Ahead of Father's Day, Brother John Brian McNaughton, 33° shares the legacy he wishes to leave his sons and the power of Freemasonry in bringing families together.

“It started with a little blue book.”

As a little boy, I can remember my dad talking to himself. As he was getting ready for work in the morning, I’d see him standing there, whispering silently to himself. On long family road trips I’d sometimes get to sit in the front seat with him and, again, I’d glance over and see him silently speaking. What was he saying? What was he doing? I was always intrigued that when he was having these silent conversations that nearby sat a little blue book.

I recall picking it up once and the ensuing grin that crossed his face as my own contorted in confusion. What was this jibberish? It was page after page of nothing but letters. I can still clearly hear his belly laughter as I would haughtily pretend to “read” from this little blue book. My dad explained what it was in a way that I could understand along with a simple word, “Someday.” This was my first memory of Freemasonry.

Brother John B. McNaughton, 33° (right) and his father, past Sovereign Grand Commander John Wm. McNaughton, 33° (middle), and his grandfather, past Grand Minister of State John W. McNaughton, 33°.
Brother John B. McNaughton, 33° (right) and his father, past Sovereign Grand Commander John Wm. McNaughton, 33° (middle), and his grandfather, past Grand Minister of State John W. McNaughton, 33°.

Years went by and I began to understand a bit more about this Fraternity. I remember the years of going to Maumee Lodge #725 to see my Dad installed as an officer. I didn’t fully understand many of the things that were said but I clearly recall all of the men and their ladies that I got to meet. Many of them were long-time family friends. It struck me deeply that between my parents and my grandparents that nearly ALL of our family friends had one thing in common…

They were ALL Freemasons.

From an early age I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a part of this organization and knew that, at the time, I had to wait until I was twenty-one. More time passed and I went to college and became a member of Delta Tau Delta. I later learned that three of the founding members were also Freemasons. When I turned twenty-one, I asked my dad what it took to join. I can still clearly recall the exact place where we stood and the look on his face. It should come as no surprise that he had a petition ready. I went through the application process and made preparations to attend a special one-day event where I could obtain my Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees in Michigan City, IN. My dad, my grandfather, and I would all be there. The week after I returned to Maumee for my Master Mason degree. One of the greatest moments and memories of my life was entering the lodge for the 2nd section and seeing my father sitting there in the East.

Twelve months later I graduated from college and returned home wanting to get involved. December of that year, I took the next step was installed as Senior Steward.

Eight months following that I was at a friend’s wedding and sat at a table with some friends from high school. A very nice young woman that had graduated a year after us joined us at the table. I hadn’t known her well but the conversation with friendly. At one point in the conversation, her eyes went wide in shock as she looked at my hand and noticed my Scottish Rite ring. She exclaimed, “MY DAD HAS ONE JUST LIKE THAT!!!” (We celebrate our 20th anniversary this November.) A few years after our wedding, I became a 3rd generation Past Master of Maumee Lodge and the youngest Master (28) in its history. Served again as Master in 2006. My wife, parents, and grandparents gently and lovingly supported me every step of the way.

Serving the Blue Lodge was an extremely fulfilling and rewarding experience and I genuinely loved every second but, along the way, I also got to see first-hand how much the Scottish Rite meant to my dad and my grandfather. There was reason for this and I was determined to find the answers for myself.

Later that same year I first served as Master, I also became Captain of the Guard in the Fort Wayne Lodge of Perfection. In 2009 I presided as Thrice Potent Master at the age of thirty-three and became a 3rd generation TPM of the Fort Wayne Lodge of Perfection. Later that summer, I was tremendously humbled and honored to receive a call letting me know I had been nominated for the thirty-third degree. Not often that I am struck speechless.

My father was Sovereign Grand Commander at the time and I recall finding out that I was going to be the class exemplar in Chicago in 2011. No pressure. Standing there face to face just as we had the day he raised me nearly 15 years prior, my dad presented me with my 33° ring, and with that I became a 3rd generation 33° for the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.

Brother John B. McNaughton's son's petition, inked with his infant footprint
Brother John B. McNaughton's son's petition, inked with his infant footprint

The Grand Architect of the Universe blessed my wife Macy & I with two wonderful boys. With that so too expanded the hope of expanding our family’s Masonic legacy. Within moments of their birth each of our sons had their tiny inked footprints stamped onto Blue Lodge and Scottish Rite petitions in the hope that they will carry on this legacy into the 4th generation and beyond. These are safely locked away for “Someday.”

This is our Legacy.

Sincerely & Fraternally,

John Brian McNaughton, 33°

Happy Father's Day, brethren!