Saturday, December 22, 2007

Interesting experience today

So I just got in last night from a week long trip to Chicago. My wife and I had a great time today and enjoyed a beautiful day doing some last minute shopping. Unfortunately I missed the El Paso Scottish Rite's Open House event. I really did feel bad about it, because I wanted to take the whole family. But sometimes you realize that although I had it planned out, it's the holidays and Masonry teaches us that our family obligations come first.
So for my interesting experience...I actually had a couple. I spent all of this past week in Addison, Illinois doing some training for work. This is the fourth time I've been to Chicago but the first time I've been there as a Mason. Interestingly my short drive from the hotel to our office has always passed by a large Hilton hotel which right below has the symbol of the Shriners, which I never noticed before!! Now this is no small organization, they are like the trademark of this particular Hilton! They are the Medinah Shriners.

Next interesting experience, it's the holidays so I drove to my local liquor store and noticed that the guy who's always at the register had a Shriner medallion handing around his neck. But this was no ordinary medallion, it was amazing. I asked him if he was a Shriner and he said that he wasn't, but his grandfather was a 33rd and that he inherited the medallion. The medallion was gold and the half moon was made of real tiger claws set in gold and on the back it had the square & compasses engraved in the gold. He mentioned that he had been confronted various times by Masons asking him where he had got it, because that was a 33rd degree medallion and that there was no way that he could be a 33rd because it takes "40 years to become one". Anyways I was pleased to be able to notice the signs of my new Fraternity.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Practice, practice, practice

So here I go, feeling good and ready to climb the stairs of Freemasonry, and soon become a Master Mason. Whoooaah...hold on there, pilgrim. Before advancing to the 2nd degree or Fellowcraft degree I must demonstrate my First Degree Proficiency, and do it...of course, in front of my fellow Brothers in open Lodge. So, I say to myself..."No problem, just give me the books and I'll study them." No sir. I must learn them verbally from my coach E. which I have been rehearsing with in person inside a lodge room for the past three days this week. I am freaked out! There are a lot of questions and some of the answers are about as long as up to where I have typed thus far! There is no book. These questions and answers have been passed down from Mason to Mason for decades by mouth to ear, which makes this experience much more valuable, intriguing and satisfying.

Today's coaching session took place at the El Paso Scottish Rite Temple. A very special place indeed, making today's session very rewarding. I got there at 8AM and had the privilege of having coffee and doughnuts with a few 33rd degree Scottish Rite Masons.

After breakfast, E. and I went to the Scottish Rite lodge room which is also used by Fraternity Lodge #1111. I've got to admit that I love this lodge room, I think it's the most elegant and beautiful one I've been to so far. I would like to find out if I could possibly recieve one of my remaining Blue Lodge degrees there. So we got into some pretty long answer questions which we had to spend some additional time on. So far, I feel like this is a lot to learn. E. told me that some EA's like to break it up into sections and spread out their proficiency examinations throughout different sessions. I told him that I think I would like to go that route, and he looked astonished and asked me why? He said he thought I was smart and that I was picking it up a lot faster than other EA's he's coached. Well, we'll see how it goes. I feel pretty confident, even though I don't remember almost anything when I return home at night, the following morning when I meet with E. and he asks me the questions, they seem to just come out. Sometimes with some words thrown in that don't belong there or are syonyms. The thing is, syonyms and an extra word here and there don't count! It must be perfect....VERBATIM!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My Lodge

Now that I am a proud Entered Apprentice of Five Points Lodge #1137, I would like to share a little background about it and other El Paso, Texas Lodges.


Five Points Lodge was Chartered on December 4th, 1919. It's first meeting was on January 15, 1920 when William J. Pickering was installed as the first Worshipful Master. The Lodge met at 916 1/2 N. Piedras St. When in 1960 the building was torn down to realign Montana St. the Lodge purchased the Phoenician Club Building on Morehead Ave. This was our home until 2004 when we sold the building and moved to our present location in the Masonic Activities Center on Magruder St.

