Saturday, April 30, 2011

‘Templar no more’

Last month, I decided to annul my standing and rank in the Knights Templar, the chivalric branch of the York Rite of Freemasonry. I have received the demit certificate. Below is the text of my letter requesting the same, addressed to Trinity Commandery's Recorder.

March 18, 2011

Sir Knight and Dear Mario,

I have acquired some degree of experience in Freemasonry over the years, so I know that requests for demits sometimes are meant to send negative messages. I assure the Fratres of Trinity Commandery that no such malice or other hard feelings are at work in my decision to leave the Knights Templar. I know that no explanation is required when asking for a demit, but I want my brothers and friends to know that this is a consideration of conscience for me; an entirely personal and difficult decision reached after a lot of thought. You see, I am not a Christian. I never have been a Christian, and I’m sure I never will become a Christian; therefore my membership in the Order has been based on a fundamental untruth that I have come to regret. My religious faith was no secret to those who recruited me for membership, nor was any membership standard withheld or misstated to me at the time, but what happened is my own views of how to manage the discrepancy have evolved over the years, and I now realize this tough choice is necessary.

This is not to say I feel any shame or guilt for my decade of membership in the Knights Templar. Quite the contrary! I believe the Order of the Temple is among the most vital initiatic ceremonies in the entire corpus of Masonic degrees, and furthermore that this ritual in the hands of Trinity Commandery is brought to its most profound potential. More than the best commandery, we all know that Trinity is a very special band of brothers. It has been my great honor and privilege to have been inside the Asylum with Thurman Pace, Bud York, Mel Melendez, R__ M______, John Corrigan, and so many others.

In addition, I have always been proud of my efforts for the betterment of the Order. Contributing toward Trinity’s ritual work; laboring for seven years as editor of the New Jersey supplement of Knight Templar magazine; and serving in 2007 as Grand Historian have been enriching experiences that I always will treasure.

But it is time for me to go. I will see you all in our other stations and places amid our other labors, so this is not goodbye.

Thank you all!

I was halfway through writing the letter when I realized it was the birthday of Jacques DeMolay. Entirely coincidental. My good friend and brother John had been Grand Commander until March, so I waited until he had left office before sending this request. The timing of the date was not intentional, unless my subconscious was getting the best of me.

My task now is to try as hard as I can to think back, to reach back more than ten years, to remember why I joined. The real reason, beyond being recruited by trusted friends. I know what I think today, but what was on my mind then? There is something important in there.