Ritual of the First Degree
Fraternal Order of American Lions
Officers and members rise when addressed by the Commander, also when desiring to address the Commander.
Three raps, all rise
Two raps, all be seated
One rap, call to order
When the hour arrives for opening the Den, the Commander will call the Den to order by one rap of the gavel, the officers present will take their respective stations.
COMMANDER: The Den will please come to order.
All who are not members of the Order will please retire.
If there are any vacancies in the offices, the Commander will make the necessary pro term appointments.
The Captain marches to the back of the altar, about faces and salutes the Commander; about face again and calls the Lieutenants, who will immediately arise, march to within three paces in front of the Captain, halt and salute.
CAPTAIN: Lieutenants, you will visit those present and receive from them the password and satisfy yourself that all are qualified to remain.
The Lieutenants will then give the password to the Captain, that he may be satisfied that they are in possession the proper pass. They will proceed to take up the password, the first Lieutenant commencing at the right and the second Lieutenant at the left of the Commander. When they have completed and reached the Lieutenant-Commander they will face the Captain, draw swords, march up to and within three paces of the Captain, salute and report.
FIRST LIEUT.: Captain, I find those on the right of the Den are qualified to remain.
SECOND LIEUT.: Captain, I find those on the left of the Den are qualified to remain.
The Captain will about face, salute the Commander and report:
CAPTAIN: Worthy Commander, all present are entitled to remain with us.
COMMANDER: It is well.
CAPTAIN, about faces: Lieutenants (they salute), to your posts; march.
Lieutenants about face and march to their posts, and Captain then returns to his post.
Note if the Lieutenant finds that some do not have the passwords he will at once report the fact to the Captain, if a visiting member, name and number of the Den to which the member belongs, and the Captain will report same to the Commander before passing to the next member.
The Commander will ascertain of the Financial Secretary whether the member who has not the semi-annual and permanent passwords, has paid all assessments and dues and is clear on the books. If the Secretary’s report is favorable the Commander will instruct the Captain to have the passwords given to him; if the report is unfavorable the Commander will ask the member to advance to the Financial Secretary’s desk and make a settlement of his indebtedness to the Den, after which the Commander shall give him the password. A member who is not clear on the books is not entitled to a seat in a Den.
COMMANDER: Inside Guard, you will relieve the Outside Guard and direct him to report at your post.
The Inside Guard retires and the Outside Guard reports at the inner post.
O.G.: Worthy Commander, the Outside Guard reports for instructions.
COMMANDER: Outside Guard, your post is in the ante-room Your duties are to guard the outer door and see that no one enters who is not in possession of the password, unless otherwise ordered by the Commander, and require each one who enters to invest himself with the jewel of the Order. Return to your post, relieve the Inside Guard, and until so ordered allow no one to enter.
Outside Guard retires, Inside Guard returns to his post.
I.G.: Worthy Commander, the Inside Guard reports for instructions.
COMMANDER: Inside Guard, your post is at the inner door; your duties are to allow no one to enter the Den who is not invested with the proper jewel of the Order, and who does not give the correct alarm and password.
Commander gives three raps, all rise.
COMMANDER: The Chaplain will lead in the opening prayer.
CHAP.: Great and Merciful Father, we once more assemble together in Thy holy name and humbly invoke Thy blessing upon this Den. We pray Thee to incline our hearts to do Thy will; teach us to be wise, moderate and just in all our actions; courteous and forgiving to one another and lenient in condemnation of an erring member. Teach us to make truth, justice and charity the groundwork of all our acts; and to Thee be ascribed all the glory and praise, now and evermore. Amen.
COMMANDER announces opening Ode.
Opening Odes are being sung.
COMMANDER, * *: I now declare … Den, No …, duly opened.
COMMANDER: Inside Guard, notify the Outside Guard that this Den is now opened, and to admit any member of this Order who has the semi-annual password, and properly communicates it to him.
INSIDE GUARD, opens the door: Outside Guard, this Den is now opened, you will admit all members of this Order who properly communicate to you the semi-annual password.
