Having family in New York, I read the article in The Citizen: "Ormie King: The history of Auburn's legendary Masons" (July 18 issue). For sure, Ormie King is a legend. A good citizen, a good man. I loved the history contained in the about the honorable fraternity of Freemasonry having a strong influence in helping the community of Auburn and surrounding area since the year 1800. That's 121 straight years of being a continuous anchor of friendship, fellowship, unselfish helpfulness and charity. I, myself, am a fifth-generation Freemason and my ancestors belonged both in America and in England. I belong to most of the Masonic allied groups which meet in Auburn, including the basic Masonic Lodge which contains Three Degrees. I call those "steps" with elaborate initiation ceremonies which would impress any man of good character with a belief in God or a Supreme Being. Masonry isn't a religion nor a substitute for religion. Yet it is allied with religious ethical values similar to what I experienced in Boy Scouts and other character building groups. Although there are various allied degrees and orders tied into the Masonic family, such as the Scottish Rite (which confers the fourth through 32nd degrees — a special 33º is reserved as an honorarium for Masons who display extremely hard work in the community or fraternity). There is also the York Rite Degrees, which, as the name implies, has strong ties to York, England. It confers numerous degrees such as virtual past master, Royal Arch Mason, the degrees of Cryptic Masonry, and the Commandery confers two especially beautiful degrees: The Order of Malta and The Order of the Temple (also known as Knight Templar). They are open to those Masons practicing the Christian religion. This is an important point: All Masons treat each other as "Equal Brothers," yet we also demonstrate that those of us who are Christians go to our respective Churches or houses or worship, and those do not conflict with our Masonic interactions at all. I joined at age 18, and I'd encourage any man interested to inquire, if interested. We like prospective candidates to ask for a membership application first. I did at 18; now 57. Belonged 39 great years and counting.
James A. Marples