Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Scottish Rite?

The Scottish Rite is a Masonic organization that continues a Master Mason’s education of the first three degrees.  The Scottish Rite consists of the 4°–32° and an honorary 33°, which is awarded for exceptional service.

Is Freemasonry a religion?

No. While it is a requirement that each member believes in a Supreme Being, it is not important how one expresses that very personal belief.  Further, there is no dogmatic system in Freemasonry.  However, confusion about the secular nature of Freemasonry has been a common misconception for many years.  Most likely, this misconception is due to the Holy Book that sits on the altar in the middle of a Masonic lodge. This Holy Book does not have to be Christian, like the Bible, rather it can be any Holy Book that is important to the members of the lodge.

Is Freemasonry or the Scottish Rite a secret society?

Absolutely not, the Scottish Rite and other forms of Freemasonry operate very much in the open with many events open to the public. There are “modes of recognition” (passwords and handshakes) that represent a Mason’s ability to keep a promise.

How can I join?  Do I have to be invited?

Freemasonry is a fraternity (for men) whose membership must be sought by the candidate. So, in other words, to be a Mason, ask a Mason how to become a member. Learn more.

Do I have to be Scottish to join the Scottish Rite?

No. The Scottish Rite degrees actually originated in France and were based on legends that came from Scotland, so “Scottish” is in name only.

What do all the symbols mean?

There are simply too many symbols used in Masonry to explain them all, but probably the most common symbol people see is the square and compasses. The square reminds Masons to “square” their actions by the “square of virtue,” and the compasses remind them to “circumscribe” their passions.  In other words, Masons are reminded to keep their actions virtuous and their passions in control.  Additionally, in the U.S. there is usually a “G” in the middle of the square and compass symbol. This letter stands for “geometry” and “God” and reminds Masons that geometry was central to the stone mason’s life as God should be to his.