This building boasts a rich history, a little conspiracy and a lot of charity.

TO BE CLEAR, THE SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL, ON KEWALO STREET AND WILDER AVENUE IN MAKIKI has nothing to do with Scotland. Nor is it a church, as the word "cathedral" may imply. The building was built in 1922 by the Christian Science organization,  and, that same year, became the Scottish Rite Cathedral, home of the Scottish Rite Masons, one of a handful of lodges of Free and Accepted Masons in Hawai'i. The Scottish Rite has been in Hawai'i since 1874, and counts among its founding members John Dominis, King Kalakaua (who also founded HONOLULU Magazine), former mayor of Honolulu Lester Petrie and N. R. Farrington.

In the Freemasons sounds familiar, it may be because the organization was featured in Dan Brown's best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code, which touched on a number of theories about the group-namely, that it's associated with a occult and secretly runs world politics. This last assertion likely stems from the fact that a number of United States presidents, including George Washington, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson, were all Freemasons. But the Scottish Rite's mission has nothing to do with the black magic or world domination, says secretary William "Pete" Holsomback. The Scottish Rite is a fraternal organization. Membership is open to all men who express an interest, and who believe in a Supreme Being, though we're not a religious organization. I'd like to think we take a good men and make them better men. We're not a secret organization.

Like any other fraternal club, the group holds monthly meeting for its 950 or so members, as well as other social get-togethers. Monday through Friday, however, the building's main occupants are approximately 14 children ages 3 to 6 who attend the Scottish Rite language disorder clinic. Spread throughout various rooms on the first floor, the youngsters, who are often referred to the Scottish Rite by schools and doctors, work with certified speech therapists to correct their impairments. "No child is ever turned away," says Holsomback. "If they're not cover by insurance, then Scottish Rite picks up the tab."


by Jenny Quill

Honolulu Magazine, September 2006

Brief History of The Scottish Rite

The Scottish Rite had its beginning in France when in 1754, the Chevalier de Bonneville established in Paris, a chapter of twenty-five-so-called High Degrees which, including the three symbolic Degrees, was called the Rite of Perfection. In 1758 these Degrees were taken to Berlin and placed under a body called the Council of the Emperors of the East and West, and in 1762 Frederick the Great of Prussia became the head of the Rite and promulgated what is known as the Constitutions of 1762. In 1786 a reorganization took place in which eight Degrees were added to the twenty-five, and the name changed to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. By these Constitutions, Frederick resigned his authority as Grand Commander and provided that the government of the new system of Degrees should rest with a Council in each Nation, to be composed of nine Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the Thirty- Third and Last Degree of Freemasonry.

In 1761, the year before Frederick the Great was said to have taken under his patronage all Masonry in Germany, Stephin Morin of France was commissioned Inspector General of the New World by the Grand Consistory of sublime Princes of the Royal Secret in Paris to introduce the Rite in America. He established Bodies in San Domingo and Jamaica and in turn commissioned Henry Andrew Francken who established a Lodge of Perfection in Albany, N.Y. in 1767. Other Lodges of Perfection were organized in various places including one in Charleston, S.C., until in 1801 they were consolidated under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council. From the beginning, these Lodges of Perfection were in full harmony with the Symbolic Lodges, assuming no authority over them and invariably beginning their work with the Fourth Degree.

The Revised Constitutions of 1786 provided for two Supreme Councils in the United States of America with equal powers in their respective jurisdictions. Accordingly in 1813, the Supreme Council ceded all of the United States north of the Mason and Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River for the purpose of establishing a second Supreme Council in this Country. This territory comprises the States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin and is termed the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States, with headquarters in Boston, Mass. The remaining thirty-five States together with all territories and dependencies, China, Japan and the Army and Navy were retained by the "Mother Supreme Council" and are now termed the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States.

With Two Hundred and One year of continuous existence during which it has surmounted all difficulties and has become a dominent influence in the world of Masonry, the Supreme Council 33, whose See is at Charleston and in the State of South Carolina, is in truth the "Mother Council of the World." It now has its headquarters in Washington, D.C., where it occupies the most magnificent Masonic Temple in the world, known as the "House of the Temple."