So why is the Mark so central to Freemasonry? It is sometimes said to be an extension of the Second Degree in the Craft. But this rather simple assertion belies the fact that the ceremony of admission, called Advancement, is longer in content than the Third Degree. As previously mentioned, the present ceremony is derived from the earlier practice of conferring the degree of Mark Man on Fellowcrafts and the degree of Mark Master on Master Masons.
The ceremony of Advancement is based on the preparations for the building of KST and follows the fate of an ambitious craftsman (the candidate) seeking promotion in his trade by demonstrating his skill and ability. In the early part of the ceremony his talents go unrecognised and his hopes are dashed but eventually he triumphs over adversity and is justly rewarded for his work. It is a wonderful ceremony containing elements of drama and humour, and, above all, strong moral lessons. The concept of Masons as “living stones” being built into a spiritual house, in parallel with the construction of the Temple, is a powerful theme in the Degree.
Ideally the Mark, as is the requirement in other constitutions, is a logical step from the Craft to the Royal Arch and enables the candidate to more fully appreciate the structure and beauty of Solomonic Masonry.