I have noticed since signing on to this forum last year, that the tactics of those who would detract from or vilify Freemasonry never change. The
anti-Masons seem to come in cycles, and they seem to all be relying on the same sources for their information. This is not to say that they
intentionally come to these boards to slander or lie (although sometimes this is certainly the case), but are genuinely trying to discern for
themselves if what they have read elsewhere is indeed true. I was the same way, I read a lot of anti-Masonic propaganda. I was sure that they were
evil and I wanted to see how deep the rabbit hole went. In my search for information I (thankfully) landed here, in the midst of several gentlemen who
have offered nothing but courteous and helpful comments and answers to my queries. It is in no small part because of them that I now see Freemasonry
in the light, as it should be seen. This isn’t a “Pat on the back” or anything, my point is this: I have recently been seeing on this board, certain
people who have accused the Masons here of attacking so-and-so, and giving misinformation in an attempt to “keep their oath” or “hide some grand
secret” or some such nonsense.
To those individuals I say this: You reap what you sow. Deal with it. There is a big difference between asking an honest question for the purpose of
gaining knowledge and insinuating your preconceived conclusions in question form. If you come here to instigate and be foolish, then don’t be
surprised when you are made a fool of.
Now then, I would like now to present to you all a quote, directly from the book “Morals and Dogma” of which I have recently obtained a copy. I typed
these words myself directly from the book, so rest assured these are the exact words. My point in doing this is to cast a different light on this
particular excerpt. I have often in my reading seen this quote used to try to make the point that Freemasonry is indeed nefarious in nature, and that
only the “higher level” Masons know the true secrets, and that the “lower level” Masons are intentionally given the “wrong” interpretation of the
symbols, because only the “high level” Masons are trusted with the “secret” (for example the supposed “Luciferian Doctrine”).
excerpt from “Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry” p.819 (Knight Kadosh) by Albert Pike
The Blue Degrees 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. The whole body of the of the Royal and Sacerdotal Art was hidden so carefully,
centuries since, in the High Degrees, as that it is even yet impossible to solve many of the enigmas which they contain. It is well enough for the
mass of those called Masons, to imagine that all is contained in the Blue Degrees; and whoso attempts to undeceive them will labor in vain, and
without true reward violate his obligations as an Adept. Masonry is the veritable Sphinx, buried to the head in the sand heaped round it by the
OK. There it is, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
What we have to remember (keep in mind folks, I have not studied this book intensely, I have barely begun to read it in it’s entirety) is that
throughout Masonry there are tons of symbols, and as we know, symbols can have different meanings given different applications.
Pike indeed says here that the Initiate will be “intentionally misled by false interpretations”. OK, so what does this say? It says, literally, that
the symbol(s) will be presented to the Initiate, and that he will receive a false explanation of it’s (their) meaning(s). Black and white, right
there, no denying it. However, I refuse to believe that this is a malicious act to deceive the Initiate. Now, these are all my personal opinions and
thoughts on the matter, and I will concede that my studies have only just begun.
Now let’s look at this misleading a little closer. Why would the initiate be misled? What is the purpose? Is it to confuse the candidate? I don’t
think so. Is it to protect some great secret? I doubt it. A more reasonable possibility in my mind is this: You must learn to crawl before you can
walk. For example, in school, be it elementary, high school, or college, there is a set curriculum that is followed each year. You are taught certain
basic aspects of varying subjects until you grasp and understand them. Only when a student understands the lesson at hand is he ready to move on to
the next phase in his instruction. Pike does indeed say that the Initiate will be misled. He does NOT say that these explanations (false
interpretations) the Initiate is given in Blue Lodge have no meaning or purpose.
Perhaps the giving of this false interpretation is not in order to hide the meaning of a particular symbol. Perhaps it is to teach the initiate a
basic lesson using a symbol that will be elaborated on later, so that the Initiate does not cloud his mind, or detract from the lesson at hand by
trying to ponder the more profound meaning of the symbol. Makes sense, no?
Pike goes on to say that “Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry.”
OK, so what is an Adept?
Very skilled. See Synonyms at proficient.
A highly skilled person; an expert.
[Latin adeptus, past participle of adip sc , to attain : ad-, ad- + ap sc , to grasp.]
Hmmm… An expert. How does one become an expert? Study, of course. Now, I think what Pike is getting at here is this. Masonry is made up of many, many,
many different types of men, from all walks of life. Almost every Race, religion, and occupation is represented within the ranks of Masonry. Now only
a fool would believe that every one of those men have the intellectual ability to understand the complex ideas and philosophies that Masonry teaches.
