Music by Brother J. L. F. Mendelssohn


by Allen E. Roberts

I asked a fire chief what the most frequent
cause of fires was. He said:  Treasures in
the attic that are too good to throw away,
but which are unfit for any use. 

So,  treasures in the attic  cause
conflagrations. We've saved Father's old
dried-out rocking chair, Grandmother's
brittle dressmaking patterns, Uncle John's
soiled sports clothes, Aunt Suzie's musty
wedding gown and veil. All, and more, have
sentimental value. All cost money to acquire.
Most took a lot of effort to get at the time.
All are equally useless and harmless-until a
wayward spark touches them.

Most of us have "treasures in the, attic of
our minds" that we're not about to throw
away. It took years of study, considerable
sums of money, and plenty of time and effort
to acquire these treasures. Why should we
throw them away?

Because some of these "treasures" have become
"fool's gold". Often our musty ideas, our
dried-out thinking, all the old knowledge
acquired over a period of years can be mare
of a hazard than the treasures we've been
storing in the attic of our homes. Antiquated
thinking can destroy men and organizations.
What we say and do, does affect those wah
whom we come in contact daily.

Only those who are completely isolated from
life can afford to cling to the useless
treasures that clutter the attic of the mind.

Not too long ago I was feeling poorly. With
some prodding from my wife I visited my
doctor. He's not my doctor just because he's
a personal friend and Brother. He's my doctor
because I know that he keeps abreast of the
changes that are constantly taking place in
medicine. He sets aside time to study, to
attend and participate in medical
conferences. He teaches medical students and
other doctors. He put me in a hospital for a
series of tests.

The tests, performed by experts in their
fields, disclosed a tumor in my colon. An
operation was necessary. I knew the surgeon
well. I knew that he was constantly
discarding old treasures and storing up new
ones. So, I didn't hesitate to let him take

There is no profession that touches the lives
of men more than does medicine. I know of no
men who have a more difficult time in
acquiring "treasures of the mind". And I know
of none who have to discard these treasures
more frequently. Those who discard them
remain excellent doctors; those who don't
become mediocre.

Actually, there isn't a field of endeavor in
which man can stand still. Ever since the day
that Mrs. Franklin is supposed to have told
Brother Benjamin to go fly a kite,
electricity has become a necessity. We
couldn't get along today without it.

The computer runs on electricity. And the
computer is an excellent example of how
treasures acquired with time, effort, study,
and money are discarded rapidly. Yet, these
treasures are used as stepping stones for
something better.

Even the food we eat has changed. The way
it's cooked, packaged, and served now isn't
like it was even a week ago. As we move about
the country and world, we try new recipes and
our tastes change.

They change, that is, unless we're like the
mountaineer who came to town and saw a box of
tangerines for the first time. "What are
those?" he asked the grocer.

"Tangerines. Try one."

"No, I reckon not," said the mountaineer.
"I've got so many tastes now I can't satisfy,
I ain't aimin' to take on any more."

The mountaineer was being frugal, perhaps,
but he wasn't adding to his treasures.

But the mountaineer isn't alone. Many of us
"city slickers" aren't adding to our
treasures, either. Too many of us consider
the old treasures good enough. We aren't
about to discard them and add new ones.

One "treasure" that has never been discarded,
except in rare instances, is the committee.
Committees are everywhere. They exist from
the mighty Congress of the United States down
to the smallest club in the country. Every
American Lodge and Grand Lodge has
committees. Committees, then, are "treasures"
that should not be discarded. Right? Wrong!

It has been said that a committee is a group
of men who individually can do nothing, but
who can collectively decide that nothing can
be done! A committee has a chairman. Tao
often the chairman is expected to do the work
and the thinking of the members. The
"committee" becomes a mockery; it's a one-man
show. Example: the newscasts on any given
evening focus on the Congressional Committee
Chairman; the name of the Chairman is a
household word; the rest of the members are
kept so far in the background they appear not
to exist.

During workshops on Masonic education or
Masonic law, I am often asked: "If someone
proposes something from the floor that I
don't like, what should I do?"

"Give it to a committee, or appoint one," is
my advice. "That will kill it."

More and more progressive organizations, even
the Federal government, that want to get
things done, are steering away from
committees. They are appointing commissions,
or even task forces. A few, too few, are
using TEAMS. It is the latter that really
gets things moving.

