Mike Gentry, whom we've dubbed as 'Fishy' for reasons that will soon become apparent, first appeared on our radar screen on June 11, 2002. While we never use private e-mail messages on our site (in many cases, you'd be amazed at what supposed 'Men of God' have written), we're sure that Mr. Gentry would want you to know of his fervor for his 'cause'. He wrote to us as follows:
We clicked on the link and found - surprise?!? - a website castigating Freemasonry. "Very much in line with (our) site."??? "...sharing the same cause."??? As you can imagine, then, right from the very outset of our encounters with Mr. Gentry we've been pretty skeptical about his powers of perception and ability to think clearly....
Our skepticism expanded when we received a message the next day that stated:
Whatever~~. What we found completely absurd though was this statement:
Huh? Mr. Gentry claims Freemasonry is wrong but yet his membership continues through his inaction? And he might choose to renew his membership??? Not very committed to his cause it would seem.... If he thought Freemasonry was as wrong as he proclaimed it to be on his website, why not sever all relationships with the organization - permanently and conclusively? Why be an 'inactive member' - and, in fact, seem to take pleasure in it when it's SO very easy to walk away entirely through resignation? And how can you be a member or founder of an organization of "former" Masons if you yourself haven't yet resigned? What we find MOST curious is that resignation seems to be a requirement for anyone joining O.F.F. - but that doesn't apply to Founder Mike.... (See here for their membership requirements.)
Some of his Mr. Gentry's misunderstandings and/or deliberate misinterpretations were even more bizarre. He made this self-contradictory (and false) claim:
But the 'clincher' was his 'Testimony' making (to us at least) things smell even - errrr.... - 'fishier':
On his website, Mr. Gentry had the following:
Time for a reality check!
We're not going to get into a full-blown discussion of "Landmarks" here. It is an issue over which perhaps hundreds of thousands of pages of Masonic literature has been devoted. Amongst those pages, there is NO (we'll repeat that: NO!) - agreement on their meaning or even usefulness in or to Freemasonry. The entry for 'Landmarks' in Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia (1961 edition) begins with two lines on page 352 and continues unceasingly with two columns per page on through page 369. It's small wonder that Mr. Gentry became confused - although if he was going to tell others what's right and what's wrong, we'd have thought he might have done some more in-depth research into the topic. Perhaps a couple of lines from Coil's will explain:
Essentially, the 'Landmarks' first made their appearance in 1738 when the Rev. Dr. James Anderson, a minister of the Scotch Presbyterian Church prepared a second edition of the 'Constitutions' of the Grand Lodge (in England). Without belaboring the story, several subsequent editions appeared, only marginally uniform. Dr. George Oliver (who himself is described in Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia as "...fog bound as ever.") developed his own set and in 1858, Dr. Albert Gallatin Mackey published his own set, loosely based on earlier material. Coil's says of Dr. Mackey that "(He) was easily the most influential writer in America, many of his works being accepted as unquestionable authority, not only during his lifetime but long after his death in 1881, although they contained much error and some of it pronounced. ... His words came faster than his reading could supply facts for them and he must have deceived himself into believing that anything that flowed so smoothly as his rhetoric must necessarily be factually as good."
Certainly, then, Mr. Gentry can be rightly confused by this 'landmark' stuff. It does not appear, however, that he once consulted ANY of the hundreds of works (including the popular 'Coil's') wherein he might have been able to understand that the his 21st century dictionary definition could be of little value in assessing an improperly titled set of sometimes-rules, oft disputed and debated, and impacting only on a small sub-set of Freemasons. Sorry, Mr. Gentry: your reliance on the 'Landmarks' argument simply 'stinks'!
And finally, Mr. Gentry wrote:
and yet, curiously, in 2002 he apparently still maintained his membership. How very odd....
And odd too that Mr. Gentry described himself as a "non-denominational Christian" when he was a moderator for the Ephesians 5-11 discussion group (until they booted him).... We're not sure what that meant but our best guess is that he simply makes up his philosophy as he goes along and doesn't want any church taking note of his unsubstantiated and foolish interpretations.
Zeal and exuberance can sometimes lead to mistakes - and while we wouldn't want to dwell on an act of irrationality which was quite ill-conceived, we think it particularly important to note such actions when they involve a person who is attempting to tell others of their wrongs. In May, 2003 we received an e-mail from a Mason with whom we've corresponded far too infrequently in the past. Stephen Dafoe is a writer and researcher who has been able to crystallize in understandable language the legends, the lies, and the minutiae which surrounds the Knights Templar. We have recommended his works elsewhere on our site and thought that the message might be about his new book. It wasn't. In fact, he wanted to share with us some information about Mr. Gentry and wrote (referring to his website): "Recently we installed a tiled message board on the site to keep Mike out particularly. Mike has posed as not only a Mason, but an actual mason from a Prince Hall lodge in Arizona."
I was astonished! There are numerous incidents on this site and elsewhere of the actions of what are sometimes euphemistically referred to as 'Liars for Jesus' - but could it be that Mike Gentry (then a moderator on Larry Kunk's message board and a presenter at their conference) feel the need to stoop so low? Apparently he did.
To make a long story short, Bro. Dafoe was able to determine that the identity being used on his message board was, in fact, stolen from a website and that the Arizona Mason knew nothing about it. Mr. Gentry has sent a message apologizing and said he'd be posting an apology on his website. Despite this promise, Mr. Gentry seems to have forgotten about his little 'indiscretion' in the name of Christian behavior. I wonder if our mention here will jog his memory or if this is something he just wants others to forget.... We do notice that he was immediately removed as a Moderator on the Ephesians 5-11 message board - to their credit - but a few months later, he was back - and shortly thereafter, gone again. Identity theft, lies, deceit: all seem to be acceptable in the "cause" of defaming Freemasonry....
Being an anti-Mason is a tough business - and precious few seem able to resist the temptation to smear and mischaracterize. The more egregious acts, like the identity theft perpetrated by Mr. Gentry are, sadly, not unique by any stretch of imagination either....
Thanks to Brother Dafoe for his 'heads up' on this bit of chicanery. We
encourage you to visit his excellent www.templarhistory.com
website as well as his other work at www.thelodgeroom.com
both filled with excellent information.
Our late-2003 review of Mr. Gentry's website reveals that - like his mentors Kunk and Washum - he too has used the tax laws of the United States to encourage others to take tax deductions to support a ministry of hatred.
We know of a teacher of a woodworking 'shop' class given to teenaged boys during the early 1960s would demean his students into bathing (something pre-pubescent teens then seemed loathe to do) by telling them they smelled like "old shoes and rotten fish". We're reminded of that phrase whenever we think of the anti-Masonic claims made by "Fishy" Mike Gentry! Something definitely stinks....
Updated December 7, 2003
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