Freemasonry Can Found Anywhere And In Everything

If something brings joy in your life, you can relate that to Freemasonry

Arthur Morgan was not a real person, yet, his untimely death still saddens me. I was shocked to feel such a loss over a (stupid) video game character. I felt like I lost a close friend. I also felt a little silly wanting to spend more time with Arthur after learning that his death was imminent.

I should probably start explaining.


My teenage son turned me on to the game “Red Dead Redemption 2” (RDR2 as the kids call it) one weekend the Summer “Lockdown” of 2020. I noticed that he was coming out of his room less for snacks and drink re-fills. I knocked on his door in search of proof of life. Instead of finding him bouncing up and down, engaged with his friends, yelling into his headset while playing some soldier game or NBA 2K20 — he was quietly sitting at the edge of his bed. His attention was intently focused on what looked like a scene from an old Clint Eastwood western movie. “Son, ” I asked, “what are you doing?” His concentration was solid; he didn’t move when I spoke. “I’m trying to find the Legendary Buck, Dad,” he replied in a hypnotic trance. That’s when I sat down to watch a few minutes of gameplay.

According to Wikipedia: Red Dead Redemption 2 is a 2018 action-adventure game that has sold 44 million copies to date. The story is set in 1899 and follows the exploits of outlaw Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang, in a fictionalized representation of the Western, Midwestern, and Southern United States.

Gamers and critics have both praised the game for its open world game play, where players can invest over 60-hours in the game’s storyline and still continue to find exciting side missions, new characters, and unique bonus content. With majestic images of snow covered mountains, dusty, Old West towns, the spirit of the City of New Orleans, this game also emerges the player with a dynamic music score and authentic character voices.

That summer, instead of sitting on the couch for another “thanks, COVID”, binge session of a Netflix series that I would never get past the first episode of, my wife would make “that” face as I slipped away to play this game in my son’s room. RDR is addictive because it’s so immersive; it feels REAL. You begin to act like you are living through this character – not controlling him. You make decisions that will affect his storyline, yet, you don’t pay the consequence for his bad choices. If you were a fan of the first season of “Westworld” on HBO or the book (and movie) from Michael Crieghton, this game’s morality component will capture your attention. Then there are the graphics and sound production. You can actually see the wind blow through the trees. My dog comes in the room when she hears a distant gray wolf howl. Every detail is painstakingly accurate, even down to the historical references and connections.

Get ready for the Masonic connection because it’s coming

Not to spoil your interest in the game, but what turned me from a casual player to die-hard fanatic — the kind of guy who still watches RDR2 YouTube videos on his lunch break — was the plot twist in Act 2. This occurs in the fictional town of Saint Denis, representing New Orleans, where Arthur passes out in the street. It’s a pretty scary experience because you “control” him during a coughing fit, leading up to him dropping unconscious in the street. Cut to a scene in the doctor’s office where you are diagnosed with tuberculosis (“consumption”) and are told to move somewhere dry and warm. Tuberculosis (TB) was the leading cause of death in the 1800s as no medicine existed for treatment. Penicillin wasn’t discovered until 1928, leaving patients around the turn of the century with a disease that caused massive weight loss, a nasty cough that led to hacking up fluids, and certain death.

This news is saddening on many levels! First, the diagnosis scene is nothing like you will find in any other video game. The emotions are a real break in the storyline; something would experience in a movie or book — not a (stupid) video game. Second, watching Arthur stagger out of the doctor’s office left with memories of close friends and loved ones have said to him over the years as he contemplates his life is moving. Finally, this event takes place after you have invested a good 60 hours of gameplay; it totally knocks the air out of your sails. “Are you kidding me? He’s going to DIE!” I wanted to yell out loud.

inspired vision to enable us to look with faith beyond the veil

One evening, I was sitting at dinner with my wife, who coyly asked, “are you going to play your (stupid) game again tonight?” It was embarrassing to admit, but I looked at her and calmly replied, “I just want to spend some time with Arthur tonight.” I then gave her the Reader’s Digest version of what the plot line I shared with you. She wasn’t impressed. As my gaze fell to my empty dinner plate, a second thought came to mind. “Ryan was right,” I said out of nowhere. My wife’s look is probably similar to yours right now, Dear Reader. If you feel like you missed something, you haven’t.

My Masonic Brother Ryan, had invited me over to his house for a social-distanced Memorial Day gathering. Nothing says “Summer 2020” like celebrating with hamburgers, hot dogs, and beers in lawn chairs six-feet apart. During our conversation on our feelings for Freemasonry, Ryan shared his belief that “Freemasonry can found anywhere, and in everything, you can find Freemasonry.” Okay, I gave him more line instead of reeling him in. I asked, “like esoterically?” “It can be, but my point is much simpler than that,” he continued. “Say you are into video games, sports, or whatever. There has to be something in that, that can relate to Masonry.” To me, his point brilliantly summarized the lesson in the EA degree on dividing one’s time. Not in allotting our time schedule, rather managing our time to include moments for personal growth and reflection. Ryan honed in on how this connects to our hobbies and interests. “If something brings joy in your life, you can relate that to Freemasonry.”

And That’s When He Got Me

Ask anyone who has played RDR if they played the game differently KNOWING that there was a real chance Arthur wouldn’t make it until the end of the game… and I will point to a group of men pursuing the virtues of a legendary Master Mason during the building of King Solomon’s Temple. Sometimes, our hero doesn’t make it to the end of the story and it falls to his Brothers to continue his work.

Bro. Michael Arce Co-Founder, Craftsmen Online Mt. Vernon #3, Albany, New York St. John’s #11, Washington, DC