our long history.

Indeed while he doesn’t use the same words as I use above, Albert Pike discussed the question in detail, interestingly taking both opposite opinions through the course of a single one of his books.

I suppose that it is for each of us an individual question, and that like so many things in Masonry the answer may be different for each of us.

As for me personally, I come down to the latter option. I do see Freemasonry, our brotherhood, and our mission in the world as belonging in the realm of the sacred. Of course we have secular concerns as well, but ultimately I believe Freemasonry should be, and is, uplifting to the soul.

This past month stood as a stark reminder to me that it is just that for me.

I think that is likely why our Masonic forefathers called our buildings Masonic Temples. The term ‘Masonic Center’ is much newer, the result of some misguided public relations idea. To me, and I think to the vast majority of our Masons, our buildings are just what they were called in the days of old, Masonic Temples.

Since that meeting of Chehalis Lodge, and since I had these thoughts, our great State has again shut down normal operations. We had hoped that Lodges that felt it best to do so would have been able to begin meeting (with limitations) on December first. Unfortunately, for reasons of public health, those plans have had to be put on hold.

It is my hope that all of us can remain safe and healthy, so that we can all be present when this pandemic is defeated and we can once again sit in Lodge together.

#Spiritual #AlbertPike #Lodge #Chehalis

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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My grandmother-in-law passed away from cancer in the wee hours of this past Friday morning. As her wishes were to die at home, Melinda and I were her primary caregivers, with assistance from our daughters.

Grammy lived a full life to 99 years, and was still working in her yard as recently as three weeks ago, so her passing wasn't a tragedy, and this post isn't to mourn. Rather this post is about something I learned about the end of life process in our society, something that I found disturbing.

When they sent Grammy home from the hospital a couple of weeks ago, she came home with a lot of drugs. Very powerful drugs.

The thing was, Grammy spent all of her 99 years avoiding drugs. She just didn't believe in them. Even when she broke her knee a few years back she refused any drugs stronger than aspirin.

Well, they didn't send her home with any wimpy aspirin, they sent her home with the good stuff. The stupendous morphine stuff. I remember getting a big shot of morphine around 20 years ago when I ended up in the emergency room. That's some amazing stuff.

Anyhow, enough drug idealization, the important thing to say is that they sent her home with these powerful drugs, but of course she refused to take them. She didn't end up taking any morphine until the last couple of days. We had encouraged her to take it from the moment she got home, but she didn't consent to it until the very end. It was, at that time, a godsend.

What concerned me, and the point of this post, isn't the morphine, it's some of the other drugs that they sent home with her, and which we were put under pressure to force on her.

To be clear, we didn't force any drugs on her. To be equally clear though, we were at times under fairly intense pressure to force her to take drugs that she didn't want to take.

For full understanding it is important for me to point out that Grammy's mind never slipped. She was just as sharp in her final weeks as she was in her prime. More than once at the end I was called in to her presence so that she could remind me of what days certain bills need to be paid, and other similar details of life that she wanted to make sure I would handle after she had passed.

With all of that background out of the way, it is time for me to say that they also sent her home with powerful psychoactive drugs. Drugs that doctors give to insane people.

As Freemasons we believe that we are put on this earth for a purpose. We believe that it is a duty for us to seek knowledge, that which we refer to as Light. We believe that we seek this Light by searching deeply within ourselves to discover that which is fundamentally true.

As individuals, we all have a different journey through life, we might discover that which is true for ourselves in much different ways. For some of us we might even find Light at the end of life.

Do I know what was going on in Grammy's mind during her final days? No, of course not. I do know though that she was completely competent to make her own health care decisions for herself.

But, we were given drugs. We were given one drug that would apparently remove any fear of death that she might have been experiencing.

It seems to me that a fear of approaching death is probably a perfectly natural human reaction. Yet apparently we have drugs that can take that fear away. I don't object to the fact that such drugs exist, but she didn't want that particular drug, and as long as she was competent, it was certainly her fundamental human right to refuse it. Others apparently see it differently.

Of course it is probably quite a lot easier to take care of someone who is hopped up on this particular drug. Hence its existence.

We were also given a drug that would apparently remove any anger that she might experience. Once again it seems to me that anger at approaching death is probably a perfectly natural thing. It was also, clearly, her fundamental right to refuse this drug while she remained competent. Yet, again, it is probably much easier to care for someone who has this particular drug running through their system.

