I joined the craft last year at the age of 25.  I had become interested in joining through my research on the American Revolution.  As a living historian portraying a private in the 23rd Regt. Royal Welch Fusiliers in America 1775 I have done a lot of reading on the war.  One thing that kept coming up in my research was the fact that many men of all different backgrounds on both sides of the war were freemasons.  Especially interesting for me was the fact that an Indian Chief of the Iriquios named Joseph Brandt was allowed to join.

Realizing that for Native Americans and freed slaves to be able to join a large fraternal association along side Englishmen and colonists of different religions and economic backgrounds during the 18th century shocked me to say the least.  This was the 18th century not the more enlightened 21st century!
 
My interest in the craft was even more piqued after traveling to Lexington and Concord in April of 2000 to March on Battle Road with 500+ other costumed red coats.  While in Lexington I had a chance to go through the Museum of Our National Heritage operated by the Scottish Rite.  Their exhibit on Fraternal Societies really got me interested.
 
A few months later I was invited to attend the installation of my sister as the Worthy Advisor in her Assymbly of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.  I found out that this was a Masonic sponsored youth group and was impressed with what I learned about the program and what my sister was having the opportunity to learn.
 
After consulting with my wife, I contacted an older friend who I new was a Mason and asked to join.  This next year I will be the Junior Deacon in my Lodge.  I participate in our lodge's child Id fingerprinting program and have even had the opportunity to give Charges in my Lodge along with the Senior Deacons work on the Second Degree.
 
The memorization wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and my mind is now sharper than it ever was before.  I have a whole group of friends and brothers that I never had before.  I find that Lodge activities provide a release from the stresses of the work week.  My family and I attend Lodge dinners and other activities together.
 
The real key to enjoying the lodge is joining one where the members are active, where they are doing things in the community, and where members are excited about what's going on.
 
I highly recommend Freemasonry to all good men everywhere.  It lives up to the promise of "Making Good Men Better!"
 
Jason Orton
Welcome Lodge #255
Lemoore, CA