To all Masons in the Grand Lodge of Louisiana,
The first quarter of my term as your Grand Master is drawing to a close, and it has been a busy one. As some of you have heard me say the 207th Annual Grand Communication of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana is in the history books, and we are moving forward in a new year. Was the recent session a complete success? Were there some very emotional discussions on the floor? Did everyone leave with a feeling of peace and harmony? Were there some decisions that were made that will have deep-reaching effects on our fraternity? I will leave the answer to those questions up to each one of you to decide.
At the session on Sunday I heard one of our brothers address the members assembled and expressed the opinion that whenever someone that was pro Grand Lodge spoke, there was silence from the membership, but whenever someone that was against what was trying to be done got up to speak there were shouts of “time”, “oh not again”, “oh come on”, and finally “sit down”. I can only surmise that those brothers that expressed their feelings in that way were exasperated as to almost every action being challenged by a small hand full of members. Saturday was a very long day and emotions and nerves were worn thin.
There is no way that everyone can get everything that they want to be passed or addressed. There must be some give and take on both sides. If we, all of us, would put as much effort into working to get along as masons should, as was the effort put forth by some to get their points across at the Grand Communication, this fraternity would be thriving like it was in the 1950s and 1960s. The Grand Lodge would not have to be concerned with passing per capita tax increases, lodges would not have to worry as to whether or not they will have the finances or members to survive.
People, non-masons, overhear us as we talk about what is going wrong with our fraternity that we say we love. They hear the negativity and then they think “why would I want to join an organization that has so much discord or dissent in it”. We need to be positive about what we do. We need to get out the word about our Dyslexia Clinics and the Masonic Learning Foundation. Too often a brother will take to one of the social media outlets to vent his anger or frustrations because something didn’t go his way, only later to realize that he might have been wrong in his thinking. But once you hit send or post, those thoughts that were once yours are no longer in your control. As one of my masonic mentors has told me time and time again, write your thoughts down on paper and sleep on it before you commit it to any form of electronic communication.
To all of you, my brothers, I pledge to you that I will do my best to try to return us to a united fraternity. I know as do you that there are things that need to be addressed in the Handbook of Masonic Law, there are things that need to be addressed as to how certain committee meetings are held prior to the Annual Grand Session, and there are things that need to be corrected in the way that we communicate with each other. We did not get into the shape that we are in now overnight, and not all the things that need to be corrected can be corrected overnight, but the one thing that I do know is that WE, all of us, must work together to correct them. But we must go about it in the right and correct way and be respectful to each and every one of our brothers.
One thing that has been brought to my attention during my first months in office is the dress of some of our members when they attend their lodge meetings. My brothers, I realize that clothes do not make the mason, but let’s show some respect for our fraternity when you attend your lodge. I am certain that all our lodges have some type of air conditioning, and as such shorts, tee shirts and flip-flops are not an acceptable mode of dress, especially if your lodge is conferring a degree and you are taking part in the degree work. We want to make sure that our candidates remember the night they were initiated, passed, and raised and I am sure that they do not want to remember seeing their brothers in the above-mentioned mode of dress. So, my brothers, when you go to your lodge dress in the appropriate manner. I am not implying that everyone should wear a coat and tie, but I am asking that you leave the shorts, tee shirts and flip-flops for those more casual gatherings.
May the Grand Architect of the Universe bless each of you and your family. And may he smile down on Freemasonry in the State of Louisiana.
M: W: Martin J Reinschmidt