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Masonry and Religion
THE SCOTTISH RITE JOURNAL - MAY 1993
SPECIAL EDITION, "FREEMASONRY AND RELIGION," PART II
MASONRY AND RELIGION
W. Kenneth Lyons, Jr.
A MASONIC RESPONSE
T. Max Tatum and Jim Tresner
HOME MISSION BOARD RETURNS POSITIVE REPORT
Dewey C. Crutchfield
THE RITE'S PRINCIPLES
A CHRISTIAN MASON
John E. Canoose
CARRYING THE MESSAGE
Fred W. McPeake
S. Brent Morris
THE BUCK STOPS HERE
The Grand Commanders Frankly Speaking
C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33d Grand Commander
In 1990, the Scottish Rite Foundation of Missouri donated the
original oil portrait of President Harry S. Truman, 33d, pictured
on the front cover of this issue. It was the first portrait
installed in the House of the Temple's new Temple Architects Hall
This is a historic moment in American Freemasonry. We are
confronted by a virulent attack on our gentle Craft from a faction
within the Southern Baptist Convention. This June, the Convention
will vote on the issue of whether or not Freemasonry is compatible
"with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine."
In the February 1993 issue of The Scottish Rite Journal, the
Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, broke Masonry's tradition of
silence. We responded to our critics via 25 articles. Most were
written by prominent clergymen, many of them Southern Baptists.
Each stated clearly and strongly one truth: Freemasonry is not a
religion, let alone anti-Christian in any way. Instead, Freemasonry
complements Christian faith while it enhances each Mason's personal
religion, whichever it may be.
This May issue, again, presents essays on this crucial matter. As
Masons, we must inform the public and our own members. Most of all,
we must stand united.
It is with great pride, therefore, that this Grand Commander's
message breaks new ground by presenting not only my message but
also that of Ill.'. Francis G. Paul, 33d, Sovereign Grand Commander
of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Ill.'. Paul's message is
reprinted on the following pages with permission from the February
1993 issue of The Northern Light, the Northern Masonic
Jurisdiction's official publication.
Our unprecedented unity of response to the crisis facing
Freemasonry represents a historic closing of Masonic ranks. I
invite all Masons of all Blue Lodges and of all Appendant Bodies to
join the Scottish Rite, Southern and Northern Masonic
Jurisdictions, in opposing the religious extremism which today
threatens not only Freemasonry but the most fundamental of American
principles, freedom of conscience. Read Grand Commander Paul's
message which follows, as well as the following pages of this
special issue of The Scottish Rite Journal, to find out how you,
personally, can help defend Freemasonry and America today.
Sovereign Grand Commander
Francis G. Paul, 33d
He was a Baptist. He was a Mason. He was the President of the
United States. And he was proud of all three. His biographer, David
McCullough, writes of Harry Truman's high regard for Masonry:
He greatly enjoyed the fellowship and took the ritual and spiritual
teaching of Freemasonry with extreme seriousness. He felt uplifted
by brotherhood in an order claiming great antiquity and to which
both Mozart and Andrew Jackson had belonged, as had so many
presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt and his successor, William
Howard Taft. As every Mason knew, George Washington took the oath
of office on a Masonic Bible and laid the cornerstone of the
Capitol with a Masonic Trowel. (Truman, p. 78)
When it came to accepting personal responsibility for his actions,
no one in public life can equal President Truman. On one momentous
occasion, he made an unpopular decision. "The buck stops here," he
said. And it did.
Why is Bro.'. Harry Truman more admired today than when he occupied
the White House? It's clear that he possessed the one quality that
makes a difference in life: Harry Truman had character.
It's difficult not to think of Harry Truman-the man, the Baptist,
the President and the Mason-at a time when our Fraternity has come
under severe criticism from a vociferous group of Southern Baptists
who have dedicated themselves to cleansing their denomination of
what they consider contamination by Masons and Freemasonry.
When the issue first arose, I took the criticism somewhat in
stride. Since the anti-Masonic movement 150 years ago, there have
been numerous attempts to show that Masonry is the enemy of
Christianity. While these periodic outbursts have been unpleasant,
they have soon faded away.
Unfortunately, the current anti-Masonic movement in the Southern
Baptist Convention persists, even gaining momentum.
The complaints against Masonry are not coming from the Southern
Baptists as a whole. It seems to be one man's goal to vilify
Freemasonry, and, at the same time, to drive a wedge of hate into
the heart of this great denomination.
Although the perpetrator of the scurrilous and totally erroneous
attack on our Masonic Fraternity feels he is on the side of
Christianity and that Freemasonry is the work of the devil, we take
our stand with the man from Missouri who said,
"I am by religion like everything else. I think there is more in
acting than in talking."
This is exactly where the buck stops for Freemasons. We do not talk
theology because we are not a religious organization or a church.
But our individual lives and the life of our Fraternity are
open-wide open-for all to see. Our actions are the voice of
- There are thousands of young people who have been educated with
- There are countless victims of severe bums who have been cared
for without charge in the Shriners' burns institutes.
- There are thousands of children who live healthy, happy, and
whole lives thanks to the free medical care they received at one of
the Masonically-sponsored crippled children's hospitals.
- There is an almost endless stream of youngsters across the
country who have learned to communicate because of the services of
the Scottish Rite's Childhood Language Disorder Centers.
- There are major improvements in the treatment of schizophrenia,
thanks to the medical studies and research funded by Scottish Rite
- There are thousands of Americans who, without charge, have had
their sight restored or their vision improved, again without cost,
because of the commitment of Masons.
Our Masonic Brother, Harry Truman, was right. "There is more in
acting than in talking." From where we stand, this is where the
buck always stops before men and God.
As Masons, we will not be drawn into a hateful verbal battle over
theological or doctrinal issues. A shouting match is not our forum
trading accusations is not our style.
We will not hide, however. We will continue acting as Masons. We
will follow the light of faith, brotherhood and truth. We will
support the family. We will honor our nation. We will build
character. We will care for the forgotten and the needy.
We stand on the Masonic record, and leave the final judgment of
theological purity where it belongs-in the hands of God.
Sovereign Grand Commander
Northern Masonic Jurisdiction
Religion Are Compatible
Forrest D. Haggard, 33d, G.'.C.'.
6816 W. 78th Terrace Shawnee Mission, KS 66204
After carefully studying the contemporary anti-Masonic movement, a
well-known Freemason who is also a Disciples of Christ minister
sees three main motives-personal, political, and economic-behind
attacks on the Craft, and he advises Masons to respond by
understanding and practicing the purposes of our Craft.
THE recent revival, by fundamental Christianity, of anti-Masonry
has created a storm within both religious and fraternal circles.
Over the past two years, I have listened to, watched on TV or read
every program, article, and item concerning the modern-day
anti-Masonic movement that has been called to my attention. It has
been good for me. I have re-examined my own membership in all of my
"other than the Church" commitments. I have reached a considered
decision that Freemasonry is not now and never has been detrimental
to my Christian faith or to Christian doctrine. In fact my
fraternal relationships have strengthened and assisted me in my
ministry as well as in my personal faith and life.
I have found three predominant reasons for the existence of the
- Personal and personality conflicts are present. Freemasonry is a
human organization with no claim to Divine origin. In any human
organization you have human frailties. Where you have a structure
you have "assumed power or prestige" and with that you have
conflicts. Some critics have had a "bad experience" in their
Masonic connections. (Just like local congregations have people who
came from some other church where things were "bad.")
- Political, social, or religious dictatorships or hierarchial
structures cannot, in fact do not dare, tolerate differences of
opinion. They cannot afford any dissension or freedom of thought.
Under their rule, Freemasonry and all like groups must be attacked
or destroyed. Such systems may claim to be open minded, but they
depend on their constituents or followers to have minds closed to
all but their own particular "way" or doctrine. Freemasonry
promotes freedom of thought and discussion.
- Money: I always listen and watch for the "bottom line" whenever
I am watching the "Christian" TV station or listening to a
"religious" broadcast. The bottom line is an appeal for membership
in their group and for support funds. In spite of all of the
revelations of graft, greed, corruption, and immorality on the part
of the hawkers of fundamentalist Christianity, their kind
continues. They are an embarrassment to the Church. I have to
assume that Satan rubs his hands in glee as their message of hate,
exclusiveness, and divisiveness goes out to the public.
I call your attention to some other factors:
The same voice that speaks out against Freemasonry often also
speaks out against any other type, kind, style, or form of
religious faith other than their very own. The same families that
have left my congregation because I am a Freemason came to our
Church because where they were was not of the "true faith." And
they have already left where they went from my congregation because
that place was not the "true faith" either.
Remember that Freemasonry is not a single-minded organization. It
is a multitude of structures, groups, and units that are tied
together by a common historical tradition. We have no "one voice,"
nor one leader, nor one ritual. Our critics pick and choose their
quotations or dramatizations from any era, source, or supply that
meets their particular needs.
I have never argued with single minded fundamentalists. They are
always, ALWAYS, in their own mind, absolutely right. They must
destroy all other systems to prove their own right to exist. They
can always justify their stance on the basis of their own
interpretation of their Source (such as the Word). And they need
money to exist. If they cannot survive on their own, then they must
invade or utilize some already proven source (such as the type and
quality of people who make up most fraternal groups and, most
I represent a whole host of competent hardworking ministers who
labor in a parish and who really carry the load of pastoral care
and concern. Many of us belong to fraternal, civic, or community
groups. We do so with personal joy at the sense of unity, openness,
and morality that these groups promote. These groups are not
organized religions. They not only do not compete with the
Christian faith, but in reality are supportive of it. It is
disturbing that the opponents of Freemasonry are, in effect,
attacking that which is supportive of Christian faith. The
"Christian" anti-Masonic leaders are not only inaccurate in their
attack on Freemasonry but they also are. in my opinion, making a
far more serious attack on the basic Christian faith under whose
banner they claim to operate.
How do I respond to these attacks? What do I say? I do not respond
directly to the attacker. The attacker is shrewd. He attacks the
weak spot of his enemy. In our case that weakest spot is not, as
the attacker would have you believe and thus defend, in our
rituals, customs, and traditions. It is in the members themselves
who have had only ritualistic education about Freemasonry.
Where Freemasonry has instructed its candidates in its history,
purpose, and intent and where a local Lodge is going about its
business with pride and dignity, there is very little that
anti-Masonic groups can do to destroy the Craft.
Forrest D. Haggard was ordained by the Kansas Church of Christ and
is the Founding Pastor of the Overland Park Kansas Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ) where he has served since 1953. He has been
in the ministry for 44 years and a Master Mason for 43 years. A
Past Grand Master of Masons in Kansas, General Secretary of the
World Office of the Churches of Christ (Disciples, Christian. and
Church of Christ).
ABRAHAM LINCOLN was accused of being an atheist because of his
nonaffiliation with any church. He is attributed with this reply:
I have never united myself to any church because I have found
difficulty in giving my assent without mental reservations to the
long complicated statements of Christian doctrine which
characterize their articles of belief and confessions of faith.
When any church will inscribe above its altars, as its sole
qualification for membership, the Savior's condensed statement of
the substance of both law and gospel, "Thou shall love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with thy mind,
and thy neighbor as thyself," that church I will join with all my
heart and all my soul.
Needless to say, Lincoln has enshrined his memory in the hearts of
millions for eternity.
Contributed by: Donald Lee. Arnold, 32d
Pocatello, Idaho, Scottish Rite Bodies
I Am Proud To Be A Mason
Rabbi Seymour Atlas, 33d
4321 North 41st Court
Hollywood, Florida 33021-1823
With nearly 50 years service as a Rabbi and a Mason to his credit,
Brother Atlas recalls with pride the highlights of his career as a
clergyman and Mason.
AS A YOUNGSTER, one of my favorite dreams and aspirations lingered
with me for many years, until my petition was approved for
initiation into Freemasonry. Looking back over the years, I realize
this desire came from a photograph that I admired and wanted to
This photograph was one of my father, may he rest in peace,
standing with other Masons on the steps of the Masonic Temple in
Greenville, Mississippi. As he stood with his Masonic Brothers, it
was as if a feeling of pride and joy was emanating from them, as if
there were no equals to them. How proud I was of my father, and
from that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a Mason and follow the
Masonic teaching as he had.
I was brought up in a religious home, a son of a Rabbi with seven
generations of Rabbis preceding me and yet with this religious
background, I felt I could still derive much from and give much to
this Fraternity, for the good and welfare of mankind.
