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by Bro.  Norman Senn, PDDGM


The Craft has been attacked for almost as many years as it has existed.  The reasons have been many.  The anti-Masonic movement in the U.S.A. following the "Morgan Affair,, in 1826 is a topic commonly dealt with in Masonic research.  Publication of exposures of the Craft started within a few years of the Craft being formalized and still they come.

Most Canadian Masons are aware of the continuing attack by the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. Many odd distortions have come out of that attack.  Less well known in North America was the recent uproar that took place in the United Kingdom, birthplace of Masonry as we know it.  

The problems seemed to start with the publication in books, magazines and on TV of negative material about the craft and of material purporting to be initiation ceremonies.  In addition there were a small number of murder mysteries written which connected masonry with criminal conspiracy.  The best known was possibly "Murder by Decree." This was the movie based on the theory of Stephen Knight that the "Jack the Ripper" murders were really a Masonic conspiracy at the highest levels.  The press raised questions as to possible bias of police, magistrates and others in authority, towards brother Masons.  There was much discussion over proposed requirements for aldermen, police and others to declare their Masonic affiliation publicly and for consideration of Masonic affiliation in employment applications. Police integrity was questioned in cases before the courts.  

Those outside the Craft seemed unaware of the mason's commitment to uphold the law of the land and that lawbreakers are expelled from the Craft--not supported.  

In the Canadian press there were recently a number of articles. referring to Masonry in negative terms.  Masonry was discussed by the lawyers in two recent trials on hate literature when the anti-Semitism, anti-masonry, world conspiracy cult raised its ugly head to spew vicious rubbish out to all gullible enough to listen. In the cases of both Ernst Zundel, in Toronto and James Keegstra, in Red Deer, convictions were obtained for their anti-Semitic expressions, but the anti-Masonic opinions were left floating.  

Some attack Masonry for obscure reasons, possibly due to distorted concepts or interpretations placed upon the Craft and its works.  Some have attacked from religious fanaticism.  The most recent attacks have come from unexpected quarters and followed the publication of a number of books.  The first was Darkness Visible by Walton Hannah, Augustine Press, 1952; the second was Christian by Degree by Walton Hannah, Augustine Press, 1954 and these were followed by The Brotherhood by Stephen Knight, Granada, 1983, Satan's Angels Exposed by Salem Kirban, Morris Cerullo World Evangelism, 1980; and the The Antichrist or the Masonic Society by Charles G. Finney, 1868 - reprinted 1984.  


In 1985 the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church produced a report from a Group of non-Masons based on printed material.  The committee had no communication with the Grand Lodge of England but written input was received from individuals. No information is available to show what proportion of the correspondence was from Masons.  The report, consisting of 22 "memorials" was presented to the General Conference of the Church.  There was acknowledgment of the high moral standards of Freemasonry, its lack of social discrimination, and the high commitment of many Methodists to Christ as well as to the Craft with no feelings of incompatibility.  Notwithstanding these attributes, the excessive secrecy, the individual's possible misinterpretation of the ritual and the committee's view of the Craft, influenced the Methodist Church to rule that a Methodist could not be a Freemason.  This was because the committee identified syncretism, (the tendency to reconcile religious and philosophical tenets on the basis of common elements), elements of the ritual replacing Christian elements, religious practices, Competition with Christianity and compromise of Christian beliefs for any Methodist who was a Mason.  All these could be easily answered by looking at readily available evidence offered by Grand Lodge, had the Church wished to ask.  

In 1986, ten further "memorials" were put forward to counteract the 22 which had-been adopted in the previous year.  These ten were all rejected but the Committee now said that Freemasonry was not "incompatible." The Association of Methodist Freemasons was informed, however, by the Secretary  of the Methodist Church that he would continue to act on the last of the 22 original "memorials" which states that Methodists should not become Freemasons.  


In 1985, following the Methodist assault, the Synod of the Anglican Church accepted a motion to have a Working Group develop a discussion paper for consideration of the Synod "which considers the compatibility or otherwise of Freemasonry with Christianity." This was not the first time that such a request had been made. In 1951, shortly after the publication of an article in the magazine Theology, by Reverend Walton Hannah entitled, "Should a Christian be a Freemason?" a request was made for a review.  The request then had been denied.  

