Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book Review: Freemason Philosophy of the 21st Century by Bro. Jack Buta

Masonic author and Masonic Legend Bro Jack Buta wrote a book about Freemason Philosophy in the 21st Century.  It was serendipitous that Bro Buta put out a call for reviewers of his new book, and that I just completed the journey of the Scottish Rite.  For those that know me, I joined Chapter, Council and Commandery shortly after being raised (4-5 months).  I stayed in the York Rite, this was in part because of my deployment schedule, but also because I really enjoy the degrees and the lessons they bestow on us as Freemasons.  I waited 5 years until I received the degrees of the Scottish Rite, which is five more than most active Freemasons wait, still it was worth it.  After going through the reunion my head felt full, like there was so much information, that there was no way that I could mentally digest it all.  When you go through a Reunion you have two choices, try to take it all in, or fall asleep, I decided the former was better.

Still, the symbolism and the degrees are so much that it was like an entire menu at a fine restaurant, put in a blender and force feed to you, directly in your stomach.  When I got done, I was drained, came home and slept, much to annoyance of my wife.

Bro Buta's book is an attempt to help a Freemason like myself who had just gotten the degrees communicated to him a chance to internalize and understand what each degree means.  He does this by calling on three staples of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Morals and Dogma, A Bridge to Light and Scottish Rite Monitor and Guide.  Bro Buta in plan terms explains both the degree, it's direct impact on both himself and every man and highlights Albert Pikes lectures.  The book in my opinion, should be read by every newly minted 32nd SR Mason, as it allows for us to start the journey to understand the beauty and symbolism of the degrees.  Bro Buta wove into the book his personal experiences in life and how the degrees manifested themselves for him, which I thought was beautiful.  Some of the stories I knew before, interacting with Bro Buta since I was first initiated, but took these stories took on even greater meaning reading them here.

Purist and esoteric nerds will sit and complain that Bro Buta is projecting the degrees onto others, but frankly we have to start somewhere, and Bro Buta does just that, he gives you a start.  Well written and very readable, Bro Buta put together a book that I would handily recommend to any brother starting his SR journey.

The criticism I have of the book is Bro Buta does show his hand a little bit on the politics side of things, which is in the vein of Pike during his day.  Freemasonry in America is devoid of any political discussion to keep lodges from tearing themselves apart, still to say that the degrees don't have an impact on our political view points is a lie.  I personally didn't agree with some of Bro Buta's assertions that the invasion of Iraq was directly from the attacks of 9/11, yet he claims it several times in his book.  The emotional nature of these things can turn a reader off to his message, and offend their senses.  I knew what Bro Buta's intent was, but some may lose it along the way.

If you are a newly minted Scottish Rite Mason or if you have been at it for a long time, I would recommend this book, if nothing more than to reground yourself in the message that Albert Pike was trying to bestow on us, without reading Pike of course.  :)

I will write more of my Scottish Rite experience later, and this book has greatly help in the first steps.

-Bro Vick

Bro Buta's Book on

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