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Scottish Rite Vs. Shriners – What You Need To Know!

The topic of whether the Scottish Rite and Shriners are the same often arises among those interested in Freemasonry. Though they share similarities and connections, these two entities are distinct groups with their own characteristics, goals, and ways of operation.

This article aims to clarify the differences and similarities between the Scottish Rite and Shriners, shedding light on their unique aspects in the world of Freemasonry.

Are Scottish Rite And Shriners The Same?

The Scottish Rite and Shriners are not the same. Although both organizations share a connection to Freemasonry, they have different purposes and structures. The Scottish Rite delves deeper into Masonic philosophy and teachings, and the Shriners promote fun, fellowship, and charitable activities.

Difference Between Scottish Rite and Shriners

The Scottish Rite and Shriners are both organizations within the larger community of Freemasonry, but they have notable differences. The Scottish Rite is one of the largest and most widely practiced Masonic Rites, while Shriners International is a fraternity primarily focused on fun and fellowship. Both organizations promote the Masonic principles of brotherly love, truth, and relief but have specific purposes, rituals, and structures that set them apart.

The Scottish Rite is a concordant body of Freemasonry, which means it is not part of the Craft Lodge but closely associated with it. Members of the Scottish Rite must first be a Master Mason in a Craft Lodge. The Scottish Rite offers additional degrees beyond the first three of Freemasonry, providing its members with further understanding and knowledge about their Masonic journey. The teachings and ceremonies of the Scottish Rite are designed to elaborate on moral, philosophical, and ethical concepts.

Shriners International, on the other hand, is a fraternity within the broader Masonic family that requires its members to be a Master Mason. However, the Shriners have a unique purpose – promoting fun, fellowship, and philanthropy. Shriners are known for their distinctive red fezzes and their support of various charitable activities, most notably, their network of Shriners Hospitals for Children, which provide medical care to children in need. Unlike the Scottish Rite, the rituals and ceremonies of the Shriners do not focus on furthering Masonic teachings but on camaraderie and service to others.

In summary, the Scottish Rite and Shriners are different organizations within Freemasonry, each serving distinct purposes, with the Scottish Rite delving deeper into Masonic philosophy and teachings, and the Shriners promoting fun, fellowship, and charitable activities. Both organizations contribute to the rich tapestry of Freemasonry and provide opportunities for growth and fellowship for their members.

Are Scottish Rite and Shriners Both Part of Freemasonry?

The Scottish Rite and Shriners are closely connected to Freemasonry but serve different purposes within the organization.

The Scottish Rite is an appendant body of Freemasonry, which a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry. It is also concordant, as some of its degrees relate to the degrees of Symbolic (Craft) Freemasonry. The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite is an optional part of Freemasonry and serves as a continuation of the story of the building of Solomon’s Temple that is started in the first three lodge degrees.

On the other hand, the Shriners are not a Masonic organization but require Masonic lodge membership as a prerequisite for joining. All Shriners are Freemasons, but not all Freemasons become Shriners. The Shrine does not confer any degree that continues or enlarges the Masonic degrees; however, it is an affiliated organization that serves to strengthen and uphold the principles of Freemasonry.

To become a Shriner, one must first become a Master Mason, thus establishing the connection between Freemasonry and Shriners International. The fact that all Shriners are Masons reinforces the bond between the two organizations, although they are not the same and serve different functions.

In summary, both the Scottish Rite and Shriners have connections to Freemasonry, yet they are distinct in their purposes and affiliations. Scottish Rite is an appendant body that continues the Masonic teachings, whereas Shriners International is a separate organization requiring Masonic membership but does not confer any additional Masonic degrees.

Significance in Modern Freemasonry

Although their focuses differ, both Scottish Rite and Shriners play important roles in the overarching structure of Freemasonry:

  • Education: The Scottish Rite provides members with the opportunity to delve deeper into the Masonic principles, enhancing their understanding and personal growth.
  • Philanthropy: The Shriners are known for their charitable work, specifically their focus on children’s healthcare and research in the field of medicine.
  • Comradery: Both organizations offer fellowship and opportunities for Freemasons to form bonds with their brethren, sharing a common goal in upholding the values and principles of the craft.

