Is the Masonic Lodge a "Cult"?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, Aug 21, 2001.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    From the General Discussion there seems to be a "divided house" among baptists over whether the Lodge is a false religion or just another social organization like Kiwanis.

    Would like to see SHORT (2-3 paragraph) thoughts and Scriptures from YOU. I have always taught it to be a false religion (like Hindu, Islam) more than a "cult". No person could be a lodge member and a member of my church.

    Will support those later, but want to open discussion:
     
  2. bustr

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    Is the Masonic Lodge a "Cult"?

    Answer: No. It is not.
     
  3. bustr

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    Fundamentalist Walter Martin's definition of a cult. I wonder if he ever saw the irony.


    1. “First and foremost, the belief systems of the cults are characterized by closed-mindedness.”
    2. “Secondly, cultic belief systems are characterized by genuine antagonism on a personal level. . . . .The identification of opposing beliefs with the individual in the framework of antagonism leads the cultist almost always to reject the individual as well as the belief, a problem closely linked with closed-mindedness. . . .”
    3. “Thirdly, almost without exception cultic belief systems all manifest a type of institutional dogmatism and a pronounced intolerance for any position but their own.”
    4. “The fourth and final point in any analysis of the belief system of cults is the factor of isolation.”
     
  4. John Wells

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    Full-blown, run for the hills CULT!

    First, if the Mason is a Christian, Christ's admonition to swear no oaths at all should be all one would need to stay clear. The secrets of Masonry are protected by the most vile of blood oaths, every one of which is an offense to Jesus.

    Second, the name and nature of the Masonic deity is an offense to the one true God. It is taught in the Royal Arch degree that Masonry draws its teachings and powers from three great teachers and gods. The combined deity is represented as a three headed snake, whose name is Joa:Bul:On, which stands for Jehovah, Baal and Osiris, Now the Mason who pronounces that name in the Masonic prayer of worship has just simply defiled the Holy name of God.

    Third, in the Shrine, the initiate swears a terrible binding oath in the name of "Allah, the God of our Fathers!" Friends, Mohammed was a false prophet and Allah is an evil god, a demon god destroying nation after nation of his followers. The red Fez itself was originally a badge of honor worn only by muslims who had actually killed a Christian and dipped his cap in the martyr's blood.

    Fourth, At the Apron lecture, the foolish mason is usually told that the lambskin apron will be his covering at the great white throne judgement of God. The prayer and dedicatory sounds great, but there is only one Great white throne judgement and it is the judgement of the damned. (Rev.20:11)

    Fifth, the promise of godhood through the Lodge, the usurping of Christ's Melchizedek Priesthood, the Holy communion of the dead, drinking wine from the carved out top of a human skull......and on and on.
     
  5. bustr

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    "run for the hills"

    Sounds like a good idea. Why don't you do that?
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bustr:
    Fundamentalist Walter Martin's definition of a cult . . .<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Say, does Dr. Martin label the Lodge as a "cult" or simply as a "false non-christian religion"?

    I am always torn between the two labels, since the Lodge "seems" Christian (using some Christian terminology like Mormon, JW's) but it is sooooo pagan that it "seems" more akin to Hindu, Islam.

    PROBLEM:
    It is " . . a system of morality by which practice its members may mount the theological ladder from the Lodge on earth to the Lodge in heaven". It seeks to find truth in all sects and religions without being one. It claims 4 million Master Masons (finished 3rd degree) most of whom belong to Christian churches!

    They say you "will become a better person, not that you are going to heaven". But Webster defines a religion as "(a) belief in a divine or superhuman power to be obeyed and worshiped; 2) expression of this belief in conduct or ritual".

    Certainly that describes the Lodge; hence it is by nature a "religion". It also functions like a religion, bringing together like-minded people for fellowship.
     
  7. bustr

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    It sounds like you might be quoting from someone's book. Again, we have no manifesto and don't claim that our members writings are inerrant. If you disagree with the author of that quote you should take it up with him.
     
  8. bustr

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    Now here is my definition of Freemasonry.

    A fraternity based on construction guilds of post-dark age Europe.
     
  9. Barnabas H.

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bustr: Now here is my definition of Freemasonry.

    A fraternity based on construction guilds of post-dark age Europe.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So why would you follow it? :confused:
     
  10. bustr

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    "Why would I follow it?"

