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Masonic "Baptism" (Scottish Rite Ritual)

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posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 09:12 PM
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I pondered on whether ATS is the right place to post this, as this is like giving red meat to the anti-masons. However, I decided to do it since hopefully our resident scholars that are masons and non-masons (RuneSpider, I'm looking at you) on masonic topics can chime in here and I'd like opinions on all sides (even from the antis!).

I ran across something on the internet about a "Masonic Baptism" that the Scottish Rite rarely does anymore (although apparently its coming back into vogue). Of course the word baptism is misleading because the word now has a religious connotation, but its a ceremony where children of lodge members can be dedicated to the lodge and the lodge sort of promises to protect and provide for them in a godparent type of role. Masonic lustration is probably a more appropriate word for it.

I couldn't find anything about this on other ATS threads, and frankly I couldn't find much on my regular masonic websites. There is supposedly some stuff about it on freemasonrywatch, but I won't do that site the dignity of linking to it certainly does not have a history of being correct.

Pike wrote a book about it:
Masonic Baptism by Albert Pike

Any thoughts on this? Anyone seen it done? This, for me, is probably where the Scottish Rite is just getting a little bit too close to the edge in ecumenicism. Not in the ritual itself, but in how people would take the ritual from my reading of the book. The ritual itself is plain enough and makes it obvious that this is not a religious rite but a secular ritual with no religious meaning, but I can see where people would take this completely out of context and run with it.

[edit on 4-10-2008 by LowLevelMason]




posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 09:03 AM
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Originally posted by LowLevelMason
This, for me, is probably where the Scottish Rite is just getting a little bit too close to the edge in ecumenicism.


I have to agree with you here. Is the Masonic funeral ceremony part of the blue lodge or is this a Scottish Rite ritual as well?

Is there any masonic wedding ritual?

It is sort of strange for a non-religious organization to use the term "baptism". Could you imagine an Atheist Baptism?

Did "baptism" ever have non-religious connotations?

EDIT: I just remembered what ML once wrote on here. I'm not sure, but I think he wrote that Masonry was a religious organization, just not a religion. Is this right?

[edit on 5/10/08 by ConspiracyNut23]



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 10:16 AM
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I'm not familiar with such a practice. I know lustration is used in a few of the enactments of the various Scottish Rite degrees, but I've never heard of ceremonies done for non-members of this sort. I would ask our PR to the SGIG this month, but we've got reunion, so everyone will be scrambling to learn their lines. And we may be dark in November and December due to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'm not sure (we generally meet 4th Thursday...) Still, there are at least a half dozen white caps in my blue lodge, so I'll see if they know or can tell me anything.



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by LowLevelMason
 

I don't know about Scholar, I just use Google, and keep an eye on the forums here, for the most part. All I really do is just read, to be honest.

One thing I like about reading Pike, he works in a lot of extra information. You have to read a bit about what he talks about separately to understand his points, sometimes.

For instance: Louveteau. Would have been easier if he'd just used Lewis, as it was I spent a bit of time trying to under stand what Wolf Cubs had to do with Masonry.


reply to post by ConspiracyNut23
 


I believe elements of Baptism are used in some times of meditation. Water symbolizing washing away your cares to better focus your mind. Over all, with the idea being so common in religion and new age after a fashion, it's more of a spiritual thing than religious, I think.
However, when people at large think of baptism, they think of religion.
And I think this does kind of get close to the border between secular and religious.



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 03:51 PM
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Whoops, should have watched my typing: I should have said baptism has a religion connotation. Masonry is of course, a religious institution but not a religion.

Baptism, in the context that most people use it today (use of water to symbolically purify) has been used in a religion context but goes far beyond that to include things like meditation as RuneSpider mentioned and even political and social customs.

One thing that comes to mind is how Romans used it in a secular religious context (for their children) not connected to any religion to symbolically purify:
en.wikipedia.org...

What puzzles me is why it is simply not called lustration or lodge dedication, something more appropriate to its actual function. I know freemasonry does not change for anyone nor should it have to, but if we keep these sorts of rituals around and if the practice increases (as I think it may due to the resurgence of interest in freemasonry as a whole), its going to be very easy to draw fire from those who don't sit down to analyze whats going on. Frankly I also think it would send some Christian members towards the door in haste as well. In my earlier days before I learned to more carefully study things I might have been one of them.

