Benevolent Protective Herd of Buffaloes of America
Ritual of the First or Secret Degree
Oh Lord as we assemble here
Let no evil betide,
But friendship, love and union,
In every heart abide.
And let no words be spoken here
That will cause inward pain.
We thank thee for the privilege
Of meeting here again.
EXALTED RULER: Roving Buffalo, for what are we assembled this evening?
R.B.: For the purpose of holding a degree lodge, to confer its honors and to enter into a more solemn covenant with each other, to practice the principles and, obey the dictates of pure benevolence
E.R.: With whom are we are authorized to make such covenants?
R.B.: With those who bring certificates from subordinate lodges of the B. P. H. of Buffalos.
First or Secret Degree
E.R.: The lodges will rise while my Assistant shall open the lodge in the first or secret degree.
ASST.: By the desire of the Exalted Ruler, I declare this lodge opened in the first degree for the purpose of conferring its honors.
E.R.: I declare it so opened.
The Conductor retires to examine the candidates, and preparing them to enter, he then asks the following questions:
Do you believe in the existence of a supreme Being, who rules and governs all things?
ANS.: I do.
Are you willing to take upon yourself an obligation that will not conflict with your religious or political opinions?
ANS.: I am
Conductor will then give two raps on the door.
ROVING BUFFALO: Who comes there?
CONDUCTOR: Those who desire to become more fully acquainted with the mysteries and habits of the Great Buffaloes.
R.B.: Most Exalted Ruler, outside we have a brother who desires to be initiated in the mysteries of the Degree of Secrecy.
E.R.: Admit him, first finding out his name and residence.
Conductor then brings the candidate in, first having blindfolded him, and proceeds around the room three times, and stopping before the E.R., reads the following:
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. The rich and poor must together stand on that great resurrection morn; the Lord is the maker of them all. By humility and fear of the Lord, are riches, honor treasures and life. A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.
E.R.: The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good of all mankind. The poor is hated even of the neighbor, bat the rich hath many friends.
PAST EXALTED RULER: A soft word turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasures and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs whore love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better is it to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. Better is a dry morsel and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifice with strife.
WORTHY ADVOCATE: Who so mocketh the poor, reproacheth ins Maker, and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished. Whose rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
The candidates are now brought before E.R.
E.R.: My friends, your attention has been directed to lessons of great importance, and they come to you with no ordinary authority They are words of wisdom, written by divine inspiration and designed for our Improvement. We should be careful to treasure up the principles they inculcate, that our days may be many and our lives useful You will now give your attention to the instructions at my Assistant.
ASST.E.R.: What important information do you find in those lessons referred to by our Exalted Ruler?
ANS.: They are intended in part to show us the fallacy of trusting for happiness in the riches and honors of this world, rather than a life of integrity and virtue.
ASST.E.R.: What further information do they communicate"
ANS: They bring to our view some of the most important duties tee owe to each Other.
ASST.E.R.: Will you state some ot them?
ANS.: We are required by them to render kindly assistance to a brother; and not those only, but to our neighbor also. We are net to wait to inquire whether he Is our friend and brother, but if our enemy hunger, to feed him and give him drink.
ASST.E.R.: Are not these duties inculcated in many portions of the Scriptures? And have you not been made acquainted with it?
ANS.: We have.
E.R.: Go thou and do likewise. You wilt new he conducted to the Past Exalted Ruler, who will confer on you the obligation of this degree.
P.E.R.: I, …, do solemnly swear and say: That I will keep secret and inviolable all the secrets of this degree and the succeeding degrees which I may take hereafter. That I will not write, indite, or cause to be written or indited on anything moveable or immovable so that the same may be by any means obtained. And I further promise that I will adhere to the rules of the Grand Lodge and of any subordinate lodge. That I will not assist in bringing about a separation of the lodge, but will do all within my power to build up the lodge of B.P.H. of B. All this I promise to perform with a full determination to keep my pledge unbroken.
Kiss the Bible.
The Conductor will re-conduct you to the Exalted Ruler, who will instruct you in the work of this degree.
E.R.: Brother; there is to this degree a countersign, alarm sign, a grip and a word.
THE COUNTERSIGN is given thus: Place both hands on your hips and answer, in the same manner from the Chair.
THE ALARM SIGN is given thus: Chin thrown forward on your breast, right foot a little in advance of left.
THE GRIP is a grasp of the hand with the two little lingers locked.
THE WORD IS SECRET. It is to be lettered, and you are never to give it whole only from the chair of instruction. Should you be examined in this degree, you always compel the examining officer to examine you in the word first. He may say, "All right." But you must insist on him beginning first. Then he will give you the letter S, and you will give him the letter E, and so on until you both together have spelled the word S-E-C-R-E-T, after which you may give such other information of the degree as you may see fit.
QUESTION: How long have you been a Buffalo?
ANSWER: Ever since I was captured on the prairie of neglect and herded with the herd of intelligence.
QUESTION: When you beheld the glory and information imparted to you, what did you exclaim?
ANSWER: Friendship, Love and Union.
Brother, in the name of … Lodge of Benevolent Protective Herd of Buffaloes, I declare you fully initiated into the First Degree. You will salute the Chair and retire into the anteroom.