    You don't FOLLOW it. It's a social organization with high standards for admission. I've met people that I otherwise wouldn't know because caste systems and infighting are virtually non-existent.
     
  11. Chet

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    bustr,

    I guess I really don't understand how anyone can not see the obvious problems with this
    lodge. With all of the information that has been offered to you, and the overwhelming
    amount of Internet sites with great information revealing the activities and beliefs, why would you want to be a part of that? What is the benefit? And why defend such an organization so fervently?

    Chet
     
  12. Psalm145 3

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    bustr,
    Please follow this link and see what Masonry is really all about.
    The Curse of Baphomet

    Masonry is witchcraft!

    Matthew 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
     
  13. bustr

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    The information that has been offered is of no consequence. I AM A MEMBER OF THE LODGE; I KNOW WHAT GOES ON IN THERE. No anti-mason has any authority to speak. No x-mason for Jesus should blame his lack of attention to detail and mis-understanding on the lodge.

    I am really amazed to see people referring to chick's material. Chick is obviously a facist. I have already explained the etymology of Baphomet in another thread. It's not what you think.
     
  14. gabba

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    even Christianity used to be a 'cult'..:??
     
  15. bustr

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    Any discussion of Masonic government must start and end with one essential fact: all Masonic authority originates in a grand lodge. The Masonic Service Association of the United States (M.S.A.) has no authority over grand lodges. No Supreme Council, no respected author, nor any other group or person speaks for or controls Masonry; that prerogative rests solely with the grand lodges. Anyone doubting this need only check the cases when grand lodges have closed down the Scottish Rite, the Shrine, and other appendant Masonic bodies in their states or suspended or expelled their "high officials." It is a rare but powerful reminder of who is in charge.

    Generally speaking, the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil have autonomous grand lodges in each state or province while other countries have an independent national grand lodge. Within its boundaries or "jurisdiction," each grand lodge reigns supreme over its lodges and all appendant Masonic organizations. The only control or influence over a grand lodge comes from the influence by persuasion of its sister grand lodges which maintain a network of mutual recognition.

    If a grand lodge strays too far from accepted Masonic norms, other grand lodges will withdraw recognition and will even help organize a new grand lodge in the jurisdiction. The most famous example occurred in 1877 when the "Grand Orient of France" (which functioned as a grand lodge) dropped the requirements that its members believe in God and that its lodges display an open Volume of Sacred Law. This action caused the withdrawal of recognition by virtually every other regular grand lodge and the creation of the "Grand Lodge of France." Later concerns that the Grand Lodge of France was not truly independent of the Scottish Rite Supreme Council of France led to the establishment of the "National Grand Lodge of France," which today is recognized by American, British, and other grand lodges as the regular Masonic authority in France.

    Just as there is nothing to prevent a group of worshipers from calling itself "Baptist" or "Presbyterian" or "Jewish," there is nothing to prevent a group of men (or women) from calling itself "Masonic." It is hardly fair to judge the world of regular Masonry by the statements of irregular groups that have appropriated the name "Mason."

    Consider the case of the notorious "P2 Lodge" in Italy which was largely responsible for the collapse of the Italian government in 1981. Propaganda Lodge No. 2, Propaganda Due, or "P2" as it became known, began as a legitimately chartered lodge. Within the short space of a few years, however, its Master, Licio Gelli, abused his authority by using his Masonic influence to gain favors. Geli used illicit information to blackmail people into joining his lodge, the purpose of which was to gather more intelligence for his personal political agenda. Members of P2 then became involved in criminal activities.

    As soon as the Grand Orient of Italy (the equivalent of an American grand lodge) became aware of a problem, its leaders tried to rectify the situation and, unfortunately, failed. Gelli would be controlled by no one. The Grand Orient then administered the ultimate Masonic punishment: revocation of the lodge's charter and expulsion of its members.

    The former members of P2, however, ignored the judgment of the Grand Orient to whom they had pledged fealty and continued meeting under their old name. The "lodge" was now irregular or illegitimate, operating without authority. In 1975 a regular Mason, Francesco Siniscalchi, complained to the Public Prosecutor in Rome of P2's nefarious activities. When the scandal eventually broke, the press--and many non-Masons--did not understand the illegitimacy of P2, nor the fact that legitimate Masons tried to rectify the problem. This failure to differentiate between regular Masonry and the irregular P2 tarnished the good name of Masonry.