The Scottish Rite in particular pays homage to many religions in its rituals, and I think as long as everyone is clear that its simply a respect for religion being taught that everyone is OK. However, when we start getting into "masonic baptisms" I do think we are nearly on the line between respect for religious institutions and endorsing some sort of ecumenical "many paths all correct" religious dogma that many members, including myself, do not agree with.

Of course I could be jumping the gun here - I admit I have not read all 200+ pages of this book as my monitor is too small. I've only read parts - I have the book on order and when I read all of it I'll report back if things aren't as questionable as they seem.



I have to agree with you here. Is the Masonic funeral ceremony part of the blue lodge or is this a Scottish Rite ritual as well?


The masonic funeral ceremony that you usually see and hear of is from the blue lodge. I do believe the Scottish Rite does do a "memorial service" of sorts which is separate if the member requests it.


Is there any masonic wedding ritual?


Actually, believe it or not, yes. I have never seen it practiced in the US nor do I think it ever would be. Its not a wedding per say though, its a ceremony with the bride and groom in the lodge where the lodge is basically (much like in the "masonic baptism") dedicating itself to provide for the bridge when needed.

Here is a research lodge paper about it:
www.phoenixmasonry.org...


It is sort of strange for a non-religious organization to use the term "baptism". Could you imagine an Atheist Baptism?


No, but remember we don't admit atheist anyways. I think perhaps the better question would be "Could you imagine a baptism ceremony applied to anyone who believed in God?" My answer would still be no, but I could imagine it if we replaced baptism with lustration.

[edit on 5-10-2008 by LowLevelMason]



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 04:07 PM
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Mackey says this of "Masonic Baptism"

"The term 'Masonic baptism' has been recently applied in this country by some authorities to that ceremony which is used in certain of the degrees, and which, more properly, should be called 'Lustration.' It has been objected that the use of the term is calculated to give neeldess offense to scrupulous persons who might suppos it to be an imitation of a Christian Sacrament. But, in fact, the Masonic bapsism has no allusion whatsoever, either in form or design, to the sacrament of the Church. It is simply a lustration or purification by water, a ceremony which was common to all the ancient initiations. (See Lustration.)"



Originally posted by ConspiracyNut23
I have to agree with you here. Is the Masonic funeral ceremony part of the blue lodge or is this a Scottish Rite ritual as well?


Actually "all of the above"
Most of the various branches, rites, etc. have their own version of a funeral or memorial service. The Symbolic (Blue) Lodge has it's own, that any Master Mason in good standing is eligible to have, but there's a service for Knights Templar, Scottish Rite (which is given in the 18th Degree-Knight Rose Croix" for ALL members of the Scottish Rite) the Eastern Star has it's own service, etc. etc.

I have from time to time seen two or more "Masonic" services given, for instance the Master Mason service as well as the Eastern Star Service for a Brother who was active in both. In ordinary circumstances, it's best to pick the ONE group he was MOST active in and have that service performed.



It is sort of strange for a non-religious organization to use the term "baptism". Could you imagine an Atheist Baptism?


LOL! That WOULD be funny.




Did "baptism" ever have non-religious connotations?


Dictionary.com says this:

1. Ecclesiastical. a ceremonial immersion in water, or application of water, as an initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian church.
2. any similar ceremony or action of initiation, dedication, etc.
3. a trying or purifying experience or initiation.
4. Christian Science. purification of thought and character.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Origin: 1250–1300; ME < LL baptisma < Gk bapt(ízein) to baptize + -isma -ism; r. ME bapteme < OF < LL, as above]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I guess this could fall under the category of "action of initiation" or "purifying initiation"

But I agree that the term is most commonly understood to be a rite of the Christian Church and personally do not think the service is a necessary one in Masonry.

Additionally I have never seen it done. Pike liked ritual: reading it, writing it, performing it. He lived alone in the House of the Temple in D.C. and didn't have much else to do.




EDIT: I just remembered what ML once wrote on here. I'm not sure, but I think he wrote that Masonry was a religious organization, just not a religion. Is this right?


I agree with that statement. Our fraternity is based on religious tenets but is not a religion.



