IT IS TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT FREEMASONRY?
ART de HOYOS
For the Spirit of Truth
From the cowardice that dares not face new truth,
from the laziness
that is contented with half-truth,
from the arrogance that thinks it knows
Good Lord, deliver me. Amen.
-- Prayer from Kenya
This chapter is comprised of the correspondence between one of the
authors (Morris) and Mr. T.N. Sampson, of "Cornerstone Ministries" (Poquoson,
Virginia). Because the letters are self-explanatory, we need not detain the
reader with a lengthy introduction or analysis, other than to say that it
largely concerns the veracity of Rev. Shaw's claims.
August 28, 1993
Dr. S. Brent Morris, Book Review Editor
The Scottish Rite Journal
1733 16th St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009-3199
Dear Dr. Morris:
Cornerstone Ministries was formed by my wife and myself to provide
information to Christians about non-Christian cults and religions. Not
surprisingly, Freemasonry is a topic we are addressing. I have spent some time
reading the various articles and books dealing with both sides of the issue and
have found that the truth in the matter is somewhere between Dr Holly and Mr
Robinson; however, falsehood abound on both sides.
I read your article The Sound and The Fury in the February 1993
edition of The Scottish Rite Journal and came away uncertain as to
whether you were being truthful or not in your criticisms of Jim Shaw's book,
The Deadly Deception. Since my attempt is to ascertain the truth, may I
trouble you to respond to the following questions?
You say that Mr Shaw was never a 33rd degree Mason. I have written a
similar letter to Mr Shaw asking him about this and will share his answer with
you when it is received.
- You note that Mr McKenney confused "a Thirty-third Degree Sovereign Grand
Inspector General with a Thirty-third Degree Inspector General Honorary". I do
not understand what the difference is. Mr Shaw claims to be a Sovereign Grand
Inspector General (pg. 103) and Coil notes that is the proper title for the 33
degree (pg 608 of his Encyclopedia). I could not find the latter title
so I cannot figure out what was being confused for what (though I am
You note that Blanchard claimed that his Scotch Rite Masonry
Illustrated contained the ceremonies of the Cerneau Council. As I
understand it, Blanchard did not claim that his book reflected Cerneau
ceremonies; this is a claim made by Masons, and an unproven one at that.
In shooting fish in a barrel, you hit one or two that weren't in there:
You say that Shaw depicts Masons as being drunkards (pg 83). On that page,
Shaw merely notes that there was a great deal of drinking at the conclave, a
statement which does not support your criticism. You further note that
"neither the Grand Lodge of Florida nor The Supreme Council 33º, SJ permit
alcohol to be served at their functions". That is nice, but you state current
practice, not historical practice. Did either allow alcohol when Shaw was a
member in the 60's? As well, Shaw notes going to a "distant city" to receive
this high honor, which may or may not have been in Florida.
You dispute Shaw's claim that Masons spend thousands to received the 32nd
degree; however, that's not what he claimed. On pg 63, he notes that "going
all the way to the 32nd degree can be very substantial, well into the
thousands of dollars today." Thus, the cost estimate goes from Entered
Apprentice to the Master of the Royal Secret. Do you dispute his actual
Your comment about Hiram being restored to life by Solomon appears
correct, based on what I know of the Master Mason ritual.
I am struck more by what you have chosen not to criticize that by what
you do. Why do you not challenge Mr Shaw's descriptions of the Maundy Thursday
ritual? Or his linkage between the Hiram Abiff legend and that of Isis and
Osiris? Or any of the other significant charges that would give any Christian
pause for thought?
Finally, I found it interesting to read in your article that you find the
theory that Masonry "descended from the so-called "Ancient Mysteries" and other
forms of pagan worship" has been discredited, and that only anti-Masons continue
to perpetuate this charge. How can this be true? To quote Rex Hutchens in A
Bridge to Light "Whatever the truth of history, the contributions to the
symbolism of Freemasonry by the religions, philosophies, mythologies and occult
mysteries of the past lie upon its surface for all to see." Hutchens' book must
be considered authoritative; how do you resolve the conflict between the two
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
September 23, 1993
Mr. T. N. Sampson
P.O. Box 2183
Poquoson, VA 23662-0183
Dear Mr. Sampson,
Thank you for your letter of August 28 about my February 1993 book review
column, "The Sound and the Fury." It is always satisfying to authors to get
feedback on their writing. I am happy to answer your questions about the
Reverend James Shaw.
Everything I wrote in my column was truthful to the best of my knowledge. One
misstatement, however, did slip in despite my best intentions. I made the
embarrassing mistake of assuming that Rev. Shaw told the truth about being a
Past Master. The record reveals that he was never elected to any office in
Allapattah Lodge No. 271. I can find no evidence he ever belonged to another
Florida Lodge; neither did he serve in any office in his mother Lodge, Evergreen
No. 713 in Indiana. It appears I fell for one of Rev. Shaw's slickly packaged
lies. Mea culpa.
The Deadly Deception is a well-written, entertaining book. As I said
in my review, "The biography is engaging, empathetic, and scattered with clever,
vicious lies." It is also written in "simple language, accessible to someone
without a high school education." This is testimony to Mr. McKenney's abilities
as a writer; he told a good story in simple language. For a much less accessible
book on anti-Masonry, see Paul Goodman, Towards a Christian Republic, New
York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Mr. McKenney said "[Jim Shaw's] ardent quest carried him through
. . . the position of Sovereign Grand Inspector General.
. . ." (emphasis added) In the Southern Jurisdiction, "Sovereign Grand
Inspector General" is both the name of a degree and of a position. Each state
has one active member of the Supreme Council who has the position of "Sovereign
Grand Inspector General" for that state. All other Thirty-Third Degree Masons
are honorary members of the Supreme Council and are called "Inspectors General
Honorary." The nomenclature is somewhat different in the Northern Masonic
Jurisdiction. For more information, see Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, p.
313, s.v. "Honorary 33rd Degree Masons."
I stand by my statement that Rev. Shaw was never a Thirty-Third Degree Mason.
Rev. Shaw became a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour in December 1965 and
resigned in October 1966, thirty-seven months before he would have been eligible
even to be nominated for the Thirty-Third Degree, much less elected. The names
of every newly created Thirty-Third Degree Mason are published in the
Transactions of the Supreme Council, and thousands of copies are
distributed. All Rev. Shaw has to do is to give the year, and you can easily
check the record.
The title page of Rev. Blanchard's book claims to contain, "The Complete
Ritual of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite," and the rituals themselves
abound with references to various clandestine Cerneau Supreme Councils. Rev.
Blanchard was much too smart not to have known which Supreme Council he was
dealing with, especially as he provided a detailed commentary on all aspects of
each degree. I can only conclude he understood what he wrote.
Here is one reference to a Cerneau Supreme Council, vol. 1, p. 124,
". . . under the auspices of the Supreme Council of the 33d degree of
the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite, in and for the Sovereign and Independent
State of New York. . . ." This name was used by H. C. Atwood's Supreme
Council, ca. 1852-1854.
The name of a different Cerneau Supreme Council, is found in vol. 1, p.
303, ". . . under the auspices of the Supreme Grand Council of
Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the 33d degree for the Northern
Jurisdiction of the Western Hemisphere. . . ." Edmund B. Hays,
Atwood's successor, used this name ca. 1860-1863. Coil's Masonic
Encyclopedia, pp. 600-617, s.v. "Scottish Rite Masonry," gives many names of
the Cerneau Supreme Councils.
For more evidence that Scotch Rite Masonry Illustrated, contains
Cerneau ceremonies, see the 1979 edition, vol. 1, pp. 124, 145, 303, 358, 419,
436, vol. 2, pp. 137, 242, 287, 340, 388, 445, 462, 464, 470, 472, 475. I cannot
think of better proof that the rituals are Cerneau ceremonies than this
extensive, explicit, internal evidence. Confusing the regular and Cerneau
Scottish Rites is like confusing the Church of Christ with the Church of Christ,
Your reading of Rev. Shaw's comment on p. 83 differs from mine. He does begin
by talking about the Conclave, but he then goes on to say, "Why must we
always do so much drinking? . . . But it bothered me that there
was always so much of it and that it played such a major role in the
Masonic life." This is a general comment on normal Masonic behavior. My
dictionary gives this definition for drunkard: "1. One who habitually
drinks strong liquors immoderately." Rev. Shaw's comment clearly portrays Masons
as habitually drinking strong liquors immoderately.
You questioned whether such restrictions were in place when Rev. Shaw was a
member. He affiliated with Allapattah Lodge No. 271 in 1952. The 1954 Digest
of the Masonic Law of Florida F.&A.M. is pretty clear on the issue of
28.06 (398) No particular Lodge
shall allow its properties or any part thereof to be used for the purpose of
conducting or carrying on a liquor business or for the dispensing of alcoholic
beverages in any form.
In 1975 the regulation was unchanged, though
the following decision had been added to clarify the law. "The serving of any
intoxicating beverage in Masonic Temples or Lodge Rooms or at Masonic banquets
is forbidden by Masonic Law. (1969 Proc. 58, 212)" Equally explicit are the 1953
Statutes of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction: "Art. XV §24. The
use of any spirituous, vinous, or malt liquors by any Body is hereby prohibited.
. . ." The prohibition is unchanged in the 1991 Statutes, though it
has been renumbered as Art. XV §25.