In El Paso, there are roughly 2,000 Freemasons belonging to one or more of the 10 local Lodges chartered under the Grand Lodge of Texas. As a a matter of fact many of my Lodge Brethren are at Grand Lodge today at the 172nd Grand Lodge Communication!
I am anxious to get more involved in Masonry, but activity is low right now due to the Grand Lodge meeting and the upcoming holidays. I am sure I am going to have more than my hands full with my upcoming proficiency work as well as my university studies...not to mention work and my family. Whoooo!

Friday, November 30, 2007

I am a Mason!

Tonight I earned my Entered Apprentice degree. A positively, overwhelming, unexpected experience. I feel honored to have my fellow Brothers take time on a Friday evening to participate in my initiation. I am short for words as to how I feel, but can easily say that this was an experience that I will never forget for the rest of life. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me, but with patience and perseverance hope to be a valuable member to our Fraternity and our community.

I have a year to complete my EA proficiency and another year to become a Master Mason. I do not plan for it to take that long, although I am going through my MBA at the University of Texas at El Paso. What I really liked is that my friend E. who has been my primary contact in becoming a Mason, agreed to be my coach. He also lives on my side of town which should facilitate things. I am also glad that he is my coach because I saw the progess another brother has made in the last three months under his guidance. I know it's going to be hard work, as he mentioned that he typically coaches daily for about an hour a day to his EAs.
I am so excited this day finally arrived! My journey barely commences. I feel like I haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg yet, only got a glimpse.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

EA Degree Scheduled

My Entered Apprentice degree had been scheduled for November 30 at 6:30PM. With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, it was understandably difficult for my future brethren to get it scheduled any sooner. Either way, I am happy and looking forward to my big day, which as a coincidence it is on the same day of my little boy's 8th birthday!

Friday, November 9, 2007

It's official!

Right when my family and I were celebrating my son's all-city football championship victory, I received a call from my friend E. at the lodge. I'm in! He indicated that all went well with the ballot, and they will be contacting me soon so that I can schedule my first degree. What a way to end an evening! I can't wait to get started, a little nervous too I may add!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ordeal of the Secret Ballot

My third and final investigation was completed last Tuesday and now this coming Thursday at their stated meeting, Five Points Lodge will vote by secret ballot on whether to allow me to join them or not. My investigation reports will be read aloud and the ballot box will be passed around. Each Mason votes by putting their hand in a hole in the box and retrieving either a white ball (yes) or black ball/square (no) and then placing that ball or square in a little drawer below. To be elected, I must receive an affirmative vote from each and every member present at the meeting. The black balls were changed to squares to avoid confusion from the white to the black. This is where the original term "to blackball" someone, came from. I wish for the best, and will most likely have dinner with my future brothers before their stated meeting.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

2nd Investigation

My 2nd investigator and his wife showed up at my house last night. Went through the same form with questions as with my 1st, except this one had a few questions of his own after filling out the form. He asked me how I heard about the Masons and why I wanted to become one. I told him about the experience with my grandfather and the Elks and how I got in contact with the El Paso group through the Internet and about the lodges and events I had been to so far. He was a really nice guy and seemed very knowledgeable. He is a Workshipful Master at one of the lodges here in town, but not the one I'm petitioning. His wife sat in the living room chatting about a million things with my wife, but not necesarrily about Masonry. All in all I feel the investigation went very well. Next one is on Tuesday with the gentleman I already know who is a newly minted MM and 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Investigators finally called!

OK! My remaining two investigators finally called and set up appointments to meet with me. One of them I do not know and will be coming to my house tomorrow. The other guy, I know pretty well since he was an EA when I started looking into lodges and meeting Masons. I will be meeting him at his office on Tuesday, which I suspect will be a pretty easy going investigation. My understanding is that I am not supposed to know my investigators, but in this case the original investigator is in the Army Reserves and was recently activated. All seems to be in line now for my ballot to be taken on November 8. I'm really looking forward to it now, especially since I found out that a Masonic Student Organization is about to be started at the University of Texas at El Paso, where I am currently a graduate student!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Inspiration from across the pond!

