David Colbeth – Q&A
Roger:Very worshipful brother, David Colbeth, first question is why did you become a Mason?
David Colbeth: Well, you know, for the glory and fame of course. Right? I was intrigued by the ideas of what Freemasonry might be. My only connection to Freemasonry at the time was the movie “National Treasure” and my wife’s gregarious great uncle Jessie, whom I got along with very well. I was a member of VFW and a member of Lions Club and other things and I was looking for something more. So that’s really why I took the first step and asked, “What do I do next?”
Roger: Why do you remain active in the fraternity?
David: Deep down, I believe it’s a worthwhile cause. We’re one of the remaining few organizations that men continue to seek to provide a better understanding of themselves and their place in the universe or in this world. Of course, many organizations that we have provide a better understanding of themselves … I’m sorry. Of course, like many organizations, we have our day-to-day operation requirements and, while those aren’t always as self-enlightening as we would like them to be, there are skills to be learned and personal growth to be achieved. The real opportunity for Masonry is the answer to your next question, really.
Roger: What is the purpose of Freemasonry?
David: I think it’s to make Master Masons, isn’t it? I’m kidding. In historic times, Freemasonry was the society that believed in personal development or personal enlightenment. In many respects, it was the only real educational system of its time and encouraged free thinking, along with religious, ritualistic practices. I believe Freemasonry is many things to different men. While there is tendency to make out lodges as social clubs, being social with our brother is not wrong, it just shouldn’t be the only reason we gather together. We should encourage one another to become better, to be better, and to be examples to the world of what a just and upright man should be.
Roger: That being said, Very Worshipful, if there was something you felt that our craft could help you improve, what would that be and how would it matter in your life? In other words, what else could Freemasonry do to accomplish its purpose?
David: You know, I don’t think Freemasonry has cornered the market on self-improvement. There are a lot of other opportunities and organizations that encourage self-improvement but I think Freemasonry has a unique bond of brotherhood together with the ideals of self-improvement. One thing I think we’re missing, at least for me anyway was, when I joined I just assumed there would be some kind of a regular course of education, or some kind of training that would be required to be involved in. I know some lodges have better educational elders, however, you know, what I’ve witnessed really is that majority of lodges don’t provide a regular course of education to their brethren or even to their sustaining members. Maybe it’s more of a need than what Freemasonry currently offers, but I think there is an opportunity there.
Roger: Do you think our mission has changed over the decades, over the centuries and, if so, how do you see that mission evolving in the future?
David: Yeah, I might be contrary to what people some say. I don’t really believe the true mission of Freemasonry has changed. What has changed is our interpretation, maybe, of that mission. I believe if we truly listen to our ritual and study the tenants of who we are, where we came from, we will become more centered and return to what the real mission was and return to the focus of free thinking, higher education, self-improvement, improving those around us, not just social clubs.
Roger: Lastly, it’s a difficult questions and it’s got a lot of tentacles to it, how would you best explain to a prospect that our fraternity is just as relevant to his life today as it was to his ancestors, who may or may not have been members.
David: Yeah, this is something that you could go on and on about but I try to boil it down into one sentence. Basically, I think if a man’s looking for more in life and just can’t seem to find it, we’re probably what he’s looking for.
Roger: Very worshipful, I know you’re a busy man. I greatly appreciate your time and I look forward to see you at a future conclave.
David: Absolutely, Roger, thanks so much. I appreciate the opportunity.