Freemasons and Satan
|No discussion about Masons would be complete without exploring the name Albert Pike.In 1871, Albert Pike (1809-1891) published a book titled Morals and Dogma. This is the book conspiracists use to make unfounded (and uneducated) anti-Mason claims.Anti-Mason antagonists and conspiracists claim Morals and Dogma represents some kind of primary doctrine, or manifesto of Freemasonry. This couldn’t be further from the truth. “Morals and Dogma is literally a textbook in comparative studies. It explains what ancient and foreign cultures have believed and how it affected their religions.”|
Morals and Dogma is a massive book that is very concerned with tracing where cultural and religious ideas came from. Pike was trying to tell a rough, and not especially well-educated, population to search for the origins of customs and rituals, because he truly felt that a deeper understanding of what came before made a man more religious and contemplative. Morals and Dogma is simply a philosophical work.
Far from being a major force – a cornerstone – in masonic teachings, Morals and Dogma and Albert Pike had an extremely small sphere of influence among Freemasons.
For about 60 years after the book was published, Morals and Dogma was given as a gift to all who joined the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite in America. The Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite in America covers thirty-five southern and western states.
It’s very important to understand the Scottish Rite is a subsidiary body (a subset) of Freemasonry – the Scottish Rite is NOT Freemasonry itself. In other words, all Scottish Rite members are Masons but not all Masons are Scottish Rite members. In fact, only about 20% of American Masons have ever been Scottish Rite members. This means about 80% of American Masons have little or no knowledge of General Albert Pike’s work and 100% of Masons outside America have little or no knowledge of General Albert Pike’s work. This is hardly evidence of Morals and Dogma as some kind of Mason Manual.
Sadly for the conspiracists of the world, Albert Pike never exercised any authority or influence over anything other than what was at the time a very small subset of North American Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction.
Uncle Albert and Lucifer
Buried in the 860-plus pages of Morals and Dogma, conspiracists managed to find the 5 sentences proving beyond a shadow of a doubt Albert Pike was a Satanist and that he wrote secret Satan worship into the degrees of the Scottish Rite:
“LUCIFER, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not!“
(Cue the scary music) There it is! Hiding in plain sight, right? Quick! Bless yourself and drink some holy water to cleanse your soul! I mean, we all know Lucifer is Satan! Right? Not so quick. There is a problem and it all got . . .
. . . Lost In Translation
The word “Lucifer” shows up in the Old Testament in the King James Version of the Bible in Isaiah 14:12 and nowhere else: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” This is the one and only time Lucifer is referenced in the King James Version of the Bible.
Question: How could a Hebrew manuscript, written hundreds of years before there was a Roman language (Latin), contain a word from the Roman language?
Answer: It can’t, and, it shouldn’t today.
The poetic version of the King James Version was translated into English and published in 1611. It was translated into English NOT from the original Hebrew texts, but from the Catholic Vulgate Latin texts that had been authorized by St. Jerome (who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I) in the fourth century. Unfortunately, starting with the Latin text instead of the original Hebrew texts created a few translation problems.
According to biblical scholars, the original text of the 14th chapter of Isaiah is NOT about a fallen angel, but about a fallen Babylonian king who had persecuted the Israelites. Satan is never mentioned in the chapter, by name or by inference, you’ll see Isaiah clearly refers to the subject of his writing as an evil king, and most definitely a man. The Hebrew texts referred to the king by his ceremonial title, Helal, son of Shahar, which is translated to mean “Day Star, son of the Dawn.” The name Lucifer does not (and cannot) appear anywhere within the Hebrew text.
In Latin, Lucifer is the name given by Roman astronomers to the Morning Star, the bright planet seen in the dawn sky. We know it by another Roman name – Venus. Lucifer actually comes from the Latin term lucem ferre, meaning “the bearer of light,” and (the star) Venus was called this because it appeared in the sky just before the sun. The symbolism was that Venus (the star called Lucifer) was the herald that announced the arrival of the sun in morning.
Unfortunately, while authoring the King James Version by translating the Latin text (instead of the original Hebrew texts), St. Jerome mistranslated the king’s flowery title “Day Star, son of the Dawn,” into the Roman word Lucifer.
St. Jerome used the word lucifer in several places in his Latin translation:
But notice in Job and Peter the Latin word “lucifer” was replaced with an interpretation consistent with the original Hebrew text – “morning” and “day star,” respectively. Yet in Isaiah the Latin word “lucifer” survived the translation to English and was not replaced with an interpretation of the original Hebrew text.
