Paul T. Million Jr., 33, S.G.I.G. in Oklahoma
Grand Chamberlain of The Supreme Council, 33
Scottish Rite Temple
McAlester, Oklahoma

The Scottish Rite must do everything it can to include families in our experiences as Scottish Rite Freemasons.

I’m a third generation Scottish Rite Mason, and my son is the fourth. In fact, I have the distinction of being the third Inspector General Honorary in my family. My grand-father, my father, and I have all served as Treasurer of the McAlester Scottish Rite Bodies. I can say with great pride that my family has been personally and actively engaged in Scottish Rite Freemasonry since its inception in Oklahoma at the turn of the century.

When I think back on the reasons for this long tenure of service by my own family, it comes down to the simple fact that Scottish Rite Masonry has always been a family thing for us. It was a consistent theme in the conversations which took place in my household. It is a part of my family’s personal legacy.

Of course, it helps when the Scottish Rite Temple sets on the highest hill in the center of downtown McAlester. Even when one is a very small child, he can’t help but notice such an imposing edifice. My guess is that most children ask their parents about that building as soon as they discover the relative size of things. The McAlester Temple is certainly a distinctive part of the urban landscape in our Southeastern Oklahoma community.

But my decision to become involved in what happened inside that building was made before I was eight years old. My father used to take me to the Temple during Reunions. He hauled me around and introduced me to men he knew and respected. At the time they all seemed old to me, but I thought they must be really special men to belong to such a big place as the Temple. And I thought it was neat that they wore caps.

He also introduced me to the Temple staff, and over the years they became my friends. I roamed around the Temple and pretended it was my building. It was a special experience for me as a child to feel I was attached to the Scottish Rite Masons and their wonderful Temple.

The bottom line is that I never knew when I was not going to be a Scottish Rite Mason. I didn’t have to be asked to join the Fraternity. I just knew it was something I would do when I was old enough.

And this is why family involvement in the Blue Lodge and the Scottish Rite is so important. I was fortunate to be the son of an active member. And I have a feeling my father knew what he was doing in taking me on those special trips to the Temple.

Today, of course, we have a mandate to include our families in every possible aspect of our Fraternity. This is why The Supreme Council has established the Subcommittee on the Family Life Program. As leaders of the Scottish Rite, we are responding to what we know about men.

A few years ago, when the Masonic Renewal Committee of North America conducted a survey of American males who were not Masons, these men were asked what they would require to join any organization. The Northern and Southern Scottish Rite Jurisdictions jointly funded that study. The men told us they would not join an organization unless it provided them with a strong sense of identity, involved them in community activities, gave them opportunities for leadership, allowed them to make a charitable difference, and actively involved their families in the organization’s calendar of activities.

My Brethren, here is our mandate. If we want to attract men to the Blue Lodge and the Scottish Rite, we have to meet their needs. And they have told us what their needs are. Men today join organizations on their own terms. In my opinion, the “handwriting is on the wall.” The Scottish Rite must do all it can to include our families in our experiences as Scottish Rite Masons.

I am excited about the work the Subcommittee on the Family Life Program is doing because I know from personal experience what happens to young boys who are introduced to the Scottish Rite by their own families.

We become attached to the Fraternity very early--long before we know anything about joining. And we know that, regardless of what else we do with our lives, we will be Masons. And that makes a big difference in us.