Originally Posted by Algebra
Thanks for your input. Now all is clear. by speculative/philosophical do you mean they dont exist? or are you just bieng obtuse.
I would do a little research but i get the feeling it would bore the life out of me. So if you actualy have something constructive to add feel free. This will be the only chance you have to spark some excitement.
Sorry I was on my phone. Speculative/philosophical in meaning they really don't construct buildings, but rather use the tools and terms used by old Mason guilds as symbols for bettering yourself.
Think of the structure of Freemasonry as a tree. The Blue Lodge (1st-3rd degree) being a trunk and from it are various branches representing the York Rite, Scottish Rite, Shriners, Order of the Eastern Star (OES), Amaranth, Grotto, Tall Cedars, White Shrine, DeMolay, Rainbow Girls, and Job's Daughter. The branches are not superior, but rather an extention of the Blue Lodge especially the York Rite, Scottish Rite, and Shriner.
The Master Mason is the highest degree and the Blue Lodge is the largest body in Freemasonry as you have to be in the Blue Lodge (Master Mason) to even petition for the other bodies. And if someone were to get expelled from the Blue Lodge they lose their membership in all other bodies. Also, in the Blue Lodge the highest governing body is the State level, also called the Grand Lodge. The other bodies have national bodies, but only meet every 3-years. The Grand Lodge only meets once a year and for the most part the local Lodges are left to govern themselves and run operations.
Freemasonry is about charity and bettering the world through charitable work. The Blue Lodge doesn't really have a set charity, but each Lodge usually have their own traditional one.
Example: My Lodge does college scholarships and holds Child Identification Program. Other Lodges do events like "Bikes for Books".
The other bodies have something of their own. The York Rite has cardiovascular research, stem cell research, and ocular research. The Scottish does schizophrenic research and tutoring programs. The Shriners have their hospitals. The OES gives to various charities (other branches such as York Rite); they also give to their own (Youth Projects and retirement homes).