In a previous post I eluded to a book which turned out to be a very challenging read. I have since finished the book and will share my thoughts. It is called "The Goat, the Devil and the Freemason" by Dr. David West. I received my copy through the Iowa Research Lodge #2 at their semi-annual fall meeting.
First and foremost, this book is very well-written. The author remains witty and clever throughout, and based on his writing style I am sure any evening of conversation with him would be highly enjoyable and entertaining. There is an excellent mix of fact, seriousness, and brevity in his writing style that I envy and find myself desirous of.
We begin with the Taxil Hoax - the oft-repeated tale of a man who defrauded the Catholic church and French society then died in infamy, but whose tales of Devil-worship in the Masonic fraternity live on. Dr. West also touches upon the misunderstanding of Albert Pike's "Lucifer, the Son of the Morning!" quote, explaining why it's wrong to interpret such as admiration for the devil, and how even if it were, it's hardly representative of Freemasonry as a whole. Dr. West does an excellent job of thoroughly dissecting and dispelling these two root causes of Freemasonry's devil problem.
Moving forward in the book, I began to sense a distinct anti-religious sentiment. Dr. West lays out his case for how all faiths and religions are essentially founded in ancient volcano/mountain worship and paganism. He then attempts to use logic and reason to not only state why devil worship is illogical, but how it is impossible by reason of, in his belief, it not even being possible for a devil to exist. I felt as if I'd been tricked into reading an atheistic work by Christopher Hitchens.
By and large, I did enjoy the work and would recommend it to fellow Masons. I would be quite hesitant to recommend it to those who believe in the myths regarding Freemasonry. I, a very accepting person, couldn't help but feel a tad belittled by Dr. West's views on Christianity and it's theistic worldview. I can only imagine what the typical American fundamentalist would take away from the book.
On "The Goat, the Devil and the Freemason" can be purchased at Amazon.com. You can also receive a copy by joining the Iowa Research Lodge #2 and requesting it as one of your selections.