Questions by the Southern Baptist Convention
The following questions have been proposed by the committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that has been given the responsibility to investigate Freemasonry as to whether it is appropriate for Southern Baptists to be members of the fraternity. These were sent to Bro. Allen E. Roberts, Executive Secretary of the Philalethes Society. He in turn sent me a copy as well as many others. I asked his permission to post them here on the Masonic Section for the Cornerstone Computer Chapter of the Philalethes Society as many of our Brethren may have input that may be helpful. Don't feel that you have to answer all the questions; answer only those you have sufficient background. Also, do to the volume that will be generated, please mail or fax Bro. Roberts with your answers rather than putting them in a thread here on the forum.
Allen E. Roberts
P.O. Box 70
Highland Springs, VA 23075-0070
You input may benefit the fraternity. If I can be of service or answer any questions for you please feel free to contact me. Mark R. Sandstrom, CIS #72406,303. What follows is from the SBC:
POSSIBLE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
The following questions have been raised by Masonic critics and I believe must be answered. While testimonies are good, I must have documentation from Masonic writers to be able to use in my report. I am just getting a good start on my research and answers to these questions will be most helpful.
- Is Freemasonry a religion? This is the crucial issue from which nearly every criticism of Freemasonry arises. Every Masonic Critic cites Albert Pike, who said, "Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion." — Morals and Dogma, p.213.
- Most Masonic critics cite writers such as Pike for documentation that Freemasonry is based on — or is in fact — a pagan religion. They quote him in dozens of places. How much of an authority is Albert Pike? Is his Morals and Dogma used in Scottish Rite Masonry? How closely are his discussions on each degree followed? How much, if any, of Pike's discussions are seen as his opinions which Scottish Rite Masons may openly reject? Please respond to Jim Shaw's statement that Pike's "position in Masonry was, and is today, unparalleled, not only in the United States, but throughout the world (The Deadly Deception, p.63).
- L. James Rongstad in How to Respond to the Lodge (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977), p.17 says that the "rediscovered" name of the true God is "Jah-Bul-On." He claims this is the Royal Arch Masons' "Trinity" and that "Jah" is an abbreviation for the Hebrew name of God (Jahweh or Jehovah); "Bul" is the name for the Assyrian deity Baal; and "On" is the Egyptian sun god Osiris. John Ankerberg in, The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge, makes the same charge. Please respond to these charges.
- The Masonic funeral ceremony is especially disliked by many critics. Does Masonry teach that all men, regardless of faith in Jesus Christ, will live forever in the Celestial Lodge Above? Masonic critics state this is the impression they receive during Masonic funeral ceremonies.
- How literally do Masons take the Blue Lodge oaths? How literally are they supposed to take these oaths?
- Are all references to Jesus Christ removed from Masonic rituals? Are Scripture passages referred to him omitted when the Bible is read in Lodge meetings? Masonic critics make this claim while pointing out that other religious leaders such as Mohammed or deities such as Orisis are regularly mentioned. Please comment on this.
- Robert A. Morey in The Origins and Teachings of Freemasonry argues that the "Christian interpretation of Freemasonry was the accepted norm until the later half of the 19th century" (p.17). He says that only after the anti-Masonic movement from 1826 to 1836 did Christians leave the Lodge in such numbers that non-Christian leaders, such as Albert Pike, were able to change the direction of Freemasonry. Please comment on this. Can you recommend any books from the early 1800s which I might read?
- One Masonic critic said he read a report in a newspaper that most of the money collected by Shriners is used for their temples and meetings with little actually going directly to Shriner hospitals.
- In Masonic Philanthropies (1991), it is said that Masonic Philanthropy collected $525 million in 1990. Explain how this money was collected and how it was spent. Are 1991 figures available?
- Explain Prince Hall Masonry, its beginning, growth and relationship to the Grand Lodges today.
- Did a change in the political/relgious atmosphere in England have anything to do with the creation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717?
- Did Greece ban the Masonic Lodge in 1970 because it was "an illegal, secret society" as claimed by L. James Rongtad in How to Respond to the Lodge (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977), p.12. I want to include a section in my report on attacks or bans against Freemasons in countries such as Spain, etc. I heard that the Ayatollah Khomeini had many Masons put to death when he took control of Iran in 1979. Is that true?
- Was Mason critic Jim Shaw a 33nd degree Mason, "Knight Commander of the Court of Honor," and "Past Master of all Scottish Rite bodies" as he claims on the cover of his book The Deadly Deception which he co-authored with Tom McKenney?
- Masonic critic Jim Shaw makes a connection between the legend of Hiram Abiff and the legend of Isis and Osiris. Both Hiram Abiff and Osiris were killed and buried with an Acacia tree to mark the grave. Shaw quotes Pierson, Traditions of Freemasonry, p.159, "We readily recognize in Hiram Abiff of the Egyptians."
- Names of well-known Southern Baptist Masons, such as George W. Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, would be helpful. I do not want to embarrass living Southern Baptist Masons so do not plan to include there names in the report unless they agree.