W. Bro. John M. Hamill, PJGD

Grand Librarian and Curator of the
United Grand Lodge of England

For the last five years, Freemasonry in England has been subject to fairly continuous media attention and to attacks from various sections of the community. The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of the attacks, their source and why they should now occur, and the actions taken by the United Grand Lodge of England to deal with and to counter the attacks. The attacks fall into four main groups. First, that Freemasonry is a secret society, secondly, that it is a religion and anti-Christian, thirdly, that it is a hidden agency for control in national and local government, and fourthly, that it is an agency for corruption and malpractice.

The claims that Freemasonry is a secret society arise from a failure to accept that there is a distinction between privacy and secrecy. In England, Freemasonry has, perhaps, been over-protective of its privacy and until recently there has been a reluctance on the part of Freemasons to discuss our institution. It is a strange secret society however, whose aims and relationships have been published in the press, whose rules and regulations are in Books of Constitutions which are available on public sale, whose meeting places are well known in every town where they exist, and whose members will cheerfully acknowledge their membership when asked for good reason. Because there has been a reluctance to discuss Freemasonry, because Masonic meetings in England are closed to non-Masons, and because listings of lodge membership are not available for public scrutiny, the critics of Freemasonry claim that there is at least the potential for wrong-doing in our secret meetings. The desire for privacy is seen as a pretext for hiding wrong-doing.

Criticism of Freemasonry on religious grounds predates the formation of the first Grand Lodge in England in 1717. In 1694, a hand bill was circulated in London warning all Godly citizens in the cities of London and Westminster against the ungodly sect of Freemasons. At fairly regular intervals after the formation of Grand Lodge clerical gentlemen of various Christian denominations have delivered sermons warning their congregations against the evils of Freemasonry.

The Papacy in 1738 issued the first of a number of Papal Bulls condemning Freemasonry and warning Roman Catholics that they face excommunication if they joined. It is often forgotten that before the unification of Italy in 1870 the Papacy was a temporal power as well as a religious authority and, in that status, controlled most of the central area of Italy. The late Brother Alec Mellor argued that the Papal Bull of 1738 was issued as much against the supposed political intentions of continental Freemasonry in Europe as against its supposed irreligious nature.

Until recently Freemasonry in England has been relatively free of condemnation from the Christian denominations. In 1927 the Wesleyan Methodists, at the prompting of the Reverend J. Thurston Dart, expressed doubts about the compatibility of Freemasonry and Methodism. It was suggested that its members should not join, or should resign if they were Freemasons, and that Methodists should not permit Masons to meet on their premises. These comments, however, were largely ignored and were more or less forgotten when the various branches of English Methodism united together in 1933.

In 1951 the Reverend Walton Hanna attempted to raise the subject of the compatibility of Freemasonry and Anglicanism in the General Assembly of the Church of England. His request was thrown out so he resorted to print and produced two books "Darkness Visible" and "Christian By Degrees". In these he claimed that, by having no references to Jesus Christ, the Craft denied His existence; that Freemasonry was a separate religion attempting to join all religions and having its own God with special names used by its members; that Freemasonry promised salvation, either by means of special knowledge, or by the practice of good works; and that the Christian degrees contained ceremonies aping the sacraments and were therefore blasphemous. His books sold well, but were soon forgotten by the majority of the populace. Hanna resigned from the Anglican Church, was reordained as a Roman Catholic priest and emigrated to Canada claiming he had been hounded out of England by both the Anglican Church establishment and the Masonic establishment.

After Hanna, the English churches made no public comments on Freemasonry. So it was something of a surprise, when in 1984, two ministers of the Methodist Church arose in its Annual Conference and demanded an inquiry into the compatibility of Freemasonry and Methodism. They claimed that Freemasonry was anti-Christian and that its rituals contained elements of devil worship. This latter claim was, of course, given banner headlines in the press and caused the Methodist Conference to set up a committee to investigate the compatibility. The committee, which did not include any Freemasons, met on three occasions. It relied on published anti-Masonic works for evidence and showed a marked reluctance to meet with, or take evidence from any Freemasons, despite offers from the Grand Secretary to discuss any problems they might have.

The Committee report presented to the 1985 Methodist Conference was inaccurate and intellectually shabby. Rather than addressing the question of compatibility it dealt with public misconceptions of Freemasonry. It acknowledged that many fine men were members of Freemasonry and that it did a great deal of good work in the field of charity. Nevertheless, the report criticized the Craft for not mentioning the name of Jesus Christ and, without providing evidence, claimed that there was a possibility a Methodist could compromise his religious beliefs by being a Freemason. The committee, however, did not have the courage of its convictions and refused to call for an outright ban on Masonic membership. Rather it simply asked Methodists who were Freemasons to reconsider their membership and suggested that anyone thinking of joining the Order should think very carefully before doing so. We would all expect a prospective candidate to do that in any event. Almost as a gesture to the anti-Masons within the church they recommended a ban on all Masonic meetings on Methodist premises. This was a somewhat hollow gesture since no English lodge meets in Methodist premises.

The Committee report was presented to the 1985 Methodist Conference and despite a spirited debate was accepted. It is very difficult not to come to the conclusion that the committee had reached its recommendations before it began to gather evidence and that the vote was a political one, which days of debate would not have altered. The media again had a field day claiming erroneously that the Methodist Church had banned its members from being Freemasons.

The Methodist Conference however, had badly misjudged the feeling within the church. Those attending appeared to believe that, because few ministers acknowledge that they are Freemasons, the Craft has little support within the Methodist Church. A great many Methodist layman however, are Freemasons; they were not unnaturally greatly upset at the report on the Conference decision. They were also upset that so little attempt had been made to gain authoritative information from individual Freemasons within the church, or from the Grand Lodge itself. They immediately formed an association of Methodist Freemasons dedicated to having the report withdrawn and its conclusions rescinded. They achieved a notable success at the 1986 conference when a statement was officially promulgated correcting the media statement that the Methodist Church had banned its members from being Freemasons. The statement pointed out that the 1985 Conference had not condemned Freemasonry, but had only asked its members to think about their membership in Freemasonry. The association of Methodist Freemasons is continuing its work of educating the Methodist Church as to the nature and purposes of Freemasonry.

