Equitable Fraternal Union
Ritual of the E.F.U. Ceremony for the Initiation of Men only
Characters taking part in the ceremony
President Blind Prophet
Warden Special Guard
Aged Seer Guards: Six
Bandit Chief and six or more bandits, three of the bandits to be designated as First Bandit, Second Bandit and Gunner.
To reduce the number of persons required to impersonate the different characters necessary to carry out this ceremony, some persons may take two parts. For instance, the President may act as the Special Guard, the Aged Seer as the Traveler, the Adviser as the Chief Bandit, and the Six Guards may also act as the Six Bandits. In this way eleven persons may take all the parts that would otherwise require twenty people.
If the Assembly is blessed with a large regular attendance, it is wise to let as many as possible take part in the ceremony.
The President will appoint some member as Master of Ceremonies, whose duty it shall be to see that the camp fire is properly placed, the trick chair brought into the room at the proper time, the lights turned down and up when required, and to perform any other duty necessary to cause the ceremony to pass off smoothly. He may call to his aid such assistance as he may require.
Two or more candidates may be taken together as far as the march to the trick chair, when all but one of the candidates will be taken to the anteroom and only one at a time put through the ordeal of execution, after which all will go through the remainder of the ceremony in a body.
The Trick Chair in the supply catalogue is called "E. F. U. Ceremony, Special Property."
The officers of the Assembly should wear robes, but these may be omitted. The other characters will wear the following style of dress:
Aged Seer: A long drab colored robe with girdle about the waist, bald white wig, long white beard, and carry a staff.
Blind Prophet: A long brown colored robe with girdle about the waist, white or dark wig, long white or dark beard, dark colored glasses, and carry a staff. Suspended from his left arm with a string he will carry a small bag containing the symbol of Fraternity, The Clasped Hands.
Traveler: A tunic coat, ancient style baggy trousers, a turban, black beard, and carry a staff. He may also carry a bundle tied up in cloth.
The Special Guard will wear a Roman military coat and helmet, and carry a spear; the six guards should also wear Roman military coats and helmets, and carry spears. The Roman military coats and helmets may be dispensed with for the six guards.
The Bandit Chief should be dressed in a bright colored Turkish costume consisting of a short coat, baggy knee trousers, bright colored stockings, a long sash about the waist in which is carried a sword or scimitar, a fez or turban cap and a black beard.
The Six bandits should be dressed in rough clothing, somewhat torn, with long highly colored sashes about the waist. Two will carry daggers, two spears, and two imitation guns. All will wear slouch hats or fezzes and grease paint may be applied to their faces to make them look dark, red or Indian color, but this is not necessary.
The room shall be semi-darkened and all characters and scenes made ready for the work. The speakers must learn their parts well. Each must commit his part and study how to deliver it in the most dramatic manner.
Practice makes perfect.
PRESIDENT: Warden, kindly retire and ascertain if there are candidates awaiting initiation.
Warden advances to the altar, salutes the President, and retires to the anteroom. Secures the names of all candidates, returns to the altar, salutes and says:
WARDEN: Friend President, I find … in waiting to complete his membership by initiation.
The President at this time will inquire of the Secretary if the fees due the Assembly from any awaiting initiation have been collected, and it not, the Secretary and Warden will be requested to retire and collect them. After this formality is complied with the President will say:
PRESIDENT: Warden, you will again retire, and when you shall hear two raps on the inner door you will introduce the candidate.
The Warden salutes the President and retires.
PRESIDENT: The Assembly will be at ease while we prepare for the initiation.
When everything is in readiness the President will call the Assembly to order and instruct the Inner Guard to give two raps on the inner door. To this signal the Warden will give two raps to which no answer is made. Again he gives two raps, louder than before, when the Inner Guard quickly opens the door and the Warden and candidate quietly enter the darkened room. They walk slowly forward, when the Special Guard approaches them with spear in hand, suddenly seizes the candidate and says:
SPECIAL GUARD: Halt! who art thou that dares intrude upon the privacy of this domain?
