Freemasonry E-Mails to
Paige Patterson & SBC Experts

Sent out in 2004 for Clarification
By Michael G. Maness



This following were originally the full text to Appendix 6 of my book,

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

The book version is now condensed, to make room for other more important material.



Brief History of Closer Look at Freemasonry Document Questioned

1. Maness Initial E-Mail to Bill Gordon — 9-9-04, 10:20 AM

2. Maness Initial E-Mail to Tal Davis — 9-9-04, 8 PM

3. Tal Davis 1st and Only E-mail Response — 9-13-04, 9 AM

4. Bill Gordon’s E-mail Agency Response — 9-13-04, 3 PM


5. Maness 1st Follow-up Plea to Tal Davis — 9-14-04, 8 AM

6. Maness 2nd Follow-up Plea to Tal Davis — 9-14-04, 6 PM

7. Paige Patterson e-mail to Maness — 9-30-04, 4 PM

8. Maness Response to Patterson — 10-01-4, 6 PM

9. Patterson Response to Maness — 10-11-4, 10:49 AM

10. Maness Response to Patterson — 10-12-4, 6:30 AM

11. Maness 1st Follow-up to Patterson — 11-29-04, 9:23 AM

12. Patterson Response to Maness — 11-29-04, 5:41 PM

13. Maness Response to Patterson — 11-30-04, 6:06 AM

14. Patterson Response – End – to Maness — 11-30-04, 6:03 PM

—Lastly, according to Patterson, a Freemasonry defense is a defense of indefensible, so character truly did not count.  We need more light on Character Counting today, much more light.


Brief History of Closer Look at Freemasonry Document Questioned   ~  TOP

Originall, the Closer Look at Freemasonry (Closer Look) was written in response to the 1994 SBC for more information by Dr. Bill Gordon, then of the SBC’s Interfaith Witness Department. Ironically, in the last year or two, the Closer Look has lost its name and has been reduced in status—if you can call it that—for it has been changed from the stability and industry standard of a PDF file (personal document file) to a mere internet HTML file on Freemasonry on the new SBC Apologetics web site. That is significant in many ways. The PDF file format can be copied and shared and then printed with absolute consistency—even quoted. Even though the original Closer Look did not bear Bill Gordon’s name at the time, it was in its ten-year-old PDF format an official SBC document. Still, there it was, a document meant to fulfill the 1994 SBC request for more information, and we will attend shortly to the info it contains. The new HTML format used does not allow consistency, cheapens the authority of the document to a less-than-publisher-ready document, though it is currently identical to former PDF Closer Look.

We continue to use Closer Look in the book at our close look at the official SBC document; just know that it has morphed in title and format, in a way, as though the authorities themselves demoted it.

The Interfaith Witness Department became Interfaith Evangelism in 1996 when the Home Mission Board was renamed the North American Mission Board (NAMB). In late 2004, it evolved into Apologetics and Interfaith Evangelism, according to Jeannie Hope, with most of its work reflected on its own web site, In an e-mail dated 12-21-06, 10:21 AM, new Apologetics and Interfaith Manager Robert M. Bowman responded with a recognition that “many Baptists have been and still are Freemasons” and yet recalled that the 1993 SBC convention resolution elements were “not compatible” with Christianity, and the eight non-compatible items are reflected in the their document—as though that settled it—so my request to respond “would not be necessary or appropriate for us to post an article supporting or defending Freemasonry.”

I sent an advance copy of this book to Paige Patterson and Frank Page (and David Barton) just before Christmas, 2006, and e-mailed chapters 3 and 4 to Bowman, inviting them to respond before February 28, 2006.

Though Bill Gordon was the author of the Freemasonry articles and though the originals had no author listed—and the Closer Look title now removed—the articles remain the same today (January 2007)—only now the authors are “NAMB Staff”—that is, the staff claiming credit, somehow, still in secret. The same is true for the little Comparison Chart—Freemasonry and Christianity, an elementary exercise in prejudice now accredited to “NAMB Staff”—and no one complains or is embarrassed. Gordon is listed as the author of several articles, even on Wicca, and was the author of the Closer Look. Is “NAMB Staff” meant to convey plural authorship? Did it take staff to reaffirm Bill Gordon’s two sources? The staff did not change anything. Worse, the staff have placed Freemasonry under the “New Religion” category at, without a hint of rationale, other than Gordon’s deceptive insinuations. Sounds more like a staff infection, even a defection from honor given the literature and lack of effort by the NAMB staff. Such could even be construed as staff expectoration. Let’s prove our case in a closer look.