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by senrak
Mackey says this of "Masonic Baptism"

"The term 'Masonic baptism' has been recently applied in this country by some authorities to that ceremony which is used in certain of the degrees, and which, more properly, should be called 'Lustration.' It has been objected that the use of the term is calculated to give neeldess offense to scrupulous persons who might suppos it to be an imitation of a Christian Sacrament. But, in fact, the Masonic bapsism has no allusion whatsoever, either in form or design, to the sacrament of the Church. It is simply a lustration or purification by water, a ceremony which was common to all the ancient initiations. (See Lustration.)"


It appears as though what Mackey is referring to is the lustration in the Scottish Rite degrees ("which is used is certain of the degrees"). This particular ceremony is not a degree, but is something that apparently can be done for the children of any Scottish Rite member.

Pike did indeed seem to be a lover of ritual. Never knew he lived at the temple though. Too bad they don't let members do that today!
Think how much rent you could save in Washington, DC - and you could really wow any house guests...



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 05:19 PM
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Originally posted by LowLevelMason
It appears as though what Mackey is referring to is the lustration in the Scottish Rite degrees ("which is used is certain of the degrees"). This particular ceremony is not a degree, but is something that apparently can be done for the children of any Scottish Rite member.


True enough, but the lustrations of the Scottish Rite, generally aren't called "baptism" even in the rituals. Also the "Masonic Baptism & Reception..." referred to in the initial post IS a Scottish Rite Ceremony.

Interesting link, by the way. That version of the book is printed by Kessinger Publishing in Montana. I have an original copy of the book from the 1800's that I loaned to Roger Kessinger years ago to produce that re-print.



Pike did indeed seem to be a lover of ritual. Never knew he lived at the temple though. Too bad they don't let members do that today!
Think how much rent you could save in Washington, DC - and you could really wow any house guests...


Yes, Pike lived there (not the current building, but the previous one) And John Henry Cowles lived in the present building when he was Grand Commander. Both Pike and Cowles are interred in the House of the Temple. Their crypts are by the grand staircase


www.scottishrite.org.../scottishrite/internal/albert_pike_in_memoriam/



[edit on 5-10-2008 by senrak]



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 10:38 PM
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Originally posted by ConspiracyNut23

Originally posted by LowLevelMason
This, for me, is probably where the Scottish Rite is just getting a little bit too close to the edge in ecumenicism.


I have to agree with you here. Is the Masonic funeral ceremony part of the blue lodge or is this a Scottish Rite ritual as well?

Is there any masonic wedding ritual?

It is sort of strange for a non-religious organization to use the term "baptism". Could you imagine an Atheist Baptism?

Did "baptism" ever have non-religious connotations?

EDIT: I just remembered what ML once wrote on here. I'm not sure, but I think he wrote that Masonry was a religious organization, just not a religion. Is this right?

[edit on 5/10/08 by ConspiracyNut23]


Actually, there is a bit of a correction. I do not know if you mean to say it is a religious organization or not But there are, as most of you know two rites. The York and the Scottish. The York rite being the one that is more focused on the religious aspect. Free Masonry is not a religious organization perse but they do require one to believe in a higher being be it Ala, God, Shiva, Jupiter, Zeus, etc. what have you. Any way, sorry lowlevelmason i didn't mean to correct you, I meant no offense. Just 'tryin to enlighten.



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 11:14 PM
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Originally posted by Necros_Arcanum
Actually, there is a bit of a correction. I do not know if you mean to say it is a religious organization or not But there are, as most of you know two rites. The York and the Scottish. The York rite being the one that is more focused on the religious aspect. Free Masonry is not a religious organization perse but they do require one to believe in a higher being be it Ala, God, Shiva, Jupiter, Zeus, etc. what have you. Any way, sorry lowlevelmason i didn't mean to correct you, I meant no offense. Just 'tryin to enlighten.


Freemasonry is religious in character. It simply is. The blue lodge, the york rite, the scottish rite: all religious in character, but not a religion. The dictionary defines religious as:



relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity


This is most certainly freemasonry. Freemasonry requires in all of its degrees that its members be faithful to their deity.

There is a difference between being religious and a religion. Freemasonry offers no religion and does not meet the definition of a religion, but its tenets are religious in character. It is not the only secular institution to be religious in character: many college fraternities and sororities have the same devotion to deity as a core tenet, as do the boy scouts.

People simply assume "religious in character" = "religion," when the two terms are not interchangeable. None of freemasonry is a religion, nor has it ever been. All of freemasonry has been religious in character.



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