The Working Group of seven people was not struck until one year later. It consisted of two women, one a Professor of Sociology who was the Chairwoman, two clergymen who were Masons, and three clergymen who were non-Masons.  The Group had the responsibility to meet five times and produce a short discussion paper to meet the demands of the approved motion.  

The first meeting of the Working Group was held two days later and the secretary issued a press release inviting written evidence.  He also communicated with the United Grand Lodge of England which issued its own press statement. The Grand Lodge release regretted the necessity for such an investigation but expressed pleasure at being invited to give evidence.  

The Working Group also sought information from "The Honorable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons," a women's organization, but no response was received.  

The Working Group received 106 written submissions which it said were balanced between Masons and non-Masons. Six of these submissions were from members of the General Synod.  There were many responses from Masonic members of the clergy, both current and retired.  


The Grand Lodge had made an immediate offer to make all possible information available to the Working Group when it had first been proposed.  The submission to the Group when it was actually formed was comprehensive and included all information thought to be helpful.  The UGL Submission ran to 57 pages in length and covered the following topics.
  1. Freemasonry's relationship with religion
  2. The King as a Freemason
  3. Qualifications for membership
  4. Secrecy, privacy or reticence
  5. Freemasonry and the law
  6. Aims and relationship of the Craft
  7. Freemasonry and society
  8. Lodge meetings
  9. 'Pure Antient Masonry' and other degrees
  10. Charity
  11. Masonic discipline
  12. Relationship with other Grand Lodges (particularly Europe)
Books and papers  
  1. Notes on the Methodist report
  2. Darkness Visible and Christian by Degree
  3. The Brotherhood
  4. Emulation Ritual
  5. Freemasonry--A Way of Salvation
  6. List of Books etc. given to the Synod Working Group
  7. Supplementary Questions and Answers May 23, 1986
  8. Sermon by Dean of Gloucester Cathedral (Masonic Service)
  9. Extract of responses to newspaper articles
  10. Extract of letter to Chairman of Working Group (Nov. 1986)
  11. Extract of letter from Sec. General Supreme Council 33 degree to the Chairman of of the Working Group (Dec. 1986)
  12. Extract of letter to the Chairman of the Working Group (Feb.1987). 
The UGL submission gave many explanations and the major ones are summarized below.  

Freemasonry is not a religion or a substitute but requires of each man belief in his own religion.  Masonry expects of every member, a belief in a Supreme Being.  It has neutral prayers to allow men of all faiths to participate with offence to none.  The name of the Supreme Being is not of a Masonic or composite god but represents to each Mason his own understanding of the God of his belief.

The Bible MUST be open at all meetings but additional Holy Books may be open according to the faiths of those present.  The obligations are undertakings to follow the principles of Freemasonry  and not reveal the methods of identification.  In Britain the historical oaths of the three degrees and the Installed Master's degree are now placed within the lectures to avoid the accusations of horrific oaths over the Bible.  

Although Freemasonry requires belief in a Supreme Being and uses some prayers, it lacks the basic elements of a religion.  It has no theological doctrine of its own and discussion of religion is forbidden.  It offers no sacrament and does not offer or claim to offer salvation either by works or secret knowledge.  The teachings of the Craft support religion but are not the practice of religion.  No lodge can meet on the Christian holidays.  

King George VI was a sincere Freemason who rose to the rank of Grand Master of Scotland and held the rank of Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England. He was just one of many Princes to hold high Masonic office over a period of 170 years.  

Only men may become members but there are women's orders and those for men and women together but there is no Masonic contact with these groups.  

Secrecy only relates to the signs of recognition and information is available to the public through publication of all sorts.  It noted that the Masonic order was never judged an unlawful body even when constraints were placed on many organizations in the early 1800s.

All Masons are subject to the law of the land.  Membership, rather than interfering with a man's duties as a citizen, improves his performance. It is an offence for a Mason to use his membership to promote his professional or business career. Masonry should not interfere with a members family life or his employment. The obligation of a Freemason as a citizen overrules his obligation to another Freemason.  