OUTSIDE GUARD: The order will be obeyed.
INSIDE GUARD: Most Worthy Commander, your orders have been communicated to the Outside Guard, and will be obeyed.
COMMANDER: Lieutenant Commander, where is your station and what are your duties?
LT. COMMANDER: My station is opposite that of the Worthy Commander. My duties are to assist the Worthy Commander in preserving order, to aid in conducting the ceremonies, to preside in the absence of the Worthy Commander, to have supervision of the inner post, and to perform all other duties required of rue by the Commander.
COMMANDER: The station of the Commander is in the executive chair of the Den. It is my duty to preside over the Den, to preserve order during the session and to perform all other duties required of me by the laws of the Order. In the discharge of these duties I ask your cooperation.
COMMANDER: Worthy Lieut. Com., the doors of this Den are in your charge.
If visiting officers of other subordinate Dens are in waiting the Captain meets them as they enter the inner door, they advance to the altar and together give the salutation sign to the Commander (the Commander responding with a slight inclination of the head) then their names and offices are mentioned to him by the Captain, Commander says, ‘Welcome, Brother …’. The Captain then escorts them to seats.
If the Supreme officers are visiting a Subordinate Den they should enter at this time, escorted by the Captain; and upon their entrance die Commander gives three raps, all rise and remain standing until seated by the Commander; Supreme officers escorted by the Captain advance to the altar inn order of precedence, and facing the Commander’s station. are presented to the Commander by the Captain, in the order of precedence, each gives salutation sign upon his name and office being announced, which is responded to by the same sign from the Commander and ‘Welcome, Brother ...’. This ceremony being finished, following the Captain, in the same order as before, they advance to the Commander’s station, where they are assigned seats at his right hand; while yet standing they face time Den Chamber, and are thus presented by the Commander to the Den, in order of precedence and by title anti name. Then at a signal by the Commander all the members of the Den as well as the visiting members, give them the Supreme Honors, simultaneously, thus being recognized by an inclination of the head by the Supreme Den officers.
Commander will now make report of any special business that may concern the Order and be of advantage to the members to know, such as special information from the Supreme Den, death, sickness, etc.
COMMANDER: Captain, you will please retire and learn if there are candidates waiting for initiation.
Captain retires to the ante-room, returning, advances to the altar, salutes and reports: Commander, I find … in waiting to be initiated.
COMMANDER: It is well. Officers will retire and prepare for the initiatory ceremony.
COMMANDER: Financial Secretary, you will please retire, ask the candidates the questions in the Ritual and collect the required fees.
The candidate being seated in the ante-room is interviewed by the Financial Secretary, who asks him:
F. SECRETARY: Do you voluntarily offer yourself a candidate for the mysteries of the Fraternal Order of Am. Lions?
CANDIDATE: I do.
F. SECRETARY: Do you believe in time existence of a Supreme Being, the Ruler and Governor of the Universe?
CANDIDATE: I do.
F. SECRETARY: Do you promise upon your honor, a strict compliance with the constitution and laws, usages and customs of the Fraternal Order of American Lions?
CANDIDATE: I do.
These questions, having been answered affirmatively, the Financial Secretary collects the fee. After the officers have returned to the Den Chamber the Financial Secretary enters, advances to the Altar, salutes and reports.
All should now be in readiness for initiation, the Financial Secretary should make his report as to the number of candidates in waiting, giving their names and state whether their fees have been paid. No candidate should be initiated who has not paid the required fees.
F. SECRETARY: Most Worthy Commander, the candidates have answered the questions satisfactorily and the fees have been paid.
COMMANDER: Thank you, Worthy Secretary, you may resume your station. The First Lieutenant will arrange the Altar, placing upon it the American Flag and the Sword, after which the Lieutenants and Lion Keepers will repair to the ante-room and introduce the candidate.
