Document TitleSTB-85-11 MOTIVATION OF LODGE MEMBERS IN MASONIC Activities
Music by Brother J. L. F. Mendelssohn.
MOTIVATION OF LODGE MEMBERS IN
By R.W. Brother Ronald A. Brinkman
Grand Secretary of New Mexico
This paper has been adapted from a paper
given at The Southwest Masonic Conference
several years ago by R.W. Bro. Brinkman. His
enthusiasm, optimism and action is contagious.
We Thank him for sharing These thoughts with us.
MOTIVATION is the word. It i.s hoped this
paper will create interest, debate, discussion, and
possibly even a good argument, whereby
together we may begin to see the light that surely appears at the end of a dark tunnel through
which our Craft seems to be traveling.
Motivation implies movement. It means the
difference in getting up and doing something
rather than just sitting there and doing nothing
or letting someone else do it - that is apathy and
indifference. Webster defines motivation as
''causing or having the power to cause motion;
an impulse from within. ''
If we feel as we say we do regarding our
Fraternity, let's do something rather than just
talk about it and appoint a committee to report
back next year and the next.... This Conference has been meeting for 28 years.
Numerous subjects have been presented in that
time covering various areas of our operation.
Many have skirted declining numbers, indifferent leadership and so on. But I found none
which said directly, ''Hey, we have a real pro-
blem, let's do something now!''
Some time ago Chief Justice Warren Burger
in addressing the American Bar Association
quoted the great Masonic writer and Jurist,
Dean Roscoe Pound of the Harvard Law
School, as saying in 1906, ''The courts of the
20th Century cannot operate on the laws of the
19th Century.'' My brethren, are we so
At this Conference and others around the
Nation through the years, including the Conferences of Grand Masters, many speakers have
been saying or implying that we are not concerned about numbers; that we want QUALITY
in our ranks. This has been so often repeated,
that it sounds a little like the small boy who said,
''I don't believe in ghosts but I'm still afraid of
The fear of change does strange things to
people. It has been known to close their eyes, tie
their hands and stop them from thinking. No
one seems to want to rock the boat; perhaps it is
time that we do a little rocking. He who was called a radical a few years ago is rapidly becoming
just another old conservative "stick in the
mud". We can't do that! Why not?.... Well,
we just never have. Well, maybe we should . . .
or later on we may not have the opportunity.
This Fraternity cannot live and thrive on the
stories of its great and glorious past. If we do,
we may be not long for this world. Pessimistic,
you say. Well, perhaps a little; but let me tell you
that for many years I have been traveling for our
Order and much of my time is spent with officers
and members of the local lodges, not just with
those who direct and govern the policy of our
Grand Lodge; and I think I see it as it really is;
not as how we would like to see it. I have attended lodge unrecognized as a Grand Lodge Officer
in a number of States, including yours; I have
seen the problems (challenges) at the grass roots
level and that is where we had better get the job
done. We're in a rut, particularly in the rural
areas; and the only difference between a rut and
a grave is the depth of the hole. If our efforts
have failed in the past, perhaps we are fortunate;
now we know some of the things NOT to do.
We have a lodge that finally presented a 50
year pin to a Past Grand Lodge Officer over two
years late at the insistence of those in authority.
Another case where the past due recipient was
hospitalized; then died before they got around to
presenting the pin. This is our "dirty laundry"
of which we are not proud; perhaps your
Jurisdiction has some of the same.
For a number of years surveys have been
made into the challenges of our time. A few
years ago I had the privilege of serving on a
Membership Committee which studied conditions in our Jurisdiction for a year and then
reported at Grand Lodge. We found many
things we considered wrong and poorly handled.
We endeavored to tell it like it was, without pretty phrases. Finally, we concluded with a number
of suggestions. Now, several years later none of
these 14 ideas are by and large being used by
lodges, nor did Grand Lodge take any action
where possible legislation was indicated.
North Carolina is one of those jurisdictions
where gains were continuing and conditions appeared healthy. A past Grand Master, William
Hooks, in addressing the Shrine gave two
reasons for part of their status. One, minimizing
the secret aspects of our Order to the public, and
secondly, the unity and mutual cooperation between Craft Masonry and the appendant bodies;
he said that the latter is a must.