The lodge is a place to perform Masonic business and carry out ritualistic work to admit and instruct new Masons. The moral messages are not exclusive to Freemasonry but the method of teaching is.  

The submission pointed out that while the degrees in England include the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch, this latter degree is controlled by Grand Chapter which is an independant body.  The two organizations work closely together.  

The amount of charity work done and the fact that a third of all charity is for non-Masonic activities was presented with pride.  


The report by the Working Committee was finally published under the title, "Freemasonry and Christianity--Are they Compatible? A contribution to Discussion." It was divided into nine sections:  
  1. Introduction

  2. Historical background

  3. Organization and structure

  4. A 'Secret' Society?

  5. The Masonic rituals

  6. A peculiar system of morality?

  7. Comments and questions

  8. Appendices

  9. Bibliography

An overview of this Report sees it covering primarily what is in Canada the distinct areas of Craft Masonry and the Holy Royal Arch.  In Britain the Royal Arch degree is considered the conclusion of the Craft Degrees and although there is no direct control, the responses to the Report came through the Grand Lodge of England.  We are only interested in the areas which are associated with our three Craft degrees.  I will, however, outline the major concern for the Royal Arch at the end of this paper.  

The Report used some material from the Grand Lodge but relied heavily on the anti-Masonic authors and on TWO letters  from disturbed individuals who felt Masonry created problems for them. The Report was published in some secrecy, noted even by members of the Synod, and the major areas of concern were never discussed with the Grand Lodge before publication.  

The principle concerns were based on:  

  1. the apparent secrecy of the Craft
  2. the use of prayers making meetings "worship" especially when the location is called a "temple," an "altar" is used and there is a Chaplain
  3. the use of Christian wordings omitting reference to Christ
  4. the Masonic oaths on the VSL and "swearing" in any form
  5. the erroneous historical association with pagan rites
  6. oaths to things not yet revealed

and the Report suggests that the Craft is:  

  1. Gnostic

  2. Pelagianistic

  3. theologically indifferent and deistic and

  4. syncretistic.

Of this list, two are heresy (7 and 8) and two are heretical misdemeanors (9 and 10), if in fact any of them are true.  

It is important to understand what these offences mean. Gnostic means having its own spiritual knowledge, Pelagian means providing salvation through works, deism is the promoting of natural religion without divine authority and, syncretism is the attempting to unify or reconcile different religions and philosophies.  

The Working Group stated in its Report that the members bore in mind the anxiety that their enquiry would generate and that it not be a "witch hunt." It also stated that if there really was a serious concern about the latter issues, a much larger committee and staff would be required to avoid looking foolish.  

The Group said it was wary of making categorical assertions about the rituals used for initiations due to a lack of experts in comparative religion in the Group or within the General Synod itself.  

The Report started with an overview of the Craft and the associated organization without too much in the way of comment. It freely intermixes the anti-Masonic authors to prove points and this makes reading a little confusing at times.  

In its brief history of the Craft both Hamill and Hannah are quoted to refute the so-called Masonic historians who have tried to trace Freemasonry back to Adam.  This distortion cast all Masonic history into doubt.  The Group accepted Hamill's sound commentary as a base.  They then asked two questions:  

a) in what sense was [Masonry] a secret organization? and

b) was [Masonry] a Christian organization?

The Group agreed that covert existence was not the meaning of secrecy but rather the privacy of its meetings, its social exclusiveness and its emphasis to new initiates on not divulging the words and signs of recognition.  It was to these latter activities that exposures and condemnation was targeted from the 17th century to the present.  It was these that led not only to curiosity but also to suspicion.

The Report stated that the answer to whether Masonry is Christian is clearly "no." Originally the references to God seemed to be to the God of the Christian faith but in 1816 all Christian references were removed.  This was to allow men of various faiths to unite without offending or compromising their own faith.  The Antients, who emphasized the link with Christianity, gave this up at the time of the union in 1813.  

The Report then outlined the structure of masonry and reviewed the basis for recognition of other Grand Jurisdictions.  

The Group then questioned the basis for the acceptance into the Craft being in "A Supreme Being or "THE Supreme Being" and the attempt to encapsulate the God of all religions under the single term "The Great Architect of the Universe."  