What would be a proper interpretation of the original Hebrew text at Isaiah 14:12? Below is an exact scan from an original 1611 King James Version of the Bible. In the margin of Isaiah 14:12 we find the KJV translators themselves gave us an alternate rendering of the “lucifer” reference, namely “O day-starre” (“O Day Star”).
This mistranslation has even been recognized and corrected in more recent versions of the Bible. As an example, the New English Bible now correctly translates Isaiah 14:12 as “How you have fallen from heaven, bright morning star …”
Even Bibles in other languages don’t have the word Lucifer. In Spanish Bibles, for example, Isaiah 14:12 reads: “¡Cómo has caído del cielo, lucero de la mañana!” where “Lucero de la mañana”[link] translates to “Morning star” – consistent with the original Hebrew text.
So the Hebrew text Helal, son of Shahar (“Day Star, son of the Dawn”) is translated into the Latin word “Lucifer” but the English translation is not of the original Hebrew text, instead the Latin word “Lucifer” is simply carried over to the King James Version of the Bible.
Then, beginning with John Milton’s 1667 book Paradise Lost, a metamorphosis took place. Milton’s book branded Lucifer in the Western mind as a proper name for Satan.
Lucifer (the morning star) was transformed into a disobedient angel, cast out of heaven to rule eternally in hell.
Theologians, writers, poets, and the occasional mystic compounded the error far beyond anything in the single reference in Isaiah by interweaving the myth with the doctrine of the Fall (Genesis chapter 3). Today in Christian tradition, Lucifer is synonymous with Satan, the Devil, and – ironically – the Prince of Darkness. This irony wasn’t lost on Albert Pike – remember, he wrote, “LUCIFER, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness!” [emphasis mine] The General certainly seemed to recognize this paradox. He didn’t know what you now know.
The word lucifer never came to be seen as a proper name of Satan in Latin as it did in English. This explains why the Latin word “Lucifer” is still used to this day as a title of Christ in the Exsultet hymn sung during the Easter Vigil in the Roman Rite:
“Lucifer” is nothing more than an ancient Latin name for the morning star, the bringer of light, day star, and the like.
This truth can be very confusing for Christians who identify Christ himself as the morning star, a term used as a central theme in many Christian sermons and in Revelation 22:16 itself, where Christ refers to himself as morning star: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
The Latin Church understands the Lucifer mistranslation, hence the Exsultet hymn (above) with the word lucifer in full display and without contradiction. Predictably, every time the Vatican has the Easter Vigil and the word lucifer is spoken or sung, conspiracists around the world soil their diapers claiming the Pope is invoking Satan.
No matter what your Sunday-school teacher told you, no matter what they told you at vacation Bible school, no matter what Milton wrote in Paradise Lost, the Lucifer referred to in Isaiah 14 – the ONLY reference to Lucifer in the King James Version – is NOT Satan.
For the record, the terms Lucifer and Luciferian do not appear in any recognized ritual or lecture of Freemasonry, including the Scottish Rite rituals written by Albert Pike himself.
(Note: The pictured quote below, and all such pictured quotes henceforth, are scanned from an 1871 version of Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike.)
The above quote is most often cited by conspiracists as proof Freemasonry is a religion.
First i’d like to point out the word “religion” appears more than 260 times in General Pike’s book, Morals and Dogma. Unlike many (if not all) conspiracists, I took the time and made the effort to track down and download a bonafide, scanned copy of “Morals and Dogma” by Albert Pike (PDF) (42 MEG) dated 1871 and I began reading. Well, dear conspiracists, it’s time for another diaper change.
As an example, do conspiracists ever tell you of these quotes by Albert Pike from the same book, Morals and Dogma?
In your personal life, do you have a personal creed – a set of convictions – to which you religiously adhere? Me? Personally? I work out 3 times a week – religiously. I have other personal rules which i follow religiously. I follow my own code of conduct – religiously. I was once a Cub Scout (It’s sort of like a junior Boy Scout) and they had an oath they expected each Cub Scout to follow religiously:
- To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
- To help other people at all times;
- To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
Albert Pike spelled out some rules, an oath, for Freemasonry – which he believed Masons should follow religiously. Here is a non-exhaustive list culled from Morals and Dogma:
- Thou shalt adore, revere, and love Him (the God of your choosing).
- Thy religion shall be, to do good because it is a pleasure to thee, and not merely because it is a duty.
- Thou shalt unceasingly war against vice!
- Thou shalt honor thy parents!
- Thou shalt instruct the young!
- Thou shalt protect and defend infancy and innocence!
- Thou shalt cherish thy wife and thy children!
- Thou shalt love thy country, and obey its laws!
- Thou shalt avoid and flee from insincere friendships!
