“The only competition in Masonry is to see who can be the better person.”
Every week, The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.To get more news about the freemasons, you can visit shine news official website.
This week she talks with three old friends who found a sense of community when they joined the Freemasons. They discuss what Masons actually do together (at least the parts that aren’t secret) and how their weekly meetings at the Joel H. Prouty Lodge in Auburn, Massachusetts, have added a crucial regularity to their friendship.
Rob and I met in college, through a mutual acquaintance. I don’t remember the person who introduced us, but 30 years later, I’m still friends with Rob. We had a lot of the same interests, like music and Dungeons & Dragons. Maybe 15 to 20 years ago, Rob met Chris through the Dungeons & Dragons game. He introduced Chris to me, we got to know each other through that game, and then 12 years ago, we all became Freemasons.
Chris Lapierre: I saw an ad that Rob had posted at a game store, and joined the game he was running. I kind of squeezed myself into Rob’s group of friends. I’ve got to say this about Rob: He collects people. He is a central figure of so many different groups. It’s pretty impressive. I’m not as outgoing. Rob really gets people talking about things in life, and next thing you know, you’re hanging out with his other friends.
Chris: I had a pretty severe accident when I was 9 years old. I was badly burned. I went to the local hospital, but somebody in town [who was a Mason] made phone calls and I was transferred to Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston, which is world-renowned for its burn treatment. I don’t know if I ever met this guy. I spent a month there, and it was such a positive experience from something so horrific. I wanted to give back. That was my inspiration to learn about Masonry.
When I was a young person without a lot of money, I put it off, thinking it must be really expensive. Then later on, I saw a Masonic funeral service in a church. They line up around the walls and pay their respects to their fallen brother. It really hit me as an important event.
A few years later, Rob got involved. I think he knew I wanted to join, and once he was in, he was like, “Hey, you need to come join my lodge.”
Rob Lajoie: Jim and I studied philosophy and comparative religion in college. We always had questions around Freemasonry—What was it about? What did they do in the buildings? Years went by, and then they had a campaign in Massachusetts—they were going to do open houses at the different lodges. You could go and talk to the members a bit. I think that drove both of us to see what was happening at the lodge and inquire about joining, independently of each other. We each came to it on our own.
Jim: I picked up on it separately, but at one point, Rob reached out to me and said, “Hey, you remember all of our discussions way back then about Freemasonry? Well, guess what I just did!” He told me that he joined and asked me if I was interested, and of course I was.
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