Reading Morals and Dogma before MM

Discussion in 'The Scottish Rite' started by Zaden, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. Zaden

    Zaden Registered User

    Greetings everyone,

    For those of you who have read/studied M&D what advice/recommendations do you have with regard to reading it as one approaches initiation (I've only submitted my petition thus far)? My father-in-law has a copy (he is SR) that I have skimmed through a bit (mostly intentionally limiting myself to the 1st degree, though admittedly "peaking" out of curiosity at some of the others. I'm sure my memory work will keep me occupied if I am accepted and initiated, but what is the opinion otherwise? At least one Brother at the Lodge I'm petitioning said anything published was fine to read.

  2. Fen357

    Fen357 Registered User

    Lol, moral and dogma is a deep book to read. I myself had read the book and still go over it again and again. I could only tell you to keep an open mind and listen to the words that is given to you. Everything you do and say have a meaning.

    PM/Noble Fendrick "Fen" Gabaud
    Boaz Lodge # 212
    Daytona Beach Fla.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2013
  3. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

    I am going to give you the same advice that I have given to EVERY young Mason. Concentrate on your immediate degree studies only. Stay away from books and the internet on the subject of Masonry, it will only harm your personal experience as you are developing.

    You will have plenty of time for all of that study after you are Raised as a Master Mason.
    Bill Lins likes this.
  4. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member


    Masonry is a lifelong journey. You'll get more benefit from studying the work for your degree for the time being. After you've become a MM and have turned in your work then it's time to start reading.
  5. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

    Well M&D isn't exactly the end all be all masonic book some make it out to be. It's a great journey into theosophical learning. Firstly, as far as the first three degrees go, they're the Scottish Rite three degrees, rather than the (similar, but not same) York Rite ones which are practiced in most US lodges. Beyond that, you are strictly in Scottish Rite territory.

    So really it doesn't have any real bearing on initiation. I wouldn't even bother until you are through SR up to 32. It won't make much sense anyway until then (kinda like being a HS algebra student and trying to read a college calc III textbook; doesn't jive). Bro Stewart had it right tho. Don't bother with study until you're raised for a number of reasons. Heavy duty study is lost on the neophyte. You'll see what we all mean once you get there.

    Freemason Connect Mobile
  6. Pscyclepath

    Pscyclepath Premium Member

    Morals & Dogma is more or less a commentary on the Scottish Rite degrees, and is some pretty deep reading even then. I would wait until you've gone thru the AASR reunion and seen the degrees, at which point M&D will make a heck of a lot more sense.
  7. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

    I agree with the brethren. I read Morals and Dogma well before I became a mason. I grasped probably 10% of the content. Once I became a mason and understood as to why not to read it until I was raised, I decided it would be more appropriate to wait until I've joined the AASR and received the 32nd degree.
  8. Zaden

    Zaden Registered User

    Thank you all for your responses. I'm certainly looking forward to all of this. My petition will be read in the meeting this coming Monday!
  9. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    D&M is like an obsolete PhD program on the Scottish Rite, very much diving into the deep end blindfolded before you even know whether you can swim or not. Better to start with beginner material before you are initiated, focus on the proficiency material while you are working through your degrees, then work your way up to it if you wish.
  10. Zaden

    Zaden Registered User

    Thank you. Do you have any recommendations for "beginner material" prior to initiation? My petition is to be read in the stated meeting tonight, so it will be at least another month before I begin the degrees.
  11. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    Some jurisdictions hand candidates a booklet called "On the threshold". Ask if yours does.

    I advise against looking for expose' books. They spoil the experience of the degrees.

    Go for a book on Masonic history or on famous Masons. Expect to be presented Freemasonry for Dummies at one of your degrees so you might want to pass on buying your own copy right now.

    I prowled the library and a used book store for older books but tried to stick to the smaller ones. As you see from your copy of M&D a lot of Masonic books are huge.
  12. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

    My Valley gives each new member a copy of A Bridge to Light. I (and others have reported the same) found it extremely useful to read the chapter on the degrees I was about to see, then read it again afterward, to better understand what I had just gone through.

    Oh, wait, you're talking about before initiation into the Blue Lodge, not the Scottish Rite. You would be okay with Freemasons for Dummies or The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry.
  13. Zaden

    Zaden Registered User

    Thank you both. I asked about On the threshold, and it appears they don't use it here. Maybe I'll check out the "for Dummies" book. I'm just excited. Patience is a virtue, though.
  14. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

    Yeah, it's easy to get excited and want to nom down on some research. I was the same way at first. Your patience, however, will be well rewarded.
    Seriously though, a lot of the reading will feel like a bit of a waste of time in hindsight if you do it now. You'd maybe get 5% of the impact by trying to mentally digest it prior to receiving your degrees.
    I like the "Complete Idiot's Guide" book. I've heard good things about the "dummies" book too. They basically give you a high level overview of freemasonry and don't give any spoilers (although stay away from the appendix in the "idiot's guide" book as i think it has excerpts from a very old [duncan's i think] ritual in it) along with the history, hierarchy and such.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  15. Michael Neumann

    Michael Neumann Premium Member

    The book is a beautiful read to both the initiated and profane:

    "Force, unregulated or ill-regulated, is not only wasted in the void,
    like that of gunpowder burned in the open air, and steam unconfined by
    science; but, striking in the dark, and its blows meeting only the air,
    they recoil and bruise itself. It is destruction and ruin. It is the
    volcano, the earthquake, the cyclone;--not growth and progress. It is
    Polyphemus blinded, striking at random, and falling headlong among the
    sharp rocks by the impetus of his own blows.

