Freemasons For Dummies
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Freemasons are generally a social bunch who want more and more people to join in their love for their rituals. The mid-1800s saw the addition of more groups joining the Masonic family, including groups for female relatives of Masons, as well as their children.

Called appendant bodies, some of these groups developed to confer more-involved, Masonic-style degrees. Others satisfied the desire for military-style drill teams. Still others were created to allow wives and children to take part in the lodge experience. The following list lays out the groups for adults affiliated with Freemasonry:

  • The York Rite: York Rite is actually a descriptive term used for three cooperative groups (which include the Knights Templar) that confer a total of ten degrees in the United States. The degrees making up the York Rite are considered concordant to the first three Masonic degrees, meaning they confer additional Masonic degrees that enlarge and expand on the first three lodge degrees. You must already be a Master Mason before you can join the York Rite.

  • The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (or the Scottish Rite): Perhaps the most visible and least understood appendant body of Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite isn’t particularly ancient, and it didn’t come from Scotland. It is technically a concordant body, because some of its degrees continue the story of the building of Solomon’s Temple started in the first three lodge degrees. The Scottish Rite appears in a major role in Dan Brown's novel, The Lost Symbol.

  • Shriners international: The Shrine has often been called the “playground of Freemasonry.” Shriners wear red fezzes, ride little cars in parades, sponsor circuses, and do other wacky things to raise money for their 23 children's hospitals in North America.

  • The Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm (simply and affectionately known as the Grotto): Over the years, the Grotto has unfairly earned the unflattering nickname “the poor man’s Shrine,” but built on the premise that men would be better Masons if the solemn teachings from the lodge could be interspersed with a little socializing and fun.

  • The Order of the Eastern Star (OES): Created to be a Masonic-style organization open to women, without simply being a copy, parody, or rip-off of the Masonic degrees. The Order of the Eastern Star is open to men who are Master Masons, and female relatives, spouses, and descendants of Master Masons.

  • The Order of the Amaranth: A group for both Masons and their spouses and female relatives, it’s open to all faiths.

  • The Social Order of the Beauceant: Unusual in American Masonry because it does not require or even admit men. It is an organization of women limited to the wives and widows of Knights Templar.

  • The Ancient Egyptian Order of SCIOTS: Its motto is “Boost One Another.” They’re dedicated to social activities and helping each other in their personal and business lives.

  • High Twelve: An organization for Master Masons who generally meet for an hour once a week to enjoy fellowship and to support Masonic and patriotic causes.

  • National Sojourners: An organization designed especially for Freemasons who have served in active duty of the armed forces of the United States.

  • The Tall Cedars of Lebanon: Founded as a fraternal organization to promote “fun, frolic, and friendship,” and to standardize its ritual. Local chapters are called forests, and members are called tall cedars. Its adopted headgear is a pyramid-shaped hat with a tassel. The degree is purely for fun.

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Christopher Hodapp and Alice Von Kannon are a husband-and-wife team who’ve had a lifelong love affair with the RV lifestyle. Alice grew up with travel trailers, and Chris traveled and worked out of a motorhome for many years as a commercial filmmaker. Veteran RVers, they’ve explored 44 of the 50 U.S. states so far, staying in literally hundreds of campgrounds and parks.

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