Scottish Rite

Service to others—service to you. These are the twin goals of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. In 135 Childhood Language Disorder Clinics, Centers, and Programs in our 37 Orients (states), including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, children with communication disorders are taught to speak, read, and learn.

Each year in two great medical centers, the Atlanta and Dallas Scottish Rite Hospitals, thousands of victims of accident or disability are restored to active, happy lives.

In homes for the aged, centers for youth and, in cases of natural disaster, support from the Scottish Rite Foundation relieves the worried and counsels the troubled.

Through local scholarships grants and patriotic programs, the Scottish Rite benefits your community in direct and dynamic ways every day of the year.

We are rightly proud of these achievements. They are the culmination of generations of Scottish Rite Brethren working to strengthen and improve America. Welcome to our ranks. Through your participation, even greater good can be accomplished.

But the Rite does not end here. The Rite serves you.

Our age-proven traditions and noble ideals enrich your life with new horizons of personal achievement. Our dynamic programs offer you opportunities for leadership. Most of all, our sincere Scottish Rite fellowship will bring you lifetime friendships and provide delightful occasions to be shared with your wife and family. Get to know your local Scottish Rite officers. Like you, they are good men working for a good cause. They are eager to share and glad to help. Ask. You are sure to find a way to participate in Scottish Rite endeavors that will suit your desire and schedule.

And should you be able to visit our nation’s capital, please include a tour of our national headquarters, the House of the Temple, located just 10 blocks from the White House. It is an inspiring architectural monument. Cordial Brothers are available every day, even on weekends if arranged beforehand, to show you the Temple’s magnificent ceremonial rooms. Or, perhaps, you would like to pause in The Supreme Council’s excellent library, the very first opened to the public in the District of Columbia, or visit the building’s several impressive ceremonial rooms and museums. Wherever you go, you will be welcome, for no matter where your Valley is, this great building is your Scottish Rite home.

To get a better idea of all the Scottish Rite has to offer, scan the pages of this booklet. Keep it for future reference. It will come in handy for understanding the history, structure, honors, and services offered to you as a member of the Scottish Rite, the world’s most dynamic and beneficent Fraternity!

The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, as we know it today, had its origins on the continent of Europe. Its immediate predecessor, known as The Order of the Royal Secret, consisted of 25 Degrees under the Constitutions of 1762. Masonic tradition maintains that Lodges of this Rite, transmitted from Bordeaux in France through the West Indies to the American mainland, were established at New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1763; at Albany, New York, in 1767; at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1781–82; and at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1783.

The Grand Constitutions of 1786 provided for an extension of the Rite to thirty-three Degrees, governed in each country under a Supreme Council of the Thirty-third and Last Degree. Its provisions were cited in a Manifesto at Charleston that confirmed the first Supreme Council ever opened under these Grand Constitutions, on May 31, 1801, "by Brothers John Mitchell and Frederick Dalcho." All regular and recognized Supreme Councils and their Subordinate Bodies today are descended directly or collaterally from this Mother Supreme Council of the World.

In announcing its establishment to the Masonic world in that Manifesto, dated December 4, 1802, the name was given as The Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree for the United States of America. The word Scotch appeared in connection with one of the early Supreme Council Degrees, and Scottish (sic) was included in the name of one of the detached Degrees conferred by The Supreme Council.

The name Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite first appeared in an 1804 agreement between the Supreme Council of France and the Grand Orient of France. Beginning with the administration of Grand Commander Albert Pike in 1859, it came into general use in the Southern Jurisdiction and elsewhere. Many Scottish Masons fled to France during political upheavals in the 17th and 18th centuries, at a time when the Degrees of the Rite were evolving in French Freemasonry. This has caused some to think mistakenly that the Rite originated in Scotland. Actually, however, a Supreme Council for Scotland was not established until 1846.

The Grand Constitutions of 1786, in the earliest known text in the possession of John Mitchell and Frederick Dalcho, provided for two Supreme Councils in the United States. The Supreme Council at Charleston sent one of its Active Members to New York and authorized him to establish in 1813 a Supreme Council for the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States of America. With this accomplished, The Supreme Council at Charleston in 1827 ceded to the Northern Supreme Council the 15 states north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi Rivers. The Southern Supreme Council retained jurisdiction over all other states and territories (at home and abroad) of the United States.

The Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction recognizes in its fraternal relations 40 Supreme Councils and four National Grand Lodges practicing the Rites that include the Scottish Rite, in different countries throughout the world. Each regular Supreme Council has declared its general adherence to those Grand Constitutions of 1762 and 1786, but each, being a sovereign Masonic Body, has made variations in its Statutes to meet its own particular needs. This is especially true as to the number of members composing a Supreme Council. Some have retained the original limitations of nine Active Members. In our Jurisdiction the number of Active Members is limited to 33. In other Jurisdictions larger or smaller limitations have been set. To maintain the spirit of international unity, the Mother Supreme Council participates in overseas conferences with other Supreme Councils.

There is probably nothing more emotionally moving than to witness helpless children in pain or distress. They turn to us—hoping, pleading with their eyes that we do something to help them. Modern science, fortunately, is now able to cure more and more physical afflictions of young people. Surgery or therapy can correct or minimize the effects of many birth defects. Each year chemotherapy and radiation save thousands of once terminally ill children. Psychiatry reaches the mentally disturbed child, restoring a happy normalcy.

We in the Scottish Rite are gratified to be involved in the humanitarian movement to aid children by helping to relieve some of the most distressing childhood disorders. The Supreme Council’s Childhood Language Disorders Program, now operating in each of our 37 Orients within the United States and Puerto Rico, serves, without regard to race, color, or creed, thousands of children who are afflicted with conditions that severely hamper their speaking, reading, and writing abilities. The afflicted child, if diagnosed early and given appropriate specialized help, can become a fully functioning and productive citizen. If not assisted, the child may become instead a heartbreaking liability for the family and for the state.

The initial interest of The Supreme Council in helping children with communication problems followed the lead of the Denver and Rocky Mountain Scottish Rite Bodies, which in 1952 had created a philanthropic foundation in Colorado to treat children with aphasia, the result usually of a brain injury impairing the ability to use words. In 1958, the Scottish Rite’s involvement in childhood aphasia expanded to California where a similar project was supported by an Orient foundation. As the zeal for this worthwhile charitable program spread, more and more Orients (states) became active participants. In 1986, under the leadership of Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33°, The Supreme Council implemented a Scottish Rite Credit Card Program, which not only provides a service to our members but also generates substantial ongoing revenues for the support of our Childhood Language Disorders Program. Funds received from this program enable us to provide financial assistance to the Orients that, in turn, help advance the Scottish Rite’s work with childhood language disorders. These funds help to support existing clinics and to establish new ones.

Grand Commander Kleinknecht has succeeded in making the Scottish Rite Foundation, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., Inc., much more active in generating funds for the clinics, centers, and programs. Nothing succeeds like success! From 1985 to 1998, the number of facilities and programs has grown to 133, with more clinics being established each year. Also, many of the existing clinics have continued to expand their services. From its inception, the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Program has helped tens of thousands of children with aphasia and/or dyslexia and a wide variety of other related language and learning disorders.

On October 18, 1988, Grand Commander Kleinknecht was presented a Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, affirming the Scottish Rite’s success in promoting a national image for its Childhood Language Disorders Program. In 1994, the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite officially adopted a similar program and began to establish a network of 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children in a number of states. As of 1998, there were 12 such centers in operation, and 23 in various stages of planning or construction, so that eventually, as in the Southern Jurisdiction, each of the Northern Jurisdiction’s 15 states will have at least one and, probably, several Children’s Learning Centers, thus making the American Scottish Rite’s flagship philanthropy truly nationwide.

Both nationally and on the local level, this philanthropic program has made tremendous strides because our members sincerely care about helping children with communication disorders. Information regarding the program and the location of clinics may be obtained by contacting the Scottish Rite Bodies in your locality or by calling The Supreme Council at 1-800-SRMASON for a copy of the brochure entitled "H.E.L.P., Help Eliminate Language & Learning Problems in Children."

Scottish Rite History | Scottish Rite - Northern Jurisdiction

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