Many of you, perhaps a majority, are
members of, have been active in, and honored
by one or more of the various bodies that
predicate membership on the Blue Lodge.
However, in my travels, I often observe that
many such brethren are too busy to lend their
time, talents, efforts and attendance at functions
of the Mother Lodge, from whom their
organizations derive candidates. I heard of a
Potentate who asked his Nobles to HUMBLE
themselves and attend Blue Lodge.
A Grand Master of California scheduled
several area meetings throughout his State to
which were invited the Master Masons who had
been raised in his year. At each meeting the
Grand Master explained the relationship between the Grand Lodge and the constituent lodge
and covering the activities and programs of the
various committees of the Grand Lodge. He also
gave each group a brief history of Masonry in
that Jurisdiction and then advised them as to
their duties and responsibilities to their lodge
and to their brethren in Freemasonry. Apparently these new brethren were eager to learn more of
our Craft, as in many cases the meetings were
prolonged by many questions asked of Grand
Master. When a new Mason is motivated to
learn more about our organization, often some
lodge Officer or Grand Lodge Officer has been
The need for interested candidates is always
with us; it always has been. If every petitioner
was as enthusiastic as we would have him, there
would be no hue and cry about declines, attendance, and Masonic Education; for there are
always those who of their own accord seek
knowledge, light and education. The problem
then, is to extend our circle of light further into
the multitude of our membership. One of the
best ways to do this is by example. Let our light
really shine in all places and at all times. As
stated by M.W. Brother Hooks, "We should tell
the world what Freemasonry is, what it teaches,
what it stands for; and we should get this
message across to every Mason in every Grand
Jurisdiction . "
A few years ago at this Conference, R.W.
Claude Austin, (PGM, Tex.) commented "Let's
put some of this talk into action . . . we need action . . . I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one
any day. I'd rather one would walk with me than
merely show the way. I can soon learn how to do
it, if you will let me see it done."
How many times in the 28 years of this Conference have we gone home and seen to it that
each of the newspapers in our major cities of our
five states have been given extensive coverage
about what Masons are trying to do for the good
of our Nation, mankind in general and what we
really stand for?
Success in the business world is based on
motivation; these same factors can be applied to
Masonry where the wages are satisfaction, pride
in a job well done, the inner glow of personal accomplishment and something good done for
one's fellow man. Efficiency is a dandy word for
the other fellow; but let's put on that hat
ourselves and start where we should start, with
number one . . . ME . . . all the Masonic Education and candidate training available will not
help if we at this level do not implement it in
those lodges which think they have neither the
know-how nor personnel to get the message
across, so take the easy way out and do nothing.
Sometimes these lodges feel alone and not really
an integral part of our Masonic Family; I believe
that some change in this area is a must. It is
results that count, not oratory at Conferences
and at Grand Lodge.
Efficiency takes imagination; and imagination goes hand in hand with initiative. Imagination is not necessarily being far out and impossible. Imagination can be the difference between
routine and real progress. Originate and Invent
ideas and then give them a hell of a try. Nearly
everything in our modern world today is the
result of imagination. Technology; medicine;
space flight; communication. That which is now
in use was once only imagined.
Action is the key word; and enthusiasm is
necessary to create action. Let's get a piece of
the action. Our own action, if you please, and
create the action, not wait for it to come to us.
Let's stop talking high sounding phrases and do
I first said that I couldn't tell you how to
motivate but hoped to stir you enough to stand
on your hind legs and discuss IDEAS; for it is
ideas that motivate action. If I have accomplished nothing more than a good debate, today, I'm
satisfied and rewarded.
My brethren, I'm a little like the lad digging
frantically in the large manure pile.... with all
of this here for me to dig in . . . there must be a
pony somewhere. For years I have been accused
of being an enthusiastic cock-eyed optimist; well
maybe I am; but I just can't believe that all of
this talent can or will permit our beloved Fraternity to become second rate or sink into oblivion.
Are you a Master Mason? . . . The Candidate
answered enthusiastically, "I AM!" . . . If you
were brought to trial for being a Mason, would
there be enough evidence to convict you?
R.W. Bro. Brinkman may be contacted at The
Grand Lodge of New Mexico, Box 25004, Albuquerque, N.M. 87125.