Duane's 'Testimony'

"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation."
Saki [H. H. Munro] (1870–1916), Scottish author.

Since Duane wants the world to see what he has to say and since he has never objected to use of his 'Testimony' that we're aware of, we thought you'd like to see it here as well.

Masons will likely find it strangely amusing, particularly in light of their knowledge of what goes on in a Masonic Lodge; others may want to believe it as "gospel". Use your own good judgment!

Testimony of Duane Washum, Past Worshipful Master

I submitted a petition to the Lodge and was initiated in the Entered Apprentice Degree, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft, and was soon raised to the degree of Master Mason. I felt that I had attained to the finest fraternity in the world. I was selected by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge to serve as Junior Steward and later honored by serving as Chaplain. My studies in ritual and degree work continued as Junior Warden and then Senior Warden. I finally became Worshipful Master of the largest Lodge in the state of Nevada.

I believed myself to be a member of a fraternity that stood for God, country, and family. But, after five years of total dedication, I withdrew from the Order. It didn't happen overnight. My first questioning of Freemasonry was in regard to the obligation I took when I was initiated. One is made to swear secrecy to the point that bloody penalties of death are involved. It was explained that this was symbolic and only emphasized that what I had gleaned was not public information.

(Masonicinfo Note: Yet - rather than stopping right there and questioning, Duane continues on with his progress in Freemasonry as explained in the first paragraph. It is important to note that the ONLY penalties of Freemasonry are suspension, expulsion, and reprimand!)

My next moment of confusion came when I was Junior Steward. A member was in the habit of talking during lodge meetings. This was disruptive but not a big problem. What was a problem, I thought, was his use of God's name in vain. One evening this terminology was used four or five times in a short period. I later told him that if he used those words in the Lodge room again, I was going to file Masonic charges against him.

(Masonicinfo Note: Masons are taught to 'whisper good counsel' in a Brother's ear if he feels that the Brother is erring. What appears to have happened, though, is that Duane directly confronted/challenged this person. The lessons of Freemasonry obviously weren't getting through to Duane despite his attendance at meetings!)

The reaction of the members who overheard was very confusing. Some approached me and mildly chastised me for the way I had approached him. But it was the reaction of the majority of the members that caught me off guard. They reminded me that he is a Past Master, and a Grand Lodge Officer. He was not wrong in using God's name in vain. Rather, I had affronted a Past Master and a Grand Lodge Officer.

(Masonicinfo Note: We believe that Duane missed the point and must wonder what the real circumstances were in this case. Swearing - even talking - during a lodge meeting is improper. It's hard to believe that someone would be allowed to continue in this way, regardless of his office!)

All ritual work in Masonry is committed to memory and repeated verbatim, including prayers. At first I did not notice that none of the prayers are in the name of Jesus Christ. "Great Architect of the Universe," "Almighty Father of the Universe," "Judge Supreme," "God," and "Lord," yes, but never in the name of "Jesus Christ."

(Masonicinfo Note: In SOME jurisdictions, prayers are repeated verbatim but this is far from the rule. Duane's experience is not that of others but beyond that, he certainly wasn't very observant, was he? For someone so concerned about this issue, it seems hard to believe that he would have overlooked this even the very first time it occurred. Nevertheless, Freemasonry is not a religion and has men of several faiths who belong - not all of whom are Christians. That this was a surprise to Duane should cause the reader to wonder about his powers of discernment!)

Being Chaplain, saying grace for a meal was my duty. Since there is no specified prayer, the prayer was my own, and I prayed in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I was soon told that we never pray in the name of Jesus Christ for it would be offensive to our Jewish members. I then became aware that there is no mention of Jesus Christ in any of the prayers or in the ritual book.

One evening, I asked about the inconsistency involved for the Jewish member in having the Bible resting on our altar. I was informed that it did not necessarily have to be the Bible. It could be the Koran, the Rig Veda, or even the Book of Mormon. What sacred writing was on the altar would depend upon the religious persuasion of the lodge. So, it really didn't matter if the Lodge had any Jewish member or not. The important thing was not to pray in the name of Jesus Christ!

(Masonicinfo Note: You've missed the point entirely, Duane! Freemasonry seeks not to encourage conflicts or highlight differences amongst its members. Because of this, one does not 'flaunt' either their job, their social position, their material assets, or their religion in front of others.)

A proposed major undertaking that would involve a great deal of money was made into a motion and defeated, much to the dissatisfaction of the Master. Without notice, it was brought up again, this time in a stacked meeting. 'The motion passed. I made an objection to the Master and told him that what he was doing prostituted the dignity of his office. I found myself "wrong", because the Worshipful Master is always right.

