Dean Heinemann – Q&A

Roger: Good morning, Most Worshipful Brother Dean Heinemann, thanks for joining me. The first question is, why did you become a Mason?

Dean Heinemann: The first reason was family. Grandad and Dad were past Masters of the Lodge in Cheney, and at that time that was the social place in Cheney to go, so I grew up there going to various events. I guess it was predestined that I was going to be a Mason.

Roger: Why do you remain active in the Fraternity?

Dean: It’s still family tradition, but now it’s become so much more than that. Some of it is hard to describe because it’s more of a feeling that you get. It kind of ebbs and flows over the years. I just finished 35 years in the Fraternity, and sometimes I keep going because of the relationships, the people. Not only here in Cheney, but throughout the world. Other times, it’s because of education. Sometimes it’s because I feel that I still have something to offer the next generation of Masons. It kind of ebbs and flows, but it’s about giving back.

I’m under the firm belief that I’ve been given this great gift by those who came before me, the interpretation of what Masonry was to them, and that I have a responsibility to try to bring that out in others.

Roger: In your own words, what would you describe is the purpose of Freemasonry?

Dean: Oh boy. That’s a tough one. Again, it can change, and no two lodges are the same. Which is what I found out spending 5 years traveling around our jurisdiction and the United States. There’s a canned phrase, “To take good men and make them better,” and I guess in a very simplistic way that’s the purpose, but there’s more to it than that. There’s personal growth if you take the opportunity. There’s also the history of Freemasonry, and how it intertwines with the history of our country, the history of our state, even the history of Cheney. To try to come up with a short answer of what the purpose is, that’s tough.

Roger: Being a Mason of 35 years in tenure, if there was a thing you felt Freemasonry could help you improve in your life today, what would that be and how would it matter? In other words, what could Freemasonry still do to accomplish its purpose as it relates to Dean Heinemann?

Dean: I think just the history, and talking with Masons, and discovering. We tend to read the same text, but when you interject your own background into interpreting that text it makes for some very spirited discussions. I think that’s what still mystifies but also intrigues me; how we can read the same text, whether it’s a part of our ritual or a book written by another Mason, and we can come up with different interpretations. They’re similar, but they are distinctly different in some aspects. For me that’s still the thrill, informal discussions, planned discussions on our Lodge Education Night. Yeah, that’s the thrill.

Roger: Do you think the mission of Freemasonry is different today than it was before, and how do you see that mission evolving?

Dean: Evolving. I think the most recent emphasis on civility and the lessons taught by Freemasonry, and how we can, with more than just our actions, teach those lessons to our communities has been the biggest change. I’m still waiting for it to take hold, but maybe it’s up to individual Masons to make it take hold in our communities. I see that as the biggest difference. We still need to continue to do what we have been doing, to instruct, to mentor, to educate the next generation of Masons.

We also have to make time to have fun with other Masons, with families, and our extended families, because that’s an important part of who we are. Through that you can impart lessons of Freemasonry to where people won’t even know that they’re being taught. That’s your own personal actions. That hasn’t changed, but I see this emphasis on civility and how that relates to certain aspects of our ritual as being something that’s really important moving forward.

Roger: Final question is going to sound a bit convoluted, but you have a very good grasp of the abstract, and so I am confident that you’ll understand where I’m going with this. How could you help a perspective brother whose sole familiarity with our fraternity is either, “I think my grandfather or my uncle was one,” to recognize the relevance and importance of Freemasonry today, and why our Brotherhood is just as relevant to him today as it was to his ancestors years ago?

Dean: Yeah, that is rather convoluted. I’ll try to answer it this way. The Grand Lodge of Washington has adopted the Six Step to Initiation Program, which it takes a perspective candidate through a process where they get to know Masons and get a glimpse into Masonry, and we as Masons get to know them. I would emphasize that Freemasonry is not for every man. In my committee work on the trial committee, I see it every month, that we have taken men into our Fraternity that should not have been made Masons because we didn’t take time to get to know them, to know their background, to know their clocks, their core beliefs. If we would have taken that time we would have understood that they would never be compatible with what I believe Masonry is, what Masonry teaches.

Just because a young man comes to our doors and says that, “My grandfather was a Mason, and I’m interested,” that’s not enough of an investigation to them allowed in to petition our lodges. We need to do a much better job. Even if it means that the population of Masons goes down slightly, that we lose certain lodges through consolidation or turning in their charters, if we concentrate on quality, not quantity, the Fraternity will thrive in the future. Hopefully that answered the question.

Roger: Exactly what I was looking for. Most Worshipful, thank you very much for your time, I appreciate it.

Dean: Yeah, it’s my pleasure, Roger.

Jim Mendoza – Q&A

Roger: Good evening Right Worshipful Brother Jim Mendoza. Well, I’m sure that this is one of many questions you’ve pondered many times over the course of your masonic career, Right Worshipful… Why did you become a Mason?

Jim: Well for me it was a matter of looking at my life and saying to myself, “There’s something missing more than anything”. I came to the DeMolay experience and enjoyed that immensely, enjoyed a lot of the teachings that were there. I met Masons, and got to know Masons through the DeMolay experience and quite frankly grew to dislike Masons through the DeMolay experience. Many years went by and I noticed that certain pieces of my life are missing. One of those was that degree to friendship and paternalism that existed in the DeMolay experience and, as fate would have it, the right lodge opened up for me. The right opportunity opened up for me, I petitioned lodge, and here we are today. That’s kind of how that worked.

Roger: Why do you remain activity in the fraternity?

 

Jim: I guess we can take it from two different levels. From the lodge experience, I remained active in the fraternity because of the people I was surrounded by. I was surrounded by people that I grew up with, and as a result, people who I knew at more than a superficial level. As new brothers came in to the fraternity again, I was able to know them on more than a superficial level and so at its core that’s the big reason. If you look at it from where I stand now, it’s because I’ve been given the opportunity to do some good work, to make a difference in the fraternity. You combine those two things, that’s why I remain.

Roger: What would you describe is the purpose of our fine craft?

Jim: It’s interesting we hear the phrase that, “Freemasonry makes the good men better” and I kind of find that phrase to be somewhat trite. I tend to look at it this way, that Freemasonry provides a platform for good men to improve themselves in whatever form or fashion they choose to improve themselves, whether it be by taking advantage of the incredible opportunities we have, taking advantage of the internal improvement that we have through the ritualism of our work, or being able to improve themselves intellectually by some of the discussions that can be had by going through the higher degrees – for me primarily Scottish Rite, but also the lessons that are available in York Rite as well.

Roger: Towards that end of establishing a platform, what could Freemasonry do differently to better accomplish that purpose?

Jim: I think the biggest thing that we can do with the craft – more than anything – is to stop being so dogmatic about the way we do things. We have to understand that when we talk about providing a platform for good men, we don’t further define the term good men. We don’t define a specific religion, we don’t define specific politics, we don’t define the specific way that they live their lives privately. I think what ends up happening is, when you start being dogmatic in the way you do things, all of a sudden that turns off a lot of people. It really narrows the focus of who comes through our doors, much to our detriment.

Roger: Right Worshipful, do you think the mission of freemasonry is different today than the mission of when it began? Do you see that mission evolving into the future?

Jim: I think it needs to evolve into the future, quite frankly. It’s interesting, we started off as… I don’t know when the magic time happened, but we started off as basically a craftsman’s lodge, operative Masons keeping their secrets. A lot of it was because of the fact they were able to do things that only aristocrats could do and that was basically read and do mathematics. That skill attracted intellectuals and it attracted futuristic – and I know the term is not considered, it’s almost considered derisive by some people – progressive thinkers. We don’t seem to be attracting that as much as we used to.

Roger: Final question, and it’s no longer a cliché (it really is the stereotypical situation today), where perspective Mason will say, “Well you know, I think my grandfather was one or my uncle was one.” How does Right Worshipful Jim Mendoza convince his prospect that his relationship to Freemasonry is just as relevant today as it was to his ancestors 100 or 200 years ago?

Jim: I try not to focus so much on the people that have come before. While I’ll talk about the people who have come before, I like to talk about the people who are here now and really focusing on people who are active members of the craft. There was a brother who joined my lodge who also came through the DeMolay experience. I came to learn that I was the selling point for him coming in. It was, “Do you remember Jim Mendoza?” “Yes I remember Jim Mendoza.” “He is a member of this lodge. Do you remember the good things that he did when he was coming up?”

I think we can do similar things. We like to talk in glowing terms about the people from our somewhat distant past when we have as many people who are doing great things in more recent history that we can focus on. I think that’s where he saw the connection. That said, there are perspective members who want what their grandfather had. They want that sense of connecting with people from various walks of life and tapping into the knowledge that each of these individuals has. Everyone is looking for a path towards self-improvement, and I think people know that part of that path to self-improvement is talking to people who have gone before, but also talking to people who are closer to their contemporaries as well and connecting with them.