Emboldened by the success of the Methodist report, lay members of the Church of England's General Synod called for a similar report. Here, perhaps I should explain a little about the Synod. The Church of England is established by law in England. Any change proposed within the church must be sanctioned by an Act of Parliament. In the late 1960s because the laity wanted a say in the church assembly, an act was passed setting up the General Synod which has representation from the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy, and the House of Laity. It is not, however, as I understand the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Canada is, the governing body of the Church of England. It is, in fact, nothing more than a talking shop. It has no authority and the church has no legal reason or any other reason to accept any decisions of views expressed by the General Synod. Having been established by Act of Parliament to have three meetings a year, each meeting taking up a four day weekend, they obviously have to find things to talk about to fill those weekends.

In an apparent attempt to avoid the criticisms of the Methodist report, the General Synod set up a six member working party including two Freemasons and two women. An offer of assistance from the Grand Secretary was eagerly taken up. In addition to written and oral evidence, a number of informal meetings were held and a lengthy correspondence on many points ensued. It appeared from those discussions that the Synod Working Group was at least going to do a honest and academically sound job, although certain senior members of the Church, not Freemasons, questioned the General Synod's right to speak for Christianity rather than speaking for Anglicanism.

Danger signs went up when a promised early draft to check for factual errors, and a prepublication copy of the final report, failed to materialize. When a copy was finally acquired it was easy to see why the promises had not been honoured. The document, to avoid the submission of a minority report by the two Masons on the Working Party, was called a "Contribution to Discussion". It claimed that there were serious difficulties for a Christian who was a Freemason. It claimed that the Craft rituals could be interpreted as containing four types of heresy. It also asserted that the Royal Arch word contained references to two pagan gods and was therefore capable of being interpreted as blasphemous. The report had some very curious things to say about Christianity and the ecumenical movement within the Christian churches.

The media again had a field day, claiming that the established church was about to ban Freemasonry. The media also raised one constitutional and one legal point. Our present Most Worshipful Grand Master in England, his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, is first cousin to Her Majesty the Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. If the church banned Freemasonry how could the Duke of Kent remain as Grand Master. Indeed, what the General Synod's Working Group was saying to Her Majesty the Queen was that her late father, King George the VI, who was perhaps the most active of our royal Freemasons, and very strong in the Royal Arch, had not only been the Supreme Governor of the Church in England, but had also been four times a heretic and once a blasphemer!

The charge of blasphemy was a serious one since blasphemy is still a legal offence under the common law system in England. Whilst legal counsel advised us that the case would have fallen, a great deal of nuisance value and publicity could have been gained by anyone undertaking a private prosecution of blasphemy charges against any member of the Royal Arch.

At the General Synod in York in July 1987 the "Contribution to Discussion" was presented. Despite a very spirited three hour debate in which Freemasonry was stoutly defended, the paper was adopted by a very large majority and referred for discussion within the Church. Like the Methodist report and debate, it is very hard not to think that the Synod Working Party had reached its conclusions before taking any evidence and that the voting and the debate was political. Indeed, in private conversation immediately after the debate, a very senior cleric stated that even had the debate continued for three days, three weeks, or three months the voting would have been the same. The members of the Synod had made their minds up before the debate and no amount of reasoned argument would change them.

At the same time that the Anglican turmoil was going on, the United Reformed Church in England, a union of the former Presbyterian and Congregational churches also prepared and debated a report on Freemasonry. The report, however, found no incompatibility between Freemasonry and Christianity, or their denominations' teachings on Christianity. The report limited itself simply to the comment "that if a member of the United Reformed Church was attending to his church duties properly he should have no time for involvement in other organizations". Needless to say, since it was good news for Freemasonry, the U.R.C. report received no attention in the media.

The 1980s saw a proliferation of tracts and pamphlets condemning Freemasonry as anti-Christian, as occult, as a group of satan worshippers and as a separate religion, in opposition to Christianity. A particularly nasty book by the Reverend John Lawrence, "Freemasonry a Religion", reiterated the claims of Walton Hanna. It attacked Freemasonry, not only on religious grounds, but also as a conspiracy for self promotion and self help at the expense of non-members. Having timed his book's publication to coincide with the Synod's debate, the author has now lost interest in Freemasonry and is now attacking youth groups, like the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides because they now allow non-Christians into membership and have non-denominational prayers. In the words of his Bishop, "he is refusing to bless the Brownie's toadstools".

The idea that Freemasonry is a subversive agency for political control is by no means a new one. We must all be familiar with the conspiracy theories that, the American Revolution in the 1770s; the French Revolution of two hundred years ago; the South American Liberation Movements of the 19th century, and the Russian-Communist Revolution of 1917 were not only planned, but were executed by Freemasons purely for the benefit of other Freemasons,

The present conspiracy theory in England runs that, because there is no published list of Freemasons available for public inspection, there are secret groups of Freemasons in both National and Local government who are the actual rulers. These groups, it is said, are subverting the elected majority rulers, and the civil servants who carry out government policy and are forcing through legislation for the benefit of Freemasonry. What the Masonic conspiracy is, and who the conspirators are, are questions which are never explained.

These childish attacks reached the height of absurdity when, in response to a refusal of a public enquiry into allegations of Masonic corruption in the Metropolitan Police, an opposition member of Parliament demanded of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher, to know whether or not she was a member of the Lodge of the Eastern Star for Women. He was under the belief that a conspiracy of Masonic parliamentarians led by Mrs. Thatcher and police officers were blocking any enquiries. In the most recent published attacks on Freemasonry the author has a separate chapter in which he exposes the secret Freemasons in Parliament. The press have made much of a secret Parliamentary lodge, but have been rather upset when the MPs, who have been named, have reacted with the attitude "so what if I am a Freemason" thus totally diffusing attempts to uncover a conspiracy or disclose a scandal.

In local government circles there have been attempts to whip up a scandal by claiming that the councillors of differing political parties are using common membership of Freemasonry to enable them to meet secretly in lodges to discuss and fix council business. This has led to disgruntled minority parties calling for a Statutory Regulation forcing elected councillors, chief officers, and employees of local authorities, to declare their membership of Freemasonry so that the electorate can be aware of possible areas of conflict. They have obviously never been to a lodge meeting. How they think we have the time, when we do everything else, to discuss any other business, I am not sure.

