I added this Masonic Tips section to my JimsTips.com site to provide you with a glimpse of my ongoing journey in Freemasonry. There are varied views of Freemasonry, so my approach was with an open mind. What I found is an amazing organization that fosters brotherly love, fellowship, and virtue built upon the foundation of belief in God.

This is a blog of my Masonic journey, some informational articles, and some articles intended to provide objective responses to some recurring myths surrounding Freemasonry.

Since my journey started, I have been very active, and have been honored to serve in the following positions and organizations:

  • Past Master Divver Lodge #349
  • Past High Priest of Burning Bush #7 Royal Arch Masons
  • Past Illustrious Master of Wynne Council #4 Royal and Select Masters
  • Past Eminent Commander of Anderson Commandery #11 Knights Templar
  • Past Sovereign Master of S.A. Banister Council #336 Allied Masonic Degrees
  • Noble Sentinel of Piedmont #84 York Rite College
  • Vice President of the Spring 2010 Class of the Greenville Valley of the Scottish Rite.

I am also a member of S.J. Womack #20 Knight Masons, and I am a member of the Royal Order of Scotland.

I am currently honored to serve as the Rite Illustrious Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of the State of South Carolina.

My involvement in Freemasonry is under the jurisdiction and authority of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina.

My Journey Begins

It seems that the topic of Freemasonry can pop up just about anywhere. I was having breakfast with a friend from church when the subject of Freemasonry came up. My friend is not a mason, but he told me that a number of our church members are. I had seen a lapel pin here and there on several of them, but I never gave it much thought. But after hearing a brief list of some church members who were Masons, I was intrigued. My first thought was, “How can these blatantly Godly men be Satan worshipers?” Obviously, I had some

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First Contacts

I read lots of information online about freemasonry, both pro and anti, but I felt that it was time to talk to someone who was actually involved in it to get some first-hand information. So I approached one of the members of our church who I knew to be a Mason, and he was quite open and happy to discuss it with me. He didn’t go into a lot of details, but he did give me enough information to make me want to know more. I left pondering what we discussed, and eventually went back online to read and learn

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Making My Petition

After talking with several Masons and doing lots of reading, I decided that I would like to join the ranks of the Freemasons. I talked with a Mason friend from church several times, and eventually he gave me a petition form to complete and return to him. It was an intriguing form with some interestingly worded questions, but everything seemed to be in order, so I completed the form and returned it to him. And that’s it! So now I wait patiently to learn the next steps. He told me that my form would be presented to the Lodge, and

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Some Patience and More Research

Patience. It’s a virtue, and it’s seems to be required of becoming a mason. It can be frustrating, but it can also be rewarding. In this day and age, we are so compelled to the here and now, to the immediacy, to the urgency of everything. The mere thought of having to wait days, weeks, or possibly even months to find out if I can join can be very frustrating. But during this time of waiting, I see two important points coming to the surface: perspective and time. First, the waiting helps me put things into perspective. I’ve discovered that

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A Time of Waiting and Patience

I told my Mason friend from church that I was reading the book “Freemasons For Dummies”. Though he had not heard of it, he was pleased to see that I was taking the initiative to learn and study Freemasonry. I told him that I was getting anxious about waiting for the process to unfold, and he said that this is “a time of waiting and patience”. In some Lodges, things can move forward very quickly. In others, things can take a while. For me, it seems to be the later. I want things to move forward, and I know they

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Progress! A Vote!

I spoke with my Mason friend from church, and he said that the Lodge had voted on my petition this week, and had formed an investigating committee of three people. They will be contacting me soon. Despite the "fears" that some have expressed about the investigating committee, I feel completely at ease. During my waiting, I’ve been reading so much about Freemasonry. I finished the book “Freemasons For Dummies and found it to be an amazing read. Contrary to my earlier decision, I decided to go ahead and read all of the chapters. I read about the rituals, and the

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Moving Forward

A couple days ago, I received a letter from the Lodge secretary officially informing me that the Lodge had voted on and accepted my petition, an investigating committee was formed, and that they would contact me soon. The letter also said that the results of the committee would be presented and voted on at the June 5 meeting. I called the secretary to let him know that I received the letter, and he was great to talk with! Unlike the letter, he was very informal. He was friendly, and gave me some additional information about what to expect from the

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But it’s more than that….

