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.

    Bruce Vesper – Q&A

    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.

    Roger: Bye-bye.

    James Hamlin – Q&A

    Speaker 1: Very Worshipful Brother James Hamlin, thanks for joining me. You’ve had a chance to review these questions and hopefully you didn’t write them out. They’re probably questions you’ve pondered from time-to-time throughout your Masonic career. First and foremost, why did you become a Mason?

    James: I come from a family of Masons and so it’s always been in the back of my mind. Then a co-worker, I saw he was a Mason and so it peaked my interest. I decided to be part of something bigger than myself.

    Speaker 1: Why do you remain active?

    James: Freemasonry for me is fulfilling a need. It heightens my curiosity about the world. It fulfills a social need. The spirituality of Freemasonry is very interesting to me.

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

    James: As I said, what it should be is to help develop curiosity in its members so they seek out what could be called the mysteries of Freemasonry.

    Speaker 1: What could our fraternity improve that would help us better accomplish that stated purpose?

    James: We need to get back to what I feel is the original intent of the esoteric side of Masonry. It seems to me we’ve moved to focus on the social or the business side of Masonry and many Lodges have moved away from the education and the esoteric.

    Speaker 1: Do you think the mission of our fraternity is different today than it was when it was founded? Do you see that mission evolving in the future?

    James: The mission of Freemasonry I think has remained the same, it’s just we’ve lost sight of the mission. Hopefully we continue to evolve, so while the mission stays the same, the purpose stays the same, we get back to focusing on that mission and we evolve to match the needs of perspective members to the true purpose of Freemasonry.

    Speaker 1: How would you best help or steer or counsel a prospective Masonic Brother to understand or recognize that the relevance of our fraternity is just as great and just as important as it was to his ancestors?

    James: I think one of the best ways is to live our lives as Masons so the tenets of Masonry are reflected, are visible to everybody, not just within the Lodge meeting but 24 hours a day, we’re Masons. We need to set the example so people have something to emulate.

    Speaker 1: Very Worshipful Brother Hamlin, thank you for your time, a very gracious extension of your day. I look forward to seeing you in the future.

    James: Well, thank you and good luck with your endeavors.

    Speaker 1: All right, thanks again. Bye bye.

    James: Thank you. Bye.

    10 Qualities of a Real Man

    What exactly is a ‘real’ man like? There is so much more to being a real, manly man than having a beard, working out, fixing things, and eating meat – although those things have certainly become synonymous with the idea of ‘manliness’. But there’s a deeper definition of the qualities of a real man.

    An editor on the blog, ArtofManliness.com put it well recently: “It’s hard to describe manliness in isolation — that is, apart from the flesh and blood men who embody it. It’s something that you instinctively recognize and feel when you encounter it in another.”

    What character traits does a real man — a good man — have? How does he treat the people in his life? Do his actions align with his words and purported morals? The following qualities of a real man outline an individual who is respected and admired by his family, friends, colleagues and beyond, someone who can make his world better for others.

    1. Compassionate: A real man does not intentionally cause pain, and is sensitive to the needs of others. He cares about other people’s happiness and is empathetic in their sorrows.
    2. Faithful: It is vital that a man be true to himself and the people in his life. He does not cheat or betray, and submits to his chosen morals with integrity.
    3. Confident: Self-assurance, not pride, is a driving force for a real man. He knows where he is going and why, and is following a path to achieve his goals.
    4. Respectful: Every individual deserves respect, and a real man acts in a way that is respectful of all others he encounters, not just his superiors or figures of authority.
    5. Humble: All men must be willing and able to account for the mistakes he has made, taking ownership to right any wrongs, and practicing humility when he falls short.
    6. Courageous: Bravery and courage are aspects of humanity that all real men must enact. He stands up for what’s right, and always protects women, children and the weak.
    7. Hard Working: All men and women have duties, and a real man works hard to fulfill his responsibilities, striving to succeed and to meet additional goals and aspirations.
    8. Capable: A manly man respects and appreciates care and help from others, and yet is fully independent and capable to maintain his person, his home, and his livelihood.
    9. Passionate: Whether it be in work, hobbies, or relationships, a real man is passionate about something.
    10. Humor: Pride and ego have no place in a real man’s character. He should be able to laugh at himself and cultivate good humor in his interactions with others.

    The Freemasons are comprised of tens of thousands of men who are striving to portray and implement these qualities of a real man in their everyday life. To learn more about our values, please click here. Or, contact us to learn more about Freemasonry.

    Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

    Welcome to the Brothers' Blog

    This is a blog where we can discuss any topic of interest to the brothers of Washington Masonry.

    Pick the title of the topic to add your comments.

    It requires an Administrator to post a question/comment to start a discussion thread. So click HERE to send your post request.