Square & Compasses

European Catechisms & Exposures

Early Masonic printed catechisms and "exposures" are frequently our only source of knowledge about the evolution and variety of rituals used in different places as modern "Grand Lodge" Masonry spread out from its origin in England (1717). This list was submitted by Bro. Philippe R. Langlet <langlet@unilim.fr>

Note to the general public: Some of these books may contain only those parts of the Masonic lectures that are not secret -- the lessons and allegories of Masonry are not considered as such, and books containing only the public or "monitorial" sections of ritual have even been published by Grand Lodges.

While all Masons make a solemn promise not to reveal the Craft's "modes of recognition," some members in every age have disregarded their word of honor and produced or aided the production books that reveal these "signs and tokens". Despite the myths and rumors, the only actual Masonic penalties for revealing these secrets are reprimand, suspension, or expulsion.

1696-1730: Early masonic Catechisms (EMC).
1723: A Mason's Examination. 1rst English exposure.
1724: The Grand Mystery of Free-Masons Discovered.
1724: The Secret History of Freemasonry.
1724-5: The Whole institution of Masonry.
1725: Institution of Free Masons.
1725: The Whole institution of Free-Masons Opened.
1725: The Grand Mystery of the Free Masons Discover'd...
1726: The Grand Mystery Laid Open.
1727: A Mason's confession.
1730: Masonry dissected (by S. Pritchard) : 1rst text to give ceremonies for 3 degrees.
1730: The Mystery of Freemasonry.
1737: La reception d'un Frey-Macon, 1rst French exposure.
1735: Pocket companion (PCW by W. Smith) : first version in print of the EA's charge.
1737: The Secrets of Masonry Made Known to all Men. (Pritchard).
1737: The Mystery of Masonry.
1737: The Mysterious Receptions of the Celebrated Society of Freemasons.
1738: Masonry Further Dissected (Pritchard)
1740: Dialogue between Simon and Philip.
1742-4: Le secret des Francs-Macons (SF, Abbe Perau).
1744: Le catechisme des Francs-Macons (Louis Travenol).
1745: L'ordre des Francs-Macons trahi (Plagiarized the two precedent) OFT.
1747: La desolation des entrepreneurs modernes.
1751: Le macon demasque.
1754: Pocket companion (PCS by J. Scott).
1754: The Freemason Examin'd (Alex Slade)
1759: The Secrets of the Freemasons Recealed, by a disgusted brother.
1760: A Master Key to Free-Masonry (abriged translation of the above, MKF).
1760: TDK.
1762: J&B ( Reprints of the catechisms given in TDK; uses MKF).
1764: Hiram (recopies Constitutions of 1762 by Cole, a traditionnal history by PCS, ceremonies copied from TDK and J&B).
1765: Mystery of Free Masonry explained (MFE) , By Gordon.
1766: Solomon in All His Glory.
1769: The Free-Mason Stripped Naked (Charles Warren).
1781: Recueil precieux de la Maconnerie adonhiramite (L. Guillemin de Saint-Victors).
1788: Ritual der Verbresserten Freimaurerei, enthaltend dir Ceremonien bey der Aufnahme (Joachim Christoph Bode).
1794: The Master's Key (I. Brown).
1801: A Masonic Treatise, with an Elucidation on the Religious and Moral Beauties (W. Finch).
1824: The Cat out of the Bag .
1825: Manual of Freemasonry (Richard Carlisle).
1826: Illustrations of Masonry, by One of the Fraternity who has devoted... (W. Morgan).
1829: Light on Masonry.

Here's another listing, of catechisms and exposures.
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