Why did you become a Freemason?
"Steven M. Hudson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Why Do I Want To Be A Mason?
November 9, 2000
What inspired me to ask about being made a Mason?
My first exposure to the Masonry was from my Grandfather, and then
later, my father. My Grandfather was made a Mason in 1955, and my
father entered the Shrine in 1970. When I was younger I certainly
intended to follow in their footsteps. However, because of growing up
in the South and not having much interaction with other Masons, I had
erroneously formed the idea that Masonry was only for 'devout' or
'fundamentalist' Christians like my Grandfather, or else was a social
body like the Shrine.
I had been somewhat of a fundamentalist myself in my teens. However,
I went through a real crisis of faith in my twenties. I abandoned
Western religious thought altogether, believing that, if I were to have
a relationship with God, I was not likely to find it in 'the faith of my
fathers'. About the same time, my father let his membership in the
fraternity lapse. He had moved to another town and his home lodge
closed so he just drifted out. So, the subject fell off of my radar with
him for awhile. I moved away and it never really came up between us. I
was sad to be 'breaking the chain', but felt I was showing intellectual
integrity, so I just let it go. Besides, I'd never really liked the red
Metaphorically and spiritually, I went to the East. I studied Zen
and Taoism and began to build a new concept of God based on his
'bigness' and his 'inclusiveness'. I learned and believed that 'the god
that can be named is not the true god'. I knew God was real, but
learned that my ideas of Him had been very small. I began to feel free
of my traditions and began to be free of some of the guilt and shame I
had learned as a child.
I studied bit of Hinduism, bits of Sufism, bits of paganism. I
studied things I had been taught were Western 'heresies' such as
Gnosticism, the Kaballah and the Gospel of St.Thomas. I especially
liked studies of the history Western religion such as Karen Armstrongs
'The History of God'. These type of books helped me understand that,
for the most part, religion was something Man invented to explain the
feelings he had about God, rather than something God invented for Man.
I also studied psychology -- especially the works of Carl Jung and
Alice Miller. I learned the MBTI and read about synchronicity. I was
especially captivated by Jung's analysis of speculative alchemy and the
transformation of the soul. I saw how the ideas of the subconscious and
emotional programming could explain any number of ideas from the
'numinous' to the the workings of 'faith' and 'magick'. Still, I felt a
great restlessness, as if I wasn't settled. I had a nice theory which
explained nearly everything, but I was missing some experience.
In my fiction reading, I began to see references to the Masons, but
always in such bizarre forms that it was almost unrecognizable. I read
'Foucaults Pendulem' by Eco and the 'Illuminatus trilogy' by Robert
Anton Wilson [and Robert Shea -- ed.]. These books were
'romantic' in the sense of the idea that some of the traditional ancient
wisdom had been preserved in esoteric orders. But of course, they are
highly fictionalized and of no more validity that "Close Encounters of
the Third Kind" is a guide for space travel.
Then a few years ago I happened to see the Sean Connery/Michael Caine
movie "The Man Who Would Be King". It's a great yarn and again has
little to do with real Masonry. But there was a scene that, for some
reason stuck in my imagination. In an early scene, Rudyard Kipling asks
Michael Caine where he comes from and where he's going. Caine replies
something to the effect of "I'm coming from the East and heading to the
West to find 'That which was lost'." I knew this was something Masonic,
but I puzzled over what it could mean.
It really stuck with me and seemed to speak directly to me.
Certainly I had traveled to the East, and still felt like something had
been lost. I ramped up my study of Western 'religious' thought and,
given the movie's theme, also included some marginal study of the
Masonry. One of the amazing things I discovered was the inclusiveness
of the Masonic tradition. I discovered I might still be able to be 'me'
and be a Mason. And, I might yet find some spiritual traditions to help
me in my quest to be the best man I can be.
I studied for a few more years and then I decided. I must find out
for myself. I must 'seek that which was lost' -- my Western spritual
traditions, my family connections and my connection to the God of my
I entered my petition and began to interact with Masons on the
internet. I spoke with my father and he told me of his nostalgia for
the Craft. (He's also now seeking reaffiliation.)
Through this, I have come to have absolute confidence that the
Masonry offers me a path towards my goals and a set of supportive
traveling companions. I'm ready to travel back to the West.
(c) 2000, Steven M. Hudson, Candidate & EA2B Jerusalem Lodge #49
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