By Teresa Barbian
Have you ever heard of a Mason? Yes, a mason is a builder and worker in stone. But I’m really referring to a Mason who is a member of a Masonic Lodge, often referred to as Freemasonry. A widely accepted theory on the origin of Freemasonry is that it came about from stonemasons in the Middle Ages. According to the website of the Masonic Service Association of North America, the oldest document that makes reference to Masons is the Regius Poem printed about 1390 which was actually a copy of an earlier work. People often refer to this group as a “Secret Society”. In a manner of speaking, that is a true statement. Not wanting to give away business tactics, group handshakes, or passwords, a private business or other social group conducts their business in private meetings. And they are somewhat ritualistic in their meetings, but in reality it’s a routine that is performed at every meeting. Think about the church you attend, there is a usual routine that is followed with each service. Some people speculated that the group was some sort of religious cult. They have been accused of using their own, presumably, satanic bible. The fact is, Freemasonry membership requires a belief in God, but they do not support any specific denomination of faith. The Masonic bible is nothing more than a King James Version of the Old and New Testament with commemoration of important dates, places to sign the record of Masonic degrees, a glossary of biblical references relating to Masonic ceremonies, and essays about Masonry in the front of the Bible.
I spoke with Charlie Martin at the Masonic Lodge #575 here in Anson and I asked him what Masons were about. “Taking good men and making them better,” he responded. In 1883, Masonic Lodge #575 was established and Robert Duvall was the first Mason. The lodge was originally on the corner at the red light where Allsup’s sits today.
The Masons are involved in numerous community programs. They have a Fantastic Teeth program which provides a toothbrush kit to every 1st grader in Jones County (which is approximately 300 kids every year). Every year the local Masonic Lodge provides books and curriculum for the Dyslexic program for Anson ISD. They give away bicycles every year to kids at Christmas in Anson and Stamford. The Masons have a Take Time to Read Program which is designed to promote awareness of the importance of reading aloud to children and the benefits reading can provide. Members volunteer at area schools to read to the kids. There are many, many other charities that the Masons are involved in.
They also have the Shriners. All Shriners are Masons. Shriners are a brotherhood; they are known for their philanthropic efforts. They are dedicated to providing care for children and families in need. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the Shriners Hospital in Houston. This hospital provides care to children at no expense to the family. I have firsthand experience with this hospital and can tell you that through the Masons and the Shriners, we were given travel money and lodging when my daughter had surgery when she was three years old. We were also provided entertainment while at the hospital from the Shriners. From the tiny car parades, the clowns, balloons, and stuffed animals, my daughter always seemed to have a smile on her face while we were there. Not having to worry about how we would pay for medical treatments, lodging, and food was a tremendous relief for my family. We were able to concentrate on getting my daughter well.
And ladies, they have auxiliary groups for women as well, such as Daughters of the Nile and Eastern Star.
If you’ve ever thought of becoming a Mason, all you have to do is ask. Masons cannot ask people to join; you have to make the first move. If you see a man walking around with a rather large square ring on one of his fingers, chances are he is a Mason and he can get you started in the process of becoming a Mason if you are interested. Or you can stop by the lodge; it’s catty-cornered from First National Bank.