Gary Leazer’s Landmark
Fundamentalism & Freemasonry


This following is the full text of commentary
for appendix 7 of my book,

Character Counts—Freemasonry USA’s National Treasure
and Source of Our Founding Fathers’ Original Intent

By Dr. Michael G. Maness


Gary Leazer’s Fundamentalism and Freemasonry is an important contribution to the history of SBC studies, even crucial, and especially with reference to James L. Holly’s muffin criticisms.[1] Leazer sets the stage and does a good job summarizing the rise of fundamentalism in general and in the SBC—the real cause of the anti-Mason fomentations. Leazer’s first four chapters are worth the price of his book alone on Fundamentalism. 

Bill Gordon and Tal Davis were secretive and not interested in history, and they were interested in occulting history. The SBC Interfaith Witness Department did not want to share their reasons for not sharing even the smallest piece of history, even the date of Gordon’s little Closer Look. Another tell-tale sign of a truly secret society—no accountability to its own constituency.

James L. Holly profusely attacked Freemasonry and Gary Leazer, especially in his volume III. With both books on the table, Leazer’s lean corrections and clarifications climb up and cast a shadow upon Holly’s heated stretching of his own Frankenstein. Gary Leazer is clearly more credible and thorough. In the latter chapters, Gary Leazer clearly documents many misrepresentations and unfair inflations in several anti-Mason books and reveals how HMB President Larry Lewis changed and deleted several items in Leazer’s study of Freemasonry.

Gary Leazer does document. The SBC’s final stance was a respect for “conscience.” Yet that is not all. Leazer had to walk carefully like few before him. Even though Leazer was a non-Mason at the time of the study, Larry Lewis was concerned about “damage control”[2]: Larry Lewis had received a letter that Leazer had written to a SBC Freemason friend, and James L. Holly fomented distrust after he too had seen the letter. Copies of that letter spread like a busted bee hive. Leazer’s ability to talk to Freemasons as fellow Southern Baptists was crippled by Larry Lewis’ fears and Holly’s agitations. Listen to Leazer’s side of the story.

[SBC HMB President Larry Lewis] Lewis was upset that I had encouraged Masons to attend the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston in June [1993] to vote their conscience. A number of Masons had written asking how they could help with the study…. if they felt strongly about the matter, they could attend the convention as messengers elected by their churches and vote when the issue came up for discussion. While I was repeatedly criticized for this action, others regularly encouraged people to attend the convention and vote for particular candidates.[3]

Gary Leazer noted Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler’s well-known and sometimes secret caucusing for the previous 15 years, and Leazer is straight on target with concerns and implied surprise over the attacks on his own vote-your-conscience encouragements. As an SBC employee, the current climate would not allow Gary Leazer to say “vote your conscience” to anyone but those who fully supported the takeover cabal.

[SBC HMB President Larry Lewis] Lewis was especially upset that I had allowed two Masons, Southern Baptist Abner McCall, president emeritus of Baylor University, and Disciples of Christ layperson Jim Tresner, editor of The Oklahoma Mason, to read advance copies of the study. [Gary Leazer’s concern was his own accuracy, as a non-Mason, so he consulted them to] check that carefully. I know Masons will not agree with all of my report but believe it to be fair and objective.[4]

Leazer had written McCall and Tresner in January of 1993 and maintained editorial control over the study until he had submitted the Freemasonry study to Larry Lewis on January 22, 1993. In February, Leazer was reprimanded for his letter to his Freemason friend D. L. Talbert; the letter that had kicked James L. Holly into a beehive action of his own.

That was the beginning of the end of Leazer’s SBC service as Holly vigorously pursued Leazer and harassed. Holly ruined Leazer’s SBC career, and Holly documented that ruination in his volume III, which devotes nearly 200 pages of his persecution of Leazer and Holly’s own dissatisfaction with the SBC. Strangely cooperative—though at odds with each other—the coldness of the SBC officials and apparent lack of concern for a truly objective report brims over in both Leazer’s and Holly’s words. Both anti-Mason James Holly and (then neutral) SBC researcher Gary Leazer together document the HMB’s determination to stir the negative caldron.

In Holly’s volume III, Holly continuously pummels Leazer for an attempt to contact a Freemason of good reputation and authority about an SBC study of Freemasonry compatibility with the SBC. And Holly pummels the SBC Interfaith Witness Department for not slamming Freemasonry more than they did. Moreover, as we have seen in appendix 4 (and in the longer on-line version), Holly misrepresents and sloppily constructs his own Frankenstein.

Between Leazer’s and Holly’s documents, the SBC leaders were careless, paranoid, and determined to support the anti-Mason Frankenstein as well as the SBC disrespect for character counting. The SBC leaders had to support their Frankenstein; perhaps that was the secret order of Paige Patterson, but most likely just acting under the political pressure and vocal dislikes of Patterson. Probably not under any orders from Patterson, but certainly aware of Patterson’s determined dislikes—there was no fear of sloppy work.

