"Masonry is not a religion.
He who makes of it a religious belief, falsifies and denaturalizes it."

Albert Pike (1809-1891); "Morals and Dogma (p. 161)

Few quotes in the history of mankind have attracted the attention of so many as the quote from Pike's Morals & Dogma which reads:

"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!"

Three sentences (of which two are actually exclamations), taken from a book of 861 pages with a 216 page index. Does this seem a bit disingenuous right from the start?

Born in Blood - RobinsonA Pilgrim's Path - RobinsonLet's step back a bit before the more complete story. Some anti-Masons are also quite fond of quoting the book by John J. Robinson titled Born in Blood in which he supposedly ties heinous acts of the 13th Century Knights Templar with Freemasonry today. While this is a gross misinterpretation of Robinson's work, perhaps it would be good to look at another work of his titled A Pilgrim's Path. After all, if Robinson is to be used as an infallible authority regarding the Templars, we should then be able to similarly cite his other works as authoritative, right?  In A Pilgrim's Path we find an extraordinarily well-written explanation of the Pike quote regarding Lucifer.

Robinson writes:

Albert Pike and the Morning Star

"ALBERT PIKE (1809-91) was a lawyer, a poet, a prolific writer, a general in the army of the Confederate States of America, and a Freemason. He was a voracious reader, especially interested in the religions and philosophical systems of ancient cultures, which he saw as having shaped the thinking and codes of morality of people around the world. As a general, he commanded neither white nor black troops, but American Indians. He studied and respected their religious beliefs. But no matter how deeply he probed into other religions, nothing Pike learned ever shook his own faith as a devout Trinitarian Christian. Politically, he did not favor stronger central control, as is evidenced by his willingness to risk his life and fortune in a war that started not over the issue of slavery, but over the political concept of states' rights. In hindsight Pike may be judged to have been wrong politically, but at least he was willing to die for what he believed."

"Fundamentalist anti-Masons love to condemn all Freemasonry based on the writings and philosophy of Albert Pike. They never say that Pike's works were written only for the Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite Masonry, which was the limit of Pike's Masonic authority. He was the Sovereign Grand Commander of that Masonic body from 1859 until his death in 1891." (Masonicinfo Note: The Scottish Rite is a separate and totally distinct organization having no control over Freemasonry!)

"The Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite in America covers thirty-five southern and western states. It has about half a million members, or about 20 percent of the total Masonic membership in the United States. That means that about 80 percent of American Masons have little or no knowledge of the work of General Pike. I have found that most Masons have not even heard of him. These men are mystified by attacks on Masonry that cite Pike's writings, since they have no idea what the antagonist is talking about."

"Pike's passion - perhaps obsession - was that all men should seek knowledge, or "light." From that light came information and understanding. Some fundamentalists, however, assert that all "light" comes from Jesus, and that any other source of light is anti-Christian, even though the rest of the world continues to use expressions like, "We've got to bring this to light," or, "Can anyone here shed some light on this matter?" That's what the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain had in mind when it adopted a lighthouse as its trademark, with the slogan, "Give the people light and they will find their way.""

""Light," in the sense that is used by Pike, means education. Education is one of those things that most of us think is universally approved, but the anti-Masons take Masonry to task for such emphasis on it, taking the stand that too much secular education can be damaging to a good Christian. They often fall back on the belief of their predecessor fundamentalists of generations ago, who believed that education requires no written work other than Holy Scripture."

"Yet that scripture itself admonishes Christians to seek knowledge, and totally supports the Masonic dedication to charity. Christian Masons can take comfort from the second epistle of Peter 1:5-7: "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity." A good summary of Masonic belief."

"Very few people are aware that in the lecture accompanying the second degree in the symbolic lodge all Masons are encouraged to continue their own education and to gain knowledge in the liberal arts, defined in the older context of that term as grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, music, astronomy, and geometry. The Masons emphasize the benefits of continuing education, even to the extent that many Masonic charities provide scholarships for deserving students on a nondenominational basis. Pike was in complete harmony with that approach, but he was somewhat different in that his own fascination was heavily weighted toward the history of religion, the subject of most of his writings."