This morning I was inspired to see that somebody has actually read my blog! In the midst of being a little down due the stumbles in my entrance process, there was a comment on my previous post from Young Mason today where he found my blog and could relate to the emotions I'm feeling when he went through his initiation experience about one year ago. To my further amazement, he has made my blog famous by posting about it on his, which is called Middlesex-Fire!!! Doctrine Day has gone global, yippee! Anyway, I am thrilled to have a brother to be in England who has a keen interest in my progress through the initial stages of the Craft. This has inspired me to be even more diligent in my pursuit for light and in keeping up with this blog. Please visit his blog as I found it to be very well written and informative as well!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A little disappointed

I got an email last Thursday from my friend at the lodge, stating that they would have liked for me to show up before the stated meeting to see if they could "rig" something up in regards to completing my final two investigations. He did state in the email that they really hated having to do it this way, but that sometimes there was not much choice. I was going out of town on business so on Friday I got an email from him stating that they "obviously" were unable to vote on my petition. I will have to wait until the second week of November for them to vote. That's if my investigations are completed.

My friend did state that the Secretary and Worshipful Master were furious that this had happened. Interestingly, I have not been contacted yet. Perhaps they will wait until the last minute...again?!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It's almost Thursday...where are my investigators?!

The next stated meeting where they are supposed to vote on letting me in or not, is this Thursday, October 11th. I've yet to hear from the remaining two investigators. I saw my friend at Coronado Lodge's fish fry this past Saturday and he seemed amazed to hear that I have not been contacted by the remaining two. He said he would contact the secretary to get them to hurry up. My understanding was the orders given to the investigators had a deadline of October 9th (today) and that they can be reprimanded for not following an order.

Anyway...I think I might email my friend to see if he could speed things up, or perhaps I'll just sit back and wait to see how serious about their lodge my new friends are :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Secrets of the Freemasons on NGC

Will air tonight on National Geographic Channel, tomorrow and next Sunday. Click below for your local listing. I watched this a couple months ago and it shows an interesting glimpse inside Naval Lodge #4 in Washington DC.

Secrets of the Freemasons [TV-PG V]

Sunday, September 30, 2007, at 10P
It is a secret society that is said to have shaped world events for more than 1,000 years. Members have been found everywhere, from the World Bank to the United Nations, from the Pentagon to the top ranks of major corporations. They have been accused of controlling the money supply through the Federal Reserve, and throughout history they have been present everywhere, from the Boston Tea Party to the French Revolution. They are the Freemasons. But who exactly are they?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

First Investigation

When I got home today from my son's football game, I had a message on my answering machine from one of the brethren of Five Points Lodge. I found it interesting that he mentioned "I would like to stop by for the investigation" on the machine. It kind of freaked my kids out when they heard it. But a short explanation cleared things up. They are aware of my intentions to join a fraternity, perhaps they are not too keen on what Freemasonry is about at their young age...but nevertheless, everyone in my family is cool.

He arrived surprisingly; with his young son, perhaps 7 or 8 years old. Nice guy, and his son got along right away with my 7 year old son and went to my backyard to play. We sat at my kitchen dinette and he pulled out a form similar to my petition, but with all my information already typewritten on it. My wife was at the table while he pretty much started asking the questions on the form. Really harmless, took about 15 minutes. He did not go into asking me why I wanted to join or anything like that. I gotta admit, I was kind of nervous before he arrived, but afterwards...I was really relieved and feel more confident than ever about the decision I have made. One down...two to go! :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Feast of Tishri

The Brethren of Five Points Lodge and the El Paso Scottish Rite invited me to their annual Feast of Tishri. This was a delightful experience as I got to get a glimpse of the traditions and customs of Scottish Rite Masons. To my surprise, I found out it does not nearly take as long to reach the 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite as it does to reach the third or Master Mason degree in the Blue Lodge.

I really enjoyed seeing all of the Scottish Rite Masons wearing their caps.
and learned that 32 degrees wear black caps as the one shown here; and the 33 degree Masons..."the ones who control the banks and government" as my friend jokingly mentioned, wear white caps. I learned that approximately one out of every 200 32nd's are elected to become Honorary 33rd degrees.

