Seventh-Day Adventists/LeRoy Edwin Froom


Hi Tom,

I've read all your articles relating to Adventism, but am wondering if LeRoy Froom was ever a Freemason? He was buried at the George Washington Cemetery in Maryland, in plot 860, Masonic B section of the cemetery, on 22nd February, 1974. His wife Esther is also buried there. Could you account for why he was buried in a masonic section of the cemetery?

I look forward to your thoughts,


James Butler

It is estimated that there were 50,000 Masons in the US in 1826.  However, due to a scandal, and a huge backlash, that number dropped dramatically to about 5,000 by 1830’s.  By the time the Advent Movement was launched in the late 1830’s, the American public had rejected the Masonic movement, - which never recovered.

Before 1826, many in America wanted to be associated with the Masons for various civic and fraternal reasons.  George Washington was a Mason, and so too many people, including William Miller, who never apologized for it.   Joseph Smith was also a Mason and so too many Mormons.  It was a mark of civilization and progress for Americans.

Masons Part of American Culture

“In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Freemasonry was a common and well-accepted part of American society.”
“As Bullock points out in his book, Revolutionary Brotherhood,
[Masonry] attracted large numbers of Americans eager to associate themselves with these cosmopolitan ideals.”

“Fraternal membership and ideology helped bring high standing to a broad range of Americans, breaking down the artificial boundaries of birth and wealth. To men engaged in learned and artistic occupations, rural men with cosmopolitan aspirations, and even Boston’s women and blacks, Masonry offered participation in both the great classical tradition of civilization and the task of building a new nation. Just as importantly, the fraternity also seemed to provide the leaders for these enterprises.” (p138)

Charles Finney was a Mason, however, he repudiated it as so many others also did, and became a great anti-Mason crusader. Finney preached that all Christians must renounce their oaths to Masonry if they wanted to be saved.  Charles Dickens, Daniel Webster, Horace Greely, William Seward, Millard Fillmore were also anti-Masons, as were many Churches.  

Often times there were false claims about people being Masons.  For example, many thought Lincoln was a Mason because he had appointed so many Masons to Government positions.  But this was never true.  Lincoln was never a Mason.


Anti-Masonic Period 1826-Civil War

Anti-Masonic Party

William Miller; a Mason

Although William Miller was a Mason, few SDA’s have every heard this historic fact.  It is another example of how church history has not been fully explained or honestly addressed by the Adventists.  Here is a long known source:

"It was here [Poultney, Vermont] that Miller became a member of the Masonic fraternity, in which his perseverance, if nothing else, was manifested; for he advanced to the highest degree which the lodges in the country, or in any in that region, could confer."

Sylvester Bliss, Memoirs of William Miller, pages 21-22 (1853)

"At the age of 23, in 1803, he married Lucy Smith and they set up housekeeping in Poultney, Vermont. There was a large library in this town and Miller spent much time there. His ability to write verse made him popular at public occasions. He joined the Literary Society and also became a Mason."

LeRoy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4, page 456.

SDA’s Anti-Mason

By the time the SDA’s had become organized, most Christian denominations were anti-Mason, and so too were the Adventists.  Their views were normative for that period.

In 1859, the Review and Herald published an article titled, “Is Freemasonry Compatible with present Truth?”  The answer was no.  Listen to the author, J H Waggoner, the father of EJ Waggoner of 1888 fame, make this point:

“The boasted universality of masonry makes it necessary to exclude the name of Christ from prayers, otherwise they would be fitted only for a class, and hence be local and not general.  He who joins in a prayer where the name of Christ is intentionally omitted to gratify another who denies Christ, certainly compromises his christianity, and “has denied the faith.”  This should lead every Christian to avoid such a connection.     
J. H. W. Review and Herald, September 15, 1859.

Ellen White also makes it clear:

"Those who stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel cannot be united with the Free Masons or with any secret organization. The seal of the living God will not be placed upon anyone who maintains such a connection after the light of truth has shone upon his pathway." Letter 21, 1893.


It is very unlikely that Froom would be a Mason.  However, more research needs to be done before this issue can be fully resolved .  The SDA’s were clearly anti-Mason, and Froom had to have known this fact.  However, considering that William Miller, the Father of the Advent Movement, was a Mason, what would it matter if Froom has some association with the Masons?  Perhaps someone, who was a Mason, gave him these grave sites?  

The problem with Froom is not that he was a Mason, (if he was), but that he did not understand the Gospel.  While Froom was one of the most published and dogmatic of the 20th century SDA theologians, his understanding of the Gospel was very poor.  Moreover, his official history of 1888, entitled “Movement of Destiny,” is a very dishonest and harmful apologetic that helped pave the way for the tragedy of Glacier View.  

So Froom is part of the problem and one reason why the SDA’s are so confused about both theology and church history.

I hope this answers your question.

Tom Norris for All & Adventist Reform

Seventh-Day Adventists

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Tom Norris


I can answer most any question about church history and theology, starting from 1818 when William Miller articulated the 1st Angels Message that became the foundation of the Adventist Movement. While this first prophetic message terminated in the spring of 1844, it was followed by what Adventists refer to as the 2nd Angels Message, which dates from the spring of 1844 until the great disappointment of October 22, 1844. By 1847, the 3rd Angels Message had been developed and this Sabbatarian theology represents the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Moreover, I can explain the historical and theological development of the SDA denomination from its beginning and on through the great Battle Creek schism that forced the SDA's to retreat to Takoma Park. Here the 20th century church recovered from their internal battles that had erupted at the 1888 General Conference in Minneapolis over the definition of the law and the Gospel. Fearing another repeat of this disaster, President Daniels, determined to hide this debate. However, this policy led to more conflict, especially over the role and authority of Ellen White, a unique and accomplished religious writer that had remarkable spiritual gifts. However, by the decade of the 1970`s, the church once again erupted into debate. The hierarchy settled the turmoil in 1980 with the trial of Dr. Desmond Ford at Glacier View. Here Dr. Ford was exiled because he supposedly disagreed with Ellen White over the Fundamentals. But this controversial action resulted in another major schism that is still in progress today.


Tom Norris was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist in Takoma Park, Md. He attended SDA grade and High schools, moving on to study Adventist theology at Columbia Union College. He also spent significant time conducting independent research in the General Conference Archives and the Ellen G. White Estate. Over the years he has also interviewed a number of prominent Adventist scholars, theologians, and Pastors ranging from the late Arthur White to the exiled Dr. Desmond Ford. In addition, he has amassed a large private library, which includes numerous rare books and manuscripts about Adventist theology and history. He is presently the online editor of Adventist Reform, and can be found at Adventist for Tomorrow answering questions online about SDA theology and history as well as promoting Adventist Reform.

Tom Norris attended SDA grade and High schools, moving on to study Adventist theology at Columbia Union College. He also spent significant time conducting independent research in the General Conference Archives and the Ellen G. White Estate.

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