Scottish Rite History
I have been a member of the Scottish Rite for only a few years, since February of 2005. From the very beginning the richness and drama of the degrees appealed to me. Even as a candidate I was forever hanging out in back with the cast to see the world behind the current. I had not yet capped my Scottish Rite Degrees with the Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret (32nd degree) when I was already in the cast.
I acted as The Guide in the new Secret Master (4th degree), which was a great introduction. A good Masonic friend, Wor. Bro. Andy Haslam of South Portland, acted in all of the scenes with me as Hiram. We had a great time together with lots of laughs. The best part about Scottish Rite degrees is the stress relief of the curtain closing. In Blue Lodge Freemasonry there is no break. The degree work starts and you are in front of everyone for up to two hours. In the 4th degree we had a curtain close every ten minutes, allowing us to relax and prepare for the next scene and laugh at our mistakes. We repeated the degree once more the following year and now it is scheduled for May 2007 with myself and Bro. Chris DiSotto, another good friend. You can bet we will have a great time.
I was really brought into the fold with my work as Zerubbabel in the Prince of Jerusalem (16th degree). I finally had the full Scottish Rite back stage experience with a big cast, makeup, lots of lines and a generally great time. The same Brothers I knew to be somewhat stiff and boring at lodge really opened up at the Scottish Rite. It was more fun than I can say. Since the beards are single use affairs, applied masterfully by R.W. Bro. Jack Gray of Portland, I kept mine on when the young guys got together and went into town.
Now I am a regular in the 4th and 16th degrees and will be becoming active in one of the Scottish Rite bodies, if possible. In an effort to learn more about the Scottish Rite and its structure M.W. Bro. Chuck Ridlon has loaned me his copy of A History of the Supreme Council by Newbury and Williams. The book is quite enjoyable and has an entire section on a man named Henry Andrew Francken. Time for a little genealogy research!