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This webpage -- and all others that start with http://bessel.org/russo/ -- were written entirely by Jason C. Russo 32, as his personal summary of the book, Morals and Dogma, written by Albert Pike in the 1800s. The credit for the content of these summaries belongs exclusively to Bro. Russo, and compliments, comments, and questions can be emailed to him at ssgrusso@earthlink.net 

 


Picture of Albert Pike A SUMMARY OF THE MORALS AND DOGMA OF ALBERT PIKE

BY JASON C. RUSSO 32 

Chapter X: ILLUSTRIOUS ELECT OF THE FIFTEEN [ELU OF THE FIFTEEN]

The object of this degree is a continuation of the previous, Elu of the Nine, with an additional emphasis on the promotion of Tolerance, as well as a staunch defense against fanaticism, zealotry, and extremists dogma in both politics and religion. This degree requires we utilize education, training, and enlightenment to prevent  lapses in ignorance thereby allowing the militant extremist to commit acts of terrorism. This degree requires a profound impression upon the Mason who takes the obligation of this degree. This obligation is irrevocable and everlasting in its requirement to be ever recollected by hand, heart, and mind. We are to be reminded at each visit to our alters of this obligation because it is so vitally  important.

Tolerance, defined that every human has the same rights and benefits as every other human to his opinions and faith as we have to ours, and that every individual has the right not to have another dictate another's faith and creed by force of arms or force of will. People have the ability to decide for themselves what is truth, to be content with the knowledge another's perception of truth may differ from their own and not be incensed to a anger, but assured that whatever truth a person perceives is the truth to him alone. This philosophy is the nemesis of every extremist. The fanatical zealot cannot tolerate another deciding issues of a religious or political nature; they are incensed and enraged at any person who would promote these freedoms, which is why they are the mortal enemies of Freemasonry. Education, training and enlightenment, will bereft the zealot of power, they are the Kryptonite that will render the fanatic powerless.

Masons know better than to belittle the convictions of an individual's perception of truth and justice; but every Mason must with absolute conviction deny the ability of any individual to assume the privilege of God, by condemning another's faith by punishing them or labeling them as heretics for having a differing religious  opinion. Masons must never endure those who would endanger the general peace and well being of society, and therefore Masons do not have the luxury of being outside of socio-political contacts with humanity. 

The effects of intolerance and militant extremists are infinitely more dangerous than those with simple political aspirations. Bigotry and fanatical views are a greater plague to humanity than error. Terrorism, torture, and mayhem are the mindset of the vilest creatures ever known to walk among humanity; any man  who would be so presumptuous to murder others in a terrorist attack because they have a different philosophy than they are demons without a soul and destined to be returned to the great deceiver.

Masonry is not a religion, and any individual who would deceive themselves into converting Masonry into a religious faith shall have committed an unnatural crime and have failed to comprehend the philosophies of Freemasonry meant to supplement religion in the effort to serve God by supporting creation and uplifting humanity for His service. Masonry serves men of all faiths in the universal application and belief that God created all men and all things; that the elevation and promotion of morality and ethical well being for all mankind is pleasing to God and will be recalled when our probationary state is over. God finds acceptable the attributes of love, truth, justice, and generosity, and therefore the goal of Masonry is to live up to these tenets. This degree mandates toleration, in that it dictates all mankind may worship the One True God, and that an ethical and moral life should constitute the only requirements necessary to become a Mason. Thegood man and Mason will perform a good deed when the opportunity arises, not out of an obligation to any law, but rather because he senses an obligation to do so. The true Mason is obligated in his mind, heart, and soul, and will do without if it is necessary to sustain his brother. Masons are kind fathers, husbands, citizens and ethical businessmen; their attributes reflect upon them at home and in church, at play and at work. Masonry does not constitute a religious faith; it aids the religious man to his obligations and his creed. Masonry enables a man to be content with his lot in life and not grimace over any misfortunes that may befall him. He accepts what is generous and true and discards what is left; for him Masonry enables him to worship his God more effectively and not a slave to mankind's frivolous pursuits.

No man on this earth was ever endowed with the ability to usurp any unexercised right of God and thereby persecute another for failing to uphold his religious beliefs. Each individual is a product of their upbringing and their religious views are groomed from birth to affect their beliefs in adulthood. The fanatic does not require truth or understanding of his creed's doctrine to be a zealot in his perceptions, and in truth the zealot understands his claimed religious creed the least. Only on the most rare occasions does a well-informed student of their holy teaching undergo a path of radical dogma and extremism. The zealot, no matter how another attempts to show him the truth of his scripture will fail to perceive its teachings. Once intolerant views are cultivated no amount of common sense or factual information can change his resolute intolerance.

