"The Builder Magazine"
August 1916 - Volume II - Number 8
THE RITE OF MEMPHIS
The Rite of Memphis is a branch of Masonry devoted to the study of Philosophy and Comparative Religion and the explanation of the ritual ceremonies and symbols of ancient Craft Masonry. As organized in the United States, it does not confer or work the three symbolic or fundamental degrees, but receives into fellowship only Master Masons in good standing. The organization has been in existence in the United States since 1857.
The late Brother John Yarker was its Sovereign Grand Commander in England. The ritual work in this country was at one time co-ordinated with the Scottish Rite of 33 degrees, but was later restored to its original ninety-five degrees. Perhaps you will admit the following statement of its spirit and aims by Brother Yarker:
"1st. The Rite of Memphis is open to all regular Master Masons of any constitutional Grand Lodge; is unsectarian in its teaching and exacts no other qualification from its candidates but probity and honor.
"2d. The fees which it exacts are of moderate amount, and it is governed by elective assemblies, after the manner of the Craft. Thus the Masters of each series by election become members of the Mystic Temple, and those of the Supreme Body or Sovereign Sanctuary.
"3rd. The ceremonies, from the 4th to the 90th, are based upon those of the Craft universal. They explain its symbols, develop its mystic philosophy, exemplify its morality, examine its legends, tracing them to their primitive source, and deal fairly and truthfully with the historical features of Symbolic Masonry.
"4th. As a system it opens up the study of the immense lore of the ancient Jews, Egyptians, Persians, Hindoos, Babylonians, and other ancient races, and may claim kindred relations to the learned societies of all countries. Many of its degrees and lectures deal with these abtruse subjects, and that in an impartial manner, offering valuable suggestions to the advanced student.
"5th. It proposes to instruct the neophytes by degrees, and at intervals, with all known Masonic Science and a knowledge of the various Rites which have sprung up in the past from the learned speculations of Masonic students. In this relation it transmits and concentrates the knowledge and wisdom of the mysterious fraternities of the middle ages.
"6th. Possibly the only High Grade Rite which has been chartered by a Grand Lodge of Symbolic Masonry, it is absolutely the most perfect and thorough development of the Craft Systern, the most comprehensive, accurate, and valuable of all Rites, and the most complete in its ceremonies, through which it seeks to extend Masonic Knowledge, Justice, Charity, Morality, and fraternity, and to enforce all those great qualities which distinguish the Masons of all time."
As a paragraph in a recent issue of The Builder was so inadequate, if not incorrect, in its allusions to this Rite, I doubt not that you will publish this brief memorandum from the pen of Brother Yarker.
Ellis B. Guild, New York
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