Scottish Rite California

Copyrighted © 2017, Orient of California, all rights reserved  

About Us! - Orient of California
History of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry In the Orient of California
        The exuberance of early Masons can hardly be exaggerated. Following the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, an explosion of new degrees took place. By the middle of the 16th Century there were more than a thousand; most of them of dubious character. Out of the chaos came the Lodge of Perfection; French in origin, not Scottish. It was an amorphous collection of 25 degrees including the first three degrees of the Symbolic Lodge. The Fourth, or "Scottish" Degree may have given its name to the Rite. (1)         Scottish Rite Masonry came to the United States by way of the West Indies. Etienne Morin, a French Merchant brought the Rite to Kingston, Jamaica in 1763. Eventually it arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, where it took root. The Lodge of Perfection had remained a rather parochial low profile Charleston activity for more than 50 years when Albert Pike joined the Rite in 1853. Soon after he Joined he was encouraged by his Masonic friend, Albert Mackey, to rewrite the ritual, which Pike had declared "...for the most part a lot of worthless trash." (2)  His tremendous work, Morals and Dogma, has since become the "bible" of Scottish Rite Masonry. He became the Grand Commander on January 1, 1859 and under his strong and energetic guidance, Scottish Rite Masonry spread throughout the world with the Mother Supreme Council of the World located in Charleston. The Masonic Charity and Education Gene         The early operative lodges were schools that taught not only the mason's trade, but also taught moral and ethical behavior.  Even before 1717 great emphasis was placed on the importance of benevolence within the Lodge. With the formation of the Grand Lodge of England each member who attended lodge paid his dues into the "box" to guarantee assistance to each other. There was no welfare state nor insurance; members were expected to help brothers and their families in need.         The "Ancients" in 1798 and the premier Grand Lodge in 1808 had each established charitable funds and after the union of the two, in 1823, a centralized Charity Fund was formed. Soon four major charities were formed in England. The Royal Masonic Institute for Girls was instituted In 1778 and the Royal Masonic Institute for Boys opened in 1865. The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute for Aged and Decayed Freemasons and their Widows was established in 1850 (the word "Decayed" has since been dropped from the title). The Royal Masonic Hospital appeared in 1932. All four rely totally on the generosity of individual brothers for financial stability. (3)         This rich background in Masonic philanthropy is evident today in the most benevolent fraternity on earth. Every concordant and affiliated body including our youth groups place great importance on charitable programs. The majority of these programs are aimed at assisting children. The recipients of more than 60 per cent of Masonic benevolence are not affiliated in any way with Masonry. In most cases assistance to children is given without cost to families. This is true of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Childhood Language Disorders Clinics, Centers, and programs and the Shrine Hospitals for Children. They are said to be the only hospitals "without a cash register." (4) Scottish Rite Charities and Civic Activities         Every Valley in California contributes not only to the Scottish Rite Memorial Fund, but also to maintaining their local charitable and educational funding programs. California Scottish Rite Masons support a wide range of charitable and civic activities. At every well- ordered meeting or degree the "box of fraternal assistance" is still passed to fund the Almoner's charge to assist the needy, much as our ancient brethren did. The Bodies are a patriotic group who support our Constitution with an annual observance. Many support or sponsor Flag Day on or near June 14 each year. Many Valleys have programs to recognize area law enforcement officers, teachers and students, sometimes with monetary awards. They support the Blue Lodges and encourage closer bonds with the York Rite and Shrine. In recent years there has been renewed effort to include families and non-Masonic friends in special events. Education         The Supreme Council issued a strong statement to "support free and compulsory education with Instruction in the English language only, financed by public taxation". (5)  This pledge, made in 1920, still guides the Scottish Rite today. In 1927 the Supreme Council established a $1 million endowment enabling George Washington University to assist graduate level students who major in fields leading to government service or education professions.         