- Thou shalt in everything refrain from excess.
- Thou shalt fear to be the cause of a stain on thy memory!
- Thou shalt allow no passions to become thy master!
- Thou shalt study to know men; that thereby thou mayest learn to know thyself!
- Thou shalt ever seek after virtue!
- Thou shalt be just!
- Thou shalt avoid idleness!
- But the great commandment of Masonry is this: “A new commandment give I unto you: that ye love one another! He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, remaineth still in the darkness.”
Wow! Those Masons sound like an unruly bunch, don’t they? Wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley!
But once you see the word “religion” as an oath of commitment, a promise of adherence to a set of ethics, you begin to see the true meaning in Albert Pike’s use of the word(s) “religion” and “religion of Masonry.”
You see? This is religion, but not a religion. It is faith – but not worship attached to any one altar. It is the ground which underlies all religions, all churches, all creeds, all sects.
Now let’s go back to the original quote used by conspiracists to assert Freemasonry is a religion. This time, i’ll show you something the conspiracists will never show you. The words highlighted in yellow are the words conspiracists want you to see. The words highlighted in the greenish highlight is the remainder of Albert Pike’s words the conspiracists don’t want you to see. His quote should now make perfect sense to you.
Diaper change complete.
Closing The Book
I hope i’ve done a fit and proper job of shedding some light on the mysteries and myths of Albert Pike and his book Morals and Dogma. But just in case you’re a conspiracist and you’re still not convinced of your own wayward thinking, i’d like to present to you one more snippet of information for which there is no conspiratorial escape: The Preface from Morals and Dogma.
In my research of conspiratorial websites i actually found a few with copies of Morals and Dogma, but none of the conspiratorial websites i researched had a copy of Morals and Dogma with the preface intact. Here is why …
The preface of Morals and Dogma was not written by Pike himself. The preface was, and is, the official statement of The Supreme Council, the governing body of Scottish Rite Masonry that published his work. It has been ratified by every succeeding Supreme Council, up to this very day. Here is part of the preface conspiracists have conspired to keep secret.
In the first paragraph, “He” is Albert Pike.
The first paragraph asserts Morals and Dogma as a compilation of many other writers and Albert Pike as the compiler, taking “little of the merit of authorship.”
The second paragraph contains these golden nuggets: “The teachings of these Readings are not sacramental,” “Every one is entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound,” and “Of course, the ancient theosophic and philosophic speculations are not embodied as part of the doctrines of the Rite.”
It is the second paragraph that really deals the final body blows to any conspiracy theory arising from Morals and Dogma:
- The book is not sacramental (little or no importance or significance),
- Everyone is free to dissent from any of its contents (Adherence or belief is optional), and
- None of the ancient theosophic and philosophic speculations are embodied in any doctrines of the Rite.
Case closed. Or is it? (Cue scary music)
Primary Sources, Research and Reading:
- masonicinfo.com; Albert Pike
- A Pilgrim’s Path, John J. Robinson
- Christopher Hodapp 32°, Past Master, Knight Templar
- Morals and Dogma, Albert Pike: Varying Formats or PDF (42 MEG)
- Including: New International Version, Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, New American Bible Revised Edition, New Jerusalem Bible, English Standard Version
- The word “Lucifer” is Latin. The version of Latin used by St. Jerome (Roman Classical Latin) didn’t exist until roughly the 1st century BC – approximately 600 years after Isaiah was written in Hebrew (Sometime between 740 and 687 BC). Using a Latin word in an English translation of the original Hebrew text was a prima facie mistake.
- Paradise Lost (1667) (wikisource), John Milton
- Theosophy refers to systems of speculative philosophy concerning, or investigation seeking direct knowledge of, presumed mysteries of being and nature, particularly concerning the nature of divinity. [source]
- masonicinfo.com; Lucifer
- Anti-masonic Claims Refuted
- The lie of luciferianism
- Albert Pike misquoted
Secondary Sources, Research and Reading:
Latin-English Study Bible | LUCIFER: SATAN OR GODDESS? | II Peter 1:19 | revelation 22:16 | Isaiah 14:12 | Ezekiel 28:1–19 | Roman Missal | GLOBAL CHANT DATABASE | Liber Usualis | Exsultet | Lucifer | The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments (bartleby.com) | Easter Vigil | Latin Church | Roman Rite | Lucifer: The Origin of the Word | Paradise Lost (1667) (wikisource) | Paradise Lost (wikipedia) | Vetus Latina | Vulgate | Bible translations into Latin | Notes on “Lucifer” (Isaiah 14:12, KJV) | LUCIFER: A PROBLEM FOR CHRISTIANITY | Sacrament
Excerpts from this “Guardian” report on “Freemasons in the Police”, 1997 [below]:
“Martin Short, author of the most detailed account of modern British freemasonry, Inside The Brotherhood, estimates that 20% of London officers belong to Masonic lodges”
“Masonic Lodge number 9179, known as the Manor of St James, which was founded eleven years ago, on January 27 1986, for the exclusive use of Scotland Yard officers who had worked in the West End of London.”