Claims that Freemasonry is an agency for corruption and malpractice arise from the wilful misunderstanding of the third degree obligation, deliberately fostered by the media and anti-Masonic writers. Their claim is that a Master Mason is bound by his obligation to protect, assist and favour another Master Mason regardless of whether his actions are legal or not. As a result, the anti-Masons claim that Freemasons will always favour other Freemasons, to the detriment of others, when acting on appointment boards or committees awarding contracts. They also claim that because judges, lawyers and police officers are Freemasons, it is impossible for an non-Mason to get justice, particularly if his complaint is against a Freemason. Additionally, they claim that policemen who are Freemasons will pervert justice by allowing other Masons, who have committed crimes, to go unpunished. They spread a persuasive web of conspiracy theory claiming that Freemasons who have erred have done so because they were Freemasons and that the secret meetings and lodges have created the opportunities in which crimes can be planned. But among so large a group of men as are found in English Freemasonry (about 600,000) there are bound to be a very few who will attempt to misuse their membership and would do so regardless of the nature of the organization to which they belonged. Occasionally criminals would be able to gain admission. That they would be criminals, whether they are Freemasons or not, does not seem to occur to the detractors of Freemasonry. To them the organization is to blame and is seen as the agency whereby corruption and malpractice are able to flourish.

There is no doubt that the catalyst for the recent spate of anti-Masonry in England was the publication, in January 1984, of the late Stephen Knight's book, "The Brotherhood". For the first time in England for over thirty years all the various strands of anti-Masonry were brought together in one book which attracted enormous publicity and made its author a very rich man. Claimed as a seriously researched and impartial study of Freemasonry, it is in fact a farrago of innuendo, half truths, theories, gossip, unsubstantiated claims, and basic errors of fact. Written in a high-blown, yellow journalist style, its claims of scandals in high places attracted enormous media attention. This success led others to jump on the bandwagon and deluge the press with unsubstantiated and anonymous claims of Masonic corruption.

Why should "The Brotherhood" have caused such a stir and why should the non-Masonic public have given any credence to the nonsense in the book and the resultant articles and correspondence in the press? The answer to both questions is that English Freemasonry and the United Grand Lodge itself were largely responsible. Up to the late 1930s, Freemasonry had been a very visible part of English social life. Grand Lodge and private lodge meetings were regularly reported in the national and local press. There were two weekly Masonic newspapers and a monthly magazine on public sale. They contained Masonic news, articles on all manner of Masonic topics, very frank correspondence columns and notes and query sections. Public processions celebrating national and local events usually included the local lodges in their regalia and carrying their banners. Many churches had annual Masonic services at which the Brethren wore full regalia. There were few public buildings, churches, bridges or monuments built in England and Wales during the period between 1813 and 1930 which did not have their foundation stones laid with Masonic ceremonial in full view of the public. Masonic halls and lodge rooms were well known and, in many small towns, provided the venue for many local social non-Masonic events. But above all, the local community knew who the local Freemasons were.

For some reason, which has not yet been established, Grand Lodge began to look in on itself in the late 1930s and the desire for privacy spread downwards to individual Freemasons. This trend was greatly helped by the outbreak of World War II where the population as a whole began to foster privacy, out of a fear of spies and fifth columnists, in the face of an all too possible invasion of Britain. When peace returned in 1945 and the populace rushed to get back to normality, unhappily Freemasonry continued to look inwards, was over protective of its privacy, and made no public response to media comments on Freemasonry whether they were in favour of, or against Freemasonry. Regrettably, it reached the stage where Brethren did not even speak about Freemasonry within their families or circle of friends. As a result Freemasonry became divorced from the society in which it had existed and generations grew up who, unless a member of their family or a friend was a Freemason, did not know of its existence unless it was brought to their attention by the media.

Grand Lodge's policy of "no comment" on statements from outside Freemasonry, was perhaps the largest contributor to the present problems. Initially, it was a period of privacy which then became secrecy. It was from this secrecy that the aura of suspicion grew up around Freemasonry. The United Grand Lodge was faced with a dilemma in 1984. With the Knight book, "The Brotherhood", and the media reaction to it, it was obvious that something had to be done, particularly as suspicion about Freemasonry was beginning to affect the careers of some brethren who are open about their membership.

It was the Most Worshipful Grand Master himself, the Duke of Kent, who gave the lead. In his address to Grand Lodge in March 1984 he stated his belief that the time had come to alter the traditional response of "no comment". He emphasized that he was not suggesting a full blown public relations campaign and certainly not a recruiting drive, But he believed that ways could and should. be found of better informing the public as to the nature, the purposes and the history of Freemasonry and of countering factual errors appearing in the media.

The Most Worshipful the Grand Master having spoken it fell to the Board of General Purposes to implement his suggestions. Like all good boards they set up a committee, but on this occasion it was a small information committee whose brief was to investigate and report back to the Board. The information committee quickly realized that it had a double job to perform, for channels of communication within the Craft itself left much to be desired. Moreover, if the Craft was to be seen to speak with one voice, and if we were to expect our brethren to discuss Freemasonry with anyone, it would have to be educated. A number of major new policy decisions were taken. The Grand Secretary was to be the official spokesman on national matters. On Provincial matters, Provincial Grand Masters were asked to appoint local spokesman. A Grand Secretary's newsletter was introduced and copies were provided for each member of the Craft so that within three weeks of every quarterly meeting of Grand Lodge each member of a lodge would be aware of what had taken place.

A series of leaflets on the topics, "What is Freemasonry", "Freemasonry and Religion", "Freemasonry and Society" and "Freemasonry and Its External Relations" was developed. Initially published to aid brethren in discussing Freemasonry with their families and friends, they were soon used to provide basic information to non-Masons. When any organization announced that it proposed to inquire into Freemasonry, the Grand Secretary was empowered to write to it with an offer to discuss Freemasonry in general or any particular problems which were perceived. Although non-Masons had been able to visit Freemasons Hall in London and the Grand Lodge Library and Museum for many years as the guests of members, the hall was opened to the general public. In 1986 a permanent public exhibition telling the story of English Freemasonry was opened by the Most Worshipful the Grand Master, with a full panoply of media present. In the nearly three years that it has been open, over 70,000 people have been through it. Errors of fact or interpretation in newspapers, magazine or on television programs are quickly corrected by means of letters to the Editor and official spokesmen take part in radio and television interviews.

