Originally posted by SpeakerofTruth
No, I can't tell you page or paragraph but apparently you haven't read very far into it. It's within the first 300-400 pages of the book.
As I said, I wasn't saying that it wasn't there. And you are half correct in assuming that I haven't read that far into it. I have completely read
all the way up through the 18°, or Knight Rose Croix. After that I have read bits and pieces, looked up what I have wanted/needed to from the 19-32nd
chapters, but have not read them in their entirety. So, yeah, I have read a fair bit into it, but as luck would have it, what you were talking about
is in the 20th chapter, regarding the degree of Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges, just beyond where I stopped reading whole chapters.
Well, now to be fair, even Pike mentioned in Morals and Dogma that at one point, Masonry had been infiltrated and over 800 different levels
Yes, he did, as is shown below. What you fail to mention, however, is that he seems to be explaining what had happened to Masonry because of inventive
interlopers, and that the result was that the material had been profaned nearly beyond recognition. He then goes on to say that it is our
responsibility as Masons never to let this happen again:
"As Master of a Lodge, you will therefore be exceedingly careful that no Candidate, in any Degree, be required to submit to any degradation whatever;
as has been too much the custom in some of the Degrees: and take it as a certain and inflexible rule, to which there is no exception, that real
Masonry requires of no man anything to which a Knight and Gentleman cannot honorably, and without feeling outraged or humiliated submit."
And now, to the text itself:
As Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges, it is your especial duty to aid in restoring Masonry to its primitive purity. You have become an
instructor. Masonry long wandered in error. Instead of improving, it degenerated from its primitive simplicity, and retrograded toward a system,
distorted by stupidity and ignorance, which, unable to construct a beautiful machine, made a complicated one. Less than two hundred years ago, its
organization was simple, and altogether moral, its emblems, allegories, and ceremonies easy to be understood, and their purpose and object readily to
be seen. It was then confined to a very small number of Degrees. Its constitutions were like those of a Society of Essenes, written in the first
century of our era. There could be seen the primitive Christianity, organized into Masonry, the school of Pythagoras without incongruities or
absurdities; a Masonry simple and significant, in which it was not necessary to torture the mind to discover reasonable interpretations; a Masonry at
once religious and philosophical, worthy of a good citizen and an enlightened philanthropist.
Innovators and inventors overturned that primitive simplicity. Ignorance engaged in the work of making Degrees, and trifles and gewgaws and pretended
mysteries, absurd or hideous, usurped the place of Masonic Truth. The picture of a horrid vengeance, the poniard and the bloody head, appeared in the
peaceful Temple of Masonry, without sufficient explanation of their symbolic meaning: Oaths out of all proportion with their object, shocked the
candidate, and then became ridiculous, and were wholly disregarded. Acolytes were exposed to tests, and compelled to perform acts, which, if real,
would have been abominable; but being mere chimeras, were preposterous, and excited contempt and laughter only. Eight hundred Degrees of one kind
and another were invented: Infidelity and even Jesuitry were taught under the mask of Masonry. The rituals even of the respectable Degrees, copied and
mutilated by ignorant men, became nonsensical and trivial; and the words so corrupted that it has hitherto been found impossible to recover many of
them at all. Candidates were made to degrade themselves, and to submit to insults not tolerable to a man of spirit and honor.
Hence it was that, practically, the largest portion of the Degrees claimed by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and before it by the Rite of
Perfection, fell into disuse, were merely communicated, and their rituals became jejune and insignificant. These Rites resembled those old palaces and
baronial castles, the different parts of which, built at different periods remote from one another, upon plans and according to tastes that greatly
varied, formed a discordant and incongruous whole. Judaism and chivalry, superstition and philosophy, philanthropy and insane hatred and longing for
vengeance, a pure morality and unjust and illegal revenge, were found strangely mated and standing hand in hand within the Temples of Peace and
Concord; and the whole system was one grotesque commingling of incongruous things, of contrasts and contradictions, of shocking and fantastic
extravagances, of parts repugnant to good taste, and fine conceptions overlaid and disfigured by absurdities engendered by ignorance, fanaticism, and
a senseless mysticism.
An empty and sterile pomp, impossible indeed to be carried out, and to which no meaning whatever was attached, with far-fetched explanations that were
either so many stupid platitudes or themselves needed an interpreter; lofty titles, arbitrarily assumed, and to which the inventors had not
condescended to attach any explanation that should acquit them of the folly of assuming temporal rank, power, and titles of nobility, made the world
laugh, and the Initiate feel ashamed.
The Mason kneels, no longer to present his petition for admittance or to receive the answer, no longer to a man as his superior, who is but his
brother, but to his God; to whom he appeals for the rectitude of his intentions, and whose aid he asks to enable him to keep his vows. No one is
degraded by bending his knee to God at the altar, or to receive the honor of Knighthood as Bayard and Du Guesclin knelt. To kneel for other purposes,
Masonry does not require. God gave to man a head to be borne erect, a port upright and majestic. We assemble in our Temples to cherish and inculcate
sentiments that conform to that loftiness of bearing which the just and upright man is entitled to maintain, and we do not require those who desire to
be admitted among us, ignominiously to bow the head. We respect man, because we respect ourselves that he may conceive a lofty idea of his dignity as
a human being free and independent. If modesty is a virtue, humility and obsequiousness to man are base: for there is a noble pride which is the most
real and solid basis of virtue. Man should humble himself before the Infinite God; but not before his erring and imperfect brother.
As Master of a Lodge, you will therefore be exceedingly careful that no Candidate, in any Degree, be required to submit to any degradation
whatever; as has been too much the custom in some of the Degrees: and take it as a certain and inflexible rule, to which there is no exception, that
real Masonry requires of no man anything to which a Knight and Gentleman cannot honorably, and without feeling outraged or humiliated submit.
Morals and Dogma, Ch. XX - Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges, pp. 325-328
So, to be fair, he does indeed say something about 800 spurious degrees, but then goes on to say what a disgrace that was, and is probably the reason
he took it upon himself to rewrite the ritual. Sounds reasonable to me, and it also goes a long way to explain why we Masons keep our rituals and
practices private; so that they are not profaned by the "unworthy." We deem them important enough to protect.
Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Would you argue, or agree, with the conclusion I have come to regarding this excerpt?
[edit on 8/7/07 by The Axeman]