Membership Requirements and Qualifications

Different Requirements to Join the Scottish Rite versus the Shriners

The Scottish Rite is the largest and most widely practiced Masonic Rite, employing a lodge system. To become a member of the Scottish Rite, a person must first be a Master Mason. This means that the candidate should have achieved the highest degree in the Masonic Blue Lodge, which is the third degree or the Master Mason degree.

The Shriners, on the other hand, is a separate fraternity known for its philanthropic activities and for providing support to children’s hospitals. In the past, to become a Shriner, a person had to be either a 32nd-degree Scottish Rite Mason or a Knight Templar in the York Rite. However, within the last 20 years, these requirements have changed, and now all Master Masons are eligible to join the Shriners.

There are some key differences between the Scottish Rite and the Shriners in terms of their membership requirements and qualifications:

Scottish RiteShriners
Must be a Master MasonMust be a Master Mason
No additional degrees requiredPreviously required additional degrees

Both the Scottish Rite and the Shriners require a candidate to be a Master Mason, but the additional requirements to join the Shriners have changed in recent years to make it more accessible for all Master Masons. This illustrates a key difference in the requirements and qualifications for membership between these two organizations.

Can Someone Be a Member of Both the Scottish Rite and the Shriners?

As both the Scottish Rite and the Shriners require their members to be Master Masons first, it is quite common for individuals to be members of both organizations. Being dually affiliated allows members to expand their Masonic experiences and connections, as well as contribute to the distinct missions of each organization.

It is important to note that while both Scottish Rite and Shriners have connections to Freemasonry, they cater to different interests and commitments within the Masonic community. Scottish Rite membership may appeal to those seeking a deeper understanding of Masonic teachings, while Shriners membership often attracts those looking to engage in charitable projects and social events.

Philanthropic and Community Service Activities

Both the Scottish Rite and the Shriners contribute to society through diverse philanthropic and community service activities.

Scottish Rite

The Scottish Rite, particularly the Scottish Rite Foundation, supports a range of philanthropic endeavors, including:

  • RiteCare Scottish Rite Childhood Language Program (SRCLP): This initiative aims to help children with speech and language disorders improve their communication skills.
  • Scholarships: The Scottish Rite Foundation offers scholarships for students pursuing higher education, primarily in the fields of education and medicine.
  • National Disaster Relief: The organization plays a role in assisting those affected by natural disasters in the United States and around the world.


Shriners International takes a different approach to philanthropy by focusing on a specific cause, which is children’s healthcare. The Shriners Hospitals for Children were established in 1922 and are still supported by the fraternity today. They specialize in various pediatric treatments, including orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate surgeries.

Although the Scottish Rite and Shriners have different philanthropic and community service activities, they share a common goal of improving the lives of those in need. Both organizations are committed to making a difference in their communities and ultimately, the world.

Notable Members Throughout History

The Scottish Rite and Shriners organizations have had various distinguished members over the years, playing essential roles in the fraternity and philanthropy.

In the Scottish Rite, one of the prominent members includes Isaac Da Costa, Sr., who became a Deputy Inspector General for South Carolina. He, along with Abraham Forst, Joseph M. Myers, and Barend M. Spitzer, was instrumental in establishing Scottish Rite Freemasonry in South Carolina.

On the Shriners side, the fraternity has seen membership from notable figures like President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was a dedicated Shriner. President Truman and President Ford were also members of the Shriners during their lives, contributing to numerous charitable initiatives led by the organization.

As both organizations comprise Master Masons, some notable members have been part of both the Scottish Rite and Shriners. For example, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was a Scottish Rite Mason and an active Shriner. Aldrin’s accomplishments and still-growing legacy in scientific discovery and exploration have served as an inspiration for both organizations.

Numerous actors, musicians, and athletes have also been proud members of the Scottish Rite and Shriners. These have included John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Red Skelton, contributing positively to the public image of Freemasonry and promoting their philanthropic causes.

Although the Scottish Rite and Shriners are separate entities within the Masonic fraternity, a shared roster of dedicated, accomplished members from various walks of life showcases their impact on society, philanthropy, and the broader Masonic community.