Why I Joined

Reproduced from the Grand lodge of the State of Louisiana, with their permission and our gratitude.
The following article is courtesy of the Scottish Rite Trestleboard, from the November - December 2000 issue
The article was written by Chris Villemarette, 32 Degree.

One day last year I reluctantly asked Brother Buteau to visit his Masonic Lodge. I had heard him talk of how much he enjoyed the camaraderie and fellowship in his Lodge. As a child growing up in South Louisiana I had heard some whispers and tales about Masons,a thus the reluctance in asking Brother Buteau. I soon learned that any fear was unwarranted and ill founded. As an attorney, I am a natural skeptic, analyzing situations as the devil's advocate. To my astonishment and welcome surprise, I discovered a venerable and benevolent group of men that support God, country and family above all else and also raise money for charities such as the Shriners Hospital and Burn Center.

Within the Lodge previously cloaked in mystery to me I met patriotic family men whose goals is to promote what this country has lost, despite prosperity, technology, and economic progress - morality. How refreshing that such an organization exists today in the midst of widespread social turmoil that stands as a beacon to all that there are those who strive to live and act as God intended. All this time Masonry has been here, yet few take advantage of it and seek the sanctuary it offers. Because of this I am disappointed that more is not known and that so few follow. Perhaps this is a symptom of our society, a reflection of the manner in which we are encouraged to disassociate ourselves from God, family and country.

This country, which I sincerely believe is the greatest on this earth, was built upon our founding fathers' faith in God. We have digressed to the point that the supreme court of the land offers protection to those who would burn our flag and strikes prayer from school for fear of offending others.

The Court has expanded the guarantee of freedom of speech to include vile lyrics in music and profanity exclaimed in public places. All of this, according to the Court, is found not in the Constitution, or any of the Amendments, but in the "penumbra" to the Bill of Rights. A "penumbra" is that glowing ring around the sun when eclipsed by the moon. In other words, the basis for these outrages are found in the periphery, somewhere Out in space, most likely within the minds of the Justices.

Masonry openly challenges such beliefs contrary to the teachings of God and threatening to our country. It is one of the few, if not the only, group that encourages a patriotic and moral life-style. Despite the flaws found in our society, political and judicial system, the United States remains the stalwart for free-dom and democracy. Our country's continuing prosperity is in part due to the unwavering stance of Masons adhering to the values that made our country what it is. God emblazons on everyone's heart the ability to know what truth is and the difference from right and wrong, but acting accordingly is often times difficult and less popular than the "Road Less Traveled." The allegorical mechanism used in Masonry to teach (or remind) us of these moral lessons is forever etched on my mind and soul. Masonry allows someone to know that there are others who think it is "cool" to be honor-able and forthright. As effective as the lessons learned are to prompt my everyday activities, more strongly am I influenced by the actions and manner in which other Masons carry themselves. With the utmost respect and reverence, I look to other Masons who stand as some of the most inspiring, yet in-conspicuous, role models existing in our society.

I look forward to expanding my education in Masonry and with that expect to grow as a man and, if I am lucky, a credit to God, my country, and my family. I would like to thank Brothers Hemn Ducote and Raymond Buteau, who are responsible for introducing me to Masonry and making my Masonic journey very smooth and pleasurable.


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