I received a card in the mail yesterday from the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A. F. & A. M. I get one every year, congratulating me on my anniversary as a Master Mason. It’s been twelve years.
Sometimes that seems like a long time to me, and other times it seems like a very short time. Without a doubt, the event marked a very significant change in my life. It changed the way I thought about myself. It changed the way I thought about others. It changed the way I viewed my place in the world.
Twelve years ago, when I was raised a Master Mason, I’d never published a book. I’ve now published six, and working on a seventh. I don’t recall even knowing what a blog was, let alone write one—now I’m known as the Founder of one of the largest and most successful blogs out there on the topic of Freemasonry. Twelve years ago, I was a history enthusiast—I enjoyed reading and learning about history. You certainly wouldn’t call me a researcher, or a scholar, or a Fellow. Twelve years ago I was living a very average and very routine life as a university accountant. I can’t even begin to list the experiences I’ve had over the last 12 years that have been anything but routine. I was happy twelve years ago, but I wasn’t content.
I joined because I was looking for something. Something I didn’t have in my life, and something I’m not even sure I could’ve defined then if you’d asked me. I was looking for a deeper meaning and a greater purpose.
I joined for a lot of reasons. I was fascinated by Freemasonry from a historical perspective, and I wanted to become part of something with such a long history, and that has preserved so much of its historic roots. I wanted to improve myself, and I knew that the tenants of Freemasonry had long helped to build men of good character. I wanted to find ways to meaningfully contribute to my community. And I’ve always been kind of a strange dude, and I wanted to find a place where I could feel at home. I thought I was a little odd, but the weirdos I’ve found and become friends with in this Fraternity make me seem almost normal—a few of them write for the Midnight Freemasons. I would just say, that the Fraternity’s long tradition of attracting freethinkers is not exaggerated—our ranks are full of marvelously unique and talented individuals as it always has been. I'd say one of the most significant changes Freemasonry has made in me, is that I no longer see myself as a solo act--I'm just one part of a much larger team now.
I certainly found what I was looking for. Boy, did I find it! On December 10th, 2005, everything changed for me. It’s never been the same since. My only regret is that I didn’t find Freemasonry in 1995, or maybe 1985. It’s easy to look around the world today and find the things that are wrong with it. What you’ll find in our Fraternity are men who see the good that still remains in the world, and they work to build on those things—one man at a time. I plan to spend my anniversary as a Freemason in much the same way I do every year—my Lodge is hosting a 2nd Degree tonight. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor. He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog. He is the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754. He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. You can contact him at: email@example.com