"Pike was convinced that he had benefited greatly from his lifelong studies of other religions and philosophies, because what he had learned gave him a broader understanding of all humankind. Many of the ancient religions he had studied were gone from the earth, but he was convinced that they had made contributions to later thought and moral systems. He had a good point: There are those who would deny that Muhammad learned anything from the Jews and Christians he met on his trading missions, or that Moses learned anything while growing up at the Egyptian court, but reason indicates the opposite."

"Not everyone believes that familiarity with other religions and cultures is beneficial, however; exposure to alien ideas and customs may be thought to contaminate the student's religious and political beliefs. That's why the Catholic Church created the Index of books not to be read by Catholics, and why fundamentalists have sought the legal exclusion from classrooms and libraries of books that teach morality on a nonreligious basis, or even scientific knowledge that seems at odds with Scripture."

"In his conviction that wisdom would be gained by learning what others believed, and why they behaved as they did, Albert Pike poured his prodigious knowledge into written works, so that he could share that information. Today, universities offer master's and doctoral degrees in the comparative study of world religions and in the history of religion. Pike would have approved. His plan was to educate all Scottish Rite Masons in his Southern Jurisdiction by imparting that comparative knowledge as an essential aspect of Scottish Rite training."

"The course of education Pike laid out was in twenty-nine parts, to fit the Scottish Rite system of the 4th through the 32nd degrees. Rather than being taught in pedantic lectures, the information is imparted primarily in ceremonial dramas, which are usually more effective in helping the student to retain what he has learned. The major difference between the Pike-inspired course of instruction and that employed in some theological seminaries is that Scottish Rite does not identify any religion as the One True Faith. It teaches to inform, not to prove the error of all faiths except that of the lecturer. Some of the work does arrive at conclusions, such as those  condemning tyranny (from either a religious or secular source), and a charge to seek the light of knowledge, rather than yield to the ignorance that permits some men to dominate the unknowing. So Pike's primary lesson calls to mind the old IBM slogan that used to appear in every workplace: the simple advice, "THINK!" That very concept is offensive to many a fundamentalist evangelist, who will happily do all the thinking his followers will ever need."

"Some of the critics of Masonry cite the degree work, but more find their raw material for Masonic condemnation in Pike's writings, especially his ponderous Morals and Dogma, an 861-page volume that many Masons own, but few have read. It is not only tedious reading, but is full of Pike's own perceptions of Masonry. Many Masons will agree with some statements, but there are others that no Mason will ever believe. Pike was so wrapped up in his knowledge of ancient faiths and philosophic systems that he tended to make the background of Masonry far more complex and esoteric than it was ever meant to be. In some of his chapters, if the words "Mason" and "Masonry" were removed, it is reasonable to believe that many a Mason reading it would not recognize his own fraternity."

"Pike was a man with an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, and it is only natural that he wanted to share it all. Unfortunately, he had just one outlet that he could count on, and he appears to have wanted to find a place for everything he knew in the Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite. The teachings of Masonry are simple and clear. Pike preferred them to be festooned with mystic interpretations and deep, arcane meanings."

"Make no mistake: Pike was a dynamic force in establishing a strong membership in his own jurisdiction, and a strong force in establishing degree work that has lasted for a hundred years. He was a towering figure in the history of American Masonry. What he was not was a Grand Master of any Grand Lodge, who alone is the final authority in basic Masonic practices and jurisprudence. He was never a spokesman for all of Freemasonry and never tried to assert himself as such. He was a strong man who never shrank from expressing his personal opinions, and it is important to remember that his pronouncements as they relate to Masonry are just that: his own opinions."

"That's why the most important part of Morals and Dogma may be its preface. 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. In part, it says (italics mine {i.e. those of author Robinson}):"

In preparing this work, the Grand Commander [Pike] has been about equally Author and Compiler; since he has extracted quite half its contents from the works of the best writers and most philosophic or eloquent thinkers. Perhaps it would have been better and more acceptable if he had extracted more and written less.

"To remove any thought that the work contains religious dogma for Scottish Rite Masons, the preface says:"

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.

"And now the most important sentence in the preface (and, once again, the italics are mine {i.e., those of Robinson}):"

Everyone is entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound.

