[Square & Compasses]

Why did you become a Freemason?

Message-ID: <705DA6B661FB7746818EBBCD096E5D5515D274@fsqfqe08.uk.usafe.ds.af.mil>
From: Parsons David SSgt 100 LRS/LGRVM <David.Parsons1@MILDENHALL.AF.MIL>
To: "'masonry-ask@mit.edu'" <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
Subject: Why I Joined Freemasonry
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 12:47:01 -0000

I've enjoyed reading some of the responses to your essay question. I've read about those who wished to serve... I've read about second and third generation Masons... I've read about a variety of reasons, all equally worthwhile reasons to join our great fraternity. I would like to share with you my experiences concerning a young candidate that joined the brotherhood last year:

He had always been a bit of a misfit, coming from questionable background in an area torn by racial, ethnic, and financial tension. He felt the effects of these struggles daily, and as a youth, turned to the proverbial "dark side" of life. Withdrawn and secluded, even amongst his peers, this young man gauged his future as "moment-to moment." Needless to say, the hopelessness of his situation got worse before it got better, and foster homes made way for institutions, which made way for group homes, and finally reform school. Having never drawn the boundary lines of life, as most do, he drifted aimlessly through his teen years. His intellect was a match for most college professors, but without the guidance and direction of the few adults in his life, he did little more than develop ingenious ways of getting into trouble. Attempts to make things better for himself seemed to backfire constantly, and he began to feel that he was destined to fail... he was wrong.

After joining the military, he realized that he could at least co-exist with others who were united in a common goal. In this, he found a small piece of what he had been longing for since his early childhood. Things didn't turn around completely, and the candidate still heard the whispered attacks, and still felt the condescending looks. The military has no place for those who openly discriminate for any reason, but the young man knew that discrimination happens more under the breath of bigots than out of their mouths. After being stationed in New Mexico, attempting and failing to keep his marriage afloat, he was stationed in England. Through a mutual friend he met the man who, a few short years later, would be his Worshipful Master.

Everything about Free &Accepted Masonry appealed to the young man, and though never a pillar at the local church, he understood the concept of the GAOTU, and aspired to know more. During the visitation to his home, he answered nervously when asked the very same question I am answering here now... Why do want to be a Mason? Did these men want to hear some textbook answer about saving the world, curing cancer, feeding the masses? Or could an honest answer make them understand that this young man might just need Masonry as much as Masonry needed him? The question burned inside him as he debated. Could the trust he never had before finally have a place among these brothers, or would it be another group of people who accept those who are like them, but cast aside those who aren't?

It took the young man a year to be raised to the sublime level of Master Mason, and it was a long road paved with more than a few obstacles. On the day of his raising, no one else noticed the young man's quiet demeanor, his unshakable focus. Not knowing what to expect on the day, he said to the brothers who raised him in a quiet, humble but self-assured voice,

"Do what you will... when I walk out today, I will walk out as a Master Mason."

Something had changed in him. No one else saw it at first. It was almost invisible. A spark... only a spark. But the spark fell upon kindling that had been waiting for years to be put to use, and when the two collided, the flame grew exponentially.

Now the young man with no future, no aspirations, and no path is an active member of his Lodge, and his fire is growing. He aspires for more and more knowledge, and the Past Masters may well try to claim him as a dependant around tax time, because he simply won't leave them alone. He has tapped into a boundless fount of information, respect, compassion, patience, direction, and most importantly, brotherly love, that he never thought he would find. In return for this, he gives back as much as he can, though if you ask him, it is never enough. His enthusiasm and passion for Masonry cannot be extinguished. He seeks more light every day, and does everything in his power to ensure that his brethren know he is there for them, no matter what. His contribution to Masonry is in direct response to the few brothers who guided him through, showed him love, and trusted him to follow through with what he started.

So, even though this young man may not have joined the fraternity for what others would call " highly- enlightened" reasons, the principles of Masonry have become a part of his life, and his enlightenment is growing, little by little, every day. It's a long road, but he'll make it. Not by his own merit, but because his fraternal brothers won't let him fall. He'll do great things in the Lodge... not because he has greatness in him, but because his brothers will carry him until he can carry himself. But most importantly, he will help someone, someday, who is just like he was... not because he was taught to as a child, from his mother and father... not because he learned it as a teenager when he went to church... but because he saw it his Lodge, as an adult... I know that this young man will do his best in the Lodge, as well as outside it... he feels that he owes it to himself, and to his brothers. I know he feels this way, because that young man is me...

With gratitude to Lodge no. 76, Pride of Great Britain... ONE LOVE

David Parsons

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