Something’s going on—Scottish Rite Reunions are continuing to grow! As a matter of fact, initiations are almost 25% ahead of last year’s pace, and the average age of new brothers joining in 2010 has steadily dropped to 45.4 (down from 48.1 in 2000).
Some of the members of 2010’s class were asked to explain why it became important to them to join the Scottish Rite. I found their comments quite enlightening and want to share our new Scottish Rite brothers’ excitement with you.
As you will see, the reasons for joining are many. Whether it is the esoteric pursuit, philanthropy, family ties, or just searching for being a part of something bigger than yourself, all of these new members have found something in the Scottish Rite that excites them. We are glad they are here and embrace the enthusiasm they bring with them.
The next time you are in your lodge, why not share some of these comments with your non-Scottish Rite brothers and let us continue this exciting course of growing the Rite!
Chuck Zimmer, 32°
For Bro. Chuck Zimmer, 32°, it was the passing of his father that reignited his interested in Freemasonry and the Scottish Rite. His father became a member of the Scottish Rite and Medinah Shrine while working in Chicago in the ’50s and Chuck has been a Master Mason since 1979. “My dad passed away last October. We had a beautiful memorial service at the Williamsburg United Methodist Church complete with a Masonic ceremony and full military honors. Over 60 Masons attended. The 300 plus attendees were moved to tears with the impact of the ceremony. It was because of that ceremony that I decided to pursue Scottish Rite and, ironically, my cousin and nephew both decided then to join Freemasonry”!
Andy Westhoff, 32°
Bro. Andy Westhoff, 32°, enjoys the history of the Scottish Rite, the religious tolerance of the Fraternity. “I am very excited about being a Scottish Rite Freemason. I enjoy reading religious history and am attracted to the ideal that men of different religions can meet and work together within a context that allows for free choice without bias or judgment. People have been killing each other through the years and still today over whose religious beliefs are correct. The Scottish Rite Freemasons have a model I can subscribe to.”
Frank Herbert, 32°
Bro. Frank Herbert, 32°, spent thirty years in the Navy and Naval Reserve, saw action in Viet Nam, was a tax lawyer, and retired and moved with his wife to Missouri five years ago. He read a biography of John Paul Jones and found he was a very active Mason. His uncle, a WW I fighter pilot and former governor of Ohio, was a 33rd Degree Mason. “I decided it was time to look into Masonry, and through my neighbor, applied to the Blue Lodge here in Shell Knob. I have thoroughly enjoyed Masonry, and now am a member of the Shrine, York Rite, National Sojourners, and the local High Twelve. Many, and in fact most of my Masonic friends are Scottish Rite. I want to know all I can about Freemasonry and felt a real pull to experience the Scottish Rite. If I had it to do over, I would have become a Mason many years earlier.”
Keith Planner, 32°
Bro. Keith Planner, 32°, says “The two most valuable aspects of Scottish Rite Masonry to me are the enormous amount of charitable contributions made by each valley, and the continuing opportunities to learn, for example, the Master Craftsman Program and Scottish Rite Research Society.”
Jacob Vaughan, 32°
Bro. Jacob Vaughan, 32°, decided to join the Scottish Rite to further his Masonic education. His great grandfather was in the Scottish Rite, his father’s father is currently a member in Texas, and his mother’s step-father was a 33rd Degree Mason in Georgia. He says, “The esoteric study of the Scottish Rite has really opened up my mind toward religion and religious people of all cultures. I am truly a believer of existing on the level with all those who believe in something greater than themselves as well as those who don’t believe in anything. To really understand Masonry as a Master Mason you must walk the steps of the Scottish Rite to truly see the light.”
J. W. Boyden, 32°
The desire of Bro. J. W. Boyden, 32°, for more light in Freemasonry led him to the Scottish Rite. A recent college graduate Bro. Boyden has an above-average interest in the classics, ancient philosophical schools, and wisdom traditions. “The philosophical and historical teachings interwoven through the fabric of Freemasonry piqued my interest early on as an Entered Apprentice, and once fully exposed to the mysteries of the Blue Lodge tradition, I only became more provoked to understand Masonry further.”
Rev. Fr. Robby Entrekin, 32°
For Rev. Fr. Robby Entrekin, 32°, joining the Scottish Rite was following a family tradition. “I have found that all men are both followers and leaders. We follow those who have gone before us. We have the choice to choose to follow those who by virtue and honor have cleared a straight path, free of senseless debris, which is well lit.
“Or we can choose to follow those who have come before us and have traveled down the obstacle strewn road that winds and bends through a life of darkness. Once we have chosen our path, once we have chosen who we will follow, intended or not, we are then leaders, leading others down the path we have chosen.
“The path I chose into the Valley of Panama City was cleared for me by my grandfather, Robert L. Trader, 32°. My grandfather was a WW II veteran having served our country in the south pacific. He was a husband, father and grandfather. He was a Mason.
“The well lit path before me, traveled by him, beckoned for me to come.
“After obtaining my Master Mason degree, I followed the path on, as my grandfather had before me, to the Scottish Rite where I petitioned and joined the Valley of Panama City, Florida. As I walked through the doors of the temple for the first time on the first day of the Spring Reunion of 2010 I was greeted as one who had just arrived home from a long travel.
“The welcoming hands of fellowship where extended by all I met and I was made very welcome. I saw in the eyes of my brothers something that I had seen before. The confidence, virtue, love, dedication, and concern that I had seen in my grandfather’s eyes. I knew I was stepping on ground which had been trodden under foot by him and many other great men.
“Yes, I have found that all men are both followers and leaders. My prayer is that the GAOTU will find me leading those who come after me, down the path of those who have come before me . . . to the Scottish Rite.”
Mike Bryan, 32°
When asked what induced Bro. Mike Bryan, 32°, to join, the answer was quick and obvious. “Being a 6th generation Mason, I’ve placed tremendous meaning and importance on my heritage. Knowing that my grandfather was a Scottish Rite Mason (and 50-year Mason before his passing) served as a key motivation. So even while I was advancing in my initial degree work, the Scottish Rite and York Rite were on my mind. All it took for me to take the next step was an invitation from a Brother.” Bro. Bryan is a busy young father of three little children, so he appreciates more than most the time it takes to get the most out of Freemasonry and the Scottish Rite. The Scottish Rite had to be valuable to him, and that value comes from knowledge. “I’ve begun my Master Craftsman coursework because of my thirst for more Light. And talk about knowledge!”