Cryptic Masonry In Indiana
Graig Huber

The earliest known conferral of the Royal and Select Masters degrees in Indiana was under authority of the Grand Council of Ohio in Richmond, Indiana in August of 1838. This Council in Richmond held meetings under dispensation from the Grand Council of Ohio for several years after this first conferral of the degrees. It is worth noting that in all likelihood the Royal and Select Master Degrees were mostly conferred by Royal Arch Chapters in the early years of Cryptic Masonry in Indiana. The discontinuation of the conferral of the Cryptic Degrees, within Royal Arch Chapters, probably corresponds with the formation of the present day Grand Chapter of Indiana. Shortly after the formation of the Grand Chapter of Indiana, Councils started to form across the state separate from Royal Arch Chapters so that degree work could continue. Councils were formed in New Albany, Indianapolis and Shelbyville, however, they were granted dispensation by the Grand Council of Kentucky or the Grand Council of Ohio as no Grand Council was yet created in Indiana. On December 20, 1855, three representatives from each for the three Councils in Indiana (New Albany, Indianapolis and Shelbyville) met and organized the Grand Council of the State of Indiana.

It is worth noting the existence of the General Grand Council. The General Grand Council was organized to protect Cryptic Masonry within the jurisdictions that recognize its existence. The Monitor for Cryptic Masons by The Grand Council of Indiana states: “The General Grand Council has offered to give Charters to the several Grand Councils, including Indiana. It was the opinion of the Companions in Indiana that is was not necessary to accept or take a Charter from any organization. We are sovereign in our own right, and need no permission or superintendence from any body - 1982”

The efforts of the General Grand Council have had an impact on the York Rite in Indiana. The precursor to the current General Grand Council petitioned the Grand Encampment of Knight Templar of the United States to make the Cryptic Degrees a prerequisite to receive the Orders of Knighthood. This petition and subsequent efforts resulted in the Grand Encampment of Knights Templars making the Degrees of Royal and Select Master optional to receive the Templar Orders with the option given to the respective Grand Commanderies throughout the country. Indiana is one of the jurisdictions that does require membership in a Council (the degree of Super Excellent Master is not required) to petition a respective Indiana Commandery for the Orders of Knighthood.

- Information compiled from the Cryptic Monitor, Grand Council of Indiana