The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite seeks to strengthen the community and believes that each man should act in civil life according to his individual judgment and the dictates of his conscience. Each member of the Scottish Rite seeks to exalt the dignity of every person everywhere and works according to our creed:
Human progress is our cause, liberty of thought our supreme wish, freedom of conscience our mission, and the guarantee of equal rights to all people everywhere our ultimate goal.
The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry (the other being the York Rite). In the United States, the Scottish Rite is officially recognized by Grand Lodges as an extension of the degrees of Freemasonry.
As Freemasonry in the U.S. is descended from English Freemasonry, first three degrees as practiced in American Freemasonry come from the York Rite. The Scottish Rite (although probably originally from Scotland) is descended from French Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite also embodies the first three degrees of Freemasonry but these are not conferred in American Craft Lodges as these Lodges are typically under the jurisdiction of a Grand Lodge that prescribes the York Rite versions. However, there are some places in America with strong French traditions where these degrees are conferred (e.g., some parts of Louisiana and La Loge La Parfaite Union No. 17 in San Francisco).
The Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy offered in the Craft (or Blue) Lodge through dramatic presentation of the individual degrees. The degrees are one-act plays that illustrate a moral lesson or philosophical precept.
The book Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike (December 29, 1809 — April 2, 1891) is a collection of 32 essays (some are long enough to be books in and of themselves) that provide the philosophical context and underpinnings for the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in each country is governed by a Supreme Council. There is no international governing body — each Supreme Council in each country is sovereign unto itself. In the U.S. there are two Supreme Councils.
The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (NMJ) is headquartered in Lexington, MA. The NMJ includes the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Vermont. The NMJ refers to state organizations as Councils of Deliberation and the local bodies are organized into Valleys.
The Southern Juristiction (SJ) is headquartered in Washington, DC at the House of the Temple. The SJ encompasses the other 35 states of the United States. The SJ refers to state organizations as Orients and the local bodies are organized into Valleys.
The Orient of Oregon is part of the AASR, Southern Jurisdiction.