I look at people like Al Jorgenson, who was a colonel in the Air Force and yet he’s not afraid to pop on an apron and bus a table. That resonates with the younger person, when the younger person can see something like that. There are so many other stories like that. Zane McKuen liked to talk about when he and Valerie brought their daughter into the world and he wanted to join the Masons because of the fact that neither one of them had their father still in their life, and wouldn’t it be great if their daughter could have an older individual to talk to provide perspective? I think there are great opportunities for that.

Like I said, yeah, it’s nice to talk about the people in our past with great romanticism but I think we also need to talk more about the people who are more in our recent past and also our contemporaries. I think that’s where you show your connection and your relevance.

Roger: Wonderful. Thank you so much Jim.

 

Jim: Thank you Roger. I appreciate your efforts.

Doug Tucker – Q&A

Speaker 1: Most Worshipful Brother Doug Tucker, I’ve got a couple of quick questions we’re using in a research project. The first question is, why did you become a Mason?

Doug Tucker: Probably the most compelling reason for me to become a Mason was because my dad was one. I saw the men that he was associated with through The Craft and they were all really impressive men, both morally and business-wise … They had integrity and they were just the kind of people I wanted to be associated with.

Speaker 1: Why do you stay active in the fraternity?

Doug: Once you become a Grand Master, you’re in it for life. As far as why I’m still doing it, I choose to hope that I can be a good mentor for other people coming into the Craft.

Speaker 1: In your own words, what would you say is the purpose of Freemasonry?

Doug: Well they say that Freemasonry takes good men and makes them better. That’s one of the reasons. Another reason is to hopefully improve the community around us.

Speaker 1: If there was a thing in 2015 or 2016 that Freemasonry could do to help Doug Tucker improve in his life, still, after all these years, what would that thing be? In other words what else can Freemasonry continue to do to accomplish it’s purpose with Doug Tucker?

Doug: Basically the way I look at it is, we have rules to live by, especially in the Craft. I would feel extremely good if the brethren would decide that they need to follow these rules because of all the problems we’ve been having with various places around the State. In essence what I’m saying is, we’ve got people out there who think they don’t need to follow the rules of the craft. They can go out and do their own thing and it’s time we got back to being the leaders that the Craft has been down through the years.

Speaker 1: Do you think the mission of Freemasonry is different today then it was in the past, and continuing on that, how do you see the mission of Freemasonry evolving in the future?

Doug: Well, they say that the only constant in life is change and so I do see the Craft changing. I see the Craft changing in the fact that we’re losing a lot of the brothers that became Masons shortly after World War II, we’re losing those men to the tune of about 1,200 a day, through out the country. For those of us that have been or are in the Craft for a while, it’s incumbent upon us to truly mentor these younger men who are coming into the Craft nowadays. They’re young men looking for something and we need to be able to show them the way that the Craft was initially laid out.

Speaker 1: This last question, and I find it very convoluted, but I think you’re going to understand the meaning of it, because I think you have a good grasp of the abstract. How do you talk to a perspective Mason who’s only touch with our fraternity is either his grandfather was one, or his uncle was one? How do you convey to him that Freemasonry is just as relevant to him today as it was to his forefathers decades ago?

Doug: Wow that’s one to ponder here. Because things have changed so much, the way young men today look at how they want the society to be … Their forefather looked at it the same way. Things are different, but I believe that in talking to a young man, I could be an influence for him to look at. Trying to improve the community is no different then the way that his grandfather or uncle looked at trying to improve life in the community back in the days they became Masons.

Speaker 1: Thank you Most Worshipful.

Sam Roberts – Q&A

Speaker 1: Thank you Most Worshiful Brother Sam Roberts. Thanks for joining me.

Sam: Good morning.

Speaker 1: I have got a couple of questions for you. First one, why did you become a Mason?

Sam: Because of my grandfather. That’s a partial explanation, but my grandfather was a remarkable man who did not let lack of education, nor lack of social standing keep him from being one of the most respected men in his community. The question, the kind of base question of, “Was he a good man because he was a Mason, or because he was a Mason did he become a good man?” That I don’t have an answer to and I don’t know if it really matters.

Speaker 1: Why did you remain active in the fraternity?

Sam: For a number of reasons. One, I am committed to making the world a better place. So are most of the Masons that I know. By doing so and joining other people, other like minded people, I think we can give back. Sometimes that mountain is a little bit steep but it’s worth the climb.