There is a comment on the requirement that an applicant sign a form stating that he had not been improperly solicited, and yet in a Grand Lodge publication there is the statement that a "neutrally worded approach" is not cause for objection, nor a reminder of that approach at a later date.  This point was used, effectively, to emphasize the inconsistency of the promises made in the Craft.  

Within its discussion of 'structure' the Report looked at the time between degrees, the relationship to the Royal Arch and Scottish Rite Degrees.  

In the section on the secrecy of Masonry the concern felt by one author was that "if Freemasonry is right, why all the secrecy?" The Report noted that even the secrets are pretty well known and the Emulation Ritual was easily obtained.  This availability of an approved secret ritual was one of the several paradoxes identified.  It was noted that Masons are sworn not to reveal much of what goes on and that particularly the Royal Arch members are sworn not to reveal the sacred and Mysterious  Name. It was this latter point that was a major target of the report.  The Group noted that in Darkness Visible, the full rituals are published.  It was pointed out in the Report that it is odd for Masons to swear not to reveal what are published (and well read) secrets.  

The Report then printed what it believed to be the penalties of the three Craft degrees, the Installed Master's Degree, and that of the Royal Arch. It stated that these are "barbaric and an abuse of language." The fact that Grand Lodge has removed the penalties from the obligation was acknowledged and it was understood that they must remain within the lectures to explain the signs of recognition, which were derived from them.  The fact that these penalties had been taken on the Bible where in Matthew 5.33-37 Christians are abjured to 'swear not at all,' was considered to be most inappropriate. It was also noted that if this had been only a symbolic gesture, then it was vain swearing or profanity, which is also condemned.  It then noted that the initiate is sworn not to reveal secrets which as yet were unrevealed, another serious criticism.  

The Group then commented on the ready availability of information to a candidate but the assumption of his ignorance by the Lodge members.  This was considered a major problem for Christian Masons who were required to lie in swearing not to reveal secrets yet to be revealed later when they may already know them.  If there were additional secrets they may have found they had joined an "alien cult."

The Report then asked, "What is Freemasonry?" The definition as states in the Grand Lodge pamphlets was then printed and also the explanation by Hamill, although he is accused of glossing over it.  The Report stated that Masons emphatically deny that Freemasonry is a religion and refers to the 1983 pamphlet entitled "Freemasonry and Religion." It commented on the use of the terms, "temple," "altar," "chaplain," and "G.A.O.T.U." It then questioned whether Freemasonry represents or connives at a syncretistic understanding of religion and representation of good.  The term, "syncretism" is used frequently from this point on and is defined as, 'attempting to unify or reconcile different religions' . The Report asked whether Masons expected their published interpretation to be accepted, or 'what was understood by the common man, or non-Mason'.  

The Masonic rituals were then discussed at length.  The Group noted the lack of reasons behind early ritual development and elaboration.  This of course was due to the original demand for secrecy.  In addition early ritual was by word of mouth and probably was modified in delivery.  The first published ritual was in the 1870s and the Standardized Emulation Ritual was not published until 1969.  The basic allegory was then described in the Craft and Royal Arch degrees and the fact the work is memorized was noted.  The Report then explained the main lesson of each degree.

The Report then looked at wording in the ritual relating to Egyptian and Greek philosophers as showing an affinity with Masonry in spite of the belief that it has Christian overtones. It again asked, "do the rituals add up to worship, to what God, and is Freemasonry a religion?"  

It quoted the prayers and blessings and noted that many are familiar Christian prayers with Christian references omitted. This was particularly objectionable to some who made submissions to the Working Group.  They believed that the deletion of Christian references makes Masonry and Christianity incompatible. The Masonic belief that the deletion  of references to Christ does not deny Christ is noted as being unwise; and the use of Christian phrases and prayers is misleading.  

The Report then argued that as "worship means paying homage to human or God, the prayers offered as an integral part of the ritual are worship.  There were said to be "many" (undefined in number and identity) who argue that the prayers "less reference to Christ" are a denial of Christ's divinity.  