If the Den has a Uniform Rank among its membership, the Captain will now enter with a company of 16 men. They will form a hollow square, after which they will divide, so that four men will be stationed in front of each of the officer’s stations. When the Candidate is presented to each officer the men will stand two on each side of and facing the candidate with drawn swords, in the attitude of charge swords.
All being in readiness, the First Lieutenant gives three loud raps at the inner door.
I.GUARD: Who comes there? Who seeks admission into this den of Lions?
LIEUT.: A stranger, who humbly asks to be made acquainted with the mysteries of our noble Order.
I.G.: Has he satisfactorily answered the usual questions?
LT.: He has.
I.G.: Is he properly prepared?
LT.: He is.
I.G.: Let him await the pleasure of the Commander.
Inside Guard leaves the door open and reports: Most Worthy Commander, a stranger is at the door of our Den, seeking admission into our Honorable and Beloved Order.
COM.: Has he satisfactorily answered the usual questions?
I.G.: He has.
COM.: What recommendation does he bring?
I.G.: An honorable name and vouched for by two of our worthy members.
COM.: This being so, you may admit him.
I.G.: It is the pleasure of our Commander that the candidate be admitted.
COM. gives three raps, all rise.
Initiatory procession enters, led by the Captain, after which come the candidates blindfolded, marching by twos, with the Lieutenants and Keepers conducting them. They march around the room twice, turning square corners. During the first time around the room the following officers repeat each verse as noted when the candidate is passing before his station.
P.COM.: Friendship is founded on love and truth. To have friends you must prove yourself friendly.
COM.: Obedience to all that is right and honorable is the duty of all.
CHAPLAIN: Ambition to properly provide for and protect our homes and loved ones is divine.
LT. COM.: Love endures hardship and suffering, if necessary, for the object of its affections. "I live and die for those I love" is our motto. The initials of these four words, Friendship, Obedience, Ambition and Love are also the initials of our Order, F. O. A. L.
During the second time around the room the Initiatory Ode is song.
The Commander gives two raps and all are seated except those in the procession.
The procession halts before the Past Commander’s station, the candidate facing the Past Commander. The men of the Uniform Rank will stand two on each side of and facing the candidate with drawn swords, while the Captain will stand at the right, and the Lieutenants and Keepers in the rear. If there is no Uniform Rank, then the two lieutenants will stand on each side of and facing the candidate with drawn swords and the Keepers will stand in the rear.
CAPT.: Past Commander, I present before you this candidate to be instructed in the duties, as a member of the American Lions.
PAST COMMANDER, speaking very clearly that all in the Den may understand: Stranger, the members of our Fraternity have elected you thereto, giving me the pleasure in behalf of … Den, no …, to welcome you to our numbers. It is my duty to admonish you to be seriously attentive to the various lectures that will be delivered during your progress toward the station of the Commander, so that you may profit by the great lessons which they are intended to convey and bear fruit in full measure of the ability with which you are endowed. We sincerely trust that you will give us no cause to regret having admitted you.
Captain, let the blindfolds be removed from the stranger’s eyes, so that lie may see as well as hear the important lessons he should learn. Hoodwinks removed and the Past Commander continues.
The fundamental principles of all fraternal societies is the great benefit accruing from co-operation in obtaining needful protection for those near and dear to the members thereof. It is an axiom in this life that we do not secure any benefit without some effort, or cost paid on our own part as an equivalent; and these advantages are not an exception to the general rule. The great lessening of expense for protection brought about by our Order is to be directly credited to the fact that the work of the Order is done and as business transacted by the individual members. You can readily understand the duty imposed upon each member of exerting his or her highest efforts and greatest influence in behalf of the work, not only in the prompt and cheerful support given the officers of the Order in all their efforts for the common good, but in continual personal work on its behalf; this can best be done by bearing in mind that our Order must depend for its continued existence upon the addition of new members. Having this thought before you, labor earnestly to inform your friends and associates of the benefits to be derived by membership in the American Lions; it is your privilege and duty to present the objects and benefits of our Order to desirable persons and obtain their membership.