    The ultimate tests of regularity (greatly simplified) are 1) does a grand lodge directly trace its origins through legitimate authority to one of the British grand lodges, and 2) does it maintain the recognition of most of the community of regular grand lodges, including the British grand lodges? If an organization doesn't pass these tests, then it's not Masonic, despite what it may call itself.

    The most common mistake about the organization of Masonry comes from assuming that Supreme Councils of the Scottish Rite control Masonry. This is not true. There is no Masonic degree "higher" than the Third Degree or Master Mason Degree in symbolic Masonry. While the number 33 may be greater than the number 3, a 33° Mason has no more authority or power in a lodge than a 3° Mason. Both are equally subordinate to the Master of their lodge, and all in turn are subordinate to the Grand Master of their grand lodge. An earlier statement bears repeating:

    No Supreme Council, no respected author, nor any other group or person speaks for or controls Masonry; that prerogative rests solely with the grand lodges.

    You can be sure something is wrong if anyone says that a single person or organization speaks for or represents Masonry. Only a grand lodge has that power and then only within its jurisdiction. Any other assertion displays a fatally flawed understanding of the organization of Freemasonry.


    The Issue of Masonic "Experts"
    Thousands of authors have written about Freemasonry and several have achieved wide recognition for their general scholarship. Other Masonic authors have pursued theories that at best are without factual support and at worst are embarrassingly wrong. Because Freemasonry values free thought so highly, grand lodges as a rule neither endorse nor condemn ideas; that decision is left to individual Masons. Thus it is quite possible to find otherwise highly regarded Masonic authors who have espoused ideas of Masonic origins or symbolism that are without substance--ideas that have been politely ignored and have been allowed to quietly fade away. Unless formally endorsed by action of a grand lodge, no writer can speak for Masonry, only for himself.

    Dr. Robert A. Morey, a Christian critic of Freemasonry, noted, "Another error typically made by anti-Masons is the assumption that Freemasonry is based on the writings of a single individual. They usually pick Albert Pike as the official 'spokesman' of Freemasonry."(2) If not Albert Pike, then their choice might be Albert Mackey(3) or Manley Palmer Hall(4) or some other author espousing his personal theories about Masonry.


    Most anti-Masonic writers are far too gullible in believing the extravagant claims of overzealous, misinformed, or devious Masonic writers who have not done Freemasonry a favor by making outlandish statements which provided much fodder for the guns of the anti-Masons.
    Too many masonic writers have arrogantly claimed that they speak for the whole Craft when they give their personal interpretation of the origin and symbols of Freemasonry. (5)

    For example, Manly Hall didn't become a Mason until 1954, so his 1923 book, Lost Keys of Freemasonry, represents the personal theories of a non-Mason. Further, Mr. Hall (who passed away in August 1990) was a self-avowed mystic and not a "leading authority" of Freemasonry. He was a promulgator of mystic and theosophical philosophies; his writings have not received official sanction by any Masonic bodies. The fact that he held the Thirty-third Degree and was respected by many Thirty-Third Degree Masons and even by the Supreme Councils 33º is no more significant than the fact that various Baptist, Anglican, or Methodist authors also hold or held that honor.

    Anti-Masons regularly parade the writings of Masonic authorities before their audiences and dissect their words, looking for a sentence here or a phrase there to be used in their cause. They seek someone like a church authority who speaks dogmatically on teachings and doctrine; whose every word must be accepted by the faithful.

    Freemasonry has no such authorities.

    The Masonic authorities used by anti-Masons have been historical authorities who speak with the expertise that comes from long study, but who do not--indeed, cannot--speak for all Masons. It is like the difference between the authoritative teachings of the Episcopal Church and an authoritative history of the Kennedy assasination.


    Albert Pike and Lucifer
    No other lie has captured the imagination of anti-Masons quite like Léo Taxil's hoax concerning Albert Pike and Lucifer. Dr. Robert A. Morey parts company with most of his fellow anti-Masons on this issue.

