I started my Masonic journey late in life, much later than I would have if I had known of the potential and the opportunities involved.

My father had a life long friend who was a Mason and a Shriner. In my youth he entertained me with stories of both groups. When I grew up I followed the path of working and going to school, then I transferred to a state school where I could afford to enjoy school without working at the same time. When I eventually ran out of money I joined the Navy. After a few years I returned to my home area to be a Navy Recruiter. While visiting a funeral of a great uncle on my Dad's side, I caught him looking for something. He said he would explain later. It turned out he was an EA who never finished, however it put me to asking and I found out that most of my close male relatives were MM's! I had been in the dark for years and so many of my relatives could have enlightened me, but they did not because of the stigma of secrecy.

I finally kicked down the preverbal door of a lodge, in full uniform on a Saturday when they were serving a pancake breakfast. They said I would do for the patriotic portion of the requirements since I was in Navy Whites, but I needed signers. My great uncle on my mothers side just happened to be a PM of a lodge in Des Moines, 30 miles away. He attended my raising. And so I was raised a MM on Nov 8, 1990 in Newton Lodge, Newton Iowa. In my Masonic wanderings around Central Iowa I managed to drop in on numerous lodges and lend a helping hand for a degree. I also learned that the secrecy which I encountered holding back my family from telling me of the craft positioned my best friends to turn away from the craft, to this day. Both are children of MM's who found the aura of secrecy repugnant and have not changed their minds to this day.

I am writing a book which I will suggest many ways we can change our public perception and perhaps start taking in more members than we are losing. Look for it in the near future.