“When Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad was destroyed by scandal in the late 1960s, twelve officers were jailed for taking bribes from pornographers. All of them were masons, including the head of the squad, Detective Chief Superintendent Bill Moody, who had even helped one of the pornographers he was supposed to be arresting to become a member of his own lodge.”
Freemasons in the Police
Published January 1997
“Inside the Freemasons: The Grand Lodge Uncovered”
click to retrieve book in pdf file format:
Stephen Knight (26 September 1951 at Hainault, Essex – 25 July 1985) was a British author.
He is best known for the books Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1976) and The Brotherhood (1984).
Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution suggested that those murders were part of a conspiracy between Masons and the royal family, a claim which is not accepted by historians. Nevertheless, the book became popular as the inspiration for works of fiction, among them the 1978 film Murder by Decree by Bob Clark and the graphic novel From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. The latter was adapted, very loosely, into a film by the Hughes brothers in 2001.
The Brotherhood was published at a time when Freemasonry was coming under feverish scrutiny in the United Kingdom.
Knight also wrote the books Cruelly Murdered, Requiem at Rogano and The Killing of Justice Godfrey. He was a religious follower of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and, as a part of this interest, took the name Swami Puja Debal. He struggled with epilepsy for much of his life and was discovered to have a brain tumour in 1980 while taking part in the documentary TV programme Horizon. The tumour was removed, but returned in 1984.
Knight died in 1985 at the age of 33.
“ANGELS DEMONS + FREEMASONS” 2009
Angels, Demons, and Freemasons – Secret Societies Revealed, Illuminati, New World Order – WATCH!
Producer Philip Gardiner’s new DVD, Angels, Demons and Freemasons explores these other intriguing issues, leaving us with just as many questions as answers.
At the heart of Gardiner’s argument is the idea that Freemasonry, along with its hidden rituals and archaic symbolism, embodies centuries of esoteric knowledge once shared among priests, scribes, military elites and royalty.
Gardiner’s analysis probes deep into the gnostic world of the Egyptian pharaohs, Kabbalistic Judaism, Islamic Sufism and different types of ancient and medieval alchemy.
Apparently all these mystery cults and Freemasonry share one key element–the transmission of an underground stream of covert, illuminated knowledge. And since knowledge is power, those in possession of that knowledge are best positioned to shape the course of history, peacefully or through violence.
History demonstrates that individuals have always formed relatively small, hierarchically arranged groups to maximize their power over the apparently unenlightened masses.
This has been the social dynamic for centuries within Churches and other governing bodies enjoying both knowledge and power. And so it is today, Gardiner believes, with Freemasonry and some of its allegedly related offshoots.
The contemporary power brokers differ, however, in that neither religion nor nationality play a part in their domination. According to Gardiner, the real kingpins in the so-called New World Order are mostly hidden from view and, perhaps equally important, international and interdenominational.
One unanswered question runs throughout this video, and this is whether the many social symbols found in 21st century society, while clearly similar to their ancient roots, are consciously or unconsciously embraced by mankind.
Angels, Demons and Freemasons seems to suggest that the mere presence of these symbols in contemporary artifacts is evidence of secret societies flourishing in the 21st century, replete with esoteric knowledge and power.
But a postmodern semiotic analysis could interpret things another way.
Jean Baudrillard, for instance, argued that the meaning of signs becomes imploded over time. Although ancient symbols carry on, they take on entirely new meanings (or lack of) in contemporary culture.
For Baudrillard we live in the hyperreal consisting of so many distorted or entirely reinvented simulacra–i.e. signs once having clear meaning, meaning that has all but vanished in the 21st century.
Not to say that Baudrillard is necessarily correct. One could argue that reinvented signs continue to carry some kind of numinous allure and deeply entrenched significance.
For instance, the U.S. dollar bill contains the image of a pyramid with an eye in its capstone. And this might make the US bill more appealing on some unconscious level.
But is this clear-cut evidence for a secret society operating deep within the US government?
Some have argued that if these societies are so secret, why would they proliferate such a blatantly esoteric symbol?¹
Now, to switch gears a little, another point to consider is the New Testament portrayal of Jesus Christ as the King of Heaven, while Satan is deemed the Ruler of This World.
