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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Masons welcome newest, youngest member

Staff Report

Due to recent changes in the policy of Arkansas Freemasonry, Mena’s local lodge, Dallas #128, has welcomed the youngest member in its century-old history. Freemasons, known for their secretive nature and charitable members, have solidified themselves not only in our community, but in history as well. 

The youngest brother

Formerly, any young man wishing to learn the secrets the Masonic Fraternity holds would have to be at least 21 years of age to join. However, a recent policy change made any man of at least 18 years of age able to join. This made Dallas Lodge #128 available to 19 year-old Trey Youngdahl. Youngdahl’s interest in Masonry began when he was only 13 years old in the 8th grade. “My civics teacher at the time, Scott Feemster, mentioned Freemasonry during class, and that really sparked my interest. Seeing the value in Masonry, Feemster continued to feed that fire.” Trey said. Trey had plans to join when he was 21 but, due to the Grand Lodge’s recent age policy change, the 19 year-old was now eligible and quickly jumped at the opportunity that he had been waiting for. After being petitioned, interviewed, and deemed a man of good moral character, he was able to start his masonic journey as the first man under the age of 21 and the youngest man to ever join Mena’s Dallas Lodge #128. 

What is Masonry?

The Arkansas Grand Lodge website states, “Masonry (or Freemasonry) is the oldest fraternity in the world. No one knows just how old it is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Probably, it arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Possibly, they were influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.” 

It goes on to say, “In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization in England when the first Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Masonry in some geographical areas. In the United States, there is a Grand Lodge in each state and the District of Columbia. In Canada, there is a Grand Lodge in each province. Local organizations of Masons are called lodges. There are lodges in most towns, and large cities usually have several. There are about 13,200 lodges in the United States.” (arkgrandlodge.com) 

What is the purpose of becoming a Freemason?

The Masonic saying goes, “our purpose is to make good men greater.” Freemasons believe in honor and that a man has a responsibility to behave honorably in everything he does. Freemasonry teaches its members the principles of personal decency and personal responsibility. They carry on century-old history and traditions of chivalry and respect. Several well-respected men such as Benjamin Franklin, John Wayne, Harry Houdini, and even Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as 14 U.S. presidents knew the secrets of Masonry.

Freemasonry puts emphasis on personal responsibility, good character and citizenship, knowledge, expanding horizons, and charity. When a new member joins a lodge, they are immediately met with an overwhelming amount of love and support by strong and well-respected members. When a man becomes a Mason, they are guided to build their moral character through brotherhood, knowledge, respect, civic duty and charity. 

Masonry today

One of the foundational principles of the Masonic moral code is charity. The Masonic Charitable Foundation (formerly The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and Masonic Samaritan Fund) is one of many charities that the Masons run. This non-profit builds better lives by enabling opportunity, advancing healthcare and education and promoting independence for Freemasons, their families and the wider community and is funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families. The Masonic Charitable Foundation is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country (freemasonrytoday.com). Locally, they have been known to grant scholarships to students, have meals for the community, and help with any civil work the community may need. 

Mena’s local lodge was originally chartered in 1858. In its 163 years, it has solidified itself in the community through several charitable acts and events. The lodge was originally located in Old Dallas, hence the name Dallas Masonic Lodge. It was later moved to 1607 Hamilton Street in 1904, and it stayed there until it was destroyed by the 2009 tornado. The lodge is now located at 701 Port Arthur Avenue, right across from Janssen Park. 

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