This is our 17th installment in the series "This is Who I Am." The series is made up of short essays from Burning Taper readers telling us about themselves.
Over the past several weeks the Widows Son and I have had some private conversations about our agreements and past disagreements on issues related to the Craft. While we differ on views at times related to the Craft, its future, and how it should be changed we do agree, I believe, in a couple of very important areas. Whatever we may disagree about, as Masons we are brothers and our commitment to Masonry should out way our differences. And, second, that the Craft is in an ever changing society and needs to find ways to grow and improve itself. Brotherhood isn’t based on agreement but on respect. That is why I accepted WS’s invitation to be a part of his “We Shine On” series.
I’ve been part of the Craft for seven years having been raised to the sublime degree on December 10, 2000. I was made a Mason in Phoenix Lodge No. 62 F&AM under the Grand Lodge of Indiana. In 2004 I moved to Iowa and joined Daylight Lodge No. 660 A.F.&A.M. where I am a Past Master and now Chaplain.
For me, Masonry has been a journey that began early in my life noticing the activity of men in my family who were Masons. If genealogical research proves to be true, I am likely at least a fifth generation Freemason.
I began to do serious study of the Masonic fraternity while serving as a Pastor of a Southern Baptist congregation in the 1990s during the anti-masonic controversy in that denomination. During that time I read every piece of Masonic literature, both pro and con, that I could get my hands on. And, as I read through the volumes of material it became clear to me that the Masons were telling the truth about the origins, activities, and principles of the fraternity and anti-Masons primarily were twisting facts to suit their own often self-serving aims.
Several years later as pastor of another congregation, now American Baptist, I petitioned for admission into the Masonic fraternity. The signers of my petition were all members of my congregation.
As a Mason I have found that Freemasonry compliments my values, my faith, and my interests in helping my fellow human beings. In the short time I’ve been a Mason I have found opportunities to join both Scottish Rite and York Rite as well as several other Masonic research and fellowship organizations. I have benefited more than I can say from my fraternal relationships. I have made friends all over the world through Masonic internet discussion. I have developed friendships with men of many faith and national backgrounds that I might never have met had I not become a Mason. I have had opportunities to learn, grow, and study.
Are all things rosy in the Masonic fraternity? Of course not! The fraternity needs to deal with the demographic and societal change that is causing the Craft to lose membership. We need to balance new ideas with our very ancient and honorable philosophy. We need to make tough decisions about what to change, what must never change, and how we can make Freemasonry beneficial for future generation.
The Internet has been both a boon and a detriment to the Craft. It has allowed us to share in the widest communication possible with Masons all over the world. But, it has also led to huge misunderstandings between brethren and led to rifts that need not have been there. Masons have a lot to learn, myself included, on the best way to communicate our values in this new medium.
Thank you, Brother WS, for encouraging me to share.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Timothy Bonney, PM
Past Master - Daylight Lodge No. 660 A.F.&A.M.
Dual Member - Acanthus Lodge No. 632 A.F.&A.M.
To submit your own "This is Who I Am" essay, read this.
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