If any thing occurs during our ceremonies of initiation which you cannot understand, we caution you, be not hasty in forming an opinion; there is deep significance in our ceremonies, and at the proper time all will be carefully explained to you.
Captain, you will present the stranger before our Chaplain, that he may hear words of wisdom and knowledge.
Captain presents the candidate before the Chaplain’s Station, and arranges them as at Past Commander’s station.
CAPTAIN: Chaplain, I present to you this stranger, to hear words of wisdom and knowledge.
CHAPLAIN, speaking very distinctly: My friend, attend unto wisdom and give heed unto my instruction, that thou mayest regard discretion, and thy lips may keep knowledge. Hear me, Stranger, and depart not from the words of my mouth, Protection, Charity and Brotherly Love are the great laws in this, our Noble Order. What is so great as friendship? Let us carry it with what grandeur of spirit we can; the true essence of friendship is implicit trust. We have confidence in others; let this faith in the friends who surround you teach you to give them that of which you possess in greater measure when their cup is not full. Visit, and extend the brotherly hand and dispense friendly love to those in need and distress. Faithfulness to the individual is only one step in advance of faithfulness to our trusts. Before going further in this important ceremony, pause and consider, not only that you are binding yourself to deeds of protection, charity and brotherly love to friends already in this fraternal Order, but you must endeavor to perform faithfully all the duties and obligations thus created upon you in this ceremony relating to bringing to the fold and within the benefaction of this noble Order all whom you feel that you can influence to see the good you yourself are enjoying. Be earnest, stranger, be zealous, and, above all, let promptness guide your efforts. It is better to be an humble Spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoils with the proud. Remember that "Blessed are the humble and contrite of heart, for they shall inherit everlasting life." You are urged to be active and earnest in extending the usefulness of our Order.
Captain, present the candidate to our Past Commander for instruction.
Captain and Lieutenants lead and arrange them as at Past Commander’s station.
CAPT.: Worthy Lieutenant Commander, I present to yen this stranger for instruction.
LIEUT. COMMANDER: You have heard the words of wisdom and knowledge, and are soon to receive the passwords, signs and other secrets of our Order, but you must first take upon yourself certain obligations which all have assumed and which I assure you will in no wise conflict with your duty to your God, your personal liberty or your self-respect. Being thus assured, are you willing to proceed?
CAND.: I am.
LT. COM.: Then do you solemnly promise never improperly to disclose the words and signs of our Order, nor the rites and ceremonies in connection with it, and that you will consider this promise as binding out of the Fraternal Order of American Lions as in it?
CAND.: I do.
LT. COM.: We are assured of your sincerity and faith, and will advance you in our cherished fraternity. Captain, you will lead the stranger to the station of our Commander to be introduced into our mysteries and receive the passwords, signs and grip of the Fraternal Order of American Lions.
The Captain, Lieutenants and Keepers and candidate advance in order to the Commander’s station, halt and arrange themselves as before.
CAPT.: Most Worthy Commander, I present to you this stranger to be instructed in the passwords, signs and grips of the American Lions.
Three raps by the Commander.
All rise. Captain, Lieutenants and candidate advance to the Altar. Candidate stands before the Altar, and facing the Commander’s station, right hand uplifted and the left resting on the sword and flag.
COM.: Brother Chaplain, you will administer the obligation.
Commander and Chaplain advance to positions before the Altar.
CHAP.: You will say your name and repeat after me,
I, (name in full), I of my own free will and accord, do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will never reveal any word, sign, grip or token, or any unwritten or other private work of the Fraternal Order of American Lions, which shall now or may hereafter be communicated to me, to any one in the world unless it be to a member in good standing who is authorized I by the Rules and Usages of the Order to receive the same.
I also promise to do all that lies in my power to alleviate the needs, advance the welfare and protect the honor of the members of this Order and their families.
I further promise to bear true allegiance to The Supreme Den and to be governed by its Constitution and Laws, Rules and Usages, now in force or which it may hereafter enact or establish.
