Does This Sound Familiar?
"My faith in the value of Masonic symbolism had been rudely shaken at the very beginning by the explanation in the Apprentice's Degree of the purpose for which I had been subjected to the gross indignity of having a halter knotted round my neck, though it was called by the more euphonious name of "cable-tow" and it seemed to me that I had heard and read all the monitorial explanations, that most of the symbolism was of the nature of that of a bush over the door of a wine shop.
"Of some things that I saw and heard, no one could give me an explanation at all, and indeed, it did not seem ever to have occurred to some of those of whom I asked light that they had any special signification. No one could tell me what the length of a cable-tow was, or the symbolic meaning of the halter round the neck. No one had thought that there was any special meaning in the sacred numbers, in the pass words, in the substitute word, or in certain phrases.
"And no one could resolve my doubts and difficulties. Of course, I could learn nothing in the Lodge. No one ever learns anything there, in regard to the meaning of the symbols, after he has received the degrees. If he desires to know more, which most Masons do not, he must seek to find it in books printed to be sold to anyone, Mason or profane, who may wish to purchase; and these I bought and eagerly read, finding here and there among the rubbish of useless writing, a clue now and then, which lead me towards the truth."
Bro. Albert Pike
(published by the Scottish Rite Research Society)