Report of the General Grand Lecturer
Submitted by Clyde Schoolfield, General Grand Lecturer
General Grand Lecturer
To the Most Puissant General Grand Master, General Grand Officers, and Companions of the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons, International:
Prior to the formation of the General Grand Council, an organizing convention was held in New York in 1872. During that convention, the Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master degrees were exemplified by Companions from various jurisdictions in the northeast. Also at that convention, a “Committee on Work” was appointed and directed to report back the next year.
At the 1873 organizing convention, the recommendations of the Committee on Work regarding the work of the three degrees, after a bit of debate and a few amendments, was adopted. This adopted ritual became known as the “Convention Work.” Sixteen years later at its Third Triennial Assembly in 1889, the General Grand Council adopted this Convention Work as its standard ritual.
The ritual of the Royal Master and Select Master degrees has been reprinted and republished many, many times over the years until by 1960 it had reached its 24th Edition, which actually differed from the original ritual adopted in the late 19th century with the addition of only a few (primarily optional) sections. This 24th Edition of the ritual went on to be the generally accepted ritual for many decades from 1960 onward.
The ritual of the Super Excellent Master degree was revised by the Eleventh Triennial Assembly in 1912 and further modified by the Sixteenth Triennial Assembly in 1927. This 1927 version has been reprinted many times until by 2010 is had reached its 16th Edition.
Now in recent years, substantial effort has been made to bring the ritual into the 21st century, with improvements such as more options for distribution and more descriptive diagrams. These efforts have resulted in what is known as the “Provisional Edition” of the Royal Master and Select Master degrees, which has been available for several years.
In early 2021, the General Grand Master appointed an ad hoc committee to examine the Provisional Edition of the Royal Master and Select Master degrees and the 16th Edition of the Super Excellent Master degree. The members of this committee were (i) Monty J. Glover (General Grand Master), (ii) William G. Snyder (Deputy General Grand Master), (iii) Stephen A. Balke (General Grand Recorder), (iv) Clyde H. Schoolfield, Jr. (General Grand Lecturer), and (v) William F. Lott (Past Grand Ill. Master of Delaware).
This committee conducted a comprehensive examination of the Provisional Edition in order to identify any possible errors or omissions. This examination involved comparing the Provisional Edition with previously adopted editions of the ritual, some dating as far back as the late 19th century, and with generally accepted practices. The result of this examination has been compiled into a list of “errata.”
The Provisional Edition, along with this list of errata, will be proposed to the membership at the General Grand Assembly on August 14th, 2021, and, if adopted, will become the 27th Edition of the General Grand Council’s ritual of the Royal Master and Select Master degrees.
This committee also conducted a comprehensive examination of the 16th Edition of the Super Excellent Master degree. We are pleased to report that we only found a few minor formatting errors in the 2010 printing. These errors will be corrected in a future printing of the ritual, which will also include newly designed diagrams.
In the course of our research, we have become aware of a number of interesting variations to the Super Excellent Master ritual used by some jurisdictions. We hope to compile these variations into a publication to be released sometime in the future. If similarly interesting variations to the Royal Master and Select Master rituals exist, we hope to include them in this compilation also.
Clyde H. Schoolfield, Jr.
General Grand Lecturer