The Rite Word - Articles

The Rite Word is an official publication of the Valley of San Jose, Orient of California of the A.A.S.R. of Freemasonry, published monthly except July and August, at the San Jose Scottish Rite Center, 2455 Masonic Drive, San Jose, CA 95125.  Phone # 408-978-7483

From the Venerable Master (March 2019)

posted Mar 4, 2019, 7:49 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

In March, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a time which honors the patron saint of Ireland.  Much of his life is the subject of conjecture, and even the dates of his life are uncertain, other than that he lived in the mid to late 5th Century.   Born in Great Britain and originally taken as a slave to Ireland, he subsequently escaped and later returned to the Emerald Isle as a missionary.  He later served as a ishop, and has been termed, at one point, the bishop of Armagh, Primate of all Ireland. 

St. Patrick is credited with using the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the holy trinity, which explains in large part the use of the shamrock as a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.  Of course, the most famous legend surrounding St. Patrick is his banishment of all snakes from Ireland.  Scientific evidence tells us that there never were any snakes in post-glacial Ireland, but that has never deterred the legend from perpetuating itself.  Many theories exist as to how he became associated with this legend, but none can be proven over any other. 

St. Patrick is buried at Down Cathedral, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. This has special significance to me, as it is the country from which my ancestors emigrated in the early 19
th century.  

March 17, widely accepted as the date of his death, marks the annual recurrence of St. Patrick’s Day.  Throughout Ireland, it is a day of solemnity, and a holy day of obligation, but also a day of celebration.  Feasts and parades are held in his honor each year. 

In the United States, of course, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate one’s Irish heritage – whether or not one is actually Irish.  It is a festive occasion, a day of libations and joy, a day for the “wearin’ of the green”, and of less than successful attempts to speak with an Irish accent.  It is, to put it simply, a reason to have a party.

So be with us at our March stated meeting, as we take the chance to celebrate the Irish in all of us.

Erin go Bragh (Ireland Forever)


From the Wise Master (March 2019)

posted Mar 4, 2019, 7:47 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Sometimes it is necessary to step back and observe to see the truth laid in front of us. Subtle, creeping changes (sometimes intentional) in socially accepted norms, changes our beliefs and actions, thus slowly changing who we are, what we believe in and how we supposed to act. As we slowly accept a new normal especially promoted with social acceptance, we tent to react, instead of act within our values and virtues which we have committed to live by.

Man is a social animal. Man can learn many behaviors and when man acquires the socially excepted behaviors, he is considered a fit and proper member of the regularly organized society.

Modern man is facing a challenge called Social Engineering while seeking Masonic Wisdom. Social Engineering is the use of centralized planning in an attempt to manage social change and regulate the future development and behavior of a society. Social Engineering was only theoretical for large scale implementation until social media made it possible for reaching out to large unquestioning masses to regulate behavior of society, thus managing change in certain direction especially focusing on individual rights and not so much on individual obligations but obligations of others.

A Man’s mind is cultivated through teachings, examples and social acceptance which then becomes a habit in daily life. In order to minimize the influence of Social Engineering, a man must be selective and questioning of information, teachings, socially accepted and redefined (popular and perishable) good and evil.

All seeing eye reminds us. The Deity knows all of our throughs and actions; our behaviors are driven by purpose within Masonic Virtues and formed by the square and the compass. Remember, Circumstances do not make the man; they merely reveal him.

With that, I would like to refocus on Masonic Wisdom and quote Albert Pike from Morals and Dogma:

“The obligations of our Ancient Brethren of the Rose were to fulfill all the duties of friendship, cheerfulness, charity, peace, liberality, temperance and chastity: and scrupulously to avoid impurity, haughtiness, hatred, anger, and every other kind of vice.”

