Henry David Thoreau entered the woods surrounding Walden Pond to front the facts of life. He then wrote of his experiences, compiling from his journals. One of his purposes in doing this was, as he says, "Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or alst, a simple and sincer account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me." I believe this quote has significance in our lives as masons as well. Every man who has humbly and sincerely knocked at the doors of a lodge all have a different story to tell. And there story is as important as the next brothers. And with that thought in mind...
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My earliest encounter with the Fraternity was as a young teenager. My family took a vacation to the sunny coast of San Diego. We went to Sea World and the Zoo, and every time we left the hotel and got on the freeway, we passed in front of a large building. The building was hidden behind a lot of trees, but it stuck out somehow, it was probably the large Square and Compasses that could be seen from the freeway. I asked my father what the building was, unlike most teens, I still believed my father knew everything (My view today may not be so broad but it is close). He answered that it was a Masonic Temple and then gave a brief overview of what he knew of the Fraternity. The one thing, whenever Masonry has been brought up in discussions with my father, he has always spoken highly of the Fraternity, and that has always stuck in my mind.
As I grew a little one of my favorite hobbies was reading and learning. And one topic that intrigued me was history. Another was philosophy. In every book that I flipped through, whether it was a book on the American Revolution or the History of Scotland somehow a Masonic Connection was introduced, no matter how erroneous. Ralph Waldo Emerson gave his ground breaking lecture on the Transcendental Movement in a Masonic Hall in Boston. My interest was peeked and I began to study everything I could on Free and Accepted Masons. My first purchase was Mackey's "Lexicon of Freemasonry" and I continued to buy book after book (my wife is a little dismayed that I still do).
In my studying, I found great men in history that I have been taught to revere and uphold as men of integrity and/or genious somehow were connected to the Fraternity. Even the man who was the founder of the church I belong to and the early leaders of the the church were all members of the Fraternity. Men such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, Mozart and Voltaire have been members of the Fraternity. I believed that an organization that attracted such men could be only good and all things good should be things that we should strive to embrace.
Before I petitioned the Lodge though, I chose to serve a mission for my church. I was called to serve in the area surrounding Orland Florida. I spent two years of my life serving my Lord and that has been one of the best decision of my life. And for purpose of discussion, in my travels, I met many good men who were members of the Craft, something that always stuck out in the back of my mind.
Upon my return home, I was married, and that has been another one of those best decisions of my life. My wife to be had questions about the Lodge and was a little tentative to have me join. Thank goodness there was Freemasons for Dummies which allowed me to answer her questions! (Mr. Hodapp you can send the check in the mail:)) And when she learned that her grandfather was a mason in Ohio, she knew that the Craft is a good thing. When I found out that fact it was neat, like there was some type of Masonic Genealogy in my life. Due to certain animosities in the State of Utah, Freemasonry isn't as a big a thing as in other states. Hence, my first sight of a Masonic Temple was in San Diego, not Utah. That is changing though. But as far as I know, there are no masons in the family tree.
A couple months after my marriage, I petioned Canyon Lodge #13 for the Three Degrees. I was initiated on May 8th, 2007, Passed on September 18th, 2007, and Raised on October 16th, 2007. I have never looked back with disappointment! Becoming a Free and Accepted Mason has been one of the best things in my life as well.
Peace and Harmony,