The question, "Who's God?" was then asked with the note that in an effort to offend none, some confusion arises.  It noted again the discrepancy of "A Supreme Being" vs.  "The Supreme Being" before quoting a pamphlet "Freemasonry and Religion, 1983." It further notes that Freemasonry has tried for 200 years to bring men of many faiths together, a problem that inter-faith service has not coped with. The requirement in the Christian faith to establish its preeminence over all religions leads to difficulties when attempting not to offend those of other faiths. The Report questioned the extent to which Christian Churches publicly uphold the view that Christianity is THE RELIGION necessary for salvation.  

It then stated that Freemasonry has no obligation to support Christianity but although members understand the nature of their God and their prayers are addressed to Him, the simultaneous worship by others of the great Architect implies indifferentism to claims of distinct religions.  

The Report stated that it had letters from a "number" of uncommitted Christians who still believed in God, but on conversion, withdrew from Freemasonry.  Other letters from both laity and clergy stated that though they have been members of the Craft for many years, they had found no compatibility.  

The Report concluded with the statement that while there were some differences within the committee, there are clear difficulties to be faced by Christians who are Freemasons.  The Report fundamentally questioned the compatibility of Freemasonry with Christianity.  

The Report was presented to the Synod in 1987 and in a short half hour the Synod voted to endorse the Report in spite of its inaccuracies and lack of authoritative input.  The Report was then referred to the church as a whole for discussion.  A process through which it will no doubt be going at this time.  


The Grand Lodge of England made various initial statements to address the final Report but its major arguments took some time to formulate.  The delay in receiving the Report allowed no interaction between Grand Lodge and the Working Group before presentation of the Report to the Synod.  The late and almost secretive delivery of the Report to the Synod seemed a deliberate act, the purpose of which is unknown.  

Immediately following the issuance of the Report the Grand  Lodge issued a press release which expressed disappointment that there had been no opportunity to reply to the accusation before publication.  It noted help was offered but the lack of questions caused the assumption  that previous explanations were accepted. The UGL commented that the Working Group had not paid enough attention to the Grand Lodge's interpretation of words.  It had, instead, accepted erroneous alternative interpretations and then finally  used its own interpretations of Masonic words.  The statement questioned the reaction of the thousands of Christian Masons to the charges of heresy, when they knew Masonry to be good and supportive of their personal religion.  

The UGL commentary stated plainly that Freemasonry has no theology, no sacraments, and provided no way to salvation. Devout Christians developed Freemasonry and adapted it, not to deny Christ, but to make the system acceptable to men of other religions.  The early Freemasons would not have designed anything heretical, nor would modern-day Christians have stayed in the order if it were heretical or incompatible with their faith.  

The next press release entitled "Grand Secretary Hits Out at Church's Report on Freemasonry and Christianity" stated that the charges of heresy were ill-founded due to reliance on incomplete extracts from ritual and commentaries by non-Masonic authors of doubtful objectivity.  

It repeated some statements from the earlier release but added that the two letters describing masonry as psychically disturbing and evil are hardly the basis for the Report to use them as evidence.  Normal Freemasons know that that ceremonies are symbolical and 320,000 Masons would hardly remain if they thought it to be evil. It then looked at the ill-founded heresy charges and stated "Freemasonry is not a religion and does not comment on religious matters.  It does not deal in special knowledge, or in salvation, by works or any other means.  Freemasonry does not attempt to combine religions.  It is indifferent--in the sense of being impartial--to the claims of any religion." It concluded by suggesting that the Report is unworthy and misleading when directed at a 270 year old association which encourages men to follow principles which the Church must approve.  

A third UGL press release on the Synod Debate stated that it was sad that the general Synod 'endorsed' rather than 'noted' the inadequate Report that did not give weight to authoritative Masonic evidence.  The release hoped that the discussions in the Church would allow discussion with Masonic authority on the specific allegations.  

The Grand Lodge then published a small paper entitled "Freemasonry and Christianity" outlining the criticism of the General Synod of the Church of England and the response of Grand Lodge to the charges.  This short paper was distributed to all British Freemasons through their Lodge Secretaries. It contained many of the comments noted previously, but some additional points were made.  It was noted that "questioning the compatibility of Freemasonry with Christianity is not the same as saying that the two are incompatible." The paper included a speech given by the Archbishop of York, a non-Mason, who questioned the commissioning of the Report and its conclusions.  The paper concluded that Masonry won the debate but lost the vote.  It reminded Masons of the debate that is to go on in the Church.  