Speaker 1: In your own words, what is the purpose of our fraternity?

Sam: To show the world that there is a way to live that brings happiness to you and others. How is that for a statement? I just made that up. I like it. I may use that again.

Speaker 1: I know that in the past one of our slogans (for lack of a better definition) has been Freemasons help make good men better. If there was a thing you felt that Masonry could help Sam Roberts improve, what would that be and how would it matter in your life? In other words, what else can the fraternity do going forward to help accomplish it’s purpose specific to you?

Sam: That’s an interesting question that is going to require some thought. The answer I believe is going to be … If we examine our history, we will find that Masonry a number of years ago was a fraternity of men but it involved not only our families but also their communities. We were well respected, well regarded, and appreciated.

Somewhere along the line over the last 50 or 60 years, we have gotten more interested in numbers than we have in benefits, if you will. I would like to see us maybe become smaller but a lot more active with our families, with our communities, with the projects, and see if we can’t recoup some of the things that we have lost. By doing so, it is my belief that Masonry will be more effective toward what I think we should be doing and that’s just making sure the world is a nicer, happier place on a daily basis. In other words… can I just coin a phrase? Freemasonry, everyday, everyday.

Speaker 1: In many ways, you just answered my next question, which was how has Free Masonry mission changed and how do you see it evolving, so I’m going to go to the next question. I find it to be very convoluted, but I don’t think you’ll have any problems, especially not the direction. How can Sam Roberts help a prospective member whose sole familiarity with our fraternity may be that his grandfather or his uncle was a Mason to recognize that the fraternity is just as relevant and just as important to him today as it was to his ancestors?

Sam: The question is a little bit convoluted and the answer is going to be multi-part. The first thing is by living the example of what Masonry should be, we should know the world… we show the world what masonry can be. Secondly, you make yourself available to the prospect as well as the new members as a mentor, a coach, a friend and a brother and all the rest of the things that we stand for. Lastly – actually probably most importantly – is making sure that they know you are available for all the things that we stand for. If you are in need or in want of further education, if you are in want of light, we are there for that. When that call comes we are Johnny on the spot.

Now was that a convoluted answer? It was.

Speaker 1: I know. I’m sorry it took us so long to hook up together but I greatly appreciate your time on this project.

Sam: Absolutely. No problem whatsoever.

Don Munks – Q&A

Roger: All right, most Worshipful Brother Don Munks. Thanks for joining me this morning. I have a couple of quick questions for you. First of all, Most Worshipful why did you become a Mason?

 

Don Munks: Well, my dad was a Mason. My father-in-law was a Mason. I always knew at some point and time I would become a Mason. That never was a problem. I always figured I was too busy to join. I didn’t feel I had the time, which was maybe just a way for me to procrastinate. I really regret that I didn’t join when I was younger, because I’ve only been a Mason for 13 years. I haven’t had all the past experiences that a lot of others have had, which I wish I did.

Roger: Why do you remain active in the fraternity?

Don: Because it’s done so many things for me. First as a man, as a husband, as a father. It is a fraternity that you can walk into and feel extremely comfortable when you’re around your brothers. It’s not like you have to make pretenses. It’s not like you have to pretend to be somebody else. You can be yourself, you can be natural. Everybody there is extremely willing to help you without expecting favors in return.

Roger: In your own words what would you say is the purpose of the Masonic Fraternity?

Don: The old cliché, ‘making good men better’ really isn’t a cliché. It’s something that really happens. We do it in a lot of different ways. It’s from watching what others do. It’s from seeing the activity that others are involved in. It’s that sense of belonging to a group that is really doing something for society. That’s really doing something within your communities for those that are most valuable, the youngest, the oldest. We really stand up for setting the example for being the civil leaders in our community, in our state, in our country. Those are just some of the things that I just feel are so important that come some easy by being a member.

Roger: If there was one thing that you felt that Masons could help you improve in your life what would that be? How would it matter in your life? In other words, what else could Masonry do today to accomplish its purpose with Don Munks?

Don: Masonry helped me better understand who I am. It was our self-teaching. It made me think more about me as an individual and how I react and treat others around me, whether it be in my family, or friends, or community. That was something that was extremely important. It continues to help me grow on a continual basis by seeing so many other individuals and how they act and how they have changed because of their involvement. I guess, it’s kind of a difficult question to answer but it’s just something that has made me better understand who I am, and continues to keep doing that every day. Along with that, it fulfills me as an individual with the philanthropy that we are all involved in.

