Muscles In Masonry

Article by
Clarence P. Graham, 32°, K.C.C.H.

In July 1995, Bro. John G. Allen, 32°, Harmonia Lodge No. 138, West Palm Beach, Florida, had a desire to start competing once again in the sport of power lifting. It had been 14 years since he had last competed in any organized meets. He started training and soon realized that his body, now in its 40s, did not respond as it once did when he was 20 or 30. Bro. Allen trained fiercely and, after six months, felt he was ready. He entered into the American Power lifting Association Drug Free Southeastern United States Regional. Since he was over 40 years old, he was considered a Master lifter. Bro. Allen, weighing 198 pounds, took first place in the bench press with a press of 400 pounds. After this win, he continued to train with heavier weights and continued to compete, but then his sights were set on winning a national title.

In September 1997, Bro. Allen competed in the A.A.U. Drug Free United States Bench Press Nationals held in Orlando at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex. He lifted as a Master lifter at the age of 43 in the 220-pound class. There were more than 120 lifters from around the United States entered in the event. At the end of the day, Bro. Allen had not only won the competition, but also set a National Bench Press record for his age and weight class. He had pressed 435 pounds and now was eligible to compete at the World Drug Free Federation Bench Press meet to be held in Knoke-Heist, Belgium.

Very proud to be an American and to represent the United States, he is equally proud to be a 21-year Mason. He decided to use this opportunity to let people know he was a Mason by having the Square and Compasses embroidered on his lifting suit.

Once again, the training became fierce. With only two months before the world competition, Brother Allen did not have the funds for the trip to Belgium. Just as our Olympic athletes have relied on sponsorship, so did Brother Allen. The members of Harmonia No. 138 and Jupiter Light Lodge, No. 340, Jupiter, Florida, passed the hat, along with other sponsors, to help make the trip possible. Brother Allen was now on his way.

At the equipment check the day before the competition, one of the French judges said Brother Allen could not wear his suit because of the emblem on it. At that point, the German judge and the British judge stepped in and overruled the French judge. Brother Allen was able to wear his suit in the competition and seemed to be taken in under the wing of the team from England. He and his wife, Cindy, were the only American’s invited to dinner every night with the British team. There was definitely an unspoken companionship with the British team.

Unfortunately, Brother Allen did not have his best day. With a bench press of 410 pounds, he finished third at the World Championships. He then set his sights on becoming World Champion in 1998 at the World Championships to be held at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. On March 28, 1998, Bro. Allen entered the International Invitational Power Lifting and Bench Press Meet sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.) at Orlando. Ten countries competed in this event. They included the Bahamas, Canada, the Czech Republic, England, Poland, Romania, and Russia. Bro. Allen took first place in the 220 Pound Master Division with a new American bench press record of 445 pounds and narrowly missed setting a new world’s record of 455 pounds.

Bro. Allen has shown the same dedication to Masonry as he has the sport of power lifting. Raised a Mason in 1977 by his father, Alonzo G. Allen, he is currently the Senior Warden for Harmonia No. 138, a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Lake Worth, York Rite Bodies of Palm Beach, and AMARA Shrine. With membership declining in all fraternal organizations across the country, Brother Allen believes getting Masonry out into our communities is very important in building interest in our Fraternity. He has organized members to participate in Breast Cancer Walk-a-Thons as well as the Back-to-Basics Angel Program for Pre-school migrant children. Most recently, he participated in a fund-raiser for a breast cancer victim which netted more than $31,000 for the victim and her family. Bro. Allen believes we must all get involved in our communities and make a difference. The only time you fail at making a difference is when you don’t try. Bro. Allen has always had the support of his loving wife Cindy and his four children, Michael, Melissa, Carter, and Sasha. From your Masonic Brothers, good luck, Bro. Allen, in all your future endeavors!