WARDEN: Peace, stranger, peace to thee! We are Pilgrims seeking an Assembly of the E.F.U., the society whose deeds of charity and brotherly love have spread abroad in our land. We seek to become one of them.
SPECIAL GUARD: Pilgrims, thou hast far to go ere thou reachest an Assembly of the E.F.U., but thy mission is worthy, yet how do I know thou art not spies seeking the secrets of the E.F.U. for worldly gain?
WARDEN: We are not spies! I tell you, we are Pilgrims in search of the E.F.U. Stand aside and let us pass. Tries to pass.
SPECIAL GUARD: Hold, strangers! Be not rash. At my call legions are at my command. Blows a whistle and the guards rush up and block the way, all pointing spears al breasts of Pilgrims. Thou shalt not pass until thou hast proven worthy of the secrets of the E.F.U.
An aged seer pushes through from behind the guards and makes the sign of a Triangle across the forehead and says:
AGED SEER: Who art thou?
WARDEN: A Pilgrim seeking an Assembly of the E.F.U.
AGED SEER: Who is thy companion?
WARDEN: One who is journeying with me on a like mission.
AGED SEER: Is he brave?
WARDEN: He is.
AGED SEER: Can he keep a secret?
WARDEN: He can.
AGED SEER: Canst thou?
WARDEN: I can.
AGED SEER: But wilt thou?
AGED SEER: Wilt thou both swear it?
WARDEN: We will.
AGED SEER: Then place thy left hand over thy heart; raise thy right hand, palm outward thus, and repeat after me the oath of the covenant.
By the God of our fathers, creator and preserver of all, we swear to keep the secrets of the E.F.U. We will aid, shield, and defend a friend, his widow and orphan, and our country against every foe. Thus do we covenant with heart and hand, until death do us part. Amen.
AGED SEER: Pilgrims, thou hast pledged to keep a secret, listen and I will tell thee one. My friends and I are members of the E.F.U. We are guardians of its secrets. Equity is the first basic principle of our order.
The desire for equal privilege, equal consideration and equal right is as old as humanity and is inherent in the heart of every man. It led our forefathers to leave their native lands and cross untried seas to make a home in a new, strange country. In the E.F.U. Equity is exemplified in our actions, our converse, and our deliberations.
Within the walls of an E.F.U. Assembly all are on a splendid equality and the cause of the humblest is as much the concern of all, as is the cause of the highest. It is the giving or desire to give, to each his due according to the law of God and man.
Draws out of his mantle a tiny scale and says:
Here is the symbol of Equity, represented by the scales of justice. Each act, each word, each deed of all friends in the E.F.U. must be carefully weighed by the scales of justice, ever remembering it is human to err and divine to forgive. Thou shouldst also remember that
"The tissue of life to be
We weave in colors all our own,
And in the field of destiny
We reap as we have sown."
As evidence of our friendship and desire to aid you in securing other secrets of the E.F.U., I give unto you these Scales of Justice. Conceal them and guard them well. They may prove to thee of great value in the hour of need. Go thy way and may the peace of God attend thee. Farewell.
All make sign of the triangle, bow and say: Farewell.
The Warden and candidate march slowly round the darkened hall and note a light in the distance. On approach they behold a Blind Prophet resting on a blanket near the fire. Fire to be arranged with red light or globe placed in among sticks to represent burning wood. As they approach, the prophet sits up and says:
BLIND PROPHET: Hail, stranger! The peace of Jehovah be with thee! Who art thou, enemy or friend?
WARDEN: We are Pilgrims in search of the E.F.U. Canst thou direct us?
BLIND PROPHET, sitting upright, hands extended: Stranger, I cannot direct thee. The place thou seekest lies in the far East, but I know not the East, nor the beauty of the rising sun. Behold, I am blind and helpless! I am separated from traveling companions by a band of thieves and ruffians. Didst say thou art seeking the E.F.U.?