In 1987 the Grand Lodge produced a thirty minute video, "The Freemasons", showing what Freemasonry is today, a little of its history, what it stands for, and examples of the charitable work carried out both within the Masonic charities and by Masonic assistance to non-Masonic charities. The list might not appear long, but it has involved an enormous amount of back room work. It's only fair to ask how successful it has been. The problems to be tackled have been enormous.

Changes in public opinion do not occur overnight, but a number of achievements have been made. The public are now aware that there is an alternative view to the views they received from the media and antiMasonic writings. They are also becoming aware that there are sources of accurate information available to them whether they are members or not. The media are now very much aware that any nonsense they write about Freemasonry will be challenged immediately. The more sensible members of the fraternity of journalism now contact either Grand Lodge or a local spokesman to verify details of stories they have picked up. Groups seeking to inquire into Freemasonry know that they can now discuss Freemasonry with authoritative spokesman and if they misreport Freemasonry they will be challenged, and have been.

A notable success occurred when the London Borough of Hackney attempted to blame problems within the authority on Freemasonry's influence within the administration. At the expense of 500,000 pounds they employed a Queen's Council to make an independent inquiry. As an independent lawyer he was given unprecedented confidential assistance by Grand Lodge and to the chagrin of the local authority proved conclusively that Freemasonry had nothing to do with its problems, which were a result of maladministration and lack of executive control. As a result of that, four other authorities who had announced similar inquiries decided they had better ways of spending half a million pounds. The Craft in general is becoming more aware of itself and as a result of that awareness, more willing to talk about Freemasonry with families and friends, thus spreading more knowledge amongst the public and killing the idea that Freemasonry is a secret society.

The struggle has been and will continue to be a uphill one. There are still those who will never be convinced that Freemasonry, far from being a conspiracy, is in fact a force for good in society, but gains are being regularly made. The reactions to the recently published follow-up to Stephen Knight's "The Brotherhood", the ingeniously entitled "Inside the Brotherhood" has been interesting. The national media has largely ignored it. Of the nine national daily newspapers in England, when the book was published on the 6th of April, 1989, only three took any notice. Two of them said, "if you are into conspiracy theory, have 15 pounds to spend, or want a cure for insomnia, buy the book". One newspaper noted for being anti-anything published a full page report saying, "at last again we have got the evidence, the Freemasons have had it this time". A non-Mason wrote to them and they published his letter two days after their review. His comment was, "if Martin Short, the author of the book, has got the evidence that he claims he has, why in the book does he hide behind pseudonyms and statements like 'I was asked not to identify this person, he is a Freemason and fears reprisal from his brethren'. If he has the information and it is factual information, which will stand up in court, why has he not reported it to the legal authorities. Why is he hiding? Why is he afraid of the laws of libel? The only conclusion I can draw is that he has not got the evidence; it is all gossip and innuendo again".

As with any major policy change there were difficulties in persuading many English brethren that the change in 1984 was necessary, and that the change would not exacerbate the problem. Having seen how Grand Lodge has handled the problems, the majority are now convinced that the change was right and will ensure the future of English Freemasonry. Starting from a defensive position, those involved in the policy change have now been able to move to positive action. In an ideal world none of us would have problems, but we live in an all too human world. There will always be those who would decry any organization which works for good. Rather than converting any one to Freemasonry, what we would like to see in England is a simple return to the pre-1939 situation with Freemasonry being recognized as a perfectly normal part of the social fabric of England, working for the good of society in general.


Q: What is the current situation with the Roman Catholic Church and its relationship with Freemasonry?

A: The current situation of the Roman Catholic Church is absolute confusion. In the late 1960s there was a move from both inside and outside the church to remove the old Canon Law, which introduced immediate excommunication for anyone joining Freemasonry. It was spearheaded in Europe, particularly in France, by a number of Jesuits Priests who had become fascinated by Freemasonry. They made a distinction between, what they termed Anglo Saxon Freemasonry, the Freemasonry that had come out of the British Isles and gone around the world, and the Freemasonry which had developed in Europe in the 18th century, which was largely what we would call quasi Freemasonry today. This latter form of Freemasonry, was adopted as a cloak for political and anti-clerical organizations.

There was also a move afoot in England spearheaded by one of my late colleagues in Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the late, great Harry Carr. He had correspondence and meetings with the late Cardinal Heenan, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Senior Roman Catholic Prelate in England in the early 1970s with the idea of working with these Jesuits, and others in Europe, and getting the Vatican to change its Canon against Freemasonry. It looked as though there was going to be a certain amount of success on that. Cardinal Heenan certainly agreed with the Jesuits that there was nothing that the church had to fear from the Anglo Saxon type of Freemasonry. He was going to bring it up when he went to Rome for the Second Vatican Counsel. Unfortunately, that Second Vatican Counsel was totally stonewalled on everything because the Pope brought out his encyclical on the birth control pill and that just blocked anything else that they wanted to discuss. Cardinal Heenan said that it was best to let matters ride until things had settled down again and it could be brought up as an separate issue rather than as an issue hanging onto other issues.

By 1976 there were a number of requests from Roman Catholics as to what the attitude was between the Catholic church and Freemasonry. Our then Pro Grand Master, the Earl Cadogan, wrote to Cardinal Heenan and informed him of that we had people who had come into Freemasonry who are Roman Catholics and want to continue practising their faith and going to church. We have others who are waiting to come in but they want to know what the situation is. Where do we actually stand? Cardinal Heenan went to the Council of Bishops in England and put the whole matter before them. They produced a letter, which went back to Earl Cadogan. We were given permission to circulate the letter to our Lodges and to publicize it. Their advice to us was "that provided a Roman Catholic found nothing in his own conscience of incompatibility between his Roman catholicism and Freemasonry, provided it was not going to cause any problems in his marriage, or his family, and provided he discussed it with his Priest, there was no reason why he should not come into Freemasonry and the church authorities in England would not excommunicate him". We have been working on that letter ever since.

In the late 1970s there was a move to reform a great deal of Canon law, including the Canon against Freemasonry. In either 1980 or 1981, a new Canon law was published and instead of various Canons against various organizations, they put in a general Canon prohibiting Roman Catholics from joining any society which worked against the church. That is the most ambiguous statement I have ever heard put in any sort of law.