Rev. Shaw received the K.C.C.H. on December 18, 1965, in the "distant city"
of Orlando. Neither the Grand Lodge of Florida nor the Supreme Council, S.J.
then permitted or now permits alcoholic beverages to be used by any of their
subordinate bodies. Florida Masons are bewildered when asked how alcohol "played
such a major role in the Masonic life," because it has no role. What sort of
meetings did Rev. Shaw attend where they "always do so much drinking?" It
could not have been meetings of Florida blue lodges or Scottish Rite.
I indeed dispute Rev. Shaw's statement that "...going all the way to the 32nd
Degree can be very substantial, well into the thousands of dollars today." When
joining Evergreen Lodge No. 713 in 1945, Rev. Shaw paid $50 in initiation
fees for the 1 -3 ; the cost in 1952 for the Fourth through Thirty-Second
Degrees, was $160. Thus the total for him "going all the way" was $210. In 1993
the comparable fees were $125 and $200, respectively, for a total of $325. This
is far from being "well into the thousands of dollars"; it's not even close to
It is satisfying to know that you agree Rev. Shaw's comments about the
resurrection of Hiram Abiff appear incorrect, as in fact they are. Rev. Shaw's
description is not the result of some simple misconception. He was a Mason for
twenty-one years and claimed to be a Past Master. His malignant distortion of
the legend of Hiram Abiff was consciously designed to outrage Christians. He was
not confused. His description is not some minor misstatement, like calling an
I.G.H. an S.G.I.G. He carefully designed his story and its many amplifying
details with the purpose of defaming Freemasonry.
I chose to criticize those parts of Rev. Shaw's book that could be verified
by non-Masons; his lies concerning the Maundy Thursday ceremony cannot. The
space assigned to my book review column further limited the number of lies I
The connection between Hiram Abiff and the Isis-Osiris legend was quite
popular some 100 years ago. Many of those writers also found connections between
Isis-Osiris, Jesus, and Baldur. Shaw supports his case by citing "the most
authoritative Masonic writers." Mackey and Sickles wrote a century ago, and I
neither have heard of nor read Pierson. Mackey and Sickles wrote before the
advent of the "authentic school" of Masonic historians; they accepted evidence
that would be laughed at today. Coil discusses this pp. 310-311, s.v. "History
of Freemasonry." Robert Freke Gould's 1885 History of Freemasonry is
probably the best Masonic history. It isn't "authoritative," just accurately
researched, carefully written, and conservative in its conclusions, the most
that can ever be asked of history.
The theory of descent from the Ancient Mysteries has indeed been discredited
among serious Masonic historians, including Gould; there is no evidence to
support its fanciful ideas. You could compare Coil's opinion of the theory, pp.
432-433, s.v. "Mysteries, Ancient Pagan." The most serious Masonic history is
published by Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London, in their annual
transactions, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.
Your quote by Dr. Hutchens refers to the symbolism of Freemasonry, not
its organization. Freemasonry uses some symbols that were used by earlier
organizations. This borrowing of symbols is found in many organizations. For
example, the cornucopia is a symbol of plenty used by many churches to represent
the overflowing bounty of God's blessings. The symbol came from the magical horn
that Zeus gave to Amalthea, the goat who nursed him as a child (legends vary as
to details). While the symbol originated in a pagan religion, it would be
ludicrous to suggest that churches perpetuate pagan worship if they decorate
their Sunday schools with cornucopias at Thanksgiving. Similarly, the dove used
by Christians to represent the Holy Spirit was used much earlier as a symbol of
Dr. Hutchens's book, like Pike's Morals and Dogma, is an expression of
personal opinion; neither represent dogmatic teachings. A printing oversight led
to the omission from the current edition of A Bridge to Light of the
disclaimer that Pike used for Morals and Dogma (and which still applies
today): "Everyone is entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein
may seem to him to be untrue or unsound." This disclaimer will be added with the
next printing of A Bridge to Light.
I would be most interested in seeing your correspondence with Rev. Shaw. It
will be easy for you to confirm if he received the Thirty-Third Degree, was a
Past Master, or was Past Master of all Scottish Rite Bodies. Once he gives you
the dates and places he served, you can check the records. If you can send me
any evidence that I was wrong, I will correct my statements, as I intend to
correct my misstatement that he is a Past Master.
I think part of my review of The Deadly Deception is still
appropriate. "Identifying and exposing these pathetic inventions, however, is a
task that must be ultimately fruitless. Anyone willing to overlook the easily
verifiable lies on the book's cover will just rationalize away the corruption
within. What is saddest about this book is the eagerness of the authors to cheat
the public to achieve their twisted ends, all in the name of Jesus."
S. BRENT MORRIS, Ph.D.
Book Review Editor
The Scottish Rite
cc: J. W. Boettjer, 33º
October 4, 1993
Dear Dr Morris:
I was pleasantly surprised by your response to my earlier letter concerning
Rev Jim Shaw's The Deadly Deception. In my dealing with Masons, not all
the responses I receive (verbally or via letter) maintain a proper degree of
cordiality. You have probably experienced similar problems yourself with those
who are against Masonry. At any rate, your response was far more detailed than I
hoped to expect and I certainly appreciate the time you took in its composing.
You were very considerate of a stranger's request.
I have not yet received a response from Rev Shaw on my questions about his
book. Should he respond, I will send along a copy to you. Should he choose not
to respond, I would conclude that he has no answer to the charges you raised,
that your criticisms are valid and drop him from my source list. I find it hard
to believe that he would falsely claim so many titles and Lodge offices, but
people have done worse for what they considered to be a worthy goal. I have
always felt that the ends do not justify the means; rather, the means must be
worthy of the ends.
As to my own efforts, I have come to the conclusion that Masonry is indeed a
religion, and that the god of Masonry is not the God of the Bible. one can quote
Pike, Coil and Hutchens, on these points, but the rituals speak eloquently for
themselves. Purporting to convey a mystery, or hidden 'knowledge,, they teach
concepts which are alien to Christianity and lead the Christian Mason to choose
between the two Deity's. over time, his studies of Masonry replace his studies
of Christianity and he begins to believe what those rituals teach. Finally, by
his participation in them, he implicitly approves what is being taught.
I have enclosed a summary of what I have found concerning Masonry, which I
use when answering questions about Masonry. I would appreciate learning of any
errors I may have made. My primary references were Ankerberg's The Secret
Teachings of the Masonic Lodge, Hutchens' A Bridge to Light, the
SBC's study on Masonry and Duncan's Ritual.with respect to the latter, I
have compared it to a much-censored version of the Oklahoma Murrow
Masonic Monitor and find enough commonality to conclude that it
accurately details Masonic rituals. Should there be errors, perhaps you could
send a complete Monitor which would show where I have made mistakes. (I'm not
serious; this is a little joke between us!)
I appreciate your position that Hutchens presents his own views and is not
authoritative; however, that confounds reason. The fact that the Supreme Council
endorsed his book (disclaimer or no disclaimer) and that it is given to Masons,
in the Lodge, as part of the 14th degree, makes the book authoritative. Someone
of his stature must know what masonry teaches and can be considered
authoritative until he is shown to be in error. If we extend the Masonic
argument, if Coil is not authoritative when he says masonry is a religion, then
you are not authoritative when denying that statement. So where does the
authority lie? It is clear to me that Masonry likes nothing to be authoritative
except the Rituals, and then tries to ensure that no one outside masonry can see
them. As an analyst by profession, the logic of this escapes me.
Finally, I would like to state that in everything I say or write concerning
masonry, I try to stick to the facts and be nonjudgmental. This is hard, as you
can imagine; however, both my father and father-in-law are masons, and if I
attack any Mason, I attack those I love as well. Yet by keeping silent I also
hurt them by not expressing my concerns and prodding them (or any) Mason into
questioning what he does and why. The Mason's decision is his to make, for he
accepts the consequences. This leads me to ask you: Is Masonry is your religion?
Is the Lodge more important to you than Jesus? Do you spend more time studying
Masonic rituals than you do in Bible study? If these answers are yes, perhaps
you should consider what you have accomplished in Masonry in the light of the
instructions Jesus gave his disciples in the last chapter of Matthew.
T.N. Sampson II
February 12, 1994
Personal and professional obligations have prevented me from answering your
letter of October 4 in a more timely manner. I do appreciate the cordial tone of
your letters; you are the only anti-Mason to communicate with me and to have the
civility of identifying yourself. I usually receive anonymous mailings of tracts
by Jack Chick or Ed Decker.
It is not surprising that Rev. Shaw has not responded to you. He is a
pathetic liar caught in his web of deceit. As far as I know, no anti-Mason has
ever expressed embarrassment or even chagrin at his lies (or those of Carlson,
Schnoebelen, Chick, Decker, and so many others). Only Dr. Robert Morey has
acknowledged the outlandishness of some attacks against Masonry. Most
anti-Masons, if they can be convinced that one of their sources has engaged in
premeditated fraud, just quietly drop the reference and move on to another
Rev. Shaw did much more than "falsely claim so many titles and Lodge office,"
as you narrowly acknowledged. He maliciously perverted the descriptions of his
Lodge experience to slander Freemasonry, and his book is still in wide
distribution, a wolf in sheep's clothing, duping the trusting.
Your summary of Freemasonry is interesting, but abounds with factual and
interpretative errors. There are so many that I must decline your offer to
correct them for you. I simply do not have the time to point out all of them,
but I will show you some.
The only mysteries or hidden "knowledge" to be found in Freemasonry are the
modes of recognition and the stories told in the degrees. Masons are encouraged
to undertake a spiritual examination, but no answer is given or demanded. Each
Mason must reach his own, independent conclusions. Freemasonry, not being a
religion, is incapable of providing an answer.
