Committed to the Flames:
The History and Rituals of a Secret Masonic Rite
Between 1826 and 1884, Dr. Robert. B. Folger (1803-1892), a physician and Masonic historian, wrote at least three manuscript ritual books, two of which were in an obscure and virtually impenetrable cipher. Folger, who had a penchant for controversy, was concealing the fact that he was trying to import the "Rectified Scottish Rite" (also called the R.E.R. or C.B.C.S.) into the United States. The R.E.R. was well-known as a European offshoot of the mysterious Rite of Strict Observance, which claimed that Freemasonry descended from the Knights Templar.
For the first time, all of Folger's ritual manuscripts have been deciphered in full. This dramatic and important book presents the full ritual contents of the earliest known English-language version of the R.E.R.'s Craft degrees, as well as Folger's complete transcriptions of the Scottish Rite (Rose Croix) Craft ritual, with its installation and table ceremonies, and all seven degrees of "Egyptian Masonry" (Pastophor, Neocoris, Melanophir, etc.), plus extracts from the American Order of the Red Cross and Knight Templar degrees.
The authors' introduction places these degrees in their historical context, which occurred during the most turbulent period of Masonic history. Included is the cryptanalysis of Folger's ciphers and biographies of the principals. Folger was a man of curious contradictions; a passionate Mason, he was twice expelled from Grand Lodge, and yet died a Mason in good standing.
Join renowned Masonic historian and expert code breaker S. Brent Morris as he teams up with Arturo de Hoyos, the world's foremost authority on Masonic rituals, on a journey to break the code and solve the secrets of Folger's mysterious manuscripts.
In this book you will -
Effortlessly learn the history of American Freemasonry while following the story
Decoding a cypher that reveals the secret three Craft degrees of Rose Croix Masonry
Gain insight into the art of code breaking and Masonic ciphers
Learn the origins of the myth that Freemasonry was founded by the Crusaders
Discover the first recorded Masonic lodge in the United States
Read a faithful reproduction of the rituals contained in the manuscript
Written as an easy to read and enthralling adventure
Also includes a complete glossary of Masonic terminology
Format 230 x 153
Extent 288 pages
WAS £19.99 NOW £5.99
Book Review from the Scottish Rite Journal
Bros. Arturo de Hoyos, 33°, Grand Cross and S. Brent Morris, Ph.D. 33°, Grand Cross, Committed to the Flames: This History and Rituals of a Secret Masonic Rite, Hersham, Surrey: Lewis Masonic, 2008, hardbound, 290 pages, illustrations, ISBN 085318-293-1, cover price $36.95, www.scottishritestore.org.
You may have seen an announcement of this book in the last Journal. That is where I first became aware of it, and sent off an order. Glad I did! This is a "howdidit" rather than a "whodunit," and it's a great ride because it's true. For a quick background, let me quote from the cover flap.
In 1826, Robert Benjamin Folger, a recent graduate of medical school and a new Master Mason, filled a book with the enciphered Craft rituals of the Rectified Scottish Rite (Knights Beneficent of the Holy City or CBCS), a high-grade revision of the Rite of Strict Observance, well known in Europe but unknown in the United States. His introduction directed that the rituals be "committed to the flames" upon his death. Fortunately for Masonic historians these instructions were not followed.
And fortunately for us, this book was written. Our Brothers first give us a very useful background of the Masonic world at the time. The authors point out that Folger "witnessed at least six different grand lodges for the state of New York; lived through the American Civil War; and saw more than fourteen supreme councils for the Scottish Rite come and go." Then they take us through the background and rituals. It is very well done and very exciting.
This book gives you the best sense of earlier American Masonry I know of. It's not just the presentation of the rituals but of the context which makes this so compelling.