May 2013 Regional Orient Membership Ambassador Message

posted May 26, 2015, 8:49 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 26, 2015, 8:50 PM ]
Ancient Craft Masonry ("Blue Lodge"), the Scottish Rite, the Royal Arch, Cryptic Rite and Knight Templarism: each has one its own laws, rules, and regulations, written and 
unwritten.  All of these, when viewed as a single subject, comprise Masonic jurisprudence. As in civil jurisprudence where Federal, State, County and City laws differ, in Freemasonry each Rite has its own jurisprudence, and inside each Rite its local or constituent bodies have their by-laws. Nevertheless, as in civil law, Masonic jurisprudence is in substance the same set of fundamental laws.
This fundamental principle should be remembered when the rules and regulations governing individual Scottish Rite members are considered. Individual Scottish Rite membership is an office:  each member has his own place to sit, his own time to act or speak, his own duties to perform, his own rights and privileges, his own regalia and his own responsibility. His title as a 32° Scottish Rite Mason is significant and as much a title as Venerable Master, Senior Warden or Marshal of Ceremonies.
Unlike the member of a club or a society, there is nothing fluid or uncertain in a Scottish Rite Mason's activities.  He may be volunteering his time and efforts, but he has also agreed to carry out certain duties as a Scottish Rite Mason, including to pay dues, to vote, to take part in discussions,  to obey when instructed or ordered by the Master, to give relief, to visit the sick, to answer the Sign of Distress, and to hold office if in his Brethrens' judgment he ought to do so.
A member, solely in his capacity as a member, also has his own designated right of power as a Scottish Rite Mason. The laws, rules, and regulations by which he is governed appear on the surface to be little more than restrictions and restraints, as if in the eyes of the Fraternity he were "merely a member." However, if those rules and regulations are analyzed, and if they are observed in action, one will find that their grand purpose is to guarantee that no officer, custom, or set of circumstances shall interfere with a member's freedom—his freedom to act, his rights, his duties, or his power.

Durward C. Ayre 32° KCCH, MC,  Regional Orient Membership Ambassador for the Valleys of San Jose, 
Fresno and San Francisco in California