There were many individual arguments, commentaries and notes on the errors of fact within the Report but they do not add to the general statements made within the responses of the Grand Lodge and already noted within this brief paper.  


The area of the Report not included to this point is the charge that the Royal Arch is guilty of blasphemy.  The supposed blasphemy relates to whether the word related to the triangle within the circle which rests upon the altar, is a word indicating attributes of God or a name for God.  The Report uses "Hannah" and also its own interpretation to come to a strange conclusion about this word and then claims the outcome is blasphemous.  The Grand Lodge, as spokesman for both Bodies, denies this categorically and cannot understand why the authoritative statement that it is a word describing attributes of God was not acceptable. It did point out, however, that some older rituals do have conflicting wording but the Grand Chapter has had a committee working for the previous eight years to review and clarify this matter.  


The overall result of the Report and the stance of the Anglican Church will have repercussions on Freemasonry but it will be weathered, as have many previous storms.  

It is important that each member avoid adding any fuel to an unpleasant fire.  Should you be asked to comment directly to the media, you should refer them to the Grand Secretary who will identify the spokesman for the Jurisdiction.  This will avoid conflicting statements that can be the basis for negative news items.  

As individuals within your Church you should certainly express your views on the Craft remembering that very little is secret and our principles are something of which to be proud.  


Freemasonry and Society (Pamphlet).  London: United Grand Lodge, 1987.  

Freemasonry and Religion (Pamphlet).  London: United Grand Lodge, 1985.  

Guidance to Methodists on Freemasonry, Report of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church.  London: ---, 1985.  

Notes on the 'Contribution to Discussion'.  London: United Grand Lodge, 1987.

What is Freemasonry (Pamphlet).  London: United Grand Lodge, 1987.  

Hamill, John. The Craft: A History of English Freemasonry. London: Crucible, 1986.  

Higham, M.B.S. Anglican Report on Freemasonry (Press Release). London: United Grand Lodge, 1987.  

Higham, M.B.S. Freemasonry and Christianity.  London: United Grand Lodge, 1987.  

Higham, M.B.S. Freemasonry and Christianity, Address to Provincial Grand Chapter, South Wales, Eastern Division.  London: United Grand Lodge, 1987.  

Higham, M.B.S. Freemasonry--From Craft to Tolerance.  London: United Grand Lodge, 1985  

Higham, M.B.S. Grand Secretary Hits Out at Church's Report on Freemasonry and Christianity (Press Release).  London: United Grand Lodge, 1987.  

Higham, M.B.S. Synod Debate--Masons Comment (Press Release). London: United Grand Lodge, 1987.  

McLeod, Wallace. Anti-Masonry in the Eighties.  Seattle: Walter Meier Lodge of Research, 1987.  Proceedings, Vol V, No. 20, pp. 236-243A.  

United Grand Lodge and other Masonic Authorities. Freemasonry and Christianity, Evidence on the Compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity.  Submission to the Working Group of the General Synod of the Church of England.  London: United Grand Lodge, 1986.  

Williamson, Wayne B. "An Answer to the Question is Freemasonry a Religion." California Freemason 34, No.4 (1987).  

Working Group Established by the Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Church of England.  Freemasonry and Christianity--Are they Compatible? A Contribution to Discussion. London: Church Publishing, 1987.  


by Bro.  Norman Senn, PDDGM  



In the April 1987 issue of Life and Work, the publication of the Church of Scotland, it was recorded that the Aberdeen Presbytery would make a presentation to the General Assembly on the subject of Freemasonry. It intended to ask that the Panel on Doctrine consider the theological implications of the Craft.  The Aberdeen Presbytery decided by a large majority that the action should be taken after hearing arguments that Freemasonry was incompatibile with Church membership and that other Churches had already spoken out about this.  

There was, prior to this decision, considerable controversy over a period of months, in Life and Work.  This was in the readers' letter pages and followed on the action of the Methodist Church. The criticism was quite vitriolic with accusations that Freemasonry was the "most corrupt secret society in the world." Masons were said by a few to be devil worshippers, subversive and guilty of character assassination Most of these accusers were using Stephen Knight's book as the basis for their outlandish claims.  There were a number of rebuttals printed which both supported and defended the Craft.  

