This is our 20th installment of "This Is Who I Am," our never-ending series of essays by and about readers of "The Burning Taper."
"Who am I?"
I am Mike Moore. Besides being a Mason, I am a staff writer for the history magazine On The Trail, have for the last eleven years written four non fiction books on the early American West, have been on the History Channel, am a father, husband and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. I am presently a Junior Deacon in Englewood Lodge 166 (in Colorado) and a 32nd degree Scottish Rite 2008 Fellow.
It was my interest in history that started my search for answers on what goes on at a Masonic lodge and who are the people in it. I kept seeing prominent historical figures who were Masons, and always having to crop pictures I took for my articles and books to keep out Masonic markers or symbols. Plus having to pass over mentions of the group when writing about these men.
Then I found out my father in law and many of his family were are Masons and I asked him a few questions. Travis Irby answered each question as best he could (remember I wasn't a Mason at the time), gave me his feelings on the Masonic world in general (great group, only wished he had joined earlier in life) and encouraged to always ask questions and seek knowledge of the group.
That was my start in this organization. I must say, it was at the time and still is a pleasant shock to see how great a group of men I have been associated with by joining. Good men, who for the most part have only one thing on their mind — to help you be better in all aspects of your life. The levels of insight and thought that are found in the ritual, writings and conversations I have with various brothers keep me humble, always seeking for more and looking for opportunities to promote our group to others.
Our lodge is bucking the trend of the day and slowly growing, bringing in new members from all ages, races and backgrounds. The officers in charge have embraced the challenges the younger members have put to them.
We now have power points as part of the educational times, used the computer to reduced time taken for reading of minutes and budgets, developed a decent web site that draws visitors from different states and around the metro Denver area to us and have tried to inspire the members to be involved and have pride in what we do. We showed a positive increase in members, found a new vision of what Masonry can and are have fun doing it.
The other members of the church I attend, don't seem to find it odd that I wear different Masonic pins, serve lunches in a Masonic cooking apron or when helping with various aspects of worship (including communion) that I am unreservedly a Mason. I did not know until I started asking around that my pastor, various older gentlemen and many of the women's husbands, uncles and dads were Masons too.
I have not hidden from my girls that I am Mason and have openly discussed what where I go and what I do on nights I am at lodge. They smile and nod, their husbands seem to place that in the section of the mind that that say, if I ever need to find out more, I know who to talk to. But that is fine. This year I was able to attend lodge meetings from El Paso to Seattle, see the differences and similarities and note the same Masonic spirit I see in the men around me in some of them.
So who am I? A <50 year old man, who recycles, thinks and votes independently, listens to NPR, does lectures on history, am active in my church, flies flags on holidays (writing this on Memorial Day weekend, I have six flags out representing vets from five different wars — so many only think the present and recent conflicts on these days), actually reads the books I have on my shelves and a Mason.
As a historian, I see most of the better historic figures to be multi layered and complex in their thoughts and actions. They are not simple in who they are and why they did things. And today, it is easy to see their counterparts in our present day world. They stand out. In a one dimensional world, so easily labeled, and pigeon holed; complex individuals brake the mold. Something we need to remember today. Don't be afraid to stand out.
— Bro. Mike Moore
To submit your own "This is Who I Am" essay, read this. You do not have to be a Mason to participate.
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