Roger: Two more questions. One, is the mission of Freemasonry today different than the mission it had before, and how do you see the mission evolving in the future?

Don: Yeah, I think it’s a lot different. The difference being that Masons a hundred years ago or whatever were the Aristocrats, they were the wealthy, they were the ones that did for those that were dis-advantaged in their community. They were who everybody turned to. They set the examples. They had kind of an elitist society at that time.

We’re a little bit different because our membership has drastically changed because we have components of just about every kind of occupation that there is.

Roger: How do you see it evolving into the future?

Don: I see us as setting the example with our stability. We are active and involved in our community, gaining back the distinguished look that our communities had for us generations ago. We’re still going to have to continue with philanthropy. We’re going to have to be more passive and open in society. We tried to keep secret everything we do. We’ve tried to not, I guess you’d say, brag about who we are or what we do. We’ve got to get away from that. We’ve got to get to a point where society starts to understand who were are so we can have an influence on them.

Roger: Final question, and it is fairly convoluted because it’s difficult to articulate. How can you help a perspective Masonic brother whose sole familiarity with our fraternity may be either like, my grandfather was one, or my uncle was one, to recognize the relevance and importance of the fraternity today? Why our brotherhood is just as relevant to him today as it was to his forefathers?

Don: That is a difficult one. I think the best way is to help that young person understand that we’re not a whole lot different than we were when his grandfather was a Mason, although we’ve changed in membership. We have changed some in what we do in our lodges, in our community. We still have the same basic practices that we had when his grandfather was there. However, we are ever evolving with the age of technology. We have an opportunity to see and hear a lot more input from different people about what they perceive to be changes that are occurring.

It’s going to be a lot faster, I keep wanting to say change, but a there is a far faster transition that will happen in the future than what is happening right now. I think that we can offer young people who have respected their grandparents or their dad for being a Mason a betterunderstanding for how important Masonry was to those people that they looked at and respected. Now, we have the opportunity to do a lot more today and in the future than we ever did in the past because of technology.

Roger: Most Worshipful, thank you for time. I hope to talk to you soon and if not, Merry Christmas.

Don: Merry Christmas to you, Roger. I appreciate the phone call.

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.

Billy Eberly – Q&A

Roger: Very Worshipful Brother Billy Eberly. I’ve got a few questions for you, several, if not all of them, I’m sure that you’ve contemplated many times over the course of your masonic career. First and foremost, why did you become a Mason?

Billy Eberly: The main reason I became a Mason was because I wanted to be a Shriner and I didn’t know you had to be a Mason first, so I went into Blue Lodge down at Oriental 74, downtown and then into the Shrine. Actually, in fact, Masonry, then Scottish Rite, and then the Shrine, but that’s probably the main reason, was to get into the Shrine. After I found out what Masonry was like, I came back to it after my younger years.

Roger: Why do you remain active in the fraternity?

Billy: That’s really hard to explain … The group of men that get together and they work with each other and they try to make each other better and it’s really hard to explain the camaraderie, even though there’s ritual work and stuff, but it’s just something that really intrigues me.

Roger: What would you say is the purpose of Freemasonry?

Billy: Freemasonry is to make men better men with each other. We learn from each other. We help each other, and that’s one of the reasons I see. Help each other out and move each other along in life.

Roger: That being said, if there was something you thought that our fraternity could help you improve in your life, what would that be? In other words, what else could our fraternity do to accomplish its stated purpose?

Billy: Good question, there. Right now, I’m a district deputy and I’m trying to work in and get other Masons involved, get them and talk to them about the Grand Master, what the Grand Master’s plan is, what the Great Plan is. Each year, this year, 2015, 2016, I’m just trying to push this agenda to the different lodges that I’m involved with.

Roger: We’ve all heard it so many times, when a prospect will say, “I think my grandfather was one,” or “My uncle was one.” How would you best help a prospect understand that our fraternity is just as relevant and just important to him today as it was to his ancestors, decades ago?

Billy: Back when our grandfathers were Masons, it was very hush-hush. I didn’t even know my grandfather was a Mason until I became a Mason and a Shriner, and my mother brought me some jewelry that my grandfather had. You never know, but now it’s more out in the open. We try to get each other involved to help each other out; you don’t even have to have a relative in there, now. You didn’t even have to then, either, but it’s like a family tradition that young men try to follow in the footsteps of their relatives, their fathers, their forefathers and stuff. I think it’s really neat to see when you’ve got 4 or 5 people out of 1 family that are Masons. I’m a Mason, I have a younger brother that became a Mason, I’ve got 4 other brothers and none of them have ever had the desire to go into it, I guess, but we just took a father and a son out at Spangle lodge into Masonry, but the son was in the same Shrine hospital that I was. He wanted to petition pretty bad too, and because they took care of his son, the father came in too. They’re both in the organization now.