Except for a brief interruption, grants are still awarded from an enlarged endowment. Childhood Language Disorders Programs         The early endeavors of the Denver, Colorado Scottish Rite Foundation, founded in 1953, has become the jewel of Scottish Rite philanthropy. They first recognized the need to help children who suffer from a severe language handicap generally known as "aphasia." Aphasia is the inability  of children to form words and sentences to make themselves understood. They are often doomed to a lifetime of withdrawal, unable to communicate with family and schoolmates. They are frequently labeled as retarded, contrary and asocial. On the contrary they are often of above average intelligence. The affliction is not unlike that suffered by adult stroke victims. It can be greatly alleviated or cured with prompt and proper treatment by professional speech therapists.         The idea of helping this neglected group of children was picked up by the Orient of California. In 1972 arrangements were 2 California with funding assured by the Rite. Because of a falling out between the Rite and the University it was decided best to use local fund raising and implement regional centers. As a result, many of the 18 California Valleys now have on-site Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Clinics, Centers and Programs for Childhood Language Disorders or they contribute to schools or  hospitals to support clinics indirectly.         Clinics have since been formed throughout most of the Orients of the Southern Jurisdiction. In recent years several centers have opened in the Northern Jurisdiction independent of the Southern Jurisdiction. In 1955 there were 112 centers and by 1997 there were 150 centers in the combined Jurisdictions treating about 10,000 children a year. (6) An Ancient Fraternity In an Infant State         In 1850, a year before California became a state, the population was only a bit more than 92,000. In those early years there were many Masons from the East who were interested in getting the Fraternity under way. California Freemasonry got started after fifteen Grand Lodges had issued charters and dispensations for the formation of Blue Lodges. Representatives from five of those jurisdictions assembled in Sacramento to officially form the Grand Lodge of California which began at once to grant Charters to the Craft Lodges. Just a decade later there were 130 Blue Lodges with a membership of 5,055. The Rite Comes to California         The Scottish Rite spread throughout the eastern and southern states during the first half of the 19th century. Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike, 33º, was determined to introduce the Rite to the West Coast. In the spring of 1861, the Supreme Council established a Grand Consistory in California. Shortly thereafter Civil War delayed the activities of the new Grand Consistory until 1866. In the ensuing four years there were constituted nine Lodges of Perfection, four Councils of the Princes of Jerusalem, four Chapters of Rose Croix and two Councils of Kadosh. Yerba Buena Lodge of Perfection No 6 was organized July 8, 1868. In 1870 the Supreme Council chartered the Grand Consistory of California in San Francisco. At that time Commander Pike stated, "....we have nowhere a body of Masons more intelligent and socially respectable than in the Great Empire State of California."         Be that as it may, during the next few years most of the California bodies were declared inactive and surrendered their charters or had them revoked. (7)         By the turn of the Century San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Pasadena each had an active Consistory, Council, Chapter and Lodge of Perfection. In addition there were Lodges of Perfection in Sacramento, Marysville, Visalia, Redlands and San Diego. Scottish Rite Masonry was well established and rapidly growing. In 1950 there were 15 Scottish Rite Bodies with a combined membership well above 50,000. Bibliography Sources   My thanks to all those, names and nameless, who helped me amass the materials used in compiling this history of the Orient of California.   Ill:. Robert D. Haas 33°   1.  William L. Fox, Lodge of the Double Headed Eagle      University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, AK 1997 p. 74 2.  Lodge of the Double Headed Eagle p. 16 3.  John Hamil, History of English Freemasonry p. 135 ff      Lewis Mason Book, London, England 1994 4.  S. Brent Morris, Masonic Philanthropies 1997      Supreme Councils, 33 o , Northern Masonic Jurisdiction and Southern Jurisdiction 5.  Lodge of the Double Headed Eagle p. 192 6.  Childhood Language Disorders Clinic brochures 9th printing. 7.  Arthur R. Anderson, 33 o  and Leon Whitsell, 33 o , California's First      Century of Scottish Rite Masonry, Supreme Council, 33 o , Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction      1962 p. 11 ff.   Please take a moment to let us know what you think about our site. Thanks!

