Famous 33rd Degree Masons: Elite Members And Their Influence

Freemasonry, the largest fraternal organization in the world, boasts many famous members. But do you know which ones are 33rd degree Masons?

In this comprehensive look into Freemasonry’s most privileged rank—the 33rd degree—I’ll introduce you to its most renowned members who have influenced pivotal moments in history.

Ready for an intriguing journey across centuries? Let’s go!”

Understanding Freemasonry

Freemasonry is a global fraternity that has stood the test of time for over five centuries, boasting more than six million members worldwide. This organization draws its roots from the stonemason guilds of medieval Europe and combines those ancient traditions with philosophical teachings.

Its rich history speaks volumes about how societies evolve, and it continues to capture the attention of modern researchers and history enthusiasts.

The craft’s symbolism, drawn largely from architectural tools used in masonry work – like the square and compass – carries profound metaphorical meanings revolving around personal growth, moral standards, virtue, equality, and charity among others.

Freemasons progress through three primary degrees: Entered Apprentice; Fellowcraft; Master Mason each representing different levels of personal development within their system.

The much-coveted 33rd Degree in Masonry stands as a symbol of not only mastery but also significant contributions to humanity.

The Significance of the 33rd Degree in Masonry

In the Masonic hierarchy, achieving the 33rd degree is a high honor conferred upon members who have made significant contributions to society or to Freemasonry in general. It’s an honorary degree granted by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, one of several appendant bodies within Freemasonry.

The rank reflects immense dedication and commitment as it requires years of involvement and progressive advancement through Masonic teachings.

The number ’33’ itself holds symbolic significance in numerology and religious contexts, often associated with spiritual awareness and enlightenment. In this context, 33rd Degree Masons are considered ‘Illuminated’, bearers of tremendous responsibility.

Lights shining on their wisdom guide those under their mentorship while influencing major societal issues too, as evidenced by many influential figures throughout history being 33rd Degree Masons.

Therefore obtaining this revered status transcends conventional understanding; it mirrors a lifetime dedicated to promoting brotherhood, charity, and personal development – core values that Freemasonry hails since time immemorial!

Read more: Understanding The Degrees of Freemasonry

Famous 33rd Degree Masons

Harry Truman, Benjamin Franklin, Simón Bolívar, Buzz Aldrin, and J. Edgar Hoover – these are just a few of the famous 33rd degree Masons who have left an indelible mark on history. Now, we’ll discover the secrets behind their Masonic membership and how it shaped their contributions to society.

Note that there are an estimated 160,000 members of the Scottish Rite worldwide, only around 4,000 hold this distinguished 33rd degree. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, we will only be exploring a selection of the most prominent individuals who have attained this prestigious rank.

Harry Truman: The 33rd President and Freemason

Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, held a long and deep-rooted connection with Freemasonry, one that extended far beyond his presidency. Truman’s journey in Masonry began in 1909, and his passion for the fraternity led him to the esteemed 33rd degree, a rank he achieved in 1945.

His Masonic values profoundly influenced his approach to leadership. Truman’s presidency was marked by his commitment to equality and fairness, principles inherent in Masonic teachings. During his tenure, he advocated for civil rights and social justice, echoing the Masonic ideals of brotherhood and universal equality.

Truman also held various leadership roles within the Masonic fraternity, including the prestigious position of Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri. He remains the only U.S. President to have served as a Grand Master, a testament to his devotion to Freemasonry.

The role of Freemasonry in Truman’s life and leadership offers valuable insights into how these ancient teachings can shape world leaders and, by extension, the course of history.

Truman’s legacy, as both a president and a Freemason, is a powerful reminder of the significant impact that Freemasonry has had on influential figures throughout history.

Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father and Freemason

Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers, was more than just an influential statesman and inventor. He also played a significant role in the Freemasons as a member of Saint John’s Lodge in Philadelphia.

His Masonic history is intertwined with his contribution to forming our nation during the Revolutionary War era.

As a Leather Apron Club member too, he propagated principles akin to those of Freemasons, promoting fraternity and virtue over conflict and malice.

Combining intellectual prowess with Masonic principles, Franklin helped shape American History in more ways than we might realize.

The integral part that this illustrious 33rd-degree mason played within such secret societies underlines their importance throughout crucial periods of historic event formation.

Simón Bolívar: Liberation and Masonry

Simón Bolívar, the iconic South American liberator, was not only a visionary leader but also a 33rd degree Mason.

His involvement in Freemasonry is a testament to his commitment to personal development and the values of brotherhood and charity that Freemasonry promotes.

Bolívar’s membership in the Masonic Lodge “Lautaro” played a significant role in shaping his revolutionary ideals and guiding him throughout his journey towards independence from Spanish rule.

As one of the most prominent figures in Latin American history, Bolívar’s contributions to liberation movements continue to inspire generations worldwide.

Buzz Aldrin: A Mason’s Journey to the Moon

Buzz Aldrin, a name synonymous with space exploration, is renowned for being one of the first men to walk on the moon.