My objection to these drugs isn't about our own Grammy. We didn't force anything on her, we didn't make life easier for ourselves by filling her body full of chemicals that she didn't want, and was competent to refuse.

My concern is for those in our society who are not taken care of by loved ones. For those who are taken care of in institutional or other commercial settings.

Bob's mad because the food sucks? No problem, fill him full of the anti-anger drugs and call it good.

Jim's worried because he knows that he's dying and wants to talk through his fears? No problem, fill him up on the anti-nervousness drugs and then no one has to talk too him.

Mentally competent people retain their human rights no matter how old or how sick they might be.

No one has any right to force unwanted psychoactive drugs on any mentally competent person who doesn't want them.

To believe, or advocate otherwise is the very height of arrogance.

It is also unbelievably immoral.

As Freemasons we are charged to seek Light. We can not tolerate a society that seeks to deny that quest to anyone simply because of their age or illness.

#Dying #Light #Morality

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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I lost a friend yesterday, a Brother.

Murdered.

Details are a bit sketchy, but it seems that his home was invaded by thugs, seeking to rob him, and when they encountered him they beat him to death.

If they are ever caught, it will probably be plea bargained down to something like assault. It seems that is how things happen far too often now. Serious crimes that actually harm people are punished more lightly than crimes where it is darn hard to ever identify a 'victim.'

I remember many things about my friend. Mostly involving smoking. I'm not addicted to cigarettes, but I do enjoy having one on rare occasions when I'm with a smoker.

Well, he was a guy who loved his cigs. I remember standing outside of plenty of Lodge buildings with him, smoking and talking. Discussions about Masonry, discussions about our mutual friends within the craft.

I remember spending a day with him over in the Tri-Cities, when I was Junior Grand Warden and he was Grand Steward. The rest of the Grand Lodge team headed for home, they forgot us, so we had lots of time together, time in which to discuss, and of course solve, all the problems of the world.

I will badly miss my friend.

He lived well though, for he has died regretted.

We need to recognize that this nation has fallen into barbarism over the past few months. Riots rock Portland every night, Seattle almost every night, and quite frequently Olympia. Watching these things, common thugs, like the ones who murdered my friend are naturally emboldened.

It is funny to me that some deny that these things are actually happening. I've heard said for example that Olympia has had no riots. When I hear that I wonder why then is downtown all boarded up? How can there be so much broken glass if windows haven't been shattered? What are those videos shown on the 11 PM local news depicting if not rioters in Olympia? Can something be called 'peaceful' or 'mostly peaceful' while the fires are burning right behind the commentator making that claim?

Masonry demands that we find the truth.

The truth is that we have two things going on at the same time. We have protests, but we also have riots.

Protests are good, they can make us better as a people. Riots however are nothing but barbarism.

The moment a window is smashed, the moment looting begins, the moment violence is used against another, that is the end of a protest and the beginning of a riot. The actual protesters go home, and the barbarians take over.

Violent thugs are destroying businesses and hurting people in our cities, just as violent thugs murdered my friend.

Civil society can not tolerate violent thugs. They need to be locked away from society, kept where they can no longer do harm.

The Weimar Republic fell because the government was unable or unwilling to deal with roving bands of thugs doing violence in the streets. During this time of nightly violence, we should all reflect on what happened back then, and realize how easily it could happen here if we are not careful. As the old saying goes, if we don't learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

Throughout its long existence, Freemasonry has stood as the world's great peace society. Teaching tolerance between all men. Freemasons stand for peace, for civility, for honor, and for justice.

As Freemasons, we must, each in our own spheres of influence, use that influence to encourage civility, civil dialog, and a just civil society.

Those are the things my friend and brother stood for.

#Civility #CivilSociety #Barbarism

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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Most Freemasons are probably familiar with the Chamber of Reflection. Unfortunately, very few, in our Jurisdiction at least, get to experience it as a part of receiving their Degrees.

In my view, having space and time in which to reflect on one's life thus far, to consider parts of one's self that should be improved, and to be reminded that the time within which change can be made is short, is a vital part of the initiatory experience.

A handful of Lodges in Washington do make the effort to provide time within the Chamber of Reflection to the candidate prior to his Degrees thus giving the candidate at least the opportunity to seize what can be an extremely meaningful experience. It is my hope that as time moves on, more of our Lodges will dedicate the needed space to this, and begin including it as a part of their candidate preparation process.

Looking beyond our Lodges, I think that this is something that many Masons might want to consider as a regular part of life.

