LESSONS OF THE DEGREES
Our degrees are in addition to and are in no way “higher” than Blue Lodge degrees. Scottish Rite work amplifies and elaborates on the lessons of the Craft. It should never be forgotten that termination of a member’s Symbolic Lodge standing automatically terminates his Scottish Rite membership, whether his level be 4 or 33rd degree
- There are four coordinate divisions in the Scottish Rite:
Lodge of Perfection, 4th degree to 14th degree (Presiding officer – Thrice Potent Master)
- Chapter of Rose Croix, 15th thru 18th degree (Presiding officer – Most Wise and Perfect Master)
- Council of Knights Kadosh, 19th thru 30th Degree (Presiding officer – Commander-In-Chief)
- Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret, 31st degree to 32nd degree (Presiding officer – Commander-in-Chief)
There are three Houses
The Lodge of Perfection constitutes the “Ineffable Degrees”
The Chapter of Rose Croix constitutes the “Historical & Philosophical Degrees”
The Consistory constitutes the “Traditional and Chivalric Degrees”
4th degree Secret Master. The Fourth Degree emphasizes duty, fidelity, integrity, and the necessity for secrecy in all confidential relationships.
5th degree Perfect Master. This degree teaches that trustworthiness is more precious than life and is the foundation of Masonic honor. Also, we must pay due respect to the memory of a deceased worthy Brother.
6th degree Intimate Secretary. This degree teaches that devotion to one’s friends and zealousness in per-forming one’s duties are rewarding virtues.
7th degree 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.
8th degree Intendant of the Building. This degree teaches that each new honor is meant to be a step toward perfection in the moral code.
9th degree Elect of Nine The lessons taught in this degree are that we should be careful not to be too zealous in executing justice, even in a good cause, and that we should avoid injuring or harming any person by hasty or irresponsible action.
10th degree Elect of Fifteen The teachings of this degree are that ambition and jealousy can tempt men to evil deeds, that righteousness will eventually triumph over evil, and that evil doers will be punished
11th degree Sublime Elect of Twelve This degree dwells on good citizenship. Evil doings should be punished. Honesty and respect for others should be rewarded. Be earnest, honest and sincere.
12th degree 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.
13th degree 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 us to be upright, patient and persevering.
14th degree Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason In the Scottish Rite, this degree is the summit of Ancient Craft Masonry. As the crowning degree of the Lodge 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
15th degree Knights of the East or Sword This degree teaches the important lessons of loyalty to conviction and devotion to right.
16th degree Prince of Jerusalem This degree teaches loyalty to truth and fidelity to duty.
17th degree 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.
18th degree Knights of the Rose Croix 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.
19th degree 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.
20th degree Grand Master of All Symbolic Lodges; or, 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.
21st degree Noachite or Prussian Knight This degree teaches that Freemasonry is not a shield for evil doing and that justice is one of the chief supports of our fraternity.
22nd degree Knights of the Royal Axe; or 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.
23rd degree Chief of the Tabernacle. This degree teaches that impure thought 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
24th degree Prince of the Tabernacle.. This degree teaches that a mutual belief in one true, living God should bind men together in the service of humanity and in a worldwide brotherhood
25th degree 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.
26th degree 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.
27th degree Knight 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.
28th degree 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
29th degree Knights 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.
30th degree Knights Kadosh This degree portrays the tests and ceremonies that symbolize the experiences we must undergo in the building of character and the sacredness of duty.
31st degree Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander This degree reminds us to remember the frailty and imperfection of human nature and that the purpose of punishment is repentance and reformation and not for an eye for eye.
32nd degree Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret This degree reminds us of the words of the Master: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”