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The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is an extension of the first three degrees
of Craft Freemasonry. Here the member witnesses degrees from the 4 through the 32. Each degree provides a moral lesson that can help the member be a better person. The 33 is conferred annually upon a select number of 32 Scottish Rite Masons who have contributed outstanding service to Freemasonry or Scottish Rite or who have exemplified in their daily lives, the true meaning of the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God. A recipient must be at least 33 years of age and may not apply for the degree.


Lodge of Perfection

4 Secret Master. The Fourth Degree emphasizes duty, fidelity, integrity, and the necessity for secrecy in all confidential relationships.

5 Perfect Master. This degree teaches that impure thoughts and selfish, unworthy ambitions are corrupting and destructive, and that a man who forgets his duty to family, country, and God will be morally and spiritually destroyed.

6 Intimate Secretary. This degree teaches that devotion to one's friends and zealousness in performing one's duties are rewarding virtues.

7 Provost and Judge. This degree teaches us to judge righteously, without respect to person, and that one law and one custom shall apply to all. Let justice be impartial, tempered with deserved mercy.

8 Intendent of the Building. This degree teaches that each new honor is meant to be a step toward perfection in the moral code; each a development of a particular duty; and that benevolence and charity are necessary virtues of leadership.

9 Master Elect of Nine. This degree reminds us that through the ages man has searched for God in many ways, and worshiped Him in many tongues, but that Universal Worship is found in service to our fellow man.

10 Master Elect of Fifteen. This degree teaches that a violator of his obligations and commitments will not go unpunished and, further, that excuses, rationalizations, and other evidences of lack of repentance, will very likely increase the severity of the penalties.

11 Sublime Master Elected. This degree dwells on good citizenship. Evil doings should be punished. Honesty and respect for others should be rewarded. Be earnest, honest and sincere.

12 Grand Master Architect. This degree teaches that the Mason, as he learns to use the tools and instruments of his trade and skill, also learns to contemplate the many aspects of life and deal with them as a child of God, steadily advancing to those heights of experience which we call perfection.

13 Master of the Ninth Arch. This degree teaches that difficulties and dangers, however great, should not deter the true and faithful brother from progressing onward to perfection. It teaches the great truth that the finest things in life come only as the result of constant and often painful effort.

14 Grand Elect Mason. In the Scottish Rite, this degree is the summit of Ancient Craft Masonry. As the crowning degree of the Ledge of Perfection, its essence is the holiness of God and reverence for His Holy Name. God will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.

Council of Princes of Jerusalem

15 Knight of the East or Sword. This degree teaches the important lessons of loyalty to conviction and devotion to right.

16 Prince of Jersalem. This degree teaches loyalty to truth and fidelity to duty.

Chapter of Rose Croix

17 Knight of the East and West. The lessons of this degree are that loyalty to God is man's primary allegiance, and the temporal governments not founded upon God and His righteousness will inevitably fall.

18 Knight of the Rose Croix of H.R.D.M. The lessons taught in this degree are that man must have a new Temple in his heart where God is worshipped in spirit and in truth and that he must have a new law of love which all men everywhere may understand and practice. This degree affirms the broad principles of universality and tolerance.


19 Grand Pontiff. This degree proclaims the spiritual unity of all who believe in God and cherish the hope of immortality, no matter what religious leader they follow or what creed they profess. It is concerned primarily with the perennial conflict between light and darkness, good and evil, God and Satan.

20 Master ad Vitam. This degree is a drama of the American spirit confronting the challenge of disloyalty and treason. Masonic principles and leadership are subjected to a crucial test. The degree demonstrates the Masonic condemnation of all who conspire against the security of the nation and the happiness of our people.

21 Patriarch Noachite. This degree teaches that Freemasonry is not a shield for evil doing and that justice is one of the chief supports of our fraternity.

22 Prince of Libanus. In this degree, the dignity of labor is demonstrated. It is no curse, but a privilege, for man to be allowed to earn his sustenance by work. Idleness, not labor, is disgraceful.

23 Chief of the Tabernacle. This degree teaches that those with faith in God and love for their fellow man will make great sacrifices to help others.

24 Prince of the Tabernacle. This degree teaches that a mutual belief in a Supreme Power should bind all men together in a world-wide brotherhood.

25 Knight of the Brazen Serpent. This degree teaches that there are desert stretches in every individual life in the history of every nation, with a resultant breakdown of discipline and loss of faith. This degree is a clarion call to faith-in ourselves, in each other, and in God.

26 Prince of Mercy. This degree teaches the quality of mercy; that it is a spirit of compassion and a tenderness of heart which dispose us to overlook injuries and to treat an offender better than he deserves.

27 Commander of the Temple. This degree teaches that Scottish Rite Freemasonry believes in the concept of a free church in a free state, each supreme in its own sphere, neither seeking to dominate the other, but cooperating for the common good.

28 Knight of the Sun. This degree using the symbolism of the tools and implements of architecture teaches that by building high moral character among its adherents, Freemasonry may advance man's determined quest for the achievement of unity and good will throughout the world.

29 Knight of St. Andrew. This degree emphasizes the Masonic teachings of equality and toleration. We are reminded that no one man, no one Church, no one religion, has a monopoly of truth; that while we must be true and faithful to our own convictions, we must respect the opinions of others.

