Sunday, October 25, 2009

Anchorage Valley Scottish Rite Fall Reunion

On Saturday, I had the honor and privilege to be the exemplar for the conferral of the 32 degree of Scottish Rite Masonry, during the Anchorage Scottish Rite Valley’s fall reunion. There were 10 of us in the reunion class, which was large by the Anchorage Valley’s standards. The candidates who participated in the class included: Andy Flack, Steve Cords, Paul Petersen, Ron Adams, Mike Cooper, Will Ottman, Chris Fatello, Sam Thompson, Nicholas Giles, and myself. During the “capping” ceremony at the end of this two day event, I had the pleasure of having my Scottish Rite 32 degree cap placed on my head by Dee LaCombe. Dee was the wife of Brother Dave LaCombe, a dear friend who passed away last year.

I may have mentioned before that I came to Masonry late in my life, although, I was introduced to the principles of Freemasonry at an early age, by a family that was and is very active in the fraternity and through participation in DeMolay. However, after I graduated from High School, I chose a different path; military service, college, and a professional career. Along the way, I gave my service in leadership roles to a professional society and the Boy Scouts. I didn’t become a Master Mason until I was 47 years old. Before that time, I didn’t realize that I had been searching for something more meaningful in my life. Since becoming a Mason, I have given my time and service to various Masonic organizations, applying what I had learned through a career of professional and public service.

For the last few years I have become aware of what Masonry has to offer to the serious student, and I have set off on a course of independent study of mediaeval and renaissance philosophy. I have been guided by authors like Frances Yates, who said:

“Where is there such a combination . . . of religious toleration, emotional linkage with the mediaeval past, emphasis on good works for others, and imaginative attachment to the religion and the symbolism of the Egyptians? The only answer to this question that I can think of is in Freemasonry, with its mythical link with the mediaeval masons, its toleration, its philanthropy, and its Egyptian symbolism."

I have continued to search for that which will make me a better husband, a better father, and a better citizen. This weekend’s Anchorage Scottish Rite Valley’s fall reunion, was another step in that search. I know that there are some who may be surprised by this revelation; that I waited this long to become a Scottish Rite Mason. All I can say is that for every man there is a path he must choose; a path, which if properly selected, will help direct him to true enlightenment. I have no regrets about waiting until I was 47 years old to choose Freemasonry, for I wasn’t ready to accept its teachings until that time. I do, however, regret that it took me this long to seek out Scottish Rite Masonry. I now believe, for me anyway, that the Scottish Rite has the philosophy and teachings that will assist me in my quest for “Further Light in Masonry”.

As Brother Winston Churchill said at the end of the Battle of Britian, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

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