Truth is individualistic, what is truth to one does not necessarily dictate truth for another; no man has been given the authority from God in his position to dictate his truths are true for all mankind. No individual can say they are right to the exclusion of all else, especially where other persons of equal intelligence, and equally informed may determine different truths. When two diametrically opposed individuals meet each thinks the other to be insincere and mistaken in their views.

Religious extremists and madmen face the lunacies that are realities to them; they believe they are in possession of the absolute truth that they will try to enforce upon others. We ourselves perceive truth, and to us those truths are absolute despite having nothing but faith to prove our opinion. Each man is not responsible for his perception of his views, but every single individual is held to the worthiness of his faith. Masonry requires simply a belief in a singular, great and all-powerful God who created all things and therefore we cannot define for others his nature, regardless of our own faith and dogma. Our religious experience is ingrained into our consciousness complete with our own prejudices, preconceptions, and belief system. Since truth is subjective to the individual, no Mason can allow religious intolerance to take place. Each individual is in possession of his own religious perception and has an equal opportunity to worship God so long as every man, regardless of his religion upholds the standards of virtue, morality,  and veneration of the Supreme Architect of the Universe.

It is imperative we uphold the commonality of all moral faiths that teach us to honor our elders; to uphold and obey the honorable and just laws of our country; to respect our God, and his creation; to be peaceable among all mankind and to avoid slander, and gossip. We should refrain from ridiculing those who have befallen calamity or physical deformity; we should seek the constant pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and virtue. Wisdom is the understanding of one's self, and the personal transformation of righteous principles that will enable that serene slumber only begotten by obeying ones moral conscience. Should we maintain these principles we will come to the realization that it is not possible for all men to be in agreement on all things. It is how we disagree and respect our brothers with whom we may differ in our opinions that makes us Masons. A difference of opinion should not result in conflict, but rather discourse; it should not result in heated arguments, but rather enlightenment to the perceptions of our brothers and the realization that it is acceptable for our brothers to have differing opinions.

The Elu of the Fifteen should aspire to take the lead in enlightening our fellow citizens with the benefit of knowledge to avert prejudices and intolerance. It is a great virtue to provide service to our fellow creatures and the rest of mankind. Masonry requires nothing that is impossible of us, although it does require we are to be strict in the observance of our charges and obligations. We are required nothing that would be considered impossible or above our capacity to perform. Masonry does necessitate we each do something for the benefit of humanity that is within our means to perform; and there is no Mason who is incapable of performing such service either alone or collectively with his brothers.

Even simple acts of kindness or good deeds can have far-reaching implications and have many profound positive effects. A simple act of charity could shape the future of an individual who will perform a great benefit to society as a result of our influence. Even small happenstances and seemingly unimportant events have determined battles, likewise such seemingly insignificant events can shape society. There is no limit on the return for the good deeds we perform, but we must perform those good deeds in order for those possibilities to come to fruition. We cannot lounge idly by and expect great things to take place. Only by vigilance to our charges may we continue to perform a multitude of good deeds that will cumulatively accomplish far-reaching and lingering effects that we may attribute our values to society.

The men recalled and venerated by history were not especially blessed with predestination to accomplish the deeds for which they are remembered; rather it is the simple man, the steadfast individual who has applied common talents to accomplish the great deeds for which they are remembered. There is no special gene for dedication and diligence; there is no nobility of birth endowing an individual to make valuable contributions to society. Hard work and steadfastness are accessible to all man, and it is duty bound for an Elu of the Fifteen to accomplish. Masonry can accomplish many grand deeds for the benefit of society if each Mason does his part; the sum of the parts equals an immeasurable amount of beneficial influence for our noble purposes.

For Masonry to be able to accomplish its object, then the individual Mason needs to be true to his responsibility in enacting acts of beneficence, enlightenment and education. We must battle the foes of our virtues, those who would seek to cause discord, and attempt to enforce their prejudices and intolerant views upon society. We must promote religious tolerance; every person has the right to perceive God and worship him in a moral and virtuous manner. We must protect society from the religious zealot whose dogma is intolerant to any deviation from the views they perceive. Our sword is truth and our shield is enlightenment; we must use these tools to defend humanity from those who seek to steal from others their rights and ability to freedom of religion and expression. These are the objects of the Elu of the Fifteen, may we be ever steadfast in the accomplishment of our duties.


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