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Montana Freemason                                              January 2018                                 Volume 94   Number 1
                                                      Civility

                                  David H. Fryday, Grand Master of AF&AM of Oregon

      All too regularly, we experience or observe incidents   Similarly, the remaining offi  cers of the lodge must
     of hostility, crudeness, or insensitivity in our day-to-day  take  their  lead  from  the  Worshipful  Master.  Their
     experience. During these occasions, our fellow human  loyalty, energy and eff orts must speak to the goals set
     beings fail to demonstrate the common courtesies their  forth. Each lodge offi  cer has his duties spelled out in
     parents failed to teach them or that they failed to learn  the Code and By-Laws of the Lodge and inculcated
     elsewhere. On many of the recent television “reality”  at the installation. The serious execution of his duties
     shows,  rudeness  appears  to  be  both  encouraged  and  insures the suitable functioning of the Lodge and is his
     celebrated. This  type  of  boorish  behavior  should  be  prelude to the next chair in the lodge.
     discouraged or condemned, and not considered stylish
     or acceptable.                                          As members of the lodge, we must contribute our
                                                            segment  of  the  equation.  The  offi  cers  of  the  lodge
      What  these  off enders  need  is  a  well-taught  lesson  can only have success with the eff orts of those who
     in  civil  behavior.  Who  can  provide  these  lessons?  follow.  The  cheerful  consent  of  the  lodge  members
     The  organization  best  equipped  to  teach  these  types  is key to a successful year and a strong future of the
     of  lesson  is  the  Masonic  Fraternity.  We  teach  our  lodge.  Civility  is  the  lubricant  which  smoothes  the
     lessons by word and by example. Our organization is  interaction of the lodge members.
     structured with lines of authority, orderliness, courtesy,
     and cooperation.                                        What  is  civility?  According  to  Merriam-Webster,
                                                            civility is polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior
      The  subject  of  civility  was  raised  last  month  at  –  behavior  that  we  should  be  able  to  expect  from
     the  Conference  of  Grand  Masters  in  Baltimore. The  our family, friends, fellow employees and our Lodge
     featured speaker at the event was a renowned expert  Brothers.  One  would  hope  that  we  could  see  more
     in  the  history  of  Masonry.  UCLA  history  professor,  civility in local politics, national politics and on the
     Margaret Jacob, stated that at the time of development  world stage. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.
     of modern Masonry, the world was in a state of turmoil  What has gone wrong?
     and  fl ux.  Uncouth  behavior,  poor  manners,  and  a
     disregard  of  others  were  common  place.  Politically,   There  are  many  factors  which  lead  to  the  lack  of
     the  intellectuals  were  challenging  the  authority  of  civility  or  the  deterioration  of  polite,  reasonable  or
     the monarchs and espousing the merits of democracy  respectful  behavior.  In  general,  the  lack  of  trust  in
     and  a  representative  form  of  government. Advances  those  around  us  and  the  failure  to  seek  a  common
     were being made in the sciences of physics, chemistry  ground  or  solution  ultimately  results  in  uncivil
     and  astronomy.  Great  strides  were  being  made  in  behavior. Impugning the motives of others, or a general
     literature  and  education.  Out  of  this  Renaissance  suspicion of others, does not lead to communication
     movement developed modern Freemasonry – a forum  or  cooperation.  Assuming  that  most  people  are
     for free thinkers, where ideas and concepts could be  untrustworthy  or  that  the  “other  side”  is  inherently
     discussed and debated. Masonry conveyed the benefi ts  malevolent does not contribute to a healthy dialog or
     of  civility  to  a  coarse  world  around  them;  brought  solutions to our pressing problems.
     light to darkness; and contrasted a new form of order
     juxtaposed against a chaotic way of life.               As noted at the National Civility Center, there are
                                                            four  key  components  to  civility:  people,  process,
      Today  in  Masonic  lodges,  the  Worshipful  Master  dialogue  and  trust.  People  need  to  be  motivated  to
     is the ultimate leader of the lodge; he is responsible  start the process of dialogue and ultimately trust those
     for the wellbeing of the lodge and the welfare of the  they deal with. The principles of engagement are:
     Brothers  of  his  lodge.  His  rule  must  be  benevolent
     because this is a voluntary organization. His decisions   • View everyone in positive terms
     must  be  wise,  farsighted  and  equitable.  A  good   • Work on building common language
     Worshipful  Master  uses  all  of  the  resources  at  his   • Build strong relationships of trust
     disposable.  The  evidence  of  good  leadership  is  the   • Remember our shared humanity
     smooth  operation  of  the  lodge,  the  satisfaction  its   • Value both the process and the results
     members, and accomplishments of the Craft.              • Look both inside and outside for guidance



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