Ex Venerable Master of Freemasonry-Testimony of Duane Washum
I grew up in a town in Arizona where it seemed permissible to think that all the elites in the community were Masons.
At that time, I had no idea what was going on inside a Masonic Lodge, but given the calibre of the men I knew as members of this organization, I saw them as special people.
As a law enforcement officer for appointees and elected officials throughout his career, and because he was a businessman, my father was a pillar of the community. My father, with at least one uncle and a group of cousins, were all from the Blue Lodge. My mother and three of my aunts were members of the Order of the Eastern Star, which is essentially an organization that accepts women, sisters, mothers, daughters, etc., without this criterion being exclusive. In high school, I was actively involved in the DeMolay Lodge and my wife is a former member of the Rainbow Daughters.
My father died in 1963. He was more than a father to me. When I lost him, I lost my best friend. Before the death of this best friend, one of his last wishes to my mother was that his two sons become Masons. At that time, I still didn't know anything about what was going on inside a dressing room; but Dad had repeatedly said that being a Mason had made him better. He was not a 'go-to-church' as the common phrase was – we were not a Christian family. However, he was truly a good man, honest, courteous and well respected even by those who opposed him in strengthening the laws.
Fifteen years later, far from Arizona, my father's wish was fulfilled. In 1978, I was introduced to the rank of Blue Lodge Apprentice in which my brother was already serving as a member. In September I rose to the rank of Companion and on November 10, 1978, I was elevated to the rank of Master Mason. On that evening, I was introduced to a Masonic pine that belonged to my father. With tears in my eyes and joy in my heart, I could finally say:
'Remain in peace now, old friend; your two sons are Masons now'.
At this point, I still knew little about Freemasonry. I had always heard that she was a brotherhood of men whose teachings were derived from the Bible. I knew nothing more, even as I was required on the evening of my initiation as a precondition for admission to the lodge, to take an oath that I will 'submit with alacrity to the ancient customs and consecrated customs of the Brotherhood'. I swore an oath without even knowing what these 'habits' and 'consecrated customs' were. I don't remember Dad going to the dressing room that much, especially in his last years. I don't even remember a debate about Masonry at dinner. However, I have never heard him speak negatively of the dressing room. I didn't hear anything negative from the family members on the dressing room except for an uncle; and even then again, his remarks did not touch on the foundations of Freemasonry.
As I had to learn later, there was no way out for the knowledge of the truth, unless you were an outside observer as was the case with the uncle. So many members remain ignorant! What aggravated my vulnerability was my naïve trust in the Masons I knew before I joined. Until I was asked for the 'criticism hunt' or something similar, I was not concerned about the foundations of the dressing room.
To go from one degree to the next, there is a lot of work to be done in the Blue Lodge. 'Skills' must be memorized; it is a series of specific questions that are asked of you and for which the answers must be broken down, close to word for word.
In some dressing rooms, it is requested that these skills be demonstrated in front of the members in plenary. We passed these events during the sessions of the lodge only.
I demonstrated my 3rd grade skills during the December program evening and this was an opportunity for the Venerable Master-elect to establish myself as his Young Assistant for the following year (1979). Tonight's test did not include oral exercise; then I was asked to present the teaching tools of the first three grades as well as the duties corresponding to those grades.
In 1980, I was working as a chaplain.1 Holding this post involved a lot of memorizations, circumambulations2, prayers and many other things. I also learned the tasks of the Senior Deacon on several levels, etc. That summer, I was focusing on the knowledge of the first degree courses I was going to give in the fall, after the summer break in the dressing room.
During these first two years, I also had to memorize the teachings on the Apron.
In 1981, I was admitted Junior Supervisor, becoming one of the three principal managers of the lodge, this was my first appointment. If my memory is correct, I began to submit the candidates that year. In other words, I exercised constraints in each of the degrees, playing the role of Venerable Master during the initiation or advancement rituals of the candidates. As my year as Senior Supervisor came to an end (1982), I had already learned all about the work of the degree, which left me enough time to take care of the brothers of one of Nevada's great lodges in 1983. I did it as a Venerable Master.
At the end of my year in the East, the apron of an Old Master was given to me. The title accompanying the apron was also awarded to me. I do not remember that there was such a wonderful day in my life, put to that of my marriage, and those of the births of our two children. I felt both humble and yet very proud.
