Let there be light!
by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners
I had the extreme pleasure of being able to give a presentation at the Grand York Rite sessions for the three York Rite Bodies in Illinois this past week. Not only was I blessed with the opportunity to chair the Grand Royal Arch Chapters education committee for the coming year, but I was also installed as their Grand Orator. Maybe it's because I have a big mouth...at least that's what I've been telling people. All kidding aside, it was a fantastic time. I was extremely honored to meet Companion Timothy Hogan, who gave a very interesting presentation about the Esoteric Traditions of the Knights Templar, and made a more coherent and well-researched argument for Templar influence upon modern Ancient Craft Freemasonry than "Born in Blood". I presented on the influence of the legend of Enoch's vault and how it influenced many high degrees in both the York and Scottish Rite, and how it progressed over time from being a story about Enoch's vault to becoming a vault that Solomon built under the Holy of Holies in the Temple, and how the story is being perpetuated in pop culture through movies like National Treasure and television shows like Oak Island.
However, the highlight of the event was having a brother come up to me to tell me that in his many years in Freemasonry, this was the best thing he had seen. What it shows me unequivocally is how important Masonic Education is and how much influence it can have. It also shows me in reverse that many Craft Lodges and appendant bodies are not taking the opportunity to present education as part of their meetings. To have many react as they did to my and Companion Hogan's presentations was proof in my mind that there is at the core of Freemasonry a thirst for knowledge, and that many men join Freemasonry expecting to learn something either about themselves or their place in the universe or the nature of the universe and they walk away empty-handed. Now, is some of this on them? Sure, those that want to learn do learn... but then again I think that maybe sometimes those who have taken up the reigns of being Masonic Educators have a duty to try to spread light to those that haven't had the opportunity to receive it.
So when a brother comes up to me and tells me that the educational presentations are the best thing he's ever seen in Freemasonry, well, you thank him for his kind words. Personally, there's nothing better than that for me to know that something I presented touched another brother so deeply to have him come across the room after the presentations and tell me that. It brings everything into perspective for me. It gives me the fuel to keep forging forward with everything that I do for Masonic Education. The accolades that matter are how you are remembered, not the titles, honorary memberships, degrees, etc. My hope is that when I'm long from this world, maybe some brother that isn't even born yet will happen upon my writing and feel like I know what I'm talking about. If I can be an influence like Mackey and Smith have influenced me, then there is in my mind no greater honor. It also tells me that the work must continue.
WB Darin A. Lahners is our Co-Managing Editor. He is a host and producer of the "Meet, Act and Part" podcast. He is currently serving the Grand Lodge of Illinois Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as the Area Education Officer for the Eastern Masonic Area. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s also a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, Salt Fork Shrine Club under the Ansar Shrine, and a grade one (Zelator) in the S.C.R.I.F. Prairieland College in Illinois. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.