There is in the Vatican a Cardinal Ratzinger who is Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the late 1970s he caused great distress when he was a Cardinal in Germany, by getting the German Council of Bishops to condemn Freemasonry. He had published in the Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, an anonymous article saying quite categorically that despite the dropping of the old Canon the new Canon on organizations which worked against the church covered Freemasonry. So you have a situation where half the church is saying the ban no longer exists because the Canon has been dropped. You have Cardinal Ratzinger, and his supporters, who are still in the old hard line anti Masonic tradition, saying this new catch-all Canon covers Freemasonry. We approached Cardinal Hume, the present Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster to ask for clarification. His advice to us was "do not rock the boat at the moment; you have my predecessor's letter, continue working on that", So in England that is what we are doing.

I know there have been many problems in the United States of America, because one of their Councils of Bishops has come out with the Ratzinger view. The Americans had been doing a lot of work bringing the Freemasons and the Knights of Columbus together. They had the Archbishop of New York address the Grand Lodge of New York and they had a very happy situation developing there. That has all been thrown into doubt and really the present situation is just out and out confusion. The Vatican itself does not seem to know which way it is pointed. The advice given to most people who have enquired is "let it sleep for the moment; continue the way you have been going". When certain people have disappeared from their present positions, that will be the time to bring it up again, not before.

Q: Does the Lutheran attack stem from the Ratzinger approach?

A: No. That is a separate issue. If you take a religious spectrum of, at the one end, the fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Rome at the other, they have totally different views. The reason that the Missouri Lutheran Church has opposed Masonry and the reason that most tele-Evangelists in the United States have taken a stand against Freemasonry, is quite frankly, (and I make no apologies for making an unChristian comment about supposed Christians) they are grossly intolerant. They do not like the fact that Freemasonry practices tolerance and permits its members to meet without differences of religion coming between them.

This fact was put to us by one member of the General Synod of the Church of England Working Group on their Report on Freemasonry. This person is a very well known born-again Evangelical, working within the Church of England. She put it to us that the reason that we are wrong is that we do not mention Jesus Christ in our meetings. We do not take these non-Christians aside and bully them into becoming her type of Christian and that is the aspect that they do not like. That is the problem identified with the basic Craft. It is the fact that we engage in prayer with those who are not Christian, or not their particular brand of Christianity.

The other problems arise with the fundamentalist wing of the Christian churches when you get into the appendant orders. That applies particularly to those orders that are still Christian and require their members to be Christian. They regard these orders as being wholly blasphemous, despite the fact that we satisfy them in one way and that is that in most of the Christian orders, prayers are given in the name of Jesus Christ and in most of them you have to be a trinitarian Christian. In addition, most appendant orders back up the principles of Christianity. The fact that we do certain things, which the fundamentalists say are aping the sacraments, they condemn as blasphemous, and we as blasphemers. That is the sort of angle that they are coming from.

Q: Has all the media coverage of these disputes increased the interest of the public in the Craft?

A: Yes, not unnaturally, with all the media attention.

We use a press cutting service which clips all the national, local papers and magazines in England and Wales and sends any reference to Freemasonry. Up until January 1984 we were receiving something like 50 to 60 press cuttings a year. From January to August 1984 we were getting 50 to 60 a day. That was the sort of interest that was stimulated. Once we came out of our shells and started explaining ourselves, the interest turned from curiosity to an actual genuine interest in what Freemasonry was and how it had developed.

My professional full time job is Librarian and Curator of Grand Lodge. We have noticed in the last five years, while this has been going on, that the number of enquiries that we have been receiving each year has quadrupled, if not quintupled, from the end of 1983 to the end of 1988 when I did my report for my committee. A good 50% of those enquiries, are sensible, reasonable enquiries coming from non-Masons. The other 50% are largely sensible questions coming from our own members.

There has been a great deal of interest stimulated.

The one great joy for me is that at last Freemasonry and its history are actually being recognized as history. I have some very interesting work going on at the moment with three professors of history at three of our universities who have finally realized that Freemasonry formed a very important part of the social fabric of British life for 250 years. You notice ridiculous things like the magnificent biography of King George the IV printed four years ago. He was the Grand Master of the Premier of Grand Lodge in England for 21 years and yet the biographer never mentioned that he was a even a Freemason. That is all changing and so in that way, there has been a very decided change for the better. The reaction my staff were getting from a lot of people initially, was that they had wanted to ask these questions for a long time but they had thought if they had got in touch with us they would have met a brick wall and would not have received a reply. Now that they know they will get answers, the questions have been flooding in.

Q: Has all the media coverage of these disputes influenced membership?

A: The effects on membership are a little difficult to really establish. We allow plural membership in England and for every lodge of which you are member, you pay a Grand Lodge per capita fee so that we know that we have just over 600 thousand lodge memberships, How many individual memberships that represents I do not know because you get people like me who are members of five or six lodges, you will get others who are just members of two, others who are members of just one. At the moment we are going through the modern practice of being computerized and should be able to sort it out at the end of this year, but we do not know what the fall-off rate is and we do not know how many we are losing by death.

There are two ways we can gauge how things are going, one is by the number of Grand Lodge certificates that are issued to new Master Masons each year and the other is by the number of new lodges that are being formed. We had a definite dip in candidates coming in towards the end of the 60s and early 1970s because we went through a very bad economic depression.

In the last ten years the average number of Grand Lodge certificates issued to new Master Masons every year has been something like 15,000 to 15,500. We have been adding something like 40 to 45 new lodges a year. Now that needs a little bit of explanation. We believe in small lodges. In London the average membership of a lodge will be 40 to 60; in the provinces it will probably be just over or just under a 100. We believe very firmly that any Master Mason coming into a lodge, if he wants to, should be able to go through the line of offices and become Master of his lodge within a reasonable time. At our Grand Investiture meeting in April, the Grand Master defined "reasonable time" as ten years. Less than ten years he thought was too hurried and if it gets much more than ten years the lodge is too big. As a result of that statement and as a result of the desire for small lodges, there is no official number how many there can be in a lodge (with the exception of one lodge), more lodges have been formed. If a back log of work is being created or if people are having to wait a long time before they can get into office, then there is a general suggestion that a daughter lodge should be formed so that those people can have the opportunity of doing the work they want to do. As a result of that principle, we have something like 8,750 lodges under our Grand Lodge and we are adding about 40 to 45 new ones a year.

