These degrees, the 4th through the 14th, are called the Ineffable Degrees because their principal purpose is the investigation and contemplation of the ineffable name of Deity. The word "ineffable" derives from the Latin ineffabilis which means something which should not be spoken. As used in these degrees, it refers to the belief of ancient Judaism that the name of God was not to be spoken. This concept forms a metaphor for the Scottish Rite teaching that all of the essential qualities of Deity are incapable of description in language.

These degrees provide many opportunities to reflect on the nature of God and the innate limitations of the language of man to express the inexpressable.

As you reflect on the teachings of these degrees, ponder your own limits of expression and understanding rather than those of others.


Degree Description

4th Degree

"Secret Master"

Duties: Silence, Obedience and Fidelity

There are three lessons associated with this degree. First, that the teachings of Masonry are not to be taken lightly. Secondly, that learning far outlasts physical monuments, and thirdly, that duties are not to be performed expecting reward, but expecting personal satisfaction. Duty, reflection and study are the gateway to opportunity, as one honors those relationships to God, family, country and Masonry.

5th Degree

"Perfect Master"

Duties: Be Industrious and Honest

There are two lessons to be learned in this degree. First, that life is uncertain and death may call at any time. Secondly, that the noblest portion of humanity is virtue for virtue's sake. This degree teaches Masonic honor; that honesty and trustworthiness is the cornerstone of the foundation of such. This virtue should be in all of our undertakings with mankind.

6th Degree

"Intimate Secretary"

Duties: Be Zealous, Faithful, Disinterested and Benevolent. Act the Peacemaker

The chief lesson of this degree is that zeal and fidelity to duty are always rewarded. We also learn to act as a peacemaker, in case of dissensions, disputes, and quarrels among the brethren.


7th Degree

"Provost and Judge"

Duty: Let Justice be the Guide of all your Actions

There are two lessons taught in this degree. First, that all actions have consequences. Secondly, that you should be just in judging others' motives. We learn that impartial justice protects person, property, happiness and reputation. We are instructed to judge with patience and impartially.

8th Degree

"Intendant of the Building"

Duties: Be Benevolent and Charitable

There are three main lessons in this degree. First, that benevolence and charity demand we correct our own faults and those of others. Secondly, we are reminded that that which a man knows dies with him; therefore, transmit your knowledge. Thirdly, that labor is honorable if done with sobriety, temperance, punctuality and industry. We are taught that we should strive for perfection by using the great principles of "God's inherent love, charity, morality and kindness".

9th and 10th Degree

"Elu of the Nine and Elu of the Fifteen"

Duties: To enlighten our souls and minds. To instruct and enlighten the people. To be Vigilant to the Interests and Honor of our Country. Be Tolerant and Liberal. War against Fanaticism and Persecution with Education and Enlightment

The Ninth and Tenth Degrees are taught together in one presentation. There are five lessons taught. First, that ignorance is the principal enemy of human freedom. Secondly, that a free press is indispensable to true liberty. Thirdly, that remorse and guilt are God's punishment and more severe than that of man. Fourthly, that ambition creates tyranny and despotism. Fifthly, that fanaticism creates intolerance and persecution. We are taught truth, candor and generosity. We should use these truths to shape our lives and conduct. We are taught to be tolerant and respect the opinions of others. Freedoms of political and spiritual ideologies should be shared by all.

11th Degree

"Elu of the Twelve or Prince Ameth"

Duties: Be Earnest, True and Reliable. Be the Champion of the People

There are two lessons taught in this degree. First, that life is a school. Secondly, that Masonry is work. We should have sympathy and be compassionate to our brother Masons and to all mankind as well.

12th Degree

"Master Architect"

Duties: Seek Wisdom through Knowledge

There are four lessons that we learn of in this degree. First, that wisdom is a gift from God and should be preferred over riches. Secondly, that wisdom and knowledge bring honor, discretion and understanding. Thirdly, that wisdom teaches the knowledge of God. Fourthly, that wisdom enables immortality. We are taught faith in morality and virtue and in God. "Life is what each man makes of it; the optimist turns a trial into a blessing.

13th Degree

"The Royal Arch of Solomon or Knight of the Ninth Arch"

Duties: Be Motivated by Duty and Honor

There are two lessons found in this degree. First, that moral character is a habit, not formed in a moment. Secondly, that the great law of retribution acts in our memory as remorse and at the final judgment. Liberty; in our mind and our hearts, motivated by duty and honor are taught in this degree.

14th Degree

"Perfect Elu"

Duties: Assist, Encourage and Defend the Brethren. Protect the Oppresssed and Relieve Want and Distress. Enlighten the People. Serve the Common Good and be Fruitful of all Good Works.

There are two lessons found in this degree. First, that Perfect Elus are both bound and free: bound by their obligation and free from prejudice, intolerance and envy. Secondly, that Masons meet on the level because in their lives authority and liberty are in equilibrium. This degree teaches us to reflect and scrutinize oneself. We should strive to be true to ourselves and our God.


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