    Of all the attacks against the Craft, none is so vicious as the charge that Masons are a secret cult of Devil worshipers or Satanists and that at some point in the higher degrees they must pass through a Luciferian initiation.(6)

    Once anti-Masons have convinced themselves that Freemasonry is the work of Satan, they are ripe to be tempted by the enticing fruit of the "Luciferian Conspiracy." It comes as a quotation that usually starts, "On July 14, 1889, Albert Pike, Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, addressed to the 23 Supreme Confederated Councils of the world the following instructions. . . ." That is all you need to read to know the author has fallen prey to this infamous hoax.

    It's not entirely certain when the Pike quotation was fabricated nor where it was first published. We can, however, trace its modern appearances to Lady Queenborough, Edith Starr Miller, who wrote Occult Theocrasy in 1933. Her work is excerpted and treated as gospel truth, usually without attribution. Such practices are known as plagiarism in other disciplines, but neither serious research nor intellectual integrity stand in the way of the headlong rush to slander Freemasonry.

    Lady Queenborough found her quotation in the 1894 book by Abel Clarin de la Rive, La Femme et L'Enfant dans la Franc-Maçonnerie Universelle (Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry). Mr. de la Rive, like Lady Queenborough, was duped by the hoax; they are guilty only of incompetent research and an eager willingness to believe the worst about Freemasonry. The ultimate source was the pornographer, anti-Mason, and anti-Catholic Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, much better known by his pen name Léo Taxil. Taxil publicly confessed his deception in 1897; his story is widely available for anyone willing to look for the truth.
     
  16. bustr

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    Mr. C. Fred Kleinknecht, Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., wrote to Rev. Pat Robertson on May 12, 1992. The Albert Pike "quotation" in Robertson's The New World Order was exposed as a fraud. Rev. Robertson was invited to read any of Albert Pike's writings at the House of the Temple. Mr. Kleinknecht suggested that Rev. Robertson would better serve his readers if he removed the false quotation from any future editions of his book. In his closing paragraph, Mr. Kleinknecht said to Rev. Robertson, "If we must disagree let us base our disagreement upon truth."(10) As of November 1, 1993, Rev. Robertson has not answered Mr. Kleinknecht.


    Léo Taxil's False Luciferian Quotation of Albert Pike:


    Abel Clarin de la Rive.
    Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry. Paris & Lyon: Delhomme & Briguet, Editeurs, 1894.


    [translated by Eric Serejski]

    The fourteenth day of the fifth month of the 889th year of True Light (consequently July 14, 1889, of the vulgar era) Albert Pike, Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33rd and last degree; Most Puissant Sovereign Commander Grand Master of the Supreme Council of Charleston, Premier Supreme Council of the Globe; Grand Master Preserver of the sacred Palladium; As Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, in the thirty-first year of his Pontificate, he addressed to the 23 Confederated Supreme Councils of the entire world these diabolic instructions from which we extract only the passages related to Woman:
    "To the science of Faust, the True Mason will join the impassiveness of Job. He will trample down superstition in his heart. He will be without indecision and without whims, he will accept pleasure only when he wants it and will want it only when he must."

    "WE MOST EARNESTLY RECOMMEND INCREASING THE LODGES OF ADOPTION. THEY ARE INDISPENSABLE FOR MAKING MASONS MASTERS OF THEMSELVES. The priest tries to subdue his flesh by forcing himself to be celibate.... The true Mason, on the contrary, reaches perfection, which is to say control over himself, by using his zeal in Lodges of Adoption, submitting himself to natural tests. COMMERCE WITH A WOMAN BELONGING TO ALL HIS BROTHERS FORMS AN ARMOR AGAINST PASSIONS THAT LEAD THE HEART ASTRAY. He alone can really possess the voluptuousness of love, who vanquishes, by frequent usage, the love of voluptuousness. To be able, at will, to use and to abstain, is a two-fold power. Woman enslaves you by her desires, we say to the adept; so use women often and without passion; you will thus become master of your desires, and you will enslave women. From this it results that the true Mason will easily resolve the problem of the flesh."

    "Evidently it is not absolutely necessary that the man whom you will lead to the highest grades has to be immediately perfect and has to understand our secret from his entry into Masonry. What we ask of you is first to observe him with the utmost care during his Apprenticeship, and afterwards, in the Lodge of Adoption, where he will enter when he will become a Fellow Craft, to make him, YOUR CRITERION, YOUR INSTRUMENT OF INFALLIBLE CONTROL."