Your sources deserve some comment. Ankerberg's The Secret Teaching of the
Masonic Lodge relies heavily on Blanchard's Scotch Rite Masonry
Illustrated (which I hope I convinced you is inaccurate, but on which you
haven't commented). I do not have Duncan's Ritual, but I presume it, like
most exposés, is reasonably accurate. The problem comes with the inaccuracies.
For example, Rev. Shaw gives a generally correct description of Freemasonry but
slips in his twisted tales of reincarnation, resurrection, and phallic worship.
I have a complete monitor for you and will present it on the night you become a
Master Mason. (This is a joke between us, but the offer is nonetheless serious.)
You are right that I am not authoritative when I deny Masonry is a religion.
I, as well as Hutchens, Coil, et al., am an individual Mason speaking for
myself. I am, however, consistent with most historians, the vast majority of
Masons, the Southern Baptist Convention's study, and, most importantly above all
others, with Grand Lodges.
Here's what the S.B.C. said on p. 70 of their $100,000+ report. (Its final
version was so negative towards Freemasonry that its principal author, Dr. Gary
Leazer, asked that his name be removed.) It's confounding that you choose to
ignore the consistent statements of Grand Lodges, the "overwhelming majority of
Masonic Leaders," and the finding of the S.B.C.
- While some Masonic writers and some Masons consider Freemasonry a
religion, even their religion, the overwhelming majority of Masons reject the
idea that Freemasonry is a religion. The various monitors of Grand Lodges and
statements from the overwhelming majority of Masonic leaders in the past and
today deny that Freemasonry is a religion.
- Since Freemasonry requires no doctrinal statement from members, other than
the general affirmation concerning the existence of God, it is reasonable to
expect that Masons profess a broad range of beliefs about religious matters.
. . . While the vast majority of Masons are professing Christians,
some Masons are non-Christians, a few are probably or have been
anti-Christians. It is illogical to insist that the beliefs of one or more
Masons constitute the beliefs of all Masons.
- It was not found that Freemasonry is anti-Christian or Satanic, nor does
it oppose the Christian church. While a few Masonic writers glorify
non-Christian philosophy and religions, they are clearly a minor voice. Every
organization, including the Christian church, has some individuals who espouse
positions not held by the vast majority of members. Organizations must be
judged by the positions of the majority, not those of a small minority.
Authority for Freemasonry lies with Grand Lodges, not independent writers,
however respected they may be. Henry Wilson Coil was a Californian Masons; his
encyclopedia was commercially published in New York. The only force his writings
have on Maryland Masonry is that of a good, conservative historian.
Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggart were (and perhaps still are) widely heard and
read ordained ministers of the Assemblies of God (if my memory serves me). Their
writings are not authoritative for the Assemblies of God, much less the Baptists
It is difficult to comment on your paper as you chose to give few citations
and seem to rely almost exclusively on secondary research. I will offer a few
corrections, but cannot give a comprehensive revision.
I have never heard of a Grand Lodge named "Ancient Order of Free and
Accepted Masons." Most commonly in the U.S. the fraternity is known as "Ancient,
Free and Accepted Masons," A.F.&A.M., or "Free and Accepted Masons,"
Masonry does not deny Christian beliefs any more than Rotary does. It is not
a religion, it does not allow religious discussions at its meetings, and is thus
incapable of accepting or denying the beliefs of any religion.
The history of Masonry written prior to the twentieth century is indeed
"almost totally fiction," but you ignore or are unaware of the "authentic
school" of Masonic history that arose about 1880 and now comprises the majority
of Masonic history writing. Robert Freke Gould exemplifies modern Masonic
scholarship: scrupulous in facts, insistent on details, conservative in
conclusions. There are abundant, accurate (and non-sensational) histories
available for anyone who bothers to look. Good choices are Gould's History Of
Freemasonry, Coil's Freemasonry Through Six Centuries, Hamill's
The Craft, and almost anything published in Ars Quatuor
Coronatorum, the transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London,
the premier Lodge of Masonic research.
There is no Masonic "doctrine" to keep pure. Thus the idea of central
enforcement is meaningless. Freemasonry, not being a religion nor having a
doctrine, does not care how much or how little its members believe, as long as
they believe in God.
The Worshipful Master is not a symbol of deity, any more than the
"Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of London." The title preserves an archaic word
form, as found in the Wycliff Bible, "Worchyp thy fadir. . . ."
There is no part of the Lodge called the "Holy of Holies." During parts of
the ceremonies, the room indeed represents King Solomon's Temple, with the
porch, steps, middle chamber, and Holy of Holies. This usage is similar to a
church front lawn at Christmas representing the manger in Bethlehem.
Master Masons are not symbolically raised from the dead. The Hiramic Legend
has the body of Hiram removed from a temporary grave for reinterring.
Masonry does believe in the Fatherhood of Good and the Brotherhood of Man. It
says nothing about "all men [being] His spiritual sons in good standing with
Him." To belabor a point (which you hae choosen to not accept), Freemasonry
is not a religion and is incapable of such pronouncements.
Freemasonry does not each "that self-improvement and good works will secure
God's favor and guarantee entry into heaven." It offers no path of salvation nor
sacraments of any sort. It only presents symbols for the individual Masons to
interpret for himself. My lambskin apron reminds me of St. James's
admonition that "Faith without works is dead."
Contrary to your assertion that Masonry teaches "God is an unreachable,
uncaring Spirit," Masons are taught the vital importance of regular prayer.
Masonry does not teach that the Name of God is lost. The Royal Arch Degree in
particular reaffirms that His name is (the pronunciation of which is indeed
The York Rite does not teach that "Jahbulon" is the secret name of God. This
lie originated with Walter Hannah's Darkness Visible, 1952. (A little
more attention to original sources would greatly improve the accuracy of your
The name of Jesus is not forbidden in Lodge prayers. His name is used widely
in Lodges around the world.
The legend of Hiram Abiff is not presented as biblical history; its analysis
is available for anyone to read. I suppose some Masons may think it is history,
but then again many Christians probably believe the Bible says there were three
wise men and their names are Balthazar, Melchior, and Gaspar.
I am particularly disappointed in the way you subtly misused my statistics on
1990 Masonic charity. The source of your figures is my book, Masonic
Philanthropies, which you did not choose to acknowledge. When I compiled the
figures I tried to be scrupulously accurate in all categories, so there was no
possibility of misinterpretation by fair-minded readers. Your quote is "42% of
the $525 million collected by Masonic charities went to non-public (i.e. Lodge)
purposes." This could be easily read as going for refreshments, entertainment,
or Lodge operating expenses. The money went to orphanages and retirement homes,
which I think can be appropriately called philanthropy. The Methodist Church
maintains a retirement home in Baltimore, and the Church considers it a part of
their ministry, even through the residents are all Methodists. Is this true
charity? The Methodist Church thinks so, I think so, but you may not. If you
don't, then by all means discount this aspect of Masonic philanthropy, but your
readers deserve a more accurate treatment of the facts. Tell them where the
money goes and why you don't think it counts as charity.
At this point I must stop correcting your errors; I do not have the time. My
efforts, though, would be ultimately fruitless as you have reached a verdict,
passed sentence, and now seek only to sift through the evidence to support your
conclusions. I have neither the time nor interest to continue our
In closing, let me answer your final questions.
- Masonry is not my religion.
- Jesus is infinitely more important to me than the Lodge.
- I study the Bible more than Masonic ritual.
In fact it was through Masonic ritual that I increased my interest in and
study of the Bible. This led to a two-year Bible teacher training program with a
commitment to teach a two-year Bible course. I have ten weeks left teaching my
original course and am making plans for another when this is done. Regular Bible
study is essential to Christian growth.
It is important to me to be challenged in my response to God's love, to be
reminded of the impossibility of ever repaying or of being worthy of His great
gift. The most I as a repentant sinner can be is what I am now: forgiven.
When given a challenge to my Christian faith and responsibilities, such as
contained in your last paragraph, I am grateful for the reminder of my debt and
of my failures in repaying it. I gladly turn my other cheek to you.
S. BRENT MORRIS, Ph.D.
Book Review Editor
The Scottish Rite
cc: J. W. Boettjer, 33º
February 27, 1994
Dear Dr Morris:
Thank you for your response. I appreciate the time expended in compiling the
response, and I find your sense of humor delightful and your letters a real
pleasure to read. However, I will respect your decision to discontinue our
To wrap up our exchanges, I have taken the following actions pertinent to
- changed the title to "Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons".
- rewrote the statement about doctrine and lack of central enforcement, as
the latter is indeed meaningless.
- deleted the reference to the WM being a symbol of Deity.
This came out of The Scottish Rite Journal (Crabbe, Summer, 93). (*) I had
assumed since it is published by the Supreme Council that it must be factual. No
other Mason has subsequently has supported that position.
- deleted the reference to the Master Mason's Lodge being called the "Holy
This came from Duncan's Monitor, but no Mason I have talked to is
aware of it.
- rewrote the Masonic charity comment.
I was not aware that you were the source. I'll get a copy and ensure my
statements are consistent with yours. I drew the data from the Journal
(Hinton, Feb 93), which did not address the remainder of the equation.
- will get a copy of Gould's History of Freemasonry.
As to your other comments:
I am matching it against A Bridge To Light to see what commonalities
there are. I have also asked masons who have demitted to comment on some of the
rituals quoted by Blanchard.
- Masonry is not a religion.
