Celebrating Scottish Rite Legacies

The legacy of Freemasonry is built on stories of generations. Brothers have carried on the core values of our Fraternity to spread our mission of building men of character for centuries.

The legacy of Scottish Rite Freemasonry creates a special bond with our Brothers, and with the long line of Scottish Rite Masons who have come before us. This Fall, we are honoring and celebrating the legacy that is the cornerstone of our fraternity. Read below to be inspired by the touching Masonic legacy of Brother William Powell, 32°.

“My Masonic legacy truly didn't start until I was in the fraternity for 8 years”

It took me that long to truly understand what a Mason really stood for, and why we do what we do. To understand why it took me so long, you have to understand my father.

I was raised in a family where both of my parents worked several jobs, so needless to say, I was brought up with a strong work ethic to provide for my family. My father, in particular, worked as an elevator technician for 10-12 hours a day, and on weekends he and I would clean gutters and do miscellaneous yard work for people to earn extra money. Being 12 years old getting $20-40 for an hour or two of putting leaves in a bag wasn't so bad.

My father was one of seven children made up of 5 girls and 2 boys. Unfortunately, his father had passed at a very young age to cancer, my father, I believe, only being 7 at the time. My father grew up without a male role model in his life but did all he could with the people he surrounded himself with to become a good man. While my father was not around much when I was younger due to the hours he worked, he still raised me to be independent, a hard worker, and to care for my family.

My father was not a Mason, nor was any of my family that I'm aware of. Before I joined the fraternity in 2010, the only time I had heard the word "Freemason" was in the 2004 Disney film National Treasure. I had thought the fraternity was a laborers union with some sort of a moral code. In my hometown of Audubon, NJ I had passed by the Audubon Masonic temple on a regular basis and was ignorant to what was inside. The building was a rather plain brick with a stone facade and simple awning, its visage similar to the old Highland theater that was in its place, topped off with a small square & compass etched into the upper corner of the building. I thought this was some sort of architecture company based on the logo.

A few years had passed and I was sitting at a Phillies game (go Phils!) with friends and noticed one of them had the square and compass etched into his ring. I asked him how he got a ring for an architecture company, and after a quick chuckle, he introduced me to Freemasonry. Immediately I was enthralled with an organization that our founding fathers were a member of, and with its roots going back potentially to the cathedral builders of the middle ages.

Within a few months, I had been initiated, passed, and eventually raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in May of 2010. Because of the work ethic and ambition to succeed that I inherited from my father, I quickly jumped into an officer's chair and spent an inordinate amount of time with my blue lodge. Working hard to memorize ritual, floor work, the construction of our craft, and so on.

Brother William Powell and his son

However, as every well-traveled Master Mason knows, your journey is only beginning once you are raised. At the time I didn't realize that, so I struggled to find a "place", and was regularly frustrated by slow change so much so that I walked away from the lodge around early 2013. I paid my dues and remained in good standing, but I felt the lodge had nothing to offer anymore. I felt I was the young man in a mature man's world and had no place.

During my lodge hiatus, I focused solely on my family and my growing career. I worked at being a better father, a better husband, and a better community member. I started to volunteer my time more often, donate financially when able, teach others, and so on. In fact, the picture I've attached to this story is on my birthday a few years ago teaching my son how to drive a golf ball.

In 2018 I was introduced to a Masonic podcast where brothers in my age group talked solely about Freemasonry and life. They went deep into the esoteric parts of the craft, told light-hearted stories about their experienced, discussed the appendant bodies, and so on. All within their obligations, of course. What this podcast did for me was help me realize that I had been living the Masonic values I learned in my 3 degrees all along and that Freemasonry wasn't about the pomp and circumstance, or the lodge events and flashy pins.

I learned a strong lesson that Freemasonry was about becoming a better man, living a life of brotherly love, relief, and truth. Something that I felt that I was ready to hear in 2010 when I joined but really wasn't. At that moment, it was like a light switch went off in my head and I wanted nothing more than to be able to share this with my son when he was of age. I didn't want him to have a life like my father did where he lacked a male role model in his life. While I focused my life on my family, I felt Freemasonry would offer him a great blueprint to build his life on, something that I can guide him to.

At that point, with no Masons in my family, I made it my primary Masonic goal to prepare for my son to join the Fraternity so we can take this journey together, and hopefully when and if he has children do the same for his kids and or his close friends.

Within a year, I became active again in my blue lodge and made it my purpose to rebuild the lodge by promoting the heck out of what we do, reconnect with our community, fill the sidelines, and make us a force once again. I built our website from scratch, restarted our Facebook page, and help our worshipful master with his agenda, and am currently planning my progression to the East in 2022.

I also joined the Scottish Rite, the York Rite (Chapter, Council, Commandery), and my son is considering joining the DeMolay when he is 12. I want to be well versed in the organizations I can handle so when my son is of age, I can be a wise guide and teacher.

When I walked away from the lodge in 2013 because I felt it had nothing to offer, it took me many years to realize it had everything to offer if I was willing to receive it. I just had to take a step back from the daily drudgery, understand what I was taught, and it would all make sense to me. And while I do not come from a Masonic legacy, I'm now ready to create one with my son and family.