After jumping ship on the "Hiram Award", and my less than spectacular first introduction to this local lodge; I wrote the Worshipful Master to thank him. I explained that I'd like to come by for a visit on a less important occasion to see what a typical lodge dinner would be like. I was invited back in a few weeks for another dinner.
Undaunted, I suited up and headed out for my second lodge visit. I approached the lodge, and those sturdy wooden doors once again. Upon entering the dining room again, I saw it was once again set up for a special event. In fact, it seemed that this was an even more important event than the "Hiram Award". The place was packed. I found a table with a spare seat and two men that seemed of similar age and style.
It was explained to me that this night was a reception for "The Worshipful Master of the Grand Lodge of Iran in Exile". OK! I had no idea what a lodge in exile was, but I figured that this was a special night and if I was invited in, I would go, regardless of any hesitation or equivocation.
Dinner was an excellent spread of persian food, humous, tabouleh, baba ganoush etc... I had a fantastic time chatting with several Freemasons at dinner. I met two men who worked in entertainment (as I do) and had a really nice time. Both were actually members of two different lodges, who were there just to see this exiled Grand Master speak. One of which invited me to his lodge for a visit some time. (More on that later.)
After dinner, I was invited once again for to enter the lodge room for the rest of the reception. I felt... something... I'm still not sure what it was, but it was an identifiable vibration on entering the lodge. A combination of nerves, fascination, curiosity and history hit me.
The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Iran in Exile was introduced. He gave an amazing speech. I was energized. He spoke of America. He spoke of opportunity. He spoke of his ancestors fleeing Persia due to persecution, and how Freemasonry welcomed them with open arms when they arrived in California. His morals, his ethics, his appreciation of hard work, study, and family, moved me in a profound way. This was an evolved man. This was the type of man I wanted to surround myself with.
This was my first real taste of what Freemasonry was all about.