At the worst, include me in a minority Masonic opinion. Masonry's practices
and rituals are proof enough to support such a conclusion. FYI, the PR campaign
about Masonry not being a religion has been successful. Masons mention that
right up front, though many have never heard of Masonic writers who support that
viewpoint (Pike, Coil, etc) . Coil is undergoing revision, and his view will not
survive the update by the purity group. Of interest to you, one Mason noted that
Pike and Hutchens were outdated, and no longer applicable. I pointed out that
you had done a review of Hutchens I book in the Nov 93 issue of the Journal,
thus undercutting his argument. His vague response was not flattering to
you, and I found myself in the strange position of defending your integrity.
- No symbolic raise from the dead.
I can see no other meaning of the candidate being "raised" in the 3rd degree.
The candidate has been doing a great job of imitating a corpse for almost an
hour; I think the act we are addressing has no other practical teaching. Several
Masons have confirmed that viewpoint.
- "All men in good standing with Him".
You will not be surprised how many Masons have expressed exactly that
sentiment to me.
- Name of God lost/no Jahbulon.
Both have been confirmed by other Masons. With many of the rituals being
given in very compressed times, it is quite believable that many have not
understood the impact of this part. However, those who choose to study the
rituals for moral and spiritual lessons seem to find the oddest things there.
"Self improvement". As before, I find that viewpoint over and over again when
talking to Masons.
- Jesus, name used in lodge?
Again, many Masons have explained to me very carefully why His name cannot be
used in the lodge.
I have indeed read it, and several times at that. Did Dr Leazer remove his
name? Others have said he was fired for his lack of impartiality. In any rate, I
found the study flawed in some key areas, but, as I have stated before, agreed
with the conclusion.
Your comment about authoritative writers contained a nugget that you perhaps
did not intend. Both Baker and Swaggart, before or after their respective
Waterloos, were authoritative only when their writings or comments were
consistent with the Bible, which is the source of Christian doctrine. By the
same token, Coil, Hutchens and Pike are authoritative only when consistent with
Masonic doctrine. This doctrine does not exist in clear written form, but exists
nonetheless in the ritual and in the lodge. have dealt with enough Masons to
hear the same comments over and over again to finally understand that such
doctrine does indeed exist, and covers four main points:
- the Bible is one of several books of Divine Will, and no better or worse
than the others; all religions are part of one Religion; all gods merely
reflect one God; good works, tolerance of all religious beliefs and personal
improvement are all one needs to enter the Celestial Lodge above.
I think that this doctrine extends to many Masons, spiritual life, and
contributes to their strange view of Christianity.
T.N. Sampson II
P.S. -- You may be interested to know that Ed Decker recently stepped
on his sword in a very large and public fashion. His Mormon video, Godmakers
II, used sources that were questionable at best. As a result, it has been
condemned by the most reliable sources of data on Mormonism. He retains little
credibility because of that work and his very negative reaction to criticism.
[* The article by
Norman William Crabbe actually appeared in the Royal Arch Mason Magazine.
See Letter 6. ]
March 5, 1994
Norman William Crabbe
Dear Mr Crabbe:
Your interesting article appearing in the Summer 93 issue of The Royal
Arch Mason Magazine contained a statement that has been rejected by Scottish
Rite gentlemen of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction. I wonder if
I could impose upon you to clarify the matter?
The question was whether the Master symbolized Deity, as your article
claimed. I used that comment in an article I passed along to Dr S. Brent Morris
at the Council and he specifically said that the Master symbolized no such
thing. I realize that many may see different things in Masonic symbolism, but
your comment seemed pretty clear and, appearing as it did in an "official"
magazine, I thought that it reflected a body of opinion.
By way of explanation, I am not a Mason,
nor am I an "antiMason" (whatever that phrase may really mean). I have been
researching masonry for about four years to see what it really is and does, and
have been surprised by the amount of misinformation on both sides of the issue.
Articles such as yours are an important element in my research as it is far
better to hear the views of someone who has first hand familiarity with the
subject matter than one who is "guessing" from the outside.
I thank you in advance for taking the time to explain this matter to me.
T.N. Sampson II
March 12th, 1994
Dear Mr. T.N. Sampson II:
Thank you for your letter. I will do my best to answer you but I'm not sure
this answer will be of much help to you.
I would expect that Brent and I would have different opinions given the
Democratic nature of Masonry. The Science of Freemasonry is exact but the Art of
the Craft is left up to one's personal interpretation. I'm sorry but I am unable
to offer you any substantiating evidence that my statements are in agreement
with even one other Mason; living or dead. Please don't feel slighted. I have
never intended to substantiate my statements to anyone either within the Craft
or without the Craft. These views are personal, subjective, observations
accumulated over years of study; not only of Masonry, but of Religions and
Philosophies in general. They are my own.
The Royal Arch Magazine to my knowledge is a vehicle where Royal Arch
Masons can air their personal views on Masonic topics. For Clarification please
contact the Editor of the R.A.M.
I am enclosing a reading list that I hope you may find interesting. I hope
that you are able to spend the time required to read at least some of these
Masonry is for many men a starting point on their quest for Knowledge.
Masonry in of itself is never the "End" of the quest for Knowledge. This is one
of the Many reasons why Masonry is not nor can it ever be a "Religion". There is
"No" Dogma or Theology in Freemasonry. True Freemasonry is inclusive not
exclusive when dealing with the Religions of the World.
Yours in Faith,
Norman W. Crabbe
May 31, 1994
Dear Mr. Sampson:
Please forgive me for troubling you after I asked that our correspondence
1. May I have your permission to reprint your correspondence in an article
I am preparing on arguments used against Freemasonry?
2. What definition of "cult" does Cornerstone Ministries use?
3. Can you furnish me with a list of the organizations against which
Cornerstone Ministries cautions Christians?
4. Have you ever received a reply from Rev. Shaw responding to the evidence
that he lied about his Masonic experiences? (I understand that his publishers
are aware of the evidence and that they have contacted him and Mr. McKenny. I
do not know what answer they may have received from Rev. Shaw or Mr. McKenny.)
Thank you for considering my requests.
S. BRENT MORRIS, Ph.D.
Book Review Editor
The Scottish Rite
June 2, 1994
Dear Dr Morris:
With respect to your questions:
1. You have my unrestricted permission to quote from my correspondence for
any purpose you wish. I would be interested to know for which forum the
article is intended, for the obvious reason. If it is the Scottish Rite
Journal, perhaps you would forward my request for a subscription?
2. Generally speaking, a "cult" can describe any group that deviates
significantly from a "norm". Therefore, any group (Christian, Mormon, Islam,
or even Masonry) can have cults in their midst. If Catholicism is considered
the norm, one could brand the Protestant movement as being a cult. A cult
differs from a religion in that it usually features faith in one person's
teachings, an autocratic control structure, an absolute control over members'
salvation. Having said all this, my own definition of a "cult" follows that
used by Dr Walter Martin: a group of people gathered about a specific person
or person's misinterpretation of the Bible." A cult then "embraces, teaches or
practices religious doctrine contrary to the accepted and established truth of
Biblical Christianity." (The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, 1986)
3. We primarily address the beliefs of two cults (Mormonism and Jehovah's
Witnesses) and two religions (Freemasonry and New Age), though we also offer
information on the beliefs of other religions, such as Catholicism, Islam,
Hinduism and Buddhism. We are also a member of the Cult Awareness Network (a
secular group) and are available to answer questions on any religious belief
We neither charge for our services nor do we solicit support from those who
4. Neither Rev. Shaw nor his spokesman has responded to our letter. As
noted earlier, I have removed his book from our bibliography due to the
charges you raised. I am in no position to assess the truth, but you have made
the better case.
Of possible interest to you is a current discussion on the Masonry forum in
Compuserve on Masonic Spirituality. I have found it a fascinating discussion,
given the public declarations that Masonry is not a religion. There has also
been much discussion about possible legal action against those who "libel"
Masonry. An interesting reaction, though I think it is more "spleen venting"
than a plan of action. Finally, in yet another discussion, one of the
correspondents ended his note with "in the faith..."; I wonder what faith he was
referring to? At any rate, you would find the forum very interesting.
I am including the most recent copy of our booklet. You will find that the
chapter of Masonry has been updated to reflect additional information learned
since the initial printing. The first chapter on Christianity should provide
sufficient background to understand my perspective on writing the booklet.
Should you have additional questions, please let me know.
T.N. Sampson II
August 10, 1994
Dear Mr. Sampson,
Thank you for your letter of June 2, 1994, agreeing to let me quote from your
correspondence. My article is intended as an additional chapter in a revised and
expanded version of the book I co-authored with Art deHoyos, Is It True What
They Say About Freemasonry? (Silver Spring, Md.: M.S.A., 1994). It may be
published separately as an article in its own right. I would not expect the
revised book to be published for another year or so, but I will send you copies
of anything in which I quote you.
It is satisfying to hear you say that I make a better case than Rev. Shaw,
but I am disappointed that you feel you are in no position to assess the truth.
The issues I raise are objective statements of fact that require no judgement or
opinion. Rev. Shaw's publisher has sternly assured me that he can refute all of
my charges, but so far he hasn't bothered to send me any data.
What would it take to convince you that Rev. Shaw is a liar? I have a copy of
his resignation letter plus his dues card at the time which shows him to be a
32°, K.C.C.H., not a 33°. I can send you copies of lists of every Master of
every Lodge in Florida from 1952-1966 (when Rev. Shaw was a member in Florida).
I can also send you copies of lists of every new 33° from Florida during the
same period. Is there any amount of objective, independently verifiable evidence
that will sway your opinion of Rev. Shaw? Knowing this will help me revise my
S. BRENT MORRIS, Ph.D.
August 20, 1994
Dear Dr. Morris:
I look forward to your book and will obtain a copy for my library upon its
publication. Good sources can be hard to find.
