Volume LIVNovember 2007Number 4

Letter From Most Worshipful Jerry Carver to Baptist Courier Paper

Below are excerpts from a letter written by Bro. Gerald L. Carver, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina, to Don Kirkland, Editor and President of the Baptist Courier newspaper, and printed on May 29, 2007. Grand Master Carver was responding to a letter that appeared in the Courier, written by an individual who was offended at pictures published in the newspaper showing Freemasons attending church in their aprons during a Masonic Recognition Service. His answers and explanations may serve to assist any brother in attempting to explain various aspects of Freemasonry which are misunderstood and/or misinterpreted by others in our communities.

As a member and leader in a Southern Baptist Church for over 47 years, I was deeply saddened to see the May 17th issue of our Baptist Courier used as a vehicle to bash and to try to discredit such an old and honorable institution as Freemasonry. In Columbia, on April 27, I was installed during a public ceremony as Grand Master at the 270th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina. The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina is comprised of 43,315 Masons, of which over 20,000 (a conservative estimate) are currently members in Southern Baptist Churches in South Carolina and many of them serve as leaders and pastors.

Below, I would like to respond to several misrepresentations made by the offended writer:
  • Freemasonry is not a religion, and therefore does not teach any form of salvation. Freemasonry directs its membership to seek those teachings in the house of worship of their choice. Freemasonry teaches men to be men of their word, to be of good and moral character and to aid and assist their fellow man in need. In today's society, these teachings are needed as much now as ever before.
  • Freemasons never refer to God in a blasphemous manner. Freemasons always refer to God in the most reverent manner as a creature to his creator. We refer to God as God, and as the Great Architect of the Universe, the Creator of all things.
  • There are oaths and promises made in Freemasonry just as there are oaths of office, oaths for citizenship and oaths taken in many organizations. My pastor and I both agree that the Bible verse quoted as prohibiting oaths is actually dealing with those who take oaths for show and then break those oaths. In Freemasonry, oaths are taken seriously. Freemasonry teaches its members to be men of their word and to keep their commitments made to God and man. There are those misguided organizations that use this same scripture to teach that the pledge of allegiance to Old Glory, the beloved flag of our country, is non-compatible with our faith.
  • Every Bible verse used by Freemasonry is found in the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible is referred to as the Great Light of Masonry. "Light" is a term used by Freemasons to describe knowledge, with the greatest light coming from the Holy Scriptures. The Bible, or Holy Scriptures, is referred to as the Great Light of Masonry because from the Bible comes the greatest knowledge. In my 33 years as a Mason, I have never heard a pagan reading in a lodge.
  • Referring to the Bible as the furniture of the lodge is not a disrespectful term, but rather a term of honor because no lodge can ever open or conduct a meeting without [a book of sacred law] being present.
  • The tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are the same as those that our great country was founded upon. That all men (people) are equal regardless of their station in life, their religion, their race or whether they are rich or poor. George Washington, a great man, the father of our country and a great Freemason, used his Masonic teachings in his everyday life and as the President of this country. He was Master of his lodge while serving as President of the United States.
  • Masons are taught never to discriminate, but to treat all men (people) equal, "on the level." Men of all races, religions and stations in life are Freemasons and hold high offices in the Masonic fraternity.
  • Freemasons contribute over $2,500,000 per day to the fraternity's many charities, which include helping children with burns, orthopedic issues and language disorders. Those same Freemasons contribute even more daily to support their houses of worship and their communities.
There is probably someone who disagrees with every activity pictured in the Courier and could criticize every church for having those events with which that person disagrees, but we should maintain our conduct on a higher plane.

I sincerely hope that you will provide an unbiased approach by also publishing this letter in the "Your Views" section of the Courier and continuing to publish the provided pictures of all the events held by our member churches, without prejudice.
Gratitude from the Grand lodge of the Netherlands

Bro. Simon Q. "Juni" Oduber, Eminent Commander-Consistory Solomon's Wisdom, Valley of Aruba, and P.M.-Lodge El Sol Naciente No. 113, Aruba (under the jurisdiction of the Grand East of the Netherlands) presents a check to Bro. Mark A. Haines, R.W. Grand Secretary, for the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia.
Dear Bro. Mark A. Haines,

Attached, please find a photo taken during our visit to your magnificent edifice.

The group from Aruba and others would like to thank you for the fraternal way we were received and the excellent tour we were given. Please express our gratitude to our tour guide.

The envelope I presented to you for the collection of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, was issued in commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the Grand Lodge of the Netherlands. Aruba, as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, also partook in this celebration, as did Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.

I hope this small gesture will be received as a token of good fraternal relations between the Freemasons of Aruba and Pennsylvania.

Once more, thank you so very much for the fraternal reception given to us.

Simon Q. "Juni" Oduber

Table of Contents | Index of Issues | Home