    "The Lodge of the Brethren which does not annex a Lodge of Sisters is an incomplete Lodge inevitability destined to never produce anything but Masons for whom politics will be the main concern, who will mostly be engaged with intrigue and competition, who will move about in emptiness, who will walk three steps forward then three steps backward, in one word, whose work will be unsatisfactory and whose politics will be incoherent."

    ... ...

    "What we must say to the crowd is:--We worship a God, but it is the God that one worships without superstition."

    "To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say, so that you can repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: --The Masonic religion must be, by all of us initiates of the high grades, maintained in the purity of the LUCIFERIAN doctrine."

    ... ...

    "If Lucifer were not God, Adonai (the God of the Christians) whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy and hatred of man, his barbarism and repulsion of science, if Lucifer were not God, would Adonai and his priests slander him?"

    "Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately so is Adonai. For the eternal law is that there is no splendor without shadow, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, because the absolute can only exist as two, because darkness is necessary to light to serve as its compliment, as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, as the brake to the locomotive.

    "In analogical and universal dynamics, one can only lean on that which resists. Thus the universe is balanced by two forces which maintain its equilibrium: the force that attracts and the one that repels. These two forces exist in physics, in philosophy and in religion. And the scientific reality of the divine dualism is proved by the phenomena of polarity and by the universal law of affinities and antipathies. This is why the intelligent disciples of Zoroaster, as well as, after them, the Gnostics, the Manicheans, and the Templars have admitted as the sole logical and metaphysical conception the system of the two divine principles fighting one another in all eternity, and one cannot believe one inferior to the other in power.

    Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy; and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, equal to Adonai, but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is fighting for humanity against Adonai God of Darkness and God of Evil...."


    In another part of his Instructions, Albert Pike also said:

    It is with the greatest care that it is necessary to choose adepts. In many orients, they are taken too much at random, which explains the delay in reaching the goal."


    "Only make a Master of the Fellow Craft who knows himself. On the exterior of the ancient temples built to the God of Light, one read this two-word inscription: 'Know thyself.' We give the same advise to each man who wants to approach the science."

    "Never initiate to the third degree the man who, in spite of the learning received at the two preceding degrees, remains enslaved to the prejudices of the profane world. He will never approach before he reforms. At the Fellow Craft degree open to him the doors of the Lodges of Adoption; there you will well judge him. You will see if his prejudices fall. If he remains enslaved of his passions, IF HE EXCLUSIVELY BINDS HIMSELF TO A WOMAN, do not worry about him anymore, you are losing your time. He cannot be an adept; because the word "adeptprejudices and who triumphs over his passions."*


    *It was the Sister Diana Vaughan that Albert Pike, --in order to give her the greatest mark of confidence, --charged to carry his luciferian encyclical, to Paris, during the Universal Exposition.
     
  17. bustr

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    There are several problems with this quotation, some obvious and some subtle. To start with, about 1 million out of 2½ million American Masons have the 32° in the Scottish Rite, including ministers, rabbis, bishops, and other devout worshipers of God. It is inconceivable that there would not be mass resignations and protests if these men were taught this disgusting "Luciferian doctrine." Is it believable that the millions of Scottish Rite Masons during the last two centuries could be cowed into such total silence? Dr. Robert Morey, an opponent of Masonry, put it well, "Since most Masons in the United States are members of Christian churches and many clergymen belong to the Fraternity, the idea that they are all involved in some kind of devil cult is absurd."(11)

    Also, the quotation is riddled with logical inconsistencies. There is not now and never has been a position of "Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry." This office is Taxil's invention and alone demonstrates the letter is a forgery. There is no "Confederation of Supreme Councils." Neither Albert Pike, the Mother Supreme Council, nor any grand lodges ever recognized any lodges of adoption (Masonic lodges open to men and women). In the United States virtually every Scottish Rite Mason progresses to the 32°. Why would Albert Pike suggest special treatment for 30°, 31°, and 32° Masons, when that would have included nearly everyone?

    The real evidence of a hoax comes in de la Rive's footnote, which neither Lady Queenborough nor anyone else has ever bothered quoting. The footnote refers to Diana Vaughan, the matchless creation of Léo Taxil's twisted mind, who, despite her illustrious pedigree created by Taxil, never existed.