As to Rev. Shaw, I am somewhat curious why my opinion would matter. I am a
'cowan' on the Masonry forum on Compuserve, and it is clear from their
conversations that anyone who dares criticize Masonry for any reason is a
bigoted, intolerant fool who is in it only for financial reasons. That there may
be those who have solid reasons for questioning Masonic practices, and who do so
honestly, is not even considered a possibility. Given that standing definition,
I do not see how any agreement we reach in this matter is useful to either of
Having said that, you have asked a fair question, and it deserves an answer.
Rev. Shaw has made a specific claim about being selected to receive the 33º. You
have stated that this is untrue. I would consider a letter from the Supreme
Council, on letterhead, signed by C. Fred Kleinknecht, stating that Rev. Shaw
was neither invited to receive, nor received, the 33° honor at any time
sufficient proof that Shaw lied about this facet of his Masonic life. And, since
it is such a critical part of his book, I would consider it be sufficient to
reject him as a source of information (something, in fact, I have already done).
Since it has been somewhat over 3 years since I first started writing on
Masonry, you may be interested to know how I have changed my own views. First, I
no longer bring Albert Pike into the equation, as the main fact of his
Luciferian viewpoints has indeed shown to be a lie (though there is a slight
hint of this in Morals & Dogma, pg. 321). As well, I note a change in
the ritual over the years, meaning that what is fisted in Blanchard, Duncan, and
Richardson do not completely reflect today's Masonry. I also believe you did
yourselves no favor by not sitting down with the foremost of Masonry's critics
and let them see the ritual used. The honest ones would not then have
relied on data listed in other sources, and you would have avoided some of the
harshest charges. For example, what if Ankerberg had seen the actual rituals and
not relied on Blanchard's work? Finally, I note the fact that Masonry changes
slowly, but indeed changes. Perhaps the criticism raised has forced some of that
change. But, with these modifications I have not changed my view that Masonry
offers an alien god to those who fall for the stage props indicating that the
Biblical God resides in the Lodge or is somehow connected to Him via Solomon.
Nor have I changed my view that the tolerance so stressed in Masonic lessons
highlights the underlying assumption that, since all religions are the same, one
must be tolerant, as it is the same God in all. These I continue to find
T.N. Sampson II
August 29, 1994
Dear Mr. Sampson,
Dr. S. Brent Morris, who reviews books for the Scottish Rite Journal,
has forwarded to me a copy of your letter to him of August 20, 1994. In this
letter, you say: "I would consider a letter from the Supreme Council, on
letterhead, signed by C. Fred Kleinknecht, stating that Rev. Shaw was neither
invited to receive, nor received, the 33° honor at any time sufficient proof
that Shaw lied about this facet of his Masonic life." I am a little surprised
you require such a letter to convince you Mr. Shaw has grossly and deliberately
misrepresented the facts of his alleged Thirty-third Degree status in the
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in his book The Deadly Deception, coauthored
with Tom McKinney. I understand you have received a copy of Is It True What
They Say About Freemasonry? by Dr. Morris and Art deHoyos. In this book,
pages 38 to 52, you have read specific facts and seen photocopied records
directly refuting Mr. Shaw's claims.
Nevertheless, I am pleased to cooperate with your request and state
unequivocally that Mr. Shaw was neither invited to receive, nor received, the
33° honor at any time. Rather, it is my opinion, Mr. Shaw has yielded to
religious enthusiasm to such an extent that he is willing to lie in what he has
come to believe is a good cause. This is putting the best light on his actions.
Less charitable souls might point to the profits he, Mr. McKenney, and the
book's publisher have gained by distributing this book. I hope Mr. Shaw, all
concerned with The Deadly Deception, and you will pause to reconsider
James 1:26 which states: "If any think they are religious, and do not bridle
their tongues but deceive their heart, their religion is worthless."
C. Fred Kleinknecht
September 5, 1994
Dear Sir: [C. Fred Kleinknecht]
Many thanks for your letter of August 29. That you are willing to state in
print that Rev. Shaw never held tile degree claimed tells me that the claim is
Let me put your mind at rest concerning my reason for the request. I do not
have a copy of Dr. Morris' book Is It True What They Say About
Freemasonry? rather, I intend to buy a copy next year when the updated
version is ready. I was also unaware that Dr. Morris had presented photocopied
evidence refuting Rev. Shaw's claims in that book. With no such proof in hand, I
felt the letter as requested would be sufficient, and certainly appreciate Dr.
Morris' offer of "proof positive". I continue to find it illuminating that Rev.
Shaw would lie in an area that could be so easily disproved.
Of interest, I recently talked to a woman who had persuaded her husband not
to join Masonry. She had used Rev. Shaw's book to buttress her discussion. I
told her that there was much disagreement about Rev. Shaw's veracity, but that I
agreed with her that there were good reasons for avoiding the Lodge.
In any event, I do not use the book since Dr. Morris' concerns were raised,
and certainly would not recommend it based on the facts at hand.
September 3, 1994
Dear Mr. Sampson,
Thank you for answering my question about Rev. Shaw. You should have now a
letter from Mr. C. Fred Kleinknecht stating that Rev. Shaw was neither invited
to receive, nor received, the 33° honor at any time.
You have been a courteous correspondent, even if you carefully came just
short of calling me a liar about Rev. Shaw. I asked what would convince you,
because you have so doggedly dismissed any evidence offered in the case of Rev.
Shaw. I wanted to know if there was any amount of testimony that would convince
you or other critics of Masonry. Even with the unequivocal statement from Mr.
Kleinknecht, I note that you will only consider this "proof that Shaw lied about
this facet of his Masonic life."
Rev. Shaw did not tell the truth about being a 33°, a Past Master, Paster
Master of all Scottish Rite bodies, or about revealing the "secrets" of the 33°
for the first time in history. Further he distorted the cost of joining, as well
as drinking in Florida Lodges. Each of these prevarications can be independently
verified with public records.
There is no "'minimum donation' of a very large amount of money" to receive
the 33°. There is no interview before receiving the 33°, and there is absolutely
no discussion of member's religion before, after, or during the 33° ceremonies.
These are among the many other fabrication that Rev. Shaw concocted about his
Masonic experience, but none of these can be independently confirmed. I will not
impose on your credulity by asking you to believe the word of a Mason.
However, there is plenty of objective evidence that doesn't require you to
take the word of a Mason. Rather than only "doubt[ing] this facet of Shaw's
Masonic life," you might have doubted more of his statements, perhaps even that
nothing he said should be trusted without corroboration. Your loyalty to Rev.
Shaw is very touching.
With the exception of Dr. Robert Morey, I have never read an anti-Masonic
writer who had any concern about the venomous lies that are repeated about
Masonry. Jack Chick's vile comic, "The Curse of Baphomet," comes to mind as an
example, as well as the publications of Texe Marrs, Ed Decker, and Ron Carlson.
It is interesting that you think we should share our rituals with our
critics. When Rev. Pat Robertson repeated the Pike-Lucifer hoax in The New
World Order, Mr. Kleinknecht wrote to him on May 12, 1992, pointed out the
error, and said, "If we must disagree let us base our disagreement upon the
truth." He further said, "All of [Pike's] writings are in the Library of The
Supreme Council, 33°, at the House of the Temple, in Washington, D.C. They are
available for public inspection, and you are welcome to read them." I am not
sure what more could be offered.
Rev. Robertson has not given Mr. Kleinknecht the courtesy of a reply. There
seems to be little interest on Rev. Robertson's part in correcting factual
errors, at least as long as only Masons are being defamed. I do not share your
idealism about the good intentions of anti-Masons, especially those with a
profitable line of lurid publications.
S. BRENT MORRIS, Ph.D.
Book Review Editor
The Scottish Rite
cc: J.W. Boettjer, 33°
September 9, 1994
Dear Dr. Morris:
I did indeed receive the requested statement from Mr. Kleinknecht, who noted
his surprise at the request. He had the mistaken impression I had already read
your book Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry?and had seen the
documentary evidence therein. I noted that I had not seen the book, but looked
forward to buying the updated version next year. As to the letter itself, it was
all I had asked for and I consider the case closed on Rev. Shaw.
I do remain somewhat curious as to why my opinion of Rev. Shaw's book, or his
veracity, is of such apparent interest to you. I get the impression that there
is something you wish me to say, but I cannot fathom what that might be. Rather
than being 'loyal' to Rev. Shaw, as you have charged, I have dropped him from my
list of references and do not use any of his material. I informed you of this as
early as Oct 93 and again in Jun 94. Further, it is not my function to document
and publish errors in books on Masonry, pro or con; rather, it is to find
credible sources to use in developing my own opinions. I use this technique in
any area of study, be it Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses or Christianity. Based
on our correspondence, I do not find Rev. Shaw a credible source. Period.
Of possible interest to you is that a Mason recently noted to me that one
selected to the 33° degree was required to pay $1,000 to cover the cost of his
ring, dinner, hotel and other related expenses incident to his selection. Now
you and I can quibble over what constitutes a "minimum donation", but clearly
money is required from the candidate, a fact which you appear to deny. Another
Mason noted that drinking was allowed in the rooms adjacent to the lodge when a
new WM was installed. Yet you have flatly denied that drinking is allowed. Since
the truth is not totally clear in either case, I do not accuse you of being a
liar; however, I do think that you have been less than forthcoming in some key
areas. As you quite correctly point out, nothing requires me to take the word of
a Mason, or any other person, in matters of fact. Sufficient objective evidence
can always be found to determine what is true and what is not.