When I reached my 21st birthday, one of my first thoughts was to
submit my petition to become a Mason! There was no hesitation or
second thought, for this was the beginning of fulfilling a lifelong
dream. With prayer and trepidation I awaited the call that my
petition was approved.
Having been so informed over 40 years ago, I was filled with pride
and anticipation that soon I would be welcomed into the Masonic
Bodies. I walked on air and thanked God that I would be able to
follow in the footsteps of my father and bring him the joy and
pleasure of knowing his son was accepted into the ranks of men of
integrity and righteousness.
I shall never forget my first thought as I made my initial entrance
into the Masonic Lodge that conferred the Entered Apprentice Degree
on me, and followed with the Fellow Craft and Master Mason Degrees.
I was immediately made to feel that I was surrounded by Brothers.
I felt there were no strangers present. This was one big family
that seemed to have adopted me, and I, in turn, was elated to adopt
them as my family.
Having completed my Symbolic Lodge Degrees and passed all
examinations with perfection, I immediately became an instructor
for others and became active in Masonry, never failing to attend
the meetings and partake of the fellowship as often as my
profession would permit, and I must say it was quite frequently on
a regular basis.
My cup was running over with pride, and I looked forward to my
advancement into higher Degrees. I soon advanced through the
Scottish Rite Degrees, being a candidate in several and offered the
honor and privilege to speak for the class as to my true feelings
and impressions of the particular Degrees for which I was the
My horizon of Masonry expanded, and my pride and joy were bubbling
and effervescent. I couldn't wait to be able to confer the Degrees
on others as there was so much I wanted to explain and elaborate
about each Degree.
I was offered this opportunity and immediately began to study and
memorize many parts, and over the years I became very active,
holding office, lecturing, and taking an active part in every phase
of Masonry where my talents and abilities could be used.
One aspect of Masonry that has made a great impression on me was
the ability of all Brothers, regardless of religion, to ask me why
did I need Masonry as a Rabbi, because my profession was one of
integrity, kindness, honesty, and all the attributes expounded in
Masonry. It was difficult for many to grasp my need for this
addition and supplement to religion. I worked with men of different
religions, as well as of the Hebrew faith, and they were all
impressed when I would say that Masonry is not a religion, but to
be a Mason we had to believe in God, and if this was the only
aspect of our religion and we had no other formal religion, yet we
adhered to all the moral teachings of Masonry this too would have
put us in the category of men of integrity. However, Masonry is not
a substitute for religion, nor is it a religion.
My experience has shown that Masons are, for the most part, deeply
religious men. I am proud to be a Mason and a part of an
organization that is devoted to helping, without question or
embarrassment, widows, orphans, and those in need.
I am proud to be a Mason and to be a part of a Fraternity dedicated
to the upholding of the Constitution of the United States of
America and the Bill of Rights.
I am proud to be a Mason who believes in the freedom of mankind and
the sanctity of human life.
I am proud to be a Mason who believes in the dignity of God's
children and opposes hatred and bigotry, and stands for truth,
justice, kindness, integrity, and righteousness for all.
I am proud to be a Mason and shall always be happy to number myself
among those who uphold those cardinal principles and moral
standards of life that are so needed if our organization is to
continue on the high level that has been its character from its
inception. May God grant it continued strength to go, to grow, and
to glow so that I and all Masons can exclaim: "I am proud to be a
Seymour Atlas retired in 1990 from Beth Judah Temple, Wildwood. NJ.
after 46 years in active Rabbinate as a Pulpit Rabbi in
Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and New Jersey as well
as an Auxiliary Chaplain in the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard. He
is a member of the Scottish Rite Bodies and the Shrine of
Montgomery, Alabama. He was inducted into the Legion of Honor of
the Chapel of Four Chaplains in Philadelphia, PA.
"A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks th' Lord wud do if He
knew th' facts iv th' case."
Finley Peter Dunne as "Mr. Dooley," Writer
"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the
Sir Winston Churchill, Statesman
"Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have
forgotten your aim."
George Santayana, Philosopher
"From fanaticism to barbarianism is only one step."
Denis Diderot, Encyclopedist
A Response to Mr. John Ankerberg
Jim Tresner, 33d
P.O. Box 70
Guthne, OK 73044-0070
"The John Ankerberg Show" has sent out a circular in response to
the February 1993 special issue of The Scottish Rite Journal. Near
the end of that circular, Mr. Ankerberg invites a Freemason in good
standing to respond.
I've been asked to do so.
I can qualify as a Freemason in good standing, so long as good
standing is taken, in its Masonic sense, to mean current in my dues
and not under suspension. If, however, Mr. Ankerberg means "a Mason
who can speak authoritatively," I must beg off. No Mason may speak
with authority for Masonry, only for himself.
First, it is a genuine pleasure to see from the newsletter that
most of the issues have finally been put to rest. Mr. Ankerberg
comments that the February issue of The Scottish Rite Journal
dealing with the theme of "Freemasonry and Religion" is
"Impressive. Very impressive!" (It is indeed, and as one of the
writers in that issue, I can tell you it is a humbling experience
to appear in the same pages as such eminent Churchmen and Masonic
writers.) Second, since Mr. Ankerberg appears to have dropped the
questions, we can gratefully assume there is now agreement (1) that
a man can be and frequently is a good, highly placed, responsible,
spirit-filled church leader and a sincere, devoted Mason, (2) that
Masonry has a long and honorable tradition in support of religion,
and (3) that intelligent men have finally put to rest the
ridiculous charges that Masonry is satanic or pagan.
The remaining issues Mr. Ankerberg identifies are essentially
semanticthat is they center around the meanings of words and
The first centers around the statement, "We are religious, not a
religion." Anyone who has read Masonic writers dealing with this
topic knows it is a difficult one. Probably none of us are
completely happy with the statement but it may be as close as we
can come to defining a situation which English does not handle
Perhaps it might be better to say, "Freemasonry acknowledges that
man is inherently a religious being and celebrates that inherent
religiousness, without trying to tell a man how he should worship
or the details of what he should believe."
Mr. Ankerberg is in error when he says that "Freemasonry defines
religion to suit its own distinctive purposes." Freemasonry, of
course, does not define religion at all. Various Masonic writers
have defined religion, simply because of the duty of a writer to
define his terms. But essentially, Freemasonry is happy to let
anyone define religion for himself as he wishes. We only start
arguing when someone works out a definition of religion, and then
tries to force that definition on us as a way of attacking us.
Ankerberg argues that Masonry defines what God is like and, in the
process, defines away many qualities that various religions hold
dear. To prove this, he quotes Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia. Doing
so proves what Coil had to say, but it does not prove what Masonry
has to say. These do seem to be hard points to get across to
anti-Masons, but let's try once more.
I. No Masonic writer can or does speak for Masonry he speaks only
II. Each Mason conceives of God as his own religion leads him.
Ankerberg insists that it is semantic slight of hand if the
candidate and the Mason conferring the Degree have different
definitions of God. But that's toleration, not slight of hand. In
fact, given a fundamental principle of General Semanticsthat each
person has his own definition for EVERY wordit is inescapable.
And then, Ankerberg again asserts that Masonry teaches salvation by
good works and that the apron is the proof. Since we speak of
"purity of life and rectitude of conduct," he concludes that we
teach such purity and rectitude are sufficient to gain admission
Masonic Ritual does not say that these are sufficient. Nowhere does
Masonry say what is sufficient. That is the business of a church,
not a fraternity. The Mason finds that answer in his faith, not in
his Lodge. And that's what we encourage him to do. We point him to
the Holy Bible (not the Masonic Monitor or his apron) and encourage
him to search therein for the foundation on which to build his
Also, Ankerberg misses the point. The apron symbolizes or
represents purity and rectitude of conduct, but from whence do they
come and how are they defined? For me and most Christian Masons,
they come from the acceptance of Jesus Christ. My Jewish Brothers
tell me that, for them, they come from following the Law of the
Covenant. A Brother who is a follower of Islam tells me that, for
him, they come from submission to the will of Allah. And that's
exactly why Masonry does not define them. Purity and rectitude are
defined by faith, not fraternity.
One more ride on the semantic merry-go-round. Ankerberg asserts
that if Freemasonry were not a religion and didn't have something
to hide, we would not resent investigation of Freemasonry. But it
isn't investigation we resent, it's attack. It may be that Mr.
Ankerberg has so highly evolved as a spiritual being that it would
not distress him if someone called him a liar to his face, or
insulted his father by suggesting he were either a practicing pagan
or too stupid to know the difference. If so, I honor him for his
But I have not evolved so far.
Jim Trasner is the Director of the Masonic Leadership Institute. He
is also Director of the Thirty-third Degree Conferral Team at his
Temple and Director of the Work at the Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple
in Guthrie, Oklahoma. He holds a B.A. with majors in
Communications. Theatre, English and Psychology, a M.A. in
Communication Theory, a M.B.A. and a Ph.D in Business
Communications. He has served on the editorial board of The
Scottish Rite Journal, is on the staff of The Oklahoma Scottish
Rite Mason, serves as a video script consultant to the National
Masonic Renewal Committee, and is editor of The Oklahoma Mason. He
is considered a scholar in the interpretation of Masonic symbols
and ritual and has authored numerous articles, video scripts, and
booklets on Masonic subjects.
One of Brother Tresner's most recent and effective short works,
appearing in the February 1993 issue of The Scottish Rite Journal,
is the essay entitled "Conscience and the Craft." This essay, which
supplies answers to the criticisms most frequently aimed at
Freemasonry, has been made into a fine VHS videotape that makes an
excellent Masonic program for any Blue Lodge or Scottish Rite or
Shrine Temple. To order copies of the video version of "Conscience
and the Craft" please send a check for $25.00 payable to The Grand
Lodge of Iowa, P.O. Box 279, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402. For copies
of the pamphlet, call 405-282-1281 or write: The Scottish Rite,
P.O. Box 70, Guthric, Oklahoma 73044-0070.
Signs, Symbols and Silliness
Rex R. Hutchens, 33d
Rev. Donald W. Monson, 32d, K.'.C.'.C.'.H.'.
P. O. Box 391, Tucson, Arizona 85702-0391
Anti-Masons who accuse Freemasonry of using pagan or "Satanic"
symbols fail to realize that a symbol has only the meaning
attributed to it by its user of the moment-not the meaning given it
in other times by other persons. If this were not so, neither
Christianity nor Freemasonry would have any symbols at all.
One of the more interesting charges against Freemasonry is its use
of supposed "pagan" symbols. Common examples cited include the
Order of the Eastern Star's inverted five-pointed star and the
Cross of Salem, the emblem of the Sovereign Grand Commander of an
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Jurisdiction. The English
occultist Aleister Crowley used the Cross of Salem, and it is,
supposedly, a symbol of "Baphomet," a pagan god or another name for
Critics also bring up the parallels between the symbolism of the
Rosicrucians and the Scottish Rite's Eighteenth Degree. These
claims are particularly ironic, given the overt Christian
interpretation used in the Masonic Ritual. Even such common symbols
as the sun and moon are given an occult slant in the antiMasonic
While the use of different symbols is seldom in dispute, the
interpretation of them is difficult. Taking the first example, the
inverted five-pointed star, we may come to an understanding of the
difficulty. This is the primary symbol of the Order of the Eastern
Star, a Masonically affiliated organization that admits women who
have close relatives as Masons. The symbol's source, however, is
Christianity, not Satanism or the occult. The downward point
represents the star seen in the east by the wise men (hence Eastern
Star), pointing to the place of Jesus' birth and representing the
decent of the divine to partake of earthly existence. However other
groups distort the meaning of this profound symbol, its holy
character is not affected unless we allow it. After all, the
five-pointed star on the Congressional Medal of Honor, like the
Order of the Eastern Star's symbol, is inverted, and no one has
suggested any Satanic implications.
So many groups and individuals have used the Cross of Salem that it
can hardly be said to possess any meaning other than that intended
by its user. The same also applies for the sun and the moon-
probably the two most common symbols in the history of man.
Attaching the name "Baphomet" to the Cross of Salem is totally
arbitrary and has no significance. Critics charged the Templars
with the adoration of Baphomet as a demonic object of worship,
usually described as a disembodied head. The name is thought to be
a corruption of "Mohammed," the prophet of Islam, though other
interpretations have been suggested. Idris Shah, in his
inspirational work The Sufis, suggests it is a corruption of the
Arabic phrase which means "father of wisdom." "Baphomet" is used in
no Masonic Ritual of which we are aware.
