From the archives: The 50 Year Member: Part One - The Internet
by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bill Hosler PM
The 50 year Mason sat in his den watching the beehive of activity surrounding him. he sat in his chair surrounded by boxes, wires and cords laying all over the floor and devices he had never seen and had no clue what they were for.
He watched as his grandchildren assembled a computer onto his old writing desk. The kids were talking to each other in jargon that might as well have been a foreign language to him. “I hope they know what they are doing” he thought to himself.
His wife had wanted a computer in their house for a long time. She keeps saying “We need to keep up with the times.” and the most important “We can talk to the great grandchildren”. He knew this was important to her. They never got to see the kids since they moved away and he figured there was a yearning inside her to see them on a regular basis. She could talk to them on the phone but it wasn’t a substitute to see their smiling face every day. “Women need stuff like that” he figured.
Once the devices were all assembled he gazed upon this new thing on his old desk. All these boxes with what looked like a TV on the desk he had paid the monthly bills on all these years. It was making sounds and lots of little green lights blinking on the little boxes. “Looks like something out of Star Trek” He mumbled. His wife could barely contain her excitement “How do I get on Facebook? She asked her son. “All the girls at the club are on Facebook” she stated. “Oh Brother” he thought to himself but he had been married long enough to know not to say it out loud. His son slowly and patiently began to show his wife how to use the computer and access the internet.
That evening Brother Johnson went down to the temple for the lodge’s monthly meeting. During dinner he was talking to his longtime friends and Brothers. It began with the same conversation they had had for the last half century. Lies about their latest fishing trip, the next Shrine ceremonial. It was the same conversation they had over and over. The same old jokes they had been telling each other for years. Sometimes it gets stale but at least he gets to see the guys and catch up with what is going on their lives.
Brother Smith mentioned he was going to attend a Grand lodge event in the southern part of the state. Smith wondered if anyone wanted to go along with him. “How did you hear about that?” the 50 year member asked him. “I didn’t get a letter from the Grand lodge.” Laughing out loud Smith said “I got an email about it from the Grand Lodge last week. “They send me information about events all the time”. I get emails from the Scottish Rite too.” “I seen pictures of the last event on the Grand lodge’s website, it looked like fun so I thought I would go!”
“Freemasonry on the internet?” Exclaimed the 50 year member. “I never knew you could do that!” “What about all of our secrets? It will destroy the Fraternity!”
The new guy was sitting at the end of the table. He was raised a few months ago. He didn’t talk much. The Brethren didn’t talk to him much either. He was so different than the other members. He had tattoos all the way up his arms and his head was shaven he wore a lot of jewelry. He even has a Masonic ring with a Square and compass in the middle of a skull! Brother Johnson had thought about blackballing him but so many Brethren had a favorable opinion of him when they reported back to the lodge after his interview he decided he wouldn’t throw the black ball “He will probably lose interest soon anyway” Brother Johnson figured. “You can find all kinds of information about Masonry on the net. Sure you can find out the secrets but those are mostly posted by anti masons but there are a lot of resources that will make you a better mason.”
“Really? Like what?” Brother Johnson asked. The new Brother said “Well first, like this lodge. I would never know it existed if it wasn’t for the internet. I had heard of Freemasonry and I did an internet search and found our Grand lodge’s website. I searched their website and found this lodge. “Our lodge has a website?” The 50 year member asked. “I’ll be darned! What do you do with that?” “Lots of things” the new member replied “It has the lodges address, a calendar of events, Monthly messages from the Master and Wardens about what our lodge is doing. It even has photos of lodge events. Some of the photos go all the way back to the founding of the lodge! You can even print out a petition. It’s really a great resource.”
The 50 year member was shocked. “And this website brings in members?” Brother Smith started laughing “John where do you think all the young men who have been coming into our lodge have come from in the last few years?” John was shocked. He had thought they came into the lodge like he had. His father had been a Mason on his 21st birthday his mother had given him a petition that morning at breakfast. “Your father can’t give it to you” his mother said “But there isn’t anything that says I can’t.” That’s the way it was done. He went through the degrees and took his place in lodge.
“So what else can you find on the internet about Freemasonry?” The 50 year member asked. “About anything you want” the newly obligated Brother responded. “Masonic literature, news from around the world, videos and photographs of events. You can even chat with masons from all over the world. I have made a lot of Masonic friends from all over the world.” The new brother pulled his mobile phone out of his pocket. “Take a look at this” The new Brother said. “This is a video that was taken last month at Grand lodge. It is the installation of our new Grand Master during the public officer installation. It’s been all over Facebook.” The new Brother said”.
“Facebook!” The 50 year member exclaimed. “My wife is now on Facebook. Is she looking at this?” “I doubt it” The new Brother said. “Facebook is different for each person who joins it. It is driven by your interests and the people you choose to associate with on the website.” The 50 year members mind was swimming. Not only can you find Freemasonry so easily on the internet but this guy is looking at it on his telephone! He isn’t even using a computer! Maybe the internet isn’t the Devils den he thought it was the 50 year member thought. If men he had known and trusted for years are using it and gaining benefit from it and this young man he was speaking to became a member because of it maybe his wife was right. He did need to keep up with the times.
Bill Hosler was raised in 2002 in Three Rivers lodge #733 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He served as master of the lodge in 2007 and was a member of the Internet committee for the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM. Bill is currently a member of Roff lodge #169 in Roff, Oklahoma and Lebanon lodge #837 in Frisco, Texas he is also a 32° Scottish Rite Mason within the Fort Wayne, Indiana Valley AASR NMJ. Bill has also served as High priest of Fort Wayne Chapter #19 Royal Arch masons and Commander of Fort Wayne Commandery #4 Knights Templar and the Webmaster and magazine editor for Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne, Indiana.