The evening consisted of a presentation in the theater. Here the Scottish Rite Masons opened the meeting with a prayer and went on to explain the reason for the Feast of Tishri. Afterword we all went to the banquet room to have a nice dinner. Many were accompanied by their Ladies. After dinner, they proceeded with the toasts of obligation, which are made to the government and to different individuals and Masonic bodies. Interestingly, these toasts were made with a glass of water. No alcohol served here...too bad we're not in England.

In regards to my investigation...NO ONE has contacted me!! I mentioned this to my friend at the lodge and he was a little surprised, but he also mentioned that many times they wait until almost the last day to get to someone. I was expecting to be interviewed at the Feast of Tishri, since the Scottish Rite told my friend to invite me. I don't think it will be long before they contact me though, since one mason already contacted the other candidate who submitted his petition the same day I did. A total of three masons must do the investigation.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Father's Lodge

I read this poem in today's email bulletin from and found it pretty profound, so I thought I'd share it with you all. It reminds me of our Nation's founding fathers.

Father's Lodge
Douglas Malloch

Father's lodge, I well remember, wasn't large as lodges go;
There was trouble in December; getting to it through the snow.
But he seldom missed a meeting; drifts or blossoms in the lane,
Still the Tyler heard his greetings, winter ice or summer rain.

Father's lodge thought nothing of it; amid their labors and their cares;
Those old Masons learned to love it; that fraternity of theirs.
What's a bit of stormy weather, when a little down the road.
Men are gathering together, helping bear each other's load?

Father's lodge had made a village; men of father's sturdy brawn.
Turned a wilderness to tillage; seized the flag, and carried on.
Made a village, built a city, shaped a country, formed a state.
Simple men, not wise nor witty, humble, and yet how great!

Father's lodge had caught the gleaming of the great Masonic past;
Thinking, toiling, daring, dreaming, they were builders to the last.
Quiet men, not rich nor clever, with the tools they found a hand;
Building for a great forever; first a village, then a land.

Father's lodge it was no temple, built of steel and carved of stone;
Marble columns, ceilings gilded, father's lodge has never known.
But a heritage of glory they have left, the humble ones.
They have left their mighty story in the keeping of their sons.

-- Edited by WB John F. Browne, 2002.
** The Valley News, Valley of Bellingham, Volume 2, May/June 2006; Number 5.

Young Masons: Value of a Warm Welcome

I ran across an article in MQ the English Masonic Quarterly magazine. The article which is titled; Young Masons: Value of a Warm Welcome, is very similar to how I felt when I approached a Masonic lodge. Good, short read for the newbie who's looking to get started.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Petition to be read tonight!

Today I met at the lodge and had dinner with my Mason friends who probably at this exact time are reading my petition along with 2 others. I enjoyed my dinner while listening to stories from a 33rd degree Mason who had us all laughing at the table. Tonight an investigative committee will be selected consisting of 3 Masons who will contact me shortly so that we can setup an appointment to meet; most likely at my house. My wife is totally supportive of what I do so I don't foresee any problems with the investigative process.

If all goes as planned, the lodge should be casting a ballot the second Thursday of October. We'll see how it goes. I'm excited about the whole process.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The York Rite

I found the following video on the York rite very interesting. If I'm accepted by the lodge I petitioned, I believe I would be very interested in pursuing this rite. There are two major appendant bodies or rites, the Scottish Rite and the York Rite. One reason I'm interested in the York rite is the fact that I am a Catholic and I am very interested in the order of the Knights Templar.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Petition to be read this week!