I submit that the “Adepts, the Princes of Masonry” are those individuals who have the capacity and the desire to seek out that which has been so
carefully hidden. I say that the false interpretation is given to the Candidate so that those who would accept the generic explanation and do not wish
to study the more esoteric philosophical and theosophical aspects will do so, not feeling as though their time in Masonry is ill spent, and those who
wish to follow the path, study, and discover for themselves, the “enigmas” so carefully concealed over the ages will be compelled by their own
eagerness for knowledge and understanding to do so.
This is not to say that the teachings of the Blue Lodge, or the “false interpretations” Pike speaks of are without merit of their own. I know from
speaking (both face to face and via the internet) with many Masons that the Blue Lodge teachings have a very deep and meaningful message, and the
lessons learned are indeed geared toward a man making himself better by looking inside himself, holding himself accountable for his own actions,
striving to help others and to always be working to build himself into a better man. I see nothing evil or nefarious in this. If more people would
live life by the kind of standards these men set, the world would most definitely be a better place. I think we can all agree on this.
Now let’s look at another part of this excerpt.
It is well enough for the mass of those called Masons, to imagine that all is contained in the Blue Degrees; and whoso attempts to undeceive them will
labor in vain, and without true reward violate his obligations as an Adept.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on there a minute! It’s OK for the majority of the Masons to believe that Blue Lodge is the be all end all of Masonry? Well, in
a sense, yes. If a man is becoming a Mason for fellowship, charity work, and to be a member of the good ol’ boys club, then that’s what he will do. I
have been told repeatedly “You get out of Masonry what you put into it”. That statement in and of itself totally legitimizes (to me) what Pike is
saying here. The “mass of those called Masons” will be happy with the explanations and teachings presented to them at Blue Lodge level.
Now is Pike saying that to try to reveal the higher meanings to someone is “laboring in vain”? I believe so. I believe that the word “reward” in the
above phrase refers to the reward of knowing that you have followed this path of your own accord. Unless you are seeking the knowledge no one can
teach you these things. And why would they if you showed no desire to learn? The person who would try to “undeceive them” (I think by “them” he means
the “mass of those called Masons”) would indeed be without real reward, for the reward is learning it for yourself. Seeking knowledge is a journey.
Often a long, arduous journey at that. The reward for this journey is, of course, the knowledge the seeker seeks. I think the point that Pike is
making here is that a lot of Masons will be content with the teachings of the Blue Lodge, and that’s fine. Those individuals are getting out what they
are putting in, no doubt.
The “Adept”, or expert, will have of his own accord sought to find this knowledge. I would imagine it is just as with Blue Lodge, “Knock and the door
shall be opened to you.” I am going to make an educated guess that each Degree has within it an oath that binds the Initiate to never reveal what he
has been taught to anyone who has not sought out the knowledge for himself, and been properly initiated. Obviously, then, to try to reveal this
knowledge or “undeceive” those that have not shown the desire or initiative to study for themselves would be a violation of the oath that was taken.
Also, as you can see if you take the previous ideas into consideration, it would be “labor in vain" (you cannot teach someone who does not want to
learn), and “without true reward” (the true reward, as I stated earlier, is knowing that you have found a path and started a journey, and that journey
has come to fruition).
Now, as I have stated before, these are my thoughts and opinions, and who knows? I could be completely off base and totally wrong about my
interpretation of the words of Brother Pike. I would submit, however, that while my theories and ideas may be flawed, even downright wrong, I have
seriously put some actual time and thought into them. Much more so, I think, than the folks that buy what the Mason haters of the world spoonfeed them
through freemasonrywatch.org and other sites of their ilk. It’s a lot easier to go with the haters because hate comes so naturally to humans. We are,
as a species, consumed by it. Everywhere you look there is evil in the world, so it’s easy to vilify an organization that has somewhat of a shroud of
mystery to it. The dull mind will see words in a book and take them at face value, without question, without trying to discern what, if any, hidden
meaning lies beneath them, just waiting to reveal itself to the man who would only look for it. The man who would be an “Adept or Prince of Masonry”
is the man who would wade through the murky waters of symbolism and allegory to find the true meaning, and once found, understand it and put his
newfound knowledge to work striving to make this world a better place for us all. It is my sincere hope that when my time comes, I will be counted as
one of these men.
[edit on 1/5/05 by The Axeman]