De Soto, Kansas Masonic Lodge No. 40, A.F. & A.M.
33075 West 83rd Street, De Soto, Kansas

 

 

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Stories of Brothers’ Journeys in Pursuit of That Which Has Been Lost

 

My Journey to Light
      By Michael L. Ash,
Past Master De Soto Lodge #40

(an excerpt of the original article published in the
ScotNews Vol 5, Issue 1 Jan 2010)

 

 


We may have been introduced to the craft by a family member, a close friend or by observing an impressive display of kindness, compassion or a charitable act by an individual or a group associated with Freemasonry. Personally, my interest in Masonry was spurred by the latter, when I was twelve years of age. I had recently joined the Boy Scouts of America and was fortunately a member of a very active troop which was committed to involvement in church and community activities. It was a troop led and supported by dedicated enlightened men to whom I shall forever be grateful for their leadership and guidance. Our troop became involved in assisting the Shriners during their parade and circus activities. During these events, I was deeply impressed by the Shriners‟ jovial and kind demeanor coupled with their unique ability to make us feel welcome and a part of their colorful and charitable endeavors. It was at this early age that my decision was made to one day become a member of this wonderful organization.

Many years passed before I finally had the opportunity to realize my lifelong dream of becoming a Mason. This became a reality while serving in the United States Navy at Rota, Spain. In 1968 my family and I arrived at Rota where the fascist Franco regime was in power. This regime was a police state adamantly opposed to Freemasonry, and Law 202 for the repression of Masonry and Communism enacted in 1939 was still in effect. I later learned that although the anti-Masonry law remained in effect, the Spanish authorities on the base deliberately ignored the existence and practice of Masonry on the Rota naval base. The only condition was that the Lodge refrain from accepting local nationals into the Fraternity.

When I discovered that the military Masonic Lodge John J. Kestly No. 60 existed on the base, I contacted the worshipful master and promptly petitioned to receive the mysteries of Masonry. I was raised to the sublimed degree of a Master Mason on September 22, 1970. I subsequently received my Master Mason proficiency card and purchased my life membership in the lodge. Later I learned the history of the lodge. I found that the lodge was originally located in Ben Guerir, Morocco, and was chartered by the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise, Paris, France. In the spring of 1963 the lodge went into the dark when Morocco gained its independence from France. The equipment and records of the lodge were sent to the Grand Lodge in Paris for safekeeping

In 1963, brethren from the Rota naval base, determined to have their own lodge, drafted and signed a letter and sent it to the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise requesting a charter. This request was granted, but instead of issuing a new charter, it was decided to send that of John J. Kestly No. 60, thus eliminating the necessity of consecrating a new lodge and having the advantage of preserving the old. The first Master of the Lodge was installed in the Lodge’s new location in an old Quonset hut that was once a chapel on the base.

In 1971, I received my orders to report to Naval Communication Station at Finegayan, Guam, Mariana Islands. Shortly after reporting aboard for duty, I petitioned the Scottish Rite Consistory in Agana, Guam, and subsequently achieved my 320. Shortly thereafter, I learned that there was a Guam Shrine Club in Agana operating under the jurisdiction of the Aloha Temple in Honolulu, Hawaii. I petitioned Aloha Temple and was elected. I was initiated and obligated at a ceremonial session conducted by the Potentate and Divan of Aloha Temple during one of his periodic visits to Guam. My lifelong ambition of one day becoming a Shriner finally became a reality.

In 1973, I retired from the U.S. Navy after twenty years of active duty. My family and I returned to our home of record in Kansas City, Missouri. I transferred my membership in Aloha Temple to Ararat Temple. Shorty after my navy retirement I went to work for the Federal Aviation Administration at the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Olathe, Kansas, as an electronics technician. In 1976, my family and I relocated residence to De Soto, Kansas. Eventually I petitioned De Soto Lodge No. 40 and was warmly greeted and welcomed into the lodge. I realized at once that this was a unique band of Brothers highly motivated and completely dedicated to community service and advancement of the principles and teachings of our magnificent institution. After subsequent advancement through the chairs, I realized one of the proudest accomplishments of my life when I was honored by the brethren electing me Master of the Lodge for the year 2006. I shall forever be grateful to them for this great honor.



 
 

My Masonic Quest
By Mikel J. Stoops
Past Master of De Soto Lodge #40

 
Mikel Stoops and his
grandfather William Johnson

I searched a long time for an organization that would allow me to better myself, without judging my personal religious beliefs. I knew a little about the Freemasons because my grandfather, William Johnson, has been a Mason since well before I was born. After much research, I had to weigh the pros and cons. So much of the information I found was Anti-Masonic. There were hundreds of debates about Freemasonry being a cult, being devil worshipers, heading conspiracies to take over the world and so on. All of these were in direct opposition to what I witnessed from the men who I knew to be Masons; my grandfather included. They were upstanding men, active in their communities and churches, always first to offer a helping hand and aid with charitable endeavors. That did not sound like members of a cult or devil worshiper to me. I weighed the information and decided that fruit that good could not come from an evil tree. I petitioned a local lodge for membership and was warmly accepted into the fraternity.

Upon becoming a Master Mason, I found that my journey to better myself had just begun. Becoming a Master Mason is not the end of a quest but instead it is the beginning. Freemasonry has provided me with tools I need to become a better person. These tools are conveyed through rituals, symbols and allegorical stories. The meanings of these are not just handed to you when you become a Master Mason. You must discover these meanings through your own studies with the assistance of other Masonic Brothers. I really appreciated this because something that I have to work for is worth more to me than something that I am just handed.

My journey is in its infancy and will never be completed. There is always something new that I can learn. I enjoy the time that I get to spend in charitable endeavors helping others in the community. I continue my quest for light because I want to be the best person I can be and I enjoy the fellowship with my Masonic Brothers. It is rare that you can find a group of people that you truly enjoy spending time with and while doing so, you are able to make a positive impact on other people as well as the community as a whole. That is what I have found in the Masons. My grandfather had always told me that Freemasonry was a wonderful organization. Little did I know how much he was understating the truth.

 

Only a true Mason will learn the meaning of the SYMBOLS that have been LOST to most men.  If you are interested in becoming a Mason or just learning more about the Masons, click the link below.