Book Review: A Bridge to Light

Written as a supplement to Albert Pike’s classic Masonic work Morals and Dogma, Rex R Hutchens’ A Bridge to Light written in 1988 is a valuable piece of Scottish Rite literature that should be included in every Mason’s personal library. This book is intended for those who are new to Masonry or for those wishing to gain more knowledge about the Scottish Rite. This book is handed out to every new Scottish Rite member who joins in the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, replacing Clausen’s Commentaries on Morals and Dogma, which itself replaced Morals and Dogma. It is not handed out in the Northern Jurisdiction as they did not adopt Pike’s views.

As stated before the book is a supplement to Morals and Dogma, and touches on many of the same points and topics as those covered by Pike. However, A Bridge to Light also clarifies the use of many of the different symbols, philosophies, and ethics of the Scottish Rite that are held dear by fellow Masons. The book is presented in a very straightforward manner and goes through most everything a person could expect during their time progressing through the Scottish Rite degrees beyond the standard three that Masonry usually offers. Hutchens points out the use of various mediums, namely plays and rituals used during initiations, and better explains these so that the true meaning may be more easily picked up by the initiate. These basic explanations of the various symbols and presentations during the initiations are well respected and often recommended by learned Masons for their clarity and ease of understanding.

One of the main points that Hutchens discusses is that while no man can attain true perfection, the journey towards improving one’s self can be aided by the values and morals presented by the teachings of the various degrees of Scottish Rite Masonry. This idea is heavily influenced by Pike who touched on this subject as well throughout Morals and Dogma. Hutchens also explains the various symbols used at each degree and how they can relate to the specific lesson or moral that one should gain from the degree. It is common place for members to spend years on one degree, trying to master the elements and understandings, and Hutchens explains that this should be looked upon as a type of blessing to better understand what is expected and how to put the information to use in everyday living.