"I was very relieved to find that statement at the beginning of Morals and Dogma, because there is much in it that I "reject and dissent from." Such a statement requires at least one example, and I offer the following quote from page 819:"

""The Blue Degrees [first, second and third] 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 that he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry (the 28th degree and beyond)."  I have asked enough Masons to convince myself that there is no Mason anywhere who agrees with that statement."

"His historical facts are usually correct, but that cannot always be said of his opinions. As an historian who has spent years researching the history of the crusading order of the Knights Templar, I was appalled to read Pike's words, "The Templars were unintelligent and therefore unsuccessful Jesuits," and "Their watchword was to become wealthy, in order to buy the world.""

"On the other hand, most Christians will agree with much of what Albert Pike has to say about his own faith in Christianity. His discussion of baptism calls the Christian rite "a baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins: that is, the necessity of repentance proven by reformation." That "reformation" of the repentant baptized Christian is now being referred to as being "born again," which puts Pike's definition of the sacrament right in line with the beliefs of those who condemn him most angrily. His critics, of course, never quote those points: Their aim is to extract comments about the many religions, sects, and cults described in Morals and Dogma, so that they can be cited, regardless of their original content, as "documentation" that Masons believe the teachings of those ancient cults, and must believe them. They know they are lying, but quoting out of context is too wonderful a tool to be abandoned."

"Nothing thrills the anti-Mason as much as Pike's references to Lucifer. Most Christians reading this will immediately recognize Lucifer as the fallen angel, as Satan, the ruler of hell. Why then, does Pike express his surprise in the words "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 intolerable light blinds feeble, sensual or selfish souls?" He is upset, referring at one point to "the false Lucifer of the legend." What false legend?"

"I set out to learn for myself, and what I learned may upset many Christians, who have to be told that the King James version of the Bible, which they revere as the literal, precise, correct work of God, is not always so. Some of the error in it was quite deliberate, including the biblical designation of Lucifer as Satan, along with the concordant story of a fallen angel. It is difficult to anticipate the reactions of some believers on being told that there are gross mistakes in the King James version, but, please, do not throw this book across the room in disgust until you have read a bit more."

"Lucifer makes his appearance in the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, at the twelfth verse, and nowhere else: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!""

"The first problem is that Lucifer is a Latin name. So how did it find its way into a Hebrew manuscript, written before there was a Roman language? To find the answer, I consulted a scholar at the library of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. What Hebrew name, I asked, was Satan given in this chapter of Isaiah, which describes the angel who fell to become the ruler of hell? The answer was a surprise. In the original Hebrew text, the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah is not about a fallen angel, but about a fallen Babylonian king, who during his lifetime had persecuted the children of Israel. It contains no mention of Satan, either by name or reference. The Hebrew scholar could only speculate that some early Christian scribes, writing in the Latin tongue used by the Church, had decided for themselves that they wanted the story to be about a fallen angel, a creature not even mentioned in the original Hebrew text, and to whom they gave the name "Lucifer.""

"Why Lucifer? In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, Venus). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. The name derives from the Latin term lucem ferre, "bringer, or bearer, of light." In the Hebrew text the expression used to describe the Babylonian king before his death is Helal, son of Shahar, which can best be translated as "Day star, son of the Dawn." The name evokes the golden glitter of a proud king's dress and court (much as his personal splendor earned for King Louis XIV of France the appellation, "The Sun King")."

"The scholars authorized by the militantly Catholic King James I to translate the Bible into current English did not use the original Hebrew texts, but used versions translated from the Catholic Vulgate Bible produced largely by St. Jerome in the fourth century. Jerome had mistranslated the Hebraic metaphor, "Day star, son of the Dawn," as "Lucifer," and over the centuries a metamorphosis took place. Lucifer the morning star became a disobedient angel, cast out of heaven to rule eternally in hell. Theologians, writers, and poets interwove the myth with the doctrine of the Fall, and in Christian tradition Lucifer is now the same as Satan, the Devil, and - ironically- the Prince of Darkness."

"So "Lucifer" is nothing more than an ancient Latin name for the morning star, the bringer of light. That can be confusing for Christians who identify Christ himself as the morning star, a term used as a central theme in many Christian sermons. Jesus refers to himself as the morning star in Revelation 22:16: "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.""