Lastly, I promise that, should I ever cease to be a member of the Order, my obligation of secrecy shall remain binding and in full force.
For the faithful observance of all these promises I hereby pledge my sacred honor.
COM., to all present: Friends, you have heard this solemn Obligation voluntarily assumed by the candidate; you all bear witness.
All members, in unison: We do.
CHAP.: You will please notice the emblems upon the altar: the American flag and the sword. The flag represents the liberty and equality among men in this, our beloved land, and the sword is the emblem of defense. Ever stand ready to protect your country, your home and loved ones and your fraternal brothers and their families. May these emblems ever remind you of the duties of life and the obligations here assumed.
The Lieutenant Commander gives two raps. Commander and Chaplain return to their stations.
All are seated except the candidate, Captain and Lieutenants, these will move to and halt before the Commander’s station. Commander remains standing and addresses the candidate.
COMMANDER: My Brother (or Sister) for having been duly obligated and your name placed upon our rolls, tou are no longer a stranger, but our own Fraternal Brother (or Sister).
My Brother (or Sister), mutual protection is the cornerstone of all fraternal structures; even in the darker ages of human history men formed themselves into societies for the mutual protection and welfare of their race, and they were compelled to guard their designs by the adoption of certain signs, passwords and grips. Such has been the progress of these orders that they now wield a powerful influence throughout the world.
Our noble Order is called after the Lion, the king of all beasts. As the Lion is the emblem of majesty and royalty, so is it our ambition to make our society the king of all fraternal orders.
That the lion will protect its life-blood those it loves is a well-known fact, and that he does not forget a kindness, can be best illustrated by a true story of the Roman period:
Many hundreds of years ago, when the Roman Empire was at it s height, a certain slave was condemned to death. In some manner he escaped and found his way into the wilderness and desert. Finally, overcome with fatigue and seeking a place of security, he crawled into a cave to rest. He was soon disturbed, however, by the sounds of some being or animal distress, and was startled by the sight of an immense lion making its way towards him in the cave. As the lion came near him, he held up his paw, in which was imbedded a thorn. The man withdrew the thorn from the lion’s paw and did what he could to relieve its pain.
The !ion, to show its gratitude, went out, and, after a short time, returned with a kid it had slam, and divided its meat with the man. This lion and man lived together in the cave for many days, but finally he was again captured and tried, convicted and sentenced to death in the arena.
When the day of his execution arrived he was brought into thc arena at Rome, and an immense lion was released from one of the dens. The beast made for the poor convict, but when he was almost upon him he suddenly stopped and then approached the man and began to lick his hands and feet.
Immediately there was a. great tumult of excitement and applause, the multitude crying: "A miracle, a miracle" and holding their thumbs up as a signal that the man’s life should be spared. The Emperor thereupon released him and, pardoning him, presented him with the lion which had saved his life. And it is said that the man with his lion were a common sight upon the streets of Rome for many years, the lion having become perfectly tame through his love for the man who had been kind to him in distress.
We expect from you that you will ever prove true and faithful to your fellow Lion, and be at all times ready to assist, defend and protect them and their loved ones when in trouble and distress.
My friend, having taken upon yourself our solemn obligation. I will now entrust you with the unwritten work of the Order. Guard them sacredly, that no unworthy person may gain knowledge of the same, through any want of caution on your part.
The first sign is called the Salutation Sign, and is given thus.
The Countersign, or answer to it, is given thus
The Sign of Distress is given thus
The answer to it is given thus
The Words of Distress are as follows:
The Sign of Recognition is given thus
The answer to it is given thus
The Warning Sign and Danger Signal are given thus:
The Retiring Sign is given thus
The Token is given thus
The answer to the Token is
The Grip is given in this manner:
The Gavel in the hands of the Officers conveys a certain meaning to the Den. In the hands of the Commander, three raps call up the whole Den; two raps seat the Den; one rap calls to order. In the hands of the Lieut. Commander one rap calls to order; two raps, in answer to the alarm at the inner door, is an order to the Inside Guard to attend to the alarm.