When I started looking into Freemasonry, I was overwhelmed by all of the information and varied views about just what it is all about. So I read and read, I talked with Masons, and I thought about just what Freemasonry is. And this is what I came up with: It’s a club. You join it. You attend meetings. Business is conducted at the meetings. You gather socially. You do fundraisers. But it’s more than that… It’s a fraternity. You join in brotherhood. You pledge your loyalty to it. You help your fellow brothers, and you receive help from them. But

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A Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

I’ve been a bit concerned lately because I have not yet had any contact with the investigating committee. The next lodge meeting is Tuesday, June 5th, and I’ve been afraid that if I don’t get contacted, I’ll have to wait another month. I’m taking it all in stride, understanding that the summer is a very busy time, so we’ll see how this plays out. But I am now greatly encouraged, because I found out a couple things appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel…. Yesterday, I spoke with a Past Master of the lodge and friend

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The Date Is Set!

Today, I received a call from the Master of the lodge, and he said that my Entered Apprentice initiation is scheduled for 7:00PM on Tuesday, June 12. Last week, the investigating committee contacted me. We had a very nice talk that was informal and low-key, and was far from my original impression of the investigation process. It was more like a job interview than anything else, but job interviews really impose more pressure. We discussed some of my beliefs, who I am, what I do for a living, how I learned about Freemasonry, etc. And the fact that they were

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Initiated as an Entered Apprentice!

On Tuesday evening, June 12, I was initiated as an Entered Apprentice into the Divver lodge #349 in Anderson, South Carolina. As I reflect back over the evening of my initiation, the one word that keeps popping into my mind is “impressive”. I was so impressed by the many events of the evening: From the friendliness of the members, to their devotion to the craft; from the seriousness and solemness of the ceremonies, to the memorization displayed by the team conducting the ceremony. It was certainly an impressive evening–one I’ll not forget. As you have probably read in my earlier

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Some More First Degree Work

Last night, I had the honor of attending another local lodge in Belton, SC to watch their first degree work for three candidates. Two brothers from my lodge attended, and two of the brothers from the Belton lodge who helped with my first degree work were also there. It was very welcoming, and nice to see some familiar faces in an otherwise unfamiliar setting. As I get more and more involved in Freemasonry, I see that I am going to be meeting lots and lots of people! The degree work was basically the same as at my initiation with very

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Passed to the Second Degree!

Tonight, I had the honor of being passed to the second degree of Fellow Craft. It was a bit unnerving at first because my coaches have had very, busy work schedules, so I didn’t have as much time to work with them as I would have liked. But in the end, I actually did quite well. Originally, we had three candidates scheduled, but unfortunately, one had a work commitment that he could not get out of, so it was two of us receiving our second degree. Hopefully, he will be able to have his second degree in the next week

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The George Washington Masonic Memorial

My wife and are taking a trip to Washington, DC later this month for a long weekend to just “get away”. Our focus is intended to be on several of the Smithsonian museums, but we’ve added the George Washington Masonic Memorial to the itinerary. I’ll be writing an article recapping our adventure, and I’ll include some pictures. I’m hoping that this will give us an excellent chance to see some examples of Masonic history and memorabilia, and to learn more about Freemasonry’s role in the foundations of this country. Stay tuned…. This is my thirteenth article on my experience in

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I Think I “Get It”

Obviously I still have a lot to learn about Freemasonry having only recently been passed to the second degree. So until I progress further, I can really only comment on my current knowledge and exposure to Freemasonry as a Fellow Craft. But of what I do understand now, I think I “get it” concerning just what Freemasonry is all about, and in many ways more importantly, what it is not. I was driving home the other evening from some first degree work at another lodge, and I was thinking about the work. It got me thinking about all of the

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Raised to Master Mason!

