SHORT TALK BULLETIN

Vol. LXXVII No. 2 — February 1999

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MASONIC INFORMATION CENTER
1998 ACTIVITIES

Activities for the Masonic Information Center during 1998 were very strong as we dealt with questions about Freemasonry received by mail, phone, fax, and e-mail. Our website continues to grow, both in the amount of material available, and in those visiting the site. Another area of growth is in referrals sent to the MIC by individual Masons, Grand Lodges, and inquiries through e-mail and the website.

During the year we have responded to many inquiries concerning Freemasonry and Religion. This issue continues to be high on the list of anti-Masonic individuals and groups.

Booklets/Brochures

The Masonic Information Center has produced three booklets and two brochures. They are listed as follows, together with the numbers of copies that have been distributed, through the end of 1998.

Total 1,148,000

It is truly exciting to realize that over 1,100,000 copies of the brochures and booklets published by the Masonic Information Center have been distributed, literally, around the world. What's A Mason? continues to be a very important "thumbnail sketch" of the Masonic Fraternity. It has been reprinted in the Israeli Freemason and in several publications in Australia.

Three of the publications have already been reordered in 1999. These booklets/brochures are being used in a variety of ways, particularly as handouts to those with questions about the Fraternity. Also, What's A Mason? and Facts About Freemasonry have been very popular with prospective members.

The Generic Brochure about Freemasonry is nearing completion and will be available in the first quarter of 1999.

"Focus"

The quarterly newsletter Focus was published four times during 1998, and many publications reprint material from this newsletter. It is also posted on our website.

Statement on Freemasonry and Religion:

This statement was revised during 1998 with the following change: Paragraph 3; 2nd line now reads: The volume of the Sacred Law in the Judeo/Christian tradition is the Bible; to Freemasons of other faiths, it is the book held holy by them. (The complete statement is printed on the inside front cover of the MSA/MIC Annual Report.)

If this statement has not been adopted by your Grand Lodge, we urge you to do so. Freemasonry needs to have one response to present to the public and to the news media about our position concerning this subject.

Media Contacts:

Serbian TV. The MIC participated in a videotaped interview on January 27, 1998 by representatives of Serbian TV for use in that country.

New York Times/Washington Bureau. Short interview on March 9, 1998 providing information on the origin of the 3rd Degree.

Courier Post, Cherry Hill, N.J. Publishing an article on Freemasonry, particularly stressing the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, and wanted membership and other statistical information.

St. Louis Post Dispatch. Publishing an article on the Scottish Rite Cathedral in St. Louis and wanted background/general information about Freemasonry.

Washington Post. December 3, 1998, did a story on the Washington Monument. Had an extensive interview with the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia and also wanted additional statistical/background information on the Fraternity.

The Times, Shreveport, Louisiana. December 14, 1998, extensive interview about Freemasonry to be tied in with a very lengthy story about Freemasonry in Louisiana.

This will give you some idea of the kinds of general interviews that were requested of the MIC. In addition to interviews, we received many requests for specific information which, of course, were responded to immediately.

Time Magazine. In May 1998 Time Magazine ran an article about Freemasonry which they tided "Endangered Conspirators." In spite of the tide, the article was very positive about the Fraternity and did generate a number of inquiries for more information and several requests on how to become a member.

The A & E and History Channel. The Unexplained and In Search of History were shows originally broadcast in January and February 1998 and have had numerous reruns since. Masonic reaction to the shows continues to be mixed, but in comments from the general public, they felt Freemasonry was portrayed very positively. Both shows did generate a great deal of interest, and we understand from the History Channel they had one of the largest video sales, ever, of the video on Freemasonry.

Anti-Masonry

During the year, several TV shows were called to our attention that had misleading, inaccurate, or untrue portrayals of Freemasonry.

Fox Broadcasting: Millennium. A show in which they portrayed Freemasons as part of a conspiracy to rule the world.

USA Network: American Gothic. Again the center of attention was the "New World Order" and Freemasonry's alleged involvement in a conspiracy to dominate the world.

These two shows are mentioned as typical of the inaccurate portrayal of the Fraternity shown to the public. We do have a statement prepared by the Masonic Information Center concerning the issue of Freemasonry and the so-called "New World Order" which was printed in the December 1998 issue of Focus. (This statement is listed as Appendix #1 at the end of this report.)

