The Masonic family is a loosely defined grouping of those bodies with practices and beliefs complementary to Freemasonry that also either restrict their membership to regular Freemasons in good standing or to relatives of regular Freemasons in good standing. Those restricted to Freemasons are generally termed concordant while those restricted to relatives are generally termed appendant. There is little agreement on the use of these terms; in the narrowest sense only the Scottish and York Rites are styled concordant while the Shrine and Grotto, not conferring degrees, would be defined as Masonic clubs.
Adding to the confusion, some Craft Grand Lodge jurisdictions will recognize those bodies by constitutionally recording that they are simply "in amity" with them. Not all Grand Lodges will recognize the same bodies. The important point is to understand that these bodies, and the various degrees they confer, are auxiliary or additional, and not superior to Craft Freemasonry.
The York Rite is one of the major concordant bodies of Freemasonry in which a Master Mason may proceed to supplement or amplify the Craft degrees, affording historical background on the work and meaning of Freemasonry. The York Rite is an concordant body of Masonry, and confers degrees beyond the Blue Lodge's three degrees. In the York Rite, a Master Mason may become a member of three bodies — a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, a Council of Royal and Select Masters, and a Preceptory of Knights Templar. It consists of nine additional degrees: Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason; the Cryptic Degrees of the Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master; and the Chivalric Orders of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, Order of Malta and the Order of the Temple. The Templar orders, which comprise the last degrees of the York Rite, are specifically Christian. Or at least, it can be stated that the oath is: in some Grand Lodges in the US and abroad, one need not be a Christian, but rather only be willing to take a Christian OATH. The difference here is that there are some who would willingly swear to defend the Christian faith on the grounds that they would defend any man's faith. The Chapter (or Royal Arch) and Council Of Royal And Select Masters (Cryptic Rite), which comprise the first two sections of the York Rite, are not specifically Christian.
The York Rite takes its name from the old English city of York. It is said that Athelstan, a British king, was converted to Christianity in York and that he granted the original charter to the Masonic guilds in that city nearly a thousand years ago. The York Rite is not a religion. Like the Craft lodge, the Chapter and the Council are based upon the building of King Solomon's Temple. The Preceptory has a theme of Christian chivalry.
The Scottish Rite is the second of the two concordant bodies of Freemasonry in which a Master Mason (Third Degree) may proceed after he has completed the three degrees of Symbolic or Blue Lodge Masonry. (The other branch is known as York Rite consisting of Capitular and Cryptic Masons and Knights Templar.) The Scottish Rite work expands and elaborates on the lessons of the three Craft Lodge degrees. As with Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite is not a religion, and it is nondenominational, although it does require a belief in a Supreme Being.
The Scottish Rite, sometimes called the "College of Freemasonry", uses extensive dramatic plays and allegory to emphasize the content and messages of its degrees. A Freemason, after viewing these dramas, will eventually attain the 32nd degree in Scottish Rite Masonry. In the Scottish Rite a Master Mason may become a member of three bodies — Lodge of Perfection, Rose Croix, and Consistory. Scottish Rite includes the Degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-third, inclusive. To a non-Mason this may sound like the member is a high ranking Mason, however, this would be a misconception. The highest degree in Freemasonry is the 3rd or Master Mason degree. Degrees as they relate to the Scottish Rite indicate the level of knowledge that a Master Mason has attained. It would be rather awkward to allude to a member as an Act 32 Freemason. In the Scottish Rite, the 33rd degree, an honorary degree, is bestowed on members of the Scottish Rite who have given outstanding service to Freemasonry or to their communities.
The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, whose subordinate bodies are the Grottoes, is an organization by and for Master Masons. While in no way connected with Masonry proper, its membership is restricted absolutely and exclusively to Master Masons in some fun and frolic, it also has its serious side. Its slogan is GOOD FELLOWSHIP, and in contact with our fellow man, this principle is exemplified to a marked degree.
It is a social organization for the Master Mason and all such are welcome to our Enchanted Realm. It encourages renewed interest in the Blue Lodge Field...its activities and attendance. While it is not and makes no claim to be a part of symbolic Craft Masonry, we ever bear in mind that our membership is composed entirely of Master Masons.
In addition to this original and unique ritual with its spectacular ceremonies, there are also many fun units in each Grotto where a Master Mason can find an outlet for his energy and enthusiasm. Almost every Grotto has musical units, drill teams, drum and bugle corps, clown units, choral groups and many other impressively colorful and attention getting aggregations. Other Grottoes meet by the rules of the Old Festive Board staging their meetings around a luncheon or a dinner.