    The blind Force of the people is a Force that must be economized, and
    also managed, as the blind Force of steam, lifting the ponderous iron
    arms and turning the large wheels, is made to bore and rifle the cannon
    and to weave the most delicate lace. It must be regulated by Intellect.
    Intellect is to the people and the people's Force, what the slender
    needle of the compass is to the ship--its soul, always counselling the
    huge mass of wood and iron, and always pointing to the north. To attack
    the citadels built up on all sides against the human race by
    superstitions, despotisms, and prejudices, the Force must have a brain
    and a law. Then its deeds of daring produce permanent results, and there
    is real progress. Then there are sublime conquests. Thought is a force,
    and philosophy should be an energy, finding its aim and its effects in
    the amelioration of mankind. The two great motors are Truth and Love.
    When all these Forces are combined, and guided by the Intellect, and
    regulated by the RULE of Right, and Justice, and of combined and
    systematic movement and effort, the great revolution prepared for by the
    ages will begin to march. The POWER of the Deity Himself is in
    equilibrium with His WISDOM. Hence the only results are HARMONY.

    It is because Force is ill regulated, that revolutions prove failures.
    Therefore it is that so often insurrections, coming from those high
    mountains that domineer over the moral horizon, Justice, Wisdom, Reason,
    Right, built of the purest snow of the ideal after a long fall from rock
    to rock, after having reflected the sky in their transparency, and been
    swollen by a hundred affluents, in the majestic path of triumph,
    suddenly lose themselves in quagmires, like a California river in the

    The values expressed throughout the text ring true regardless of fraternal status. So much so that my children are reading a modernized version from Amazon - [h=1]Morals and Dogma for the 21st Century by Kevin Main(Author),Brian Chaput(Author),James Miller(Author),William Goodell(Author)[/h]
  16. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

    Morals and Dogma has it uses beyond Freemasonry and individuals who study western philosophy and theology tend to read portions of it as necessary. The biggest problem was the Pike never had any real research applications and training, so he never cited anything, which makes it difficult to understand where he is coming from. Morals and Dogma by de Hoyos is easier in that sense. Also the modern interpretation written by brothers here in Texas, is another good case study.

    A couple of things to remember is that the lessons in the first three degrees in the Scottish Rite are different than what is conducted and taught in the Webb initiation that all American Freemasons go through. This causes some confusion, while both are important, they are not exact by any measure.

    Regarding a good book for the beginner reading Making Light: A Handbook for Freemasons by Julian Rees is a good book for you to read during your journey. He helps spur some thoughts beyond trying to parrot the catechism. He also wrote it before he decided that the UGLE was a complete farce, demitted and started a co-Masonic group.

    Good luck to you on your journey. I understand the thirst for knowledge, but as with all things in life proper progression will allow for a better and fuller experience. The only way to really enjoy the higher degrees is to have a firm understanding of the blue lodge, its forms and beauty.

    -Bro Vick
  17. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

    To be perfectly honest, I only have small use for M&D. Pike's brilliance was his self assurance as much as his erudition, in one man's opinion.

    But it is, again in my opinion, in some ways the worst sort of secondary source. Better to take in the primary sources and form your own views.

    I'd take Mackey's Masonic Encyclopedia over M&D any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    But neither before Master Mason. Not because it is secrets we are trying to keep from you, but because the degrees will be more interesting if you go through them with a clean slate, and the research more meaningful if done afterward as it will deepen the experience.

    Enjoy the anticipation for what it is - it is exciting. I tell my friends that when we schedule a is the days that are leading up to the skydive that are as fun as the actual skydive, and the days after once you learn to recognize what it is you are experiencing. Don't try to satiate it, embrace the feeling of anticipation itself and the zen that comes from mastering it and learning to enjoy the feeling itself. You get the same feeling when you are in your first days of a love affair, the day before you leave on a cool vacation, and other such things.

    And it is that feeling itself that is to be reveled in. The spice of life my friend.
  18. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    I sloughed through M&D a few months back, no editing or notes. It took me quite awhile and I probably understood probable 25% of it.
  19. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

    Whilst the info is interesting, I have to ask why you find it relevant to reply on a three year old thread, as you've done here and in a number of other threads? Especially with replies that add little value.

    For info necroposting is generally considered bad form on most boards...
    Zack likes this.
  20. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

    Necroposting! LOL! Too Funny!

Share My Freemasonry