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Montana Freemason  January 2016                        Volume 92 Number 1

by Design and several other good ideas that didn’t     get progressively harder, but the initial level would
get buy-in, weren’t understood or were shelved by      be achievable with reasonable effort. This is one
the next Grand Master. So I am pitching these ideas    idea on this subject but I am also entertaining other
or issues as I go to District Meetings and Lodges      ideas or other tweaks to his or the old program and
this year hopefully so you can listen, understand the  encourage your thoughts and ideas.
issue or concept and provide me with feedback to
either make the program better, let me know why it       3. Membership Program. Membership is and has
needs changing or why you believe it will or won’t     always been an issue since I have been in Masonry.
work. I believe by collaborating on these things       We continue to see declines in membership
we can come up with ideas that will help the Craft     statewide and have seen more programs than you
succeed and make our Lodges and Grand Lodge            can shake a stick at without a major change. It is
work better together for all of us.                    inevitable that as the large older classes of Masons
                                                       pass on we will eventually level out. However, I
  1. I will present the following idea to the Montana  want to float an idea to see what you think of it.
Masonic Foundation to expand the Lodge Education       It will recognize a Brother who is the first line
Program to allow any Lodge program that serves         signer on two petitions where the new Brothers are
or assists local schools to be included in the same    raised, do their proficiencies in all three degrees and
program as the Kindles and Bikes. You would be         attend half the meetings in their first year. Awards
required to follow the same rules and contribution as  for doing this would be a hat, shirt or tie, though
the Bikes and Kindles programs, but could use this     I am open to suggestions on that front. I believe
for a scholarship program, helping with prizes for     this would produce new Masons who will be active
talent Shows or Spelling bees. Currently you have      in their Lodges and become future leaders in the
to apply to have your program recognized and most      Lodge. Let me know your thoughts, pro or con on
Lodges that have separate programs don’t know they     this idea.
can apply. The Lodge would have to select a single
program and match the Foundation contribution            4. Altering Selection of the Junior Warden. This
up to the maximum allowed. The Foundation has          will change how we view the “unofficial progressive
permitted two Lodges to do this recently. I raise      line”. Montana Masonry does not have a progressive
this as I know of Lodges that have great programs      line, each appointed officer only having the position
they have done very successfully for many years.       for a year and only the Wardens and Deputy Grand
Currently they do not participate in the program and   Master being elected. The line traditionally has been
I do not see a valid reason why they cannot. We need   progressive, with Brothers occasionally backing out
to hear from the lodges who support this concept so    or being removed. The expectation, however, is
that when the Grand Lodge Foundation Directors         that once appointed unless a Brother screws up, he
meet we can see if that is important to the Craft.     will progress to be the Grand Master one day. This
                                                       gives the members of Grand Lodge a long period for
  2. The Ritualist Program was introduced as a         vetting these members, but we don’t have much of a
way to hopefully increase a desire of the Brothers     formal process for determining if this person should
to learn more parts. Unfortunately, the program has    proceed. We often are unable to appoint brothers to
not done well over the years for several reasons.      the Grand Lodge line because they simply do not
One reason I heard was that more experienced           have the time to devote to the 11 year line at that
Brothers saw no reason to participate as they didn’t   time. Some have their kids in school and activities,
do the parts to be recognized. The program was not     others have reached an age where they are not sure
intended to recognize the Brothers who are already     how the Great Architect will treat them by the time
proficient so much as to encourage new Brothers        they become Grand Master. My proposal is to retain
to begin learning parts and to encourage everyone      the ten Districts and have appointed District Officers
to learn the parts that their Lodge or District had    who may or may not be Appointed Officers. The
trouble performing. The Great Architect has designs    Grand Lodge would be divided into four regions.
for all of us at some point so we must develop new     Each Region would nominate three Brothers to run
Brothers to do the parts so that the Lodges are more   for the position of Junior Grand Warden. Resumes
self-sufficient in doing degree work. I mentioned      for each would be provided in advance for their
my concept to Brother Daniel Gardiner and within       election at the Annual Communication. They would
three days got a proposal from him for a revision      be voted upon by the voting delegates at Grand
that would provide four levels of proficiency with     Lodge. The three candidates would be required to be
different options of parts to learn to achieve those   Past Masters, District Officers and would be selected
levels. A copy of that proposal is in the Magazine     by a committee from that region of sitting Masters
so you can review and critique it. The levels would    and Past Grand Masters. Advantages of the system

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