Here Gardiner makes the astute observation that practical leaders (and we do need them) ideally possess a healthy balance between mankind’s dual nature of vice and virtue, greed and goodwill.
Organizational leaders are often called upon to make personal sacrifices and difficult compromises in order to render legal decisions among competing interest groups.
For Gardiner, this shouldn’t be a free-for-all or raw and brutish survival of the fittest scenario. The wise leader, he says, ideally leans toward the compassionate rather than Machiavellian end of the spectrum.
Meanwhile, theologians might not agree with Gardiner’s view that individual choice is merely the outcome of all preceding influences, a view which seems to omit the possibility of grace and divine intervention at the moment of decision making.
But these apparent theological differences may be more a matter of semantics than actual difference. For the film closes with an undeniable ray of hope.
Angels, Demons and Freemasons is a thought-provoking piece that poses seminal questions about the complexities of power in contemporary society.
It should appeal to specialists and intelligent laypersons and serve as a consciousness-raiser for those who perhaps put a bit too much stock in what the evening news says.
The Lightbringers The Emissaries of Jahbulon
One Mans’ Realisation:
“A Freemason’s 33rd Degree Initiation
INTO THE LIGHT
THE HIGHEST MASONIC DEGREE
Easter was approaching and one quiet morning I was at home recuperating from the second operation when the doorbell rang. It was a special delivery letter from the Supreme Council in Washington, notifying me that I had been selected for the 33rd Degree.
I could hardly believe it was true! This honor is one most Masons never even think of receiving. It was too much, too far out of reach, beyond limits of reality. It was unreal to think I had actually been selected. It was an honor just to be considered for this ultimate degree and I had actually been selected, chosen by that small and powerful group, the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree.
I called Bonnie to share the good news with her. In talking with her, I surprised myself by asking her if she thought I should accept it “What a strange thing to ask her,” I thought. But before I could contemplate it she said, “Why, sure you should accept it. You have worked so hard for so long to get there – by all means you should accept it.”
So I returned my acceptance immediately and began making plans for the trip.
I MADE IT ON MY OWN
With plenty of time to reflect, I thought about my long climb up the mountain of Masonry in search of light. I thought about the odds against anyone’s ever making it to the 33rd Degree. I realized that in my case the odds have been even greater. I had made it by hard work and dedication alone. Some men have an edge on selection because of their wealth, political power or prominence. I had none of these.
Like the day I had carried the man all the way to the top of “Shaw Hill” between Camp Butner and Raleigh, I had made it to the top of the Masonic mountain because I was willing to make the effort required and refused to quit. Thinking of this, I felt particularly good about it and wished my mother could know.
I had come a long way since leaving the front gate that terrible day so many years ago. I had come the distance with no help from Uncle Irvin. Who would have thought that the lonely walk, begun so many years ago by that frightened 13-year-old boy, would have led to this point? I had reached the pinnacle – made it all the way to the top.
Some of the most prominent and influential men in the world would undoubtedly be there to participate when I was given this ultimate degree – for me – little Jimmy Shaw, who had gone to work at age five and made it alone since age 13. They would be there to give the 33rd Degree to me. It was really a bit difficult to take it all in.
3 DAYS AT THE MOUNTAIN TOP
In order to receive the 33rd Degree it was necessary to go to Washington. D.C. The initiation and related functions were to last three days.
Since Bonnie could participate in practically none of the things I would be doing each day, she decided not to go along. We were both excited as I made preparations to leave. But I was not as excited as I expected to be. The edge was taken off the excitement because, in me, it was mixed with a considerable amount of conviction. Way down deep there was a growing restlessness, an increasing conflict, produced by the things the doctor had been sharing and by all the Scripture I had been reading. Preparing to receive this “ultimate honor” was not as thrilling as it might otherwise have been.
ARRIVING AT THE HOUSE OF THE TEMPLE
I flew into Washington National Airport and took a taxi to the House of the Temple on Northwest 16th Street. Upon arriving at the Temple I was met by a receptionist who asked if I were there to receive the 33rd Degree. I was surprised to find a women in those sacred Masonic precincts, but said that I was and showed her my letter from the Supreme Council. She then told me that in order to receive the degree, I would be expected to make a “minimum donation” of a very large amount of money (at least it was a “very large” amount for me). This took me completely by surprise for there had not been a word about any such “minimum donation” in the letter sent me by the Supreme Council. I didn’t carry that much money with me and had left my checkbook at home but was able to borrow the money from one of the other men and gave it to her. We candidates were all unhappy about this unpleasant surprise and grumbled to one another about it, but were not unhappy enough to forsake the degree over it. We were too close to the “top of the mountain” to turn back at that point.
