ABOUT YORK RITE FREEMASONRY
Of his own free will and accord, a petitioner knocks at the door of Symbolic Freemasonry. After acceptance, he enters therein. He is impressed, perhaps overwhelmed, by the magnificence of its ritual. He immediately, and then increasingly as the degrees unfold, wants to learn as much as he can about the world’s oldest, largest, and most respected fraternity with which he has become affiliated. He seeks answers to scores, yes hundreds, of questions.
WHAT IS A MASON?
A Mason is a Man and a Brother whose Trust is in God. He meets you on the Level and acts upon the Square. Truth is his Compass and he is ever Plumb. He has a true Grip on all that is Rite. He is loyal to his Order and whatever his Degree he is Master of himself. In the Lodge of life he wears unstained the white Lambskin of innocence. From his Initiation as an Entered Apprentice he travels ever East toward the Light of Wisdom until he receives the final – the Divine Password that admits him into the Ineffable Presence of the Eternal Supreme Grand Master of the Universe – God.
WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
Probably one of the finest definitions ever devised for Freemasonry is: “It is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols…” This system of morality, or ethics, is as old as civilization. One must penetrate the allegorical veils, with the aid of symbolical emblems, and practice the moral precepts which have been therein revealed to prepare ourselves, spiritually, “as living stones for that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Freemasonry is a “Way of Life.”
Freemasonry is a progressive science. A Mason can only advance by taking every step. He must acquire and apply the knowledge available to him on each level and perfect his skills so that each stone designed for that Spiritual Building might be square, level, and plumb.
Candidates for Freemasonry must come of their own free will. The applicant must have a sincere desire to unite with a fraternity dedicated to “Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.”
Many centuries ago the craft so successfully protected its trade secrets, consisting primarily of architectural and geometrical lore, that it became known as a secret society. Centuries later, when the fraternity had developed strong attachments to the precepts of Truth, Justice, and Liberty, and the religious establishment instituted the “Inquisition”, the Freemasons became a secret society in fact. Today this description no longer applies. What Freemasonry teaches is written out for all to read. Masonic halls are listed in local telephone directories. The members wear emblems publicly. The only secrets of the craft today are the manner in which the degrees are conferred and the means of recognition among the members.
Freemasonry is neither a religious nor a political organization. It has been called the “handmaiden of religion” as it encourages all members to be active in the church of their choice. No theological dogmas nor creeds exist in Masonic practice, other than a reverence for God and a spiritual concern for our fellow man. While the Masonic craft does not support political candidates nor issues, it inspires each member to fulfill his civic responsibility as an American citizen. The discussion of sectarian religion or partisan politics is prohibited in all branches of Freemasonry in the United States except the Christian Orders which are not denominational.
THE YORK RITE OF FREEMASONRY, A HISTORY AND HANDBOOK
YORK RITE OF MISSOURI PROFILE
The component parts of the Missouri York Rite of Freemasonry are: the Symbolic (Blue) Lodges which are governed by the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons of the State of Missouri; Chapters of Royal Arch Masons which are governed by the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the State of Missouri; Councils of Royal and Select Masters which are governed by the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of the State of Missouri; and Commanderies of Knights Templar which are governed by the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of the State of Missouri under the ultimate authority of the Grand Encampment, Knights Templar of the United States of America. All of these are established on democratic principles where the senior officers are elected by and from the membership of that particular organization.
WHY A MASTER MASON SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN THE YORK RITE
The York Rite consists of four distinct and separate sovereign Masonic bodies.
The Symbolic (or Blue) Lodge (Ancient Craft Freemasonry) The Chapter of Royal Arch Masons (Capitular Freemasonry) The Council of Royal and Select Master (Cryptic Freemasonry) The Commandery of Knights Templar (Chivalric Freemasonry)
The symbolic degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason, as conferred in the United States, are degrees of the York Rite.
You, therefore, as a Master Mason, have received the first three degrees of that Rite. It is perfectly natural that having begun your Masonic work in that Rite, you should want to continue with it.
MISSOURI YORK RITE OF FREEMASONRY MEMBERSHIP
BROCHURE AND PETITION
The degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry are the first three degrees of York Rite Freemasonry. Those who have attained the degree of Master Mason may petition for the remainder of the York Rite Degrees and Orders.
As a Master Mason, an overseer of the Word, you are taught many moral lessons and are prepared for the life to come, but the Temple of life is not yet completed. Those faithful Craftsmen who have labored so long are deprived by the wickedness of others, of that for which they have wrought so faithfully, the WORD, which would entitle them to WAGES. Because of the symbolism used in the Ancient Craft Degrees, it is often difficult to comprehend. The York Rite Degrees and Orders exist to explain and make clear the wonderful knowledge imparted to us in symbolic form, and to supply that which was lost but later FOUND.
Please ask a local Brother Master Mason who is also a member of the York Rite of Freemasonry to help you to complete the petition for membership that is included in this brochure.
MISSOURI YORK RITE OF FREEMASONRY
Next to a belief in Deity, Charity lies at the Foundation of Freemasonry.
This brochure describes the charities of the York Rite of Freemasonry in Missouri. You need not be a member of the York Rite or Freemasonry to make charitable donations to any Masonic charity. We welcome all donations in any form including charitable trusts, wills, and bequests.
Members are encouraged to make donations throughout the year as resources will allow. Members desiring to make donations should do so through their local York Rite Secretary/Recorder.