Copyrighted © 2017, Orient of California, all rights reserved  

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Scottish Rite California
About Us! - Orient of California
History of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry In the Orient of California
        The exuberance of early Masons can hardly be exaggerated. Following the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, an explosion of new degrees took place. By the middle of the 16th Century there were more than a thousand; most of them of dubious character. Out of the chaos came the Lodge of Perfection; French in origin, not Scottish. It was an amorphous collection of 25 degrees including the first three degrees of the Symbolic Lodge. The Fourth, or "Scottish" Degree may have given its name to the Rite. (1)         Scottish Rite Masonry came to the United States by way of the West Indies. Etienne Morin, a French Merchant brought the Rite to Kingston, Jamaica in 1763. Eventually it arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, where it took root. The Lodge of Perfection had remained a rather parochial low profile Charleston activity for more than 50 years when Albert Pike joined the Rite in 1853. Soon after he Joined he was encouraged by his Masonic friend, Albert Mackey, to rewrite the ritual, which Pike had declared "...for the most part a lot of worthless trash." (2)  His tremendous work, Morals and Dogma, has since become the "bible" of Scottish Rite Masonry. He became the Grand Commander on January 1, 1859 and under his strong and energetic guidance, Scottish Rite Masonry spread throughout the world with the Mother Supreme Council of the World located in Charleston. The Masonic Charity and Education Gene         The early operative lodges were schools that taught not only the mason's trade, but also taught moral and ethical behavior.  Even before 1717 great emphasis was placed on the importance of benevolence within the Lodge. With the formation of the Grand Lodge of England each member who attended lodge paid his dues into the "box" to guarantee assistance to each other. There was no welfare state nor insurance; members were expected to help brothers and their families in need.         The "Ancients" in 1798 and the premier Grand Lodge in 1808 had each established charitable funds and after the union of the two, in 1823, a centralized Charity Fund was formed. Soon four major charities were formed in England. The Royal Masonic Institute for Girls was instituted In 1778 and the Royal Masonic Institute for Boys opened in 1865. The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute for Aged and Decayed Freemasons and their Widows was established in 1850 (the word "Decayed" has since been dropped from the title). The Royal Masonic Hospital appeared in 1932. All four rely totally on the generosity of individual brothers for financial stability. (3)         This rich background in Masonic philanthropy is evident today in the most benevolent fraternity on earth. Every concordant and affiliated body including our youth groups place great importance on charitable programs. The majority of these programs are aimed at assisting children. The recipients of more than 60 per cent of Masonic benevolence are not affiliated in any way with Masonry. In most cases assistance to children is given without cost to families. This is true of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Childhood Language Disorders Clinics, Centers, and programs and the Shrine Hospitals for Children. They are said to be the only hospitals "without a cash register." (4) Scottish Rite Charities and Civic Activities         Every Valley in California contributes not only to the Scottish Rite Memorial Fund, but also to maintaining their local charitable and educational funding programs. California Scottish Rite Masons support a wide range of charitable and civic activities. At every well- ordered meeting or degree the "box of fraternal assistance" is still passed to fund the Almoner's charge to assist the needy, much as our ancient brethren did. The Bodies are a patriotic group who support our Constitution with an annual observance. Many support or sponsor Flag Day on or near June 14 each year. Many Valleys have programs to recognize area law enforcement officers, teachers and students, sometimes with monetary awards. They support the Blue Lodges and encourage closer bonds with the York Rite and Shrine. In recent years there has been renewed effort to include families and non- Masonic friends in special events. Education         The Supreme Council issued a strong statement to "support free and compulsory education with Instruction in the English language only, financed by public taxation". (5)   This pledge, made in 1920, still guides the Scottish Rite today. In 1927 the Supreme Council established a $1 million endowment enabling George Washington University to assist graduate level students who major in fields leading to government service or education professions.         