THE TEMPLE ITSELF
The House of the Temple is quite impressive – a bit awesome, really. Standing large, grey and silent on the east side of Northwest 16th Street, between “R” and “S” Streets, it looms very wide and tall from the curb. There is a huge expanse of granite pavement in front of it, including three levels of narrowing steps as the entrance is approached. Flanking the entrance are two Sphinx-like granite lions with women’s heads, the neck of one entwined by a cobra and decorated with the “ankh” (the Egyptian symbol of life and deity).
Adorning the neck and breast of the other is an image of a women, symbolic of fertility and procreation. In the pavement, just in front of the tall bronze doors, are two Egyptian swords with curved, serpentine blades and, between the two swords, brass letters, set into stone, saying, “The Temple of the Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third and Last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.”
Over the tall, bronze doors, cut into the stone, is the statement, “Freemasonry Builds Its Temples in the Hearts of Men and Among Nations.” (1)
High above the entrance, partially concealed by stone columns, is an elaborate image of the Egyptian sun god, backed with radiating sun and flanked by six large, golden snakes.
Inside is elegance: polished marble, exotic wood, gold and statuary. There are offices, a library, dining room, kitchen, Council Room, “Temple Room” and a large meeting room. This room is like a luxurious theater, rather elegantly furnished and decorated.
The ceiling is dark blue, with lights set into it to give the appearance of stars. These lights can even be made to “twinkle” like stars in the sky. There is a stage, well-equipped, and it is all very nicely done. But the thing that is most noticeable is the way the walls are decorated with serpents. There are all kinds; some very long and large. Many of the Scottish Rite degrees include the representation of serpents and I recognized them among those decorating the walls.
It was all most impressive and gave me a strange mixture of the sensations of being in a temple and in a tomb – something sacred but threatening. I saw busts of outstanding men of the Rite including two of Albert Pike, who is buried there in the wall.
INTERVIEWED BY THE SUPREME COUNCIL
The first day was devoted to registration, briefings and interviews. We were called into one of the offices, one at a time, and interviewed by three members of the Supreme Council.
When my turn came I was ushered into the office and seated. The very first question I was asked was, “Of what religion are you?” Not long before this I would have answered with something like, “I believe the Ancient Mysteries, the ‘Old Religion,’ and I believe in reincarnation.” However, without thinking at all about how to answer, I found myself saying, “I am a Christian.”
Then, to my sup rise and theirs, I asked them, “Are you men born again?” The man in charge quickly stopped me by saying, “We’re not here to talk about that – we are here to ask you questions.”
After they sent me back out I sat down and thought about it. When the next man came out, I asked him, “Did they ask you if you are a Christian?” He said, “Yes, they did.”
“What did you tell them?” I asked, and he replied, “I told them ‘Hell no, and I never intend to be!'”
Then he said a strange thing to me, “They said I’m going higher,” and he left through a different door, looking pleased.
BECOMING A SOVEREIGN GRAND INSPECTOR GENERAL
The second day was the day of the actual initiation, held in the theater-like meeting room. Those of us who were receiving the degree were seated and the ceremony was “exemplified” (acted out in full costume) before us, in the same way that we had performed the lesser degrees of the Scottish Rite all those years. The parts in the exemplification were played by men of the 33rd Degree.
The representative candidate was dressed in black trousers, barefooted, bareheaded and draped in a long, black robe that reminded me of a very long, black raincoat. He had a black cable tow around his neck but was not hoodwinked. During the initiation he was led around the stage, conducted by two men with swords, as the degree was performed for us.
Instructions and signs were given. Upon the altar were four “holy books” (the Bible, the Koran, the Book of the Law and the Hindu Scriptures). At one point the “candidate” was told to kiss the book “of your religion” and, representing us all, he leaned forward and did so. I remembered the First Degree initiation, when I was told to kiss the Bible, and at that moment something came full cycle. It was the final such kiss to be a part of my life.
WINE IN A HUMAN SKULL
When it was time for the final obligation we all stood and repeated the oath with the representative candidate, administered by the Sovereign Grand Inspector General. We then swore true allegiance to the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree, above all other allegiances, and swore never to recognize any other brother as being a member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry unless he also recognizes the Supreme authority of “this Supreme Council”.
One of the Conductors then handed the “candidate” a human skull, upside down, with wine in it. “May this wine I now drink become a deadly poison to me, as the Hemlock juice drunk by Socrates, should I ever knowingly or willfully violate the same” (the oath).