To enter a Den Room while in session proceed as follows: at the outer door give any usual alarm, such as knocking or ringing the bell, the same as at the door of a neighbor.
If required by the officer in charge, give the Permanent Password. The Permanent Password is … This will admit you to he ante-room. There clothe yourself in proper regalia. At the Inner door give …, and to the officer in charge give the current Semi-Annual Password, which is … This will admit you on to the Den. Advance to the centre of the Room, below the Pedestal, and, facing the Commander, give the Salutation Sign. He will answer you by giving the Countersign, upon which you will take your seat.
If you are visiting a Den, at the inner door give, in addition to the Semi-Annual Password, your name, the name and number of your Den and your rank, if any, in the Order.
If you desire to address the Den, rise in your place and face the Presiding Officer and give the Token, at the same time saying, "Worthy Commander," and when you have received the answer to the Token from the Commander, proceed with your remarks.
Whenever you cross the room from one side to the other, unless you are an officer entitled to a seat on the Dais, cross below the Pedestal, and when in front of the Commander turn toward him and give the Salutation sign simply, without saying, "Commander."
If you desire to retire before the Den has regularly closed, proceed to the "Saluting point": just below the Pedestal: turn toward the Past Commander and give the Retiring Sign and say, "Past Commander, permit me to retire." The Past Commander, if it is proper for you to retire then, will answer you with the Countersign, upon which you will retire without further ceremony.
The Honors to visitors of rank are given as follows, the Den in each case being called up:
The Inside Guard announces the visitors, giving names ad rank
COM : Brother Captain, you will escort the honored visitors into our Den.
All rise and stand at attention and remain standing until the Supreme officers are seated. The Captain and visiting Brothers enter and advance by the way of the Lieutenant Commander’s station to the altar and salute. The Commander responds with the same sign, saying: Most Worthy ... (rank and name), it gives us great pleasure to welcome you to our Den. May I have the honor of your presence at the seat on my right (and left).
Visitors then advance and are assigned to seats at the right hand (and left hand) of the Commander. While yet standing they face the Den Chamber, and are thus presented by the Commander of the Den in order of precedence and by title and name. Then at a signal by the Commander, all the members of the Den give them the Supreme honors, giving the military salute with the right hand, while the left hand is held over the heart, this being recognized by an inclination of the head by the Supreme Den officers Commander gives two raps and all are seated.
COMMANDER: Now, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the Order, I proclaim you a Brother of the Fraternal Order of American Lions.
The Lieutenants will escort our Brother to a seat in the Den.
If ladies have been initiated at this lime, they will be seated among the members, as the second and third degrees are given to male candidates only.
The company of sixteen men of the Uniform Rank, with Captain and Lieutenants, will at this time give an exhibition drill, and ending by going through the formation of the letters F, O, A and L, successively, before retiring from the floor.
Full details of marches, drills, uniforms and regalia can be obtained from the Supreme Den.
COM.: Brothers let us greet our new members. One rap. Members are at ease to welcome the newly initiated brothers.
COMMANDER: * * *. Three raps announces Ode.
Closing Ode is being sung.
COMMANDER: Attention, while the Chaplain invokes Divine blessing.
CHAPLAIN offers prayer, all members responding here, and always to the prayer an audible "Amen."
CHAPLAIN: Our Father who art in Heaven, we bow again in humble submission before Thy Throne of Grace. We implore Thy direction and blessing upon all our efforts to advance the principles of our Order; and we earnestly beseech Thee to grant to all members of this Den, wisdom and strength to walk in the paths of peace, virtue and morality; to be courteous and forgiving, and lenient in condemnation of an erring member. Guide our footsteps in safety to our homes; through the journey of life ever lead us; and finally, through Thy infinite mercy, bring us to Thy Heavenly Court above, and to Thy holy name be all the glory and praise now and for evermore. Amen.
COMMANDER: I now declare the Den duly and legally closed.