    *Ce fut la Sur Diana Vaughan qu'Albert Pike,--afin de lui donner la plus grande marque de confiance,--chargea d'apporter son encyclique luciférienne, à Paris, pendant l'Exposition Universelle.

    *It was the Sister Diana Vaughan that Albert Pike,--in order to give her the greatest mark of confidence,--charged to carry his luciferian encyclical, to Paris, during the Universal Exposition.

    The hoax is well known and has been explained time and time again for nearly a century. The New Catholic Encyclopedia says this about Léo Taxil.

    Taxil purported to reveal the existence of "Palladium," the most secret Masonic order, which practiced devilworship. He recounted the story of its high priestess Diana Vaughan; and ended by publishing the Mémoires d'une ex-Palladiste after her conversion to Catholicism. When doubts began to spread, Taxil realized the time had come to end the deceit. In a conference in Paris (April 19, 1897), he cynically admitted his hoax, whose aim, he said, was to hold up Catholicism to derision.(12)


    After Taxil's public confession, A. C. de la Rive expressed his disgust and recanted his writings on Diana Vaughan in the April 1897 issue of Freemasonry Unmasked, a magazine devoted to the destruction of the Craft. As much as he hated Freemasonry, de la Rive had the integrity to admit Taxil's hoax.

    With frightening cynicism the miserable person we shall not name here [Taxil] declared before an assembly especially convened for him that for twelve years he had prepared and carried out to the end the most extraordinary and most sacrilegious of hoaxes. We have always been careful to publish special articles concerning Palladism and Diana Vaughan. We are now giving in this issue a complete list of these articles, which can now be considered as not having existed.(13)
     
  18. bustr

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    Morals and Dogma
    Few Masonic books have created as many controversies as Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma. It is a collection of thirty-two essays that represent Pike's interpretation of the lessons of the Scottish Rite degrees. The essays are largely concerned with the history of philosophy and with man's constant search for God. First published in 1871, the book was given to every 32° Mason in the Southern Jurisdiction for about a century; hundreds of thousands of copies have been distributed. It is now out of print, though widely available in used book stores.(14)

    Morals and Dogma is not available only from a "secret publishing house,"(15) it is not "the Bible of the Masons,"(16) nor is it "the most readily available and universally approved doctrinal book of Freemasonry."(17) It is not even widely distributed or read. It is used only by the Supreme Council 33°, Southern Jurisdiction, which in 1871 had far less than 5% of American Masons as members and in 1993 claims only 20%.

    The preface gives the best understanding of how Pike and all succeeding Supreme Councils have viewed his book.

    The teachings of these Readings are not sacramental, so far as they go beyond the realm of Morality into those of other domains of Thought and Truth. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite uses the word "Dogma" in its true sense, of doctrine, or teaching; and is not dogmatic in the odious sense of that term. Every one is entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound. It is only required of him that he shall weigh what is taught, and give it fair hearing and unprejudiced judgement. Of course, the ancient theosophic and philosophic speculations are not embodied as part of the doctrines of the Rite; but because it is of interest and profit to know what the Ancient Intellect thought upon these subjects, and because nothing so conclusively proves the radical difference between our human and the animal nature, as the capacity of the human mind to entertain such speculations in regard to itself and the Deity.(18)

    This is not the way to introduce the ultimate authority on any subject. Anti-Masons choose to ignore the clear intent of the book and to distort Pike's personal opinions into the absolute truth for all Masons.

    One of the most frequently quoted passages by anti-Masons from Morals and Dogma concerns Pike's theory that symbolic lodges exist to hide the true secrets of Masonry from the masses.

    The Blue Degrees [1º-3º] are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry. . . . It is well enough for the mass of those called Masons, to imagine that all is contained in the Blue Degrees. . . . (19)

    Anti-Masons would have us believe this passage is a public admission of the deceptions imposed on most Masons by the "leaders" of the Craft. Common sense is again thrown out the window. Why would such a damaging "secret" doctrine be printed in a widely available book? With hundreds of thousands of copies distributed, shouldn't some blue lodge Masons have caught on by now? Anyone, like Pike, is free to think he knows the true interpretation of Masonic symbolism, but it will remain his personal opinion. Only grand lodges have the authority to interpret the symbolism of the blue lodge, and they are not inclined to yield to any other power.