Certainly it is important to remind oneself that life is short, and that the time to do that which we seek to do is extremely limited.

It is important that we honestly take stock of ourselves, and our life, so that we might identify those things about ourselves that disappoint us, and hopefully make a commitment to ourselves to amend ourselves.

Finally, it is always important that we consider our future, and who we want to become, internally as well as externally.

Perhaps we build ourselves our own physical Chamber of Reflection, in the historical model.

Or, perhaps we create something different, something that better reflects our own personalities.

The traditional Chamber largely utilizes symbolism that Freemasonry inherited from Alchemy. Other traditions with other reminders of the inevitability of death exist and can be mined for their own truths as well.

For those of us seeking more light in Masonry, might I suggest that a little darkness may help?

#ChamberOfReflecton #MementoMori #Light

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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In 1897 the Grand Lodge of Washington, at it's Annual Communication, and following the leadership of RW William H. Upton took the first small step towards recognition of Prince Hall Masonry within this Grand Jurisdiction.

As a result of that step, Grand Lodges around the country moved to pull recognition from our Grand Lodge. Many old Proceedings from Grand Jurisdictions are available online, I've read some of those from the time, and the things that were said about the GL of Washington and its decision were truly horrible.

In the words of Grand Master Upton himself: “The comity and consideration for the opinions of others shown by the Washington committee and Grand Lodge were neither appreciated nor reciprocated. During the year, in a number of Grand Lodges, the position of this Grand Lodge has been savagely attacked, often in language disgraceful to Masonry. Men whose utterances fail to disclose even a superficial acquaintance with either the history or the law of the subject, have presumed to sit as judges in condemnation of this Grand Lodge; and Grand Lodges have usurped a supervisory power over our actions which, if acquiesced in, means not only the destruction of the sovereignty of this Grand Lodge, but the end of that principle of self-government among Masons which has been claimed as a cornerstone of our Institution since the dawn of its history.”

Eventually the Grand Lodge of Washington decided that its position was impossible. Masons from Washington were no longer recognized as such by our neighbors, and as such the decision of our Grand Lodge was untenable. We relented to the unreasonable, and unmasonic pressure put upon us by the rest of the Masonic world.

Our Grand Master never stopped advocating for recognition, and was always held in very high esteem by the Freemasons of Washington. In fact we have a Lodge named after him to this day.

Despite that fact however, and despite the wishes of the Masons of Washington, The MW Grand Lodge of Washington and the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington and Jurisdiction were not joined in mutual recognition until 1990. When the rest of the Masonic world would finally allow us to take this step without destroying us.

In 1991 a marker was finally laid on Grand Master Upton's grave. Something he declared that he did not want to happen until it could be laid by members of both Grand Lodges. His dream had finally been realized.

Tomorrow the Masonic funeral of our Brother and Congressman John Lewis will take place. The service will be performed by the members of his Home Lodge in Georgia.

Specifically, his Prince Hall Lodge.

To be clear, the MW Grand Lodge of Georgia continues to refuse to recognize the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia.

In the words of our Brother Chris Hodapp of Freemasons for Dummies fame: “In May of 2008, then-Grand Master Akram Elias of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia honored John Lewis for his lifelong commitment to civil rights. This ceremony took place as part of the 9th World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Hotel. It is no small irony that Lewis' own grand lodge, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia, was not then, and is not today, recognized as regular by the 50 U.S. 'mainstream' state grand lodges, including the Grand Lodge of Georgia. Masonic protocol dictated then as now that he could not have accepted GM Elias' presentation in open lodge as a Brother Mason. Nothing has changed in a dozen years. And there's no way to defend that situation any longer.”

Put in plain terms, one of the finest men and Masons of his generation is not recognized as such by the Grand Lodge of Georgia due to the color of his skin.

I think that due to my position I am not supposed to say difficult truths. I am to be measured and calm. Perhaps this post oversteps proper form for an elected Grand Lodge Officer.

Too bad. It is true, and as Freemasons we are charged with finding the truth.

It is absurd that the Grand Lodge of Washington continues to recognize the Grand Lodge of Georgia as a legitimate Masonic body.

The Grand Lodge of Washington should take steps to remove recognition from the Grand Lodge of Georgia, and all other Grand Lodges that do not recognize their legitimate counterparts.

By continuing to recognize the Grand Lodge of Georgia as a legitimate Masonic body we are giving tacit approval to that body's immoral position and rightly open ourselves to condemnation.

