A West Coast Raising

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Robert Johnson 32° 
Bro. Lewis was Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master
Mason on July 9.
 Pictured above are the officers,
members and visitors with Bro. Lewis.

      It was a big secret, not to the world, but for just one person. In this age of Facebook, checking in at locations, and sharing photographs, I couldn't do any of these things because if I had the person I was trying to surprise may have seen any of the updates. This was really hard for me, I'm a digital guy, I embrace the ability to share what I'm doing with my friends, brothers and family.

      So there I was flying at 36,041 feet, writing this blog entry. The reason for the flight and the surprise? Well, a good friends of mine, who listens to my podcast, had become a Freemason, and he was about to get is third degree. Every Freemason knows this is a big deal. Sure the coronation of a 32nd degree AASR, or the Holy Royal Arch or even the Knight Templar degrees are big, but the Master Mason degree is THE degree. 

Worshipful Master
André D. Harrell, P.M., with Bro. Lewis.
      I had alluded at some point that I might be able to come out for his 3rd degree, but as time got closer, I was more elusive about it when he would ask. I didn't do this to be a jerk, I did it to surprise him. In today's culture, what weight does a mans word have? How important is it that friends (who are Brothers), lodge officers and members actually attend the lodge for a Brother's raising? My answer? It is of the most importance. What example do we set when we do not visit? A Master is to travel in foreign countries, work and receive those Masters wages. 

      When I started planing this trip, I hesitated about going, and for what reason? My wife, said "What would you do if you were home?". The answer was nothing unusual. You know that saying "Life begins a little outside your comfort zone."? Well, not that I was uncomfortable visiting another lodge, after all, I had done this many times, but I hadn't gone this far. This trip is kind of a personal reminder to how long the cable tow is. In the age of electronic communication, we need to reevaluate how long it is. In my case it was about 2,000 miles.

A good friend and brother of Bro. Lewis, Robert Johnson
(left), Junior Warden of Waukegan Lodge #78,
Waukegan, Illinois, made a surprise visit to
attend Bro. Lewis’s raising.
     Who was this Brother? Well perhaps you listened to an interview with Todd E. Creason on the Far From Centered Podcast hosted by Brother Robert P. Lewis. It was in fact Robert P. Lewis' 3rd degree. When Rob Lewis walked into the dining room at the L.A. Masonic Center I heard a familiar chuckle as he walked up behind me and greeted me.  It was a great moment. 

      Energy was so positive, the Brothers were so friendly and they made me feel like I was part of the family. I can't thank the Brothers of L.A. Lodge 42 enough, including the Worshipful Master Bro. Andre` Harrell. The night of course hit its high point when Bro. Robert Lewis was Raised. The whole lodge was proud. Afterword we all went out for a sandwich at Izzy's, a deli in Santa Monica which was 24 hours.

      The table was filled with smiles, good conversation, Masonry and good will. I reflected for a moment while siting there in front of my "Super Hamburger" on what this trip really did. It set an example for younger Brothers, and it helped me understand a great deal more about a Masters ability to travel and visit other Lodges. This trip was just amazing. I thank everyone who was involved. 


Bro. Robert Johnson, 32° is the editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog.  He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He belongs to Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council and Knights Templar, and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago.  Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is also working on two books, one is of a Masonic nature.



  1. That was really cool you were able to do that for a Brother. When I was raised I had a friend travel to see it (It was only 100 miles but I still felt honored he did it) He was the Grand Lecturer at the time and scared the members of my lodge to death! (I never told them he was coming..lol) It will be something he never forget.

    I love the regalia of their lodge. Really cool!

  2. Glad you got to attend! I think a lot of Bro. Robert Lewis--he's got a great podcast, and I enjoyed our conversation a great deal. But he's also a very gifted writer, and seems to have boundless energy and endless ideas. I think he'll make a fine addition to our fraternity.

    Congrats, Bro. Lewis!