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Richard h. sands
Once you have been raised a Master Mason you, and members of your family, become eligible to join numerous organizations, some to increase your Masonic knowledge and some for purely social reasons. The following is a brief introduction to many of these organizations.
York and Scottish Rites
The York and Scottish Rites both expand on the teachings of the first three degrees. They each contain several organizations, each of which offer several degrees. The York Rite bodies are local in the sense that their meeting places are in your local or neighboring communities. These are loosely referred to as Chapter, Council and Commandery; however, their proper names are Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal and Select Masons and Knights Templar. The Knights Templar degrees are Christian in nature. The degrees in York Rite are often given (sometimes required to be given) to just one candidate at a time. The Scottish Rite meets centrally in an area encompassing several Counties and offers its degrees to a “class,” numbering from the tens to hundreds of candidates at a time. When a man says that he is a thirty-second degree Mason, he means that he has gone through the degrees in Scottish Rite. Because the Scottish Rite draws it membership from several counties, the membership in a given “Valley” is often counted in the thousands or tens of thousands. Each of these organizations have their own particular charitable activities funded by the membership, and each requires annual dues.
Historically, the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, commonly called “The Shrine”, did not directly require Masonic membership; however, it required membership in the York or Scottish Rite and the latter require Masonic membership. Recently, the Shrine changed its bylaws to require only that a prospective member be a Master Mason; hence every “Shriner” is a Master Mason. The Shrine strongly supports Freemasonry. This organization is socially oriented, and has as its major project the funding and operation of nearly two dozen hospitals for crippled and burned children. Such hospital care is totally free to the patients and their families. One of the fund-raising efforts involves hosting a circus for the public, and many local Shriners buy tickets and give them free to children and even provide free transportation and food and drink for children in neighboring communities; in other words, they practice Masonic principles. Again, there are annual dues required of each member and he must maintain his membership in the Blue Lodge. The Shrine draws its membership from several counties.
Organizations for Men and Women
The Order of the Eastern Star, the White Shrine of Jerusalem and the Amaranth admit both men and women and require some Symbolic Lodge connection. You wives may find these organizations of interest and you can enjoy them together.
Local Social Organizations
The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm (the Grotto) and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon are social organizations for Symbolic Lodge Masons and do not require membership in any other Masonic-related organizations. Each has its charitable activities and each has annual dues.
High Twelve Clubs meet for dining (usually brunch or lunch), generally have a speaker, and foster socialization among Masons.
Organizations for Young Men and Women
There are several organizations started and supported by Masons for the youth, the Order of DeMolay for young men, and the Order of Rainbow for Girls and Job’s Daughters for young women. These organizations usually have chapters in your local or neighboring communities. They offer great leadership training and moral guidance for the youth, and you are strongly urged to look into these for your own sons and daughters. You may even wish to offer your support as an advisor.
Notice that each of these organizations has a requirement on your time and resources. You should choose wisely; it is not advisable to join these organizations immediately upon becoming a Master Mason unless you have strong reasons for doing so. Take time to educate yourself in Freemasonry, take an active part in the activities and opportunities offered by your Lodge and this will give you ample opportunities to learn about these other organizations before you join them.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014