Roger: Very Worshipful Brother Billy Eberly, thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to seeing you soon, my brother.

Billy: Thank you for the call and I hope I gave you some helpful additions to your questions here.

Roger: Oh, I think so.

Billy: Thank you, have a good night, Roger.

Nick Pemberton – Q&A

Speaker 1: First question, Very Worshipful Nick Pemberton, why did you become a Mason?

Nick Pemberton: Why did I? Very honestly, my dad was a Mason. Throughout his life, he was a great example, I admired him for a long, long time. That’s what drew me towards Freemasonry.

Speaker 1: Why do you remain active in the fraternity?

Nick: I think it’s worthwhile. It’s something that’s supposed to be with you every day. From the time you wake up, to the time you go to bed. To set an example for others.

Speaker 1: What would you say is the purpose of Freemasonry?

Nick: I’m going to contradict the logical answer. The logical answer is Masonry is supposed to make good men better. Masonry gives the tools for individuals to develop himself into a good man. That’s my faith point. We as individuals don’t make that man better but we give him the tools to do it on his own.

Speaker 1: That being said, if there was a thing that Masons could do to help you improve, what would that be? How would that matter in your life? In other words, what else could Freemasonry do to accomplish this purpose?

Nick: Masonry gave me the ability to improve my speaking abilities in front of people. I’m a very shy person. All through the military, I avoided crowds. Masonry gave me that tool to develop my personal character to be able to speak to others and be honest with others.

Speaker 1: If there was something else that you thought Masonry would help you improve, that hasn’t helped you improved already, what would that thing be?

Nick: I think it’s working with people, understanding people. That’s what it can teach me to improve, to understand their needs in Masonry and help them develop those needs.

Speaker 1: Do you think the mission of Freemasonry is different today than the mission it had before? How do you see that mission evolving in the future?

Nick: I really don’t think it’s different than yesterday, when my father was a Mason, than it is today, because we talk about it at every meeting. We talk about how every human being has a claim upon our kind of offices. When I was growing up, I grew up with Masons in my life. I was adopted. The Masons took me under wing. I think that has not changed because if we really look at Masonry, we should be or are doing more for individuals in our scholarship program, in our charity programs. I think it’s always been that way and always will be that way.

Speaker 1: Lastly, how can you help a prospective Masonic bother recognize the relevance and importance of our fraternity today. Why our brotherhood is just as relevant to him now as it was to his grandfather and his ancestors?

Nick: To be there to answer questions. By educating myself in Masonry, reading books, understanding, and researching gives me the opportunity to help other individuals. I hope that I am still essential to them. Not too long ago, I gave Washington Masonic Code Book to an individual, and he says, “How much do I owe you?” My reply to him is, “You don’t owe me anything except to read it and understand it.” The monetary value of that book is replaced by the educational value that he will gain from it. That’s how I can help others.

Speaker 1: Very good, Very Worshipful. Thank you and have a great evening.

Nick: You too. Take care.

Dutch Meier – Q&A

Roger: First question is, Very Worshipful Brother, Dutch Meier, why did you become a Mason?

Dutch Meier: Why did I become a Mason? I had wonderful examples growing up to really experience first-person the kinds of values that the Masons extol. We were probably not the most well-off household in the community, but a Mason (Scottish Rite Mason-Shriner) unbeknownst to me, that my mother worked for; he encouraged me. It was only then I found out all of his Masonic affiliations. At a time when a young man needed a role model, initially, he was already right there to me. As I moved around through my adulthood, I accepted in the back of my mind that if I ever stabilized and quit moving around all of the time, there would be a place for me in Masonry and that I would welcome an opportunity to be one. It’s kind of … perhaps, with faith, hope, and charity being hallmarks, to be able to demonstrate some of that to some other young person or brother who might need such some day somewhere. It has been a gift and a privilege to be able to try very hard coming back to all that.

Roger: Why do you remain active in the Fraternity?