(Masonicinfo Note: Duane's interpretations of the facts obviously cannot be validated. Nevertheless, regardless of the position of the Lodge's Master, it is the will of the Lodge which must prevail. No one man can rule without the approval and acceptance of the membership. Ergo, if a particular act was felt appropriate by the membership of the lodge, it would be quite easy to return to the matter at a subsequent meeting. And of course, having a very junior officer telling the Master of the lodge that he had "...prostituted the dignity of his office." by accepting the will of the Lodge is certain to cause some resentment!

Both of my confrontations began to consume my thoughts. I was morally right, but I was made to feel that I was wrong. By opposing the Worshipful Master I was, in the eyes of some, committing blasphemy!

(Masonicinfo Note: No, Duane, you were 'out of line'! Plainly and simply.)

Despite this, I was able to be elected as the next Worshipful Master. I soon found myself questioning things, including my title. Was I really a Worshipful Master? By whose authority? I never considered myself to be master over anybody, and I certainly wasn't worshipful.

(Masonicinfo Note: In many jurisdictions, the Title is simply "Master" although the Master of a lodge is generally called by the term 'worshipful'. This ancient word usage has nothing whatsoever to do with 'worship'; instead, it appears in Freemasonry as it did in the past and continues to this day in titles such as "The Worshipful Lord Mayor" - who is neither worshipped and is only a secular Lord!" And while Duane can make the word "Master" sound onerous, the whole allegorical basis of Freemasonry - the stone masons guild - has a Master, or overseer, of the work. Duane seems to have missed quite a lot and never really cared....)

I was in a local Christian bookstore and found a book I was interested in, The Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Martin. This was of interest to me because of stories regarding Mormonism and Joseph Smith. He was reported to have been a Mason and to have pirated signs, grips, and Masonic ritual work and incorporated them into the Mormon Temple rituals. But, when I turned to the table of contents, it was like someone hit me with a baseball bat.

(Masonicinfo Note: A lot of organizations have copied Freemasonry over the past three centuries! That does not make them Masonic....)

Listed was the Rosicrucian Fellowship, a group my brother had been studying. He told me how there had been an organization known as The Great White Brotherhood of Man, and out of this came the Rosicrucians, and out of the Rosicrucians came the Masonic Order. For the first time I was seeing Rosicrucian Fellowship in print and it was in a book about cults.

(Masonicinfo Note: Your brother was quoting one of many theories about the origins of Freemasonry - or he was simply trying to 'wind you up' knowing that you would react. And just because the Rosicrucians appeared in a book about cults, this has NOTHING to do with Freemasonry. It should also be noted that Christianity has been called a cult in some books! Which do you want to believe, Duane? Selective cherry-picking going on here....)

I remember how, after becoming a Mason, I had mentioned it to a man in my church. He said, "So you joined the Masonic cult." I said to myself, "He doesn't understand." And now it looked like I was to find out who understood and who didn't. Now there were three words racing through my mind: "Rosicrucianism," "Masonry," and "cult."

(Masonicinfo Note: Duane's over-active imagination put together a connection which simply doesn't exist. His comparison is totally without merit since there is no provable or documented connection between Rosicrucians and Masonry. Obviously, since Masonry's beginnings are unknown, it is likely that MANY streams of thought contributed to it but that includes Christianity as evidenced by the Bible on the Altar and many other things. Duane shoots the arrow and THEN draws the target!)

I turned to the section about Rosicrucians and the reference to Masonry. "It (Rosicrucians) was by admission a secret society. It flourished in a day when secret societies were in vogue, and a century after its origin, Rosicrucianism underwent a recrudescence in connection with Freemasonry, which not only deemed Rosicrucianism genuine, but even borrowed usages and customs from the writings of those who had satirized the fraternity."

(Masonicinfo Note: It would certainly be interesting to see where any Masonic authority (i.e. a Grand Lodge) declared Rosicrucianism "genuine". There are SO many 'flavors' of Rosicrucianism - including a group which requires Masonic membership but is totally and completely separate and apart from Freemasonry - that Duane's reaction is a conclusion begging for justification.)

Every question that had previously troubled me about Masonry came back to me. A cold shiver went through me. I began praying to God for wisdom to know the truth. I placed a phone call to Christian Research Institute, and I told of my concern about Freemasonry. They said they would send me a booklet which might be helpful, Freemasonry and Christianity by Alva J. McClain.

That night, I shared my concerns with a Christian friend. He taught me about blood oaths, secular humanism, and other things.

(Masonicinfo Note: Duane needed help understanding something he had been involved with for 4-5 years? He was unable to discern these supposed evils for himself? And he didn't trust his own blood Brother? What evidence is that that this 'friend' was any more astute than he? Why was he more committed to Duane's well-being than an immediate family member?)

