He who endeavors to serve, to benefit, and improve the world, is like a swimmer, who struggles against a rapid current, in a river lashed into angry waves by the wind. Often they roar over his head, often they beat him back and baffle him. Most men yield to the stress of the current. Only here and there the stout, strong heart and vigorous arms struggle on towards ultimate success.
Albert Pike, born December 29, 1809, was the oldest of six children bornto Benjamin and Sarah Andrews Pike. Pike was raised in a Christian homeand attended an Episcopal church. Pike was quite brilliant and passedthe entrance examination at Harvard College when he was 15 years old,but could not attend because he had no funds. After traveling as farwest as Santa Fe, Pike settled in Arkansas, where he worked as editor ofa newspaper before being admitted to the bar. In Arkansas, he met MaryAnn Hamilton, and married her on November 28, 1834. To this blessedunion were born 11 children.He was 41 years old when he applied for admission in the Western StarLodge No. 2 in Little Rock, Ark., in 1850. Active in the Grand Lodge ofArkansas, Pike took the 10 degrees of the York Rite from 1850 to 1853.He received the 29 degrees of the Scottish Rite in March 1853 fromAlbert Gallatin Mackey in Charleston, S.C. The Scottish Rite had beenintroduced in the United States in 1783. Charleston was the location ofthe first Supreme Council, which governed the Scottish Rite in theUnited States, until a Northern Supreme Council was established in NewYork City in 1813.The boundary between the Southern and Northern Jurisdictions, stillrecognized today, was firmly established in 1828. Mackey invited Pike tojoin the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction in 1858 inCharleston, and he became the Grand Commander of the Supreme Council thefollowing year. Pike held that office until his death, while supportinghimself in various occupations such as editor of the Memphis DailyAppeal from February 1867 to September 1868, as well as his lawpractice. Pike later opened a law office in Washington, D.C., and argueda number of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. However, Pike wasimpoverished by the Civil War and remained so much of his life, oftenborrowing money for basic living expenses from the Supreme Councilbefore the council voted him an annuity in 1879 of $1,200 a year for theremainder of his life. He died on April 2, 1892, in Washington, D.C.Realizing that a revision of the ritual was necessary if Scottish RiteFreemasonry were to survive, Mackey encouraged Pike to revise the ritualto produce a standard ritual for use in all states in the SouthernJurisdiction. Revision began in 1855, and after some changes, theSupreme Council endorsed Pike’s revision in 1861. Minor changes weremade in two degrees in 1873 after the York Rite bodies in Missouriobjected that the 29th and 30th degrees revealed secrets of the YorkRite.Pike is best known for his major work, Morals and Dogma of the Ancientand Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, published in 1871. Morals andDogma should not be confused with Pike’s revision of the Scottish Riteritual. They are separate works. Walter Lee Brown writes that Pike"intended it [Morals and Dogma] to be a supplement to that great'connected system of moral, religious and philosophical instruction'that he had developed in his revision of the Scottish ritual."Morals and Dogma was traditionally given to the candidate upon hisreceipt of the 14th degree of the Scottish Rite. This practice wasstopped in 1974. Morals and Dogma has not been given to candidates since1974. A Bridge to Light, by Rex R. Hutchens, is provided to candidatestoday. Hutchens laments that Morals and Dogma is read by so few Masons.A Bridge to Light was written to be "a bridge between the ceremonies ofthe degrees and their lectures in Morals and Dogma." While recommendedto Masons, we cannot conclude that Masons are expected to accept everythought in A Bridge to Light. Books by liberal theologians and writingsby non-Christian philosophers are assigned by professors in Baptistcolleges and seminaries. Students are not expected to accept theteachings found in these books and writings. Rather, they are assignedto help students understand the thoughts of men of the past and theirstruggle to understand themselves and their relationship to God. Withexposure to these ideas, students can better form and defend their ownunderstanding of these critical issues. Bio contributed to QB by: Phillip G. Elam
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