Then God bless thee, and God speed thee! Thy mission is noble but the path is fraught with many dangers. Tarry thou here until the rising of the moon and then thou shalt know which way to go. *, All are seated. Thrust thy hand in this bag and see what thou shalt find.
Warden has candidate do so, and he draws out the symbol of Fraternity, the Clasped Hands. The prophet feels it, kisses it and says: Ah! 'tis a good omen! The clasped hands symbolizing fraternity, that virtue which opens the door of every true heart, and begets kindness and brotherly love. Fraternity never wrongs a home, nor casts a shadow on the name of a friend. It is like beautiful music for the healing of the nations. This symbol is to me more precious than silver or gold. I give it to thee: take it, place it in thy bosom and show it not to wandering tribes, but in the hour of sore distress it may prove to thee a lucky talisman. Thou seekest the E.F.U. and if thou findest it thou will indeed find true fraternity.
The moon rises and Warden says:
WARDEN: See! The moon has risen! Come, let us be off! Wrap the blanket about our aged friend and give him thy strong arm for support. Come, I will lead the way.
BLIND PROPHET: Thank God! Thou hast not left me alone among thieves and despoilers. Already thou dost practice Fraternity. In case of danger leave me and seek safety for thyself and friend. Rely upon the mercy and goodness of God and He will not forsake thee.
They all march toward the moon and see a light in the distance. They approach it and find a weary traveler sitting by the wayside with a lantern by his side. The Warden says:
WARDEN: Hail, stranger, canst thou direct us to an Assembly of the E.F.U.? We seek to learn the secrets of that noble order.
TRAVELER: I cannot direct thee as I am lost and know not which way to go. I am weary and would rest a while. I, too, am a Pilgrim on my way in search of the secrets of the E.F.U. See, he draws from under his coat the Golden Circle, emblematic of Unity I have here an emblem given me by one I met early in my travels. He explained that it was a symbol signifying Unity or great strength. He said the E.F.U. is a wonderful society bound by common ties of interest to aid, shield and defend each other; to care for the sick; to give decent burial to its deceased members and to aid the widow and educate the orphan.
BLIND PROPHET: Thou hast done well to retain the symbol given thee. Already it has proven a lucky talisman and brought thee in contact with others who are seeking the same secrets and hence can journey onward with thee.
WARDEN: Friends, a feeling of gladness steals over me. See, already we are in possession of some of the very Secrets we seek. See, the symbol thou hast, represents Unity or Union: and these we have represent Equity and Fraternity.
Indeed these have already proven valuable to us.
When laid out in the order as given us, these symbols represent Equity, Fraternity, and Unity. In other words, the Equitable Fraternal Union the very thing we seek.
Come, let us hasten onward and our reward is sure.
They all march slowly onward and are suddenly surrounded by bandits, who rush upon them shouting: Seize them! Seize them! They blindfold the candidate, march around the room and halt before their Bandit Chief, who is seated at the Adviser's station, and decide to put the candidate to death as follows:
FIRST BANDIT, salutes the Bandit Chief with a low bow: Oh, Chief, behold we bring thee booty. Before thee stand our prisoners.
CHIEF, harshly: Thou hast done well. But I am in no mood for words! Away with them to execution!
BLIND PROPHET, leaning on staff: Oh, Chief, I pray thee be merciful. Spare my friends! If it be blood ye seek, take me, I am old, blind and helpless.
CHIEF: Hush thy babble! We kill not the aged or infirm. Thou art not worth the killing!
WARDEN, kneeling and pleading hands extended: Oh, Chief, soften thy heart! We are not thy enemies! We fear God and love our fellow men! We have done no wrong! We seek the E.F.U.
CHIEF: Thy speech is that of a woman. Thou shalt not die! We will hold thee for ransom. Perhaps some of thy dear friends will want thee to return. Ha! Ha! Ha!
We will waste not words. Away with this man! Pointing to candidate: Execute him!
They march to the trick chair, which the Master of Ceremonies will have placed in front of Vice President's station, place the candidate in it, the gunner standing off about ten feet aims at him. The gong in the distance sounds: the gunner pauses. Again it sounds when second bandit speaks.
