The Ritual – Conducting During Degrees



Other than conducting, why are we not allowed to touch candidates during Degrees?

In the Grand Lodge of New York,

Why would we need to touch them other than for the purpose of conducting? Don’t forget that conducting can include assisting the Candidate in kneeling and rising as well as adjusting a Candidate’s Ritual garb if he is improperly clothed. Generally speaking, we don’t touch hoodwinked Candidates during Degrees except for the purposes of conducting because… well, it’s pretty creepy to have some unknown guy pawing you when you’re blindfolded. In cases where a hoodwinked Candidate needs some sort of direction, the conductor or Senior Deacon can simply whisper in his ear. It’s also helpful when Candidates are given some “advance preparation” on a few elements of the Ritual where they often struggle, such as making sure they know the names for the three parts of his feet and have some basic idea as to what sorts of things he might be asked to do with them. This can do much to eliminate any possibility that a Brother might feel it was useful or necessary to touch a Candidate below the waist or in any way other than those embraced by the duty of conducting.

The answers provided here reflect GLNY customs, rules, and ritual. We welcome discussion about how these may differ in your jurisdiction.

Response provided by RW Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Chairman, Custodians of the Work, Grand Lodge of New York

Note: This site is an excellent source of information about Freemasonry. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information about Masonic Ritual, please remember that a website is not a substitute for your jurisdiction’s Standard Work or Approved Ritual.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey