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My journey to Freemasonry
Posted: 30 October 2014 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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First and foremost hello, my name is Aaron and I write to you from the great state of Washington. I have been reading most every post in this forum for the last month. One of the great tidbits I have discovered is the wonderful diversity in your stories. This has prompted me to to share my story about finding freemasonry and starting my journey to becoming one.

A little background:
I grew up as a member of the Catholic Church as a result I was not exposed at all to the Freemasons in my father’s side of the family. I have a very vivid memory of attending the funeral of my Great-Grandfather. While at that funeral I saw guys in funny hats, wearing aprons, and other adornments. They spoke very dearly about their Brother and were there for my Grandmother and the rest of the family. I now know these were members of my Grandfathers Shriners group.  The impression these men left upon me would later surface almost 30 years later. 

Today: 
I have been having the feeling over the last two years that I was missing something in my life.  Overall I am a very happy man.  I have been married for almost 18 years now. I have a wonderful loving family.  I am active in my Church but still there was some piece of my life not quite put together.  About a year ago my father presented me with several items of my Great-Grandfather.  One was a book that had a square and compass upon the cover. After a quick examination of the book and a couple of questions to my father the subject was put to rest.  I discovered the my Grandfather was a Master Mason, my Grandmother was a very active member of the Order of the Eastern Star, even my father and his sisters were involved in the youth groups (Rainbow girls, and DeMolay).

Feeling armed with this family history I started looking into what these organization did and what it all meant to my family. Over the last year I have intensified my research.  Much of what I found was total garbage. As I am sure anyone that has done a Google search containing the keyword Freemason and seeing the result could attest to. As a result I stopped my research for a time. That is until my wife mentioned to me that a co-worker is a Mason (she saw his ring). I approached this individual and begun a dialog regarding what Freemasonry is and asked for direction to a source of good information.  He promptly provided me with a information packet (he had it at his desk ready for anyone that asked), a reference to read Freemasonry for Dummies, and an invitation to attend dinner as his personal guest (he was the Worshipful Master of his lodge) at the next lodge meeting they were about to have. 

The meeting was called a table lodge and was to honor the wives and girlfriends of the Masons of the lodge.  I attended with my wife and had a wonderful time meeting many very nice men and women.  I also was presented with a pin from the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the state of Idaho who was in attendance.  After this meeting I quickly read the Freemasons for Dummies book (I skipped over the sections indicated as being spoilers) and decided that I too should become a Mason. 

I asked my friend about joining his lodge but found that it would be a paperwork hassle as I live in the state of Washington and his lodge is in Idaho (only 8 miles away).  He assured me that it could be done but it would just take extra time.  While I enjoyed the time and dinner it made more sense to petition my local lodge.  A quick email to the address posted on my local lodges website resulted in another invitation to attend a dinner prior to a normal lodge meeting. I attended this meeting and presented the men there with my background and why I was submitting a petition to join. I was told my petition would be accepted and read into the lodge that evening. 

A week ago this last Monday (10-20-2014) I experienced the Investigation Committee visit to my home.  My entire family was present and I had a wonderful time visiting with these men.  A funny side note to this was I discovered that as a kid I delivered newspapers to the current lodge secretary.  This made for a fun time remembering back to earlier days and lamenting on how small a world we really live in. 
So to date I have not heard anything regarding my petition.  I am learning my first lesson in freemasonry, patience. I look forward to finding out how the vote went on my petition and taking my first steps to earning the Entered Apprentice degree. I was told that would probably happen the January or February if the vote goes my way. 

There you have it the start of my Masonic journey.  I look forward to the day I can call these men my brothers.  I also am happy to be on this forum and to be interacting with others that are new and old to the craft.

All the best for now,
aprsguy aka Aaron

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Aaron Parker, 32°

Whitman Lodge #49 Pullman WA
Petition Submitted October 2014
Initiated Entered Apprentice Degree 01/08/2015
Passed Fellowcraft 2/12/2015
Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason 03/26/2015

A&A Scottish Rite Valley of Lewiston
32° 4/30/2016

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Posted: 31 October 2014 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Thanks for sharing your story, and please keep us posted on your progress!

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Senior Deacon, Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Aleppo Temple

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Posted: 31 October 2014 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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What a great story!

One thing - was that book of your great-grandfather’s a Bible?

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Bro. Bob
Zetland Lodge No. 83
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
Passed 26 May 1979
Raised 18 October 1979

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Posted: 31 October 2014 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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The longest journey always begins with that first step. Enjoy the journey and keep us updated on your progress.

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Bro.Ed Pickett Jr.
Worshipful Master 2017
La Belle Vallee Lodge No 232 F&AM;
Jersey Shore, Pa.
Initiated 1-14-13, Passed 2-11-13, Raised 3-11-13

Master of First Veil 2017
Lafayette RAC No. 163
Lock Haven, Pa.
Mark Master 1-16-14,Most Excellent Master 2-20-14, Royal Arch Mason 3-20-14

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Posted: 31 October 2014 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Dan Madore - 31 October 2014 06:50 AM

Thanks for sharing your story, and please keep us posted on your progress!

Thank you Dan, I will keep this thread updated to my progress.

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Aaron Parker, 32°

Whitman Lodge #49 Pullman WA
Petition Submitted October 2014
Initiated Entered Apprentice Degree 01/08/2015
Passed Fellowcraft 2/12/2015
Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason 03/26/2015

A&A Scottish Rite Valley of Lewiston
32° 4/30/2016

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Posted: 31 October 2014 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Lark - 31 October 2014 07:59 AM

What a great story!

One thing - was that book of your great-grandfather’s a Bible?


Yes it was my great-grandfathers Bible.  I will see if I can get it back out and take a photo of it.  It is very old and tattered.  Well used that is for sure.

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Aaron Parker, 32°

Whitman Lodge #49 Pullman WA
Petition Submitted October 2014
Initiated Entered Apprentice Degree 01/08/2015
Passed Fellowcraft 2/12/2015
Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason 03/26/2015

A&A Scottish Rite Valley of Lewiston
32° 4/30/2016

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Posted: 31 October 2014 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Morelight - 31 October 2014 09:26 AM

The longest journey always begins with that first step. Enjoy the journey and keep us updated on your progress.

I will certainly will keep you all updated on my progress.  The first several steps have been taken and I am looking forward to this journey.

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Aaron Parker, 32°

Whitman Lodge #49 Pullman WA
Petition Submitted October 2014
Initiated Entered Apprentice Degree 01/08/2015
Passed Fellowcraft 2/12/2015
Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason 03/26/2015

A&A Scottish Rite Valley of Lewiston
32° 4/30/2016

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Posted: 31 October 2014 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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aprsguy - 31 October 2014 12:28 PM
Lark - 31 October 2014 07:59 AM

What a great story!

One thing - was that book of your great-grandfather’s a Bible?


Yes it was my great-grandfathers Bible.  I will see if I can get it back out and take a photo of it.  It is very old and tattered.  Well used that is for sure.

Outstanding. The reason I ask is this. It is no secret that becoming a Mason requires an oath to be taken. There is not a ‘Masonic Bible’ per se, not in the sense of there being any changes, ommisions or additions to the text.  On the other hand, there are Bibles printed for Masons, with the square and compasses on the cover amd very often a concordance and some other non-theological stuff included. It sounds like that is what you have.

If that was your great-grandfather’s Bible, with a masonic symbol on the cover, it is entirely possible that he swore his oath on that very volume.

Second point - I do not know the rules in your jurisdiction, but I know that in mine it would be perfectly acceptable for you to ask to use it during your initiation.

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Bro. Bob
Zetland Lodge No. 83
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
Passed 26 May 1979
Raised 18 October 1979

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Posted: 01 November 2014 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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That is a great idea Bob. I will look into being able to use this Bible when I do my initiation. Can it also be used for later degree work in your jurisdiction?

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Aaron Parker, 32°

Whitman Lodge #49 Pullman WA
Petition Submitted October 2014
Initiated Entered Apprentice Degree 01/08/2015
Passed Fellowcraft 2/12/2015
Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason 03/26/2015

A&A Scottish Rite Valley of Lewiston
32° 4/30/2016

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Posted: 06 November 2014 12:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Brother John - 01 May 2014 08:36 PM

My advice is to accept the help you have already been offered. If you try to force this by demanding things go faster you will only convince the men of the lodge you do approach that you are not ready to stand among them. The first lesson of Masonry is patience.

I felt obligated to search this quote out and give Brother John credit for the advice on patience. THANK YOU Brother John for that nice little gem of a quote.

So still no word on if my petition was voted on yet. I have a meeting to attend next week and I believe I get to witness a officer installation. So I have been pondering how patience plays into this first lesson. I know the mechanics and for the most part I have patience (I am not saying I would not benefit from learning more). I was surprised by a Masonic friend of mine who checked in with me this week. He was shocked to hear that I might have to wait until January to be initiated to the Entered Apprentice degree. I got the impression that it was not typical to have to wait that long. November and December are typically busy months for everyone. I understand it might be hard to perform degree work when there is only one meeting in the month. As a result I am fine waiting and don’t mind pondering how patience can relate to freemasonry.

So can I get some feedback on how I am doing on this lesson?

From what I have put together so far patience will permit one to be open and ready to be taught. Also I will be eager to learn and digest the information I am presented in the first degree. Patience in life has always been important and a lesson I struggle to teach my children. When you release the stress of wanting or desiring something you have no control over you learn to control your own passions and desires.

What else should I be looking for in this lesson? Your thoughts and ideas would be welcome as I continue to wait and ponder things prior to knowing if the vote went in favor of joining the lodge and being enlightened by the first degree.

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Aaron Parker, 32°

Whitman Lodge #49 Pullman WA
Petition Submitted October 2014
Initiated Entered Apprentice Degree 01/08/2015
Passed Fellowcraft 2/12/2015
Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason 03/26/2015

A&A Scottish Rite Valley of Lewiston
32° 4/30/2016

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Posted: 06 November 2014 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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I think that you have found the root of the lesson quite nicely.
The more that you practice “patience”, the easier it will be to deal with children and difficult people in your life.

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Past Master, Dryden Lodge #472
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Hudson,Fulton,Dryden Chapter #250 OES
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Posted: 07 November 2014 03:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Hi Aaron, I was wondering how you think you might benefit from joining freemasonry and why you think the lodge should accept your petition? Apart from your Grandparents/parents being members, what are some of your own reasons? Thanks.

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Posted: 07 November 2014 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Also, doesn’t it scare you that your own family did not tell you about their membership in freemasonry until now that you are middle-aged and they still won’t tell you the details? (you mentioned you had to use Google to do your own research.) What do you make of all that?

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Posted: 07 November 2014 10:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Hello Sammy,

Thank you for your very pointed questions. I am going to attempt to answer your questions out of order. I am also going to try my hand at avoiding really talking about religion in this forum. Please forgive me Master Freemasons if I cross the line here. 

sammy_sp - 07 November 2014 09:24 PM

Also, doesn’t it scare you that your own family did not tell you about their membership in freemasonry until now that you are middle-aged and they still won’t tell you the details? (you mentioned you had to use Google to do your own research.) What do you make of all that?

No. it does not scare me that my immediate family did not tell me about their membership in freemasonry. As I have come to understand there has been a division between the Catholic church and their members becoming involved in Freemasonry. This comes from the Papal ban on Freemasonry instituted in 1738. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_ban_of_Freemasonry as I believe the information there is fairly accurate. Wikipedia should taken with a grain of salt but the material looked like the other primary sources I have read. My mother was very involved with the Catholic Church as a child and through her marriage. My father joined the Catholic church when I was very young (he was never a Mason only active in DeMoly as a young man before the war). As a result being raised Catholic, Freemasonry was a subject that was never discussed.  It did not matter that my fathers side of the family was involved they honored the belief system in place for my upbringing. Also I believe they did not bring up the subject to prevent any family strife.