 “The Degree of Rose teaches three things; --the unity, immutability and goodness of God; the immortality of the Soul; and the ultimate defeat and extinction of evil and wrong and sorrow, by a Redeemer or Messiah, yet to come, if he has not already appeared. It replaces the three pillars of the old Temple, with three that have already been explained to you,--Faith [in God, mankind, and man's self], Hope [in the victory over evil, the advancement of Humanity, and a hereafter], and Charity [relieving the wants. and tolerant of the errors and faults of others]. To be trustful, to be hopeful, to be indulgent; these, in an age of selfishness, of it opinion of human nature, of harsh and bitter judgment, are the most important Masonic Virtues, and the true supports of every Masonic Temple. And they are the old pillars of the Temple under different names. For he only is wise who judges others charitably; he only is strong who is hopeful; and there is no beauty like a firm faith in God, our fellows and ourself.”

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, feel free to contact me.



From the Commander of Kadosh (March 2019)

posted Mar 4, 2019, 7:43 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

After joining the fraternity, a Master Mason soon discovers the amazing wealth of additional opportunities to learn about and to participate in Freemasonry. While there is no Masonic degree more important than that of Master Mason, there is a long tradition— almost as old as Freemasonry—of “high degrees” that expand upon and elaborate the teachings and lessons of the first three degrees. Enthusiastic Masons eager to learn and to participate more are prime candidates for Masonry beyond the Third Degree.

– Scottish Rite Conferral  –

The conferral of degrees in the Scottish Rite is quite different from the first Three Degrees you received in your local Blue Lodge.

• Conferral is traditionally during a 1, 2 or 4 day Reunion (our term for a new class of initiates) usually in the Spring and Fall.

• One person is chosen to represent everyone in the receiving of the degrees.

• Degrees are conferred as theatrical events before candidates as an audience rather than as a participatory ceremony.

· These theatrical presentations may involve stages with elaborate scenery and costumes.

The American Scottish Rite is a collection of degrees that build upon the legends of the Blue Lodge.

• The rite offers a total of 30 degrees beyond 3° Master Mason.

• Each degree is based on an idea of progressive ethical awareness and self-knowledge through self-reflection and dramatic allegories.

 The Scottish Rite degrees give insight to the expansion of Masonic legends.

• The Lodge of Perfection, 4°–14°, is concerned with events following the tragic incident of Hiram Abiff

• The 15° and 16° explain the return of Zerubbabel from Babylon to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem.

• The 17° and 18° center around re-instituting the word under the Law of Love as taught by Jesus and other religious reformers.

• The 19°–30° culminate with the Degree of Knight Kadosh, a spiritual knighthood similar to the Knight Templar, and develop the Scottish Rite’s myth of Masonic succession from crusading knights.

• The 31° teaches us that it is human to err. That it is far nobler to sin & repent than to have never fallen from grace in one’s life.

• In the 32°, Master of the Royal Secret, the candidate is taught equilibrium in the Southern Jurisdiction.


From the Master of Kadosh (March 2019)

posted Mar 4, 2019, 7:40 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

If you came to Installation of the 2019 Officers for our Scottish Rite, Valley of San Jose, you would have noticed that the alter had four items representing our belief in God:  the Bible, the Book of Mormon, a Torah, and a Koran. Four beautifully framed Charters were also present.   Thank you General Secretary Gregg Hall.  This year our Valley is making an extra effort to update our building facilities and expand our “Rite Care” child language center.

The Consistory is concerned about justice and recognition that all people must judge their own weaknesses and failings before judging others.  Justice must be accompanied with compassion and understanding.  It is also focused on the difference between our physical and spiritual beings.  Your spirit can overcome your self-interest through struggle.

I am very proud to represent our Valley as Master of the Consistory.  As a Mason, family man and Jew.  Seeing the Torah on the alter meant a lot .  Thank you.  My birth father was Protestant, my stepfather was Jewish. Both were Masons.   I see no real conflict with Protestant and Jewish beliefs and Masonry.  Wanting to do right by men and protect wives and children, upholding God, helping others and supporting our Country,

Extra support for Rite Care really helps.  Knowing children with speech impediments can overcome much of their hearing weaknesses will help them to become the best people they can be.  Better speech helps children to reach for the best future they can have.  Not just focusing on their weakness, they can focus on their achievements.   Our son would never have gotten a good job at Costco if he didn’t believe in he could do the job well, despite his hearing and speech difficulties.  Overcoming physical weaknesses and lack of confidence, such as speech problems changes children’s futures.


