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Seven years ago, I had no idea what a Freemason was. My journey to Masonry is conceivably similar to those that have come this way before. Even though my scholarly ambitions have focused on the field of History, this art has never been a topic that has breached a lecture or textbook – only through popular film and a certain best-selling novel did I ever see the symbolic Square and Compass. With trepidation and sheer uncertainty, I established contact with the lodge Secretary. Instead of being met with backward glances, I was immediately embraced and fell under the wings of many. Several times I was asked, “What brought you to Masonry?” Upon departing my first night in the company of these Brothers and their families, I asked myself, “What took me so long to get here?”
Every individual approaches curiosity differently – some wait patiently for the ultimate surprise, or need a little reassurance by conducting their own investigation. When I made my first step in Masonry, the experience was new and enlightening, confusing yet eye opening. I had no preconceived notions of what could happen, or should happen. The rituals of Masonry are hundreds of years old, each one designed to impress upon the candidate the tools and mysticism of that degree. Each hand that guided my path, every sound that caught my attention, and every word spoken in the tongues of the ancients, has particular purpose. Once you take that solemn oath, you are granted a right of passage to learn and experience everything that Masonry has to offer. Unknowingly, unsheathed before me lay an abundant amount of knowledge and wisdom, responsibility and brotherly love. To say the least, it was quite bright.
As a newly raised Mason, suffice to say, the process was an experience. Every time I step foot into the lodge, illuminated or otherwise, I remind myself that this Brotherhood has outlived political persecution, Civil and World Wars, and unintelligible criticism. It has cut through ignorance, and broken down racial barriers. As Masons, we are all connected. We have all walked similar paths to get here, and efforts are two-fold if work is put in. Above all, it demands respect. I have learned that each day is a journey, and in order to fulfill my promise, I must live it to the best of my ability. If I ever have a son of my own, and he possesses the same desire to become a Mason, I will tell him how it changed me – how it gave me the tools to become a better man. And yes, it’s pretty cool to just say, “I am a Freemason.”
Brother Joseph D. Lamberti is a member of Burbank Lodge #406 Grand Lodge of California, Signet Chapter #57 and Pasadena Scottish Rite. He is also, the current Monarch of Cinema Grotto.