[Square & Compasses]

Some sense about Pike

From: "Hiram Newsletter" <gradyh@gte.net>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 12:00:19 -0400
From: "E.M. Management" <emmgmt@ipa.net>

I have some comments concerning the letter from "Padre Lee" on the matter of Anti-Masonry (HWWN #9811). I would have to guess that the writer is either a Northern Jurisdiction Scottish Rite Mason, or a "Blue-Lodge" Mason who has elected not to seek further light in Scottish Rite Masonry, perfectly acceptable choices for any Master Mason.

The reason I say this is because of his statements concerning Albert Pike. Bro. Padre Lee says that "no one except the critics of Freemasonry take Pike's books seriously." This is a patently untrue statement! It is also potentially dangerous when made to an anti-mason. Because it so easy to refute, this statement could cloud the balance of a Mason's defense of the Craft.

Most of Brother Pike's writings are still considered valuable resources by the members of the Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite Masonry. Our Southern Jurisdiction, which represents the Scottish Rite Masons in 34 American States and nearly all the foreign countries of the world, continues to practice the degrees written by Bro. Pike. Our good Brother Lee must also be unaware that as recently as 1993 Brother Pike was referred to as "The world's foremost scholar of Scottish Rite Masonry" in a new book "A GLOSSARY TO MORALS AND DOGMA" written by Dr. Rex R. Hutchens, 33* and published by the Supreme Council, 33* Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction at Washington D.C. Another recent book by the same author and publisher is titled "THE BIBLE IN ALBERT PIKE'S 'MORALS AND DOGMA'". Here Pike is called "the great man and Mason whose genius shaped the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the world today."

The best way to discuss Albert Pike's Masonic writings is to quote the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33*. Bro. Kleinkneckt, who holds the chair once held by Pike himself, explains that "MORALS AND DOGMA' represents the opinions of Albert Pike." "It does not represent dogmatic teachings for Freemasonry or for the Scottish Rite...." "Every interested person is encouraged to read, even study, Pike's work, but should do so only after reading the book's preface which was authorized by The Supreme Council, 33*, and printed in the very first, 1871, edition of the work." The preface has been reprinted in every edition of "MORALS AND DOGMA" and still applies today. It reads in part: "The teachings of these Readings are not sacramental, so far as they go beyond the realm of Morality into those 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 judgment."

As a collector of Pike manuscripts and documents, I think it necessary to postscript this message by saying that Pike's works include many non-Masonic writings that hold value even today. His translations of various ancient texts and languages are resources utilized to this day. His commentaries on early legal codes, particularly of Louisiana and Arkansas have historic value, as do the many documents he wrote during his days as a frontier attorney. His book "POEMS AND PROSE WRITTEN ON THE WESTERN PLAINS" which recounts his adventures on one of the earliest explorations between Fort Smith and Santa Fe was recently republished by the New Mexico Historical Society. His early books of poetry are still well considered. Pike, the Massachusetts-born Confederate General, was a man of many qualities and contradictions. His writings are so many, his topics so vast, and his messages so often impenetrable that he makes a VERY dangerous subject for most of us to debate with our enemies. Mike Botelho, P:.M:., 32*, K:.C:.C:.H:.

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