The Man of Earth Delegates Program
The following is an updated summary of material previously presented in various blog posts and in Agape.
Paragraph 5 of Book 194 states the following:
“The Man of Earth takes no share in the Government of the Order; for he is not yet called upon to give his life to it in service; and with us Government is Service, and nothing else. The Man of Earth is therefore in much the position of the Plebian in Rome in the time of Menenius Agrippa. But there is this marked difference; that every Man of Earth is encouraged and expected to push on to the next stage. In order that the feelings of the general body may be represented, the Men of Earth choose four persons, two men and two women, from among themselves, to stand continually before the face of the Supreme and Holy King, serving him day and night. These persons must not be of higher rank than the Second Degree; they must volunteer for this service at the conclusion of that ceremony; and therefore they give up their own prospect of advancement in the Order for one year, that they may serve their fellows. This is then the first lesson in our great principle, the attainment of honour through renunciation.”
The Man of Earth Delegates
According to the introductory paragraph of Book 194, the provisions of that document do not come into formal effect in any province (i.e. National Section) of the Order until such province possesses “eleven or more” Profess-Houses. Nevertheless, we are doing what we can to implement these provisions as is practical. The above provision regarding what I will henceforth refer to as the Man of Earth Delegates has been a difficult one to implement in any sense approaching a literal interpretation. I live in a modest private home in a fairly remote and isolated part of Southern California. Soror Helena and I simply do not have the resources to house, feed, and essentially employ four volunteer II° members 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Clearly, this is one of those provisions that presupposes the existence of formal Profess-Houses, and will not be possible to fully implement until we have a number of them and the Supreme and Holy King (AKA, the National Grand Master General, or NGMG) is residing in one. However, there are aspects of this provision that can be implemented now, and doing so is one of the goals of our Strategic Plan. Note that the provision calls for the Man of Earth Delegates to not only “serve” the NGMG, but also to represent the feelings of the general body of the Man of Earth Triad to the NGMG. This is an important function, because the members of the Man of Earth Triad may take “no share in the Government of the Order,” per se. To this end, we have established an online group specifically for the purpose of implementing this portion of the Man of Earth Delegates provision of Liber 194. This group will permit the four delegates privileged access to the NGMG, which the general body of the Men of Earth do not otherwise have–including weekly video conferences. The NGMG will, in turn, assign various tasks to these delegates as needed and appropriate, during the course of their term of service.
Choosing the Delegates
According to Book 194, the Men of Earth are to “choose” these Delegates. Note also that the closing paragraph of Book 194 states that the system of O.T.O. “combines monarchy with democracy.” There is no other component of the O.T.O. governmental structure for Grand Lodges that involves democratic election; therefore, the choosing of the Man of Earth Delegates by the members of the Man of Earth Triad would appear to be the sole constitutional opportunity to include an element of “democracy” in our system.
To date, it has appeared impractical to implement any kind of direct election of these Delegates by the members of the Man of Earth Triad, especially given the criteria that their terms are for one year only, there must be four of them, and two must be male and two female. If the Delegates were each to be chosen by open vote of the entire Man of Earth Triad, these criteria would put Grand Lodge in a painful state of perpetual election that would pose essentially insurmountable logistical obstacles. However, we have developed a system that overcomes these obstacles, and fully implements a system permitting the Man of Earth Triad to choose its own Delegates according to Book 194; and the Executive formally adopted this system in April of 2012 e.v.
The essence of the system involves the establishment of an intermediate Nomination Panel–composed exclusively of members of the Man of Earth Triad–to evaluate and nominate volunteer candidates to the NGMG for appointment as Man of Earth Delegates, as follows:
1. Nomination Panel.
The NGMG shall consider the recommendations of the Nomination Panel when appointing Man of Earth Delegates or filling vacancies in Man of Earth Delegate positions. The Nomination Panel shall be a Standing Committee of O.T.O. U.S.A. in accordance with the Bylaws of O.T.O. U.S.A. The Executive shall appoint a Chair and a Secretary for the Nomination Panel, which shall conduct its business according to its own procedures as delineated by the duties and guidelines specified herein. Minutes shall be reported to the GSG for archiving.