A TEAM is not a committee. It is a group of
individuals working together to achieve the
goals of the organization - the Lodge - that
they have helped to establish.

Our mythical Worshipful Master, Ted Gray, in
Part II of this series said: "Get the best
men you can find on the several teams. One
caution, though. Don't select men who think
alike. We don't want a bunch of `yes men.' We
want men who think for themselves, men who
will give us the action we need."

This selection of the men to make up the team
is a critical point. The unfortunate
inclination everywhere is to surround
ourselves with people who think as we do. We
do not really appreciate criticism. All of us
would rather have a pat on the back than a
kick in the pants. But often it's the kick in
the pants that makes us stop to reflect, then
do something better than we would have done
it before.

The goal, or goals, to be reached will
determine what qualifications the members of
the team should have. In the first three
parts of this series, we laid the groundwork
for setting goals. In Part I, we determined
who needs More Light in Masonry-all of us; we
discussed the needs to be met, and how to
find out what the members really want; and
some steps to take to meet the needs. In Part
II, we talked about planning; how to
determine what the problems are; and some
methods for solving these problems. In Part
III, we worked with goals; we determined that
goals, to be effective, must be set by all
concerned; that commitment can only come from
within the person himself; and there was a
Guide to tell us at a glance how teamwork
improves our goal setting.

The overall goal, or objective, of every
Masonic Lodge must be to fulfill the PURPOSE
This means that every member must become a
Master Mason in every sense that this
implies. To accomplish this, every Freemason
must be put to work for Freemasonry - doing
what he likes to do.

The Worshipful Master can "Set the Craft to
work and give them proper instructions for
their labor." He can do it by establishing
enough TEAMS to properly manage his Lodge.
And to accomplish all that his Lodge should,
dozens of TEAMS can be set to work.

This is the answer to the well-informed
Brother who wrote: "More Light in Masonry:
Who Needs It?" . . . . I feel that a better
title would be Who Wants It?!!" He went on to
write: "It was a sage who said: `You can lead
a horse to water, but you cannot make him
drink. You can send a boy to college, but you
can't make him think'."

To which Conrad Hahn truthfully replied: "He
may be a horse led to water, but a wise
mentor, an individual with Masonic knowledge
and enthusiasm for imparting light to another
individual, can, I believe, make the water so
palatable that the horse will have to drink
in spite of himself. Impossible? If it is,
then Masonry is `impossible', i.e., no longer

To keep active men interested in anything,
they must be given something to do that
interests them. To arbitrarily appoint them
to some existing committee defeats the
purpose you are trying to achieve. They
aren't going to work at something in which
they have no interest.

How do we determine what interests a man? By
asking him!

This simple solution is far too often
overlooked.. As a candidate is working with
his instructor and, hopefully, his Mentor,
the Teams working for the Lodge should be
explained to him. He should be asked to think
about the Team he would like to work with
after he is raised. If the one he wants to
work with doesn't exist, start a new one! It
just might turn out to be the boot the Lodge

A TEAM, properly balanced with men of
differing opinions and knowledge, cannot be
static. It must move forward. It will be
dynamic. It will set goals for itself that no
Master, or any other leader, would dare to.
In endeavoring to reach those goals it will
create enthusiasm in the whole Lodge.

All of us have seen this happen. It may not
have been in our own Lodge, but in one close
by. For example: a small group of members
believes the Lodge should have a new Temple.
They convince others of the need; the
enthusiasm begins to build' up. Soon the
consensus of opinion in the Lodge causes the
Master to appoint a committee to investigate
the situation and report back. The committee,
fortunately, works as a Team (and it usually
does in a case such as this). The Lodge ends
up with a new Temple. Why?

In all important situations like this, the
Master wisely appoints a group of men of
differing temperaments and knowledge. Each is
a specialist in his own field. Each reports
his findings to the group. There is a lot of
discussion, a lot of give and take. Seldom,
if ever, is a vote taken among the group. It
arrives at a consensus of opinion. This later
phrase - consensus. of opinion-is the
"secret" to the success of teamwork.

Consensus is not a majority vote. One over
fifty percent becomes a majority. Anyone who
loses by only one vote isn't going to be
happy. The chances of the majority winning
his support are slim. Usually the objections
of the fellow who loses haven't been listened
to, and those objections may have been valid.
He is frustrated. Often he'll leave the
meeting talking about the "clique" that runs
the Lodge. And he's probably correct!