I made this view clear prior to my election as Junior Grand Warden when asked about it at a forum held by Daylight Lodge, and given the passing of Brother Lewis I feel it only proper to make it known again now.

#PrinceHall #Georgia

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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I think we are all aware that the origins of Freemasonry are lost to the mist of time. While speculation about the birth of our fraternity abounds, it is quite likely that we will never know the truth.

The most popular origin story seems to be that there existed in the British Isles various guilds of operative Masons. That in time these guilds took in men who were not in the construction trade, but who rather used the tools of the builder for spiritual lessons. That when these speculative Masons eventually outnumbered the operative Masons in the Lodges, our Fraternity as we now know it was born.

There are a number of problems with this theory in my view, not the least of which being why men of noble birth would want to hang out with men who worked with their hands for a living. Especially at a time when society was strongly and perpetually divided by class.

Another theory, which most believe was forwarded only in recent decades by a man named John Robinson is that our Fraternity was crafted as a mutual aid society by the remnants of the Templar Order in Scotland after the knights were decimated by the King of France, Phillip the Fair.

Mr. Robinson wrote a book titled Born in Blood outlining this theory in detail.

What is much lesser known however is that Mr. Robinson is not the first person to write about this theory. Indeed this origin theory is extremely old, as evidenced by the following quote:

“It is supposed that when the Order of Templars was suppressed and the individuals persecuted, some of them secreted themselves in the High Lands of Scotland and that from them, either arose, or that they united themselves to the society of Free Masons, of which the Kings of Scotland were supposed to be hereditary Grand Masters. From this principal the present Pretender has let himself be persuaded that the Grand Mastership devolved to him, in which quality, in the year 1776, he granted a patent to the Duke of Ostrogothia (who was then here) by which he appointed him vicar of all the Lodges in the north, which that prince sometime after resigned. Nevertheless, the King of Sweden during his stay obtained a patent from the Pretender in due form by which he has appointed his Swedish Majesty his Coadjutor and Successor to the Grand Mastership of the Lodges of the north, on obtaining which the French Gentleman assured me that the King expressed his greatest joy.” -Horrace Mann, British Ambassador in Forence December 30, 1783 In a letter to John Udny, British Consul at Leghorn

#History #TemplarOrigin #Quote

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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Last week I heard a Brother ask the question:

Since our Lodges aren't meeting, we aren't able to 'do' Masonry. If that goes for a year, or most of a year, why should we have to pay Lodge dues or Grand Lodge assessments?

The basic argument was that Masons aren't getting Masonry during this time, so shouldn't be asked to pay for Masonry.

The Brother's question made no sense to me. I guess that he and I have had very different experiences with Masonry these past few months.

To my mind, Masonry is everywhere right now!

Our Lodges have older and sicker members for whom the virus is of great danger. Hopefully we have all reached out to these Brothers. Doing so is certainly an expression of Masonry.

Our Lodges have Brothers who have lost their jobs and are facing great financial hardship. Washington Masonic Charities is raising money to help, and getting that help where it is needed. That is certainly a strong expression of Masonry, and something our individual Lodges can be doing right now as well.

Lodges, Districts, and Grand Lodges are holding Masonic education video conference meetings. The most interesting Masonic educational discussion I've taken part in in years was held over Zoom by our own District 8. I've always been interested in feminine Freemasonry, so thanks to the Grand Lodge of California I was able to enjoy a long presentation by a female Grand Master. This week I know that some of the Masons I'm close with are going to be attending an educational event hosted by the Grand Lodge of New York. Not a week goes by, almost not a day goes by, that doesn't have one or more of these events.

Many of us enjoy fun side degrees. The Railroad Degree, the Loggers Degree, Shipbuilders, and Pirates all seem popular in our Jurisdiction. Well, I received a side degree via Zoom too, it was great fun.

Lodges and Grand Lodges are hosting regular toasts to build fellowship and to remember our absent Brothers.

For quite literally hundreds of years very well respected Masonic scholars have pointed out that Masons aren't much into actually reading about Freemasonry. Well, we have libraries of books all available. What a great opportunity this pandemic is for us to actually read about our Fraternity, no matter what our interest in it is.

Brothers are creating Masonic blogs, videos, and podcasts at a breakneck pace.

In my opinion there is more Freemasonry available right now than at any previous time. All one must do is take a look to find it. To believe that there is no Masonry simply because we are not able to hold Stated Meetings is a badly false belief.