Consider the All-Seeing Eye, commonly identified as a Masonic
symbol. The reason for the association becomes clear when one
considers Psalm 33:18, "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them
that fear him, upon them that hope for his mercy." The symbol is
found on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States,
and critics claim the All Seeing Eye is evidence of pagan
traditions in Freemasonry which have been brought surreptitiously
into our national symbols. Its Egyptian origin is a certainty,
though it did not represent Osiris, as both Masonic and
anti-Masonic works often claim, but rather his son Horus, the
Egyptian god of time. Christians adopted the image in the Middle
Ages as a fitting symbol of God. While the symbol is used in
Masonic Ritual, its meaning is given as representing God, and the
early Masons who adopted it from what was then Christian symbolism
probably had no idea as to its Egyptian origins. Even the
occasionally eccentric interpretations of Albert Pike can give no
offense in this regard, for he considers the All-Seeing Eye a
symbol of the continuous light of the sun, itself a symbol of the
continual spiritual light given by God to man.
The pagan roots of a symbol have nothing to do with its modern
interpretation. What Christian would want his faith judged by the
adoption of the Persian sun-god Mithras' birthday as Jesus'
birthday or the use of the pagan goddess Oestre's name (hence
Easter) to name the holiest season in the Christian calendar? The
dove was a symbol of the Greek goddess Venus before it became a
symbol of the Holy Spirit. Pagan names dot the cultural landscape
of Western civilization automobiles, books, months in our
calendar, days of the week, constellations all contain examples of
the continuing influence of our pagan heritage. In the Sistine
Chapel, the very center of Medieval Christendom, Raphael painted an
epic portrait of the greatest pagan philosophers.
A symbol has the meaning attributed to it by the current user-not
the meaning given it in other times by other persons. If this were
not so, neither Christianity nor Freemasonry would have any symbols
Light is the most profound of Masonic symbols. While not
specifically pagan, its symbolic use in the Lodge often causes much
confusion. The anti-Masonic press is fond of ridiculing the idea of
a Christian being "in darkness" when he has the light of Christ in
his life. No Masonic Ritual accuses the Entered Apprentice of being
in spiritual darkness. Darkness, to the Mason, represents ignorance
just as Light represents knowledge. Masonic knowledge is earthly
knowledge and an awareness of the benefits of the tenets of the
Craft: Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. As the great American
humorist Bro.'. Will Rogers, 32d, once said, "Everybody is
ignorant, just about different things." Christians attend college
and take courses dispelling the darkness in their lives with
respect to the subjects they are studying. Freemasonry is the
advocate of a liberal education-studying the wisdom of the past to
guide actions in the present. The darkness we seek to dispel is
intellectual, not spiritual. What Masonry's symbols can do, and
have done, for many men is help them to understand their spiritual
and moral shortcomings and lead them to seek the answers to their
spiritual questions in the appropriate places, whether it be a
church, synagogue, or mosgue.
Rex R. Hutchens is a Past Master of Epes Randolph Lodge No. 32
Adobe Lodge No. 41, and South Arizona Research Lodge No. 2. He is
also a Past Venerable Master and Past Wise Master of the Tucson
Scottish Rite Bodies. Presently Personal Representative of the
S.'.G.'.I.'.G.'. in Arizona for the Valley of Tucson, he is also
active in the York Rite and several scholarly research societies.
Dr. Hutchens teaches philosophy for Pima Community College.
Donald W. Monson is Rector of St. Michael and All Angels- Episcopal
Church, Phoenix. Arizona. He is also the General Grand Chaplain of
the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International and the
Junior Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of Arizona. Reverend Monson
is, along with Dr. Rex R. Hutchens, the coauthor of the new book
The Bible in Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma.
WHY I BECAME A MASON
Dr. Alvin C. Rose, 32d
1013 Christopher Lane
Ashland City, Tennessee 37015
A member of the Churches of Christ tells of his personal journey
from anti-Masonry to membership in the Masonic Fraternity.
I read and hear today of people of some faiths who speak out
against being a Mason. They usually say that Masonry is a religion
and, therefore, is a rival to other religions, including
I know where they are coming from. I grew up in an anti-Masonic
tradition myself. I grew up believing that Masonry was a religion,
and a false one at that. For many years I believed one could not be
a faithful Christian and also be a Mason. And, like many
anti-Masons today, I grew up in a judging tradition.
I once believed I had the Bible down pat.
I once believed I knew just about all there was to know about the
I once believed that I was right in all of my interpretations about
the Bible and Bible-related issues. Therefore, anyone who disagreed
with any of my conclusions was obviously in the wrong.
I once believed that only myself and those who shared my views on
any of the issues that I believed to be matters of faith were truly
I once believed everyone else was necessarily lost and would never
have eternal life with God.
I am grateful to be able to say that, as I have continued to be a
student of the Holy Scriptures, I have allowed the Holy Spirit, Who
dwells within me, to work within me and allow me to grow
spiritually in God's word. The more I study the Bible, the more I
have come to realize that I never have known all there is to know
about God's divine will, and perhaps I never will. Yet, I intend to
continue to study, and grow, and press on toward the higher calling
of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Many years ago, I discovered that many men of my religious
fellowship, the Churches of Christ, were Masons. I have always
considered members of the Churches of Christ to be Christians, and
I wondered how men who claimed to be Christians could also be
I began to study Freemasonry to be able to prove to these Christian
brothers that they were biblically wrong to also be Masons. While
I was doing this, a Christian brother who was a Mason challenged me
to continue my study. He told me that if I ever became a Mason and
found anything in the Lodge that was anti-Christian, to let him
know, and he and I would leave the Lodge together.
As I continued to study what Masonic materials were available to
me, I found nothing in Masonry that was anti-Christian, nor anti
any other religion for that matter. And during that time, I learned
what happened to a boy named Walter.
Walter was about seven years old and was a student at a nearby
elementary school. He had taken his household trash outside and was
burning it. An aerosol can happened to be in that particular bag of
trash, and the heat caused the container to explode, sending
burning material over much of Walter's arm and leg.
When some area Shriners learned what happened to Walter, they came
to his rescue. At no expense to Walter's family, the Shriners sent
Walter and his mother to the Shrine burns hospital in Cincinnati.
The Shriners paid for transportation, medical, food, and lodging
costs for Walter and his mom.
My parents-in-law live in Cincinnati, and we told them about Walter
and his mother being there with no friends and family nearby. My
in-laws often visited Walter and his mother and gave them someone
to know while they were a long way from home. Like me, my
parents-in-law were positively impressed with how well the Shriners
provided for Walter and his mom.
I wanted to become a Shriner and help them help kids as they had
helped Walter. I knew that one had to be a Mason before one could
become a Shriner.
I soon petitioned for membership at the local Masonic Lodge,
Ashland Lodge No. 604, in Ashland City, Tennessee. I received the
first three Masonic Degrees at Ashland Lodge, and I proudly remain
a member of that Lodge today. Some years later, I received the 29
Degrees of the Scottish Rite and then joined the Al Menah Shrine
Temple in Nashville.
I have found that Masonry promotes friendship, brotherly love,
moral living, and charity. Being a Mason gives me additional
opportunities to participate in those attributes.
Masonry in no way replaces or opposes my Christian faith. It does,
however, allow my faith to work with people and in situations that
would not otherwise be possible for me.
I regret ever having had antiMasonic views. My views were the
result of my ignorance about this fraternal organization.
I also regret being a hypercritical judge towards other people in
religious matters. The more I study the Bible, the more I realize
how desperately all people, including myself, need God's grace and
God wants all people to be saved. He offers His grace to all who
will receive it and who will attempt to the best of their ability
and understanding to obey His word.
That is the kind of life I want to live. Whosoever will, please
Alvin C. Rose is a supervisor of secondary education (grades 7-12)
for the public schools of Cheatham County, Tennessee. He is a
member of the Scottish Rite Bodies of Nashville, TN, and Al Menah
Shrine Temple of Nashville.
Former President Supports Moderate Southern Baptists
Compiled from The Washington Post, January 28, 1993. Page A13
Former President Jimmy Carter announced at the end of January that
he will leave the Southern Baptist Convention. During an interview
with Baptists Today, a biweekly newspaper in Decatur, Georgia,
Carter said he will join the more moderate Cooperative Baptist
Fellowship (CBF). In his announcement Carter said, "Rosalynn and I
have become increasingly uncomfortable with the policies of the
dominant clique in the Southern Baptist Convention." A life-long
Southern Baptist, Carter added, "We will share our personal gifts,
time and influence with CBF," while remaining"loyal Baptists."
In addition, President Carter recently sent a letter to his pastor
at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. The editor of
Baptists Today, Jack U. Harwell, quoted from the letter where the
former President says "the political and religious policies of
Southern Baptist Convention leaders are no longer compatible with
our [the Carter's] Christian beliefs ...."
In a related matter, former President Carter has played a
behind-the-scenes role in gaining support for the CBF. Keith Parks,
former president of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board,
joined the CBF on February 1, 1993. Parks admitted that Carter had
talked to him "before I made the decision [to join the CBF] and let
me know of his interest." Carter did not influence his decision,
but "the fact of his interest certainly was encouraging to me."
According to Bill Leonard, chairman of the religion department at
Samford University in Birmingham, Carter and Parks "have enhanced
the future and credibility" of the CBF. Leonard, who wrote a recent
history of the Southern Baptist Convention, added the denomination
has begun to break apart internally. "What I have called in the
past 'fragmentation' is the order of the day," he said.
Editor's note: Many believe the Southern Baptist Convention's
growing disintegration is tied to its recent pursuit of ultra-nght
goals, including its attack on Freemasonry as incompatible with
Southern Baptist doctrine. This May issue, like the February, 1993,
issue of The Scottish Rite Journal, examines this subject and
confirms the compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity.
CALLING MASONS SATANIC IS FOLLY
Reprinted with permission from
The Houston Post, Copyright 1993
A Houston columnist who is not a Mason describes the criticism of
Freemasonry by an extreme faction with the Southern Baptist
Convention and calls the attack a "folly."
If Dr. James Holly of Beaumont is right, George Washington, the
father of our country, was a devil worshiper. Marvin Zindler has to
be one, too.
Ditto for Sam Houston and Presidents James Monroe, Andrew Jackson,
James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William
McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin
Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford.
To take Holly's argument to its logical conclusion, Irving Berlin
was under the influence of Satan when he wrote "White Christmas."
So was John Wayne when he played in True Grit on the silver screen.
And astronaut Buzz Aldrin did devil's work when he flew to the
What makes these people satanic?
Well, Holly says, its because they're Masons, members of the most
widely known fraternity in the world-a fraternal group that spends
$525 million each year in the United States on charities, including
free treatment of children at its network of 22 Shriners hospitals.
Now if we start thinking Holly's way-that Masonry "springs from
pits of hell and from the father of lies, Lucifer" because the
fraternity accepts people from different religious groups as
brothers-chances are our friends would suggest we get our heads
Too Much Time On Hands
But when Holly the Baptist wrote a tract arguing that Masonry is
satanic, the Southern Baptist Convention decided a study should be
undertaken to determine whether membership in a Masonic Lodge
conflicts with its beliefs.
It was not called Holly's Folly. It should have been.
Too many people had too much time on their hands. If they had
become Masons, like 1 million other Baptists, they could have found
people to help.
In Saturday's Post, you probably read that Masons are breaking
their tradition of keeping silent when criticized They've realized
ignorance isn't bliss.
They worry that a negative finding against their 4 million-member
organization by the 15.3 million-member Southern Baptist Convention
when it meets in June could cost membership.
That should worry all of us who care about children. The Shriners
hospitals alone have helped more than 500,000 children at no cost.
It's a shame that the Rev. Ed Young, the brilliant preacher at
Second Baptist Church and the president of the Southern Baptist
Convention, hasn't used his position as a bully pulpit against this
nonsense. With America's charities hurting badly, as has been
evidenced by United Way's problems, this isn't the time for him to
utilize a "don't make waves" leadership style.
Something tells me he understands the five-pointed star sometimes
used as a Masonic symbol is not a symbol of witchcraft but the
oldest symbol of man-the five points refer to the head, the hands
and the feet.
Argument For Tolerance
Holly tries to argue Masonry is a religion. The Rev. Norman Vincent
Peale, himself a Mason, says no way.
"Freemasonry has no dogma or theology," he says. "It teaches that
it is important for every man to have a religion of his choice and
to be faithful to it.... A good Mason is made even more faithful to
the tenets of his faith by membership."