When we reach a consensus of opinion, all the
arguments, pro and con, have been heard,
weighed, and discussed openly and fully. The
group has worked together as a TEAM. It has
agreed that the final alternative is the best
that can be obtained at the time and under
the circumstances. We may not end up with
exactly what we want, but what we do have is

Teamwork is constructive. It puts plans into
effect. It achieves goals. It takes
constructive leadership (this will be
analyzed at length in the next article in
this series). The chairman of a committee can
manipulate his members; the leader of a TEAM
cannot. If he tries to, he will soon have no
Team to manipulate.

There are certain criteria that should be
considered in selecting men for the various

- Willingness to serve
- Ability
- Temperament
- Time available far the task
- Skills
- Experience
- Training
- Capacity to learn

It cannot be over-emphasized that individuals
of differing qualifications should be members
of the Teams. Charles L. Hughes, in Goal
Setting, has said this better than anyone

"Many managers (leaders) have a tendency to
select subordinates in their own images; that
is, to staff their team with people who are
like themselves. This is neither a healthy
nor an effective approach to organizing and
balancing a team. It is not healthy because
of what it can do to individuals, and it is
not effective because we cannot build a
goal-achieving organization with identical
.people. The criteria for a balanced team do
riot require that each individual member be a
miniature team unto himself; the necessary
abilities must be present, not within each
person, but within the overall group."

The Team leader is in many respects a
"moderator". He calls the members of the Team
together, states the purpose of the meeting,
covers in broad terms the overall goal the
Master would like to achieve. The Team takes
over. Each member contributes to the
discussion. Through a consensus of opinion
the goal of the Master is set, or modified,
and it becomes the goal of each member of the
Team. Each man has committed himself to its

It is important to remember that Freemasonry
is a voluntary organization. Men cannot be
forced to work, to attend meetings, or to
function in any capacity in the Lodge. Only
through voluntary participation can a Lodge
be successful in reaching the goals the
Worshipful Master would like to reach. This
is one of the many reasons the traditional
concept of committees has been, for the most
part, a failure in all voluntary

"Master's wages" in Freemasonry consists
mainly of but one thing - RECOGNITION. A
member of a Team is more likely to achieve
the recognition he ought to get for a job
well done than a member of a committee. Once
Teams start functioning properly, everyone
becomes aware of the importance of each
member. As time goes on, each member of the
Team will take charge of one or more of the
functions chosen. Each man is a little better
in some phase than anyone else. This will be
recognized by the Team, and his knowledge
will be put to work for the good of the

Freemasonry is unique in many respects. The
most unusual is the one that places the
Worshipful Master in complete charge of
everything the Lodge does. His decisions
cannot be overruled by the Lodge, only by the
Grand Master or Grand Lodge. All committees,
or Teams, serve at his will and pleasure. He
can veto anything they may do. This is as it
should be, because he alone is held
accountable for what his Lodge does or
doesn't do.

The constructive Master uses his iron-fisted
power with a silken touch. He will never
overrule the proposal of one of his Teams
unless the proposal violates a law of the
Grand Lodge, or one of the Landmarks of
Freemasonry. Such violation is highly
unlikely. Every properly selected Team will
have members who know the laws of the Grand
Lodge and who are familiar with the
Constitutions of Freemasonry.

The number of Teams necessary will vary for
every Lodge. The number of members needed on
a Team will differ according to the
situation. It should be the goal of each
Lodge to have every resident member actively
participate on one or more Teams. (A few
suggested Teams needed in a Lodge are listed
at the end of this Talk; how they should
function will be the subject of a later
article in this series.)

Every man is an individual. We all know this,
but we tend to forget it. Every man has his
likes and dislikes. Every man has ideas that
will benefit his Lodge and Freemasonry in
general. No one can benefit from ideas that
are kept buried. By utilizing Teams, by
encouraging each member to serve where he is
best qualified, ideas will be flushed out
into the open. All of us will be the

If we must continue to appoint committees,
let's do it-BUT let's make them work as

Try it. You'll find that Teamwork does make
the difference - the difference between
success and failure, between stagnation and
dynamic growth.


Freemasonry is an establishment founded on the benevolent
intention of extending and conferring mutual happiness upon the
best and truest principles of moral life and social virtue.  - CALCOTT.

This website does not speak for the Grand Lodge of Illinois or Freemasonry in general.

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