    Pike was simply repeating one of the currently popular theories about the origins of the "high degrees." Just because Albert Pike was a brilliant ritualist, an able administrator, and a well-respected Mason doesn't mean all of his opinions are right. The Masonic encyclopedist, Henry Wilson Coil, offers a good summary of the influences on Albert Pike's Masonic writings.

    Fate decided that Pike should enter the Scottish Rite only four years after he became a Mason and before he had time or occasion thoroughly to study the history of all branches of the Society and, so, he began his study from the upper levels without knowing much of the foundation. He evidently did not know until his later life that the Scottish Rite degrees were a part of that type of ritual which sprang up in France in 1737 and subsequent years but regarded it as Primitive Masonry which had come right on down from Greece, Asia Minor, and Egypt and out of the Ancient Mysteries and Magism, which there held sway. He found books which said so and he never had any doubt about that theory. He regarded Craft Masonry as then known to be puerile, though he said it had a deeper meaning which was hidden from its superficial adepts, who were taught to be satisfied with trite explanations. He even asserted that Craft Masonry had been devised so as not only to hide its true meaning but to cause its members to think that they understood it. [Albert G.] Mackey encouraged him in those notions, for he, too, had been made a Mason only four years before he began writing books on the subject, in which he adopted the more sensational theories of mystery and symbolism. But Mackey changed his views as soon as the work of the British realistic school began to be felt. Pike did not waver; his work was nearly complete and too voluminous to be done over. (20)
     
  19. bustr

    bustr
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    This is worth repeating

    The Issue of Masonic "Experts"
    Thousands of authors have written about Freemasonry and several have achieved wide recognition for their general scholarship. Other Masonic authors have pursued theories that at best are without factual support and at worst are embarrassingly wrong. Because Freemasonry values free thought so highly, grand lodges as a rule neither endorse nor condemn ideas; that decision is left to individual Masons. Thus it is quite possible to find otherwise highly regarded Masonic authors who have espoused ideas of Masonic origins or symbolism that are without substance--ideas that have been politely ignored and have been allowed to quietly fade away. Unless formally endorsed by action of a grand lodge, no writer can speak for Masonry, only for himself.

    Dr. Robert A. Morey, a Christian critic of Freemasonry, noted, "Another error typically made by anti-Masons is the assumption that Freemasonry is based on the writings of a single individual. They usually pick Albert Pike as the official 'spokesman' of Freemasonry."(2) If not Albert Pike, then their choice might be Albert Mackey(3) or Manley Palmer Hall(4) or some other author espousing his personal theories about Masonry.


    Most anti-Masonic writers are far too gullible in believing the extravagant claims of overzealous, misinformed, or devious Masonic writers who have not done Freemasonry a favor by making outlandish statements which provided much fodder for the guns of the anti-Masons.
    Too many masonic writers have arrogantly claimed that they speak for the whole Craft when they give their personal interpretation of the origin and symbols of Freemasonry. (5)

    For example, Manly Hall didn't become a Mason until 1954, so his 1923 book, Lost Keys of Freemasonry, represents the personal theories of a non-Mason. Further, Mr. Hall (who passed away in August 1990) was a self-avowed mystic and not a "leading authority" of Freemasonry. He was a promulgator of mystic and theosophical philosophies; his writings have not received official sanction by any Masonic bodies. The fact that he held the Thirty-third Degree and was respected by many Thirty-Third Degree Masons and even by the Supreme Councils 33º is no more significant than the fact that various Baptist, Anglican, or Methodist authors also hold or held that honor.

    Anti-Masons regularly parade the writings of "Masonic authorities" before their audiences and dissect their words, looking for a sentence here or a phrase there to be used in their cause. They seek someone like a church authority who speaks dogmatically on teachings and doctrine; whose every word must be accepted by the faithful.

    Freemasonry has no such authorities.

    The "Masonic authorities" used by anti-Masons have been historical authorities who speak with the expertise that comes from long study, but who do not--indeed, cannot--speak for all Masons. It is like the difference between the authoritative teachings of the Episcopal Church and an authoritative history of the Kennedy assasination.
     
  20. pawn raider

    pawn raider
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    Gabbet Piet
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> even Christianity used to be a 'cult'..:?? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Actually, Christianity was described as a sect. See Acts 28:22.
     

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