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Some of the information in the book is based upon these e-mails. By and large, they express themselves well. Bill Gordon hides. Tal Davis defers to Bill Gordon’s expertise. Paige Patterson avoids substance and reference. A Southern Baptist cannot get a simple answer to some clear questions. Paige Patterson views secrets and a fraternity founded upon virtues and agreement as childish. Are secrets and virtue childish? Or did Patterson just not think about what he was saying? Or just did not know what he was saying? Sadly, there are not a lot of options left.

I did say from the start that I was chronicling my journey as I went—my own foibles, too.

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1. Maness Initial E-Mail to Bill Gordon — 9-9-04, 10:20 AM   ~  TOP

From: M.G. — Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004, 10:20 AM

To: Bill — Subject: Closer Look



You mentioned that you wrote the Closer Look at Freemasonry. When did you do that, shortly after the 1993 report maybe, 1994?

How would I get a hold of Gary Leisure [sic]—would you know per chance?


###  (### is the common designation in publishing for the end of a communication.)

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2. Maness Initial E-Mail to Tal Davis — 9-9-04, 8 PM   ~  TOP

From: M.G. — Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 , 8:31 PM

To: Tal — Subject: Closer Look [Spelling corrected]



I talked with Bill the other day about Freemasonry.

He informed that he wrote the Closer Look material on Freemasonry.

I just e-mailed him on the date of that material, but have not heard back.

Anyway, we had a great conversation until he found out I was not totally against Freemasonry. I questioned the clear line he took to throw all of Masonry into Paganism, unlike the 1993 report to the SBC which he said was schizophrenic.

He also said the 75-page document mentioned in the 1993 was “deep-sixed”—which was interesting. Do you have an old copy of that? Know someone who does? Bill mentioned that man named Gary Leisure (spelling? [Leazer]) had written the 75-page report mentioned in the 1993 report and that was cut off—“deep-sixed,” said Bill, because Gary was found corresponding with Masons. Can you give me more information on Leisure, his current e-mail, address or contact info?

I told Bill I was researching Freemasonry too—and that I was Criswell, SWBTS, and NOBTS graduate. I am seriously researching this and want input, and am cataloguing my dialogues as I go.

This is very serious to me because I respect George Washington and George W. Truett.  I think their reputations with thousands of others merited more. When I asked Bill about the reputations of them—Washington, Truett, B. H. Carrol, W. T. Conner, Scarborough, Abner McCall, and how according to Bill’s report that ALL of them were duped—Bill said, I quote you, “I have no problem with that.”

Well Tal, I have a problem with that. Bill and I agree to disagree—but I shall not rest with that. From the 1993 report, Bill mutated the 8 points into a Closer Look that defames, and then the comparison chart mutates again—essentially—making the SBC's official stance that ALL Freemasonry is Paganism (even contrary to the 1993 report). As such, the SBC then clearly makes dupes out of many of our Founding Fathers, several SBC theological titans, and many more.

I think Bill’s Closer Look is a farce not resembling anything like real research—my goodness.

Will you help me get some accurate information so that this piece of history can be accurate recorded. And again—Gary Leisure [sic, Leazer]—I truly need to get with him too, to record some of his side.

To chronicle the history further, do you have the author/s of the 1993 report that went into the 1993 Annual of the Southern Baptist Convention reported on your web site?

Thanks for your help with these things.


Sincerely, Mike Maness 


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3. Tal Davis 1st and Only E-mail Response — 9-13-04, 9 AM   ~  TOP

From: Tal — Sent: Monday, September 13, 2004, 9:43 AM

To: M. G. — cc: Bill Gordon — Subject: RE: Closer Look


Mr. Maness:

Dr. Gordon is our specialist in this area of research and study. We stand behind the accuracy of his work. We do not have copies of the 75 page Home Mission Board study available nor do I know how to contact Gary Leazer.