He then drank the wine. A skeleton (one of the brothers dressed like one – he looked very convincing) then stepped out of the shadows and threw his arms around the “candidate.” Then he (and we) continued the sealing of the obligation by saying, “And may these cold arms forever encircle me should I ever knowingly or willfully violate the same.”
The Sovereign Grand Commander closed the meeting of the Supreme Council “with the Mystic Number,” striking with his sword five, three, one and then two times. After the closing prayer, we all said “amen, amen, amen,” and it was over.
PROMINENT MEN TOOK PART
There were some extremely prominent men there that day, including a Scandinavian King, two former presidents of the United States, an internationally prominent evangelist, two other internationally prominent clergymen, and a very high official of the federal government, the one who actually presented me with the certificate of the 33rd Degree. Some made only brief appearances; others stayed much longer. However, they didn’t do much mixing or socializing with us, except for those whom they already knew. Even though these celebrities weren’t extremely “brotherly,” it was still quite an experience for me just to be associated with them. It was easily the largest gathering of such prominent and influential men of which I have ever been a part.
The third day there was a banquet to celebrate our becoming “Grand Inspectors General. 33rd Degree.” The banquet was a little anticlimactic, at least for me, and I was anxious to get it over with so I could return home. It was good to be a 33rd at last. But it wasn’t as exciting or fulfilling as I had thought it would be during all those years in the Craft. I guess this was because of the profound changes going on down deep within me.
I returned home as soon as the 33rd Degree award and related social functions were finished, for it was time for my next appointment with the doctor. After he had examined my eyes he said they were healing fine, that he felt good about the way they were looking, and as usual he spoke with me about the Lord. I told him that I planned to come to his church the next Sunday and that I had been reading the Bible.
Obviously pleased, he said, “Good. Keep studying, and your sight will soon be much better.” By this time I knew what he meant – he was speaking of my spiritual sight.
In the Scottish Rite the Thursday before Easter, “Maundy Thursday,” is an important day. On this day we always performed a special service of Communion in the local Scottish Rite Temple. At this time I was Wise Master in the Chapter of Rose Croix and it was my job to preside over the exemplification (dramatization) of the ceremony. I had done this many times and was known for my knowledge of the service and for “doing a good job” of putting it on.
THE WORDS HAD MEANING NOW
On Thursday evening we gathered at our home Temple and dressed for the ceremony. It was always a most solemn occasion and seemed a little awesome, even to those of us who had done it many times.
Dressed in long, black, hooded robes, we marched in, single file, with only our faces partly showing, and took our seats.
There was something very tomb-like about the setting. The silence was broken only by the organ, playing mournfully in the background, and there was no light except for the little that came through the windows. After the opening prayer (from which the name of Jesus Christ was conspicuously excluded), I stood and opened the service.
As I had done so many times before, I said, “We meet this day to commemorate the death of our ‘Most Wise and Perfect Master,’ not as inspired or divine, for this is not for us to decide, but as at least the greatest of the apostles of mankind.”
As I spoke these words that I had spoken so many times before, I had a strange and powerful experience. It was as if I were standing apart, listening to myself as I spoke, and the words echoed deep within me, shouting their significance. They were the same words I had spoken so many times before, but had meaning for me now. They made me sick, literally ill, and I stopped.
The realization of what I had just said grew within me like the rising of a crescendo. I had just called Jesus an “apostle of mankind” who was neither inspired nor divine! There was a silent pause that seemed to last a very long time as I struggled with a sick smothering within.
When I was finally able, I continued with the service and we gathered around a large table across the room in marching order. The table was long, shaped like a cross, and covered with a red cloth which was decorated down the center with roses.
A BLACK COMMUNION
Once we were assembled at the table, I elevated (lifted high) the plate of bread, took a piece, put my hand on the shoulder of the man in front of me, gave him the plate and said, “Take, eat, and give to the hungry.”
This continued until all had partaken of the bread. Then I lifted up the goblet of wine, took a sip, and said, “Take, drink, and give to the thirsty.”
Again, this continued until all had partaken of the wine.
Then I took the bread, walked over to the first row of spectators and served it to the man previously chosen for the honor of representing the rest of the Lodge
As I handed it to him I again said, “Take, eat, and give to the hungry.”
In like manner I served the wine to him saying, “Take, drink, and give to the thirsty,” and he sat down.
After this we took our places at the table shaped like a cross and sat down. The setting was dark, our long, sweeping robes were solid black, our faces nearly concealed in the hoods, and the mood was one of heavy gloom. The Christ-less prayers and the hymns we sang fit right in. The one word that would describe the entire event would be “black.” It was, indeed, a Black Communion – a strange Black Mass.
