I grew up in a town in Arizona where it seemed as though virtually all
of the "pillars of the community" were Masons.
I did not know, at the time, what went on inside a Masonic lodge room, but judging from
the caliber of men who I knew of as being members of the organization, I always thought it
must have been something pretty special.
Being a respected law enforcement officer, serving in both appointed and elected
capacities throughout his career; as well as being a businessman, my father was a pillar
of the community. And, he, at least one uncle and an assortment of cousins, were all Blue
Lodge Masons. My mother and all three of my aunts were members of the Order of the Eastern
Star, which is basically an affiliated adult womens organization for wives, sisters,
mothers, daughters, etc., although not exclusively so. In high school, I became actively
involved in DeMolay, and my wife is a former member of the International Order of Rainbow
My father passed away in 1963. He was so much more to me than just my dad. When I lost
him, I lost my very best friend. And before my best friend
died, one of his final wishes, that he made known to my mother, was that his two sons
become Masons. I still didnt know what went on inside a lodge room, but dad had
always said that being a Mason made him a better man. He wasnt a
"church-going" man, as the expression goes - ours was not a churched family -
but he was indeed a good, honest, decent man, well-respected by even many of those who had
been on the opposite side of the fence from him when he was in law enforcement.
Some fifteen years later, after leaving Arizona, my fathers wish was fulfilled. In
May of 1978, I was initiated an Entered Apprentice into the Blue Lodge that my brother was
already a member of, and officer in. In September, I was passed to the degree of Fellow
Craft, and on November 10, 1978, I was raised a Master Mason. I was presented that night
with a Masonic pin that had belonged to my father, and with tears in my eyes and joy in my
heart, I was finally able to say, "You rest well now, old friend. Both of your sons
are now Masons."
I still had no idea what Freemasonry was all about. I had always heard that it was a
fraternity of men, the teachings of which were based upon the Bible. I wasnt told
that much about it, even on the evening of my initiation, when prior to being admitted
into the lodge room I was required to declare in the affirmative that I would
"cheerfully conform to all the ancient usages and established customs of the
Fraternity.", even though I had absolutely no idea what all these "usages"
and "established customs" were. I didnt remember that dad had ever gone to
lodge all that much, at least not in later years; I didnt remember it ever being a
topic of discussion at the dinner table. But I had never heard him speak in any negative
terms about the lodge, nor had I heard any such remarks from any other members of the
family with the exception of one uncle, but even that had nothing to do with the inner
workings of Freemasonry. As I was to learn later, there was no way the one uncle could
have been expected to know, anyway, being an "outsider". So many people
from WITHIN the ranks of the Order dont even know. Besides, I trusted most of the
Masons I knew before becoming a member, and as long as I wasnt invited to a
"snipe hunt", or something similar, I wasnt going to give it much thought.
There is a great deal of work involved in blue lodge Masonry, to allow you to advance from
one degree to the next. "Proficiencies" are to be memorized, and they consist of
a series of verbatim questions that are asked of you, to which you must furnish answers
that are very close to being word-for-word themselves. Some places require that these
proficiencies be delivered in open lodge, in front of the membership in attendance. We
were only required to complete these examinations on the premises while a lodge meeting
was in session.
I turned in my 3rd degree proficiency on the evening of Decembers stated (business)
meeting, which was just in time to be appointed by the Worshipful Master-elect for the
ensuing year (1979) as his Junior Steward. No speaking parts were involved in this
position, so I was asked to begin learning to deliver the Working Tools lecture in each of
the 3 degrees, as well as the charges. In l980, I served as Chaplain. There is a
substantial amount of memorization work involved there, with circumambulations, prayers
and various other things that go along with the chair. I also went to work learning the
Senior Deacons roles in the various degrees, etc. That summer, I set out to learn
the First Degree Lecture, which I began delivering in the fall, when summer break from
lodge was over with. Somewhere along the line in those first two years, I also memorized
the Apron Lecture. In 1981, I was Junior Warden, one of the three principal officers of
the lodge, my first elected office. To the best of my recollection, I began obligating
candidates that year, which means administering the obligations in each of the degrees,
assuming the role of Worshipful Master during the ritual of initiation or advancement of
the candidate(s). By the time my year as Senior Warden was completed (1982), I had pretty
much learned all the degree work I would learn, leaving me with more time to hopefully
serve the brethren well, in 1983, as Worshipful Master of one of the largest blue lodges
And at the end of my year in the East, when I was presented with my Past Masters
apron and dubbed with the very distinctive title that accompanies it, I dont know if
there had been any particular point in my life, other than marriage to my wife and the
births of our two children, when I had felt more humbled and yet prouder.