30 Grand Elect Knight Kadosh. This degree sets forth the tests and ceremonies that symbolize the experiences we must undergo in the building of excellence in character.

31 Grand Inspector Inquistor Commander. This degree teaches that we should give every man the benefit of innocence and purity of intentions. He who would judge others must first judge himself.

32 Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret. This degree describes the victory of the spiritual over the human in man and the conquest of appetites and passions by moral sense and reason. The exemplar represents every Freemason eager to serve humanity but caught between self-interest and the call of duty. Duty often requires sacrifice, sometimes the supreme sacrifice.


The 33 is conferred upon those members of the 32 who have been outstanding in their contributions to Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite, or who have shown in their communities the leadership which marks them as men who exemplify in their daily lives the true meaning of the Brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God. It cannot be sought by application, but must be such a man as described above who has been selected by the Deputy of his state. He must be not less than 33 years of age, and may be elected at an Annual Meeting of the Supreme Council a Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Thirty-third and Last Degree, Honorary Member of the Supreme Council. Such election shall be by unanimous vote of the Active Members present taken by secret ballot. The degree is conferred at the Annual Meeting of the Supreme Council next succeeding the election of a candidate. 


There is an award known as the "Meritorious Service Award" which may be conferred upon members of the Rite in this Jurisdiction who have attained the Thirty-second degree and who, by reason of meritorious service of a Masonic character, are deemed worthy of such recognition. This distinction is granted by statewide Scottish Rite organizations known as Councils of Deliberation.


Before receiving the degrees of the Scottish Rite, every candidate must sign the Oath of Fealty:

"I, the undersigned, do hereby promise on my word of honor, and swear true faith, allegiance, and fealty to the Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the Thirty-third and Last Degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America, sitting at its Grand East in the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts, of which the Illustrious . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . is Sovereign Grand Commander, and will support and abide by its Constitutions, Orders, and Decrees.

"That I will hold allegiance to the said Supreme Council and be loyal thereto, as the supreme authority of the Rite; will hold illegal and spurious every other Body that may be established within its jurisdiction, claiming to be a Supreme Council, and every other Body of said Rite within the same Jurisdiction that does not hold its powers from said Supreme Council, and will hold no communication whatever in Scottish Rite Masonry with any member of the same nor allow him to visit any Body of the Rite of which I may be a member; and I will dispense justice to my brethren according to the laws of equity and honor.

"And should I violate this, my solemn vow and pledge, I consent to be expelled from Scottish Rite Masonry, and all rights therein and in any Body of the Rite, and to be denounced to every Body of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in the world as a traitor and forsworn.

"And may God aid me to keep and perform the same. Amen."


Each petitioner must also hear the following Declaration of Principles:

"This Supreme Council reaffirms its unswerving loyalty to the fundamental purpose of Free masonry, which purpose from time immemorial has been to improve and strengthen the character of the individual man, and through the individual, the character of the community, thus under girding the community with those spiritual values which give it strength and stability.

"This Supreme Council believes that this purpose is to be attained by laying a broad basis of principle upon which men of every race, country, sect, and opinion may unite.

"Believing that good and true men can be trusted to act well and wisely, this Supreme Council considers it the duty of the Fraternity to impress upon its members the principles of personal righteousness and personal responsibility, to enlighten them as to those things which make for human welfare, and to inspire them with that feeling of charity, or well-wishing, toward all mankind which will move them to translate principle and conviction into action.

"To that end Freemasonry teaches a belief in God and faith in His divine purposes. It encourages the worship of God in conformity with the dictates of individual conscience. It stands for truth and justice, liberty and enlightenment, fraternity and philanthropy.

"This Supreme Council expects of its members strict obedience to the laws of the land, and respect for their country's flag.

"Such principles unite men and encourage the pursuit by them, individually and collectively, of worthy endeavors and the attainment of the purposes inherent in them. In that unity, human character achieves its highest unfolding and provides man's best hope for peace on earth and goodwill among men.

"To the furtherance of these principles, all our ritual is directed and all our efforts are aimed. To their furtherance, each Master Mason has pledged himself and at the portal of the Scottish Rite has renewed that pledge.

"This Supreme Council discountenances and rejects any attempt by any international groups or confederations of Scottish Rite Supreme Councils to legislate for individual Supreme Councils.

"Recognizing that principles unite men, that programs sometimes divide them, and that the preservation of unity of purpose and devotion to principle is essential to Freemasonry, the Supreme Council affirms its continued adherence to that ancient and approved rule of Freemasonry which forbids the discussion within tiled doors of creeds, politics, or other topics apt to excite personal animosities.

"This Supreme Council further affirms its conviction that it is not only contrary to the fundamental principles of Freemasonry but exceedingly dangerous to its unity, strength, usefulness and welfare for Masonic Bodies in their official capacity to take formal action or attempt to exercise pressure or influence for or against any particular legislative project or proposal, or in any way to attempt to procure the election or appointment of Governmental officials, whether executive, legislative, or judicial, or to influence them, whether or not members of the Fraternity, in the performance of their official duties."




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