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have to apply to have your program recognized and most         Brother screws up, he will progress to be the Grand Master
Lodges that have separate programs don’t know they can         one day. This gives the members of Grand Lodge a long
apply. The Lodge would have to select a single program and     period for vetting these members, but we don’t have much
match the Foundation contribution up to the maximum            of a formal process for determining if this person should
allowed. The Foundation has permitted two Lodges to do         proceed. We often are unable to appoint brothers to the
this recently. I raise this as I know of Lodges that have      Grand Lodge line because they simply do not have the
great programs they have done very successfully for many       time to devote to the 11 year line at that time. Some have
years. Currently they do not participate in the program        their kids in school and activities, others have reached an
and I do not see a valid reason why they cannot. We need       age where they are not sure how the Great Architect will
to hear from the lodges who support this concept so that       treat them by the time they become Grand Master. My
when the Grand Lodge Foundation Directors meet we can          proposal is to retain the ten Districts and have appointed
see if that is important to the Craft.                         District Officers who may or may not be Appointed
2. The Ritualist Program was introduced as a way to            Officers. The Grand Lodge would be divided into four
hopefully increase a desire of the Brothers to learn more      regions. Each Region would nominate three Brothers to
parts. Unfortunately, the program has not done well over       run for the position of Junior Grand Warden. Resumes
the years for several reasons. One reason I heard was that     for each would be provided in advance for their election
more experienced Brothers saw no reason to participate as      at the Annual Communication. They would be voted
they didn’t do the parts to be recognized. The program was     upon by the voting delegates at Grand Lodge. The three
not intended to recognize the Brothers who are already         candidates would be required to be Past Masters, District
proficient so much as to encourage new Brothers to begin       Officers and would be selected by a committee from
learning parts and to encourage everyone to learn the          that region of sitting Masters and Past Grand Masters.
parts that their Lodge or District had trouble performing.     Advantages of the system would be to select from the best
The Great Architect has designs for all of us at some point    and most active members of the region for the position,
so we must develop new Brothers to do the parts so that        provide a Grand Master from each Region every four
the Lodges are more self-sufficient in doing degree work.      years and yet retain the Districts and their Officers as a
I mentioned my concept to Brother Daniel Gardiner and          training ground for Grand Lodge leadership. The Grand
within three days got a proposal from him for a revision       Lodges of Washington, Utah North Dakota and California
that would provide four levels of proficiency with different   use similar systems with some variations. The intent is to
options of parts to learn to achieve those levels. A copy      improve the Grand Lodge leadership with Brothers who
of that proposal is in the Magazine so you can review and      have the drive, energy and ideas to advance the Craft,
critique it. The levels would get progressively harder, but    without wearing them out on the journey. Vetting occurs
the initial level would be achievable with reasonable effort.  over the course of their career in their Lodge, as a District
This is one idea on this subject but I am also entertaining    Officer, the Nomination Committee and in the Wardens’
other ideas or other tweaks to his or the old program and      offices. This will require Code and possible Constitutional
encourage your thoughts and ideas.                             changes and two to three years to implement. I have
3. Membership Program. Membership is and has always            spoken with Right Worshipful Brothers Anderson and
been an issue since I have been in Masonry. We continue        Harada and if the craft elects to do this, they will back it
to see declines in membership statewide and have seen          through their years as Grand Master.
more programs than you can shake a stick at without
a major change. It is inevitable that as the large older         I bring these ideas up for the purpose of having the craft
classes of Masons pass on we will eventually level out.        discuss them, both pros and cons. The idea may or may
However, I want to float an idea to see what you think of      not be appropriate for the current time. You are the ones
it. It will recognize a Brother who is the first line signer   who would vote to implement it or defeat it, but I believe it
on two petitions where the new Brothers are raised, do         is an idea that needs to be discussed and so am presenting
their proficiencies in all three degrees and attend half the   it to you now so that you may do so in your Lodges, over
meetings in their first year. Awards for doing this would      coffee or the fence. I welcome comments from the Brothers
be a hat, shirt or tie, though I am open to suggestions on     on how it may be improved, changed or scrapped I look
that front. I believe this would produce new Masons who        forward to hearing from you on these ideas. Contact me at
will be active in their Lodges and become future leaders       lewissmith@grandlodgemontana.org.
in the Lodge. Let me know your thoughts, pro or con on
this idea.

4. Altering Selection of the Junior Warden. This will          Page 9
change how we view the “unofficial progressive line”.
Montana Masonry does not have a progressive line, each
appointed officer only having the position for a year
and only the Wardens and Deputy Grand Master being
elected. The line traditionally has been progressive, with
Brothers occasionally backing out or being removed. The
expectation, however, is that once appointed unless a
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