The Past Masters of ANY blue lodge, regardless of how large or how small the lodge may be,
is indeed the most august body of men that lodge has, and I had now become one of them.
But in January of 1984, something else happened in my life that was to change me and my
circumstances forever, and that very special something, Praise God, was Jesus Christ!
In the latter part of December, 1983, immediately after my term of office had come to an
end, my Lord and Savior began to reveal to me the truth about Him and the truth about the
lodge. He began to show me that by following the teachings of Freemasonry, instead of
becoming stronger in my Christian faith and closer to Him, I was following false teachings
of an organization where something called the Great Architect of the Universe is prayed
to, and that GAOTU, as he is called, is not the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but rather
some sort of a composite "deity" that Moslems, Buddhists and other
non-Christians are equally comfortable praying to. He began showing me that instead of
receiving the Truth of His Holy Word, I was receiving skillfully, sometimes not so
skillfully, crafted distortions of it.
My decision to leave the lodge was not an easy one to make, nor was it based on any one
single event. I went through a period of a couple of weeks or so with my whole world being
turned upside down. Pros and cons were tugging at me from both sides, in a spiritual
battle that was taking place inside me. I would think of past events that had been
upsetting to me at the time, but which I managed to rationalize on; and some that had
never been resolved, such as:
Early in the year when I was Junior Steward, a Past Master of the lodge, who was also a
Grand Lodge Officer at the time, would sit on the sidelines during lodge, conversing with
a friend or two of his. Unfortunately, the Lords name in vain was often a part of
the dialog. One night in particular, I heard those words come out of his mouth on several
occasions, in a very short period of time. When the craft was called from labor to
refreshment, I confronted the individual in the lobby. In so many words I told him,
"If I hear those words come out of your mouth one more time during lodge, I will file
Masonic charges against you and have you drummed out of Masonry." In all honesty, I
didnt know if such a thing was possible, but when I opened my mouth to speak, that
is what came out. You could have heard a pin drop. Everyone who overheard the
confrontation was upset, but for most of them(at least for those who spoke directly to me
about it), it wasnt what that man had said that was unsettling. Rather, the
statements that were being made to me were, "After all, Duane, he is a Past
Master." "After all, Duane, he is a Grand Lodge Officer." In all honesty,
if I had been able to take those words back, for the purpose of stating them to him in
private rather than publicly, I surely would have, even though his words had been spoken
audibly in lodge. That would have been the Christian thing to do, but in all honesty, I
wasnt much of a Christian in those days, even though I professed to be. That
situation was a puzzler for me from that moment on, because it was as if his Masonic
titles somehow over-rode his totally blasphemous utterances. I couldnt buy into it
then, and I still dont to this day.
As Chaplain, a part of my duties was to say grace before meals at our monthly potluck
dinners, which were always held on the fourth Friday of the month, said Fridays being
reserved for Entered Apprentice degrees. This gave members and their wives an opportunity
to meet the new Initiates and their families. I was unable to fulfill these duties at the
beginning of the year due to the travel time involved with the out-of-town job I was
working on. The first potluck dinner I made it to proved to be educational as well as
discomforting. I said grace before the meal and partook like everyone else. After
dinner, a Past Master asked me to step into the adjoining lodge room. It was there that he
expressed his concern over the "error" I had made that evening. I told him I had
no idea what he was talking about. I asked him what the problem was, and his answer, which
should have been a wake-up call for me and for any Christian was, "You prayed in the
name of Jesus Christ." When I asked him how that could possibly be a problem, he
said, "It may be offensive to our Jewish members." I then looked over at the
altar, where the unopened Holy Bible was resting. I said, "PM (no need for names), in
a few moments, we are going to be opening lodge with the Holy Bible on the altar, complete
with New Testament. How do our Jewish brothers feel about that?" He said, "It
doesnt have to be the Bible on the altar. It could just as easily be the book of
Koran." I said, "But, it ISNT the book of Koran. It is the Holy
Bible." I was upset, so I walked away. This "instruction" had also been
confirmed, by the way, by one of the principal officers who walked up to us during our
conversation. I thought later, "What have I missed here?" This was my first
realization that there is no mention of Jesus Christ in any of the prayers I was still in
the process of learning as Chaplain. Looking back on it now, I can attribute a combination
of things contributing to my lack of discernment on this issue. First of all, I know now
that I was only a professing Christian at the time. Yes, I had been baptized several years
