I attended a function recently as the guest of one of my Brothers, along with a MM from one of my sister lodges. Was not able to attend the meeting itself, obviously, but was allowed to join in for a hearty dinner and listen to a pretty good talk on the book of Ecclesiastes. Fascinating stuff. Shook a lot of hands, met a lot of new people.
Anyway, I had two exchanges, one short and one long/frustrating, with Brothers I already know. The short one feels like it played into the longer one.
After the dinner, I talked to a Brother I knew, commenting on how well we had been received. "Oh, absolutely, I had no doubt that you’d love it. [NSAB] is the best, friendliest body in all the Fraternity. You just can’t compare." I brushed this one off because we had very definitely been greeted with open arms. I didn’t even think about this until I was meditating on the other exchange.
The other exchange was with a Brother who I know even better. He’s a very influential brother in our Temple. We’d been talking about different opportunities in the appendant bodies after my raising. He’s very keen on seeing people join [NSAB], which is great, and I plan to join it eventually, but I also want to take some time and "soak" in Blue Lodge. We talked about our line officers and I mentioned how outstanding I think our JW has been.
This is when things started to get more frustrating. This line got busted out (paraphrased from memory): "Well, he’s a very innate leader, and I’m very proud of him, but he doesn’t know the true secrets of Freemasonry. If he’s going to be an effective leader, he needs to ask more questions about what happened in his Master’s Degree, and have them answered, and he can only do that in [NSAB]. That’s where he’ll gain leadership skills, too. Ninety percent of what you hear in the Blue Lodge is bullshit unless you follow up on it elsewhere. We have the answers. You can’t be a good Officer without having learned from [NSAB], and when you sit in the chairs, I want you have done that first. You’ll gain a lot of leadership skills that you need if you do that before getting in the chairs." This is a sentiment I have heard before from a lot of older Brothers in [NSAB].
I was pretty frustrated by that. Right now, none of our line officers have been through any of the appendant bodies, including some that have been in Lodge for a while now, and the vast majority of them have been doing an incredible job. We have some BLO guys, but we also have some that are considering joining up with the appendant bodies when it’s the right time. I feel like it’s very dismissive from my Brothers in the appendant bodies to place so much emphasis on things outside of Blue Lodge in specific relation to the running of the Blue Lodge.
I’m neither really hear nor there on the appendant bodies, because I’m really interested, but I want to wait for a while, and I have no plans or machinations set on getting into the Chairs because it is waaaaaaay too early for me to have that kind of discussion. I just feel like this a really common sort of sentiment among guys in appendant bodies, and that it’s incredibly dismissive/disrespectful of Craft Lodge in general.
Am I out of line in feeling a little miffed about this? I don’t know for sure, but I am.