EXTINGUISHING THE CANDLE
There was a large Menorah (candlestick with seven candle holders) in the center of the room, with seven candles now burning.
Standing again, I said, “This is indeed a sad day, for we have lost our Master. We may never see him again. He is dead! Mourn, weep and cry, for he is gone.”
Then I asked the officers to extinguish the candles in the large Menorah. One by one they rose, walked to the center of the room, extinguished a selected candle and left the room.
Finally, with only the center candle still burning, I arose, walked sadly to the Menorah and extinguished the last candle – the candle representing the life of Jesus, our “Most Wise and Perfect Master.” We had dramatized and commemorated the snuffing out of the life of Jesus, without once mentioning his name, and the scene ended with the room in deep silent darkness. I walked out of the room, leaving only the darkness and the stillness of death.
Once again, the single word best to describe it would be “black.”
All through the service I was shaking and sick. I have never felt so sad. I had stumbled over the words but, somehow, I made it to the completion of the ceremony and went back to the dressing room. I still didn’t know much about praying but felt that I had been sustained by the Lord through it all.
THE FINAL PARTING
Back in the dressing room we hung up our black, hooded robes, put our street clothes back on and prepared to leave. Less than two hours had passed since I arrived. But what had happened in that period of time had changed my life forever.
Still sick in my heart, I changed clothes without a word to anyone. The others asked me what was wrong. But I couldn’t reply.
They reminded me that I had acted as Wise Master so many times before, that I was known for my smooth performance of it, and they asked what had gone wrong.
I was choking on the awful reality of what we had said and done, the way we had blasphemed the Lord, and the evil, black mockery we had made of His pure and selfless death. With weeping welling up within me. I could only shake my head in silence and walk out.
Mike was waiting for me at the door, expecting to get a ride home, and he asked, “What’s the matter, Jim? Are you sick?”
Finally able to speak, I quietly replied, “No, Mike, I’m just sick of all this.”
“IT ISN’T RIGHT”
I started down the wide steps in front of the large Scottish Rite Temple, realization and conviction growing within me, reached the bottom step and stopped. Turning around, I looked back at the huge, granite building and slowly studied the words, carved in the stone across the top of the entrance: “ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY.”
Something came clearly into focus in my understanding and I made a decision. This crisis point in my life, one which had required so many years for me to reach, passed in seconds. The truth was revealed and the choice was made – a choice that would be the difference between darkness and light, death and life, one that would last for eternity. Looking up at those words I had walked under so many times, words of which I had been so proud, I spoke to myself out loud. It was as if I were the only man in the world as I heard myself say, slowly and deliberately, “It isn’t ancient, it isn’t Scottish, it isn’t free, and it isn’t right!”
INTO THE LIGHT
I turned away and walked into the parking lot, knowing that I would never return. As I walked into the deepening darkness of that springtime night, I was walking into the growing light of the living God. As the natural darkness closed around me, the supernatural light welled up within me. With every step I took, as the Temple receded behind me, I was more free.
“I will never return,” I thought with each step. “I will never return, I will never return….”
The decision was made, the die was cast. From that night onward I would serve the true and living God, not the Great Architect of the Universe. I would exalt and learn of Him, not Osiris, Krishna or Demeter. I would seek and follow Jesus, not the will–the-wisp of “hidden wisdom.”
I was walking, after such a long time, out of the darkness and into the light.
1 This statement is an interesting contradiction with the Temple it adorns, as well as with the thousands of other such Masonic temples built around the World at a total cost of many billions of dollars.
A PERSONAL WORD FROM JIM
As this true story is closed, I would be greatly remiss if I did not make it clear that in my pre-Christian life I truly loved Freemasonry. I loved the men with whom I was associated in the Lodge and the men with whom I worked so hard in the degrees and bodies of the Scottish Rite. Most of all, I was so very sure that I was doing what was right and pleasing in the sight of the Great Architect of the Universe.
Never in all my years of dedicated service to Masonry did anyone in the Lodge witness to me about the love and saving grace of Jesus. The Lodge attended a church once each year as a group. Each time the pastor (who was himself a Mason) would introduce us to the congregation and then exalt the Craft, telling them about all our wonderful works. We usually left the church thinking of how wonderful we were and feeling sorry for all those in the church who were not Masons, participating in all our good deeds.
After having been witnessed to by my ophthalmologist for some time I read those simple, wonderful words of Jesus, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” These words, so short and so sweet, went right through my heart. I looked in the Bible for more and I found blessed assurance everywhere I looked. Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, really loved me as a real Brother! He will do the same for you. “