Tal Davis, Interfaith Evangelism,


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4. Bill Gordon’s E-mail Agency Response — 9-13-04, 3 PM   ~  TOP

From: Bill — Sent: Monday, September 13, 2004, 3:05 PM

To: M. G. — cc: Bill Gordon — Subject: RE: Closer Look


Dear Dr. Maness,

Dr. Davis has asked me to respond to the email that you sent him. 

I do not want to get into all the areas in which I think you misrepresented our phone conversation or to debate your positions on Freemasonry or the Openness of God controversy.

I do want to respond to the problem that you have with my position on George Washington, George Truett, B. H. Carrol, W. T. Conner, Scarborough, and other men that you claim were masons. In general I have great respect for these men.  But, just because I respect someone does not mean that I must agree with everything that they did or with every association they may have joined. Baptists believe that the Scriptures are inerrant, but that Christian leaders are fallible. Unlike Roman Catholics, we have no group of Church Fathers that we must consult before determining what to believe. I therefore have no problem believing that these men were mislead or mistaken on the subject of Freemasonry [Bold emphasis mine].

Both my conversation with you on the phone and your email to Dr. Davis leads us to conclude that further conversation with you on this subject would be unproductive.  This will be our last communication with you.


Sincerely, Bill Gordon, Th.D.


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4—Interjection   ~  TOP

Who deserves that? I did not cuss or threaten Bill Gordon, yet he cannot even give a sincere response to a rather serious e-mail. Yet that was really not a surprise, for Bill Gordon does not have to defend his work at all. As long as the anti-Mason agenda is kept—because the SBC secret cabal demand it—Bill Gordon can write whatever he pleases.

Hear ye—my phone conversation was hard enough to bear. I was an inquiring Southern Baptist researcher who was shut off and now maligned for questioning slights made about his fathers—even Washington and Truett! And then told—as I shall rub in later—that Baptists believe the “Scriptures inerrant” and do not need to consult Church Fathers “before determining what to believe.” Who in the world was Gordon talking too? Gordon made excuses for not responding with ugly innuendos that I (or Truett, Carroll, or Scarborough) did not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Totalitarian in word and deed.

My fathers and Founding Fathers deserved more than Gordon gave—and I demand it. The true SBC deserves more.

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5. Maness 1st Follow-up Plea to Tal Davis — 9-14-04, 8 AM   ~  TOP

From: M.G. — Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 8:26 AM

To: Tal — Subject: Closer Look [few spelling corrections made]



Thank you for responding.

I am still interested in the date of the Closer Look.

I am sad that Bill chose to misrepresent me too or even not respond to the more direct questions of my inquiry.

Believe me, Bill said clearly the 75-page report was “deep-sixed” and clearly that he “no problem” with how his Closer Look made dupes out of some sterling Baptists. Only after the conversation where it was clear I was not fully in his corner did his vociferous stance wane.

Tal, can you help me get a date for the Closer Look. While Bill is right that we are not like the Catholics, he also indicates in his comments that he has no obligation to fellow Southern Baptists (at least those who misrepresent his phone calls—as he alleges I did). What actually happened was that his fire burned as I listened—I am a chaplain—and then when I asked about the good men, sterling leaders of enormous contribution (in leadership and theology) who appear to be dupes not able to distinguish Paganism—only then—a double-take was made. And that, Tal, is why Bill will not like recapitulating our conversation.

Tal—the integrity of good men are important to Southern Baptists. The Closer Look makes Freemasonry Pagan—simple and clean, and Bill’s expertise did not reveal or expose how the fraternity truly relates itself. I am writing a history, and I asked some clear and clean historical questions—and listened to Bill’s fire and his defense of his work too. Bill and I do disagree on what productive conversation is, that is for sure.  Bill wrote an important piece that slices good men in the past and present based primarily on only two sources and apparently independent of the 1993 report.

Surely, Tal, you can see the need to distinguish between the Bill’s Closer Look and the 1993 SBC Report.

Could you help me get the date please? This report will be more accurate with the facts. I tried to ascertain from Bill the reasons he varied from the 1993 Report, but our conversation would not allow that. His report was viewed and approved by the highest persons on the Board, he said, as though they had done similar work or were similar experts as he was. Getting to the facts is hard work.