This past Saturday, another Masonic brother and I were raised to the degree of Master Mason, the Third Degree in the Blue Lodge. It was an interesting, informative, and certainly memorable degree. We had our Fellowcraft examination, followed by the Third Degree work. Our Fellowcraft examination went very smoothly despite not having spent any time together going over the questions and answers. I guess we were duly and truly prepared. After the examination, we began the Third Degree work. Interestingly, this was conducted solely by Past Masters. I’m not sure if it is global to Freemasonry, or something specific to

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Brother, take a seat!

Less than three weeks after being raised to the degree of Master Mason, I was installed as one of the Stewards of our Lodge. The new Junior Warden-Elect appointed me and the other brother who was raised with me as the new Stewards for 2008. I’m honored that the opportunity to begin moving through the chairs has come so quickly! I look forward to being able to participate in the degree work, the business meetings, and to provide cheerful service to the Lodge officers where needed. The December business meeting was the first meeting I have been able to attend

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The York Rite Background

The York Rite, like the Scottish, is one of Freemasonry’s Appendant Bodies which is open to a Master Mason to join to further his knowledge of Freemasonry. While Freemasonry officially culminates with the third degree of the Blue Lodge, the nine additional degrees of the the York Rite are considered to expand upon and complete the Blue Lodge degrees. The York Rite is broken down into three “bodies”, each governing and controlling the degree work related to that body. The bodies are Royal Arch Masonry, Cryptic Masonry, and Knights Templar (also called the Chivalric Orders.) The intent is to confer

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Seeking More Light – Part One

Since my journey in Freemasonry began, I have always been interested in Freemasonry’s Appendant Bodies, specifically the York Rite. My father was a Master Mason, went through the Scottish Rite, and eventually became a Shriner. (In his day, it was a requirement that to become a Shriner, you had to go through either the Scottish Rite or the York Rite. This requirement has since been lifted.) After some reading and research about the Scottish and York Rites, I decided to pursue the York Rite as I felt that it aligned more closely with my Christian walk. I was raised to

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Seeking More Light – Part Two

After completing the Royal Arch and Cryptic Masonry degrees, the final steps on the path of the York Rite are the “Chivalric Orders”. These Degrees (called Orders in this group) include the the “Illustrious Order of the Red Cross” which is an Order that emphasizes the lesson of truth; the “Order of Malta” which emphasizes the lesson of faith; and the “Order of the Temple” (also called Order of the Knights Templar) which emphasizes the lessons of self-sacrifice and reverence. The final three Orders were conferred in November, 2008. The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross and the Order of

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York Rite Degree Work – Some ponderings

The local York Rite membership is a very dedicated group of Masons, but like so many Masonic groups, it tends to be somewhat “older-leaning” in its membership. The group that with which I went through the degree work is a bit younger than most of the membership (though I don’t know if my age of 42 constitutes being young or old!) Anyway, we all expressed a desire to join, the members were very excited that a new group of younger men were interested in getting involved. They enthusiastically told us that once we complete the Degrees that they would love

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Faster, faster, faster!?!

I had the opportunity to attend the Order of the Temple work at another local lodge, and I must say that I was very impressed. There were about 25 people with three candidates, and the work was done very well. One of the older men had been doing his part for many years, and he had everything memorized–very impressive. It was nice to see the work done again since I went through it. Every time I attend degree work, I learn and understand a lot more. One of the But one thing struck me as very disappointing. Prior to the

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Musical Chairs!

At our December business meeting, we elected and appointed the new officers for 2009, and I was elected into the Junior Warden seat. It is quite an honor, as in doing so, I unexpectedly skipped a couple seats. For 2008, I was appointed as a Steward. The natural progression is to move the Junior Deacon seat, however the current Junior Deacon who has held that position for quite a number of years didn’t want to move up, so next in line is the Senior Deacon seat. The current Senior Deacon decided to step out of the rotation due to personal

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