[Square & Compasses]

Why did you become a Freemason?

Message-ID: <B9E44541A7715A4EA49F0E9F68CD47BF0660926D@HOODB1DOIMSR020.nasw.ds.army.mil>
From: "Phillips, John B SPC 1CD 1ACB HHC (PKI)" <pip.phillips@us.army.mil>
To: masonry-ask@mit.edu
Subject: Why I Joined Freemasonry
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2006 11:56:06 -0500 

There is hunger that haunts us all. Curiosity seems to be that ever agonizing type that affects me, though. The mysteries of the Freemasons, before I became one, sent me along a journey to discover what facts I could before it became inevitable that I must join. In my mind I was trying to pick apart the differences as I researched all I could on the internet. A cult? Satanic worshipers? Pentagrams? But then I thought that some of the most influential men... good men... have been freemasons. And that this is not a secret society, but rather a society with secrets. What right do "cowens and eavesdroppers" have to judge upon what they do not know and understand? I had to look beyond the shallow perceptions of the Freemasons and make my own judgment based upon what I did know. All the internet stuff was just way too confusing. I did know that Shriners were masons and did a lot of charity work, and that a lot of those men were good Christians and could not possibly have anything to do with cultic rituals. These good men displayed a sense of chivalry. Was chivalry dead?

The more I learned only seemed to make me even hungrier. I was a bit reluctant to ask about it, though, as I was a reserved person; however, knowledge thirsty. But, as they say, "Opportunity knocks." In my case it literally did. I was new to neighborhood after becoming a newly wed and I can remember my neighbor, David, coming over and introducing himself. I watched as some nights he would go out all dressed as if he were to attend a ball. He carried a "briefcase" on his outings. I also observed a symbol on his vehicle. I had to ask what it was all about. It was then that I discovered that he was a mason. He invited my wife and I to discover what it was about at one of his meetings. There was a dinner and a lot of friendly people there. Later, David had to go to his "meeting" which I could not attend, but the spouses of the Masons remained in the dining hall where they all mingled and had a good time. It didn't take me long to realize, though, that all the people in this place were white! How awkward. When we retired from the lodge, I had to ask David about this. Was it racist? He replied in such a calming and relieving way to where my mind was put at ease. He said that it was not, but traditionally Freemasons were British and, therefore, mostly white. It is now known as Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and was nothing more than tradition. He explained how there were lodges that were known as just Free and Accepted Masons that accepted everybody. And Prince Hall Affiliated as well. This set my mind at ease but I still did not feel so comfortable in that type of environment.

A year had passed. I suppose I kept the Idea of trying to become a Freemason on the proverbial backburner. That was until I discovered a co-worker, Scott, wearing a Masonic ring. I asked him about his lodge. He explained that it was a Prince Hall Affiliated lodge. I expressed my interest in it and my idea of perhaps becoming a Freemason. He advised me to do some research before I filled out an application. Back to the internet. It was hard to pick through all the good things and bad things said about Freemasonry. Although I knew good men in Masonry there was still that looming fact: "Secrets". That scared me. But I had to tell myself that I could not judge these men based on secrets that others have made assumptions about. There was only one surefire way to find out. I had to join.

I knew it couldn't be evil. If it seemed as if I was going down a dark path I could always quit, right? I applied and Scott assembled an investigating committee. These men who were assigned made me feel comfortable. All were quick to answer any questions or doubts that I may have. If I recall that is the time definition of a "gentleman". Was chivalry dead? This Masonic "brotherhood" seemed to be teeming with chivalrous gestures and I was all too eager to become a part of it. The Lodge voted on my application and I was accepted. So in conclusion, I joined out of curiosity at first, that nagging hunger, but soon realized that this "brotherhood" made good men. I learned the principals behind all good men and was shown the "light". I am now a Master Mason and there are no regrets.

-John Phillips-
St. James Lodge #71
Class of Pison

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