earlier, but as I look back on it now, had I been baptized for the right reason? Maybe it
had only taken place because it was what I was supposed to do, not because of true
acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Additionally, I had been so involved
with memorizing as much of the rituals as I possibly could, that I was not taking the time
to study the ritual - only memorize it. I truthfully have to say, no thought at all had
entered my mind that I WASNT praying in the name of Jesus Christ during lodge
prayers, until I was told that I COULDNT pray in His name, even at a potluck dinner,
which has nothing whatsoever to do with the rituals of the lodge. In a strange way, I also
was not looking at the prayers as actually being prayers, so much as it was just more
ritual I was memorizing, and we were trained to memorize the rituals as absolutely
letter-perfect as we could. I wasnt praying in the name of Jesus Christ during
lodge, because none of those prayers made mention of His precious name; it was a part of
the ritual; and I was just learning ritual. Besides, I rationalized, when I prayed in
lodge, I knew who I was praying to. And as for the Koran? I didnt care what they did
in other lodges. "In MY lodge, the Holy Bible is on the altar!" At the next
months potluck dinner, I offered up a "universal" prayer so as not to
"offend" anyone present. After dinner, I engineered the occasion to call that
same PM aside and ask him if the prayer was okay. He said it had been done very nicely. I
asked if he thought any of our Jewish brothers had been offended by the prayer. He said
no, that I had done just fine. Then, feeling a little mischievous, I asked him about the
baked ham the lodge served for the main course that night. I said it to him jokingly, but
then I posed another situation to him. I said, "PM, tonight, during the lecture, when
our newly made Masons are in the northeast corner of the lodge, it is going to be
explained to them that all lodges are dedicated to the Holy Saints John - St. John of
Jerusalem, and Saint John the Baptist. And when it comes to the matter of Jesus Christ, we
know EXACTLY where they stood, dont we?" This time, the PM was the one who
I thought back to when I was Senior Warden. I had begun to look toward the time when I
would be assuming the title of Worshipful Master. That in itself had been troubling to me.
I had never considered myself as being anybodys Master, and I certainly wasnt
Worshipful. Shouldnt a title like that be reserved for God and God alone?
There had been an incident at church one Sunday, right after services had concluded. My
wife and I were walking towards our car when we met a young man who fellowshipped with us,
and who our son was a team mate of on the churchs slow-pitch softball team. Being
"proud as punch" as I was about becoming a Mason, I had somehow managed to make
my lodge membership a part of the conversation. The young man looked at me in a quizzical
fashion, and said something about Freemasonry being a cult. Almost immediately, the urge
came upon me to slap him, but then I thought better of it, saying to myself,
"Its all right, Duane, he just doesnt understand." I now realize
that if there was any misunderstanding that day, it certainly was not on his part.
I thought of the blood oaths I had taken; I thought of the numerous times I had
administered them. It had been revealed to me that such oaths are against Gods
written word. This same Written Word that the Order supposedly based its rituals on, says
in the Book of Matthew that we are not to make any oaths at all; and it particularly
spells out that we are not to swear an oath that would change even the color of one hair
on our heads. Yet those hideous penalties to the obligations: "..that of having my
throat cut across, my tongue torn out, and with my body buried in the sands of the seas at
"; "..that of having my left breast torn open, my heart and
vitals taken thence, and with my body given as a prey to the vultures of the
"; and, "..that of having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken
thence, etc, etc, etc.,.." I was told by some that it was no big deal; the penalties
were only meant to convey to the candidate how important it was to take the obligations
seriously. No big deal? If the penalties of the oaths were that frivolous, then that was
all the more reason we should not be swearing them to God.
With the spiritual battle going on inside me, I was experiencing more "peaks"
and "valleys" than at any other time in my life. I would go to certain Christian
writings and see negatives about the lodge, but then I would go to my Masonic Bible and
read about these same items, with the lodges slant on them, and it didnt sound
so bad, but then I would go to the Word of God, and it was confirming what I was reading
in the Christian writings. But then I would tell myself, "Its only a
fraternity. It isnt church. I go to church on Sundays, and I go to lodge on Friday
nights. There is a difference."
But then something else came to mind. I recalled a couple of conversations I had with a
man who was ahead of me in the line of officers. Over
"refreshments" we would talk about Freemasonry, lodge activities, etc.. One
night he asked me, "What is lodge to you?" I thought for a moment, and then I
said, "I dont really know how to explain it, except to say, If a man cant
be in church, he should at least be in lodge." He nodded his head, and smiled.