Toleration, according to Holly, is Masonry's blackest sin-a
definite link with the devil.
Masonic leader Allan D. Large has a memorable response to the
"When you consider," he says, "what intolerance has produced-the
Inquisition, the massacre of the inhabitants of Jerusalem by the
Crusaders, the burning of Protestants at the stake, the horrors of
Hitler, the mass murders of Stalin, the killing fields of Cambodia
it is hard to believe that toleration springs from the devil."
Oh, by the way, I'm not a Mason
"A supreme and unchallengeable faith is a deadly enemy to the human
Wal Durant History of Civilization
A Letter From
I have reached the firm conclusion, both as a Southern Baptist and
as a Thirty-third Degree Scottish Rite Mason, that far too much has
been made of the wrong-headed, albeit sincere, obsession of a Texas
Baptist that prompted him to launch a false and unfair vendetta
I do not know Dr. James L. Holly, M.D., of Beaumont, Texas. It is
not my purpose to attack either his character or his intelligence.
Indeed, I give him the benefit of the doubt I acknowledge that he
is probably sincere in his vendetta.
At the same time, I would advise him, and those who may have
accepted his unfortunate views, that Dr. Holly is sincerely wrong.
The Southern Baptist Convention is not led by foolish men and women
who would allow themselves to be tugged over the cliff by this
unfounded and unfair vendetta. Most of SBC's leaders are friends of
mine. Moreover, the fact that Dr. Holly's motion at the 1992 SBC
Convention asking that a "study" be made of Freemasonry was at best
routine and the 1993 Convention is supposed to receive a routine
report on that "study."
I have been a Southern Baptist since my childhood. I have served
two Baptist Churches as deacon and Sunday School teacher. I have
been a Mason for 45 years. I note that Dr. Holly has been described
as a "conservative." I too have been so described.
Many hotheaded "liberals" have gone ballistic since their having
been deposed from their longtime control of the Southern Baptist
Convention. It would be unfortunate if Dr. Holly allows himself to
be used by these angry people, resulting in great harm to the
Southern Baptist Convention.
My advice to the 1993 SBC Convention, for whatever it is worth, is
that the Messengers give Dr. Holly's motion a quick and quiet
demise. The Southern Baptist Convention has far more important
things to do.
Sincerely and fraternally,
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MASONIC LODGE
A college student from a Masonic family contrasts the good done by
Masonic philanthropies to the negative and divisive effects of
Senior, Political Science Department University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30612
Reprinted from The Cochran Journal, Cochran, Georgia
In the May 28, 1992, issue of The Christian Index, there was an
article published in which several arguments were brought out
against the Masonic Lodge. I choose to reply to these because I
feel I can provide an informed response to the allegations in this
article and also those brought out locally by concerned members in
First, James Holly accuses the Masonic Lodge of causing the demise
of many Southern Baptist churches. Amazingly, Mr. Holly refuses to
acknowledge any other possible factors that could contribute to the
decline in membership. Furthermore, he fails to cite exactly how
the Masonic Lodges are causing this phenomena, or even to establish
a connection between Lodge membership and the decrease in Southern
Baptist Churches. Without solid evidence, I fear Mr. Holly fails in
successfully supporting this particular argument. There is
something prevalent in human nature that makes it easier to cast
the blame for a problem elsewhere, regardless of how futile that
action may be, than openly to admit that they are in ignorance of
what is really causing the problem and of a solution to the
Second, Mr. Holly states that he is not attacking the individual
Masons because most Masons "are not knowledgeable of what they are
participating in, and they don't take seriously what the lodge
officially says." This statement is flawed for different reasons.
It shows that Mr. Holly himself is not as well acquainted with the
practices of the Lodge as he professes to be. First, to earn
Degrees one must have a very good understanding of the functions,
rules, regulations, and beliefs tied to the Lodge. Also, before
anyone can even become a Mason, he must believe in a Supreme Being.
One special aspect of the Lodge is that it does not discriminate on
the basis of color or religion. Baptists, as well as members of any
other monotheistic religion, are welcome. By holding in common a
belief in a Higher Being, it seems that this would only serve to
strengthen Christian faith, not destroy it, because it unites
fellow Christians in fraternal bonds that exceed the limitations of
one particular denomination.
Saying that the men are not "knowledgeable of what they are
participating in" implies that these men are ignorant and incapable
of fully understanding the principles behind the Lodge. This is
insulting to the mentality of these men and the motives behind
their actions. It implies they do not understand what they involve
themselves in. The latter part of his statement insinuates that
they do not take their commitments to the organization seriously.
Perhaps he feels Masonry is wrong because it is not solely based on
just the principles of the Baptist doctrine. By mandating that all
members believe in a Supreme Being without specifically naming the
Supreme Being, this insures against the alienation of any
particular religion. Baptists do not share the same beliefs as
Methodists, Catholics, Jews or many other religions. This does not
mean that these religions, just because they do not follow the
exact same doctrine as the Southern Baptists, are satanic or
The charities that these organizations fund speak for their
validity and the good character of the people who are members. The
Masonic Lodge sponsors Masonic Children's Homes, one being located
in Macon, Georgia. These homes provide care for children who come
from broken or abusive homes, or homes where their parents are
unable financially to provide the basic needs for the children.
Once the child reaches eighteen, the home helps to provide for
future schooling should the child wish to continue his or her
education. The Eastern Star, which is a Masonic ladies'
organization, has a retirement home for widows. The Scottish Rite,
Southern Jurisdiction, has clinics that treat children for language
and learning disabilities. Masons treat all degrees of illness and
different kinds of cancers. Masonic hospitals are staffed with some
of the best medical personnel in the country and use some of the
most advanced medical technology. The York Rite has the York Rite
Eye Foundation. This provides medical treatment for people with eye
injuries, those needing eye surgery and treatment, and those who
cannot afford to buy glasses for themselves.
The Shriners have two kinds of more specialized hospitals that they
fund. There are nineteen Shriners Crippled Children Hospitals.
These deal primarily with orthopedic problems and surgeries. They
provide prosthetics for children without limbs and perform major
surgeries to help them function as normal children. The Shriners
also have three burn centers where they care for severely burned
children. All of these hospitals are recognized nationally as being
staffed with the very best professionals in the designated medical
fields. Separating these hospitals from others is the fact that
these hospitals are free for those who cannot afford medical care.
Not only do Shriners provide medical care for the child, but they
also provide transportation to and from these hospitals by vans
belonging to the Shrine Temples. In cases of emergency, the Temple
provides air transportation, absorbing all costs, to fly children
to the burn centers. On top of this, they provide food and lodging
for the parents to enable them to stay near their children while
they are hospitalized.
I was brought up in the Baptist faith, and the one thing that I was
taught as being most important is the love for all of humanity.
Jesus taught love for all humanity, regardless of sex, race,
religion, or class. I was taught that it is the community's
responsibility to care for its members and that it is up to the
individual to help provide for those less fortunate. That is
exactly the primary purpose of these Masonic organizations. They
start all meetings and gathering with prayer and end them with
prayer. During the meetings, the Bible is open upon an altar, just
as in many churches. These are not characteristics indicative of
the occult or satanic worship.
My father is a Mason, Scottish Rite, and Shriner. My mother is in
the Eastern Star. I have seen the good the dedication of these
members has brought about. If one feels I am biased, then I suggest
they ask those who have benefited from Masonry's hospitals and
foundations to find out how they feel about the organizations. Ask
the young girl who recently spoke at the Shrine Temple in Macon
about her experience with the Shriners. She was once given little
hope of ever walking, but the Shrine Hospital performed operations
on her legs, fit her with prosthetic limbs, and she is now captain
of her cheerleading team. This is not an isolated incident. There
are thousands like her who have benefited from these organizations.
People often fear what they do not understand or have little
knowledge of. When others are privy to information they lack,
jealousy often arises. This jealousy can take the form of malicious
rumors and gossip, slandering the reputation of the innocent. The
real truth is out there for those who care to find it.
Perhaps before Dr. Holly so eagerly condemns, he should first try
to understand and look beyond his very limited view. This also
applies to the others who are anxious to criticize. If these people
would put half as much time and energy into productively
contributing to those who are in real need of their help, think of
how many would reap the benefits! At the same time, they would be
much more in line with practicing the doctrines they supposedly
espouse. It is hard to respect groups that try to promote
themselves by exploiting and destroying others. Upon evaluation of
their actions, these groups are, in my opinion, living in
contradiction of their faith.
Paula O'Neal is presently a first-year student at the University of
Georgia School of Law where she is serving as one of the Vice
Presidents of her class. In 1992, she was awarded an internship
with U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. Both her father and mother are active
in the Scottish Rite, Valley of Macon GA Eastern Star Chapter No.
400, Cochran, GA Al Sihah Shrine Temple and Daughters of the Nile,
Ha Hisla Temple, both in Macon Georgia.
The National Grand Lodge of Norway and the Norwegian Church
The National Grand
Lodge of Norway
Olaf Bulls Veg 11 C
0765 Oslo 7, Norway
The Grand Prelate, a clergyman, of the National Grand Lodge of
Norway explains that Masonic membership by clergy of the Norwegian
Church is not at variance with ordination vows. On the contrary,
many clergymen have found in Freemasonry the "inspiration to renew
their efforts in the service of the Church."
FROM time to time, the National Grand Lodge of Norway (NGLN)
attracts the attention of the media. We are prepared for this and
understand it. Unfortunately, however, the articles of some
journalists are mere criticism rather than scientific research in
its true sense. The result of such criticism has been a strained
relationship between the Norwegian Church and the NGLN.
This is a heavy burden for Norwegian Freemasonry, and we are
determined to correct misunderstandings by placing much greater
emphasis on openness and by promulgating factual information on all
activities of the NGLN. The brunt of attacks directed against the
Order are based on sources of an unreliable nature. The concoction
of partial truths taken out of context and so-called "facts"
reminds us of a well-known line from our great national playwright,
Henrik Ibsen: "The wrong point of departure gives a corresponding
The picture of Freemasonry painted by our attackers is such that we
hardly recognize ourselves in it, and the picture itself has become
a means of aggression. We disagree entirely with the objections
raised against the work of the NGLN, and we refute the following
false claims in order to clarify the true stand of Freemasonry in
Norway and throughout the world.
The NGLN Is A Secret Order.
We are not and do not wish to be a "secret conspiratorial network
within Norwegian society" as we are depicted in some tabloid
journalism. In contrast, NGLN is a legally registered organization
with all our articles and membership lists open to the public. Our
meetings are advertised, our buildings are well marked, and many
parts of our buildings, with the exception of ceremonial rooms, are
frequently employed for public functions.
Also, the NGLN is a "closed brotherhood" only in the same way that
life meets us unprepared and "closed." We learn as we live.
Similarly, a school is "closed" until we enter its portals, attend
its classes, and learn the wisdom it has to offer. If Freemasonry,
like any other educational institution, were not "closed," it would
lose all meaning. It would be tantamount to a school not requiring
attendance and supplying beforehand the answers to all
The NGLN Has Rituals Which Are Frightening.
Freemasonry, like Christianity, uses symbols of the hereafter. In
our modern world, however, people endeavor to escape from the fact
that life must end as it started. Thus the traditional symbols of
death have come to be regarded as unpleasant and even unethical. We
can give assurance, without going into detail, that the rituals of
Freemasonry are in no way a flippant use of symbols that would
violate human dignity. On the contrary, the Order seeks to help
each individual to meet his mortal condition as a purely realistic
inevitability, combined with the consolation which the grace of God
The NGLN And Masonry Are Part Of An Evil International "New World
Freemasonry is international in that the NGLN, like many other
Masonic Bodies, maintains contacts and fellowship with numerous
foreign Orders. This does not mean, however, that the NGLN or any
other Masonic Order, agrees with what takes place Masonically in
other countries. Each Masonic Body is autonomous and independent.
The desire to participate internationally without being responsible
for the activities of other organizations is a familiar problem for
all global institutions whether they are fraternal, ecclesiastical,
Freemasonry Is A Substitute For The Church.
It is Freemasonry's express aim NOT to compete with the Church, any
- Church. The NGLN is not a creed it is a fraternity. Freemasonry
is a system of teaching without a creed as such, apart from each
member's own persuasions. Freemasonry offers no sacraments its
rituals are symbolic, not religious the Order offers no plan of
salvation the Lodge teaches an acknowledgement of the value of
deeds but also stresses their limitation.
