I was initiated in Freemasonry about five years ago, and I got to say that it was quite an experience. If I’m being honest, the truth is that I had no idea what the masonry was about, I just had the idea that it was some kind of secret power group that had secret meetings to bond between each other and make connections that may allow them to progress in the business or political world. At the time, I was finishing law school, and, insecure as I was, it just seemed like a good opportunity to impulse myself into a position of power, I wasn’t really an ambitious person and now I realize that I was just very insecure and wanted the power to feel safe. Anyhow, this was my experience.
My father was the one that introduced me into this world, he had become a freemason about three or four years before me, he wasn’t really into masonry in the practical sense, he just like the ideology and the study, but after I insisted for a while he agreed to introduce me into his lodge. To become a free mason, you got to go through a very interesting ritual, I had no idea about it, so it was a surprise when I was blindfolded. I’m not going to detail the entire ritual, not because is a big secret (as they want you to believe at the beginning) but because there are too many details to describe and that’s not the purpose of this post (ok, it’s also because I made some oaths and I try to be a man of my word, but seriously, if you really want to know, the information is very public, I recommend finding a book from a respected author, because there’s all kinds of stupid things on the internet about masonry).
After the ritual I was pretty amazed, I wasn’t expecting an entire philosophy or dogma, and that was pretty unusual from my behalf, after talking with other ‘apprentices’ (that’s the title you’re given when you begin), it seems that I’m the only one that didn’t bothered making a research about what I was getting into, it made me feel a little ashamed, but the truth is that I trusted my father enough to know that he wouldn’t get me into something that may be bad for me, and strangely enough, to not know what the masonry or the ritual is about is actually recommended for the beginners, that’s because the surprise as part of the ritual may be the main factor to really get the knowledge to penetrate your subconscious and getting interested in all the knowledge there’s there to share.
I felt really excited, they gave me a little red book to study, so I read that one more than once, and many others I came across, I went to the lodge every Monday – masonry has some similarities with some religions like Catholics or Jews (actually there’s a heavy influence from both in masonry)-, and tried to accomplish my duties as an apprentice, mainly being active and helping setting things at the lodge before and after a held (the equivalent to mass)
What got me into masonry was their main ideology, or at least what I understood it was, and that’s it that they worship knowledge as a path for understanding and/or reaching god, they respect religions and all of them are welcomed as long as they don’t attack other people believes, discussion on every subject is welcomed as long as there’s a real thirst for learning and sharing, they invited you to ask things, to ask why in your life, not just to follow as mindless sheep, and in the end the entire institution was meant to do good for the rest of people, to help, not to judge. I was astonished, this was what I’ve believed all my life but never really found an institution that shared all my points of view like this, I was raised as a catholic, but even my parents agreed that in the strict sense catholic vision is too narrow, that you have to see beyond their dogmas sometimes in order to make sense.
I was very enthusiastic at the beginning, sadly I got gradually disappointed. Monday after Monday I went, and after three or four months it seemed all the same, the same subjects all the time, there was no progress at all, and I started to see the flaws everywhere. The flaws were not in the teachings, they were not in the philosophy of the institution, they were clearly in the people, the flaws were especially in my so-called masters, and it’s really sad to speak against them because I got to know them and I honestly can say that they were very capable and apparently good people, however, that capability wasn’t used in the practice of freemasonry. They were always busy with important jobs and half of the times they didn’t come to the meetings, the institution felt abandoned, and most of the times there was literally not enough people to start a gathering- I’ve heard in other countries like USA the freemasonry is another thing entirely, but from what I lived here in Ecuador, freemasonry is really neglected by their own people, eventually, after a year of trying to accomplish something, tragedy came to my family with the disease of my mother and I just didn’t have the strength to keep pushing an institution that seemed to give so little in return and so did my father. We stopped going and to my surprise it didn’t took long after we left the lodge was dissolved.
But I got to say, even though there were not enough people to form a stable group, or that many times it felt like I was going nowhere, what I learnt was so inspiring that I would love to return and help the freemasonry to rebuild. Me and my father are still their students, and the knowledge we received has helped us to overcome many difficult situations and maybe also to be better human beings and for that, I’ll always be grateful.
For more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry