In Freemasonry, the third degree that one may obtain is called Master Mason. I found a book claiming to contain the rituals and oath that the Mason has to perform. The book is called "Duncan's Ritual of Freemasonry", by Malcom C. Duncan, 1866.

According to the book, pages 95-96, the oath is as follows:

"I furthermore promise and swear, that I will stand to and abide by all laws, rules, and regulations of the Master Masons' Degree, and of the Lodge of which I may hereafter become a member, as far as the same shall come to my knowledge; and that I will ever maintain and support the constitution, laws, and edicts of the Grand Lodge under which the same shall be holden.


"All this I most solemnly, sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steady resolution to perform the same, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind what-ever, binding myself, under no less penalty than that of having my body severed in two, my bowels taken from thence and burned to ashes, the ashes scattered before the four winds of heaven, that no more remembrance might be had of so vile and wicked a wretch as I would be, should I ever, knowingly, violate this my Master Mason's obligation. So help me God, and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same."

I understand that the penalty for breaking the oath might be a hyperbole. However, I would like to know if this is indeed the oath that all Master Masons have to take. Additionally, have the oaths changed during the centuries?


1 Answer 1


The same oath also occurs in Morgan's Exposure of Freemasonry, on pages 47 and 48. However, it seems that Freemasonry has never confirmed any of the exposures. Therefore, we can never know for certain. According to Wikipedia:

Freemasons often say that they "are not a secret society, but rather a society with secrets". The secrets of Freemasonry are the various modes of recognition – grips (handshakes), passwords and signs (hand gestures) that indicate one is a Freemason. While these and the rest of masonic ritual have all been exposed multiple times through the years, Freemasons continue to act as if they were secret, and promise not to discuss them with outsiders more out of tradition than a need for actual secrecy.

About Duncan's:

  1. Duncan’s Masonic Ritual and Monitor or Guide to the Three Symbolic Degrees of the Ancient York Rite, and the Degrees of Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and the Royal Arch (1866)

This work, with the ridiculously long title, was complied by a Malcolm C. Duncan, and holds a unique place in Masonic history, especially in America. In the later part of the 19th century, this work was initially embraced by many Masonic Lodges across America to be used as an ‘unofficial’ ritual book. With Freemasonry regaining popularity, follow the American Civil War, Lodges needed a quick way for new Brethren and Lodges to get established. As such, with a lack of experienced Masons meeting the demand, Lodges began to use books, like ‘Duncans’, as an easy to use ritual book.

Unfortunately, this has caused decades of controversy. Many Lodges who still use these rituals, or similar, are rather frowned on by other Lodges, as they are seen as being improperly formed (due to using material that never should have been published). This problem still exists today, again, especially in America. In America an epidemic exists with questionable characters ‘inventing’ their own Masonic Lodges, with the singular aim of making money. These individuals use books, most commonly the ‘Duncan’s Workings’ to create Lodges and to appear as real Masons. With the illusion completed, they encourage people to join, and get them to pay – not only to join, but to pay for each ritual they become part of. Some of these have become so successful that they have gained a great number of followers, totally unaware that they are not recognized as being genuine in the world of Freemasonry.

It seems that the actual Masonic rituals might be slightly different from the exposures, but they are probably similar to them.

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