[Square & Compasses]

Why did you become a Freemason?

From: "Jason Orton" <jorton@lemoorenet.com>
Subject: Why I Joined Freemasonry
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 11:02:41 -0800

Why I Joined Freemasonry

The path I followed to Freemasonry may seem a little odd to some. History has always been a hobby of mine particularly late 18th century history surrounding the American Revolution. My veracious appetite for reading on this topic kept turning up interesting information about many of the key figures on both sides of the conflict. The one item that many of the leaders of both sides had in common was that they were Freemasons.

The only thing I knew about the Freemasons was they had a strange looking building down town. After leaving home for college my younger sisters had joined the International Order of the Rainbow for girls but I was unaware that it was a Masonic youth organization. My mother had been a member of Jobs daughters but once again I did not know this was a Masonic youth organization. You would think that with all these members of my family I would have known more about the craft but I was left to search on my own.

I continued reading about the American Revolution and began participating on an online email list for the Brigade of the American Revolution. One day the main topic being discussed was Freemasonry and the American Revolution. Several freemasons who were on-line wrote about the craft and freemasons who had served in the American Revolution. One particular figure that interested me was Chief Joseph Brant (Theyendega) who had been made a Mason in England. It puzzled me how at a time when most men considered Native Americans to be savage heathens that they would openly allow this man to join their ranks. At this point I still did not understand all the tenets of the fraternity but further research would explain what seemed to me to be an aberration for the time period I was interested in.

In April of 2000 I journeyed to Lexington, Massachusetts to participate in the 225th reenactment of the Lexington and Concord battles. While I was in Lexington, after the event, my family and I went to the museum of our National Heritage run by the Scottish Rite. In addition to some great exhibits on the Revolution there was a very nice exhibit on Fraternal organizations and in particular on Freemasonry.

I guess I am a little slower than some but my brain was still processing all of this. In August of 2000 I felt that spending my time just between work and home was not fulfilling enough for me. I wanted to get involved in my community but there were about 10+ different organizations in our community that rendered service. A friend of mine was a member of Kawanis but he didn't seem all that enthused about the organization. I knew a gentleman who was a member of the local Masonic Lodge and I decided to ask him some questions. I soon asked for an application and began gathering information off of the internet. I turned in my application and the wait began.

While I was waiting for my application to be voted on I had the opportunity of attending my sisters installation as Worthy Advisor in her Rainbow Girls Assembly. At this event I talked with my Grandma a little bit about the beautiful building we were meeting in. I was shocked to find out that both my grandfather and great grandfather were Freemasons and that my grandmother was a member of Eastern Star. I didn't let her know at the time that I had submitted my application as I was afraid to tell someone and then not be voted in.

About a month later I received a phone call and my initiation was scheduled. A month after that I was passed to the Fellowcraft degree and was raised in January of 2001. I am now practicing for a part in the third degree ceremony and am on the committee for the Lodge's Child Id program which fingerprints children in the area in case they ever come up missing. I look forward to lodge meetings and find that meeting with my brothers (for that is what they truly have become) has been a release from the tensions of the day. I now have more friends world wide than I could ever possibly imagine and have enjoyed meeting with traveling brothers who are far from home. I met one such brother who had journeyed several thousand miles from Canada to deliver some tractor parts to my workplace. When I identified myself as a brother and tested him he seemed overjoyed to find a someone thousands of miles from home that he knew deep down because we were part of the same brotherhood.

Jason Orton
Lemoore Welcome Lodge #255 F&AM

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