The NGLN strives to make Freemasonry a means by which men can join
their congregations and participate in their Church activities. The
NGLN Article, Chapter 2, section 7, states, in part: "He [the
Freemason] must be zealous and industrious by prayer in service,
and confirm his sincerity of thought by showing mercy and goodwill
to his Brothers and to his fellow man by counsel and deed."
In light of the above, we clergy in the National Grand Lodge of
Norway see no conflict between our work within the Church and
within Freemasonry. We wish to continue our labors along these
lines, which is why we regard it as an asset for parish priests all
over the country to be initiated in the Masonic Order. We have
observed how the participation of clergy in Freemasonry has proved
beneficial. That the majority of the clergy themselves reap
personal and moral benefit from their activities in the Order is
another side of the matter.
We therefore plead for the confidence of the bishops, not only for
the sake of the NGLN but also for the Norwegian Church in general
so that closer relations can be established between ow respective
institutions. We, for ow part, are open to any suggestions as to
how the NGLN can contribute to achieving this goal.
Leif Ottersen has been Rector and, since 1972, Dean of Oslo
Cathedral, becoming Very Reverend Dean in 1988. He was ordained in
the Norwegian Church in 1959, raised a Mason in 1960, and has
served as Grand Prelate (NGLN) since 1979. The King of Norway has
honored him with the St. Olav's Medal and the Olav V's Memory
Editor's Note: The above article is an edited, abbreviated version
of a 1992 communication by Bro.'. Ottersen to the Bishops of the
Norwegian Church. The Scottish Rite Journal is very grateful to
Bro.'. Jens E. Lassen, Grand Secretary, The National Grand Lodge of
Denmark, for translating the original article into English.
BLUEGRASS ROOTS: KENTUCKY MINISTERS SPEAK OUT
Summary: Many ministers who are Masons have written to the Southern
Baptist Convention and/or The Scottish Rite Journal expressing
dismay at criticisms of Freemasonry which are based on the claim it
is a religion. Here is a sampling from the "Bluegrass State" of
I am not a Mason, but I want to thank you for publishing the
February 1993 issue of The Scottish Rite Journal. It was very
informative in helping to confirm what my studies and experiences
have revealed concerning Masonry and religion. The recent attacks
against Freemasonry are unfounded.
Recently, for the first time in my 18 years in the ministry, a
person's qualification for leadership in the church was questioned
due to his being a Mason. The questioners had read some books and
seen some programs which would cause any concerned Christian to
question. If the assertions were true, then certainly no person so
involved in antiChristian activities could serve as elder, deacon,
The elders and minister did a study. We read the books that labeled
Masonry as a religious cult, and found that the basic
presupposition that Masonry is a religion did not seem to bear
weight. After interviewing Masons I have known in three states
(including the former Senior Minister here who is now my Associate
Minister of Visitation, A. Paul Reece, Sr., and one of my present
elders, Ken Horn), the church leaders met and discussed our
findings. We have concluded that these attacks are "much ado about
nothing." The Mason was approved. We are glad to have him.
Your magazine has helped me greatly. Along with my respect for
Masons I have known, the February 1993 issue of your magazine has
prompted me seriously to consider becoming a Mason, if the
Fraternity will have me.
Reverend Richard D. Dike Kenwood Heights Christian Church,
I was saved in September 1942, made a Master Mason on February 6
1946, and ordained to the ministry on May 21, 1950, by Hiawatha
Street Missionary Baptist Church, Louisville, KY. It is a member of
the Southern Baptist Convention.
Freemasonry has never in any way interfered with my work in the
ministry. Matter of fact, Freemasonry has strengthened me as a
Christian and a minister, reminding me of my duty to God and my
fellowman. Freemasonry has also allowed me to witness for Christ to
men I never would have met otherwise.
Freemasonry in no way condones or even hints at the worship of
Lucifer. Furthermore, if one would follow the teachings of
Freemasonry, it will lead him to Jesus Christ.
Elder Clifford Ward, 32d
Hiawatha Street Missionary Baptist Church, Louisville, KY
Aperson Lodge No. 195 Louisville, KY
Lexington, KY, Scottish Rite Bodies
I have been a minister for 59 years and a Mason for 52. I have been
Master of my Lodge of about 1,200 men and Grand Chaplain of the
Grand Lodge of Kentucky of about 100,000 men. This means I have
given a lot of time to Freemasonry, and I can say with certainty
that it is not a religion or a cult. It is a Fraternity dedicated
to the welfare of those in need.
Masonry does not claim to be necessary for salvation. Its moral
teachings are good, but one can be as moral as Cornelius and be
lost. It is through our religion and church that we are saved. God
is the way of righteousness and truth. I do not feel I have been
wrong in being a Mason. The more people a minister can know, talk
to and have fellowship with, the better his chances of bringing
them to God's kingdom through a church and religion that will save
Reverend Ashky Paul Reece, Sr., 32d
Kenwood Heights Christian Church, Louisville, KY
Plumb Lodge No. 862, Louisville, KY
Louisville, KY, Scottish Rite Bodies
I am writing as a Mason and a Southern Baptist concerned about the
charges against Freemasonry made by Dr. James Larry Holly.
I am a better man and a better Christian through the bond of
fellowship that I have experienced through the teachings of
Freemasonry. I have held in my heart the admonition that I received
in one of our Masonic Degrees that I, as a Mason, should never
allow Masonry to interfere with my service to God.
I was recently recognized, along with several others, for my having
taught Sunday School at Gano Avenue Baptist Church for more than 25
years. During those years, I have also served my Lodge in various
capacities, and I can say that the teachings of Masonry have
greatly enhanced my ability to serve my church effectively.
Not only am I disturbed by the charges brought by Dr. Holly, but by
the inability of our Southern Baptist Convention to deal with these
Charles C. Johnson, Secretary, 32d, K.'.C.'.C.'.H.'.
Gano Avenue Baptist Church, Georgetown, KY
Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 14, Georgetown, KY
Lexington, KY, Scottish Rite Bodies
I am dismayed by the recent action taken by the Southern Baptist
I became a Christian and a member of a Southern Baptist Church at
the age of 14. At 34 I entered full-time ministry as a SBC preacher
and pastor. I have always been proud of my calling and never
doubted my relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ and Almighty God.
I am now 73 years old, and 40 years of my ministry have been in
Shortly after I entered the ministry, I also became a Third Degree
Mason. Ten years later, I became a Thirty-second Degree Mason and
a member of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. I have been very proud of
this relationship and never did I consider there to be any conflict
whatsoever between being a Christian and a Mason. The accusation of
those in the SBC who began a study of Freemasonry that Lucifer is
worshipped by Masons is completely out of line and irresponsible,
even ridiculous. Personally, I feel the SBC could make better use
of time and resources in much more worthy endeavors.
W. Louis Walters, 32d, Master of Divinity
Victory Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville, KY
Crescent Hill Lodge No. 820 Louisville, KY
Louisville, KY, Scottish Rite Bodies
PREACHER WHO REFUSED TO RENOUNCE MASONRY
Reprinted with permission from The Scottish Rite Herald 1330
Linwood Boulevard KansasCity, Missoun 64109-1941
As Masons today are forced by fundamentalist extremists to choose
between their Church and Freemasonry, an anecdote from the late
nineteenth century carries a particularly significant moral of
courage, conciliation, and cooperation.
In 1884 or 1885, an incident happened in Iowa, an event probably
without parallel in Masonic history, that indicated the kind of
Freemasons who lived then. This influenced Freemasonry in the
territory now known as Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
Moses F. Shinn, a Methodist minister in Keokuk, Iowa, a member of
Ft. Madison Lodge No. 13, is the principal character in this story.
A powerful leader in his church and his Lodge, he was greatly loved
by all. There came a time when his church coworkers, persons
uninformed as to Masonry and its teaching, sought to increase his
usefulness to the church by requiring him to renounce Masonry and
devote all his energies to the church. At the next general
conference of the church, a resolution to that end was adopted, and
the church waited for Brother Shinn to respond.
Brother Shinn sat in thought for what seemed to be many minutes.
The situation was serious for him. Unless he renounced Masonry, he
would be separated from the work of God to which he had hoped to
give his life. Also, he would be deprived of the livelihood for
which he had prepared. What did Masonry offer in place of that
which he must sacrifice?
After the stillness became oppressive, Bro.'. Shinn rose to his
feet, looked into the faces of his friends, then spoke in a clear
voice: "I have for many years endeavored to perform my duty as a
faithful minister of Christ, and I believed I had extended the
field of my usefulness, without violation of my vows to the church,
by becoming a loyal and zealous Freemason.
"Now you demand that I renounce Masonry or retire from the church.
The decision you require is a harsh and painful one. I must sever
relations that have been pleasant to me and, I hope, acceptable to
others. I have friends in both the church and Freemasonry from whom
I wish not to be separated, but you have made the requirement. It
is not for me to question whether that requirement is right or
wrong, wise or just. So, at your bidding, I separate myself from
the Methodist Episcopal Church."
Bro.'. Shinn then sat down to control his emotions.
The silence was oppressive, the Conference was stunned. Finally,
one who had been active in proposing the resolution rose to his
feet, walked to Bro.'. Shinn, extended his hand and said, "My
brother, there must be something good about Freemasonry or you,
whom we all love so well, would not adhere to it so tenaciously. I
want to be a Mason. Will you recommend me and present my petition
to your Lodge?" Others of the gathering followed the first.
One of these, Jonas W. Brown of Eagle Lodge No. 12 of Keokuk,
became the third Grand Master of Idaho. Another, John C. Ainsworth,
became the third Grand Master of Oregon.
At this time one may wonder what influence Bro.'. Shinn had upon
the lives of others who witnessed the incident or were familiar
WHEREVER there is a human cause we are certain to find Masonry, for
it is the fundamental base of all truly liberal associations. Thank
all of my Brothers and tell them that I am always with them, with
all my heart, and that forever I will pride myself upon my Masonic
Giuseppe Garibaldi, November 1880, Milan, Italy
Dedication of the Mentana Monument
Judgments About Masonry
Don Lavender, 32d, K.'.C.'.C.'.H.'.
2913-49th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50310
The author notes that as many judgments about Masonry are made on
the basis of false assumptions, unreliable hearsay, or statements
taken out of context."
How often do we hear of particular religious denominations
criticizing Masonry? How often is Freemasonry subjected to
condemnation by individuals who know little about the Craft? The
answer to both questions, unfortunately, is too often.
Similarly, religious denominations are often critical of each
other. Trivial disagreements regarding interpretation, doctrine, or
procedure sometimes cause splinter groups-new churches-to be
Knowing that differences exist within the spheres of the religious
world, it is all too easy to see how people unfamiliar with Masonic
doctrine might be critical of it. The old adage "a little knowledge
is a dangerous thing" certainly applies in both of these cases. In
addition, many judgments about Masonry are made on the basis of
false assumptions, unreliable hearsay, or statements taken out of
In a world where devout members of various denominations think they
are the only ones with the right answers to religious questions,
the fact that Masonry teaches simple, basic morality leaves our
Fraternity open to accusations. The Craft is considered
anti-religious because its religious views are too universally
permissible to be accepted.
What religion can truly argue with a philosophy that only requires
a man to have faith in God, hope of immortality, and charity
towards all people? Masons know these to be the basic requirements
for membership in the Craft. Few churches, if any, would argue with
the moral foundation of these principles. The fact that Masonry
does not limit its understanding of a Supreme Being to the
Christian interpretation and that it is willing to accept Brethren
from all faiths does not coincide with those who cannot tolerate
beliefs other than those of their particular church.
It is good and proper that people should be devoted to their
accepted religion. To assume, however, that there is no good in any
other religion or organization, even though it may promote similar
moral truths in a different way, is a source of distrust. It is the
same misunderstanding that has led to religious wars throughout
history and even today promotes hatred and violence in some
There is no shame in the fact that Masonry recognizes the good in
diverse religions throughout the world, nor does our Craft take
anything away from the Christian who may be a member. There will
never be a single religion acceptable to all in the world, but the
fact that the many diverse religions teach brotherly love, a faith
in their God, and the need for charity to others is a steadying
influence wherever it may be.
Brother Masons accept the precepts of Masonry and live a better
life because of it. Without Masonry the world would be a much
poorer place. It has promoted understanding between diverse peoples
and provided tangible charities seldom equaled wherever it is
active. Further, it has promoted the freedom and the importance of
the individual even against overwhelming odds and despite
Most religious individuals agree all of us face a day of judgment.
