Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.
No favourable endorsement
The Editor of the
Transactions, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, at the Premier Lodge of
Masonic Research, Robert A. Gilbert B.A. sent Islamic Party leader
David Musa Pidcock the following letter. It tries to dismiss the
argument laid out in 'Satanic Voices - Ancient and Modern' and
additional correspondence that Freemasonry is a religion involved in
the worship of the devil. This is the first time organised
Freemasonry has responded to a challenge from a Muslim quarter.
"Thank you for your kindness in
sending me a copy of your book Satanic Voices for review in AOC. I
have read through it, and through the copy of your letter to John
Hamill [the text of that letter, containing the charges against
freemasonry, is contained in the article 'What then is
in this issue of Common Sense], and I fear that I must concur
with your feeling that the review will not be a favourable
endorsement. When I have read the book again and completed the
review I will send you a copy for your information (and for your
comments if you wish to make any).
I should stress that any adverse
criticism I may make of the book and of your theories is not in any
sense a criticism of your faith: that is rightly a matter for
individual conscience. Having said which I must point out that your
book will inevitably offend devout Christians by its denial of the
reality of both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ;
these are part of the very essence of the Christian faith and
whatever your own religious views may be I can see no justification
for deliberately causing unnecessary distress to potential readers.
Perhaps you may consider omitting this material if you can issue a
revised edition containing those chapters that you tell me were
omitted at the end of the book ? You may also care to note that the
so called Gospel of Barnabas, from which you quote
extensively, is not an ancient text but a forgery of the 16th
century (see, e.g. David Sox, The Gospel of Barnabas (1984)). No
reputable scholar, whether Muslim or Christian, recognises this
pseudo-Gospel as being either ancient or genuine.
Now to the text itself. Specific points
of dispute are many, but I would offer two major criticisms. One,
the tenor of the book is an unsubtle anti-Semitism that
includes an apparent denial of the holocaust despite sound
historical evidence that authors such as David Irving cannot refute
(e.g. the detailed records of railway journeys to the Concentration
Camps). This will do nothing to alleviate the tensions both in
British society and in the countries of the Middle East; it will not
help to remove present injustices by denying the reality of past
To move from matters of good taste to
matters of historical accuracy, I must point out that you rely
heavily on very unreliable secondary sources. The works of Nesta
Webster and Lady Queenborough are riddled with errors of fact as has
often been pointed out (if you wish I can supply a list of
significant examples of these; they were first pointed out by A.E.
Waite in 1921, although he is not the best source as a refuter of
errors given the many faults in his New Encyclopaedia of
Freemasonry). Equally unreliable are the works of the late Stephen
of Martin Short. Mr. Short offers no
substantive evidence for his unprincipled and unfounded slurs on
Freemasonry; I am drawn to ask just what is his own, hidden agenda ?
Is he funded by any institution that is endemically hostile to
Freemasonry (e.g. The National Front; The Socialist Workers' Party;
The Nation of Islam) ? Perhaps you have answers to such questions.
Again, I can provide you with a list of his erroneous statements and
You also object to the arguments of
Professor Cohn in his book Warrant for Genocide but draw your
objections from undocumented sources. What is the source of the
Lowther letter (p76) and in what archives can the original be seen ?
H.P. Blavatsky is a far from reliable source on matters of history,
philosophy and theology alike, as is Hargrave Jennings, while Dr.
Fahey was a virulently anti-British supporter of De Valera
(who supported Hitler) and unthinkingly anti-semitic; his
theories and statements have no objective foundation.
As regards masonic authors you do not
seem to realise that Albert Pike spoke only for himself; the
contents of Morals and Dogma were offered as opinion only and were
binding on no one certainly not the members of the Scottish
Rite. The so called instructions of Pike that you quote are
forgeries that originated in the circle around Leo Taxil (Gabriel
Jogand Pages); no-one has ever produced even a
contemporary copy of these false documents for the simple reason
that they do not exist. Later writers who use them (e.g. Lady
Queenborough; de Poncins) conveniently ignore the physically
impossible nonsense in Taxil's writing (e.g. demons in the form of
crocodiles playing the piano at a masonic soiree !). Further, Pike,
Hall and Waite are by no means 'reliable' writers on Freemasonry:
Hall did not become a freemason until some thirty years after
writing The Lost Keys of Freemasonry (you misquote it as 'Locked
Keys'); while Waite is notorious for depending on printed sources
alone for much of his historical material.
Your material on the Royal Arch refers
to American rituals (I presume) and bears no resemblance to the
working of the English ceremonies of that degree. Walton Hannah does
give the text as it used to be but the old Mystical Lecture and the
first of the two Words are now removed from the text. Even so, I do
not accept the interpretation placed upon them. And is it not odd
that having condemned magic you recount how you turned to a female
magician in Arabia for advice ? Surely if magicians are wicked this
must be universally so, irrespective of their faith or culture ?
Let me now turn to your letters. I know
too little of the theories of the siting of Biblical places to be
able usefully to comment on them, but I can make authoritative
comments on your letter to John Hamill. You use wholly unreliable
sources. Mr. Liddell's books on witchcraft (or 'wicca' in his
terminology) are utter rubbish. There is not the slightest
documentary evidence to support his silly theories of the mutual
origins of witchcraft and Freemasonry. Neither he nor Mr. Howard are
competent historians of either subject and in terms of interpreting
them Mr. Liddell writes arrant nonsense. I have seen his distorted
drawing of the French illuminated manuscript that purports to show a
witchcraft ceremony that mirrors a masonic rite. The drawing is
inaccurate and even if it were a faithful copy of the original it
bears not the slightest resemblance to any masonic ceremony
whatsoever. As to the story of George Pickingill, this is also
fanciful; there is nothing in the life of Pickingill to link him
even in the remotest degree with any of the founders of the SRIA, of
the Golden Dawn or of any other masonic or quasimasonic movement. I
challenge Messrs. Liddell and Howard to produce any documentary
evidence of any kind to support their contentions; they cannot do so
because there is none.
Similarly Regardie's account of the
origins of the Golden Dawn and of the SRIA is extremely inaccurate
and relies on the wholly false account printed by Westcott. I have
published factual accounts of the origins of both in a variety of
papers, using primary sources and stating their provenance. There is
nothing sinister about either body and it is a travesty of the truth
to label the Golden Dawn 'satanic', however objectionable one may
find its theories and practices to be. And the Horos couple were
never members of the Golden Dawn; they stole the rituals and when
brought to trial were rightly adjudged guilty and sentenced to long
terms of imprisonment. Members of the GD approved of the action of
the Court, not of the activities of Mme. Horos.
Bearing this in mind you are clearly
unjust in attacking members of the United Grand Lodge of England for
participating in an historical conference on the Golden Dawn: a body
that was not only not 'Satanic' in any sense, but one that upheld
neither 'The Pagan Rites of Spring' nor 'Vedic Fire Worship'.
I have, however, vented enough spleen.
I will send you the review when complete and trust that if you
continue your literary work you will in future make use of reliable
historical and analytical sources in place of the worthless authors
whose writings you choose to quote."
|Author: Robert A. Gilbert
Back To Top