It is clear Bill does not want to talk with me further, and it is natural for you to believe I misrepresented him on his word (though I did not, and his manner is reflected in the Closer Look too).

In sum, Tal, could you help me get the date of the Closer Look at least. Secondly, it would be helpful to know Bill's rationale for culling the 1993 SBC Report and moving the stance “concerns” to 8 “incompatibilities” and to a clearly and solely Pagan faith for the fraternity of Freemasonry. These are important concerns to a good history. It is also important to know as well that Bill just will not answer that, as he says below (and would not on our phone conversation either), or even further address that from his supervisor encouragement.

Thanks for whatever you can do here. The date is most important. I pasted Bill’s e-mail response to me below too.

Sincerely, Mike


PS: I also told him I was not a full Open Theist, and encouraged him to get my book in our conversation there too (which on me, he misrepresented too).

You can see my work the debate between Classical and Open Theism in my book Heart of the Living God  at


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6. Maness 2nd Follow-up Plea to Tal Davis — 9-14-04, 6 PM   ~  TOP

From: M.G. Maness – — Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004, 6:03 PM

To: Tal — Subject: Closer Look [few spelling corrections made]



With the date of the Closer Look—I forgot—could you tell me (or direct me to who would know) the author/s of the 1993 report that went into the 1993 Annual of the Southern Baptist Convention reported on your web site?

A good history should have this information.

Tal—please—these are very serious inquiries. George Truett was a hero of mine after 7.5 years at the Criswell College in downtown Dallas (1978-1985) under Paige Patterson, and then B. H. Carroll too at SWBTS in FW (1985-1990). For someone like Bill to say these men were mislead based upon two references and to deteriorate the 1993 into his Closer Look is hardly a closer look. And I have amassed a lot of material to that affect.

George Washington too, and thousands of others past and present.

The date of the Closer Look is a simple matter—one question—and the 1993 report should have complete history too. I truly desire to know these two things.

And Bill’s non-responsiveness to these is nearly as offensive as the Closer Look’s lack of support, and the choice of retreat in misrepresentation rather than dialogue is cowardly. Which begs further for his motives and rationale in deteriorating the 1993 report without adding anything to the Closer Look.

But I should like the questions on the date of the Closer Look and the authors of the 1993 answered, with all due respect and Christian honor. This is about the integrity (not just the respect) of many good men past and present—even my own.

Sincerely, Mike Maness


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7. Paige Patterson e-mail to Maness — 9-30-04, 4 PM   ~  TOP

From: Paige — Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2004, 4:23 PM

To: M. G. — Subject: Freemasonry


September 24, 2004 

Dr. Mike Maness ~


Dear Mike:

Dr. Bill Gordon has made me aware of your communication with him about Freemasonry. I just want to make very sure of one thing. If you are going to support causes like Freemasonry, which is by the nature of the case a secret society and therefore unworthy of any New Testament Christian’s support, then please leave my name completely out of it. I have no idea to what degree some of the people that you listed were actually involved in the Masonic order, but Dr. Criswell, for example, had nothing to do with it at all. I wish that he had resigned from it. He never did, but he also never attended, including even in the earliest days. The same was true of my father. Dr. Draper, on the other hand, did resign from it and sent a letter of testimony as to why.

Interestingly, Mike, about the only time my physical life was ever threatened prior to the Convention controversy was twice by Masons, and that has happened a number of times since. Anybody watching the effects of Masonic involvement among Southern Baptist laymen could only conclude that this was a dangerously flawed alliance. I am disappointed in your support of the Masonic order as well as the obstructionist and sometimes misleading conduct of Gary Leazer while he was working at the North American Mission Board. Mike, what has happened to you?


Until He Comes, Paige Patterson 



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8. Maness Response to Patterson — 10-01-4, 6 PM    ~  TOP

From: M.G. Maness – — Sent: Friday, October 01, 2004 5:59 AM
To: Paige —  Subject: Closer Look [few spelling corrections made]



It grieves me that anyone would threaten your life, especially a mason.

You should also know—I know you do—that there are wacko and extremists in every large and generally well-respected group. Even in the SBC and Christianity for the last 2,000 years.

I did not know that Criswell or your father were masons, either—Draper either. That is surprising and good to know. It is honorable that Draper withdrew when he did not concur. That confirms in a round about manner one point further, that many more outstanding men with sterling character and reputation have been masons—and did not resign.

