The Leo Taxil Hoax
Article © Stephen Dafoe
Perhaps no one aspect of anti-Masonic practice has fueled religious zeal greater than the hoax perpetrated by Leo Taxil, shown above right, on Albert Pike, shown above left, in the late 1800's. This hoax, still accepted today by those who would attempt to condemn Freemasonry, linked the fraternity to Lucifer and therein to Devil worship.
Albert Pike (1809-1891) was the Grand Commander of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction, a position he was elected to in 1859. To many Freemasons, he is considered to be a Masonic genius, yet to a large number of people he is viewed as a Luciferian, preaching a secret doctrine hidden from the majority of Masons.
Pike wrote a book called "Morals and Dogma", in which he quoted many philosophical and religious teacher's words. It was Pike's belief that, unless you knew the history of a concept, you couldn't grasp the concept itself. It is a book still available today and in the libraries of many Freemasons worldwide. The book has often been criticized and misquoted, as we will soon see. Why was such a great man, in the eyes of Freemasons, so disliked outside the craft? The answer is because of a hoax constructed by Leo Taxil and the gullibility of the masses eager to accept it as the truth.
Leo Taxil, born Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pages, was a freethinker who made his living writing pornographic stories in serial form. Freethinker was a term given to those who opposed the authority and dogma of society, especially when that authority was religious in nature. In addition to his anti-Masonic writings, Taxil also was known for his works opposing Catholicism. Taxil upon petitioning admission to the Masonic lodge met with opposition of its members, largely due to his reputation as an anti-Catholic writer. Objections aside, Taxil was made a member for a short time after which he was expelled from the order. Perhaps this expulsion prompted him to write his Anti-Masonic works or perhaps it was his purpose for joining in the first place. In any case Taxil would go on to perpetrate a hoax that has lasted decades.
The Hoax Document
The following is the form, which the bogus quotation usually takes. It was later admitted by Taxil to be a hoax, yet to this day is quoted by those that would use it to slander Freemasonry:
Albert Pike 33°
"That which we must say to a crowd is - We worship a God, but it is the God that one adores without superstition.
To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st, and 30th degrees - The Masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian Doctrine.
If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay whose deeds prove his cruelty, perdify and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonay and his priests, calumniate him?
Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods: darkness being necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive.
Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy; and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil."
Instructions to the 23 Supreme Councils of the World, July 14, 1889. Recorded by A.C. De La Rive in La Femme et l'Enfant dans la FrancMaconnerie Universelle on page 588
Taxil Admits Document A Hoax
On April 17th, 1897, twelve years after Taxil first launched the hoax, he admitted it was just that. Before an assembly at the Paris Geographical Hall, Taxil told the crowd that the last decade plus of anti-Masonic literature had been falsely stated fabrications. The crowd, who in all likelihood had gathered to hear some new anti-Masonic revelation, was angered to a point where Taxil had to duck out a back exit.
As well documented as his admission of defrauding a gullible public is, the myth of Albert Pike's statement is still used today to slander the fraternity of Masonry. In fact some Fundamentalist Christian Web sites go so far as to attach the above document to Pike's book Moral's and Dogma.
The purpose of Taxil's hoax was to reveal a highly secret Masonic order called the Palladium, which only existed in Taxil's imagination. Palladium, Taxil claimed, practiced Devil worship, murder and other brutalities of an erotic nature. His works published in 1885 and 1886 were very popular with a public eager to read the horrors of Freemasonry. In his book "Les Mysteries Franc Maconnerie" (cover shown above) Taxil utilized Levi's Baphomet. The cover depicts a group of Masons dancing around Levi's demonic Baphomet depiction. Additionally, the artist added another element of the Baphomet mystery. In the lower left hand of the cover we see a woman holding a severed bearded head. In esoteric tradition dating back three thousand years, there is the image of the "Mistress or Mother of Blood" believed to be the Baphomet, representing the bride of Satan. In this tradition, the severed head is that of a priest, being representative of the sinister male aspect. The head is said to be severed after sexual union with the Baphomet.
In another anti-Masonic book of the day we find the image of Levi's Baphomet as connected with the Freemasons. Published in 1894 ,"La Femme et L'Enfant dans la Franc-Maconnerie Universal" or Woman and child in Freemasonry by Abbe Clarin de la Rive, we find the popular Baphomet seducing a woman on the cover between the pillars of Masonry.
In this same book the false Albert Pike quote is used to support, and falsely so, the authors own anti-Masonic views. It is no doubt that the covers of these two books created quite a stir with the public of the day. This type of imagery as false as it is, has prevailed among many Fundamentalist Christian groups today, such as Jack T. Chick publisher of "The Curse Of Baphomet", an anti-Masonic tract comic book which we deal with on another page of this web site. The Taxil hoax has been thorn in the side of Freemasons for years and is unlikely to go away anymore than the myths surrounding the Knights Templar.