Regrettably, Gary Leazer even acquiesced to President Larry Lewis’ request for a signed release for letters in Leazer’s own home. Leazer’s documentation indicates how much more trust Leazer had in Lewis than Lewis had in Leazer before Lewis’ final crushing. Leazer exhibited far more of a Christian spirit than was exhibited to him. Three boxes of 2,300 letters were removed from Leazer’s office, and then Lewis’ executive vice president “rode with me [Leazer] while Sunderland followed in his car” to Leazer’s own home and retrieved another box of correspondence.[5]

What does that sound like to you? Gestapo secret hush-hush nonsense. Where are those letters and documents secreted from Leazer’s home today? Where are they? Ten years later, they may not mean much to the larger history, and the smallness of and administrative fringe existence of the Interfaith Witness will never merit a true history. But the SBC Gestapo-like tactics are the example of the evil accused of Freemasonry. What kind of Christian character does that kind of thing? Who is so bent on cover-up that they would sequester letters from fellow Southern Baptists? We do not believe the SBC was sophisticated enough to be making a kind of black-list for Gestapo-like censure. But it was truly a Gestapo-like search and seizure. If they had had the legal machinery of the state behind them, what would have happened to Gary Leazer? In Germany and Russia not too long ago … we fear to say. Did they act within the law? Sure they did, but not in the spirit of Christ by any means. And they are still hiding.

What is clear from James L. Holly’s volume III is that Holly manically pursued Leazer with a force that few could stand—not even the HMB President Larry Lewis. Holly even slices at Lewis in his volume III. Holly documents how he himself would not settle for anything but utter condemnation for Freemasonry no matter what the evidence, no matter what the history, even if that meant twisting the evidence and falsely representing the evidence. It is clear that character does not count to Holly in his volume III.

After all of that, Gary Leazer provides a most significant piece of documentation for the psychology behind Holly’s hot pursuit.

[James L. Holly] is quoted by the Associated Baptist Press as saying that he blames Masons for the fact his father, a Mason, rejects Christianity.” Holly’s father is a member of the Episcopal Church.[6]

Holly can be merciless, as he said:

Every Mason in Louisiana, including this writer’s father and father-in-law, has a copy of this Monitor in his home. These quotes alone are sufficient to warn the man of God to flee the Lodge. To say that there is no false religion is to say that there is no true religion either.[7]

Hold on here! Look at Holly’s theoretical source material for that severe judgment—these three quotes.

“Let there be light.”—Gen. 1:3

“There never was a false god, nor was there ever a really false religion, unless you call a child a false man.”—Max Muller

“Every age has had a religion suited to its capacity.”—Albert Pike

Is that all? Holly’s three quotes do not at all merit Holly’s condemning charge, “flee the Lodge,” by any stretch of logic or good character reference.[8] But what kind of statement is this about Holly’s own family? “Let there be light” too? Holly’s clear condemnation depends on only one quote from Max Muller, and Holly’s own father and father-in-law come under Holly’s own condemnation. Muller’s Universalism does not speak of all of Freemasonry, not any more than Occultist Manly P. Hall’s. Certainly there are false gods, biblically speaking. Did Holly have the gumption to ask his father or father-in-law? I asked Holly about that, but he did not respond to me. Yet—regarding Muller and whatever his meaning—Has there ever been a time under heaven in which the biblical God was not present even to the most heathen and ungodly? Who is Max Muller? There is not a reference anywhere that I could find in Holly’s three volumes to discover who Muller is.[9] Yet Holly uses that to slice his own father’s and father-in-law’s integrity and—again—all of Freemasonry.

Feel the pain of persecution weighing down upon Gary Leazer. Why in the world would anyone have to make statements like Leazer makes here: “It is common for scholars to send manuscripts to others to critique” and “Any scholar will consider all sources for his research”?[10] Those statements are so appropriately sad. Leazer tells us the rest of the story, documents how President Larry Lewis edited the final report, and then Leazer closes out his book with a couple of chapters correcting and clarifying James L. Holly’s volumes.

James L. Holly defies reason—Frankenstein.

As we know today, I could not get a copy of Lewis’ edited version of the 75-page document—it was deep-sixed, Bill Gordon said. It was only later that I came across Leazer’s fine book. In that light, it is no wonder that Bill Gordon gets scared when I attempted in 2004 to get to the bottom of his sloppy excursions in his Closer Look. Gordon would not have lasted as long if they had been after him. One thing is as clear as a Texas summer sky—in all of the hullabaloo caused by Lewis and Holly that even Holly himself documents, Gary Leazer is not sloppy and does not make the profound errors that Bill Gordon makes—not in the least. Bill Gordon should be afraid, if the new management is concerned about integrity.