There are some wiser heads in the Church who realized that many would vote by walking away from the already decreasing membership of the Church.  This of course would further lower the income of the Church--a most important consideration.  

When the motion was presented, it was rejected by the General Assembly.  The Assembly did however pass a motion "for an inquiry with consultations with the Grand Lodge of Scotland." Two clergymen spoke strongly in favor of moderation and common sense which would no doubt show the lack of incompatibility.


The Church Times of Great Britain has been a forum for many letters from clergymen arguing in favor of Freemasonry.  Many excellent arguments have been used. One of these was that the Church itself is unsure of what it stands for, especially as it relates to the homosexuality issue.  It should be addressing its own problems of confusion and allowing an organization which so clearly sets out its tenets to help the Church to reestablish its own credibility.  

The United Grand Lodge of England has reprinted its publication, Freemasonry and Religion. It has simply modified the section which relates to the location of the penalties after having moved them from the obligation to the explanation.  The pamphlet is readily available in the United Kingdom.  

A recent article in the Daily Express, a leading British daily newspaper, noted that the Anglican Church had recently accepted $200,000.00 for the renovation programs of over 16 cathedrals. The significant point of the article is that the press is taking the Church to task for being two-faced and is thereby siding with Freemasonry.  

Vigorous enquiry of many Masons in England, as well as one of the Masons on the working Group elicited the information that the report seems to have dropped out of sight for the moment.  No one could be found who had discussed it in their Church.  


The United Church Observer in May of 1988, printed a full page article entitled, Masons, organized religion and the need to belong.  This article is positive and reviews briefly the Church of England action and notes the outrage felt by Masons at the uninformed and undeserved attack on an organization practicing high moral principles.  

The article notes the titles of advanced degrees, the decreasing level of secrecy and prints a penalty.  It then notes that many Christians, including many ministers, are in fact members of the Craft.  It quotes a number of the ministers who speak favourably about the Craft.  In particular it notes the strong personal relationships that are built by Masons and then notes the Church's own failures in this area.  

The article concludes that if Masonry if offering men things that are not present in the Church, then the Church had better look at itself in relation to standards of behavior and the creation of challenging activities.  

Later issues of the Observer contained letters which continued to support Masonic involvement of Church members.  

The Canadian Churchman, the publication of the Anglican Church of Canada, printed a third of a page in September of 1987, simply reporting the events that had occurred in England related to the action of the General Synod.  

The article leaves the report hanging in the air as there is no reference to the passing of the decision of the General Synod to the Churches for discussion.  This would lead the reader to believe that the action is concluded and the condemnation has been accepted by the Church.  

In the November, 1987 issue of the same publication, the readers responded.  Under a heading, Report on Masonry Disturbing, five letters were published from various parts of Canada.  All letters strongly condemned the action of the Church of England and argued very powerfully against the General Synod action.  One letter made the point that, "the Anglican Church, by allowing intolerance, bigotry and misunderstanding free rein, has told more about the authors and done greater harm to the Anglican cause."  

The action continues to come nearer to the North American Jurisdictions and Masons should be prepared to defend their beloved Craft.  


Freemasonry and Religion.  London: Board of General Purposes, United Grand Lodge of England, 1987.  

"Masonic Rituals Blasphemous says Freemason Report."  Canadian Churchman.  September, 1987. p.6.  

"Report on Masonry Disturbing." Canadian Churchman.  November 1987. p. 5.  

Allen, David.  "Masons, Organized Religion and the Need to Belong."  The United Church Observer.  Vol. 51, no. 11.  May, 1988.  p. 21.  

Donovan, Alfred. The Church and Incompatibility.  Vol. 13, no.3. Shepperton, England: Masonic Square, Lewis Masonic Publishers, September 1987.  p. 129.  

Dundee, A. E. Kirk to Study Freemasonry.  Vol. 14, no. 2. Shepperton, England: Masonic Square, Lewis Masonic Publishers, June 1988. pp. 84-85.

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