In 1949, the members of the Supreme Council adopted as their International Humanitarian Objective - Aid to the Cerebral Palsy child. A charitable trust known as the Humanitarian Foundation of the Supreme Council, M. O. V. P. E. R. with a board of five Trustees administers the fund of this Trust. Each and every Prophet throughout the Realm pays one dollar per year to this Humanitarian Foundation. At present this Humanitarian Foundation has two important projects. First, they expend thousands of dollars annually through the United Palsy Research Foundation. This money is used exclusively for research purposes and through this research, much has been learned regarding the causes, effects and partial cure for this dreaded affliction. The second project of the Humanitarian Foundation is the Dentistry for the Handicapped Program. This program was instituted to provide the best dental care possible for the handicapped child. These children often require the special dental facilities, which the Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois or the Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio can provide. Transportation for the patient is provided by the sponsoring Grotto or through the Helwig Fund. When the patient is capable of some cooperation with the dentist and does not need surgery, the service can be rendered locally. The Humanitarian Foundation has made this possible through a unique partnership with qualified dentists throughout the country. This local program enables the Grotto to provide dental care to more children.
Among grotto members are many Grand Masters and Past Grand Masters, Governors and ex-Governors of the various states, numerous other Government officials and Masonic civic leaders. Four Presidents of the United States have been members of the Order: Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Gerald R. Ford.
That the Grotto occupies a legitimate place and is doing a wonderful work cannot be denied. It extends the hand of Good Fellowship to all Master Masons, having a smile for all and a frown for none.
What It Is: The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women may belong. Worldwide, there are approximately 1 million members under the General Grand Chapter.
Eastern Star is a social order comprised of persons with spiritual values but it is not a religion. Its appeal rests in the true beauty of the refreshing and character-building lessons that are so sincerely portrayed in its ritualistic work. A deep fraternal bond exists between its members. It is the wholesome relationship of sisterly and brotherly love brought about through high principles exemplified in our lives which makes us near and dear to each other.
While this is an Order composed of people of deep spiritual convictions, it is open to all faiths, except no faith. The personal welfare of our members is vital to all of those in the Eastern Star and it is considered a privilege to help another member whenever we can.
Purposes: The stated purposes of the organization are: Charitable, Educational, Fraternal and Scientific; but there is much more to it than that. Dr. Rob Morris, the Poet Laureate of Masonry, founded the Order using beautiful and inspiring biblical examples of heroic conduct and moral values. These portray the noble principles which should adorn the personal lives of Eastern Star members. Eastern Star strives to take good people and through uplifting and elevating associations of love and service, and through precept and example, build an Order which is truly dedicated to charity, truth and loving kindness.
Projects: Concrete evidence of the charitable nature of the organization as it affects others is the millions of dollars which have been raised within the membership to support national, jurisdictional, and local charities. Many Grand Jurisdictions have homes for their senior members.
The Shrine of North America is known for its colorful parades, circuses and clowns. But there is also a serious side to this international fraternity of approximately 525,000 men belonging to 191 Shrine Temples, or chapters, throughout North America. For 75 years, the Shrine has operated a network of specialized hospitals that treat children with orthopedic problems, burns and spinal cord injuries, up to their 18th birthday, free of charge.
The Shrine was founded in 1872 by a group of 13 men belonging to the Masonic Order. It was originally established to provide fun and fellowship for its members. But as the organization grew, its members decided to dedicate their efforts to helping others by establishing an official Shrine philanthropy — a network of specialized hospitals that have provided expert medical care to more than 600,000 children, free of charge.
Since the first Shriners Hospital opened in 1922, the Shrine has supported what has come to be known as the "World's Greatest Philanthropy." The Shrine and its 22 hospitals, while maintaining separate legal and financial identities, are linked through the Shrine's continuing support of Shriners Hospitals.
The best-known symbol of Shrinedom is the distinctive red fez that Shriners wear at official functions. Because Shriners are men who enjoy life, fun is a large part of the Shrine and the activities that help support the Shrine's philanthropy. Most Shrine Temples sponsor Shrine Clubs and special units, such as the motor corps, band or clown units and many other units of interest. They share in the camaraderie, deep friendships and good fellowship that are all part of being a Shriner.
