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More Masons

February 6, 2007

Recently Julius Nam at the Progressive Adventism blog discussed the issue of William Miller’s connections with the Freemasons.

Miller is not the only figure in Seventh-day Adventist history to have such connections. One of the better known stories on this topic is that of Ellen White and N. D. Falkhead. It is found in White’s diary entry for December 13, 1892 and also in a letter written December 23, 1892 from Melbourne Australia, to Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Kellogg. In her letter White wrote:

“I have to give some very personal testimonies. During the conference here last December, I had much burden and wrote out many things for individuals, but felt that the time had not come to present the matter to them. For one brother I have had a special burden. He is a keen, apt man, connected with our publishing house. Upon my return to Melbourne this time, one week ago last Tuesday, I read to Brother F[alkhead] that which I had written for him. It affected him deeply. He was glad I did not send it for him to read. “Your reading the reproof yourself,” he said,” “has touched my heart. The Spirit of the Lord has spoken to me through you, and I accept every word you have addressed specially to me; the general matter also is applicable to me; it all means me. That which you have written in regard to my connection with the Free Masons I accept. I belong to five lodges, and besides this I have the entire control of three. I have just taken the highest order in Free Masonry, but I shall sever my connection with them all. I will attend no more of their meetings. It will take me nine months to wind up my business relations with the three under my control.”
Our interview lasted four hours, and it was late at night when he left. He lives in Preston, ten miles from St. Kilda, and being too late for the train from North Fitzroy, he had to walk seven miles to his home. He said he had a good time to think, and he told Elder Daniells he did so much want to meet some of our brethren, that he might tell how free and happy he was after he had made this decision.

She repeated the story in a letter written 3 years later—on May 7, 1895, from Glenorchy, Tasmania to O .A. Olsen; and again in a May 31, 1906 letter to Brother Salisbury & Elder Olsen,  following Falkhead’s cessation of work at the Echo office.

N.D. Falkhead in his Msonic Regalia:

Another encounter with a Freemason apparently occurred in 1893:
Prior to the conference I saw the persons in responsible positions, and labored with one man three hours, reading that which I had held so long. He said, “Sister White, had you sent that to me I would not have received it, but the Lord has moved upon you to move discreetly. For three nights past I dreamed that the Lord had shown my case to Sister White, and she had a message for me.” The man had not a religious experience. He was bound up in Free Masonry. (Letter  39, 1893).

In 1859, the Review and Herald published an article titled, “Is Freemasonry Compatible with present Truth?”:
IF we say aught against masonry they say we are prejudiced, speaking against that of which we can know nothing.  But this is an error.  We have no prejudice in the case.  We only speak of what we do know.  In addition to what has been heretofore published I would offer the following thoughts.
The first quotation may have been published in the Review before.  It is said on funeral occasions, on throwing evergreens into the grave.
“This evergreen is an emblem of our faith in the immortality of the soul.  By this we are reminded of our high and glorious destiny ‘beyond the world of shadows,’ and that there dwells within our tabernacle of clay an imperishable immortal spirit, over which the grave has no dominion and death no power.”  Craftsman, p.208.
The next is more practical, and may possibly account for the slowness of some to obey the truth when convinced.
“All masons shall work honestly on working days, that they may live peaceably on holy days; and the time appointed by the law of the land, OR CONFIRMED BY CUSTOM, shall be observed.” – Craftsman.  Ancient Constitutions, SS5.
Many affirm that masonry is a christian institution, but others confess the absurdity of this.  But all affirm that a belief in the Bible is necessary to being a mason.  Masonry is professedly founded on certain facts in the Old Testament, but that a belief in the New Testament is not necessary is evident from the well known fact that many (or most) of the Jews are masons.  It is the boast of masonry that it is universal, and has members of all nations and religions.  Of course their forms and modes of working must not interfere with the religious views of any.  This is their profession, but it is impossible to carry it out in practice without discarding every form of worship whatever.  The first recognized and most common act of worship is prayer; this is practised in the lodges, and forms of prayer are given in their books of instruction.  Now suppose that Jews and Christians are met together in lodge.  It is opened with prayer.  But Christians can only pray in the name of Christ, while the Jew would be highly offended at a prayer so offered.  How shall these brothers pray together?
It has been answered that it is not necessary that the name of Christ should be mentioned in every prayer: it may be understood.  Very true.  So Paul taught in regard to meats offered to idols.  If nothing is said, ask no questions.  But if it is said, This is offered in sacrifice to idols; then eat not.  So if I kneel with others with the understanding that Christ is recognized as the medium of prayer, I can say, Amen, though the name of Jesus be not mentioned.  But if it be understood that this prayer is offered without reference to Christ, it is anti-christian, for Jesus says, “No man cometh to the Father but by me.”  The boasted universality of masonry makes it necessary to exclude the name of Christ from prayers, otherwise they would be fitted only for a class, and hence be local and not general.  He who joins in a prayer where the name of Christ is intentionally omitted to gratify another who denies Christ, certainly compromises his christianity, and “has denied the faith.”  This should lead every Christian to avoid such a connection.     J. H. W[aggoner]. Review and Herald, September 15, 1859.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Freemasonry was a common and well-accepted part of American society. As Bullock points out in his book, Revolutionary Brotherhood,
[Masonry] attracted large numbers of Americans eager to associate themselves with these cosmopolitan ideals. Fraternal membership and ideology helped bring high standing to a broad range of Americans, breaking down the artificial boundaries of birth and wealth. To men engaged in learned and artistic occupations, rural men with cosmopolitan aspirations, and even Boston’s women and blacks, Masonry offered participation in both the great classical tradition of civilization and the task of building a new nation. Just as importantly, the fraternity also seemed to provide the leaders for these enterprises. (p138)

At the official establishment of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (1860), Freemasonry was no longer the major movement that it once was—the popular anti-masonic movement that had begun in 1826—had taken its toll and while Freemasonry did not die out, it never recovered either.
It would be interesting to know of any other Adventist/Freemason connections.

Just for interest’s sake, there is a rather odd page titled “The Masonic Connection In the Foundation of the 7th Day Adventist Church” at http://www.cephas-library.com/seventh_day_adventists/7th_day_adventism_freemasonry.html The fragmented text however makes little sense and contains (so far as I can tell) no actual references to early Adventist Freemasons!

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