Without looking at the distinctive appearance and size of the Blue Lodge from which they were affiliated, the Ancient Masters represent the group of men most worthy of a lodge and now I was one of them! But something else happened in January 1984 that would definitely change my life. This special thing, I bless God, was Jesus Christ!
In the last days of December 1983, just after the end of my term in office, my Lord and Savior began to reveal to me the truth about him and the truth about the lodge. Il 1 The chaplain, or chaplain, is a priest in charge of a chapel or a "personal parish":
noble house, language community, school, movement, military unit, etc. …
2 Circumambulation consists of rotating around or inside a symbol. It is a rite found in many religions and beliefs.
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumambulation showed me, for example, that the teachings of Freemasonry did not strengthen in the Christian faith or bring me closer to Him. I was following heresies from an organization that invoked something called the Great Architect of the Universe; he taught me that GAOTU3, as they call him, is neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit. But rather a forged god whose Muslims, Buddhists and other non-Christians are willing to invoke. He showed me that instead of receiving the Truth of His Holy Word, I was rather amazed by the distortions of the Bible.
My decision to leave the dressing room was not easy. It was influenced by several events. For two good weeks, my world had been upside down. The backs and cons overwhelmed me on both sides in the spiritual battle of which I was the ground and the referee. I can remember the events that really troubled me. I decided to rationalize and to this day, some discomforts remain unresolved such as:
At the beginning of the year I was Junior Supervisor, a Former Master of the Lodge, who was also in charge of the Grand Lodge, could set aside during the dressing rooms and chat with one or two of his friends. Unfortunately, the Lord's name was often uttered in vain in their conversations. One night I heard these words several times in a period of time. At the time of the refreshment, I confronted him under the Hall. In a few words, I said to him, 'If I still hear these words coming out of your mouth during the dressing room, I will write about it and you will be kicked out of Masonry'. In all sincerity, I didn't even know if such an approach was possible, but that's what came out of my mouth! You could hear a pin falling. All those who had heard this confrontation were shocked, but for most of them, (at least for those who spoke directly to me), it was not the words of this man who were displaced.
Instead, listen to the remarks that were addressed to me: 'After all Duane, he is An Old Master'. 'After all Duane, he's a Grand Lodge Officer.' In all honesty, if it had been possible for me to retrieve my warnings and say them in private, I would certainly have done so, even as his had been said openly in the dressing room.
This is how the Christian must do it. But I didn't have much Christian in those days, even as I claimed to be. From then on, this incident became like a puzzle for me, for it seemed to me that the Masonic titles allowed him to blaspheme. To date, I have a hard time identifying the issue.
As a chaplain, one of my duties was to give thanks before meals during our monthly dinner-sharing. This dinner, which took place every fourth Friday of the month, was reserved for admission to the Rank of Apprentice. This gave members and their wives the place to meet new initiates and their families. I was not able to meet this obligation at the beginning of the year because of the travel time (I had a job outside the city). The first dinner-sharing I oversaw proved educational and unpleasant though. I said graces before the meal and participated like everyone else. After dinner, an Old Master asked me to meet him in the room adjacent to the dressing room. It was there that he expressed his concern about the mistake I had made that evening. I told him I didn't understand what he was getting at.
Asking him for clarification, his answer, which would serve as an awakening and warning to every Christian, was: 'You prayed in the name of Jesus Christ.' 'What was that a problem for?' I asked him. It 3 GAOTU: Great/Grand Architect of the Universe – A Supreme Being responsible for the creation of the Universe; (freemasonry) A general term for Deity, whatever a person's belief system is.
I replied, 'She might shock our Jewish members.' I then looked at the altar, where an open Bible was laid. I said to him: 'PM (no need for names), in a few moments we will start the work of the lodge with The Holy Bible on the altar – complete with the New Testament: what do our Jewish brethren think?' He said, 'It doesn't matter, it could be a Koran.' I said, 'But this is NOT the Koran. It's the Holy Bible'.
I was confused and walked away from him. This 'indication' was later confirmed by the senior officer who approached us during our conversation. I later asked myself, 'But what did I not understand in all this?
Thus I realized for the first time that there was no mention of the name of Jesus Christ in the prayers I had to learn as a Chaplain.
