by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
I was raised in 1968, a "legacy" Mason, following more than 100 years of family membership in the Craft. I joined with the absolute understanding that it was "noblesse oblige" [to whom much is given, much is asked] and that I would give time and energy in service to the Craft and my fellow man as ancestors and contemporary family members had done and continued to do. I served as WM of the two Lodges to which I belong and EC of my Commandery. I learned and performed the rituals of the degree ceremonies and the funeral service and visit and help at more than a dozen Lodges a year. I certainly didn't join because of some mystic or esoteric knowledge known and shared among a select few. I understood, believed in, and continually practiced the concept of INCLUSION, not EXCLUSION. The tribalism and prejudice of some Masons which I see exposed in social media every day repels me. I don't understand the demonization of clandestine Masons, most of whom were inveigled into joining what they thought were "regular" Lodges by some con artist. For nearly 50 years, I have simply explained the differences and acknowledged some points of convergence when learning of an individual's clandestine status. I make the point that such status is not irrevocable, but can be changed with relatively little effort IF the individual would like to be part of the larger "regular" body of Masons.ReplyDelete
Wes Bucey, WPM of Lawn 815 and Libertyville 492 AF&AM of Illinois,
Thanks for your comments. Although it doesn't really relate to the this piece, I'd like to reply to your comment on clandestine lodges. I do believe that lodge recognition is important. As we all know there are a lot of people out there making a lot of money selling what they're calling "Freemasonry" to unsuspecting petitioners. While I agree we shouldn't demonize clandestine Masons, because they probably didn't know, we should without a doubt work to close these irregular Lodges because in most cases they aren't practicing legitimate Freemasonry. There are several Masons I know that started in clandestine lodges unwittingly, and then once they became aware of the illegitimacy of that Lodge joined a recognized lodge.Delete
I also know several individuals, notably Charles Harper (https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=charles%20m.%20harper%20sr.), author of Masonry in Black & White. who have switched status from irregular to regular. Others who have just dropped out, embarrassed by their naivité in being inveigled into bogus Masonry.ReplyDelete
My point, if imperfectly expressed, is that "some" men join to fill a gap they feel in their lives. Many more join simply to be part of an establish organization with a reputation for respectability and stability. A man may have a comfortable career as a Mason without ever delving past the surface of the metaphors and "mysteries" illustrated in the degree ceremonies. This is similar to the many who join and support religious organizations without ever delving beyond a vague awareness of some theological point raised in a sermon. Certainly the vast majority of church members do not devote themselves to theological studies. Membership in Masonry is no different. A select few may become knowledgeable scholars and interpreters of arcane texts and ceremonies, but the vast majority should not be burdened with an imperative to be such scholars.