An Open Letter to the New Scottish Rite Mason
Patrick C. Murphrey, Valley of Newport News, Va.
Congratulations on becoming a 32˚, Master of the Royal Secret! Now that you’ve completed the often whirlwind experience of a Scottish Rite reunion, you might be asking yourself, what’s next?
Plenty! First, take some time to reflect about the degrees in which you’ve just participated. It is important to devote some time to understand the lessons exemplified through the Scottish Rite degrees. At the Reunion, you should have been presented with a copy of Ill. Rex Hutchens, 33˚, G.C.’s Bridge to Light. This book is an indispensable resource in understanding the degrees.
With this book in hand, I suggest you immediately enroll in the Master Craftsman program. For $35, you will receive Ill. Arturo de Hoyos, 33˚, G.C.’s book The Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide and six quizzes for a by-mail self-study program. The curriculum is centered around the Scottish Rite Degrees, history, and organization. It’s is a structured approach to learning more about the new organization which you have just joined. And if you really like learning about Freemasonry, join the Scottish Rite Research Society and the Freemason Network (www.freemasonnetwork.net).
If you are able, be sure to visit the impressive House of the Temple in Washington, D.C. This is the headquarters of the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction. It is your building, supported in part by your membership dues. If it’s an odd-numbered year, you can attend the Biennial Session of the Supreme Council in Washington, D.C.
By now you may be asking, “But how can I get active in the day-to-day work of my Scottish Rite Valley?” Lots of ways! The first and most obvious way is to attend the events and activities of your Valley. This constitutes a broad range from stated meetings, dinners, charitable functions, and degree work. There is usually some activity or function that interests you, and if one is lacking—suggest it!
Many Valleys also have chapters of the Knights of St. Andrew, a body of 32˚ Masons with the mission of assisting the Valley in various ways. If your Valley doesn’t have a Knights of St. Andrew chapter, you could start one.
However, whether you join the Knights of St. Andrew or not, your Valley has opportunities for every member to contribute in ways their cabletow allows. Maybe you can use your accounting skills to help audit the books, perhaps you can run the lighting or sound at the next Reunion, use your drama training to participate in the degree, cook or serve dinner at the next social function, or raise money for one of many charitable endeavors. But whatever you choose to do, remember the Royal Secret that you learned in the 32nd Degree and the teaching of the 24-inch gauge. There are some who think that the True Lost Word of Masonry is the word “No.” Masons tend to be eager to serve, and this willingness can sometimes lead to overburdening ourselves. When we take on too much, something has to suffer. We must strive to never take on more than we can bear.
Through your activities you will frequently encounter the Scottish Rite’s best asset: its members! Be sure you take advantage of the Scottish Rite’s regional membership by developing new friendships, discovering new mentors, and increased fellowship opportunities.
No matter how active you choose to be in your Valley, remember that as a 32˚ Master of the Royal Secret, your obligation runs deeper and broader than ever before. Remember that in the 32nd Degree, you vowed to serve as a “True Soldier” who seeks truth and knowledge, demands freedom of voice, vote, and opinion for all people, combats spiritual tyranny with reason and truth, encourages men to be self-reliant and independent, and performs zealously his duties to God, his country, his family, his brethren, and himself. These are not idle words, but lofty ideals to be sought after and served. The best way you can contribute to the Scottish Rite is strive daily to live up to your obligation.
By doing so, you will truly deserve the title of Master of the Royal Secret.