Jeffrey A. Bolstad, 32°

The best response to ignorance is not anger, but education.

The other day I received in the mail an innocent-looking white envelope. When I opened it, I found a cartoon pamphlet claiming Masonry is devil worship. The story detailed a husband and wife active in the Shrine and Eastern Star whose son was in critical condition after a suicide attempt. Supposedly, this was God’s way of punishing the couple for their “devil worship.” In the end, the father burns his apron, fez, and all other Masonic paraphernalia, and the man and woman ask forgiveness for their “evil ways.” Of course, the son immediately takes a turn for the better and is on his way to a full recovery.

The first thing I noticed about this letter is that it had no return address. If I am going to be harassed by someone, I’d at least like to know who it is. Apparently they don’t have the courage to face any evidence that would refute their opinions of Masonry. I told some friends about my mail and found that others had received the same thing. Some were quite upset by this material.

To any of you who might be confronted with this type of rhetoric, don’t put any stock in it. What they allege is simply not true. It is very creative writing at best, outright lies at worst. Where they come up with this balderdash is beyond me, but usually among the main sources are the writings of Albert Pike. They quote him -- often inaccurately and out of context -- and refer to him by seemingly authoritative titles that never existed.

I am a devout Christian by choice, a Lutheran by chance of my Norwegian heritage, and a Mason of my own free will and accord. Over the years, I have heard many allegations about Masonic Orders being evil. I have made a conscious effort to find this alleged “evil.” I have researched Masonic literature and read the Bible cover to cover many times, and I cannot find one hint of any conflict between Masonry and Christianity -- or any other religion for that matter.

The anti-Masons who claim Masonry is a religion are misinformed as to what a religion is. Masonry, first and foremost, offers no plan of salvation. That, in and of itself, keeps it from being a religion. Some make Masonry their religion, just as some make their service club, sport, or their business their religion. It’s not right, but it happens.

We are admonished “To have no other gods before the Lord Thy God.” The Supreme Being I pray to in Lodge is the same Jesus Christ I pray to in my church. However, for my Masonic Brethren of other religions, the Supreme Being they address is of their faith. It’s not my place to judge them on their religious beliefs. That is for God.

Some anti-Masons also claim Freemasonry teaches “works righteousness,” i.e. the idea that if you do a lot of good deeds, you will earn a place in Heaven. The good works Masonry encourages do not get you into Heaven any more than going to church does. It teaches in the Bible that we are to be servants, and it’s by being a servant that good works are done (Matt. 20:26 & 1 John 3:17).

I had a very strong belief in the triune God of Christianity long before I became a Mason. My involvement with each of the Masonic Bodies has done nothing but strengthen that belief and given me more power in my convictions. Not only have I met the nicest people in the world, but also when I’m giving the sermon as a lay-preacher in my church, I, as a Mason, deliver the Gospel with even more fervor and zeal.

Once a friend of mine told me that Masonry is “evil.” I asked him how he knew that, and he said he read it in a book. I asked him to go to the library with me, and I would show him some books that say there is no God or that God is dead. I asked him if he believed that. He said no, and I said “Why not? It’s right there in print, so it must be true.”

Don’t be discouraged when the anti-Masons confront you. Most of them just don’t know any better. You can help remedy the situation, however, by learning more about Freemasonry yourself and then sharing that knowledge with others. Then the lies about our Craft will fade and the truth will prevail.