Furthermore—hear ye, hear ye—do note what we have documented about Bill Gordon already. This is extremely important, even frightening. Inside of three lights, there walks a dark figure: (1) in the light of our 24 Franken-Bones on Gordon above, (2) in the light of Leazer’s history, and (3) in the light of how Leazer’s history is shamelessly verified and augmented in Holly’s own history—therein, in those three lights there lurks a dark figure, a SBC exclusive Frankenstein. Freemasonry was not going to get a fair shake from the start.

The persecution of Gary Leazer is vividly and viciously documented by the inflamed anti-Mason James L. Holly, and then HMB President Larry Lewis makes many revisions of Leazer’s study. Look at all of that, then notice that the small report to the 1993 SBC still—still—left the issue of Freemasonry up to the conscience of the individual Southern Baptist. Here comes another dark and mysterious figure. Sometime after June of 1993, at an undated secret time, Bill Gordon writes his Closer Look at Freemasonry and deletes “conscience” altogether, and then in his Comparison Chart removed all vestiges of good. Frankenstein lives.

Gordon’s work is today supported by Tal Davis, and implicitly by Paige Patterson. So the official position of the SBC on Freemasonry has now changed without the permission of the SBC and by permission of the SBC elite secret fraternity! What evil has now descended upon the SBC that ten legions of legends—millions of Southern Baptists too—can be so misrepresented? What evil has now descended where the official position of the SBC can be changed without permission from the SBC? What evil has come when an SBC employee—Gary Leazer—is hounded for encouraging the voting of conscience? What evil has now descended upon the SBC when “conscience” can be deleted—by a low level lackey like Bill Gordon—from such a seminal report with not even a slap on the hand?

In the land of honor and character, Bill Gordon should be afraid. Gordon’s work is not only an embarrassment, but malignantly deceptive to boot. And if Paige Patterson is just half the scholar many believe him to be, he should step out of his protected bunker and make a substantial offering of his own. Or apologize for his collusion. But all Patterson does is talk and hope that history and character does not catch him. Hiding history is not good for anyone in this context.

Gary Leazer’s unofficial prophecy is coming true in Bill Gordon’s sly and surreptitious and shamefully weak offerings and in Paige Patterson’s talk. In his conclusion, Leazer wisely warned.

If the Southern Baptist Convention adopts an anti-Masonic position, the issue will begin to tear apart local churches as they debate how to respond to the decision of the Convention. The end result would be devastating to churches, families, individuals, and the Kingdom of God.[11]

Yet, Leazer was—again—just a little too generous, continuing to believe the best and hope for the best. It would be great if the SBC had a say in its own official position. For Bill Gordon has already taken the SBC to the anti-Mason position and deleted “conscience” too—all without the SBC’s permission.

Just who is being duped and who is being duplicitous here? Gary Leazer is asked to resign for wanting SBC members to vote their conscience on Freemasonry and his own trying to get real SBC Freemason experts’ input. Yet Bill Gordon misrepresents, deletes “conscience,” and gets supports from his boss and from Paige Patterson on his changing of the official SBC position without the SBC approval! For ten years now!

Who is being duped here? Frankenstein needs to go back to the graveyard.

Bill Gordon ought to be afraid—in the land of honor and on the plains of life where character counts—except that he is secretly protected.



This following is the full text of commentary
for appendix 7 of my book,

Character Counts—Freemasonry USA’s National Treasure
and Source of Our Founding Fathers’ Original Intent

By Dr. Michael G. Maness


[1] Gary Leazer, Fundamentalism & Freemasonry: The Southern Baptist Investigation of the Fraternal Order (NY: M. Evans & Co., 1995).

[2] Gary Leazer, Fundamentalism & Freemasonry (1995): 99.

[3] Gary Leazer, Fundamentalism & Freemasonry (1995): 99.

[4] Gary Leazer, Fundamentalism & Freemasonry (1995): 100.

[5] Gary Leazer, Fundamentalism & Freemasonry (1995): 101.

[6] Gary Leazer, Fundamentalism & Freemasonry (1995): 101, with quote originating from Roy Waddle and Greg Warner, “Study Easy on Masonry; Holly Questions Objectivity,” Baptist Press (March 18, 1993).

[7] James L. Holly, Southern Baptist Convention and Freemasonry (1992-94, 3v.): 8.

[8] Ibid., 7: from the Louisiana Masonic Monitor” quote in James L. Holly, The Southern Baptist Convention and Freemasonry (1992-94, 3v.): 7.

[9] Yet I could have overlooked it somewhere in my rush over the slush ponds.

[10] Gary Leazer, Fundamentalism & Freemasonry (1995): 104.

[11] Gary Leazer, Fundamentalism & Freemasonry (1995): 186.