The Scottish Rite Master Craftsman Program

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB. Robert Johnson 32° 

A search for further light. It’s what we were all after when we joined additional rites within the craft. York, Scottish and various Knights abound. After joining the Scottish Rite NMJ back in the fall of 2012, I had the privilege of sitting at a table with Scottish Rite Brothers from New Orleans. 

At that time I didn’t know there were two jurisdictions. The Brothers told me that if I wanted further light in the Scottish Rite, that I should check out something called the Scottish Rite Master Craftsman Program. Many of you reading this now know already what it is, some have taken it and even fewer have finished it. 

In short, the Master Craftsman Program is a correspondence (by mail) education course designed to further your understanding the degrees in the Scottish Rite and the mysteries therein contained. How do you take the course? The answer to that is simple, you go to www.scottishrite.org and purchase the course for thirty-five bucks.

What do you get for thirty-five bucks? You get the five inch thick Scottish Rite Ritual and Monitor (yours to keep), a nice folder to keep your packets and information in and you get the first quiz. The idea is that you will do these quizzes in an open book fashion. When you finish the first quiz, you slide it into the addressed envelope and slap a stamp on it. When the folks at the Master Craftsman Program receive your quiz, it is graded and sent back to you along with an answer sheet which explains where you could have found the answers in that case you missed any. You also get your next quiz. 

The process continues in this fashion until you complete quiz number six. Upon completion you get a nice lapel pin (the true wage of a Master Mason) and a certificate. Correspondence courses in general have an extremely low rate of completion. We feel that since we have all the time in the world, we let other things take priority. This was the case for me. My first quiz was graded at the end of 2013 and I just finished the course in January 2015. My advice to you who might want to take this course is to not let it sit around. Get it done. 

I should mention here that the program is hosted and put on by the Southern Jurisdiction. What does that mean for us in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction? It means that you will, indeed, still be able to take the course. It also means, do not expect it to make any sense to you unless you've seen the SJ degrees. Having said that, I don’t want my NMJ brothers to be discouraged from taking the course. After all, you do get the ritual monitor so all the answers you will need are contained within. I also cannot stress this enough, in addition to having the Scottish Rite ritual and monitor (which you get for free when you take the course), spend some money and buy, A Bridge to Light. It is plainly written and highly recommended. It will aid in your search for answers in this course immensely. 

When you finish MC I (Master Craftsman #1) there are additional courses offered. Master Craftsman II, is focussed on the same as the first course but this one is much more in depth. After you complete part II, there is Master Craftsman III which is something I find completely interesting. You see, MC III is based on the Blue Lodge or the first three degrees in our primary lodges. Finally our good friend and Brother, Art DeHoyos is, I believe, is putting together MC IV which will focus on the book, Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike (the Godfather of Masonry). Currently I’m just starting MC II, and I do have every intention of completing all the Master Craftsman Programs although admittedly, I will not be looking forward to part IV. Morals and Dogma has done one thing over and over, which is put me to sleep. I’m joking of course, but MC IV is sure to be a difficult series of quizzes. 

So, given all this info I hope you all decide to jump in and start the Master Craftsman Program. I also urge you to power through and get it done. Lastly, when you purchase the program, they will ask you if you want to round your purchase up to the next dollar to help the House of the Temple restoration. I want you to say "yes". 

Have fun in your studies, and if you get stuck on part one anywhere, shoot me an email, I can help!

~RHJ


Bro. Robert Johnson, 32° is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He is the Master of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 and Education officer for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council, Knights Templar, AMD, The Illinois Lodge of Research and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago as well as a charter member of the Society of King Solomon, a charity organization run by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is also a cohost of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays.

5 comments:

  1. MC2 requires you to have taken MC1, but MC3 (or Master Craftsman: Symbolic Lodge) can be taken at any time, so guys looking to get an education specifically about the Blue Lodge don't have to take the "Scottish Rite SJ" specific courses first. I would also point out that the course is open to anyone (no membership requirement), so there are certain things that won't be discussed...

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  2. It may be worth noting that the SR has modified the program a little bit recently. There are 3 programs now, the first being the Ritual and History one that utilizes the Monitor and Bridge to Light. Then there is the blue lodge one utilizing Esoterika. And finally the philosophy one using Morals and Dogma.

    I completed the first one over the spring summer. Often the waiting for the next quiz was the longest part. I have just started Moral and Dogma program, and like how the quizzes come in a pack with the initial shipment. Will definitely make it quicker.

    Finally, I must agree that it is easy to put this type of program on the back burner and forget about it. Setting aside a little time each week to work on this makes it manageable and keeps you on track.

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  3. I recently completed the Scottish Rite, Master Craftsman on May 9,2016 this makes number 4 of courses I have taken. I found it very challenging at times too much challenging, a lot of written assay's. It took me 3 months, and two inks pens. Loots of time d If are a truly a Mason in heart this so much information's you will be totally blown away. Do not give up, work and time you will be the only one in your Body has completed it.

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  4. I am taking the Symbolic Lodge course. This is their recommended first course now, and in any case, being in MA I am not familiar with the SJ degrees. I've just done one quiz, and I have to say it is fascinating. I read Pike's introductory chapter in Esoterika and I had a big grin on my face the whole time. If some of the PMs in my lodge heard me raise some of the questions that Pike raises, they would be scandalized. I like that he questions just about everything, and pulls no punches.

    I did send in my first quiz two weeks ago, and I must admit that I am impatient to get the next one. If I were to suggest an improvement to the program, it is that email addresses be use for notification. I have no idea if and when they received my quiz. Having no idea when to expect the next quiz, I don't know at what point to worry if it was lost in the mail. I am also somewhat bothered by the fact that the AASR SJ website gives and email address for any questions you may have, but despite sending an email 3 weeks ago with a question, I have not received a response. I don't expect instant responses (people are volunteering their own time, after all), but it shouldn't be more than a few days. Otherwise, don't offer the email address for questions.

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