I am very proud to present this week’s contributor, Bro. Barry E. Newell who was initiated on June 23, 2006 in Oriental Lodge #60, AF&AM of Idaho and currently serves as the Grand Orator for the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho. He was born in Pocatello, ID, in 1984, and raised in Emmett, ID. He graduated Emmett High School in 2003, just after enlisting into the Idaho Army National Guard in 2002 where he served for 12-years as an All Source Intelligence Analyst and Unmanned Aircraft System Instructor-Operator. He deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III (2004-2005) and Operation New Dawn (2010-2011) before being medically disqualified for reenlistment in 2014. He graduated from Boise State University in December of 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations and is currently one of five students working on a Master of Arts in Political Science in the accelerated program.
Here’s a brief overview of Bro. Newell’s Masonic Journey over the past nine years:
Barry was raised in Oriental Lodge #60 in 2006 in Boise, ID, where he served as Worshipful Master in 2009 and 2014. He was initiated into the York Rite in November of 2008: he served as High Priest of Boise Chapter #3, Royal Arch Masons, in 2010 and 2014; Illustrious Master of Idaho Council #1, Royal & Select Masters, in 2012; and as Eminent Commander of Idaho Commandery, Knights Templar, in 2013. He was initiated into the Order of the Eastern Star in November 2009 and served as Worthy Patron for the 2013-2014 year, and currently serves as the Grand Representative to Delaware. He was initiated into Tri-Valley College #178 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America in 2010 and currently serves as Primate (Chaplain); Boise Valley of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of the USA, Southern Jurisdiction, in October of 2011; St. Michael Conclave of the Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and St. John the Evangelist in May of 2012, receiving the appendant orders in March of 2013, and currently serves as Orator of that Conclave; Clontarf Council #69 of the Order of Knight Masons in March of 2013 and currently serves as Steward; Tahoma Chapel #30 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon in March of 2013 and currently serves as Secretary; Royal Order of Scotland in November of 2013; Allied Masonic Degrees and currently serves as Junior Deacon for the Sovereign Grand Master’s Council; Ye Antient Order of the Corks and Masonic Order of the Bath in February of 2014 at Masonic Week; and Idaho Priory #13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor in April of 2014 and currently serves as Herald. He has also received the Chair degrees of the Order of the Holy Priesthood (2010), Order of the Silver Trowel (2012), and Order of the Knights Preceptor (2013). He was appointed to the officer line in the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho in 2012 and currently serves as Grand Principle Sojourner. In April of 2013, he was appointed to the officer line of the Grand Council of Royal & Select Masters of Idaho, and currently serves as Grand Steward. He is also a member of the Ohio Asylum of Research, the Masonic Society, and the Grand College of Rites. At the 2015 Grand Sessions of the Grand York Rite of Idaho, he received the Knights Templar Cross of Honor.
“Now with all of that said, those titles and a $1 will get me a cup of coffee.” – Barry
While I enjoy my time in every one of those appendant, concordant, and invitation-only bodies of Freemasonry my attention is always focused upon the Blue Lodge, and the top honor in my Masonic career was serving as Worshipful Master of my Lodge. Before I delve into my story, I’d like to give newer and younger Masons a single message, slow down and take your time. Don’t be in a rush to get your 3rd degree so you can join groups like the Scottish Rite, York Rite, or Shriners. There’s a lot to do in the Lodge and just be sure that as a newly initiated Brother you have set a proper base to your education and knowledge of the mysteries of Freemasonry, because every good structure needs a strong foundation.
Initiation and Ritual
Freemasonry is first and foremost an initiatic order whereby we impart certain lessons, values, and principles to a candidate as well as communicate the central myth or legend of Freemasonry. The initiatic experience is what separates the wheat from the chaff.
Initiation is a meant to be a slow transformative process so the candidate can gain a meaningful experience, and the rituals therein contained are also binding. They bind one not simply just to the obligations taken, but also bind the members together into a fraternity. It binds by passing on knowledge from one generation to the next, thereby binding together Brothers not just alive currently, but throughout time through a shared experience.
The initiatic rituals within Freemasonry should be our constant focus. Not simply performing ritual for the sake of ritual, but because of the purpose behind ritual. Rituals pass down the knowledge gathered for the initiate to improve or transform himself. This transformation should both improve the initiate both morally and spiritually, both body and soul, thereby achieving harmony.
Rituals are a natural part of the human experience. Rituals are a part of our everyday life and have been throughout mankind’s history. One can have simple rituals, or routines, first thing in the morning, rituals at the office, religious rituals, social rituals, familial rituals, and so on. The rituals in Freemasonry through the central myth of the order seek to impart the very facts of life. Many refer to the experience as a “rebirth”, but I much prefer “reawakening.” Through the degrees we prepare the initiate for a journey; impart him with lessons, principles, and the tools that will assist him along the way.
In Freemasonry, we sometimes have forgotten the importance and purpose of ritual by rushing candidates through the degrees or by stressing the importance of memorizing the ritual work, but fail to encourage a full understanding of the rituals. I think sometimes Brothers have forgotten because ritual is everywhere in Freemasonry and become complacent. Bro. Robert Reid from Scotland said it best, “Ritual is weakened when the manner in which it is practised is divorced from the reason for its being practised.” For the best experience and best results for an initiate, one needs to fully understand the words spoken and actions performed during the ritual.
Without a proper understanding, the rituals would become meaningless and the initiatic experience would be lost, thereby becoming just another dinner club or service organization.
Thank you Bro. Barry Newell for you contribution this week!
If you would like to be the next contributor, send me an email. I hope you will.