There is no higher or more prestigious step than the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason or 3rd degree which is attained within the first 3 degrees of Masonry.
The first step represents the Entered Apprentice Degree (1st Degree in Masonry) and is what a candidate receive upon his first entry into the lodge after taking an obligation. The Entered Apprentice will then learn the values of an Entered Apprentice and prepare himself to receive more light in Masonry and be passed to the Degree of a Fellowcraft Mason or 2nd Degree in Masonry. The Fellowcraft again will learn the additional values of a Fellowcraft by learning additional secrets and prepare himself to be raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason.
Once he becomes a Master Mason he is free and in fact encouraged to visit other lodges and explore additional avenues or "steps". There is predominantly the York Rite or the Scottish Rite that forms either side of the pyramid structure. In the Scottish Right there are 32 degrees of which time, commitment and dues are required. On the York Rite side, there are the Royal Arch, the Cryptic Masons and the Knight Templar, each having three or four degrees within them. The Knights Templar and the 32nd Degree stand on the same step (level) and wait to be called to the illustrious 33rd Degree, the highest step a Mason can achieve, but no more prestigious than the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason.
Inside the pyramid, the Master Mason can also join the Shriners, and organizations that exist purely for the children, more importantly, the sick children. There are 22 Shriner hospitals in North America that cost just over $1.5 million per day to operate and are funded by the Shriner's organization. O
There are also organizations for women and children like Daughters of the Nile for the Shriner Ladies or the Order of the Eastern Star for the wives of Masons. As for the Masonic family children, there are organizations like the Knights of Pythagoras (KOP) for the boys.
Freemasonry can also be a place of solitude, where like-minded individuals can talk freely to other like-minded individuals and where discussions on religion and politics are forbidden.
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