This is my first post so bare with me on my questions. I have a couple questions to start then i will go from there.
1. In a previous post the admin said there is no degree higher then 33rd. That being said couldn’t that just be what you are aware of? IMO i would like to think that a group that has been around for as long as the Masons have been some things could be on a need to know basis logicly speaking.
2. The above being said, is there any real answer to any of these questions? How does one know what went on back in the day? Is it all passed down knowledge?
This is where I will start and look forward to hearing a response.
I’m not really sure how to answer that. The whole degree thing is very misunderstood by non-masons and even by some Masons.
First, you have to understand that the 33rd degree is not even associated with regular Masonry. Rather, it is a part of an appendant body that is associated with Masonry called the Scottish Rite. This is a group that some Masons CHOOSE to join and participate in. Others choose to join the York Rite, or the Shriners, or other appending bodies.
For those who choose to join the Scottish Rite, they are able to participate in a system of degrees that is tangential to those in in regular Freemasonry. I myself have done this and have seen degrees 4 through 32. Pretty much that is it. Members attend meetings and work to perform theatrical productions of these degrees for future members. They also continue being active in charity and fraternal aspects as well. Occasionally a member will exhibit exemplary behavior in the areas of service to their community and their fraternity, and these members are presented a form of recognition for this….which is called the 33rd degree. This is an honorary title.
That’s it. I suppose you’d have to trust us when we say that if there were other degrees, we’d certainly know about them. Since the degrees in the Scottish Rite are not a rank or a hierarchy, it really wouldn’t make sense to ask if there are any clandestine “higher degrees”.
As for your question about there being any “real” answers….I like that question. Of course, there’s no real answer to that one either :) There are things about the history of Freemasonry that have been lost over time, but there are also many things that we can answer very concretely for you. This is true about everything. The main point here is that I think there is a small group out there that believes that Masons are out to deceive people, that we are hiding something, or that there are a small group of “secretly higher up than the rest of us Masons” who are running the show without any of us knowing. It is problematic to give proof that this is not the case, but that doesn’t make it so.
For example, can you prove that there isn’t a giant invisible elephant floating in the air about a half a mile above your house? You probably can’t prove that he isn’t there, but that doesn’t mean that by default, he must be there. It just means that there are some things that you have to know about from experience. From experience you know that there is no elephant because at some point you would have had giant invisible elephant droppings landing all over your yard. From experience I know there are no “higher and hidden” degrees because I know so many Masons on a very close and personal level that it would be very hard to miss this supposed clandestine activity.
So yes, getting answer to these questions can be hard, but there comes a point where you need to accept that we would gain nothing from decpetion, and only wish for people to understand what it is that we are all about. If we were hiding something, we certainly wouldn’t be putting ourselves out here like this.