The global number of memberships dropped in the early 70s; because of the economic problems a lot of people dropped their second, third or fourth lodge. That has gone up again and although we dropped quite considerably below the 600 thousand mark, we have gone right over it again so that our general feeling is that we are at least holding our own, and there is a sort of gut feeling that we are slightly increasing.

If you consider the future of the Craft, we had a horrendous situation in the early 70s where the average age of our candidates was in the 50s. We had the 1960s generation which does not join anything, does not like anything particularly that seems to be connected with anything establishment, and they have not joined. We are now getting quite a lot of late 20s, early 30s people coming in. It is a healthy sign that we are getting applicants in that age range starting to come in. They are coming in sufficient numbers for it to be noticed at Grand Lodge when they are processing the returns of new members. I think it was Horace Walpole in the 1730s who said that a bit of persecution was good for every organization occasionally.

The one thing that did happen when everything was going on in the newspapers, as I said, was our break with tradition. The Grand Secretary and myself are official spokesman at the national level. The Grand Secretary came right into the twentieth century when he appeared on a radio phone-in program with the late Steven Knight. As a result of what he said on that program we had a enormous mail bag the following week from people saying "how do I join this organization?"

Q: How many members would be in the English lodges that meet only four times a year and what would be the membership of each lodge?

A: London, for Masonic purposes, is an area within a radios of 10 miles of Freemasons' Hall, the Grand Lodge building. Within that area there are just under 1700 lodges. They meet on average four times a year; some might meet six times, but the average is four. The average membership of a London Lodge will be somewhere between 40 and 60. Having four meetings a year they will take in one perhaps two candidates a year, and possibly a couple of joining members as we call them, affiliates I think you call them. So that gives them three meetings plus the fourth meeting for the installation of the new Master.

In addition to that, however, they have what we call a Lodge of Instruction for the officers. Now that will meet once a week, usually in a room above a "pub", during the whole of the Masonic season from the beginning of September till the beginning of June. The officers of the lodge and new members of the lodge, once they have gone through their Third Degree, will be expected to attend. That is how they learn the ritual. They will certainly be expected to attend if they are officers and there is a ceremony coming up. They will be expected to attend the three meeting of the Lodge of Instruction before that meeting and they may do the odd social thing.

Basically, there are four actual meetings of the formal lodge. We do not have a stated meeting and an emergent meeting as you do on this side of the Atlantic. In the meeting they will do the general business of the lodge and then will do the degree work that has to be done, but we deal with our general business rather differently than you do. Our Master, Treasurer and Secretary are given much more authority. They deal with a lot of the routine, recurring business of the lodge which does not really need a decision from the full membership of the lodge. The work done will be reported to the lodge committee and to the lodge. The Bylaws of the lodge will stipulate the amount for the cheques that can be signed by the Master and the Treasurer without reference to the lodge. By that means, they can deal with things like the cost of replacing the candles without the bill having to go to the lodge for decision. The actual administrative business of the lodge is kept as brief 'as possible. Major things are always brought to the lodge for decision, but again the full discussion of them would be done in the lodge committee to which representatives of all grades within the lodge are elected. They will give their report on what they think. If anybody in the lodge wants to object they may do it and there will be a discussion about it, but the usual thing is for the lodge to accept the recommendation of the committee and vote on it. Our ceremonies are slightly shorter than those in Canada so we are able to do general business and ceremonial work in the one meeting.

Q: How is Freemasonry fairing in the former colonial territories where an indigenous government has taken over when independence has been granted?

A: There have been varied reactions and I think they varied according to the situation that was going on before independence came. You have the marvellous situation of places like the Far East where there was complete harmony between the locals and the lodges in places like Singapore and Hong Kong.

There was an initial worry in Malaya because they had a Moslem government. Most Moslem governments tend to see Freemasonry, because we use the old testament in the Craft Ceremonies, as a arm of Zionism. They have tunnel vision through which, anything mentioning Israel and the old testament is immediately Zionist. There was this reaction in Malaysia. What happened there was the English District Grand Master, the Provincial Grand Master of the Scottish Lodge, and the District Grand Master of the Irish Grand Lodge, went to see the government and said, "what are your problems and what can we explain to you". This was before Grand Lodge had started its open policy. They were very frank with the government and explained exactly what they did in Freemasonry. They explained it was not a religion; it had nothing to do with the state of Israel; it had nothing to do with Zionism. The government said, That is fine, you have been honest with us so we have no problem".

The same situation came up in Burma where we still have a District of eight lodges. Again they have a Moslem government and the government has a law that a government officer can enter any private meeting. The District Grand Master discussed it with the government and said, "well if that is the law, as Freemasons we have obligated ourselves to uphold the law of the country in which we are residing so we obviously have to abide by that law. If you want to send someone along we will have to receive him". There was a story, probably apocryphal, that they did actually send someone along and that he was so bored nobody else has gone back. Again however, it was cooperation of going to them and explaining, not cow-towing to them, but explaining to the people what the situation was.

Regrettably the opposite happened in Pakistan where they had a very hard line Moslem government until fairly recently. We, with our tradition over there, had a very flourishing English District and a very flourishing Scottish District, even after independence. In 1967 a hardline Moslem government came in one day and the next day they sacked the Masonic temples; they closed everything down; they destroyed all the Masonic property; and that was it. You just closed down with no discussion whatsoever. Happily, there has been a change of government and chances are that in the next 12 months the anti-Masonic law will be rescinded. Our lodges and the Scottish lodges will then be able to take up their work again. We have not erased them from our register because of the way in which they were stopped, in the hope that they would be able to begin working again.

In the various district in Africa there has been a fairly mixed reaction. In Nigeria there was a great deal of trouble. The same thing happened as in Pakistan. There was a change of government and a law was introduced whereby nobody in government employ could be Freemason and they closed down and took over the various lodge buildings. Again that government was thrown out. The President made the mistake of going abroad for a conference and he found that when he was on the airplane that he had lost his job. The new government gradually allowed Freemasonry to come back in. In places like Ghana or Sierra Leone there have never been any problems at all. There is a marvellous racial and religious mix within the English, Irish and Scottish lodges there because they have wanted to remain under the home Grand Lodges and have not wanted to go independent. They have always been public in what they have done and have had no problems up to now. But again, you cannot tell if there is a change of government.