Job's Daughters is an organization of young women between the ages of 11 and 20 who are related to a Master Mason, and share a common bond. We have members in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and the Philippines We have fun together at activities such as swimming parties, dances, family picnics, slumber parties, miniature golf, marching in parades, travel . . . well, you get the picture. By working closely together, you will make new friends that will last a lifetime. We also help others. Throughout the year, we perform service projects to help our community, the less fortunate, and other charities. We actively support the Hearing Impaired Kids Endowment (HIKE) Fund, which purchases hearing assistive devices for hearing impaired children. We learn leadership. By holding various offices in Job's Daughters, you will gain valuable leadership experience, be a part of a team, and learn democratic principles. Job's Daughters can qualify for various scholarships that are offered on a state-wide and a national level. All Job's Daughters are members of a local chapter called a Bethel. Members of a Bethel elect their own officers, decide their own activities, and plan their own events. In short, Job's Daughters International offers the qualities that today's young women want and need from organizations that earn their commitment ... fun, friendship, helping others, and the chance to learn organizational and leadership skills.
Rainbow is a non-profit, service-oriented organization that teaches girls three basic virtues: Faith in a Supreme Being and other people, having Hope in all that they do, and Charity toward others. The seven colors of the Rainbow are used to represent seven teachings that each member receives on her journey toward the pot of gold.
Red: Love - In all its forms.
Orange: Religion - Though Rainbow is not a religious organization.
Yellow: Nature - Its importance in daily life.
Green: Immortality – An understanding of death as part of life.
Blue: Fidelity - An emphasis on being honest and reliable.
Indigo: Patriotism - Encouraging citizenship.
Violet: Service - The lesson that ties all others together.
Rainbow is open to girls between the ages of 11 and 20, regardless of race, creed, color or national origin. You do not have to be Christian to be a member. You can be assured that the values promoted by Rainbow are strong and basic to many religions. The teachings found in the Rainbow ceremonies are based on Christian scripture, and often quote the sayings of Jesus. However, you do not have to be a Christian to be a Rainbow member. Girls of all faiths are welcome to be members of the organization, if they have a belief in a Supreme Being. No “recruiting” for any Christian organization is included in Rainbow; the teachings reflect morals and values common to many religions.
Through service projects, members learn first hand the joy that comes from helping others. Rainbow teaches its members to be charitable at all times. Many Jurisdictions support a different charity every year. Some charities include: Scottish Rite Hospitals, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.
On the local Assembly level, girls plan and follow through with service projects on an ongoing basis. Members enjoy activities like Christmas caroling at nursing homes, or visiting hospitals and providing a warm smile or touch of the hand. Many members, after their experiences as a Rainbow Girl, continue serving their community, church and home for life.
The Order of the Amaranth is a fraternal organization composed of Master Masons and their properly qualified female relatives. In its teachings, the members are emphatically reminded of their duties to God, to their country and to their fellow beings. They are urged to portray, by precept and example, their belief in the "Golden Rule" and by conforming to the virtues inherent in TRUTH, FAITH, WISDOM and CHARITY they can prove to others the goodness promulgated by the Order.
The extent of its Charitable Work and overall Benevolence is limited only by the opportunities that exist, and the ability to secure adequate funding. Its Philanthropic project is the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation. The flag of the appropriate country is prominently displayed at all meetings creating a strong sentiment of patriotism and devotion to the respective land that we love.
Conspicuously upon the Altar is placed the Holy Bible, the inspired word of God. Its divine truths send forth its sacred luster to all parts of the globe and is used among us as a symbol of the will of God. It reminds us of the omnipresence of the "Almighty" overshadowing us with His Divine Love and dispensing His blessings among us.
The leaves of the Amaranth plant (like the "Laurel") is indicative of distinction and honor, and when formed into the "Amaranthine Wreath" with its never ending circle, is typical of the bond of fraternal friendship which encircles our beloved order, and which has a central place upon our Standard (Ceremonial Flag), surrounding the "Crown and Sword
DeMolay is an organization dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy and productive lives. Basing its approach on timeless principles and practical, hands-on experience, DeMolay opens doors for young men aged 12 to 21 by developing the civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills so vitally needed in society today. DeMolay combines this serious mission with a fun approach that builds important bonds of friendship among members in more than 1,000 chapters worldwide.
DeMolay alumni include Walt Disney, John Wayne, Walter Cronkite, football Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton, legendary Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne, news anchor David Goodnow and many others. Each has spoken eloquently of the life-changing benefit gained from their involvement in DeMolay.