"And so there are those who do not read beyond the King James version of the Bible, who say "Lucifer is Satan: so says the Word of God," while others with knowledge of the Latin and Hebrew texts say, "No, Lucifer is the classical Roman name for the morning star, and now Jesus is the morning star." This discussion can only anger certain fundamentalists. (I have at hand an evangelical tract from a Baptist church that says, "I believe in the Infallibility and Preservation of God's Word, of which the King James 1611 authorized version is the God-guided faithful translation.")"

"Fortunately, this issue of errors in biblical translations is not one that we have to struggle with ourselves. Generations of biblical scholars of all faiths have been aware of the mistranslations and of the misunderstandings that arise from the use of archaic terms whose meanings have been lost, or have evolved into different usages. To address these problems a conference was held in October 1946, attended by delegates of the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, and the Baptists, Methodists, and Congregationalist churches. At another meeting four months later, delegates from the Presbyterians and Quakers joined the original group, along with representatives of various Bible societies. Still later, observers were sent as representatives of the Roman Catholic Church."

"The work on a new translation of the Bible, direct from the sources, stretched out over several years. The most distinguished biblical scholars and specialists in the world were invited to contribute, and every delegate was given the opportunity to review and express his own views on every verse, every word, as presented by the translators."

"The result of this prodigious joint effort was The New English Bible, of which the New Testament was published in 1969 and the Old Testament one year later."

"That does not mean that I have cast aside my King James version: I have them both. But I must recognize that while God may be the inspirational source of all the Old and New Testament scriptures, He is certainly not responsible for the imperfect translations from the language of the earliest surviving texts. To err is human, and men can become overzealous because of the emotional aspects of the subject."

"To the point, the verse in the King James version (Isaiah 14:12) that begins "How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer..." has now been translated directly from the Hebrew in the New English Biible as "How you have fallen from heaven, bright morning star..." There is no mention of Lucifer, no reference to any disobedient angel plunging to hell, nor should there be."

"The emphasis here should be on intent. When Albert Pike and other Masonic scholars spoke over a century ago about the "Luciferian path," or the "energies of Lucifer," they were referring to the morning star, the light bearer, the search for light; the very antithesis of dark, satanic evil."

"Still, I believe that Pike was wrong to use Lucifer in the scholarly sense. I remember an old man saying to me years ago, on a different subject, "It may be correct, but it just ain't right!" He had an excellent point. To be "correct" may be good for scholars writing for the enlightenment of other scholars: but for those with a real desire to communicate, recognition must be given to the common usage of words and terms. To this day some learned writers, as did Pike, have difficulty concentrating on communication, which may require explaining their terms of reference and curbing their vocabularial excess. To engage in the arrant pedantry of egregious sesquipedalianism (as in this sentence) is not communication. It's showing off. Pike must have known that virtually every Christian of this time firmly believed that Lucifer was Satan. He should have explained his use of the name, or he should have avoided it. And he should have held his scholarly vocabulary in check. However impressive the command of a language a writer may possess, if it cannot be understood as intended and baffles the reader, it is failing in its primary purpose, which should be clear, understandable communication."

"Unfortunately, even if Albert Pike had refined his cumbersome style, or reduced the overwhelming variety of information he offered in his works, he would still be the target of vitriolic abuse. The reason is a proved and blatant forgery that is brandished to the great joy and delight of almost every anti-Masonic writer and speaker."

"It all began in the late nineteenth century with a man who would do anything, say anything, or write anything to further his own career, untroubled by conscience or morality. His pen name was Leo Taxil. To fully understand the source of much of today's most bitter anti-Masonry, it is necessary to drop back about a hundred years and examine the career of this strange man who, to serve his own ends, maliciously draped the mantle of Lucifer as Satan on the memory of Albert Pike."

You can read more about the Taxil hoax mentioned by John Robinson here on our web site. We trust that this lengthy explanation helps to clarify the issue surrounding 'the Lucifer quote' - but somehow we think it'll continue to be used as a crude club by those intent on defaming Freemasonry! And if there's any further question about Satanism, do check our page on that subject here.


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Pike's Philosophy
Pike's Racism
Three World Wars
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