SECOND BANDIT: Hold 'tis a bad omen! 'Tis against our tribal law to shoot prisoners before sunrise! See our prisoner is no coward, he quakes not. I remove the hoodwink that he may at least not die as a dog.
GUNNER: Thou hast spoken well, but our Chief hath spoken. We must obey his commands.
He shoots at the candidate. The trick chair falls down. Seeing candidate is not dead, they become very much excited and converse thus:
FIRST BANDIT: See, he is not dead! Our bullet has turned to air. What shall we do?
SECOND BANDIT: This is some miracle! Surely these are men of God. Let us return to our Chief and report.
They all march before the Chief.
FIRST BANDIT: Oh Chief! We are sorely afraid. We followed thy orders and did shoot this man but our bullet turned to air. See he stands before thee unharmed.
CHIEF: Speak men speak! Hast thou played some trick upon us? Who art thou to perform miracles?
WARDEN: Oh Chief! We are only men, Pilgrims on our way in search of an Assembly of the E.F.U. Our mission is pure. God hath wrought this miracle.
CHIEF: Search these men! Let them escape not!
They search and find the symbols: the scales, clasped hands and golden circle. Chief examines same and says:
CHIEF: Aha! These have given thee power to perform miracles, but they are now in our possession and thou canst not escape us!
BLIND PROPHET: Oh Chief, hearken to one who is old and decrepit, yet full of wisdom. These symbols have no power to beget evil. They are symbols of righteousness. To those alone to whom they are given do they represent power for good. The Scales represent Equity or Equality founded upon Mercy and Justice. The Clasped Hands represent Fraternity or brotherly love and the Golden Circle teaches Unity or great strength. The E.F.U. which these Pilgrims seek teaches that Fraternal love is the greatest power in the world. Its members aid, shield and defend each other in sickness, sorrow and distress, and stand by each other in adversity as well as in prosperity.
They care for the widow and the orphan and bring joy to grieving souls. I have spoken, Oh Chief, what thinkest thou?
CHIEF: Almost thou persuadest me to seek the E.F.U. Surely their mission is noble! What say you, my subjects?
They all say in unison: We will, Oh Chief, if thou sayest so!
CHIEF: I do say so. Stack thy arms and let us all pursue our way in search of the E.F.U.
The symbols are given to the Warden. The Warden, candidate, blind prophet and traveler lead the way around the room, followed by the Chief and his subjects. As they turn directly in front of the Vice President's station toward the President's station, the lights are turned up in full.
At the President's station on a banner, in golden letters, are the name and number of the Assembly and the letters "E.F.U." The Warden says:
WARDEN: Ah, in the distance I behold an Assembly of the E.F.U. Let us hasten there.
At the moment they arrive at the President's station, the President arises and with the right hand extended toward the ceiling, palm outward, the arm extended at full length, exclaims:
PRESIDENT: Halt! Who art thou that comest unannounced before the President of this Assembly of the E.F.U.?
WARDEN: Friend President, we are Pilgrims come from afar through trials and dangers, in search of this place. We have heard of your good deeds and we desire to assume your obligation and become members with you.
CHIEF: And we too, Oh President, we want to forsake our unholy lives and become men who can have the blessings of Fraternal Love.
PRESIDENT: Chief, thou art a stranger to us. Thy reputation is not good. We hear evil report of thee and thy subjects. None but the pure in heart can be accepted into our ranks. Go thy way and if thou return after six Harvest Moons with proof of thy sincerity, then thou mayest be made one of us.
The Chief and his subjects march away sorrowfully. When they have retired the President continues.
Friend Warden, I have heard of thee and thy friends who desire to become members of the E.F.U. What lessons have you learned in your journeyings that qualify you to become members of this noble order?
WARDEN, holding out the three emblems: We have learned the lessons of Equity, Fraternity and Unity, symbolized by these emblems. Handing them to the President.