Dutch: I have found in my adulthood that I value the company of people of character and reputation. It is very important to me to associate with people who’s values are quite similar to mine. Call it bit corny, call it old-fashioned, but I like waving my flag. I like depending on a man’s sincerity and character and a handshake to accomplish great things without reams of paper and gallons of ink.

Roger: What would you say is the purpose of Freemasonry?

Dutch: We very easily tell ourselves that we are an association of good men who are out to make good men better. I think it goes much deeper in a time when men in our communities have perhaps lost sight of the fact that there are still people of character, there are still people who’s values come first. It’s very important to me to not only be one of those people but to encourage that for others.

Roger: If there was a thing Masonry could help you improve, what would that be and how would it matter in your life? In other words, what else could Free Masonry do as a fraternity to help accomplish it’s purpose as it relates to Dutch Meier?

 

Dutch: I suppose that there are times in my day, days in my week, where I forget that among our many virtues beyond the trinity, one of the things that I have the greatest difficulty with is being patient with the likes of some people, sometimes. I need to remember that not everybody has the luxury of as much time available to them as I do. So if Masonry can help me do anything, it’s take time to reflect on that and remember there are other people who have their own moral crosses to bear, expectations and requirements in a day.

Roger: Is the mission of Freemasonry today different from the mission it had before, and how do you see that mission evolving for the future?

Dutch: In another day and time, one would expect to find a duty in their community and reap that duty. These days, people very often don’t have time to slow down and look at the impact of, or consequences resulting from, the choices they make in a day and how they’ll affect their own long-term, and perhaps sometimes of that of others around them.

Roger: How could you help a perspective Masonic Brother whose sole familiarity with our fraternity is probably the line, “I think my Grandfather or one of my Uncles was one,” to recognize that the fraternity is just as relevant and important today as it was during his relatives time?

Dutch: Young people need role models. Masons live to be there to cultivate and excite that next generation coming behind and if it takes toughening up, that the fraternity has done to me, to help someone in a subsequent generation understand and appreciate. Some one needs to do it and you look in the mirror and say, “If not me, who?” Masons see their obligation not only to members of the fraternity but to help develop the future members of our fraternity as well.

Roger: Very Worshipful, thank you very much!

Dutch: It’s been a privilege and an honor Sir!

Michael Carmel – Q&A

Speaker 1: Good evening, Very Worshipful Brother Michael Carmel. First question, Very Worshipful, why did you become a Mason?

Mike Carmel: There are a couple of reasons. One of them was that it was the only fraternal organization or organization of any kind that my father, who was a physician and a prominent person, recommended. He said of all the things he belonged to, the only one that was meaningful to him was Masonry, but he never introduced me to it. The second thing was, I was real fan of American history and how our country was founded on humanistic principles. The length of our early patriots to Masonry really intrigued me, and I read a great deal about them.

I had no idea of how to become a Mason. I was in the scientific book business, and the UPS man who came to my home every day was a marvelous representative of Masonry, but I didn’t know why this guy was such a terrific person. He was just a UPS driver. Then one day when he handed me the clipboard I saw his Masonic ring. I said, “Gosh, Norm, you’re a Mason. How do you become a Mason?” He went to the brown truck and handed me a petition so, yeah. I joined a wonderful lodge, but I got transferred across the country. Then I affiliated with University Lodge. It was all the things that I felt, where men should be able to assemble together and trust one another and look out for one another. It was the principles that appealed to me.

Speaker 1: Why do you remain active in the fraternity?

 

Mike: It gives me satisfaction to be active in the community through Masonry. I like the fact that it’s an ethically-based fraternity that attempts to do good works. It’s not necessarily a charity. It works on making people better and materially achieves improvements in character and action by having a set of rules of how you should behave. I feel comfortable with other Masons. That’s it.

Speaker 1: What would you describe is the purpose of Freemasonry?

Mike: I believe the idea of allowing people to assemble together who share principles of decency and moral behavior without being condemning of other people. You can get together socially with Masons and not expect to have people with drug or alcohol problems, at least that’s my experience and my expectation. I just like the whole idea that you’re pledged to be a good person, and I like being around good people. That’s it.

Speaker 1: We say that we help make good men better. If there was one thing that you felt Masons could help you improve in your life, what would that be and how would it matter? In other words, what else could Freemasonry do to accomplish its purpose with you specifically?

Mike: I’ve thought about the question, “What does Masonry need?” I think this is going to be an odd answer. I’ve felt that one of the things that Masonry neglects is the physical well being of the brothers. Brothers get together, and they try to do good stuff. They do ritual, and they improve their minds, I think, by memory work and that appeals to me also, but nothing physically. This may sound totally wacky, but I’ve thought, “Boy, I wish they could have some kind of emphasis on fitness or better health.” So I think improving personal health would be an interesting sideline, but I don’t see how it’d ever work.

Speaker 1: I don’t think that’s wacky at all. I think that’s a marvelous reach beyond the standard paradigm. That’s exactly the stuff that I’m looking for. Do you think our mission of Freemasonry is different today than the mission it had before? Do you see that mission evolving in the future?

Mike: That’s a question that I haven’t … I’ve thought about, “What did Masonry do before?” Masonry was very influential. It’s hardly influential at all now, in my opinion. It’s very diluted in its ability to influence, say, laws. It’s dwindling in membership, etc. I think that the mission, which was to give people a sanctuary and protection and looking out for one another, was an old mission. By the way, I experienced some of that in my first Masonic lodge because my brothers … everybody looked out for one another.

For instance, it’s entirely inappropriate to use Masonry for commercial purposes, but the refugee or sanctuary is that if you wanted to do business in a certain way, you knew that if you were doing business with a Mason, you were going to get an honest deal. One brother taking care of another. That’s exactly what I experienced. That was the way it was in New Jersey. You had to be very careful of tradesman, etc., but if you were dealing with a brother, you were okay – better than okay. So I would like to see us get that message across.

We’ve had some terrible incidents of dishonesty within Masonry. Thanks to the emphasis and oversight now, I think that we’re going to be seeing less of that. There was sort of a naïve belief that … By the way, I know of old cases, too, where that happened, so it’s not something new in Masonry. It’s just that we’ve had an explosion. We all know that there’s been over a million dollars embezzled in Washington Masonry in the past year or discovered in the past year. As we look for our mission to the future, I think the focus on square dealing and the fact that you can rely on dealing with another Mason would be a powerful help to getting our message across. Give you reasons to belong to the fraternity just other than to have a meeting and social event once a month. I don’t think once a month is enough. Did I say anything worthwhile?

Speaker 1: Yeah, absolutely. There’s all kinds of meat there.

Mike: What I’ve done with our own lodge is we meet once a month, but I do lunch every Wednesday, as mentioned by my wife. That lunch has brought us together. After lunch, at least half dozen of us sat around for two hours and discussed things that we could be doing, and how to improve our mission as a lodge, and how to be more effective. This is not an unusual occurrence. Usually there’s a lot of good fellowship that goes on that’s not just chatter. It’s meaningful stuff. I think you can only get this feeling of real fraternity by getting together more than once a month.

Speaker 1: The last one is kind of a convoluted question, but I know that with your grasp of the abstract you’ll understand where I’m going with this. How can you help a respective Masonic brother whose sole familiarity with our fraternity is either, “I think my grandfather or one of my uncles was one,” to recognize the relevance and importance of Freemasonry today, and why our brotherhood is just as relevant to him today as it was to his grandfather or his uncle back then.

Mike: I think that if you raise the need for having a center in your life, which is not simply church-centered, of having direction and the ability to go to mentors, people who are experienced in many, many fields and concepts, that you can talk to these people and find people who will help guide you. The age of the fraternity is a concern, but it’s also a precious resource that many of these people … We need a place to go in this world with all the threats that we encounter where you can trust other people. So being able to go to a place, once again, that is a sanctuary of honest behavior and good will is a valuable thing in a world where we’re surrounded by threats.

You go on your computer, you can get viruses, etc. Now I’m discovering that we’re getting new brothers who are techs, who are computer experts. We have a petition for affiliation from a Mason who’s the network manager for a large hospital. He wants to get back in. I think that the reason why he wants to get back in is that he’s interested in having this ability to get together with people that he can feel comfortable with and trust. I think if you need somebody you can trust, I think that the Masonic oaths that say you should not wrong, cheat or defraud a brother, you swear that you will not, it would be a powerful selling point, but we can’t reveal that as things are right now.

Speaker 1: Very Worshipful, I look forward to seeing you at one of our future communications, and maybe breaking bread with you, and just chewing your ear about things Orchidaceae.

Mike: Well, I really don’t know that much about orchids, although I’ve had a few. I like all that stuff. For me, it’s a triumph to grow a good tomato.

Speaker 1: Thank you so much for your time.

Mike: Okay, pleasure talking with you.

Speaker 1: All right, brother.

Mike: Okay, bye.

Speaker 1: Bye-bye.

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