No rite of Freemasonry has come into its own so much as the series of degrees known as the Cryptic Rite, also known as Cryptic Masonry.
Its popularity is well deserved for there are no more beautiful or meaningful degrees in all of Freemasonry than those conferred in a Council of Cryptic Masons. One reason for its popularity is that it completes a story, a Masonic allegory. Freemasonry is very philosophical and teaches its ideals by allegory or story. This philosophy is moralistic and religious however Freemasonry is not a religion nor a substitute for one. A requirement for membership in Freemasonry is a professed belief in God and eternal life. It is mandatory that a man profess a personal faith in a Supreme Being prior to becoming a Freemason. Freemasonry never attempts to alter any one's beliefs. Freemasonry offers no theology or plan of salvation. However, it does offer a moral plan to use in this world, leaving the Mason to look to his religion for salvation into the next world.
Ancient Cryptic Masonry centers on the story of the preservation, loss and recovery of the Word. The Word represents man's search for life's purpose and the nature of God. Symbolic Freemasonry, as in the Lodge, teaches of the loss of the Word and hope for its recovery. Royal Arch Masonry, as in the Chapter, teaches its recovery. Cryptic Masonry, as in the Council, completes this story by teaching of the Word's initial preservation.