2. Duties of Nomination Panel.
The Nomination Panel shall perform the following duties:
A. Monitor the terms of office of the current MOE Delegates, and ensure that vacancies in the MOE Delegate offices are promptly filled.
B. Consider applications from volunteers to the office of MOE Delegate and nominate suitable candidates for said office to the NGMG for approval and acceptance.
C. Solicit volunteers for the office of MOE Delegate as necessary and appropriate.
The Nomination Panel shall conduct its business using an online forum, moderated by the GSG or the GSG’s duly delegated assistant.
3. Members of Nomination Panel (Representatives).
The members of the Nomination Panel shall be termed “Representatives.” Each active Camp, Oasis and Lodge within USGL shall be entitled to one Representative on the Nomination Panel. Representatives, for their entire term, must be initiate members in good standing of the local body they represent. They must be of at least First Degree, but not of a degree higher than P.I. Local bodies may select their Representatives by any means they choose, as long as those participating in the selection process are initiate members in good standing of the local body and are not of a degree higher than P.I. Local bodies shall be responsible for filling vacancies in their Representative offices according to their own schedule. The business of the Nomination Panel shall not be interrupted by unfilled vacancies. The selection of a new Representative by a local body shall be reported by the Master of the local body to the GTG for approval.
If approved by the GTG, the Representative and Master of the Representative’s local body shall be notified of such approval by the GSG and the GSG will then admit the new Representative to the Nomination Panel’s forum. The term of a Representative shall be one year, renewable. Upon approval, the Representative shall make a formal commitment not to advance beyond the Man of Earth Triad for one year, minimum. Each local body shall be responsible for keeping track of its Representative’s term of office, and shall have the power to recall its Representative at any time for cause (including failure to participate in the business of the Nomination Panel).
The GTG shall have the power to remove any Representative from the Nomination Panel at any time for failure to remain dues-current. The GSG shall have the power to remove any Representative from the Nomination Panel at any time for failure to remain on Good Report. Representatives shall have the power to resign from office at any time and for any reason. Any such recall, removal or resignation shall be reported to the Executive and to the Master of the Representative’s local body. The GSG shall promptly remove all recalled, removed or resigned Representatives from the Nomination Panel’s forum.
In addition to participating in the Delegate nominating process, the Representatives are responsible for providing information about the Delegate program to the local Man of Earth membership.
4. Nomination Process.
Any initiate of the II* may volunteer to become a MOE Delegate by writing directly to the Nomination Panel at any time after the conclusion of their II* initiation and before the submission of their Application for III*. Their offer shall remain valid for a “volunteer window” of one year from the date of their letter to the Nomination Panel, unless they stipulate a longer volunteer window in their letter. A copy of the letter to the Nominating Panel shall be sent to the Initiation Secretary, and the volunteer will not be eligible for III* initiation until the volunteer window has elapsed.
With the assistance of the NGMG, the Nomination Panel shall fill vacancies in the four offices of MOE Delegate as necessary by nominating a suitable candidate to the NGMG for approval and acceptance. Such nomination will preferably be submitted to the NGMG a sufficient time in advance of the expiration of each Delegate’s term to allow for a smooth transition, and for the possibility of rejection by the NGMG. Only male Delegates will be nominated to replace sitting male Delegates, and only female Delegates will be nominated to replace sitting female Delegates. In their deliberations, the Nomination Panel shall consider the suitability of the volunteers to assist the NGMG as well as their capacity to represent the general feelings of the Man of Earth Triad. In this regard, the Nomination Panel may request additional information from the volunteers, or conduct remote interviews.
5. Delegate’s Term of Office.
The term of office for each MOE Delegate shall be 365 days commencing with notification of acceptance from the NGMG to the Nomination Panel. The NGMG shall have the power to remove any Delegate from office at any time, with or without cause. The Delegate shall be ineligible for advancement to III* for the entire term of his or her office, regardless of whether that term is completed.