If you get a Communist government taking over, the shutters come down immediately and Freemasonry is finished. They will not tolerate Freemasonry at all. There was a lot of worry about what would happen in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe as it now is. It appeared that there would be a lot of interference, but basically what it came down to was that all the names of various places were altered from British names to names in local languages. We had to change the name from the District Grand Lodge of Rhodesia to the District Grand Lodge of Zimbabwe, Salisbury became Harare, so Salisbury Lodge became Harare Lodge. There has been no direct interference to the present and the reports we have been getting are that there is not likely to be any in the near future. The one thing that they are worried about is that the local population is not joining the way they used to and it is becoming very much an ex-patriates club. That is another danger which you get. A similar thing happened in Uganda under Idi Amin, Freemasonry became very much a European ex-patriates club, where before, it had been a good mix of Europeans and the local people. It depends very much where you look and where you go; it depends very much how a government lasts and what the attitude is.

The situation in Ireland is one of the things that confuses the press. Because Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom the press always assume that the Northern Ireland Lodges are under the United Grand Lodge of England. There are two things which unite Ireland, one is rugby football and the other is Freemasonry. The Grand Lodge of Ireland has its headquarters in Dublin and its strength in the six provinces of Ulster, the northern part of Ireland which is still part of the United Kingdom. Both sides are happy to be together. There are no differences of opinion and they have been attracting Catholics into membership over the last few years. It has been one of the very interesting things that, in all the dreadful troubles, there have been in Northern Ireland there has never been any interference with Masons or with Masonic lodge rooms. Where many other buildings have been destroyed, lodge rooms have remained secure. It was said to me, by a very senior Irish Freemason, that he very firmly believes the reason that the northern brethren have not been attacked by anybody is the fact that Freemasonry in Ireland is united and ft is a uniting force. It is not a divisive force within that country.

Q: I recognize the differences between England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland but do we have problems between Masonry related to established religion in Scotland?

A: There have not been similar problems in Scotland mainly because Scotland has always been extremely open about Freemasonry. A Scottish lodge secretary does not have the problem of mailing summons or agendas to all his members. All he does is to put a notice in the local paper so they always have been open about everything. They always have been known. They have not had the same sort of pressures as England but they are starting to get a little bit. The Kirk in Scotland, (the Church of Scotland) has issued a Pastoral letter to the Ministers of the Kirk, rather than a report, on Freemasonry. This will go to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which I think meets in July of 1989. The letter says more or less what the Anglican Synod report said. I think they will get a different reaction from the church assembly because they have very badly misjudged how many ministers of the Kirk are actually in Freemasonry in Scotland. They have not had the same sort of problems for that very important reason. They have stayed within the community and they have stayed visible within the community. When stories run in the English papers about Freemasonry they do not run in the Scottish papers because the editors of the Scottish newspapers know they will be laughed at, because all their people know who their local Freemasons are, what they are and what they are not doing.

Q: What is the Mormon stance toward Freemasonry?

A: The original relationship between members of the Mormon church and the Freemasons in America, is a very complicated one. Joseph Smith himself, who formed the Mormons was a Freemason. He had a lodge at Nauvoo Village. There was a great deal of argument over what they were doing, and there was also a great deal of argument between three Grand Lodges as to whose jurisdiction he should come under, because at that time the territory he was in was not actually a State of the Union. The situation, as I understand it, is that in the State of Utah, Mormons will not let their members become Freemasons. Second, The Grand Lodge of Utah used to require an applicant for Freemasonry to renounce Mormonism. Why they should have done that I do not know, because it totally goes against the basic principle that we are open to men of any faith, but it has some sort of grounding in the historical conflict that went on in the 1840s, 50s and 60s. The very surprising thing about it was that a very good friend of mine quotes a professional colleague who actually lives in Salt Lake City and is an ex-mormon as saying that anybody who goes into the Mormon Temple and to the Mormon Churches ceremonies, (particularly their private ceremonies which only the senior of their clergy actually get to see and participate in) will see pure Freemasonry. If you go to their great building in Salt Lake City, the part of it that you are not allowed in as a non-Mormon, is probably one of the most splendid Masonic Temples in the world. The unhappy situation is that Mormons will not allow their members to become Freemasons and for very complicated historical reasons and arguments that went on over sixty or seventy years. I do not think the renouncing of Mormonism by applicants for Masonry pertained in other Grand Lodges in the United States, but I may be wrong on that.

Comment from a participant.

I spent a period of time in Utah, and have friends amongst the Masonic community. In 1986, because of the pressure put on the Grand Lodge of Utah by Mormon Masons coming from other jurisdictions and returning to Utah, among other things, the Grand Lodge rescinded its policy of not accepting applications from non-Masons who were Mormons. Their policy from that time to the present is sorely on the ballot box and allow the individual's character to either vindicate him or have him not accepted into the fraternity. The Masonic fraternity there is comparatively small because of the strong influence of the Mormon Church in the state and that influence extends into every facet of society—the judiciary, the constabulary, the business community, and the press. The influence of the Mormon church is absolutely unbelievable but one of the benefits, (I am thinking back to your earlier remark that a bit of persecution is good) is that the Masonic community including the Concordant bodies is a beautiful thing to see, in the way they work together. As far as the conflict between Masons and Mormons, it no longer officially exists on the part of the Grand Lodge of Utah and they are relying on the ballot box.

Q: Does the Grand Lodge of England see any light because of the new policies in the Soviet Union under Glastnost or about Freemasonry eventually entering or reestablishing in Communist countries?

A: I cannot see that what is going on in Russia at the moment will allow Freemasonry to come back into Communist countries. There is a very interesting development though, in some of the Eastern Block countries, particularly Hungary and Czechoslovakia. There is a very strong interest in Freemasonry in both those countries as a historical subject. In the last ten years there have been about a dozen books published in the two countries that people who I have met Masonically in London who read these languages, say are written as history books and not as anti-Masonic propaganda. They are pure factual history books.

In Czechoslovakia recently they discovered a hoard of Nazi loot from the last war which had been buried in mines. Amongst it was a lot of material which had been taken from Masonic Halls in Germany. Many of these lodge halls are in East Germany now and many of the items, libraries and documentation belonged to lodges which no longer exist. They are actually setting up, in a small 18th century castle in part of Czechoslovakia or Poland, I am not sure which, a study centre of the history of Freemasonry in East Europe. They are interested purely as a historical thing and not as an organization to be started up.

