The following quote is from an early charge used by the 18th century Order:
“The science of astronomy lifts our minds above the world and its doings, and leads us to exclaim: An undevout astronomer is mad. The sun, the centre of our system, diffusing light and heat to the world. The planetary system, of which our earth is one of the smallest. The starry skies, composed of thousands of suns, the possible centres (sic) of other systems.” —18th Century Odd Fellows Ritual
In a lecture hall, a conspiracy theorist clears his throat and begins to speak:
Nutty Conspiracy Theorist: “As you can see ladies and gentlemen, the Odd Fellows have been in cahoots with space aliens since at least the 18th century! There is no doubt the Odd Fellows were aware of “possible centres of other systems” in outer space! In their quest to dominate humanity, Odd Fellows have allied themselves with space aliens from other star systems!”
Spacey Lady In Audience: “Oh yes! I can hear the alien vibrations in the room now! Listen! They speak! They speak!”
Reasonable Lady in Audience: “Really ma’am? I think what you hear is the air conditioner coming on. And anyway, how could anyone think Odd Fellows and aliens are trying to take over the earth?! The Odd Fellow’s goal is to aid the poor and distressed, not take over the world!”
Nutty Conspiracy Theorist: “Madam, you are mistaken! Here is government video PROOF showing Odd Fellows in their weird space ritual garb with alien weapons attempting to capture people! Watch and be forewarned!”
Reasonable lady in Audience: (eye roll) “Oh for heaven’s sake! That’s an old monster movie!”
Weird Guy In Audience: “I can feel cold spots in the room from the Odd Fellow’s space weaponry!”
Reasonable Lady: “YOU’RE FEELING THE AIR CONDITIONER!”
Weird Guy: “It’s the illuminati!”
Reasonable Lady: “Illumi-NUTTY, is more like it.”
Nutty Conspiracy Theorist: ” Madam, do not be deceived! Here is a painting of Odd Fellows and their space alien allies in their ships practicing the world invasion!”
Reasonable Lady: “This is ridiculous! That’s Washington Crossing the Delaware!”
Nutty Conspiracy: “Which could NOT have happened without the Odd Fellows and their space alien co-conspirators!”
The Odd Fellow in the Room: “Wait, the Odd Fellow’s job is helping the sick, foster children, the distressed, and striving toward universal sisterhood and brotherhood!”
(Silence in the room)
Nutty Conspiracy Theorist: “ONLY after you and your space alien friends dominate the earth and turn us all into Odd Fellows with your ray guns and Delaware crossings!”
(Others nod in agreement)
The lesson here is simple: our perception is what we make it even if it’s “a little nutty.”
We need to perceive our Order differently. We must see Odd Fellowship as a modern and winning organization. We can’t keep seeing ourselves as tired, worn out, and irrelevant. Embrace technology, diversity, and unity among other things, to help us move forward!
Now, Keep Calm– and Odd Fellow!
Scott Moye is an award winning history educator and collector of Arkansas folklore. He grew up on a cotton farm and is currently a museum worker. Hobbies include: old house restoration, writing, amateur radio, Irish traditional music, archery, craft beer, old spooky movies, and street performance. He is a member of Marshall Lodge #1, in Marshall, Arkansas. He is a founder of Heart In Hand Blog.