[Square & Compasses]

Why did you become a Freemason?

Message-ID: <004c01c1a577$b09f3680$aa536720@computer>
From: "Vern Davidson" <vern_mmi@worldnet.att.net>
To: <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
Subject: Why I Joined Freemasonry
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 02:09:47 -0600

I'm not a perfect man by any means, however I strive daily to better myself. While serving in the Army, my First Sergeant and good friend gave me a book shortly before he learned of his cancer coming back and it took a good soldier and man from us all. The book is short and delivers a powerful message that impacted me in a very profound way. The book is "As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen.

My adult life began suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 16, when I learned I had impregnated my girlfriend. Lacking a male role model, as I was raised by my grandmother from birth and my grandfather passed when I was five, I was lost without knowledge in a tough world. My father, as I needed his signature to marry, told me that he would pay for an abortion if my girlfriend and I would agree. These days, when my father and I look back at that moment, we agree that would have been a coward's way of dealing with a situation I'd created for myself. Even then, I must have felt that way. I refused, he signed and I became a husband and father.

Being young and without education but not lacking sense, I enlisted in the Army National Guard at 17 (I couldn't go active duty because I didn't have a college education to supplement my GED). In basic training, I met my first Freemason. I saw his ring and asked him if he was a Freemason. After asking me why I wanted to know and what I thought a Freemason was, he told me that yes, he was . He was assigned as my squad leader and while the Drill Instructor taught me how to be a soldier, the Freemason taught me how to be a man. He respected me for choosing to take my responsibility of being a father and told me that I had the makings to become a good man and should learn more about what it means to be a Freemason. He told me to keep an eye out while in service for others like him and that I could learn a lot from them.

In 1993, I went into active duty and was I assigned to the 1-327th IN, 101st Airborne. There I met a great soldier, 1SGT and man. He never disclosed to me whether he was a Freemason or not but I believe he was. He gave me the book I spoke of. We talked a lot on many subjects, in the field and out of the field and he taught me a lot. Later that first year we were deployed to the Sinai peninsula, where his cancer returned and took his life shortly after. I got to see him twice before he was flown to Cairo and then the U.S. We spent that time talking not about death or sickness but about the things we'd learned from each other. He was a great guy.

After redeployment I was moved from Headquarters CO 1-327th to B CO 1-327th. My first day I met my new 1ST SGT. He told me that he knew my other 1SGT and he'd told him about me and requested that I be moved to his company. He told me that he was a Freemason also and looked forward to talking with me about things. It crossed my mind during those years but I never asked why he didn't offer to sign me up. I've learned now that one must seek truth not have it hand fed to him.

After completing my enlistment, my wife and I returned home and after almost ten years of marriage through the tests of military and life, I thought nothing would stop us. One day my wife told me that she no longer wanted to be married and hadn't for a very long time. After 8 months of trying very hard on my part to correct whatever had gone wrong, I helped her move and my son out. I sank into a pool of anger and alcohol. Eight months of hopelessness had prepared me for the loss of my wife but nothing had prepared me for the loss of my son. I see my son never often enough. A child of yours can live across the street and it's not the same, you understand?

I moved an hour and a half north, taking a job with the U.S. Postal Service. One day I was at a local book store and found a copy of "As a Man Thinketh". It reminded me of everything I'd learned and forgotten. I threw away my bottles, stopped being angry and began the changes I wanted in my life. I lost 50 lbs, got back in shape and started rebuilding from the financial ruin I'd allowed my ex-wife to put me in. It's a hard fight but I am winning little by little. When things get bad, I find my book and start to remember. I have since met a beautiful lady and have made her my wife. I now have a lovely wife, terrific 5-year-old step-son (Whom I consider my own) and a wonderful 11-year-old son who visits as often as he can and wishes to live with me in a couple of years.

On Tuesday October 30, 2001 I was raised to the Degree of Master Mason. The Degrees have been an experience I'll never forget, beautiful, symbolic and full of knowledge.

I guess part of what gave me the desire to become a Freemason is the wish to give something back. Those men saved my life and taught me to live. I, not being perfect, can become a part of something that is very close to perfection.

Bro. Vern Davidson Jr.
Harold O. Grauel Lodge No. 672 A.F. & A.M.

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