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. I was working in Mexico and was really busy. My petition is to be read at the next stated lodge meeting which is this Thursday Sept 13th. I am planning on meeting with my (hopefully) future brothers about an hour before the meeting to touch base and chat. I really like the people and the facility. From what I understand an investigative committee is going to be assigned at this meeting and later this week or next week they should be contacting me. From comments I've heard here and there, they may wish meet with me at my home and meet my family or it may be as laid back as me meeting them at the lodge. Whatever it may be, I am really looking forward to it and am actually not too anxious for it to happen immediately. I actually want the whole initiatic process to be done correctly and not too rushed. I would in no way be interested in a "one-day" Master Mason course. I really want to learn and follow the rituals and traditions the way they were meant to be. The only thing I worry about sometimes is not saying the right thing or breaking a Masonic rule of some kind unintentionally. Since I am so new, I do not know what is exactly appropriate or not appropriate. I sometimes worry about asking a wrong question. Anyway, I think I will just relax and stop doing so much research on the Internet as there seems to be too much negative info, as well as info that may ruin the surprise of the rituals. I am very excited and will keep you posted!

Here is a video from the the Simpsons "Homer the Great" episode of the Stonecutters lodge which I found to be rather amusing. **update, I found out today 09/12/07 that the english version has been removed from Youtube, so here is the Spanish version, you can read the lyrics in English below...sorry :(

The lyrics are:
Who controls the British Crown?
Who keeps the Metric System down?
We do! We do!

Who leaves Atlantis off the maps?
Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
We do! We do!

Who holds back the electric car?
Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?
We do! We do!

Who robs cave fish of their site?
Who rigs every Oscar night?
We do! We do!

Courtesy of Freemasons for Dummies a book I highly recommend for anyone who is considering becoming a Freemason or who wants to get a better understanding of what Freemasonry is really about.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Site update & other tidbits

Today I updated the template to accomodate the new logo of the our Creator, The Grand Architect of the Universe. I also added a few of my favorite links.

This blog was created yesterday right before bedtime, so I didn't have an opportunity to expound on what got me into Freemasonry and what steps I have taken so far. When I was a young boy, I remember attending the funeral of my grandfather on my father's side. I have a vague memory of a particular group of men that attended his funeral in their ceremonial garb. I can almost pinpoint in my memory that they were elks, or perhaps Masons. Anyhow, they made an impression on my young mind, because even though my parents were not very familiar with them, they were not worried if any family members recognized them. They were there to pay tribute to a fallen brother. That is brotherly love.

I saw a documentary on the National Geographic Channel about a month ago. Sunday morning, I was probably nursing a little hangover, still in pajamas when I heard the TV announce, "Coming up next...the Secrets of the Freemasons". Oooooooo... My wife and I glanced at each other and were immediately glued. That same afternoon, I surfed the web endlessly in search for information on Freemasonry. That same Sunday after mass, my family and I drove to the Scottish Rite Temple downtown, and read the signs on the exterior of the building. I have long been looking for something, which I wasn't sure what. For the first time in a long time, I felt enlightened. I felt a sense of belonging, even though I do not yet belong. I hope to, though!

Monday, August 27, 2007

My first post

I am not a seasoned blogger by any means. Only a novice who is looking to keep a record of my experiences as I go through the process of petitioning a Masonic lodge. It is late, as I must rise early tomorrow, however I wish to post something before going to bed. I'm really excited about the name of my blog. I actually dreamt about this name or term a long time ago. It was so vivid that the name has remained in my mind all this time. In my dream the term "doctrine day" actually referred to a breed of parrots, like the Macaws or African Greys. I was amazed by these birds and asked someone in my dream what kind they were, because I had to buy some when I got back to the States. He said, "They are Doctrine Day parrots." When I woke up, I knew I would remember this term for the rest of my life. I immediately told my wife and she laughed, but at the same time seemed intrigued. I knew that someday, the term Doctrine Day would have a deeper meaning.....NOW it hit me, my initiatic process into Freemasonry and this blog! Well not yet, I just petitioned a lodge last Thursday. I must wait until their next stated meeting for them to read my petition, and then until the first Thursday of October for them to take the ballot.

I found the definition of doctrine to be in line with the general description of Freemasonry:
doctrine (plural doctrines)
A belief or tenet, especially about philosophical or theological matters.

I'm excited to share my experiences with you about this special transition in my life. Good night and I will keep you posted! ;)