On another such occasion, he asked me, "What does the Second Section of the Master
Mason Degree mean to you?" I said, "You know what? Ive been thinking about
that lately, and all that comes to my mind is death, burial, and resurrection, just like
baptism in the church." Once again, he nodded and smiled.
Then one day I fell to my knees alongside my bed and cried out to God, in the name of
Jesus Christ, to please show me the truth. With my eyes closed, I heard a roar, and I saw
the words "Blood Oath", in big red letters. That was His answer.
I got up from my knees, walked into our dining room, and sat down. I was shaking. I knew
at that moment, it no longer mattered that most of my family was in the lodge. I
knew it didnt matter that so many of the people I worked with, and worked for, were
Masons. I knew it didnt matter that virtually all of the people who I had associated
with for the past 5 ½ years would probably turn their backs on me on account of the
decision I was about to make I knew that because we were all Masons, that didnt mean
we were right; it only proved that we were fallible.
I got out of my chair and went to my knees again. I was crying, and I was scared. I cried
out to God, in the name of Jesus Christ, and begged Him to
forgive me if I had wronged him. He said, "Yes, Duane, you have wronged Me, and yes,
you are forgiven."
I submitted my letter of withdrawal from the lodge, and within a day or two, I began
receiving phone calls, mainly from Past Masters whom I had always had a great deal of
respect for. They were pleading with me to not go through with this decision I had come
to. The first one who called made some startling statements. After I had explained to him
that my reasons for leaving Freemasonry were because of the Bible and my newfound faith in
Jesus Christ, he proceeded to tell me three things, basically:
- You cant necessarily believe everything you read in the Bible.
- Christianity was a religion invented by the people in power at the time(I presumed this
to mean the Roman Empire), as a tool to keep the common people subdued and pacified so
they wouldnt become rebellious.
- There was no historical evidence that anyone by the name of Jesus Christ ever existed.
A day or two later, another Past Master called me. He spoke for a while about how
important my knowledge of the rituals was to the lodge, etc.. We talked for quite a while,
and in all honesty, he just about had me turned around. But I mentioned to him what had
been said to me by the first Past Master who phoned me, and his response was, "Oh no,
Duane, oh no. No, he is so wrong. Of course Jesus Christ existed, and he was a good
Of two of the three Past Masters that I had held in such high regard up to that time, one
of them knows Jesus Christ only as having been a good man; the other doesn't even know He
exists; which means that neither one of them know Him at all.
I know who He is, and there is no doubt whatsoever that He is alive. He is my Lord and
Savior, and He lives in me. I don't know for sure to this day what my status was that one
Christmas Eve night, several years earlier, when I experienced the symbolic death, burial
and resurrection in a baptismal font inside a church in Yuma, Arizona; and I shudder to
think of the intended purpose of the symbolic death, burial and resurrection I experienced
in a Masonic lodge room in Las Vegas, Nevada; but there is one thing I do know. On Friday,
January 13, 1984, on my knees, in the dining room of my home, when I cried out to the True
and Living God for His forgiveness, He forgave me - unconditionally, no strings attached;
and when I asked Jesus Christ to come back into my life, He came.
I am not perfect. Only God knows how totally corrupt and sinful I have been. On my best
day, any attempt to imitate the example of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and have Him
accept me for my good works, is but an offering of filthy rags. But even on my worst day,
by His grace and His love, I am forgiven. Amen.
He may on occasion be spoken of by lodge members as being "a good man", "an
eminent reformer", " a great human teacher", etc., outside of the lodge
room, but He is never spoken of as Mighty God, Lord God Almighty, Lord Jesus Christ, Lord
of All, or King of Kings, inside the lodge room, and thats why I dont go there anymore.
The prayers are not the only issue - not be a long shot. But for any believer in Jesus
Christ it should suffice to say that "forgetting" to pray in His precious name
is one thing, but DELIBERATE OMISSION of His name is utter rejection.
I am sorry, Father God, for ever deliberately omitting Your name in prayer. My prayers,
Precious Jesus, whether they are my own private supplications, or asking for Your
blessings upon a group of people who have gathered together in Your name, will never again
be done for the pacification of non-believers, but only in seeking the presence of Your
Holy Spirit. I will pray for the souls of those who surely grieve You, but I will not deny
Your Supreme Authority Over All in the process. I once again beg Your forgiveness, with
this promise to You. It will never happen again. In the name of Jesus Christ, and for His
sake; in the name of Lord God Jehovah; in the name of precious Adonay; in the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.
My name is Duane Washum. I am an Ex-Mason For Jesus. This is my
Thank you, Jesus.