Your name shall not be a part of this study, unless it becomes part of the history before the study is done.

I am not fully surprised—though certainly flattered and glad—that Bill Gordon would contact you over my communication with him.

He misrepresented me in our phone call with Tal, then abruptly retreated. Oh, I did mention your name as well as Dilday’s and Kelly’s to him over the phone, as well as my 8 years at Criswell (1978-85), 5 at SWBTS (1985-90), and 3 at NOBTS (1995-97), in order to let him know I was not a fly-by-night researcher in my call. I’ve attached my e-mails for your own perusal, which I am sure he did not share. I regret—though only a little—responding just a few hairs over the top to Tal.  That is part of my own cataloguing of my own foibles as well. You see, my conversation with Tal took a southward turn immediately after he discerned I was not a fellow anti-Mason.

It was a funny phone conversation, and Bill knows it. I suspect with little doubt that his call to you was more pre-emptive than anything else. Attached is a copy of the e-mails, for your information. In a round about way even backward way, I got all the information and more I needed from my phone call and his and Tal’s response for my study’s purpose.

Among the reasons for my call to him was to discern the author of the Closer Look and the date, a normal question for a researcher (though I never did get to the date in my conversation, as he was so overblown with every anti-Mason line—uncanny) and so I followed through with e-mails too in asking for the dates and authors of the 1993 report, Closer Look, and pressed for the Bill's rationale. You can read that.

I want you to know—without equivocation—you shall never know how much you were a part of my life. You were among a small handful of father figures that I respected and would have followed of cliff after my father’s passing in 1982 and from whom excreted an enormous amount of influence on me in your example as well as in all the unilateral transference I placed.

We are called—above all—to Love God and others in the light of inerrant and holy Scripture. In that, you were an example and have been a unique and pivotal leader.

Paige, thank you for being honest. Your, “Mike, what has happened to you?” shall be mulled over in sincerity—sincerely, even hugged. It is part of the first communication initiated by you to me in—say—20+ years. Of course, you had not way of knowing your impact.

What I regret is that your communication was not first about my prior study of which you were a significant part of the history. Doubtlessly, Bill mentioned open theism too, as he misrepresented in his e-mail (as though it was as a large a part of our talk—he cannot help himself). I am not a full open theist, and have done some substantial work there—that you know.

It is published—and I was hoping word would get to you from more academic sources than Bill—as I have sent a copy to many and still have more on the list to send it too. Of you, I am sincerely afraid, because unlike Bill—in fact opposite to Bill—you have little fear about articulating where you stand and why. Though at times you have over-reacted without due examination.

Perhaps I should have sent you a copy first out of the bag—and for not doing so—that is my own lack of courage. Fear of further rejection too, as it appears we have parted ways on some issues and are unable to communicate much. But appendix 7 in this book is about my relationship to you, as well as a challenge to you too—quite extensive too. If you buy a copy, I shall be glad to sign it personally—even make the trip to Fort Worth to do so. Here’s link to my site which has a near up-to-date contents and an “order now” button to take you to the publisher (just $26 for 700 pages, a real bargain).

[e-mail advertisement deleted: see]

Paige — you have a great day.

[personal PS deleted]

Sincerely, Mike


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9. Patterson Response to Maness — 10-11-4, 10:49 AM    ~  TOP

From: Paige —  Subject: Closer Look
To: M.G. Maness – — Sent: Monday, October 11, 2004 10:49 AM



You will need to ask Dr. Draper for the letter. By the way, how can the pledge made my Masons about violence to themselves if they share secrets be construed as other than evil, even if it is the stuff to which young teenage boys might be drawn?


Until He Comes, Paige Patterson



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10. Maness Response to Patterson — 10-12-4, 6:30 AM    ~  TOP

From: M.G. Maness – — Sent: PM Tuesday, October 12, 2004 6:30 AM
To: Paige —  Subject: Closer Look



I do not know Draper much at all, except by reputation, as I have been unable to attend most of the SBC meetings in the last 20 years, and of course are not part of the inner circle except from a distance and from history—as with a few like yourself.

I think there is more to the obligation than the violence, as symbolism (metaphor and allegory) are all a part and point beyond themselves.