Any man who lives the precepts of Masonry can face that judgment
without fear. Those who, through their ignorance or
misunderstanding, are critical of Masonry face that same judgment.
If we are to conclude that organizations as well as individuals are
subject to judgment, we can confidently put our trust in
Don Lavender is a former secretary Registrar (1974- 79) of the Des
Moines, Iowa Scottish Rite Bodies. He is retired from the City of
Des Moines Engineering Department, and enjoys hobbies of instrument
music and photography.
A HOW TO GUIDE FOR FREEMASONS WHEN CONFRONTED BY ANTI-MASONS
J.C. Montgomery, Jr., 33d
P O Box 1352, Chesteffield, Missouri 63001
Brother Montgomery offers practical advice on how to explain
Freemasonry while responding to the attacks of anti-Masons.
DON'T ARGUE OR DEBATE.
Our Masonic instruction forbids this.
You can't win in an artillery duel of Bible texts. Chances are your
opponent will use biblical texts only to prove "his point."
Masons use the Scriptures as a "rule and guide for our faith and
practice," and not as a club to beat down an opponent.
DO UNDERSTAND WHAT MASONRY IS.
A society of friends and brothers.
A beautiful system of morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated by
A universal fellowship which conciliates those of every sect and
DO KNOW AND TELL WHAT FREEMASONRY DOES.
One of the prime creators and protectors of all of our religious,
political and social freedoms.
More than a dozen Presidents, including George Washington, both
Roosevelts, Harry S. Truman, and Gerald Ford, have been Masons.
DON'T GIVE UP YOUR OWN FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION.
Your Masonic heritage has been too beneficial to humankind to yield
to misguided or uninformed prejudice or harassment.
A Mason who "quits" or is lapsed is seen by others as admitting
that Freemasonry is not worth the "fight." Your loyalty to
Freemasonry is the best witness there is for our Fraternity.
Freemasonry sponsors and supports great charities, most without
cost to the beneficiaries and without regard to race, creed, color
or ethnic origin, for example:
Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children and Burns Units
Scottish Rite Children's Hospitals
Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Centers
Scottish Rite Foundation scholarship aid programs
Knights Templar Eye Foundation
Royal Arch research in hearing difficulties
Cryptic Masons research in arteriosclerosis
Grand Lodge College scholarship funds
State and national disaster relief funds
National Masonic Foundation for Prevention of Drug and Alcohol
Abuse Among Children
Children's Miracle Network
Care of elderly Masons, widows, wives, and members by Grand Lodges
and the Order of the Eastern Star in Masonic homes or in their own
Sponsorship of wholesome youth organizations for young men and
women: DeMolay, Job's Daughters, Rainbow for Girls.
"Ye shall know them by their fruits." Matthew 7:16
DON'T FAIL IN FRATERNAL REGARD EVEN FOR ENEMIES.
Our Masonic charge is that "every human being has a claim on your
kind offices. Do good unto all."
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and
persecute you." Matthew 5:44
J.C. Mootgomery, Jr. is a retired pastor and district
superintendent in the United Methodist Church as well as a past
member of various Methodist national boards. He is also a Past
Grand Master of Missouri and the editor of The Missouri Freemason
and The Royal Arch Mason Magazine.
Freemasonry and Religion
The Reverend Dr. W. Kenneth Lyons, Jr., 33d
P.O. Box 118, 12367 Route 216, Highland, Maryland 20777-0118
A respected young pastor gives his personal testimony regarding how
Freemasonry fosters unity and brotherhood and is opposed to those
who hate on the basis of race, creed, color, and religion. "
IT has come to light that there are those who label Masonry as a
religion. Even among British Methodists there has been an outcry as
to the use of Masonry as a means of getting in some professions
where only Brothers advance Brothers, and where British Masons have
neglected their Church for their Lodge.
Sad to say, some of these criticisms do have a basis of truth in
the way that certain Masons apply what they believe to be
Freemasonry. Application, however, is often a far cry from the true
spirit and actual teaching of the Fraternity. Personally, I have
found that the Scottish Rite and the Symbolic Lodge espouse the
belief of no one religion, but are respecters of all major moral
religions of the world. Scottish Rite and Symbolic Lodge Masonry
have never inferred nor stated that their edifices are houses of
worship. Rather, they are places where every good man's religion is
equally respected and persecution for one's religious beliefs is
Democracy is taught by all major Masonic Fraternities as opposed to
totalitarian forms of government. A government, or Lodge, which
states that one religion must be practiced in order for one to
exist peaceably in that society is an infringement upon the
freedoms that we hold dear in American society.
As a Christian minister, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I
also believe that any Lodge prohibiting me from holding that belief
or berating me for being a Christian is not a Lodge of "Brothers"
but a stronghold of bigotry. This same belief, however, should hold
true in a Lodge of "Brothers" for a Jewish Mason.
Facing squarely the misconceptions and criticisms concerning our
Fraternity is the only constructive way of dealing with this issue.
Much of the Ritual of our Fraternity does in fact come from Old and
New Testament Scriptures. It is the most solemn of all
responsibilities to administer God's Word. It is also believed by
most theologians that in Old and New Testament Scriptures, the
Jewish and Christian communities are stated as the primary
caretakers of the faith. Masonry has indeed recognized this great
Scriptural resource and incorporated a belief in a Supreme Being as
its foundation. Masonry, however, is not the primary caretaker of
the faith but a respecter of faith in practice.
Faith in one's God is appropriately ritualized and sacramentalized
in the synagogue, church, or mosque. The major part of the lives we
exhibit, as God-believing Masons, should be learned within these
houses of worship. Attending Lodge is no substitute for regular
attendance at your place of worship. We are also learning that the
scheduling of Masonic activities during worship hours only enhances
justifiable criticism of our Fraternity by responsible religious
Certainly there will continue to be bona fide Masonic teachings
which run contrary to some religious denominational practices.
Masonic Brethren who fashion our practices and found Masonic Orders
will fall prey to human error when dealing with religious and
secular issues. We must be aware of this and be willing to change
for the better. I do believe, however, that Masonry is represented
more by the way we of the contemporary Lodge live, than by what
ancient Masonry taught. The teachings of Masonry and the lives you
and I live as Jewish and Christian Masons will combine with others
of the Fraternity to represent what Masonry is in this century. Our
Jewish Brothers will espouse Moses, Abraham and David, while
Christian Masons will also speak of Saint Paul and Jesus Christ.
Together, hopefully, we will exhibit unity and Brotherhood to those
who hate on the basis of race, creed, color, and religion.
W. Kenneth Lyons, Jr. is pastor of Mount Zion United Methodist
Church in Highland. MD. In addition to his Masonic affiliations, he
is active in the Boy Scouts of America. Police Chaplaincy, and
civilian International and has received awards from Freedoms
Foundation, Military Order of World Wars, and the Maryland state
government. For his portrait, see the back inside cover of this
ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY IN THE SBC
Dr. Ron Ford
Pastor, Central Baptist Church
5200 Fairway Avenue
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72116
A Baptist minister believes the controversy over Freemasonry is
"moving in the direction of a spirit which is uglier and meaner
while our world needs the love of Christ."
This year's Southern Baptist Convention has created some confusion
and questions among members of our church body. A medical doctor
from Texas is marshaling forces against Masons. This is the same
man who led the fight against Dr. Leon McBeth's history book about
the Sunday School Board. He eventually had the book banned and
destroyed. He is part of the fundamentalist group that now leads
He is asking Southern Baptists to take a stand against Freemasonry
which he denounces as being of "Satanic origin." As pastor, I am
not about to defend the Masonic Lodge. I am not a Mason. The
Masonic Lodge does not need my defense. But I do raise this
question. Since when did the Southern Baptist Convention start
investigating and "taking stands" against such organizations as the
The recommendation for the Convention is to authorize a study so
that actions might be taken that would lead to "local churches,
including prohibitions against Masons serving as pastors, deacons
or in other positions of church leadership." This is an example of
extreme fundamentalism. Can you imagine being against Masonic
Lodges, the Eastern star, the Rainbow girls, and the DeMolays?
Would you have ever imagined this coming?
Our Home Mission Board, which must study this issue, is now in a
difficult position. If they decide to recommend that we adopt the
motion to remove Masons, a large group of fine Christian men will
be offended in the churches. If they decide to recommend against
the motion, the fundamentalists who made the proposal will be
offended. What has been touted as nothing more than an attack on
Liberalism and those who do not believe in the Bible has now shown
it is more. We are moving in the direction of a spirit which is
uglier and meaner while our world needs the love of Christ.
The question in my mind is, "Who will be next?" What group will
next be on the outside looking in? We are moving in the direction
of the SBC becoming smaller and smaller with more and more people
on the outside looking in.
To the Masons of our congregation, I simply say we are still a
free, autonomous church, not directed by the actions of the
Southern Baptist Convention. It is not the policy of Central
Baptist Church to lead an attack on Masons or forbid Masons to
serve in leadership in its missions, education, and evangelism. We
must leave the policies of local churches in the hands of people in
the local church. Masons of our congregation should not feel any
attack on them because of the actions on the national level.
How To Assure Success At The SBC
On March 17, 1993, the Home Mission Board of the SBC submitted its
"Response to the Report on Freemasonry" saying, "we therefore
recommend that consistent with our denomination's deep conviction
regarding the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the
local church, membership in the Masonic Order be a matter of
The issue of the Home Mission Board condemning Freemasonry as
incompatible "with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine" is
over. At the same time, the threat of anti-Masonic forces over
turning the Home Mission Board's report at the Convention itself is
very real. Therefore, the Scottish Rite urges every Freemason to
write a brief letter to the two main leaders of the Southern
Baptist Convention urging support of the Home Mission Board Report.
Dr. Ed Young, President
Southern Baptist Convention
Houston, TX 77057
Dr. Morris Chapman
901 Commerce street, Suite 750
Nashville, TN 37203
Also, if you are a Southern Baptist, consider counseling with your
local church leaders and becoming a messenger to the Houston
Convention. There you can support Freemasonry by voting to approve
the Home Mission Board report. For how to do this, see pages 59-60
of this issue.
A Masonic Response to the Report on Freemasonry by the Home Mission
T. Max Tatum, 32d, K.'.C.'.C.'.H.'.
Grand Master of Masons of the state of Oklahoma
P. O. Box 1019, 102 S. Broad, Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044
Jim Tresner, 33d
P. O. Box 70, Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044-0070
The Freemasons of Oklahoma congratulate the Home Mission Board on
the conclusion reached in their report on Freemasonry: ". . . we
therefore recommend that consistent with our denomination's deep
conviction regarding the priesthood of the believer and the
autonomy of the local church, membership in a Masonic Order be a
matter of personal conscience."
That conclusion is, indeed, in accordance with the traditional and
highly commendable insistence in the Southern Baptist denomination
that each person must decide issues of faith for him/herself. In
reaffirming that tradition, the Home Mission Board continues the
rejection of the narrow radicalism which has characterized the
fanatic from the earliest history in Europe to modern Iran.
The report recommends that the decision to join a Masonic Order
should be made thoughtfully and prayerfully, and we completely
agree. The entire process by which one petitions for membership in
a Masonic Order is designed to encourage exactly that thoughtful
and prayerful consideration.
We especially appreciate the warm and kind commendation of the
Fraternity for Masonry's charitable activities, including "the
operation of 22 Shriners hospitals, 19 orthopedic hospitals, and
three burn institutes with noteworthy success in treatment,
research, and education, often providing free treatment to children
under 18 years of age. [In fact, the Shrine never charges for any
hospital treatment.] Also, we commend support of the Foundation for
the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Children and the
Eastern Star sponsorship of Masonic Homes for the Aged. [Actually,
most Masonic Homes are funded by Grand Lodges.] These, with many
other charitable and benevolent endeavors, are commendable."
While Freemasons support these operations with the goal of meeting
human needs, not for publicity, we appreciate the Home Mission
Board's commendation given in its report.
On two or three matters covered by the report, there may be some
misunderstanding, and I appreciate the opportunity to clarify the
more important ones.
The question of the penalties of the obligations each Mason assumes
seems to be especially vexing. The Home Mission Board Report
suggests that some Masons may not take them seriously. I would hope
that all Masons take them seriously, but that none take them
literally, for that would violate both their spirit and their
intent. It is made clear to the Mason that the penalties are not
literal, for the only actual "punishments" for violation of an
obligation are reprimand, suspension, or expulsion from the
Fraternity. Like the other symbols of Masonry, the penalties of the
obligations are a teaching device, and the candidate is not
supposed to fear them but to consider what they could symbolically
represent-that any liar or vowbreaker is likely, for example, to
find himself cut off and rejected by those around him.
