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I am a Past Grand Master and 35 year member of the Freemason fraternity.
Following is a shortened version of my speech to candidates that I used while serving as Grand Master.
I became a Mason so I could participate with my wife in Job’s Daughters, which is an organization for girls 10-19 who are related to a Master Mason. At that time, I found Freemasonry a way to be involved with my family in positive, value-based organizations, and that continued when our two daughters joined. There are groups in the Masonic family for every member of a family, including DeMolay for boys and another group for girls called Rainbow, and Eastern Star for you, your wife and other female relatives.
As my involvement increased, I found that I could contribute to my community. For example, my lodge linked with a local elementary school and offered four bicycles a year as prizes for a drawing involving students who participated in a reading-improvement program. In the first year, reading test scores improved 26 percent.
Then, I became interested in Masonic history. While we don’t really know the origins of Freemasonry, it boggles my mind to think that the words I say in lodge have been uttered and practiced by millions of Masons around the globe for hundreds of years.
While serving as Grand Master, I was focused on the values taught by Freemasonry. I asked lodges to work toward the following values: self-development by studying our teachings and involvement in our lodges; performing acts of brotherly love for members of our fraternity; and providing charity in our communities.
As I look ahead to my later years, it will be interesting to see how my definition of Freemasonry changes. I have witnessed what our fraternity means to our older members. From my observations, older members are surrounded by men they call friends who are of all ages. I see respect for their knowledge and experience. I see the dignity that comes from living a value-based life and passing that on to new members. And, I see a fraternity that cares about each member and supports him during the ups and downs of life, especially during his later years.
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