From the Chief Knight (March, 2019)

posted Mar 4, 2019, 7:37 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Are you a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason?

If you are, and would like to help serve the Valley of San Jose, by helping to provide the stage crew for the various Degrees performances, promoting membership within the Scottish Rite, providing Greeters at the door for Scottish Rite Events, participating in parades, performing arch of steel at special functions, escort our flags, etc.

Then the Valley of San Jose’s Knights of St Andrew Chapter is the group for you to join. We all have a blast working together to serve our Valley.

 If you are interested in joining the Knights of St Andrew Chapter, please talk to any member of the Chapter or you can reach out to our Chapter’s Secretary, Angelo Encarnacion at email:


From the Venerable Master (February 2019)

posted Feb 10, 2019, 4:46 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

In February we celebrate love, and honor our loved ones.  This is especially true in Freemasonry, as we take this opportunity to honor our sweethearts.  It is the tradition of the San Jose Scottish Rite, at our February stated meeting, to welcome the widows of our members, and let them know how important they are to us.  Please make sure that you are there to help us show our beautiful sweethearts how much we care.


It is not too early to start planning for the Spring Reunion.  We are hoping for a large class this year, so talk to your lodge brothers about Scottish Rite, and get their petitions.  It usually doesn’t talk a lot of selling to convince a Mason to join Scottish Rite, but it does take a conversation.  So engage and help us grow our membership.


You have no doubt heard about our upcoming trip to Philadelphia this year, coming up September 22-29. This will be a fun and exciting trip, as we tour a fabulous city, and see some fascinating historical sites.  See the flyer in this issue of the Rite Word and sign up for the trip.  It won’t be the same without you.  Please see trip information later in this newsletter.


I’m looking forward to a great Scottish Rite year, and hope you will be an active part of it.  I hope to see you soon.


From the Wise Master (February 2019)

posted Feb 10, 2019, 4:44 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Dear Brethren,

I am honored and excited about serving you as your Wise Master this year. Also, I want to sincerely thank Illustrious Charles Cowden 33rd’ for his mentorship, support and guidance to his officers in 2018 in preparation of our respective offices this year. It will be a difficult year to top Illustrious Cowden’s contributions, formal and social events, leadership and services to San Jose Chapter of Knight Rose Croix last year. But I am confident that he will be there for us with good guidance when we are seeking some wisdom.


In 2019, San Jose Chapter of Knights Rose Croix will continue to host our important events for our Valley, our brethren and their family/guests; our Sweethearts Night to recognize all those special Ladies in our life in February, Maundy Thursday in April, Honor our new Masters in May and finally but not least the Military Recognition Night in November.

Come and join us in February to make our Sweethearts Night a remarkable one and show your support to our special Ladies in our life. Without their understanding and support, our journey in Freemasonry would have been a difficult one while trying balance work, family and our service as men.


From the Commander of Kadosh (February 2019)

posted Feb 10, 2019, 4:43 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

It is with great pleasure and humility that I want to thank the leaders and members of San Jose Scottish Rite for electing me to serve as your Commander of Kadosh.  I am truly honored by the trust you have instilled in me and I am very excited to get to work.

I want to especially thank the Past Commander, Brandon Duenas, for allowing me to serve as his 1st Lieutenant in the Council of Kadosh.

As I take on this new role, I also want to congratulate the Leaders of the other Bodies that make up the San Jose Valley of Scottish Rite who were elected to serve with me for the current ensuing Masonic year.

Special thanks to our line officers:  Richard Fisher, Charles  Cowden, Jack Harris and Rick Bralette.  Brethren, Let’s do this together, set the stage for a remarkable year and  for those who will follow us.

I know that I have big shoes to fill and promise that I will give it my all.   I am thrilled to be working with such a great group of elected officers from our Councils and Blue Lodges. I would like to thank and applaud all those that came before me, laid the path and am in awe of your continuous, tireless efforts. ​ THANK YOU!

To the members and sideliners this will not be possible without your support and participation.  “Investing in Our Future” please attend gatherings in large numbers, engage in our discussions, planning and contribute with you thoughts, suggestions and constructive criticisms.  Let your voice be heard for the advancement of our Valley.  If you have not to do so lately, we encourage you to reach out to our brothers for information about upcoming meetings and social opportunities of your respective lodges.