The Report is concerned that many Masons read materials which make
reference to pre-Christian or "pagan" ideas or teaching. But the
subject matter of Masonry is the history of man's thought and
philosophy, and that history begins thousands of years before
Christianity. Nowhere, in any official Masonic publication, are
those ideas advocated. They are simply acknowledged as having
existed and as telling modem man something about the way ancient
The Report is concerned that the use of the term "light" in Masonry
might lead someone to assume that we are referring to salvation,
rather than insight and knowledge. While a non-Mason, reading
Masonic material might possibly run that risk, I
"While I disagree strongly with several points critical of
Freemasonry in the Board's report, I compliment the Home Mission
Board for its intent to report even-handedly on Freemasonry. Most
of all, I commend the Board on its conclusion that membership of
Southern Baptists in Freemasonry remain what it has always been, a
matter of personal conscience and decision."
C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33d Sovereign Grand Commander Response to the
Home Mission Board Report on Freemasonry
think it is unlikely that a Mason would, since not only is the term
"light" clearly explained, but the Mason is repeatedly told that he
must find the path to salvation in his church or synagogue, not in
the Lodge. And that same fact would address the fear that a Mason
might think we were teaching salvation by good works. A Fraternity
clearly is not the organization to offer a path of salvation, and
we do not.
Language causes a few additional concerns, and it's probably
because Masonic terminology developed in England hundreds of years
ago. Some terms are now used differently in the "world outside"
than they are in Masonry. The term "worshipful" as applied to the
Master or President of the Lodge, for example, does not mean "one
who is worthy of worship." It simply means "honored" or
"respected"just as Mayors in England and Canada are called "your
worship" rather than "your honor" as in the United States.
That the Holy Bible, square and compass are referred to as the
"furniture" of the Lodge is not to lower them, nor to suggest the
square and compass are the equal of the Bible. We use the word
"furniture" in its original meaning of "essential equipment." No
Lodge can meet without them. In Masonry, the square is a symbol of
&e world, while the compasses are symbols of spirituality. They
rest upon the Bible because the Bible and the truths it contains
are the foundation and underpinning of both the world and of
Finally, the Report remarks that some materials written by some
Masonic writers may allude to ideas offensive to some
denominations. That may be, for any Mason is at liberty to write
anything he chooses-that is a fundamental American right. But those
writers speak for themselves, not for Masonry. It would be as
unfair to hold all Masons responsible for the writings of one as it
would be to hold all ministers responsible for the events in Waco,
These points of clarification aside, however, we again congratulate
the Home Mission Board on upholding the intellectual integrity of
the SBC. While I cannot speak for the Grand Masters of the Masonic
Lodges in other states, I am sure that those Grand Lodges are as
ready as is Oklahoma to answer any sincere question anyone may have
about the Masonic Fraternity
Thomas Max Tatum is a member of the Thirty-first Degree cast for
the Valley of Guthrie, a member of the Oklahoma Lodge of Research,
and holds a Class "A" Lecturer's Certificate. For a portrait and
biography of Jim Tresner, 33d, see page 15.
Home Mission Board Returns Positive Report on Freemasonry
The following quotations highlight the positive statements in the
Home Mission Board's report on whether Freemasonry is compatible
with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine. Also, please see
A Masonic Response to the Report on Freemasonry by the Home Mission
Board, SBC, by T. Max Tatum, 32d, K.'.C.'.C.'.H.'., and Jim
Tresner, 33d, on page 46 of this issue for more information on the
"We commend the Masonic Order for its many charitable endeavors
"We acknowledge that many outstanding Christians and Southern
Baptists now are, and in the past have been Masons, including such
notable past Southern Baptist leaders as B. H. Carrol, George W.
Truett, L. R. Scarborough, W. T. Connor, Louie D. Newton, and J. B.
"We recognize that many of the tenets and teachings [of
Freemasonry] . . . could be considered compatible with, and . . .
supportive of, Christian faith and practice, such as the strong
emphasis on honesty, integrity, industry, and character and the
insistence that every member believe in God."
"We recognize . . . explicit references to Christian faith,
including exact quotes from the Bible, such as in the ritual
constituting a new Lodge in the Monitor of the Lodge of the Grand
Lodge of Texas."
"We recognize . . . the explicit reference to Jesus in the Masonic
Code of the Grand Lodge of Alabama."
"We recognize . . . the strong affirmation of the Bible found in
the North Carolina Lodge Manual."
"In summary, . . . we therefore recommend that consistent with our
denomination's deep convictions . . . membership in a Masonic Order
be a matter of personal conscience."
Dewey C. Crutchfield, 33D
P. O. Box 6368
Raleigh, NC 27608-2310
The following article consists of two letters, one from a demitting
Brother in North Carolina and a response to him from Illustrious
Dewey C. Crutchfield, Jr., 33d, Secretary of the Valley of Raleigh,
Orient of North Carolina. It clarifies the position of one
well-versed Christian Mason vis-a-vis extreme religious
fundamentalism and restates the basic Masonic principle that
Freemasonry is compatible with all religions, including
After much consideration and prayer, I must at this time request to
demit as a member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
My original intent in pursuing advanced Degrees in Freemasonry was
to receive light. You and other Brothers made me feel welcome and
gave me a sense of belonging. However, as I read and studied the
philosophies of the Scottish Rite, God revealed to me that the true
Light is His Son, Jesus. And that ONLY through Jesus can one reach
The philosophies of Freemasonry, which I believed were supplemental
to God's plan, appear to teach that through works a man can attain
light. I still feel that the moral teachings of Freemasonry are
good however, the underlying confusion is that it is in conflict
with the one true God, Jehovah, and His Son, my Savior, Jesus.
Even though I can no longer support the Lodge nor feel myself bound
by Masonry's obligations, I will continue in prayer for your
well-being in the hope that you also receive the true Light of God.
I am writing this letter as an individual, not as a Secretary of
the Scottish Rite. However, your letter to me as Secretary has
prompted this response.
It is very disturbing to me that any person who has received the
Degrees in Masonry can misinterpret the teachings of the Craft.
I have been an active Mason for thirty-six years and have never
found anything in the Masonic teachings that tells me I cannot be
a Christian and serve my Lord to the fullest.
Masonry is not a religion and does not teach any religious
doctrines. The salvation of the soul is an individual
responsibility and must be left to each person.
We of the Masonic Order who are Christians know that you do not
receive salvation through good works. However, we also know that
Jesus said: "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was
thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in
prison, and ye came unto me." Matthew 25: 35-36, Authorized (King
In addition, consider James 3:17-18 which says: "Even so faith, if
it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou
hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works,
and I will shew thee my faith by my works."
While the works of Masonry may not save anyone's soul, I must
believe that they are a part of God's plan and do meet with His
As for myself, I appreciate your prayers for my well-being, but I
feel that I have already received the true Light of my religion in
as much as I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and
strive to serve Him to the best of my ability.
I regret very much that you are not able to accept the teachings of
Masonry as they are intended and use them to enhance your own
My faith is in God, and I hope that the service, as little as it
may be, which I attempt to render through Freemasonry and in my
life meets with His approval and, if not, that He will reveal to me
a way in which I might improve myself and my relationship with Him
and my fellowman.
Dewey C. Clutchfleld is Secretary of the Scottish Rite Valley of
Raleigh, Past Master of J.J. Crowder Lodge No. 743, and Wm. G. Hill
Lodge No. 218 of Raleigh, NC. He is a member of the Raleigh York
Rite Bodies and Potentate of Amran Shrine Temple.
Declaration of Principles
OF THE ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY
SOUTHERN JURISDICTION, U. S. A. (MOTHER COUNCIL OF THE WORLD)
THE SUPREME COUNCIL of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, S.'.J.'.,
U.S.A., reaffirms its unswerving loyalty to the United States of
America and affirms that the fundamental purpose of Freemasonry is
to improve and strengthen the character and education of the
individual and, through the individual, the quality of the
community, particularly its moral and ethical values.
This purpose can be attained best by a broad basis of principle
upon which humankind of every race, color, sex, creed, or religious
or ethnic group can unite. Such a basis can be set by practicing
OUT of the Lodge that which is learned IN the Lodge and by engaging
in visible and significant programs of service to the community
such as advocating patriotism, drug and alcohol education, youth
programs, and a quality public school education as well as
supporting all worthy philanthropic causes which are recognized by
the United States. To that end, Freemasonry stands for truth and
justice, liberty and enlightenment as well as philanthropy, along
with public and private service for all human beings. The Supreme
Council expects strict observance by its members of the laws of
their country and respect for its flag.
Another Scottish Rite principle important to the freedom of the
American people is the separation of Church and State. This is so
because the history of nations has shown that when religion
controls government, political freedom dies and when government
controls religion, religious freedom perishes. Therefore, the
Supreme Council advocates complete separation of Church and State,
absolute freedom and protection of religion, press, assembly, and
the dignity of every individual.
The preservation of unity of purpose and devotion to principles
held in common is essential to Freemasonry. The Supreme Council,
therefore, affirms its continued adherence to that time-honored
rule of Freemasonry which forbids the discussion within tyled doors
of creeds, politics, business and commercial interests, or other
topics apt to excite personal animosities.
It is the strongly held belief of The Supreme Council that
brotherly and sisterly love must continue to be the principal
mainstay of any Masonic Body or organization. Thus, it believes
that it is destructive to the unity and strength of legitimate
Masonic Bodies everywhere to deny visitation requests by any
individual, regardless of color, creed or religion, who has the
proper credentials in hand, that is, a current dues card issued by
a particular Lodge recognized by the Grand Lodge of the
Jurisdiction where visitation is requested, plus a current dues
card and patent from a Consistory of a Supreme Council recognized
by the Mother Supreme Council of the World.
A CHRISTIAN MASON LOOKS AT MASONRY AND RELIGION
John E. Canoose, 32d
39301 Pine Ridge Road
Oakhurst, California 93644
To say that one has the truth all of the truth, and the One Truth,
and that those who differ are wrong is by definition bigotry.
ONE of the landmarks of Freemasonry is that no atheist can become
a Mason. A belief in a Supreme Being is central to all of Masonry.
Beyond that there is no religious test for candidates.
Freemasonry teaches the "Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of
God." This means that each Mason is free to worship God as he has
been taught or as he conceives Him to be. It means that no Brother
has the right to criticize the beliefs of another.
This is important enough that Masonry has developed the tradition
that religion and politics will not be discussed in the Lodge.
Freemasonry recognizes that all great religions contain truths and
that in many cases the truths are identical but phrased in
Knowing that religion is a system of morality offering salvation
through sacraments and dogma, then it is clear that Masonry is not
a religion. Masonry offers no salvation or intercession between man
and God. The means of his salvation is left to the individual
Mason. Masonry goes a step further in its desire not to interfere
between man and his religion. The bylaws of the Order prohibit
meetings on Sunday, except for funerals or social affairs. This is
to prevent the Lodge from interfering with proper religious
Why are there so many different religions? Is not Truth immutable?
Truth is immutable, but the ability of man to discern that truth is
not. Every person's thinking is influenced by the society in which
he lives, his personal intellectual abilities, and his own
self-interest. Had I been born in a Moslem country, it is quite
likely that I would be a Moslem. My understanding of my religion
would be limited by the power of my intellect. My conformance to my
religion, of whatever persuasion, would depend on my personal
desires, my dedication, and my self-discipline.
For some unwilling, or unable, to engage in the rigorous mental
activity usually required in the search for Deity, it is a great
comfort to have a ritual form that will assure them of salvation.
No one has the right to deprive them of this ritual and its
comfort. Nor is it proper to sow the seeds of discontent by
introducing contrary ideas.
Does the person satisfied with a ritual form of religion and
worship have the right to deny another the right to invoke his
logic to obtain a belief satisfying his doubts? No. To say that one
has the truth, all of the truth, and the One Truth, and that those
who differ are wrong is by definition bigotry.
John E. Canoose is a retired machine designer. He is a member of
the Fresno Scottish Rite Bodies. P.'. M.'. of Central California
Lodge, and District Counselor of Education in California. During
World War II Bro.'. Canoose was awarded five battle stars on a
European Theater of Operations ribbon.