Q: Regarding, privacy versus secrecy: has the Grand Lodge of England given any direction or guidance to its members as to whether they should mention their membership or not? I know I have heard from time to time people discussing whether or not you should put Masonic affiliation on job applications or curriculum vitae or any of these biographies for people who have to be in public spotlights.

A: A simple answer to your question about what our advice is to people putting membership information on C.V.s for job applications and things like that is "NO". We very heavily drum into our candidates that they do not join Freemasonry to get anything out of it. It is one of the reasons why there has often been reticence amongst English brethren about declaring their membership because we hammer this into them. We do not allow our members to frame their certificates and hang them in their office or in their home. It is one of the reasons we have been against Masonic jewellery and things like that, because you could be construed as advertising your membership to try and attract business from other Freemasons. We have always been very strong on that.

On a job application you could be misunderstood as trying to let another Mason on the advisory board or selection panel or whatever, know that you are a Freemason. The subject of course came up with what has been going on over the last four or five years, particularly with certain local authorities asking people to declare their membership. Our reply to them was, "if you are asked say, 'yes', do not lie. If you have to correct a lie in the future or you are found out lying, that is only going to make your situation worse. If, unfortunately, it comes to a situation where by having declared membership, your career is going to have problems, then what you do is to temporarily resign from your lodge and you let it be known to your employers. When things have settled down again you can come back into your lodge. You will come back exactly where you were; you will not lose anything by it. Your career and your family must come first, but if you are asked to formally declare your membership, on no account lie. That will only get you into more trouble and it will only bring disrepute on Freemasonry".

Q: Where do these lodges that David Yallup writes about, such as P2, fit in, and are they perhaps the source of much of the condemnation of our movement? Maybe we need something worldwide to unite us and try to educate the public on what a normal lodge is and what is not?

A: I see three things:

One, your last comment about a worldwide authority. I think that would be the worst thing that could happen for Freemasonry. It would only confirm the conspiracy theories of the anti-Masons and their idea that there is an international conspiracy. I think the individual sovereignty of each Grand Lodge is the great strength that we have to stand on today. Regarding David Yallup's book, "In Gods Name": David Yallup was a good writer who became an investigative journalist and has gone right down the line of chasing money. He wrote his book to make money and there are a lot of very bad basic factual errors in it.

As to P2 lodge and other irregular lodges. I referred to P2 a few moments ago in answer to the question on the Roman Catholic church. One of the attractions in the eighteenth century of European Freemasonry was that Europe was a very rigid monarchical society. They liked the political freedom that there then was in the British Isles. They equated our three basic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth with liberty, fraternity, and equality and a confusion arose between them. They could not hold political meetings so they held so-called Masonic meetings to get on with their political action and anti-clerical activities. Particularly in France, anti-state politics were tied up with anti-Roman Catholic church politics. That has continued to the present day.

There are a number of so called "Grand Lodges" and "Grand Orients" in Europe which are totally beyond the pale as far as regular Freemasonry is concerned. Perhaps the best known is the Grand Orient of France, which up until 1875, was recognized as regular. In that year they withdrew all reference to the Great Architect from their Constitutions and rituals, they threw the Volume of the Sacred Law out of their lodge room and they rejected, what we regard as the very essential qualification of every candidate, a belief in a Supreme Being. They allowed atheists and free-thinkers in. As a result of that the Three British Grand Lodges immediately withdrew recognition. It had no effect, and in fact, the Grand Orient in France now is basically a third political party in France. They spend all their time discussing political and social problems and do very little of what we would actually recognize as Freemasonry.

P2 is a very tricky and very complicated situation. P2, or to give it its proper name, "Propaganda Due" was an Italian lodge on the register of the Grand Orient of Italy which is a recognized Grand Lodge. It has been recognized by the British Grand Lodges since 1972. Initially, it was formed in the 1870s as a sort of research lodge, As time went on it became a sort of Grand Master's private lodge in which he had all his friends and his advisors as members. Under Italian law any society has to register its members with the local police. Certain Italian Grand Masters in the 1970s wanted to bring people into the lodge who felt it would be detrimental to their careers, usually in politics and diplomacy, if it became publicly known that they were Freemasons. So they began to use "Propaganda Due Lodge" as a sort of double lodge. There was a set of members whose names appeared on the return to the local magistrate and the local police. There was a second list which did not go to the authorities which was of people who they thought would be good for Freemasonry.

Unfortunately, one of the people they brought in was the notorious Robert Calvi. He became Master of the lodge and found out that there was this second list. He started introducing all sorts of people who should not have been Freemasons into it, and not just introducing them in actual meetings of the lodge. He would hold a meeting of "Propaganda Due" in his hotel suite and just make people Masons at sight. The Grand Orient of Italy had a change of Grand Master who got wind of this. The new Grand Master said immediately to them, "you drop these people immediately and return a list of all your members to the police or you are out; and until you have done that you are suspended, They were suspended.

Calvi was followed by a man called Licio Gelli who was even more notorious. He became the next Master after Calvi. Gelli continued during the suspension so the Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy served notice of erasure, in I think 1979. The lodge has been erased and no longer exists. Calvi and Gelli were basically using a secret lodge, not even a proper lodge, to further their own financial chicanery. When it all came out and the Bank of Ambrosiano collapsed a great deal of information came out about this so-called P2 lodge. It caused a great deal of harm to Freemasonry in Europe in general, because it appeared as though a regular lodge, under a regular Grand Lodge was doing exactly what every anti-Mason has said we have been doing for the last 1 00 years. It was a situation where the Grand Master, for good reasons, had broken his own constitution, and two people who should never have come into Freemasonry, took advantage of that and used it for their own purposes. The actual regular members of P2 lodge did not know what Calvi and Gelli were up to. When the police made a much publicized raid on Gelli's flat to seize all his papers and found the notorious list of 900 members this was a classic piece of misinformation. It was the only piece of paper they found in his flat. Now if he had very carefully cleared his flat of everything and all that was left behind on his desk was the list, it is most suspicious.

The list has never been fully published outside Italy. Following an Italian parliamentary investigation for three years into the whole P2 business two thirds of the people on that list said they had never even set eyes on Gelli or Calvi, He had put their names on the list to just stir the pot up a bit. He was going down and was determined to take as many people as he could with him.

Transcribed from recordings.