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     Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076



Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076

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 Freemasonry' 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 injustice.

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 Knight and 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 false allegations.

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
Date Published: Autumn/Winter 1996


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