NOTE: Except for "Calling Masons Satanic Is Folly" where reprint
permission must be requested individually from The Houston Post,
blanket permission is hereby given to any Masonic publication to
reprint any portion of this May issue or the February issue, 1993.
Please note "Reprinted with permission of The Scottish Rite
THE worst damage is often made by the one who thinks he knows.
Dave M. Daugherty, 32
The February issue of The Scottish Rite Journal, with its theme of
"Freemasonry and Religion," produced a surge of letters, more than
elicited by any previous issue of the magazine. Here is a sampling.
BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM
Dr. Holly, regarding your attacks on Masonry, the next time you see
a child who has been burned, crippled, or has a language or
learning disorder and has been assisted without cost to his or her
family by some Appendant Masonic Body, ask yourself if it could be
that the Masons who made this child's recovery possible are the
spiritless, non-Christian, devil-worshiping pagans, you say they
John H. Roberts III, 32d, K.'.C.'.C.'.H.'.
Houston, Texas, Scottish Rite Bodies
TRULY TOLERANT OF JEWS
My father was a cynical man who believed that the only
predominantly Christian organization that was truly tolerant of
Jews and gave us a fair chance was Freemasonry. Dad never joined
the Craft, but he passed his feelings about Masonry on to me, and
I did join. In fact, I am the immediate Past Master of Ann
Arbor-Fraternity No. 262, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The February Scottish Rite Journal epitomized what we all stand
for, exemplified what Dad said about us, and illustrated why I am
proud to be a Mason. In short, I found the February 1993 Scottish
Rite Journal a very moving and personally meaningful gift from our
Craft. Please receive my heartfelt thanks.
Jushn F. Krasnoff, 32d
Ann Arbor, Michigan
THANK YOU, DR. HOLLY!
Regardless of the outcome of the Southern Baptist Convention
"study" of Freemasonry, the Craft will emerge much stronger. I and
many of my fellow activist Masons have long held that we need to be
more aggressive in seeking publicity and holding more open
activities to encourage membership. I am certain that we will look
back at this period ten years hence and will find that Dr. Holly
has single-handedly done more for the promotion of Freemasonry than
any other man since Albert Pike. Thank you, Dr. Holly!
Jay M. Callaham, Jr., 32d
Greensboro, North Carolina. Scottish Rite Bodies
MASONRY WILL BE ON CENTER STAGE
If you had made a request to discuss Freemasonry at the Southern
Baptist Convention, there is little doubt that your request would
have been denied. But now Masonry will be on center stage with the
spotlight on it. What a marvelous opportunity!
Ernest D. Collins, Jr., 32d St. Louis, Missouri, Scottish Rite
After reading an article "Conflicts Between Christianity and
Freemasonry" in The Nevada Baptist, I wrote to the editor of that
publication expressing my concerns. I didn't get even so much as an
In 1995, with the Lord's approval, I shall complete fifty years as
a Master Mason. Beyond my lifelong practice of Christian faith, I
am a recently baptized Baptist, and I teach a Sunday School class
in the Temple Baptist Church of Sparks, Nevada.
I expressed to my pastor my concerns about the present claimed
conflict between Baptist doctrine and Freemasonry. He received my
letter in good faith and passed it on to a Baptist lay minister.
From the latter I received a bombastic reply to which I responded
by sending him a copy of the February Scottish Rite Journal which
is focused on "Freemasonry and Religion." To date I have received
It appears to me that those who are set on discrediting the
Brotherhood become strangely silent in the presence of material
that validates the value and worthiness of Freemasonry.
George W. Grossoehme, 32d
St. Joseph, Missouri, Scottish Rite Bodies
CHRIST FIRST, MASONRY SECOND
Masonry has not taken away anything at all from my Christian
beliefs but, by its teachings, has helped me in many ways to serve
my Lord and Savior even better.
The most important thing that I have ever done in my life is when
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. The second most important
thing was when I became a Mason.
Glenn D. Belvin, 32d
Charlotte, North Carolina. Scottish Rite Bodies
SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, A MONOLITHIC RELIGION
Indeed, the overconcern of the Southern Baptist Convention
regarding our Fraternity is something every Freemason must
scrutinize, but the reasons for this over concern were never really
addressed in February's Journal. The Southern Baptist Convention
appears to be approaching the status of a monolithic religion with
a well-defined dogma and an ecclesiastical hierarchy. I have no
doubt that it will eventually elect a supreme religious leader
whose views on religion and religious practice will be paramount
within the group.
Mark Schulzinger, 32d
Joplin, Missouri, Scottish Rite Bodies
NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOW OUR COLORS
Thank you for a beautiful Scottish Rite Journal, February 1993. I
am a 3rd generation "Silent Mason," but I agree now is the time to
show our colors. Now I have even more reason to be a proud member!
Richard L. Stone, 32d
Louisville, Kentucky, Scottish Rite Bodies
A BETTER JOB OF PROMOTING MASONRY
We are losing members not because of outside, ignorant attacks, but
because we fail to let good men know what we are and what we
represent. That means we must do a better job of promoting Masonry.
The method of "to be one, ask one" will not cut it anymore.
Reacting to these uninformed people merely gives them credibility.
Truth never has to be defended. In a nutshell, Masons have to come
out from under the proverbial bushel, not react to dopes.
Richard R. Haight, 32d Washington, District of Columbia, Scottish
CARRYING THE MESSAGE
Fred W. McPeake, 33D
Secretary, Scottish Rite Bodies of Knoxville, Tennessee
P.O. Box 708, Knoxville, Tennessee 37901-0708
If you are a Mason and a Baptist, your presence at the Southern
Baptist Convention in Houston, Texas, on June 15-17 is urgently
needed. The following steps outline how to become a messenger and
vote. Only you can prevent an extremist faction from taking over
the Convention and obtaining a vote to condemn Freemasonry as
incompatible "with Christian and Southern Baptist doctrine."
1. Make hotel reservations before being elected a messenger.
2. Let your pastor know you desire to be a messenger.
3. Attend the business meetings of your local church.
4. Be present when messengers are selected.
5. Obtain the necessary card of authorization signed by your pastor
or your church clerk.
6. Be sure to take the card to the Convention.
7. Take care to present your card at the registration desk.
8. Get your book of official ballots and instructions.
9. Register as early as Sunday, June 13, or Monday, June 14, before
the formal opening of the Convention.
10. Be in your seat at the opening of the Convention on Tuesday,
June 15. Stay through every session and have your ballots with you.
11. Remain in your seat since it will be difficult to know when the
important vote on Masonry will come up. You could lose the
opportunity to vote by being out in the halls or elsewhere at the
time of the vote.
12. It is important to be present and to vote regardless of the
position taken by the Home Mission Board. Anti-Masons will
undoubtedly reject a positive recommendation by the Board, despite
Dr. Holly's present statement to the contrary, or try to amend it
to condemn the Fraternity unless Masons are there in sufficient
numbers to defend our position.
Fellow Masons/Messengers, meet me in the Astrodome June 15, 1993!
The fate of Freemasonry today depends on you!
From time to time religious and governmental authorities have
condemned Freemasonry and have taken steps to prevent men under
their influence from joining the Masonic Lodge. Among many such
examples one finds: the Inquisitors into Heretical Depravity,
Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, and the
Ayatollah Khomeni. Rev. Ron Carlson of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is
anxious to add his name to this list.
MAGNA EST VERITAS ET PREVALABIT
Dr. S. Brent Morris, 33D
Book Reviews Editor for The Scottish Rite Journal
The Scottish Rite Journal does not ordinarily review the same book
twice, but The Cloud of Prejudice, by Bro.'. Arturo DeHoyos, 32d,
is not an ordinary book-it is a masterpiece. It provides an almost
line-by-line refutation of an anti-Masonic sermon distributed by
Rev. Carlson through his Christian Ministries International. Pastor
Carlson is not your common anti-Mason he establishes his
credentials by proudly stating he spent two years studying
Freemasonry. Yet with all his study, he still foists on his
congregation the bogus Albert Pike quotation created by Leo Taxil.
He lacks the ability (or perhaps integrity) to quote accurately
from Morals and Dogma. And he doesn't seem to want his listeners to
read Morals and Dogma for themselves.
For instance, at the end of his widely distributed sermon, he
answers a question from the congregation about Morals and Dogma and
imputes that Masons are trying to stop its distribution:
. . . the publishing house told them that they are now only giving
them to the Masonic Lodges, for the Thirty-second Degree Masons.
You can no longer buy it from their secret publishing house. And
so, evidently, they've heard about us, and are trying to stop the
dissemination of this information.
This is simply not true. There never has been a secret publishing
house for Morals and Dogma. It is out of print but widely available
in used book stores, and The Supreme Council, 33d, sells used
copies when available. During his two years of research, Rev.
Carlson apparently never thought to check the public library in his
headquarter town of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He would have found
three copies available through the Metropolitan Library Service
Agency: two in Minneapolis and one in West St. Paul. Copies are
also available in the public libraries of Duluth and Winona.
It is possible for honorable men to disagree honestly. But Rev.
Carlson's disagreement with Masons is neither honorable nor honest.
The lies must be exposed, and the following excerpt by Bro .'.
DeHoyos does just that.
The Cloud of Prejudice: A Study in Anti-Masonry, by Art DeHoyos.
Paperbound, 188 pp., Kessinger Publishing, P.O. Box 160, Kila, MT
59920, Tel. 406 756-0167, $14.95. S/H $4.50 first book, each
additional book add .50 cents.
Pastor Carlson continued his sermon:
Let me read for you what Albert Pike says, page five hundred and
forty-five, concerning revealing any of the secrets, quote:
"All the mysteries should be kept concealed, guarded by faithful
silence, lest it should be inconsiderately divulged to the ears of
the Profane. He sins against God who divulges to the unworthy the
Mysteries confided to him. The danger is not merely in violating
the truth, but in telling the truth."
Albert Pike says it is a sin to divulge the truth. Now how
different this is from what we reading God's word.
Ironically, the truth is that Ron Carlson is not quoting Albert
Pike. Here is what Pike wrote in Morals and Dogma (the text omitted
by Rev. Carlson is in bold):
St. Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, who was born in 340, and died in
393, says in bis work De Mysteriis: "All the Mystery should be kept
concealed, guarded by faithful silence, lest it should be
inconsiderately divulged to the ears of the Profane .... It is not
given to all to contemplate the depths of our Mysteries . . . that
they may not be seen by those who ought not to behold them nor
received by those who cannot preserve them." And in another work:
"He sins against God, who divulges to the unworthy the Mysteries
confided to him. The danger is not merely in violating the truth,
but in telling truth, if he allow himself to gives hints of them to
those from whom they ought to be concealed .... Beware of casting
pearls before swine! Every Mystery ought to be kept secret and, as
it were, to be covered over by silence, lest it should rashly be
divulged to the ears of the Profane. Take heed that you do not
incautiously reveal the Mysteries!"
Pike was clearly quoting St. Ambrose on what he taught regarding
the Christian Mysteries. It was, we find, a Christian Father who
said it was a sin to tell the truth and we here discover that the
Pastor himself becomes guilty of what he alleges the Masonic
authorities do-he lies to the unwitting.
Rev. Carlson further compounds his deception as he gleefully tells
his audience that
Albert Pike says it is a sin to divulge the truth. Now how
different this is from what we read in God's word. Jesus says, "You
shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." Jesus
said, "I am the Truth." He said, "Go unto all the world and
proclaim this good news." But the Masons say, "No, it is a sin for
you to reveal truth."
If we analyze Pastor Carlson's statement we find:
(1) He claims to be quoting Albert Pike when he was in fact quoting
st. Ambrose, a Christian church Father.
(2) He claims that the supposed words of Pike represent Masonic
teachings by stating, "But the Masons say ...."
(3) He ignores that Pike wrote in his Preface that "every one is
entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem
to be untrue or unsound."
If unchecked, the subtle manipulation of source material aids both
the construction and destruction of the ersatz Albert Pike by
allowing the Pastor to build on a false premise.
The type of slanted truth, half truth, or outright untruth
demonstrated in this one passage is rampant throughout Ron
Carlson's work. Also, such twisting of fact is typical of the
writings of other anti-Masonic authors.
Whether their intent is to deceive or they are deceived themselves
by their biased view of Freemasonry, anti-Masonic writers, when
their works are carefully analyzed, only prove one fact, the
validity of the Latin motto Magna est Veritas et prevalabit, Great
is Truth and will prevail.
Truth, like joy, can usually be discovered at its source-within.
William Arthur Ward, 32d
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