However, what many may not know is that Aldrin is also a 33rd Degree Mason, a rank he attained within the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

Aldrin’s Masonic journey began in 1955, at Oak Park Lodge No. 864 in Alabama, and it was a journey that would quite literally take him to the stars.

Interestingly, Aldrin took a Masonic flag with him on the Apollo 11 mission, symbolically extending Masonic influence beyond our planet.

Aldrin’s Masonic beliefs had a profound impact on his approach to his NASA career and life.

The values of brotherhood and integrity, central to Masonic teachings, were reflected in Aldrin’s commitment to teamwork during the moon mission.

He believed in unity and cooperation as a crew, working together for the benefit of all mankind – principles reminiscent of Masonic teachings.

The fact that a 33rd Degree Mason was one of the first men to walk on the moon underscores the far-reaching influence of Freemasonry.

Aldrin’s contributions to space exploration and his adherence to Masonic principles serve as yet another example of how the teachings of Freemasonry have permeated even the most advanced sectors of human achievement.

J. Edgar Hoover: Master Mason at 25

As a young man, J. Edgar Hoover embarked on his journey as a Freemason and quickly ascended through the ranks of the secretive society. At the tender age of 25, he became a Master Mason, displaying an impressive level of dedication and commitment to the craft.

Throughout his career, Hoover received numerous accolades from the Masonic order for his contributions and achievements. His involvement in Freemasonry undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping his character and values as he went on to become one of the most influential figures in American law enforcement history.

It is truly remarkable how such a young individual could make such an impact within this ancient fraternity.

Other Notable Members

Some people claim that historical figures like George Washington, Mark Twain, John Elway, Jesse Jackson, Thurgood Marshall, etc… were 33rd degree Freemasons.

However, it is essential to approach these claims with caution and verify their accuracy, as some information about Freemasonry and its members can be speculative or misleading.

Honorary Members of the Supreme Council

Honorary members of the Supreme Council include individuals who have been recognized for their contributions to Freemasonry both before and after 1980.

Members Inducted from 1980 to the Present

NameYear of InductionNotable Contribution
Jesse Jackson1987Civil Rights Activist and former Presidential candidate
John Elway2002Noted American footballer and General Manager of Denver Broncos
Silvio Berlusconi1993Former Prime Minister of Italy and Media Tycoon

As evident from the table, these men have etched their names in the annals of history, while upholding the principles and virtues of Freemasonry. Their achievements continue to inspire the current and future generations of Freemasons.

Members Coroneted Prior to 1980

NameYear CoronetedPublic RoleContribution to Freemasonry
Benjamin Franklin1761Founding Father, Inventor, WriterOne of the earliest Masons, his philosophical ideals continue to shape Freemasonry.
George Washington1788First President of the United StatesHis leadership continues to inspire Masons worldwide.
Simón Bolívar1804Libertador of South AmericaHis principles of freedom and equality are fundamental to the Masonic traditions.
Winston Churchill1901Prime Minister of the United KingdomHis unwavering courage and resilience are qualities admired by Masons.
Franklin D. Roosevelt193032nd President of the United StatesHis long-standing commitment to public service resonates with the Masonic ideals of charity and brotherhood.
J. Edgar Hoover1955First Director of the FBIHis dedication to justice aligns with the Masonic values of truth and integrity.

Each of these members had a significant influence on the Masonic fraternity and society as a whole, exemplifying the values of brotherhood, charity, and personal development. Their influence continues to resonate within the Masonic lodges and their members around the world.


The list of famous 33rd Degree Masons is a testament to the enduring influence and intriguing history of Freemasonry. These individuals have left an indelible mark on politics, literature, and society.

As we continue to uncover the contributions of Freemasons throughout history, their legacy serves as a reminder of the power of brotherhood and personal development within this enigmatic organization.


This is a difficult question to answer definitively as the number of 33rd degree Masons fluctuates over time. Individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and sacrifice to Freemasonry may be granted this honorary degree by the Supreme Council, but specific numbers are not readily available.

There have been famous black individuals who achieved the distinguished 33rd degree in Masonry. Reverend Jesse Jackson is a prominent example, being a 33 Degree Prince Hall Freemason. Although the Prince Hall group initially severed ties from mainstream lodges due to racial tensions, these issues have since lessened, and the Prince Hall Masons continue to produce influential figures like Jackson.

To become a 33rd degree Mason, an individual must first join a regular lodge and proceed through various degrees within their jurisdiction’s structure of Freemasonry. They must also demonstrate exceptional dedication and service to the craft over many years before being nominated for this prestigious rank.

While being awarded the title of a 33rd degree Mason is an esteemed recognition within Freemasonry, it does not confer any exclusive privileges or benefits beyond those available to other members of the fraternity at lower degrees. The true value lies in personal growth, knowledge gained through continued involvement and camaraderie shared among fellow members on this journey towards enlightenment.