Should I join the Scottish Rite or the York Rite? That is a question some Masons ask. It can be confusing for those new to the fraternity. First of all, there is no requirement to join either. In Lodge once you have become a Master Mason, you do not have to join any other bodies. That said, if you wish to join another body I would hope that you would seriously consider joining a Royal Arch Chapter. The Royal Arch degree, in my opnion offers something that you will not find in the Scottish Rite. The Royal Arch degree has been in Ontario far longer than the Scottish Rite degrees, and if one looks at the history of Freemasonry in the UK and in North America, one might see that the Royal Arch degree has been around far longer and worked much more extensively over time that the Scottish Rite degrees.
The Chapter when open as a Lodge or a Chapter, functions much like a Masonic Lodge, and the candidate will be familair with the process. 🙂 Indeed, every Chapter must meet in a Masonic Lodge room! (It is also no accident that Grand Chapter has its Offices in the Grand Lodge building, and the crests of the two organizations just might bear a certain similarity.) Fees and dues are similair to those of a Masonic Lodge, though a different apon tends to be worn. There are no ‘life memberships’ being offered these days. Membership is very affordable. Chapter meeting frequency is similair to that of a Lodge.
If you have already explored the Scottish Rite, that does not preclude you from applying to join Chapter. Many who have taken Scottish Rite degrees can be found among our ranks, though in Chapter we do not recognise the Scottish Rite degrees, neither can the Scottish Rite jewel be worn in Chapter. In the York Rite we do not ‘number’ degrees as those in the Scottish Rite have done.
Neither is there a requirement after having worked your way through the three degrees offered by the Royal Arch Chapter, to join any other York Rite bodies, but if you choose to, there are other York Rite bodies one may apply to join.