As to sharing your rituals, the example I had in mind was John Ankerberg, who
noted that failure to obtain the approved rituals resulted in using Blanchard.
As I noted, a little "horse trading" on both sides would have resulted in more
of the truth being known, and less of the unjust criticism. I found Ankerberg's
books pretty well thought through, though he did overly rely on Blanchard, which
you have convinced me does not reflect current Masonic rituals.
Finally, it is surprising that you would mention Jack Chick's The Curse of
Baphomet, as I found a copy waiting for me the day I received your letter. A
neighbor had ordered several such booklets and asked me about them. I found it
somewhat overheated, and its conclusions do not agree with my own. I would
neither endorse it nor distribute it based on its contents; however, it did
raise an interesting question about the symbol on your cap. I have nothing on
that symbol or its origination. Perhaps you could identify a source which
explains such Masonic symbols? And rest assured: I do not accuse Masons of
T.N. Sampson II
November 29, 1994
Dear Mr. Sampson,
Your letter of September 9 was received. I resent your suggestion that I have
not been forthcoming with you. I have answered you with statements you can
verify for yourself. In contrast you present anonymous anecdotes, but I will try
to respond fairly.
There is nothing more you need to say about Rev. Shaw; your many previous
statements speak loudly and clearly.
On page 101 of The Deadly Deception, Rev. Shaw described the alleged
"minimum donation" required to receive the 33rd Degree.
She then told me that in order to
receive the [33rd] degree, I would be expected to make a "minimum donation" of
a very large amount of money (at least it was a "very large" amount for
me). This took me completely by surprise for there had not been a word about
any such "minimum donation" in my letter sent me by the Supreme Council.
It would seem that Rev. Shaw is trying to
create an unflattering image of the Supreme Council luring 33rd Degree
candidates to Washington and then surprising them with an unwritten requirement
of a substantial donation. In my letter to you of September 3, I referred to
this and other falsifications of Rev. Shaw concerning his alleged receipt of the
33rd Degree. There is a fee for the degree, but it is well-known and published
in the Statutes of the Supreme Council, "Art. XI, Sec. 4.E. For the
Thirty-third Degree, Patent included -- $200.00." Anyone who bothers to read the
Statutes knows about the fee; every other expense associated with the
degree is voluntary. There is no charge to new 33rd Degree Masons for the
Supreme Council banquet, despite what your unnamed informant may have told you.
The Supreme Council normally elects new 33rd Degree members on a Monday
morning, and the degree is conferred Tuesday afternoon. If a newly elected 33rd
Degree Mason chooses to receive the degree in Washington, there is indeed the
expense of travel and lodging. However, the degree is conferred many times
around the country in regional meetings.
In 1991, Wilkins Jewelers, Inc. of Vero Beach, Florida charged $120.75 to
$280.50 for a gold 33rd ring, depending on weight and karat, and $275 for a 33rd
jewel. Neither a ring nor a jewel is required to receive the degree, just as a
senior class ring is not required to graduate from high school or college.
A new 33rd Degree Mason could spend $755.50 for the fee, ring, and jewel. On
the other hand I spent nothing when I received the degree: the Valley of
Baltimore paid my initiation fee; I chose to continue wearing my 32° ring; and I
have not bought a jewel.
I do not deny nor have I denied there are expenses associated with receiving
the 33rd Degree. However, they are either well-known and published or entirely
voluntary. What I do deny is Rev. Shaw's allegation that there is any sort of
unexpected "minimum donation." That is simply not true.
I never said "drinking is not allowed." That would be as foolish as saying,
"No one professing to follow Christ drinks." What I did point out is that the
Grand Lodge of Florida and the Supreme Council, S.J. completely forbid alcohol
at the functions of their subordinate lodges. Rev. Shaw's description of
drinking by Florida Masons is as phony as the idea that a Seventh Day Adventist
church would sponsor a wine tasting.
Different grand lodges have different rules concerning alcohol--some stricter
and some more lenient than Florida. I cannot say anything about your other
anonymous story, since you don't share the year, state, or other pertinent
details. I can say, however, that Rev. Shaw's pious pronouncement on drinking in
Florida is another of his slick fabrications: "But it bothered me that there was
always so much [drinking] and that it played such a major role in the
The question you raise about the 33rd Degree emblem is an interesting one,
but I do not have the time to do research for you. Thank you for answering my
questions. This letter, so far as I am concerned, concludes our correspondence.
S. BRENT MORRIS, Ph.D.
Book Review Editor
Dear Dr. Morris:
This letter is not to restart old arguments, but rather to fulfill an old
promise. Two years ago I said that if I ever received any information on Rev.
Shaw's claims from the writer of The Deadly Deception, I would
pass them along. Mr McKenney has sent along a position paper on the subject,
which I have enclosed for your review. Rev. Shaw, as you know, passed away.
While I have your attention, may I recommend finding another editor? In
rereading your book Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry?", I noted
that, on pages 41 and 43 you have extracts from the references being used to
rebut Rev. Shaws claims; however, you've used the 1989 examples, when Shaw left
the Craft in 1966. Unless I've missed something, it would have made more sense
to show the extracts from the year in which Rev. Shaw made his claims, not
extracts some 20 years after the event. A second instance is in your article in
the October 95 issue of The Philalethes entitled 'Misrepresentations
of Freemasonry. In this article, I had a difficult time separating your
comments from quotes by Enchanted. For example, refer to the paragraphs under
the heading 'The Difficulty of Dialog' (pg 104). How is the reader to tell which
paragraphs are yours and which are quotes? In rereading, I assume the odd
paragraphs are yours (1,3 & 5) and the even by Enchanter! otherwise, the
article has you saying "(you) have taken vows to uphold certain secrets, even if
it means telling lies." (Was that indeed what Enchanter! said? Is that a true
statement?) The same problem occurs in the quotes from Dr. Morey's book, where
quotation marks were not used, nor was a colon used in the preceding paragraph
to introduce the quotes. Ditto the quotes under the heading 'Deficient
Research'. Seems to me that any good editor would have ensured that quotes were
properly indicated. Finally, and a very minor point, Grand Lodges are
capitalized except once in your quote from the deHoyos and Morris book. In that
quote, one "lodge" appears with a lower case "I". Again, a good editor would
have caught this. I bring this to your attention because arguments for or
against Masonry are sometimes "discarded" for 'editorial' reasons, vice
incorrect factual statements. I hope we both support the view that this argument
should be based on facts.
While on my soapbox, I did find consistent your attempts to separate Albert
Pike from the Scottish Rite. It's certainly true that he not the "guiding force"
behind Masonry, but he certainly was that force behind the SR, southern variant.
One cannot separate him as easily as Masonic writers would have us believe. I
also found it interesting that you noted that Pike's tome has not been
distributed in the SR since ca 1971, but did not bother to mention that
A Bridge to Light is distributed in its place. Since the latter is based
mainly on the former, one easily (and correctly) concludes that Pike's thoughts
remain in force in the SRSJ.
Since you are interested in the 'online world', among the interesting
opinions expressed on our electronic highways these days was one entitled
'The Damning of Spiritual Masonry' by Norman Williams Crabbe, MPS, (claimed
to be reprinted from The Philalethes, April 1994). An intriguing article,
to be sure. It told me much about Masonic thinking (minority view, I assume) and
of the quality of writing that The Philalethes is willing to publish
(assuming the claim is true).
Finally, the next Leadership Conference on Masonry will be in Indianapolis
next June and I extended an invitation to Allen Roberts, via Nelson King, to
attend. Mr. Roberts had a few comments on the last conference and I thought that
he might wish to attend the next and present his own views. You should consider
attending yourself if nothing else, it would get us all together for an open
discussion of viewpoints (we all trust riot control measures will not be
T.N. Sampson II
POSITION PAPER - JAMES D. SHAW AND THE 33RD DEGREE
[By Tom McKenney]
22 February 1995
1. The Issue. Subsequent to the publication of "The Deadly
Deception...Freemasonry Exposed by one of Its Top Leaders" (Huntington House,
Lafayette, La), charges have been made by Scottish Rite Masonry that Jim Shaw
was never a 33rd Degree Mason; the charges were subsequently expanded to allege
that Jim also was never Worshipful Master of his Blue Lodge or Master of any
Scottish Rite Body, and that he was not "one of (Masonry's) top leaders".
2. Evidence In Support of the Charges:
- A. Scottish Rite Masonry presents that it has no records of Jim's having
held the offices or degree in question.
- B. Scottish Rite Masonry presents records appearing to show that Jim was
made Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH), the prerequisite honor and
"final stepping stone" to the 33rd Degree, in October 1965 but resigned from
Masonry one year later, effective October 1966, before becoming eligible for
the 33rd Degree. (Theoretically a man must be KCCH for 4 years before being
considered for 33rd Degree).
3. Evidence in Support of Jim Shaw's Testimony:
- A. Jim Shaw's Character and Reputation. Jim Shaw has been a
dedicated Christian for 30 years, a man of unquestioned character until these
charges were brought by Masonic officialdom.
- B. Masonry's Attitude Toward Truth. Freemasonry is a system built
upon lies and deception (for only one of many references, see Morals and
Dogma, p 819).