Doing It Together​,


From the Master of Kadosh (February 2019)

posted Feb 10, 2019, 4:41 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

I am honored to be the Master of Kadosh, San Jose Consistory for 2019.

I come from a Masonic family.  My father belonged to Scottish Rite in Oakland.  In 1974 I joined Masonry and became a Master Mason of California #1 in San Francisco, with my father as Master of the Lodge and my brother as 3rd base.  My father introduced me to Scottish Rite in Oakland.  However,  I began my Scottish Rite degrees in San Francisco and completed my degrees in San Jose.

Our charity, Rite Care, touches my heart as our son was born deaf.  Learning to speak and to read lips was difficult for him.  Although his oral language needs were addressed by special classes/school and therapists, we became very aware of the needs of children with speech disabilities and all the repercussions.  It affects them all their lives.

In the 90’s, my wife, Sandy, and I participated in a Los Altos Masonic Tour of England and Scotland lead by Brother Ed Fenton.  During our tour we visited Scotland and England’s Grand Lodges, Templar churches, very old English Masonic Lodge Rooms and toured the Rosslyn Chapel before it became so popular.  The Masonic influence Great Brittan has had on the US is significant and has made us very aware of how deep our Masonic roots are.

The more one learns of Masonry and Scottish Rite, the more you want to learn.

Giles Morgan’s Freemasonry, Its History and Myths Revealed goes into detail about how Masonry has been the victim of international bigotry and intolerance.  Of particular note was Gabriel Jogand-Poges, writing as Leo Taxil in the 1880’s Paris, France.  He became a Mason, but was eventually rejected by the Brotherhood.  He adopted Catholicism and wrote a number of books exposing the secrets of Masonry, portraying “Freemasons as satanic and devil worshipers who engaged is the most appalling and debased behavior during their rites and rituals”  His works were very popular in Europe.  His works on Masonry were also anti-Semitic and ‘portrayed the ceremonies as fantastical and demonic.”  He wrote that the punishment for Masons “who betrayed the Brotherhood secrets was potential death.”  He concluded that the Masons must be ready to commit murder.  The Pope Leo XIII rewarded the author with a special honor of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher for his attacks on Masonry.

I am very proud to be a Member of Masonry and Scottish Rite.


From the Chief Knight ( February 2019)

posted Feb 10, 2019, 4:38 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

The Most Powerful Freemasons Ever.  By Eric Goldschein and Robert Johnson

Including one third of the U.S. presidents. Freemasons have over six-million members worldwide.  The following is a list of some powerful members -- who took the secret vow.

Benjamin Franklin became a member of Saint John's Lodge in Philadelphia, a few years after starting his own society -- the Leathern Apron Club

George Washington performed Mason rites when breaking ground at the Capitol

Mozart became a Mason and composed 600 pieces of music

Simón Bolívar- was a 33rd degree mason- South American liberator and political leader

Mark Twain joined a St. Louis lodge

Winston Churchill contributed to Freemasonry his entire life, along with being a two time British Prime Minister and honorary citizen of the United States

Franklin D. Roosevelt was member

J. Edgar Hoover  became a Master Mason by age 25, became a Thirty-Third Degree Inspector General Honorary in 1955, and was given the Grand Cross of Honor -- the highest recognition by the Scottish Rite -- in 1965.

Earl Warren was one of five Masonic judges

Jesse Jackson played an active role in his lodge

John Elway is a perpetual lifetime member, a two-time Super Bowl champion

Other big names include:

John Jacob Astor, Andrew Jackson, William "Bud" Abbott, Salvador Allende, Benedict Arnold, Nat King Cole, Samuel Colt, Duke Ellington, James Naismith, Scottie Pippen, Michael Richards, all seven Ringling brothers, Strom Thurmond, Shaquille O'Neal, Paul Revere, Oscar Wilde, Denton T. "Cy" Young, and John Wayne -- to name a few.

Check out Wikipedia's full list of notable Freemasons

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