When I look back, I can recognize a set of things that justify my lack of discernment in this matter.
I now recognize that I was only a Christian by name at that time. It is true that I was already baptized but with what motivations? It was perhaps just an ordinary event of little interest, for it is clear that my baptism was not a sign of true acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. In addition, I was more focused on memorizing quantities of rituals rather than analyzing them to understand their deep meanings.
I honestly admit that I was not alerted to the absence of the name of Jesus Christ in my prayers during the lodges until the moment I am INTERDIT OF PRIER in HIS NAME. This prohibition even extended to the dinner-sharing where the rituals of the lodge are absent.
Oddly enough, I didn't think of prayers as true prayers, they were nothing more than rituals. I memorized and we were trained to memorize word-for-word to perfection. I did not pray in the name of Jesus Christ during the lodges simply because no prayer mentioned his precious name. I was just learning and reciting rituals.
However, I was not lacking in rationality. When I prayed in the dressing room, I knew to whom I was praying. About the Koran? I don't care what was going on in the other dressing rooms. 'In my lodge, the Holy Bible is on the altar!' At the next month's dinner-sharing, I prayed so as not to offend anyone. After the meal, I called the PM aside and asked if the prayer had been done properly. He replied that everything had been perfect. I asked him if in his opinion some of our Jewish friends could have been offended in any way by prayer. He said, 'No' and assured me that everything had been done right. Then, with a dazed air, I asked him a question about the roasted meat that the lodge had served as a main course; I asked, 'PM, tonight, during the lesson, it will be taught to our new Masons—as soon as they are stationed on the north-east side of the lodge—that all the lodges are dedicated to Saint John of St. John of Jerusalem and St. John the Baptist. But touching on the question of Jesus Christ, we CLEARLY know the position of the two (John) is not it?' This time, the PM went first.
I remember when I was a Senior Supervisor. At this level, I sighed at the rank of Venerable Master. And this was already bothering me enough. I never saw myself as the Master of anyone and obviously I was far from Venerable. Shouldn't this title be attributed to God and To God alone?
There was also this incident at the church on a Sunday, just after the service. My wife and I were walking towards our vehicle when we met a young man who loved it with us and was my son's teammate on the church softball team. Proud as I was to belong to a lodge, I gave myself the freedom to talk about it. The young man looked at me inquisiteur, and said things like, 'Freemasonry is a sect'. Immediately I had a sudden urge to slap him, but pulled me up; I consoled myself by convincing myself that he is just ignorant. Today, it is clear that if anyone was in misunderstanding that day, it was certainly not the young man.
I remember the bloody, even deadly vows I had made. I remember how many times I've administered them. It had been revealed to me that these vows were contrary to the written Word of God. This same Word of God, on which the Order claims to base its rituals, commands Matthew not to make a vow at all. Precisely, we must keep wishes that could change the color of one of our hair. What about the horrific consequences when you fail to meet the obligations? : '… that my throat is slit, my tongue is torn, and my body buried in the sand of the sea in low tide…'; 'let my left chest be torn, my heart and vital organs torn off, and my body given to the vultures…'; '… my body spread out, my guts torn off, etc., etc., etc.
Someone had to tell me that the sanctions were not in fact very serious and that their purpose was to incline the candidate to religiously respect the obligations. Not a big deal? If the punishments of vows were light, then why swear in the name of God?
With the intense battle in me, I was going to experience even more 'highs' and 'lows'. I could read in some Christian books negative things about the dressing room. Checks made in my Masonic Bible, I encountered some twists of the lodge that made the truths nuanced.
However, when I turned to the Bible, I realized that what I read in Christian books was authentic. But I consoled myself saying, 'It's just a fraternity.' It is not a church. I go to church on Sundays and I go to the dressing room on Fridays, that's the difference.'
But something else came to mind. For example, there is this memory of conversations I had with a man who was more senior than me. During the 'refreshments', we talked about Freemasonry, lodge activities, etc. One night he asked me, 'What does the dressing room mean to you?' I think for a moment and say, 'I really don't know how to say it, but I think if a man can't be a member of a church, he should at least be in the dressing room.' He nodded and smiled. On another similar occasion, he asked me, "How do you understand the second section of the rank of Master Mason?" I said, 'You know what? this is what I have been thinking about for some time, and all that comes to mind is death, burial and resurrection, as is the meaning of baptism in the church'.
