Thursday, February 7, 2013


I have been involved with DeMolay here in Pennsylvania for more than ten years. To some that may seem like a lot, while to others it's only a drop in the bucket. In that ten years, I have only been truly disappointed by a DeMolay or an Advisor on a handful of occasions. Unfortunately, today marks an addition to that list.

As I was getting ready to blog today, I found a comment awaiting moderation. It read as follows:

"Could you do your job and update the website. You have not even put any events on the calendar and it is already February. How do you expect me to go to events when you can't even put them on the website. I know that we have brought in kids this year and it is not shown on the website! So start doing your job and stop posting dumb blog posts."

I admit to being very taken aback by this remark. I wasn't initially sure how to respond to it, or if I should even post it. Then, I remembered a core tenet of the DeMolay program - teaching and mentoring. I also like to be as transparent as possible with my readers. With that in mind, I'm going to tackle this post from a couple of different angles.

First, as I have said before, if you're going to leave a comment, please sign it and let me know who I should respond to. An anonymous comment doesn't help anyone. When a person leaves a negative comment, and hides behind anonymity, I personally find it very cowardly. If you have an opinion that you'd like to state to me, please do so. I like to think I can take criticism well. We teach our Advisors and our State Officers to criticize in private rather than in public. This, however, was a very apparent shot at criticizing in public, but to what end? In the era of cyber bullying and web based issues, this kind of behavior does not solve any problems, it only exacerbates those that are present.

Next, I'd like to look at this from a "7 Cardinal Virtues" standpoint. We teach our members that Courtesy and Comradeship are key for DeMolays. Is this post courteous in any way? From my point of view, I don't believe it is. The 3rd Preceptor talks about reserving Courtesy for strangers, yet forgetting it for those that we are familiar with. I feel that this situation is a great example of that statement. I would hope that DeMolays in Pennsylvania would extend that kind of courtesy to everyone, but most especially to someone who works with the program.

Comradeship teaches that we should be looking out for our Brothers, ensuring that we stand with them. As has been said, "A house divided, cannot stand." Regardless of what you think of my job performance or my dedication, we are all on the same team. I'd rather you take a moment and help me perform to your expectations than to snipe at me from afar. As a person, I can only grow in that way.

Now, to address the concerns listed in the original message - the calendar and the membership numbers. Let's start with the Calendar. Last year, the PA DeMolay server suffered problems when the owner of the system passed away unexpectedly. At the same time, the computers malfunctioned, causing the entire Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania web system to crash. It took us nearly two months to get things back online. Part of that system was the Calendar on the PA DeMolay website (as well as on the Grand Lodge site.) Realizing the technical issues we faced, we have been in deep discussions about how best to solve the problems at hand. Repopulating the Calendar is a time intensive task. Until we decide which Calendar software we are going to use, we aren't investing the time. I can happily report that in the next couple of weeks, we will be transitioning to a Google Calendar that will provide better functionality and easier event management for our members. We didn't rush into this decision and we had to make it in consultation with other Masonic groups. While I apologize for the lack of events on the Calendar, I have been working diligently behind the scenes to improve the functionality and make it a better piece of software for our members. Unfortunately, this takes time, but, as I said, the issue should be solved shortly. Perhaps I should have been more transparent on this issue, however, I have told the same thing to anyone who has asked me (I just haven't broadcast it publicly.)

The next concern is about membership numbers. The poster is correct that new members have been initiated in 2013. After checking with "Dad" Berry, we have had one new member in January (from Westmoreland Chapter, by the way.) We haven't reported this on our site because the final membership goals for 2013 haven't been completed. Why? Because to finalize those numbers we have to have all of the Form 10's processed from the previous year. After talking with "Dad" Berry, we were still receiving 2012 Form 10's on January 15, 2013. The later the reports come to us, the harder it is for us to accurately post the information to you. We'd rather make sure the information we post is accurate and ready for press than to steam forward with wrong data. I understand the inconvenience of this method, but we've found it to be the most effective.

I hope this has answered the questions that have been raised and I will gladly discuss them further with anyone who is interested. You're welcome to call me at the office (800.266.8424 ext. 8) or to email me at I'll certainly respond. With that being said, you're not welcome to come to this blog and post anonymous comments that are meant to tear down instead of build up. I expect more out of DeMolays and adult volunteers. 

To the author of this post, I implore you, don't hide behind your screen. Reach out and contact me so that we can talk things through. I'd much rather discuss the issues with you directly than address them in this fashion. DeMolays are young men of character and our adult workers are mentors with integrity. I would hope that the original poster would have both of those qualities and come forward, at least to me.

To everyone else - this is the first, last, and only time I will respond to an anonymous posts. Further anonymous posts will be ignored and deleted.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

1 comment:

  1. Seth, I commend you on your work for PA DeMolay and on the blog and the website. It's often forgotten how much work it takes to run a website and blog, along with all your other duties. It's an area where I feel, it wouldn't hurt for the youth to learn more about how multimedia works. Understanding how the backend of something works will ultimately help further push any progress towards the goal.

    The blog serves as a great tool for pushing ideas out across the nation (as we have readers from all over) and to get our own DeMolays involved in different techniques and ideas to better our own jurisdiction.

    I have no doubt that the blog, the calendar and the website overall will become the best it has every been.

    - "Dad" Matt Blaisdell