#Dues #VideoConference #MasonicEducation #SideDegrees #WashingtonMasonicCharities #Pandemic

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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In my last post I talked about how important it is for a leader to both hold and communicate a vision to those around him. You can read that post here.

In this post I'll be writing about one of the ways in which a leader can lose this essential vision, even without realizing that it is being lost.

As leaders we badly run the risk of losing our vision if we get overly caught up in the details of the day to day operations of our Lodge or other organization. This is because in order to properly utilize vision, it must be held at the forefront of our minds. If however we are so focused on side issues and little details, those things move to the front of our minds, and vision gets lost somewhere in the back, with all the clutter.

At the Lodge level, if we are Worshipful Master, I suggest that we don't need to be intimately involved with our charity and scholarship funds, rather we can let 'Bob' know what our vision is for those funds, and trust him to take care of things. We don't need to plan our annual camping trip/retreat, rather we can let 'Alan' know what our vision is for that weekend and let him plan it.

These are just a couple quick examples, but the principal holds true across all activities of the Lodge.

We need to communicate our vision for the Lodge to our Brothers, and then step back and let them help us achieve that vision. If we can't step back and feel that we must control everything, well then we will lose that vision because we will become consumed by meaningless details.

We see this I think in Grand Lines as well. A new fellow gets elected and has a vision of where he would like to see our Fraternity go. Very quickly though that vision is consumed by meaningless details. He's spending countless hours a week on the highway, sitting in meetings discussing property the Grand Lodge owns, sitting in other meetings talking about the stock market. Still more meetings discussing charitable efforts. Eventually he becomes Grand Master and whatever vision for the future, whatever help he was going to provide our Fraternity is dead and buried, buried under a mountain of details because he never was able to trust his Brothers enough to let go. Or, he didn't feel that he could let go given the expectations of the Masons of his Jurisdiction.

To be successful leaders we must have a vision, we must be able to hold that vision first in our minds, and we must be able to communicate that vision. If we can't do all three of those things we will fail in our duty to lead. Therefore, we must guard against putting too much focus on those things that would tend to overwhelm our vision. If we can do this, we can have a great year in the East.

#Leadership #Lodge #Vision #GrandLine

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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As Freemasons those of us who desire leadership have that opportunity. We can have the tremendous honor of becoming a leader of men by becoming Worshipful Master of our Lodges.

Title and position however, no matter how lofty, do not make a man a leader. Position is simply a place, title is only words.

What actually makes a man a leader is having at least one other person who is willing to follow where he leads. It is impossible to be a leader without having followers in turn.

It is I think important to ask, what makes a leader? What makes a man become someone who other men want to follow?

I argue that the answer to that question is vision.

In order to lead, a leader must hold a vision of where he wants his Lodge to be in the future, and of equal importance, he must be able to communicate that vision to the members of his Lodge.

If he either lacks vision, or can't communicate that vision, then the members of his Lodge can't follow him, if for no other reason than the fact that they won't know where they are headed, or where their efforts should be directed.

What this means for those of us who lead our Lodges, or who plan on leading a Lodge is that we must spend some time figuring out exactly where we think our Lodge should be in the future, and plot out at least a few initial steps that can be taken to get the Lodge there.

What it also means is that we can't just bounce from our Installation to our first Stated Meeting as Worshipful Master. Rather we must sit down with the members of our Lodge, at the very least the key members of our Lodge, and we must explain our vision for the Lodge to them in the most complete manner possible.

By doing so, the members of our Lodge can help us to achieve our vision.

By neglecting to do so, we have little to no chance of success during our time in the East.

Standing in the East we have no greater duty than to hold a vision for our Lodge, and communicate that vision to our members.

Why?

Because a single bad year can and does decimate a Lodge when it happens.

A Lodge can go along very well for years, improving a bit with each passing year until it is ticking along at a superb level. Providing education, providing fellowship, growing. That is the work of years, the next year all of that work can be destroyed.

I've unfortunately experienced that exact thing in one of my Lodges. If you've been a Mason long enough, you probably have seen it too. You have probably also seen that it takes years of good leadership to repair the damage done during a single bad year.

This cycle can be crushing to a Lodge.

The good news is that the cycle can be prevented. We prevent it by holding a vision for our Lodge's future, and communicating that vision to our members. If we do that, we are actually leading our Lodge, and we will be assured of a good year in the East, for our Brothers will be there to assist us. With the help and support of the members of our Lodge, we can not fail.

#Leadership #Lodge #Vision

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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