Once again, he nodded and smiled.
One day I fell on my knees beside my bed and cried out to God, in the name of Jesus Christ, that by His grace he would show me the truth. With my eyes closed, I heard a loud noise and saw the words: 'Blood Oaths', in red characters. That was his answer.
I stood on my lap, walked to our drawing-room and sat down. I was shaking. I knew at the time that it was no longer important that the majority of my family was in the dressing room. I also knew that it was no longer important that so many colleagues and employers were Masons.
I also knew that it was now not important for my associates of the last five years to turn their backs on me following the decision I was about to make. For we were brothers Masons of course, but we were not righteous, we were only a gathering of fallible people.
I'm getting back on my knees. I was crying, I was devastated. I cried out to God in the name of Jesus Christ, begging him to forgive me if I had offended him. I heard, 'Yes Duane, you offended me and yes, I forgive you.'
I submitted my letter of resignation to the lodge and a day or two later I began to receive calls, especially from the Old Masters for whom I had the greatest respect. They were pleading for me not to go far in my decision. The first made some heartbreaking remarks. After I explained to him that my reasons for leaving Freemasonry were related to the Bible and my new faith in Jesus Christ, he went on and said three things:
You don't have to believe in everything you read in the Bible;
Christianity is a religion invented by people of a certain time (i.e. the Roman Empire), as an instrument of manipulating populations, in order to keep them submissive and non-rebellious;
There is no evidence that a person named Jesus Christ ever existed…
A day or two later, another Old Master called me. He explained to me how useful my knowledge of rituals was to the dressing room, etc. We walked for a while and in all honesty he was close to winning me over. But I told him what the first Old Master had told me, and his answer was, 'Oh no, Duane, Oh no. No, he's wrong. It is true that Jesus existed and that He was a good man'.
Of the three Old Masters whom I held in high esteem at that time, one knew Jesus simply as a good man; the other did not even know if He had existed.
This means that neither really knew him.
I know who He is, and I have no doubt that is alive. He is my Lord and my Savior and He lives in me. I cannot grasp what my status was on this Christmas night of many years ago, when I experienced death, burial and resurrection in the christening tank of a church in Yuma, Arizona and I tremble when I consider the intention behind the death, symbolic burial and resurrection that I experienced in the Masonic Lodge in Las Vegas, Nevada. But what I do know is that on a Friday, January 13, 1984, on my lap, in my dining room, when I cried out to the Living and True God for His forgiveness, He forgave me—unconditionally, without obligations. And when I asked Jesus Christ to come back into my life, He came.
I'm not perfect. God only knows how corrupt and sinner I have been. On my best day, any effort to imitate my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, any effort of good works ended in offering of waste. But at the worst of my days, by His grace and his love, I am forgiven. Amen.
Outside the dressing room, members call him 'A good man', 'a great reformer', 'an outstanding teacher', etc., but they never recognize him as a Mighty God, Lord God Almighty, Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of All, or King of kings inside the dressing room and that's why I don't go there anymore. Prayers are not the only problem, not even the most worrying. For the believer in Jesus Christ, 'forget' to mention the precious name of Jesus can pass, but OINTMENTMENT HIS name is ostensible rejection.
I regret, God my Father, for having deliberately omitted Your name in prayers. My prayers O Precious Jesus, either in private or before an assembly gathered in Your name, will never again be made to please the heathens, but will be according to the Holy Ghost. I will certainly pray for the souls of those who despise you, but I will recognize your Supreme Authority in all things. I beg again to forgive me and promise you that I will not return. In the name of Jesus Christ and for His glory, in the name of the Lord God Jehovah, in the precious name of Adonai, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I pray, Amen.
My name: Duane Washum. I'm an Ex-Mason to Jesus. That was my testimony. Thank you Jesus.
Duane Washum may be contacted by email or letter to In Search of Light Ministries Box 28702 Las Vegas, NV 89126 This translation is the work of:
Love of Christ of the Blog 'Children of Paradise' address: www.amourdechrist.canalblog.com The original of this testimony is in English at:http://www.emfj.org//washum.htm