Scottish Rite Mystery Revealed

This afternoon I attended a luncheon at the Scottish Rite Temple in DuPont Circle. This particular order of the Freemasons has a strong connection to The George Washington University, where I attend school and provides many fellowships for various graduate and undergraduate programs. I was fortunate enough to receive such a fellowship. This was partially due to the fact that my uncle (whom I was named after) was a 33 degree Scottish Rite Mason, as well as the fact that I was embarking on a career in public service.

This was my second luncheon at the temple, my first being last year as it is a two year fellowship. Guests of the Temple are greeted in the main hall that is decked out in lovely woods and marble, feeling similarly to many grand places of worship. There is special attention to the number “3”, which is seen throughout the building in a variety of ways.

We are greeted formally by the Sovereign Grand Commander, Ronald “Ronnie” Seale, who is the epitome of a southern gentleman complete with bowtie and a soft spoken drawl. Commander Seale’s humor is peppered with humility and charm, doing his best to put guests at ease. “We are not in any hurry today, except that we are.”

Luncheon is followed by a brief program and then a tour of the Temple. The big mystery about the Freemasons is that there is no big mystery. They can best be summed up as a group of benefactors to increase the amount of good that is done throughout the world. They hold no one singular religious viewpoint, but pride themselves on the fact that they are a spiritual organization. They have special rituals and practices, but as Commander Seale points out “You can find that on the internet.” The tour is filled with architectural trivia, historical reference, and some unique anecdotes – like the drunk naked man, who somehow made it to the main ceremony room that sits as the Temple’s crown.

In truth the members of the Scottish Rite, are simply a fraternity focused on doing good and nurturing those who want to make a difference. I am so grateful for their belief in me and my graduate career. I hope that I can impart their kindness to someone else someday.

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Corey McCarren

I’ve always wanted to go into one of those buildings. The Freemasons have a lot of great scholarship programs for relatives of fraternity members. As much as I’d like to believe that National Treasure had it right, I have a feeling it, as you’ve stated, is simply a fraternity focused on doing good.