- C. My Own Pre-Publication investigation. Before I wrote Jim's
story, on advice of a friend experienced in such matters, I investigated Jim's
story. The only non-Masonic sources who could verify Jim's story were Jim's
friend, Mike, Dr Swords, the ophthalmologist who had led Jim to the Lord, and
Mrs Swords. I couldn't speak with Mike, for he had died of cancer years
before. I found Dr Swords, in semi-retirement as a physician/ surgeon, and
extremely active in Christian affairs. He is a man of sterling reputation and
almost radically correct Christian character, a man who would never
compromise, especially with the truth (yes, I checked on Dr Swords, also). Dr
Swords got out Jim's medical records to refresh his memory, and I found that
Jim's story was meticulously accurate according to Dr Swords' records and his
very precise memory. Both Dr Swords arid his wife stated, emphatically and
without hesitation, that Jim was 33rd Degree when he left the Lodge. They, of
course, had not seen the Scottish Rite records, but knew him and his Masonic
identity at the time of leaving the Lodge in 1966 extremely well.
- D. His Credentials Never Challenged Before. Jim Shaw has openly
presented himself to the world as "Rev james D. Shaw, ex-33rd Degree Mason" in
his published tracts, pamphlets and cassette tapes for more than 20 years. In
addition, he has had published forewords as an ex-33rd Degree Mason in two
widely distributed major anti-Masonic books for many years. Never, during a11
those 20-plus years, was any question or challenge to his credentials or
testimony raised by Masonic officialdom, either privately or publicly, until
after publication of "Deadly Deception.
- E. Most of His Masonic Records Were Burned. When Jim became a
Christian, he burned his Masonic apron, regalia, certificates, etc according
to the Scriptures. The only items surviving the burning were some that his
wife hid; significant among these are Scottish Rite Reunion programs which
show Jim as "32°, KCCH" and "Degree Master", the program from the ceremony
making him KCCH, and a 33rd Degree Medal with purple ribbon, still in its
original plastic case. (The medal is not personalized or dated.)
- F. Acknowledged as 33° by the Universal League of Freemasons. There
also survives a membership card in The Universal League of Freemasons, an
international Masonic order, issued to Jim without his request by Sigmund
Holsjen, Universal Grand Master, identifying Jim as "Bro. Rev. James D. Shaw,
33°" (photocopy, obverse and reverse, attached). Jim continued to pay dues to
this order for some time after leaving the Lodge in order to receive its
literature for research.
- G. The Opinion of Another Christian 33° Mason. F. Evans Crary, Esq,
who was made KCCH in the same program with Jim Shaw, and who subsequently
became 33rd Degree and held the highest office in Masonry, Grand Master of
Masons, Grand Lodge of Florida, believes that Jim Shaw was 33rd Degree.
- H. They Possess the Records. The Scottish Rite has possessed the
records for nearly 30 years; what reason have we to believe that a system
based on lies and deception, with that much time, hasn't "lost" or altered the
records prior to their recent, late-in-the-game charges? As possessors of the
records, we certainly can't expect them to verify such a damaging testimony.
- I. "One of (Masonry's) Top Leaders". Concerning Masonry's denial
that Jim was ever one of Masonry's "top leaders", let me say first that this
has never been Jim Shaw's claim. Those are the publisher's words, not Jim's.
Before publication of "Deadly Deception", I argued against the word, "top",
but the publisher prevailed. At any rate this point is moot; it could mean
that in the 1960's Jim was one of Masonry's top 3 leaders, or one of the top
3,000, or it could mean that he was one of tile top 300,000; surely, if only
Degree Master and KCCH in the Scottish Rite, he was at least that.
- J. Jim's Testimony Is NOT "Impossible". Theoretically, one must be
a Master mason for 6 months before becoming eligible for the Scottish Rite
Degrees (4°-32°), then one must be a 32° Mason for 4 years before being
eligible for KCCH, and then be KCCH for 4 more years before becoming eligible
for the 33°. Concerning the argument that Jim wasn't KCCH long enough even to
be considered for the 33rd Degree, let alone receive it, the fact is that the
Supreme Council, which selects men for both KCCH and the 33rd Degree, can
coronet men when they please.
A Case in Point. A recent example of this is that of the late John
J. Robinson. As a non-Mason, Mr Robinson wrote a sympathetic history of
Masonry, "Born in Blood", followed by two more pro-Masonic books. Mr Robinson
was made a Master Mason in Novemher 1992, a Scottish Rite Mason of the 32nd
Degree on 24 April 1993 (Northern Jurisdiction) and 4 May 1993 (Southern
Jurisdiction). On 3 Sept 1993, three days before his death, Robinson was made
a 33rd Degree Mason. After going all the way from non-Mason to 33rd Degree in
only 10 months, Mr Robinson died on 6 Sept 1993. it is certainly conceivable
that Jim Shaw, after 20 years as a Mason, after more than 19 years as 32° and
a year as KCCH, could have been made 33° just before he resigned from Masonry.
- K. When Unable to Refute the Message, Attack the Messenger.
Although the Scottish Rite Journal has publicly called me a liar and Jim Shaw
a phony, first in a feature article and later in a special-issue book, not one
word of our charges against Masonry has been refuted. It appears to be a
classic case of damaging charges which can't be refuted, so the attack is made
on the source instead; since they can't refute the message, they attack the
messenger. This obscures the real issue (for which they have no defense), by
creating a false issue (concerning which they hold all the records). This is
exactly what has been done in Arkansas, incidentally, to everyone who has
spoken damaging truth against the Clintons' circle of power (those who haven't
died in the process).
4. My Conclusion. Initially, I was greatly troubled by certain aspects
of the charges by Scottish Rite officialdom, especially the apparent problem in
the time lapse between KCCH and 33rd Degree in Jim's case. When I discussed this
problem with Jim, he replied simply that the Supreme Council can do whatever it
chooses to do; this has proved to be the case.
In the final analysis I must choose whom I will believe. Upon consideration
of all the above, and knowing Jim as I do, I accept and believe the testimony of
Jim Shaw, including all his Masonic credentials, exactly as published in "The
/ Tom C. McKenney /
Tom C. McKenney
PO Box 413 Marion, Ky 42064
Co-author, "The Deadly
Author, "Please Tell me"
[Transcribed by S. Brent Morris, December 1995]
December 29, 1995
Dear Mr. Sampson:
Thank you for forwarding me a copy of "James D. Shaw and the 33rd Degree" by
Mr. Tom C. McKenney. This document confirms my opinion of Mr. McKenney and Rev.
Shaw. Your observations about the editing of my articles are noted.
A computer glitch seems to have destroyed the formatting of
"Misrepresentations of Freemasonry"; I have enclosed a correctly formatted copy
for you. I am responsible for the choice of reproductions in Is It True What
They Say About Freemasonry? As Rev. Shaw is never listed as an officer of
Allapattah Lodge, I chose the 1989 listing as an example of what an independent
researcher could find; I thought reproducing every listing of officers during
Rev. Shaw's membership in the Lodge would be tedious.
Because of the confusion this has caused for you, we will consider adding a
summary of all officers published in the Grand Lodge Proceedings in the
next edition. We could include tables of Scottish Rite officers during Rev.
Shaw's membership and a sampling of souvenir programs listing dignitaries, and
so on. At sometime, however, this becomes pointless if Mr. McKenney and his ilk
ignore the facts by stating that "Freemasonry is a system built upon lies and
You said you enclosed the position paper for my review, and so I will give
you a brief one, addressing the points made by Mr. McKenney. It is first worth
noting, sadly, that the issue of Rev. Shaw has been reduced to ad hominem
arguments. Rev. Shaw makes many claims about Freemasonry in his book that we
cannot verify objectively. The reader is left to rely upon his veracity in
judging his witness about Freemasonry. The way to counter Rev. Shaw's false
statements is to show a general pattern of deliberate deceit.
For example, Rev. Shaw claims that candidates drink wine from a human skull
in the 33rd Degree. This is plagiarized directly from Blanchard's Scotch Rite
Masonry, vol. 2, p. 470, and is in fact an identifying characteristic of
"Cerneau" ritual. I imagine if I produced a copy of the 33rd Degree ritual to
counter this claim, Mr. McKenney would declare the document a forgery. Similarly
neither members of the Supreme Council nor anyone else interview 33rd Degree
candidates (pp. 102103), but how could a researcher confirm this statement?
We are reluctantly left with addressing the general pattern of Rev. Shaw's
claims that can be tested.
- 3A Jim Shaw's Character and Reputation. I have no doubt Rev. Shaw's
friends and colleagues regarded him as a good Christian who tried to share the
good news of grace through Jesus Christ's sacrifice. However, none of this
addresses the factual evidence.
- 3.B. Masonry's Attitude Toward Truth. Whether Freemasonry is
based upon lies or truth is not the issue. Mr. McKenney makes claims that he
cannot or will not substantiate.
- 3.C. My Own Pre-Publication Investigation. I am confident Rev.
Shaw told Dr. and Mrs. Swords that he was a 33rd Degree Mason, but, as Mr.
McKenney admits, they never saw the records. We cannot verify their emphatic
statement of Rev. Shaw's membership.
- 3.D. His Credentials Never Challenged Before. This is an
interesting argument--something of a statute of limitations for lying. The fact
that no one has bothered to point out Rev. Shaw's lies does not give any greater
credence to Rev. Shaw's statements.