The next two weeks found me in extreme turmoil. I would think about the discussions with my Christian friend but then I would read from my Masonic Bible.

(Masonicinfo Note: Lest the reader be mislead by the phrase "Masonic Bible", it should be noted that there is NO Masonic Bible! Not now and not ever! What Duane refers to is likely a King James Bible 1611 Version (one which most fundamentalist Christians would argue is the only 'true' Bible) to which has been added a few pages in the front - totally separate from the text - which explains some of the legends from which certain Masonic ritual might have been drawn by pious Masons when writing ritual hundreds of years ago. The contents of Duane's Bible were no different than any other KJV Bible!)

Everything I would read seemed beautiful and I could see no wrong in it. My family's Masonic background, the relationships I had with other Masons, and the beauty and dignity of Masonic ritual were all going through my mind. I was beginning to think that maybe my friend, like the man before, just didn't understand.

(Masonicinfo Note: You were right - and neither they nor subsequently you, understand!)

Finally, I went to my knees and once again asked the Lord to show me the truth. It roared across my mind. "Blood Oath." I recalled my uneasiness with the oath of secrecy, and Jesus' admonition to "make no oath at all" (Mat. 5:34). '

(Masonicinfo Note: Presumably, with this as his objection, Duane would do away with the Oath of Office taken by the President of his country, the Oath of Allegiance taken by every member of every military service who has served his country and hundreds of other things like the Boy Scout Oath, the Oath one takes when testifying in a court case or serving as a juror, etc.)

That week the secretary of Vegas Lodge No. 32 received my letter of withdrawal. I received a call from a Past Master who asked me why I was withdrawing. I told him I was a Christian, and shared my thoughts with him, including Scriptures from the Bible. He explained to me that I shouldn't believe everything I read in the Bible and that Christianity was a religion that the men in power at the time came up with to keep the common people in line.

(Masonicinfo Note: Neither Duane nor we can prove nor disprove what was said. We suspect that he actually said "You really shouldn't believe everything that you read." referring to the book which had provided you with these remarkable insights! It should be noted too that if Duane accepts EVERYTHING in the Bible literally, he's got a pretty tough row to hoe and we'll look forward to seeing him engaged in those blood sacrifices soon....)

Then he said, "After all, Duane, our dad, uncle, grand dad, and great-grand-dad were all Masons." The Past Master extolling the virtues of Freemasonry and attacking my faith in Jesus Christ was my own brother.

(Masonicinfo Note: What your brother was trying to point out to you, Duane, was that many of your relatives had been Masons and none of them had found it to be against their religious beliefs. Apparently you were more astute about these things than your family - and millions of other men including many, many clergy!)

My letter of withdrawal was held for over a month,....

(Masonicinfo Note: Most lodges only meet monthly - and thus, actions of the Lodge are not taken the same day they're requested unless such request is on a meeting night - and even then, protocol may require it be held until the next meeting! Duane should note that there was no delay or problems with his departure. Freemasonry does not want members who do not want to be part of the organization and thus Duane's request - regardless of the reason, be it 'right', 'wrong', or just plain 'silly' - would be honored promptly.)

...but now there is a paper in my home titled, "Certificate for a Brother Dropped from the Rolls at His Own Request. "After Christ endured indescribable pain and suffering for my sins, I could not rationalize staying in the lodge because of the difficulties I would have encountered had I resigned.

(Masonicinfo Note: Duane needs to re-read his statement. We believe he meant to write "...had I stayed a member." In reality, though, Duane would not have encountered any difficulties except those of his own making, trying to mold Freemasonry into what he determined it should be.)

Besides, to stay in Masonry would mean to deny Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in my prayers.

(Masonicinfo Note: Simply not true, Duane. Masons understand that ANY prayer said by another is, in reality, a substitute for their own supplications to the Deity. Accordingly, for Christians, Jesus is never denied in any prayer offered in a Lodge, despite the fact that His name may not be specifically mentioned!

I have prayed for forgiveness and know that God has answered my prayers; not because I am worthy, but because of His grace and love, and because Jesus Christ IS my Lord and Savior."

(Masonicinfo Note: It's good that you're secure in the knowledge that God has answered your prayers, Duane. That salvation, however, would have had nothing at all to do with your membership as a Mason - despite your assertion to the contrary.)

Duane Washum may be reached at the following address:

In Search of Light Ministries Box 28702 Las Vegas, Nevada 89126

Note: While we've indicated that we would not post 'personal' information about anti-Masons, Duane has allowed (perhaps encouraged) this tract, complete with the address, to be published in several places on the World Wide Web. Accordingly, we trust he will have no problems with it being here as well.

 

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