Certainly, the older we get and the more intimate the relations we have, secrets (aka, confidentialities) are not only biblical but a part of our maturity. I have just been pursuing again Bonheoffer’s Ethics and was just appreciating his last section on telling the truth, a true masterpiece, and the relations between the parent and the child. Point—secrets in themselves are not bad or unbiblical.

On the violence, we know the Bible is full of it. Interestingly, I have been preaching on the Sermon on the Mount in supply to a little church. This last Sunday, on Matt. 5 and adultery-divorce section. I had a chance—with God’s blessings—to let out an articulate and forceful interjection-rhetorical setup for my interpretative point on how the we as Baptists are people of the Book, from the beginning, believers of the Book as their rule for faith and practice ... etc. ... and yet how (just in the previous passage on Murder lashed to thoughts and intents) how we have not followed this passage, how this passage was addressed to men more than women ... etc. ... and how if we were truly people of the book, truly trying to follow ... etc. ... and so few men guiltless here, that we would see far more one-eyed men and one-armed men than we do today.

And Jesus times were significant then—as we know—for then blood was seen every day, as any travel at all entailed your meals following you on the hoof.

When I closed the message, I mentioned how I think—just me—that knowing the rest of the Bible and the fuller history of Jesus how he probably wished he could have said to the men that day, “hold your women in the highest esteem, try with the utmost of your ability to respect them to the uttermost—as though every one of them were your purest virgin sister, jewels of your life ... etc.” but as we all know, and Jesus certainly knew (remember I have been a prison chaplain for 10+ years with one of two 25 million-dollar super-seg unit, with the worst of the worst on the planet--you'll see that too in my book if you decided to buy one) that many men (adult as well as teenagers, and more adult men were probably on the north shore of Galilee that day) need strong and graphic words to make the point.

But—greater still—I think Jesus was serious. That he was not just making a point or trying to stress the seriousness (as with Freemasonry) and that—even though knowing that no one would have (though some may have in the past in piety) -- that Jesus was clear.

Bear in mind—that when a man (or boy) petitions a lodge, it has never been (hardly) been because of the attractiveness of the oath. For the violence of the oath would never have been revealed except as from those who violated their oath or otherwise became frustrated.

I have written more on the obligation and more refutation of other anti-mason lines in my study.

Maybe that book will get me out of the dog house.


Sincerely, Mike


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11. Maness 1st Follow-up to Patterson — 11-29-04, 9:23 AM    ~  TOP

From: M.G. Maness – — Sent: Monday, November 29, 2004, 9:23 AM
To: Paige —  Subject: Closer Look



Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Forgive my persistence, but I would very much like a brief chat with you.

I shall be at work Monday 1300-2100, and Tues and Wed 8-3 PM. wk: 409-283-8181, x8245 - Chaplain Maness

I know you are as busy as anyone.  But I do very much want to ask you a question about your father and Criswell—if you please—I do not want to be in error on that or take any chances of being in error on that. I am sure you can appreciate that.

Besides, I did spend 8 years at Criswell, followed you on the streets of Dallas too, and then 5 years at SWBTS. It has been a long time since I set your office. The last time was at Criswell when I gave you a draft of the ethics book, Would You Lie to Save a Life the Quest for God's Will This Side of Heaven—asking for publishing blurb, and talked with you about doctoral work—and the need (you said) for good ethics professors. My book was sent back to me a year or so later without a comment. And I am still working on it—sadly. I could not pursue Ph.D. work because of my poverty.  I took my SWBTS M.Div., entered Tx dept. of Human Services for a short span, then pursued chaplaincy, then while in Woodville, earned a NOBTS D.Min.

You have some exp. at NOBTS too, another reason for my pursuit there. I shall be in Waco Thursday around 1200, and could possible be in your SWBTS office at 0900 Thursday—which if you can work that in, I shall personally deliver a copy of my lastest book Heart of the Living God: Love, Free Will, Foreknowledge, Heaven: a Theology on the Treasure of Love. I will leave Woodville at 0400 to do so. That book was a mammoth undertaking, and my challenges are nitwit sputters. The book started to be and appendix to my ethics book, then just got more fun along the way. I try to make it fun for the readers. Regardless, I shall send you one even if I cannot see you or talk to you this week.

