|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.
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 . . .
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.
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