by John Lawrence
John Lawrence (1824-1899) was a historian of the United Brethren churches and an abolitionist. When he wrote Plain Thoughts there was a clear consensus among his fellow believers that Freemasonry was insidious and diabolical. But in 1889 the United Brethren split into two denominations. Contributing to the schism was the effort of a majority of the members to soften the anti-Masonic teachings of the sect. The larger group eventually merged into the United Methodist Church. The remnant survived as the Old Constitution United Brethren, who to this day retain an anti-Masonic antipathy.
The Old Constitution churches maintain a historical center at the Brethren’s Huntington University in Indiana, with interesting holdings on the role disputes about Freemasonry have played in the evolution of the denomination, with the United Methodist Church on “the other side” of the dispute.
This edition is dedicated to Arturo de Hoyos, Grand Archivist and Grand Historian of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, a brilliant researcher of Masonry.