Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Little Misinformation

 “What makes you think Laura Ingalls Wilder had anything to do with Freemasonry?” (This said with a sneer.)
“Who would want to know about Masons?” (This said with a shudder.)
 “The Ingalls weren’t in that! They were Christian!” (Emphatically.)

The reception of Little Lodges on the Prairie has been overwhelmingly positive, with almost no negative feedback. However, the above comments I received at recent signings show that there are some individuals who evidently are misinformed about Freemasonry, about Laura and her family, or about both.

What to do when this happens? Should I try to explain, to clear up misconceptions and prevent falsehoods from spreading further? Or should I avoid confrontation and just bid them a good day?

So far, my response has been varied. If they actually ask a question, I usually do answer, even when I think they don’t really want an answer. I keep it short and to the point: “The records of the Lodges and Chapters they joined.” “People wanting to know about the organization the Ingalls family were active in.”
If possible, I try to find a common ground: “You’re right - they were Christian.” Then the ball is in their court, to inquire further or leave.

In any case, I try to always leave them with this thought: Laura (or Ma, or any of the family) would not have been involved with a nefarious group that was opposed to their values of faith. Since they were active in Freemasonry and Eastern Star, what does that tell us about those organizations?

What are your thoughts on how (or even if) I should address such persons? 


Shannon Wallace said...

I have to sincerely agree with you that Laura nor any of her immediate family members would have been associated with an organization that opposed the Lord. I know next to nothing about Freemasons, but in doing a general search, it does say that various groups of Freemasons require the belief of a Supreme Being, that being Jesus for some groups who will only accept Christians. I'd have to assume that back in those days, that the Freemasonry group Mr. Ingalls was affiliated with was probably Christian. Can we assume that most folks back then were Christians (pioneers that lived during that time period)?

Mama Hen said...

Shannon, Christians did indeed outnumber other religious affiliations in the pioneer period of America. And yes, Freemasons have always required belief in a Supreme Being, although that can mean different things to different people. I think it's pretty safe to assume that all the men in Pa's lodge were Christian.