OK, my experience as a Freemason....
I never knew a thing about Freemasons, and in fact if I had known anything about them it would have been the cuckoo conspiracy theory anti-Mason
stuff, because when I was little my Dad was big into that CS stuff, and even now he is not too happy about my brother and I becoming Masons, but
luckily he never really mentioned it when we were little. A great-uncle of mine was big into Occult, he was shot many times by a tank machine-gunner
during WWII, and then when the foot soldiers came through he was still alive, so they shot him some more. He was riddled up his front and backside
with machine gun holes, but he still survived, and it made him a little kooky! I don't know if he was a Mason, I doubt he was, some family members
think he was, but regardless he was said to be able to place his hands on a dining room table and levitate it, and he could read playing cards from
another room even if he wasn't prepared or expecting the challenge. Sometimes he would even answer before he was asked. Anyhow, I didn't know him
that well, I met him several times, but no real personal relationship. So, that is the naive side of my exposure to Masonry growing up.
When I was 20 years old, I had just gotten married, and we were remodeling an old house for my wife and I to live in, and a freak accident occured. I
blew myself up pretty good. Gas lines and steam and paint thinners, and lots of bad stuff. I had "full-thickness" burns over 25% of my body. I
was told I'd be in the hospital for months, therapy for years, and I probably would never walk right again. They showed my 19 year old wife
grotesque photos of the things she could expect. It was really psychological torture, and completely unnecessary, because my skin graft surgeries
went well, I went home in 10 days, I taught my physical therapist what would work for me instead of the old lady stuff he was trying to do, and I was
back at work in 6 weeks. I didn't walk right for several months until I convinced my damn doctor to X-ray me and find all the staples he left
behind. Once they got the stupid staples out of my achilles tendon and knee joint I walked out of the surgery suite perfectly normally!
During my stint in the burn unit I saw many kids and parents there, and it was heart-wrenching. I knew how the idiot doctors had tortured my wife and
I with their "worst-case" scenarios, and I wanted to help those kids and their families by giving them so hope and trying to serve as a
"best-case" example for them. I often got in trouble during my 10 days in the sterile burn unit because I would visit other rooms. I started
searching to see how I could help, and I found the Shriner's hospitals.
BUT, to be a Shriner, you have to first be a Mason. I wasn't 21 yet, and I couldn't become a Mason. Time passed, and I met a few Masons, and when
I turned 21 I started trying to get an application. I was working at a radio station and a juice factory. One of the most visible Masons I knew was
an ex-record executive, and a big-time marketing rep for our radio station. He had the gold rings, and jewels and emblems on his car, and he was also
a Shriner. For months and months he gave me the runaround, hazed me, had me doing half his work, and the more I learned about him the more I hated
him, and by proxy most other Shriners and Masons. He was a slimeball that used people (especially women) for his own will and pleasure, and I became
completely disinterested in the fraternity, and the radio business. At about the same time my wife was working for another slimeball that owned some
banks, and he was sexually harassing her at work, doing some very nasty things to her and some of the other women, and making pretty scary threats if
they were to ever tell or sue. My wife knew how I would respond to threats, so she didn't tell me for months, but eventually she did tell me, and
some bad things went down. We ended up moving to Florida during the fallout. No permanent scars on my criminal record, and a little extra cash in
hand that he decided was a more then fair deal.
Reached my character count, continued in next post...