I think I owe you that much. I do not need to see you, and am still poor as dog’s breath.

So a phone call would best. I am only asking for about 5 minutes. That is not much. I do not intend to cross the threshold of becoming a pest. When Bill Gordon said that was the end of communication—that was the end between us.

Please give me a call or allow me to see you Thursday at 0900 in your SWBTS office, or any other place in FW or between FW and Woodville (Waco) Thursday.

Please. Just 5 minutes.


Sincerely, Mike Maness


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12. Patterson Response to Maness — 11-29-04, 5:41 PM   ~  TOP

From: Paige —  Subject: Closer Look
To: M.G. Maness – — Sent: Monday, November 29, 2004, 5:41 PM



Thanks for your emails. Unless you have been led to feel that you want to talk in hope of a change of direction, I must appeal to a certain “stewardship” of time—both yours and mine. Thanks for understanding.


Paige Patterson


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13. Maness Response to Patterson — 11-30-04, 6:06 AM    ~  TOP

From: M.G. Maness – — Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 6:06 AM
To: Paige —  Subject: Closer Look



Very well then.

One of the main reasons—I am kind of ashamed to admit—was I just wanted to make sure about your father and Criswell having been Masons. E-mails are fine and most reliable. But I would have preferred hearing your voice on their membership; just did not want to take any chance on this being a second generation or non-direct communication. Your word is valid and authoritative enough for me there. That is important, too, given that Truett was Mason and Criswell followed him at First Baptist. To me that is incredibly noteworthy. In many respects, I am defending the honor of your father too on this latest book: Freemasonry's Badge of Honor—Character Counts. Should be out next year.

Here is my question: even though your father and Criswell were non-active, that is an important piece of historical information. Would you—please—know what lodge they joined? Your father in particular. It should be on his apron if you still have it or the city? And who I could seek out on Criswell (esp. the aprox. date, e-mail or phone). Just hearing your voice would have been great. Could you help with that please.

I respect and am as aware as anyone about the demands of your time. I don't think a change of direction on some things will be possible without more time than either of us could give in the foreseeable future. A change for you or me? Go ahead and smile.

I shall get my book off to you regardless. I will hope you will spend a little more time on it than you did on the material I sent on Open Theism last year. Some of that material is included in condensed form in the appendices.

Anything you might have to offer on the book will be respected—of course. I know you will read the appendix devoted to my relationship with you, as scanty as it has been, but your contribution to SBC history has been pivotal and world-class. Your history and position in the SBC and SWBTS—well, as I mention, you are a commander of a mighty ship-of-the-line with an armada behind you plying the theological trade winds. And there are whales in tow. I am but a cricket firing a few musket shots over the bow of you barkentine. I must be as true to my own efforts and gifts and calling as yourself.

In anticipation of the book—and hoping that it will get more than a glance—I would ask you to consider what I know you agree upon and what I flesh out with abandon and challenge: I call it the First Doctrine of our Christian faith that should be definitive and determinative, that being “our genuine real-time relationship with our heavenly Father.” Be assured, if you spend some time with it (and 60+ reviews of the major authors) you might find that we agree on more than we disagree, that am not full Open Theist (though certainly have sympathies) nor a Calvinist.

God bless.


Sincerely yours in Christ—Mike Maness  :)


Reminder PS—(1) What is your father's name and anything on where your father was made a mason, and (2) who I can contact on Criswell's membership (place or approximate date)?


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14. Patterson Response – End – to Maness — 11-30-04, 6:03 PM    ~  TOP

From: Paige —  Subject: Closer Look
To: M.G. Maness – — Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 6:03 PM



My dad joined the Masonic order under social pressure when he was a very young man. Once he knew what they stood for he regretted it deeply and never attended again. He destroyed his apron and all. If Dr. Criswell were a member, as I suspect, he never attended, never gave dues or money.

Mike, I do not believe that one can be a member of a secret society or a childish one like the Masons, or say the sorts of things they say which are clearly sub-Christian. I do not have time for the Masonic order nor discussions relating to it, especially not defenses of the indefensible.

This ends the discussion.


Paige Patterson



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Michael G. Maness



This above were originally the full text of Appendix 6 of my book,

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

The book version is now condensed, to make room for other more important material.