I had a fundamental change in my belief system at age 21 that took me to another religion. By that time I did not even know of Freemasonry and most of my family that were involved with Masonry had past. So the subject never came up. It was not until my Father and Mother separated and items that were long ago packed away as family heirlooms were sorted through that my father showed me my Grandfathers Bible.  I spent time hearing stories about how my family members that were involved in Masonry conducted themselves and added this to my own experiences with them. At this time I made the connection that Masonry did play a huge part in shaping my family and I wanted to make the same commitments to learn how to be a better man.  Freemasonry was the one common denominator and thus here I am.

sammy_sp - 07 November 2014 03:03 AM

Hi Aaron, I was wondering how you think you might benefit from joining freemasonry and why you think the lodge should accept your petition? Apart from your Grandparents/parents being members, what are some of your own reasons? Thanks.

I have been reflecting on your first question all day and frankly I want to be a better man for my wife, kids, and community. I have been involved with Boy Scouts of America both as a kid and also as an adult. From an early age I have tried to live my life according to the Scout Oath and Law. Both give a great foundation for a young man to develop characteristics that seam to be in line with what Freemasonry teaches. I see the difference in the teaching methods is one provides a good foundation (making a good man) in the Boy Scout method. Freemasonry builds upon this foundation in terms an adult can understand and study out (making good men better). I believe that I am far from perfect but I can strive for perfection. In order for me to do this I see Freemasonry as a means to an end for me to improve my life, and make friends with similar like minded people.

A quick Google search for “Qualities of a Master Mason” brought me to the following link 15 Qualities of a Master Mason. On that site there is a very nice list of the 15 qualities of a Master Mason.  I see all of these qualities are items that I desire to work on in my life.

I hope that I was able to answer your questions if not please ask more. I am very very new to Freemasonry and I am looking forward to starting my degree work.

Anyone else want to chime in here too?  I would love to hear your stories and thoughts.

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Aaron Parker, 32°

Whitman Lodge #49 Pullman WA
Petition Submitted October 2014
Initiated Entered Apprentice Degree 01/08/2015
Passed Fellowcraft 2/12/2015
Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason 03/26/2015

A&A Scottish Rite Valley of Lewiston
32° 4/30/2016

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Posted: 07 November 2014 11:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Thanks for your detailed response. It is quite common for freemasons not to talk about their membership in the organization, not even to their immediate families, due to the oaths taken during the initiation ceremony. I encourage you to ask your father to elaborate on the subject and tell you what he learned during his membership in DeMoley when he was young. Have you ever asked him if his parents told him of any of the freemasonry secrets/rituals?
Freemasonry teaches good men to become better. However, it is not necessary to be a freemason to improve yourself as this is a self discovery process and depends on the effort you put into it. Being a member of this organization helps facilitate the process by involving you with “good” like-minded people that can help you become better. However, unless you know all the details about the secrets involved in freemasonry, how could you consider yourself to be of like mind to its members and how can you expect them to believe that you are? I am not sure if that may be a reason for your petition’s approval taking some time as I am not a member of that lodge, but that should not be very uncommon with people new to freemasonry like you. Please consider answering the question of why freemasonry, one of the oldest secret societies, remains closed to the public to this date and only teaches its initiates and is a man-only organization. Unless you are clear on the answers and have made up your mind that it is right for you, I don’t think the Master of the lodge could possibly be sure that you would be the right member to join.

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Posted: 08 November 2014 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Personally, Aaron, I think those are all very good reasons. Good luck in your journey.

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Bro. Bob
Zetland Lodge No. 83
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
Passed 26 May 1979
Raised 18 October 1979

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