- 3.E. Most of His Masonic Records Were Burned. A cynic could
argue this is much too convenient for Mr. McKenney's case. He says Rev. Shaw's
records are not available and then argues (in 3.H) that Scottish Rite records
cannot be trusted. His only evidence is a reunion program that lists Rev. Shaw
as "32°, KCCH," an honor we have never questioned. The undated and
non-personalized 33rd Degree Medal established nothing; anyone can buy one in a
- 3.F. Acknowledged as 33° by the Universal League of
Freemasons. The U.L.F. is a "clandestine" organization, membership in
which usually results in expulsion for regular Masons. I know of no regular
Grand Lodge that acknowledges the U.L.F. The question of whether membership in
the U.L.F. proves one is a Mason is similar to the question of whether
membership in the Mormon Church proves one is a Christian. It is my
understanding the U.L.F. will accept anyone who claims to be a Mason. It might
be amusing for you to join, or for me to get a membership for my cat. What the
dues cards does prove is that Rev. Shaw had no compunction about deceiving the
U.L.F. and claiming Masonic membership for nearly 20 years after his 1965
- 3.G. The Opinion of Another Christian 33° Mason. F. Evans
Crary received the rank and decoration of K.C.C.H. with Rev. Shaw, but Mr. Crary
offers no evidence that Rev. Shaw ever received the 33rd Degree. It is nice that
Mr. Crary believes that Rev. Shaw received the 33rd Degree, but a lawyer
should offer better corroboration than hearsay. Was Mr. Crary present when Rev.
Shaw received the degree? Can he give us a date? Does he have any
document--program, newsletter, or Transactions--that can be independently
- 3.H. They Possess the Records. Indeed we do, but we base our
arguments on public not archival documents. The Supreme Council publishes its
Transactions biennially and distributes hundreds of copies around the world.
The Transactions lists every 33rd Degree Mason when he receives the
degree. Further, the Valley of Miami publishes a newsletter that lists officers,
and their reunion programs list their "Honor Men," the KCCHs, and 33rds.
Thousands of these documents have been distributed. Any of these documents would
establish Mr. McKenney's case and produce a public acknowledgment of error by
me. Rather than call the Scottish Rite liars, Mr. McKenney should point to some
fact that can be independently confirmed.
- 3.I. "One of (Masonry's) Top Leaders." This question is moot, as we conceded
that this as well within the allowable limits of advertising.
- 3.J. Jim's Testimony is NOT "Impossible." Here we made a technical
error. We stated that Rev. Shaw resigned from Masonry "thirty-seven months
before he would have been eligible to even be nominated for the 33°."
This is much the same as saying, "The U.S. Constitution prevents the election of
a President and Vice-President from different parties." In the latter case, one
has to add, "Unless no majority is obtained in the electoral college, and the
election is moved to the Congress, and the House elects the President from one
party, and the Senate elects the Vice-President from another." Of course the
Supreme Council can make exceptions, as it did for John Robinson, but these
cases are exceedingly rare and are always published. Mr. McKenney need not
speculate how Rev. Shaw might have received his 33rd Degree in less than eleven
months. We can rely on Rev. Shaw's own words that he waited four years: "I had
been a K.C.C.H. for only four years. A man cannot even be considered for the
33rd Degree until he has been a K.C.C.H. four years. I was being
considered for the 33rd in the minimum time!" (Deadly Deception,
p. 90) Mr. McKenney continues to avoid the central issue (at least to us): When
did Rev. Shaw receive his 33rd Degree? Mr. McKenney says, "I accept and believe
the testimony of Jim Shaw, including all his Masonic credentials, exactly as
published in 'the Deadly Deception.'" We should be able confidently to add four
years to 1965, the date Shaw and Crary received the K.C.C.H., and check the
records for Shaw's 33rd. The check is in vain.
- 3.L. When Unable to Refute the Message, Attack the Messenger. Mr.
McKenney suggests we have not answered his charges against Masonry. In his book
he accuses the Scottish Rite of being drunkards, of having exorbitant initiation
fees, of having bloody oaths, and of teaching resurrection and reincarnation. I
think we refuted these rather well. As I noted above, Rev. Shaw makes many
claims about Freemasonry in his book that cannot be verified objectively. Either
you believe Rev. Shaw or you don't. We have gone to public documents to show
that Rev. Shaw was not truthful about his membership claims. Mr. McKenney
refuses to address the problem of there being no records to examine--Supreme
Council Transactions, Grand Lodge Proceedings, Lodge or Scottish
Rite newsletters, reunion programs, photographs. He tries misdirection when he
says, "the Supreme Council can do whatever it chooses to do; this has proved to
be the case."
Please excuse me for taking so long to review Mr. McKenney's position for
you. I think we will include this analysis in the second edition of Is It
True? Your invitation to attend the next Leadership Conference on Masonry is
thoughtful, but I decline. Consider, as just one example, the chasm that exists
between what Mr. McKenney thinks is evidence and what I do. I cannot imagine any
productive discussion occurring at the Conference. Enjoy yourself there.
S. BRENT MORRIS, Ph.D.
Book Review Editor
January 2, 1997
Dear Mr. McKenney:
Thank you for your letter of October 31, 1996, and for a copy of your
position paper, "James D. Shaw and the 33rd Degree." I had already recently
received a copy of the paper from Mr. T.N. Sampson who has an anti-Masonic
ministry in Poquoson, Virginia. Enclosed is a letter I sent to Mr. Sampson
commenting on your position paper. Mr. Sampson no longer recommends The
Deadly Deception in his ministry.
I can sympathize with your frustration with your publisher (I have had
similar problems myself). However Huntington House's insistence on using the
subtitle "Freemasonry exposed...by one of its top leaders" only supports the
contention of Art deHoyos and me: greed motivates the publication of
anti-Masonic books. Why else would the publisher use a subtitle that an author
thinks is "much too lurid"? Why highlight in eye-catching red the demonstrably
false claim, "The 33rd degree initiation ceremony revealed for the first time in
You are indeed correct that Supreme Councils can waive the normal waiting for
the 33rd Degree, as with John J. Robinson, 33º. We will correct this statement
in the upcoming revision of our book. What is consistent with Supreme Councils
is careful public documentation of all recipients of the 33rd Degree. I have
enclosed a copy of the public record of Bro. Robinson's degree (1993
Proceedings of the Supreme Council, N.M.J., p. 72).
It is not necessary, as you suggest, to search for a special meeting of the
Supreme Council for Rev. Shaw's 33rd, since we can deduce the date he claims to
have received the degree. He was elected to receive the rank and decoration of a
Knight Commander of the Court of Honor on October 19, 1965 (1965 Transactions
of the Supreme Council, S.J., pp. 218, 225); the ceremony was held on
December 18, 1965. He later said, "I had been a K.C.C.H. for only four years. A
man cannot even be considered for the 33rd Degree until he has been a K.C.C.H.
four years. I was being considered for the 33rd in minimum time!"
(Deadly Deception, p. 90). Thus, Rev. Shaw claims to have been elected to
the 33rd Degree in 1969. I have enclosed a list of the twenty-nine 33rd-Degree
Masons elected from Florida in 1969; Rev. Shaw's name is not included. (1969
Transactions of the Supreme Council, S.J., pp. 5, 42, 43) This is not
surprising since Rev. Shaw submitted his letter of resignation on October 25,
Rev. Shaw received the 32nd Degree on November 9, 1952. He says, "I didn't
enter the Shrine after the Spring Reunion  when I became eligible.... In
the blue Lodge I was Senior Deacon and preparing to be the Junior Warden, only
two chairs away from the office of Worshipful Master.... The following fall
 however, after Reunion, I decided it was time to enter the Shrine."
(Deadly Deception, p. 74) One can infer from this that Rev. Shaw was
elected Junior Warden in 1954. He says, "I continued my progression 'through the
chairs,' from office to higher office in the Blue Lodge...." (Deadly
Deception, p. 77) Again one can infer that Rev. Shaw was elected Master of
his Lodge (Allapatah No. 271) in 1956. The Grand Lodge of Florida publishes
annual Proceedings of its meetings, which include a listing of the
elected officers of every Florida lodge. Rev. Shaw is not listed as Junior
Warden for 1954, nor Master for 1956, nor for any office during 1952-1956, the
years he was a member (copies enclosed).
Rev. Shaw's story about his experience in Freemasonry abounds with
inconsistencies, but I won't bore you with more details. It is difficult to
carry on a civil discussion about objective, public facts when you say,
"Freemasonry is a system built upon lies and deception" and "...What reason have
we to believe that a system based on lies and deception, with that much time
hasn't 'lost' or altered the records prior to their recent late-in-the-game
charges? As possessors of the records, we certainly can't expect them to verify
such damaging testimony." The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Florida
and the Transactions of the Supreme Council, S.J. are public documents.
Hundreds of copies were published. They are distributed to each of their
constituent bodies, to officers, and to other Masonic bodies, around the world.
Masonry makes these records available to anyone.
You cannot produce any public records to support Rev. Shaw's 33rd Degree or
his being Master of Allapattah Lodge, much less give us the dates when these
events occurred so we can verify them ourselves. You ask that Rev. Shaw's
testimony be trusted completely, and yet you accuse us of lying, deceiving, and
altering documents when we present our public records.
I see two possible explanations for the situation here:
1. Rev. Shaw is telling the
truth. This means the Grand Lodge of Florida recalled and altered every
copy of its Proceedings that list Rev Shaw as Junior Warden, Senior
Warden and Master. Allapattah Lodge recalled and altered every monthly
bulletin that listed Rev. Shaw as Master as well as every letter he wrote as
Master. Similarly the Scottish Rite Valley of Miami must have recalled every
bulletin, reunion and banquet program, and document that lists Rev. Shaw among
their 33rd Degree members. Besides this, all Florida masons must have been
instructed to deny Rev. Shaw's accomplishments, all photographs that show Rev.
Shaw in his regalia have been destroyed, and every local newspaper article
that may have mentioned Rev. Shaw has been altered.
2. Rev. Shaw is lying.
I am willing to let our readers check the
public records and make up their own minds.
S. BRENT MORRIS, Ph.D.