Drawing on ideas of notable Masons before him as well as 21st century business management techniques, Bro. Rich blends together a prescription for the fraternity that could save the patient, restoring Freemasonry to its former health and glory.
Author’s NoteBro. Rich's paper is divided into five sections that look towards the future of Freemasonry.
There is a substantial and growing body of work addressing the decline of Freemasonry in the 21st Century. The decline has been so painfully obvious for so long that the body of work analyzing its causes stretches back decades. With the advent of the Internet and online publishing, forums, and BLOGS, the growth in the conversation of this topic has become exponential. Over the years I have added my voice to this cacophony as well. My favorite target to blame for all our misfortunes was failed leadership, particularly at the grand lodge level. But I was wrong. I have come to understand that I had mistaken what was merely the symptom of the disease (failed leadership) for the disease itself.
The good news is that I believe that the disease afflicting Freemasonry is curable. But treatment will not be easy. Like a radical treatment regimen for cancer, it will be painful and may even cause the patient to become more ill over the short term. But, the patient is still strong; is possessed of a good heart and a noble sprit; and, if it can face the brutal truth with courage, it will prevail.
The first section, Voices in the Wilderness, reviews four selected publications from the current body of work that addresses the future of Freemasonry.Bro. Rich's well-researched and well-thought-out paper is destined to become a Masonic classic. I urge you to read it, think about it, discuss it, and implement some of the ideas it presents.
The second section, How to Preserve and Stimulate Freemasonry, applies the discipline of the Business Week best-selling book Built To Last, by authors Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, to Freemasonry as an organization. Jim Collins is a student and teacher of enduring great companies — how they grow; how they attain superior performance; and, how good companies can become great companies. His books have been fixtures on the Business Week bestseller list and have been translated into 25 languages. His work has been featured in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company.
The third section, Something To Believe In, explores the three building blocks that are essential for building an organization that can move the hearts and minds of its members and some of the reasons behind the failure of our grand lodge organizations from being able to accomplish this goal.
The fourth section, The Grand Hairball, adapts the sage advice of corporate gurus Dr. Oren Harari and Gordon MacKenzie to the masonic context, and presents some conclusions on one possible root cause of the disease afflicting Freemasonry, as well as proposing some chemotherapy for grand lodges that could help lead to a cure.
The concluding section, Freemasonry 3.0, closes with a radical vision for the wholesale reorganization of the body of Freemasonry should grand lodges fail to take progressive action to respond to the needs, hopes, and aspirations of today's young Freemason. Freemasons were meant to be great innovators, and it's about time that we restore this legacy.
Author's note and Introduction reprinted with permission.
Masons | Rich Graeter | Reform Freemasonry! A Vision for the Future of Freemasonry | Freemasonry | Grand Lodge of Georgia | Burning Taper | BurningTaper.com