What people know about Freemasonry, or the fraternal organization of the Masonic Lodge, is often based on mystery, myth and obscure history.
Secret handshakes, special rings, and midnight pledges dominate the modern understanding of what is a tradition some five centuries old.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, the Masonic Lodge of Issaquah opened its doors and revealed its traditions in a ceremony to mark the appointment of a new Worshipful Master, and officers, for 2009.
The Myrtle Lodge’s Very Worshipful Master, Brother Bill Werner, said on Saturday that the Masons represented a chance for men to learn about things that make a difference, such as ethics and character development.
He went on to say that instruction in such matters was not something readily available in modern society.
“Through this we hope to continue a great tradition as Masters of the Lodge to explore these issues which are of deep concern to us,” he said. “In all of our actions we must have eternity mind.”
The installation of Brother Jeff Swanson to the position of Worshipful Master was a focal point of the day’s activity.
Speaking to the assembled Masons, family members and guests, Swanson said that his first introduction to Masonry was as a young boy in Minnesota, sitting on his Grandfather’s lap and being enthralled by the strange ring he wore.
“As I grew older my impression of him changed, as I came to see that he was a generous and hardworking man, who was very involved in his community,” he said. “He always displayed excellent character through his actions.”
“I know Masonry was a big part of his life and wanted to experience that for myself.
“My goal is to focus on aspects of character development and how to translate some of the ancient teachings of Masonry into practical applications for men in current times.
“Masonry has been around for centuries, and has a great tradition of making good men better.
“We are one of the only institutions that focus on building excellent character traits in men, and I am proud to lead our local lodge in that pursuit.”