“In the words of my patron saint, Augustine of Hippo, ‘My sin was this – that I looked for pleasure, beauty and truth not in Him but in myself and His other creatures …. and the search led me instead to pain, confusion and error.
This revelation marked the beginning of my path towards living a more Christian life – and the more I studied Scripture and did my best to pursue holiness, the more powerful my sense of spiritual discernment became. One particular day, which I will never forget, this sense of discernment began to ring ‘my spiritual alarm bells’ in the middle of a Masonic meeting.
As I sat in one of the York Rite’s monthly Stated Meetings, looking around me at the other men and Officers clad in red aprons and gesticulating the penalties for the violation of oaths, I was filled with a thick and very heavy sense of dread. As the feeling intensified, my heartbeat sped up and my breathing became both more shallow and more rapid.
I could not explain this feeling at the time, and tried to ‘shrug it off’ as my being in a bad mood or simply having a strange day. I tried my best to dismiss the feeling, and continued attending my usual Masonic meetings. Since I was an Officer in several bodies at the time, I was generally in Lodge a minimum of once or twice per week.
Try as I might to shake the feeling, I just couldn’t get rid of it- so after a long and painful process of deliberation, I decided to abandon my position in the Royal Arch (one of the York Rite’s sub-groups) in order to resolve the dilemma. While providing me with a brief period of respite from the oppressive energy I had been feeling in that room, my leaving that chair in the Royal Arch ultimately solved nothing.
The same feeling arose again and again every time I stepped foot into the Masonic Lodge, and I eventually came to realize that God simply wanted me to leave the entire organization. My pastor at the time referred to this feeling as ‘the conviction of the Holy Spirit,’ and I often felt tugged in two different directions.
This epiphany left me feeling depressed, sad, confused, and unsure of how to proceed. I had spent the past couple of years building a great social circle of people I liked and respected – and who liked and respected me, as well. I was very hesitant to leave it behind…but at the same time, there was no mistaking the calling in my heart.
I spent the next 6 months or so trying to justify a way to stay, sharing my thoughts and feelings with a local Bible Study group and getting their feedback and advice. Once I could no longer rationalize my involvement in Freemasonry, I made the firm decision in my mind and heart to leave the Lodge completely.
And that is when the attacks began.
I am not speaking of physical attacks, or of any kind of intimidation or coercion by the fraternity. Instead, I speak of what I later came to recognize as the spirit of Masonry itself doing everything in its power to retain my membership in the organization.
Out of nowhere, crises would pop up that ‘only I could solve’. New groups would invite me in, new honors would await me, and my mind was assaulted by thoughts meant to keep me from straying. The spirit of Masonry worked day and night on me through psychological attacks of this nature, until I eventually gave up the fight and decided to stay.
Fortunately, I was honest enough with myself to realize that my decision was borne of personal weakness – and so I resolved to try again. Deep in prayer, and recognizing my own total inability to win the battle on my own, I begged God to help rescue me from the spiritual quicksand which I had found myself sucked into. I recalled the verse that ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4), and realized that nothing could defeat me with Christ on my side.”