The tale of the Pope and the Pornographer
It was a practical joke which has gone on to have a 'life of its own': Gabriel Jogand-Pagès, better known as Léo Taxil, was born in France in 1854 and educated by the Jesuits who caused him to be embittered toward religion. Taxil became a 'free-thinker' and actually joined Masonry but was expelled as a result of wrong-doing. Further angered, he chose revenge in a literary manner and decided - perhaps in an effort to redeem himself with Masonry by making the Roman Catholic Church look foolish - to ridicule their credulity about Freemasonry by creating an elaborate story in which the leader of the Southern U.S. Scottish Rite, Albert Pike, was the brunt of the fabrication.
When someone makes this charge, it's often quite easy to find the source of their "Luciferian Conspiracy". It begins, "On July 14, 1889, Albert Pike, Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, addressed to the 23 Supreme Confederated Councils of the world the following instructions...." and thus begins this infamous hoax. In 1897, Taxil publicly confessed to the hoax, just as he was being acclaimed all over Europe for his 'religious zeal'.
For over 100 years writers of anti-Masonic books and web sites have repeated all or parts of that "quotation" without checking into its authenticity (or, knowing it to be false, repeat it regardless in their zeal to defame Freemasonry). To this day, it shadows the name of Pike who, according to Masonic author Jim Tresner and others, was a sincere and devoted Trinitarian Christian until his death.
The grotesque idea of the devil (or Satan or Lucifer or any force of evil) presiding over a Lodge of Masons is totally repulsive to any Mason but that notwithstanding, the charges remain despite the passage of a century! Taxil apparently simply made up the hoax out of thin air and was praised by the religious authorities and showered with honors for having revealed the "true evil purposes of Masonry". Some Church leaders do exactly the same thing today.
These events happened long ago and they're documented in detail on other internet locations. For more information about this hoax including translations of newspaper articles from the time, click here. Click here to read the full and complete story.
As Jim Tresner, Director of the Masonic Leadership Institute and Editor of The Oklahoma Mason writes: "I wish it were true that Taxil had murdered the hoax of Masonic devil worship which he created, but that corpse revives with frequency. From anti-Masonic comic books (e.g. The Curse of Baphomet by Chick Publications or The New World Order by Pat Robertson) to the thunderous animadversions of some misguided television "ministers," Taxil lives on. He fooled the ignorant in the late 1800’s—he fools the ignorant today."
Palladium Masonry - PROOF of existence!
"Reading for Comprehension" is something you should have learned in school but sometimes with the internet, it's easy to be misled. It's even easier when you don't have the full text from which to judge, particularly when the text you're reading is a an expose and you haven't read the preface which explains that. For example, several sites attempting to give credence to the ludicrous claims of membership in Palladium Masonry will cite a page HERE but this text is, as stated on the flyleaf of a later edition notes that this is "...his satirical interpretation of this sensationalism and persecution of occult groups in France at that time. This work, along with similar refutations by others, raised questions Taxil could not answer and he was forced to admit that the reports were a hoax meant to ridicule both the Catholic Church and Freemasonry." You are encouraged to obtain the full work (ISBN: 1-57863-286-2) from a library to see 'the rest of the story' rather than simply taking small snippets FROM the expose as 'proof'.
When is a fraud NOT a fraud? When you ignore FACTS!
Amazingly too, some current anti-Masons attempt to 'prove' that the self-admitted fraud wasn't a fraud at all. You can see a recent example of that right here. In fact, there are a couple of such 'debunking of the debunked story' pages to be found on the web. On another one much is made about the fact that the newspaper story written has FAR too much detail to have been recorded contemporaneously. Again, the attempt to justify the malicious lie about Freemasonry falls flat. Anyone with even a fleeting familiarity with the court transcription process knows full well how easily a trained court reporter can listen to and transcribe the many things said simultaneously in a court room. In days before transcription machines and when essentially ALL newspapers had lengthy word-for-word accounts of meetings, newspaper reporters frequently had the skills we find present in the court reporters of a later era.
No, saying that the Taxil confession couldn't have happened because the recounting of it was too accurate to be truthful is an inartful dodge that avoids the reality: there was no Dianna Vaughn, there was no Palladium Masonry, there was no Universal Pontiff of Freemasonry, there was no letter to the 23 Supreme Councils, there was no belief by Pike that satanism was ruling Freemasonry, and - finally - the Taxil Hoax is exactly that: A HOAX!
It is, sadly, a hoax that many use to condemn Freemasonry without realizing what fools they make of themselves when they do so.
We're always happy when anti-Masonic myths are exploded in public. It happened in the August 26 - September 2, 2002 issue of U. S. News & World Report with half of the issue devoted to the foolishness of lies which seem to have deceived SO many. Devoting half of the issue to exploring hoaxes from the present to deep into the past, they selected ten of history's 'greatest' hoaxes and prioritized them as follows:
#1 - The D is for Deception - The story of how the Allies managed to deceive the Axis powers keeping the D-Day attack a secret and saving untold likes;
#2 - Hooked on a crooked book - An Antisemitic fraud born a century ago wins new converts explains how the Protocols of the Elders of Zion continues to be defame today. While USNWR's article deals with the Jewish issue, it should be remembered that Freemasonry plays a central part in this fraud as well. You can read more information about it on our website here.
And as #3 is Devil in a red fez - The lie about the Freemasons lives on which explains the infamous Taxil hoax.
Amazing that the #2 and #3 items mentioned by US News & World Report - outstripping Crop Circles and Captain Kidd's treasure are hoaxes involving Freemasonry that simply won't die.
USNWR in this article also mention a number of others whom we've featured on this site including (in a 'Rodney Dangerfield sort of way) Duane Washum, Jack Chick and Pat Robertson. In the past, we've had folks ask "How can you be sure it was a hoax?" Well, because everyone KNOWS it is, the hoaxer admitted it was, and the facts prove it. Pretty simple really....
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