by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota
“Even the Lion has to defend himself against flies.” German Proverb
“Unsubstantiated, universal gossip – as long as it is stimulating and
titillating – always has an elemental appeal to the uncritical.” Mervin B. Hogan
We seem to be living in an age of unsubstantiated charges. Good examples of
unsubstantiated charges are running wild in election campaigns, and they also
run unbridled when it comes to the unsubstantiated charges made by the
anti-Masons. It seems odd to me that we don’t have another name for these
people. For the most part the movers and shakers of the anti-Masonic movement
around the world are the enemies of Freemasonry, yet we use the name Masons in
their name; anti-Masons. I wonder if this gives them some sort of pleasure or
prestige to have claim to another version of the name, Mason.
The Internet is a great tool that is used by many Masons, including yours truly,
to communicate with other Masons about things Masonic in a number of ways;
private E-mails, postings to list servers and bulletin boards, as well as e-mail
lists, which I personally have made extensive use of. It hasn’t been a secret
about how great this Internet and E-mail is to get information out to those you
would like to receive it, and now our enemies, the anti-Masons, are using it to
send their messages of mis-information directly to Masons.
In one instance of this in particular, an anti-Mason gleaned many E-mail
addressees of Freemasons from what appears to be a Grand Lodge Web Site. Having
E-mail addresses published on a Grand Lodge Web Site is a desirable thing, and
it does make it easy to be contacted by E-mail – even the e-mails we’d rather
not get. However, developing a list of E-mail addresses for Masons who are
active within a Grand Lodge does not seem to be a good audience for the diatribe
circulated by the Anti-Masons. Even so I’m glad they send them because it’s good
to know where they’re coming from and what their strategy is. Recently an E-mail
was sent out by an anti-Mason to many Masons in one jurisdiction, and that is my
reason for this article.
Many times the attack of an anti-Mason will begin in a very friendly manner,
asking for information before telling the Mason about all the perceived evils of
Masonry from the anti-Masons point of view. I once read, somewhere, some
instructions to Christians in witnessing about the evils of Freemasonry; that
they should not knock or attack an individual Mason, because that would be
counter productive to the mission, but instead to attack the institution – the
fraternity – as a whole. The philosophy is that most Masons don’t know as much
about Freemasonry as the witnessing Christian. They think the Mason doesn’t know
about the evils of being a Freemason, because those that run the fraternity
don’t tell the average Mason what they are involved with. They think the average
Mason has been duped by his Masonic Brothers.
Knowing this, I believe it is important to convey as much information to Masons,
their families and friends, as we can about what Freemasonry is and isn’t, so
that they will know a bunch of malarkey spread by anti-Masons when they hear it.
I mention families, because it is my opinion that the wives and adult children
of many Masons are extremely ignorant about things Masonic, and when they hear
that there is so much to it that is evil and that their dad or husband has been
kept in the dark by the world wide leaders of the Masonic conspiracy they might
think what they’re hearing could be correct. And so they, with and for all the
right reasons, will go to work on dad to leave the fraternity. And if dad is not
active in his Lodge any longer, and for the most part pays his dues and has
little to no contact with his Lodge Brothers, even though he doubts the veracity
of what his family is saying, he might, and I stress might, demit from the Lodge
to keep peace in the family. This action on his part really doesn’t change his
life much, but it does get the family off his back about him being a Mason. He
may not tell them what he knows about being prepared to be a Mason in his heart,
and once made a Mason he will always be a Mason, and that his Lodge Brothers
will not treat him any differently if he demits from his Lodge.
O.K. having said all of that, when an anti-Mason recently sent out his E-mail to
Grand Lodge types he picked on the wrong crowd to tell about his perceived evils
of the Craft. E-mail’s such as the one I am going to tell you about, (when you
click on the link below,) show that anti-Masonry is alive and well in the world,
and it is something we as individual Masons and as a fraternity need to be aware
of, and pay attention to. The goal of the anti-Masons is to see the Freemasonry
die, to cease to exist; it is not a game to them, they are very serious.
It is my opinion that if we continue to just smile and turn away, thinking ‘this
too shall pass,’ we will be making a serious error; all we need to do is to look
at the history in Europe over the past decades to know how serious and deadly
the enemies of Freemasonry can be when the Freemasons are perceived as being in
the way and hindering what they have in mind.
We dare not underestimate the anti-Masonic movement. The real pushes behind it
are well versed in Masonry, albeit that they apply their own interpretation on
our rituals and symbols, and there are times when they come off as knowing more
about Freemasonry than the average Mason does. Where they make the most head-way
is through the spouses, adult children, and good friends of our brethren; if the
wife is against something the husband doesn’t continue with it for very long, if
the adult kids start beating on dad about how bad the Masons are he many times,
to keep peace in the family, will drop out; and if a Mason thinks he might lose
a friend because of Freemasonry, if he’s not all that active, who knows what
might end, the friendship or paying dues to something he’s not that active in.
So the anti-Masonry of today is something serious, and we can’t afford to ignore
Many devout well know Christian Church Leaders have been and are Masons, and
they saw no problem with being a Christian and a Mason.
Freemasons advocate tolerance, but there are some people involved in the
fundamentalist sects of Christianity, as well as other religions, that are not
tolerant of others, and because of that they have no time for people of other
religions or of the Freemasons. These are the kind of people we are dealing with
in the enemies of Freemasonry.
In a way we should be glad, I suppose, for anti-Masons; they keep us on our
toes. They also prove that there is great interest in Masonry; otherwise they
wouldn’t have an audience. We need to gear more of our information to the
general public with good honest information to those who want information on
Freemasonry, and to offset all the malarkey being spread by our enemies. We need
Freemasons who are willing to do research on the charges of the anti-Masons so
that they can write articles telling the truth about the charges; speak in
Lodges about what the anti-Masons are saying and why it is not true, and to
provide good information on Lodge and Grand Lodge Web Sites for Masons and
non-Masons alike to learn what Masonry is all about from Freemasons.
I am not attaching or including it in this issue of Masonic Matters because of
its length. If you decide to read it I suggest that you might want to print it
out and read it in sections as you have the time.
“Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; die for it; anything but – live
From the Great light of Masonry = “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let
him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from
wisdom.” James 3:13 NIV
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