So I went home that night after my initiation and really, didn’t give the whole thing much more thought. You see, that was the last meeting until mid-Autumn. Without air-conditioning, I was told, the upstairs confined, windowless, meeting room, would be well over 100 degrees in a matter of weeks, if not days. It can get Hades (well, there, I did bring Hades back into this J ) hot here in Kansas.
I had participated in about 90 minutes of Masonic life. And that would be the high-water mark and total duration of my Lodge career.
I took a job in the State Capital and moved out of the small community in early August. I was told by my Lodge sponsor that I could remain a member there (commute to Lodge meetings I guess) or transfer my membership (LCMS lingo perked up my ears) to the Lodge in Topeka. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
Until a couple of my close friends and associates (one of whom had been my Legal intern and assistant) who were both Roman Catholics told me: “JAY! You can’t be a Mason, they are an anti-Christian cult!” These two Catholic gentlemen, two of the finest and most decent men I have ever known, were incidentally, NOT your typical namby-pamby, modern, Vatican II, squish Catholics, but rather manly, militant, and traditionalist Romanists. Probably the only reason they and I didn’t quarrel over my Lutheranism was that I was such an invisible, quiescent Lutheran at the time. But they plied me with all sorts of Catholic literature and tracts (and books) condemning the Masonic Lodge, its teaching and traditions from both historical and Scriptural sources. This led me to start my own research, but before I could even get a copy of the LCMS’s “How to Respond…” I chanced upon a cable Television show featuring Protestant Fundy John Ankerberg (he of the Phil Donahue silver coiffeur). He was broadcasting (late-night) a three-part expose on the Masonic Lodge featuring a former Grand Master “spilling the beans” and denouncing the satanic truths of the World Wide Lodge. The show was both illuminating and totally “spot-on” insofar as the rituals described and re-enacted were virtually identical to the ones I had experienced a few months earlier.
I had made a HUGE mistake, but I knew what to do. I prayed to the Lord for forgiveness not just for my blunder, but for my hubris, sloth, and indifference in not knowing what my own Denomination taught. I was most sorry that I had given a false testimony to the men of the Lodge, a “black-eye” if you will by incorrectly letting them believe that I was an average example, in my lassitude and lukewarm-ness, of Walther’s true legacy.
I wrote a letter (actually quite polite) of resignation and sent it to the Lodge back in the small farming community. I received a nasty, curt, and unfriendly reply, essentially saying “you as an LCMS Lutheran should have known better!” INDEED! How ironic that they knew ahead of time that I should never have joined in the first place, but let me affiliate nonetheless. Maybe my dues trumped their better judgment.
I dumped into the trash my “apron” but kept the membership card so that I could use it as a prop in showing people how moronic and dupable I was.
I am convinced that throughout the country, in the hundreds of little hamlets and villages where the Lodge still clings to “life-support,” that the average “Joe” Mason is relatively harmless and is neither a member of the Illuminati or the New World Order of the Bilderbergs. I do think the organization has geriatrified and “grayed” almost to the point of non-existence. They have a tougher time getting young blood than many Parishes.
I have not had much contact with Masons in my public or private ministry over the last two decades, because I just have not run into any men who are Masons.
And then again, while I still remember the secret handshake, the fact that I was essentially a 90 minute Lodge Brother, sort of takes away my bona fides into their “speculative mysticism,” faux fraternity, and all-around general “goof-ball-ness.”
I also did some penance. I joined the I.L.L. for awhile before I went to the Sem. Little did I know what they were going to do years later to Rev. Wallace Schulz. But that’s another story. Dartball is just hard to resist.