Roger Nelson: All right Most Worshipful Brother Bruce Vesper, first question, why did you become a Mason?
Bruce Vesper: It was kind of a follow up after going through the chairs in DeMolay being Master counselor. When I turned 21, it just kind of seemed the natural place to go and the natural place to be.
Roger: But why are you still active in the fraternity?
Bruce: I love this fraternity, it’s just absolutely fantastic. I mean, in my travels I’ve literally been around the world and in almost every place that I’ve been, there have been Masons. Just knowing another individual is a Mason has given me an introduction and an opportunity to meet other people that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity had it just been me.
Roger: What would you say is the purpose of Freemasonry?
Bruce: I think it literally is making a difference in the world. Obviously, I take very seriously the vows, the obligations I’ve made as a Mason. But I think the other thing is, it’s not only making me a better person, it’s me looking at the rest of the world and saying, “What can I do to make this a better place for somebody else? To give someone else an opportunity to pour someone else? To enjoy some of the things that I’ve benefited from in my lifetime?”
Roger: What else could Freemasonry be doing to better accomplish its purpose?
Bruce: I think what we need to do is try to address one of the biggest problems we’ve got in the world today, and that’s civility. I mean, I go to stores, I go to places and it’s almost like people have gotten into being a sourpuss, flying off the handle at nothing. People don’t smile at each other, people don’t wave to each other, even though everyone seems to have a name tag, people don’t take a look at that name tag and call someone by name. I think if we as people can restore some of the civility, restore some of the common sense, restore some of the more gentle manners that used to be, I think we’ll have accomplished something of tremendous worth to the world.
Roger: Do you think our mission has changed from what it was when the fraternity began? How do you see that mission evolving in the future?
Bruce: I think in some ways, our mission is still the same. We’ve always tried to be a charitable activity. We’ve always tried to help people improve themselves, improve the lives of others, so I don’t think our actual mission has changed, but I think given the change in lifestyles, given the change in circumstances, we’ve had to adapt to be better at what we do in order to serve those around us.
Roger: Final question Most Worshipful, how would you best help a prospective Masonic brother understand that our fraternity is just as relevant to him today as it was to his ancestors?
Bruce: It’s always tough to explain because different generations look at things, and I mean I can remember when I was a young man back in the 60’s and 70’s, I was absolutely convinced that the people who came before me didn’t know what they were talking about, didn’t understand life, didn’t see things the way I did. Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that no, those guys really knew what they were talking about. They knew what they had to say. Maybe they hadn’t made all the same decisions I might have made, but I think in a lot of ways, it was a relevant institution then, and it remains a relevant institution.
I think the other thing is, it gives everybody an opportunity to talk to people, good people, and hopefully get well considered answers in return. Nobody is trying to tell you, ‘This is what you have to do’, ‘This is what you need to do’, but I think everybody in the fraternity always encourages others to think about your actions, think about the effect your actions will have on others and the rest of the world. Then do what you think is best. I think in doing all of that, a lot of people will come up with the same answers that people have for generations gone by and people will in the future. The circumstances may change, but the basic values, the basic morals, the basic principals stay the same from generation, to generation, to generation.
Roger: Most Worshipful thank you so much for taking the time with me.
Bruce: Not a problem. Thank you, Roger.