But for all the bobbleheads, Masons are deadly serious about their values. Several members of the lodge look to the Salvation Army's Stephen Carroll, lodge chaplain, as a mentor. "He's the most gentle, kind-hearted, hard-working person I've ever [known] in my life," says Adams.
Carroll, 66, has been a Mason for 27 years and has belonged to Amicable Lodge for 19. When younger, tattooed guys started going to his meetings, he didn't raise an eyebrow — in fact, he was thrilled when they joined.
"I see some of them as my sons," he says. "It thrills me to see them living good, clean lives, helping other people, and doing the right thing."
Through his work as a commanding officer in the Salvation Army, Carroll has encouraged a number of his fraternal brothers to help out. "He actually got me to ring the bell for the Salvation Army one year," says Adams, "which is not something I ever saw myself doing."
Carroll doesn't see much difference between himself and the new breed of Masons. "Older folks join the Masons for the same reasons. There's a nice fellowship of younger people, especially those who are in the arts," he says. "These are 2011 folks. They're not 1945 folks. They're into technology, and high-tech music, and arts, and all kinds of other things that didn't even exist when I was born, but their basic values are the same. They want to be good citizens. They want to be good to their fellow man. They want to help out rather than help themselves."
>> PHOTO SLIDESHOW: The Masons of Amicable Lodge <<
Eugenia Williamson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.