From the Personal Representative (April, 2009)

posted May 14, 2015, 1:54 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 14, 2015, 2:00 PM ]

Brethren and Ladies,

Recently the San Luis Obispo County Scottish Rite Club held their annual installation of officers. I was privileged to be the installing Officer and several other members of the “Northern” reaches of the Valley of San Jose were also in attendance. Brother Jerry Boxer 32° KCCH was installed as President of the club. The following is his acceptance speech. I was impressed by his talk, and think you too, will be. Here it is.
Brethren, Ladies and Distinguished Guests:  It is with a feeling of great honor and also with a feeling of great humility that I again enter into this office; honor because of the trust in me evidenced by being elected to this position, and humility because of the realization of the responsibility it places upon me.  It was six years ago that I first was elected to hold this office, and the Scottish Rite has held a large part of my heart since I first went through the degrees.  As many of you may know, I have recently been having health problems, including 2 major surgeries in the past several months, but I am recovering well.
Masonry, as an institution, is very important to me.  I am following in the footsteps of my father, who was a Scottish Rite Mason, a Shriner, Worshipful Master of his Lodge in Chicago in 1944; and of my brother who was a Mason, raised incidentally, by my father when he was Master.  As with all Masons, my first allegiance to the craft is to the Blue Lodge, the foundation of all Masonry, and the place where the infinite wisdom of the Order was first introduced to me.  It was through the degrees of the Scottish Rite, however, that the depth of meaning of the three degrees of Masonry began to really come to life in my mind. 
Above all, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Masonry is an educational institution. 
Throughout its history it has stood as a beacon guiding us away from the dangers of ignorance.  Our rituals and writings are deeply involved with teaching us about great ideals of morality, philosophy, religion and philanthropy, without being encumbered by sectarian doctrine that would restrict its universality.
As a movement, it seeks not to teach the “truth,” but rather it teaches a way to find the truth, leaving it up to each individual to discover what his own truth is.  It seeks only to be a guide to the commonalities of various philosophical and religious approaches to belief so that we may be more united in our standards of right and wrong, and in our understanding of the reality of God.
There is an interesting quote from the great work by Albert Pike; Morals and Dogma, which states, “Everyone is entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound.  It is only required of him that he shall weigh what is taught, and give it fair hearing and judgment.”  That is a really strange comment from a work that contains the word “dogma,” but it is a clear indication that the symbolism of Freemasonry is open to many viewpoints and the “true” viewpoint is your own understanding. 
This points out the very democracy of Freemasonry, and much of the beauty of the Scottish Rite.  There are moral and philosophical guides presented, but, ultimately, it is the individual who must decide for himself what the important truths really are.
Interestingly enough, there was no connection with Scotland in the development of the organization. It appears that during the 17th and 18th centuries, a time of great political upheaval, many Scottish Masons fled to France, at a time when the ritual was evolving, and lending their name to the movement.  As a matter of fact, the Supreme Council of Scotland was not established until 1846.
What is the overall mission of the Scottish Rite? 
The following can probably best summarize it:  Our overall mission is:
To seek that which is of the most worth in the world;
To exalt the dignity of every person, the human side of our daily activities and the maximum service to humanity;
To aid mankind’s search in God’s universe for identity, for development, and for destiny; and thereby achieve better men in a better world, happier men in a happier world, and wiser men in a wiser world.
Simply stated, our ultimate goal is mankind’s moral, spiritual and intellectual development.
It seems to me, that considering our lofty goals and rich history, we should all be proud of the Rite, and what it offers us as individuals and as members of society.  I know that I am profoundly pleased to still have the 14° ring that was once very proudly worn by my father.
To close, I wish to thank you all for being here and sharing with me and the other officers of this Scottish Rite Club the ceremonies of our installation.
I want to thank the installing officers for their efforts and for all who helped in preparing this afternoon. 
Again, in closing I want to dedicate myself to the lofty principles espoused by the Craft, but, not to take myself too seriously. I try to keep in mind a very sage quotation from the late Hubert Humphrey: “The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.”

Sincerely and fraternally,

Bob Winter - Personal representative of the Deputy of the Supreme Council in California

The Rite Word - April 2009, Volume 3, Issue 4