Except for a brief interruption, grants are still awarded from an enlarged endowment. Childhood Language Disorders Programs         The early endeavors of the Denver, Colorado Scottish Rite Foundation, founded in 1953, has become the jewel of Scottish Rite philanthropy. They first recognized the need to help children who suffer from a severe language handicap generally known as "aphasia." Aphasia is the inability  of children to form words and sentences to make themselves understood. They are often doomed to a lifetime of withdrawal, unable to communicate with family and schoolmates. They are frequently labeled as retarded, contrary and asocial. On the contrary they are often of above average intelligence. The affliction is not unlike that suffered by adult stroke victims. It can be greatly alleviated or cured with prompt and proper treatment by professional speech therapists.         The idea of helping this neglected group of children was picked up by the Orient of California. In 1972 arrangements were 2 California with funding assured by the Rite. Because of a falling out between the Rite and the University it was decided best to use local fund raising and implement regional centers. As a result, many of the 18 California Valleys now have on-site Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Clinics, Centers and Programs for Childhood Language Disorders or they contribute to schools or  hospitals to support clinics indirectly.         Clinics have since been formed throughout most of the Orients of the Southern Jurisdiction. In recent years several centers have opened in the Northern Jurisdiction independent of the Southern Jurisdiction. In 1955 there were 112 centers and by 1997 there were 150 centers in the combined Jurisdictions treating about 10,000 children a year. (6) An Ancient Fraternity In an Infant State         In 1850, a year before California became a state, the population was only a bit more than 92,000. In those early years there were many Masons from the East who were interested in getting the Fraternity under way. California Freemasonry got started after fifteen Grand Lodges had issued charters and dispensations for the formation of Blue Lodges. Representatives from five of those jurisdictions assembled in Sacramento to officially form the Grand Lodge of California which began at once to grant Charters to the Craft Lodges. Just a decade later there were 130 Blue Lodges with a membership of 5,055. The Rite Comes to California         The Scottish Rite spread throughout the eastern and southern states during the first half of the 19th century. Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike, 33º, was determined to introduce the Rite to the West Coast. In the spring of 1861, the Supreme Council established a Grand Consistory in California. Shortly thereafter Civil War delayed the activities of the new Grand Consistory until 1866. In the ensuing four years there were constituted nine Lodges of Perfection, four Councils of the Princes of Jerusalem, four Chapters of Rose Croix and two Councils of Kadosh. Yerba Buena Lodge of Perfection No 6 was organized July 8, 1868. In 1870 the Supreme Council chartered the Grand Consistory of California in San Francisco. At that time Commander Pike stated, "....we have nowhere a body of Masons more intelligent and socially respectable than in the Great Empire State of California."         Be that as it may, during the next few years most of the California bodies were declared inactive and surrendered their charters or had them revoked. (7)         By the turn of the Century San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Pasadena each had an active Consistory, Council, Chapter and Lodge of Perfection. In addition there were Lodges of Perfection in Sacramento, Marysville, Visalia, Redlands and San Diego. Scottish Rite Masonry was well established and rapidly growing. In 1950 there were 15 Scottish Rite Bodies with a combined membership well above 50,000. Bibliography Sources   My thanks to all those, names and nameless, who helped me amass the materials used in compiling this history of the Orient of California.   Ill:. Robert D. Haas 33°   1.  William L. Fox, Lodge of the Double Headed      Eagle University of Arkansas Press,      Fayetteville, AK 1997 p. 74 2.  Lodge of the Double Headed Eagle p. 16 3.  John Hamil, History of English Freemasonry      p. 135 ff      Lewis Mason Book, London, England 1994 4.  S. Brent Morris, Masonic Philanthropies 1997      Supreme Councils, 33 o , Northern Masonic      Jurisdiction and Southern Jurisdiction 5.  Lodge of the Double Headed Eagle p. 192 6.  Childhood Language Disorders Clinic      brochures 9th printing. 7.  Arthur R. Anderson, 33o and Leon      Whitsell, 33 o , California's First Century of      Scottish Rite Masonry, Supreme Council, 33 o ,      Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern      Jurisdiction 962 p. 11 ff.   Please take a moment to let us know what you think about our site. Thanks!

Copyrighted © 2017, Orient of California, all rights reserved  

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