Charisma Magazine. A very negative story about Freemasonry was printed in Charisma Magazine in November 1997. Dr. S. Brent Morris prepared a response to this article which Charisma has refused to publish. However, the article was published in the December 1998 Scottish Rite Journal. It has also been posted on the Masonic Information Center website (www. msana.com). If you would like to see this response, please feel free to visit our website or contact the Masonic Information Center, and a copy of Dr. Morris's article will be sent to you.

State College, Pennsylvania. A very sad situation arose in the State College, Pennsylvania, area in 1998. One Minister, in particular, began making anti-

Masonic statements. At first these statements were easily refuted; however, this led to a search for material that could not be so easily answered. A book was found in the rare book section, at the Library of Penn State University, that had material it was felt could be used against the Fraternity, so the attack was renewed.

Several Masons in the State College, Pennsylvania, area asked the Masonic Information Center to be part of a program responding to these charges. In June of 1998, four members of the Masonic Information Center Steering Committee did participate in the program. We understand from people in the area that the program was highly successful and that the antiMasonic movement has been quieted, at least for the moment. A more detailed account of this program was printed in the September 1998 issue of Focus. (This statement is listed as Appendix #2 at the end of this report.)

Website

Please visit us at http://www.msana.com. We continue to build the site, and are encouraged by the numbers of people who are visiting us. We hope you are one of them.

Summary

Space simply is a limiting factor in our ability to report to you everything that we have done during the year. So, we have selected items which we think will be of interest to you. But, please understand this is only a small selection from many, many things that occurred in 1998.

The Masonic Information Center would like to thank the Grand Lodges who support us, both financially, and by using our products. We thank those individual Masons who also support us financially and by using our products. And we thank those in the general public who are coming to us for information about Freemasonry. Freemasonry now has a channel through which we can make our story known to our members and to the general public.

Thank you for your support!

THE MASONIC INFORMATION CENTER

BROCHURES

A RESPONSE TO CRITICS OF FREEMASONRY

Brochure responding to several of the alleged points of conflict between Freemasonry and Christian theology. #BR 120

$.05 each (in any quantity) plus shipping

FACTS ABOUT FREEMASONRY

Brochure answering many of the most frequently asked questions about the Fraternity. #BR-110

$.05 each (in any quantity) plus shipping

BOOKLETS

GET A LIFE: THOUGHTS ON FREEMASONRY AND RELIGION. 12 page booklet discussing the relationship between Freemasonry and the religious community. $.60 each (PPD) 40% discount in lots of 50 or more copies, plus shipping. #BL 203

THERE IS NO SIN IN SYMBOLS: 16-page booklet showing pictures and explanations of symbols used in everyday life and symbols used by Masons and Masonic-related organizations with explanations about their origin and meaning. $.25 each (PPD) 40% discount in lots of 50 or more copies, plus shipping. #BL 201

WHAT'S A MASON? 16-page booklet describing the Masonic Fraternity and its purposes. Explains what happens in Lodge meetings and answers many frequently asked questions about the Fraternity. $.25 each (PPD) 40% discount in lots of 50 or more copies, plus shipping. #BL 202

BOOKS

FUNDAMENTALISM AND FREEMASONRY by Dr. Gary Leazer (Foreword by Forrest D. Haggardl) described by Forrest Haggard as "A thorough study of religious radical fundamentalism in Christianity and their attack on freedom of thought and liberty" $19.95 (PPD). #BK 505

IS IT TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT FREEMASONRY?, by Art deHoyos and S. Brent Morris (foreword and addendum by Jim Tresner). A response to some of the more virulent anti-Masons, this book takes on several of Masonry's critics and refutes their charges. For Example: Albert Pike and the "Luciferian" doctrine; James Dayton Shaw's -expose" of Freemasonry; Ron Carlson's lectures on the "Evils of Freernasonry" — -all are discussed and refuted on a point-by-point basis. The 1997 Second Edition is updated with 100 pages of new material added. Available through MIC@ $7.50 (PPD) quantity purchase (50 or more) 40% discount, plus shipping. #B K-5 10.

The Masonic Service Association of the United States of America