PRESIDENT: You have indeed earned the right to become members of the E.F.U. You will proceed to our altar where the Adviser will administer to you our obligation.
Warden, candidate, blind prophet and traveler march to the Vice President's station, and as the Warden and candidate turn to approach the altar, the blind prophet and traveler retire and the Warden and candidate proceed alone to the altar. The Adviser takes his position between the altar and the President's station. When in position and before the Warden has delivered his instructions to the Adviser, the following takes place.
PRESIDENT, * *: Friends, form the Circle of Unity around our altar while the Adviser administers our sacred obligation.
If possible a march is played and all members form a circle around the altar and so remain until after the singing of the obligation verse.
WARDEN: Adviser, by direction of our President, I present this candidate for obligation.
ADVISER: You will place your left hand over your heart, extend your right arm, resting your right hand palm down, on the emblem of our order and repeat after me:
I solemnly promise, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of the members of this Assembly, that I will strictly comply with the laws, rules and regulations of the Supreme Assembly, and of this, or any other Assembly of the order, to which I may at any time belong.
I further promise not to reveal any of the signs, grip, tokens, or unwritten work of the order to any person, except such as I know to be a member of the order in good standing, and I will not communicate the passwords of the order to any person, except to the officers authorized to receive the same in an Assembly in session.
I further promise that I will never wrong or defraud any department of this order, or any member thereof, or take part in any unlawful use or disposition of the funds, moneys, or other property belonging to the order, and will do all in my power to prevent any such unlawful action.
I further promise that in my actions and discussion as a member of this order, I will be governed by a spirit of courtesy, respect and friendship for my fellow members, and will ever strive to advance the principles of Equity, Security, Fraternity, and Unity upon which this order is founded.
I further promise and agree that whenever I may, for any ca use, cease to be a member of this order, the obligation I have here assumed, shall remain binding and in full force, and all my right, title and interest in and to any property, funds or benefits of this order, except as may be specifically provided for in my benefit contract, shall thereby terminate and become absolutely void.
To the faithful observance of all these things I pledge my sacred word of honor.
ADVISER: Friends, do you accept the pledge made by our newly obligated member? Members all answer: We do.
Lights may be turned low, and the following, or some other appropriate verse sung by all, or by a choir in the distance, after which the lights will be turned up.
Blest be the cord that binds
Our hearts in friendship's tie;
Fraternal love of kindred minds
Shall last until we die.
All members march to their seats.
ADVISER: Now that you have been properly obligated, you are entitled to be addressed as Friend, as this is the term by which all regularly made members of the order are designated. You are also entitled to instruction in the lesson of Security, which is one of the true principles of our order. You will, therefore, be conducted to our President who will deliver to you the lesson of Security, together with instructions in the unwritten work of our order.
WARDEN: Friend President, by direction of our Adviser I present this Friend for the lesson of Security and instruction in the unwritten work of our order.
PRESIDENT: My friend, it is my duty to impress upon your mind another important principle of our order, Security, which means the condition or quality of being secure, freedom from care or anxiety; in other words, confidence inspired through safety. There can be no real Equity where one's investment is not first made secure. You are becoming a member of this order, that you may secure to your loved ones when life's short day for you is done, a substantial sum of money to protect them against want and suffering.
We, therefore, pledge you through the principle of Security the assurance that your confidence has not been misplaced, for every safeguard has been thrown around this order, and, through Security, symbolized by the Golden Key, you may rest secure in the promises of our order.
I will now instruct you in our unwritten work.
We have two passwords, three signs and a grip.
The first password is called the semi-annual password and is changed twice during each calendar year, a new one being received during the months of January and July.
It is used at the outer door to gain admission to the anteroom when the Assembly is in session, and is also to be given to the Warden at the opening of the Assembly.
Should you desire to gain admittance to your Assembly after it has called to order, and be without the semi-annual password, you will so inform the Outer Guard, who will inform the Inner Guard, who in turn will inform the President. If you are found to be in good standing, the Outer Guard will be instructed to permit you to enter the anteroom, and immediately on entering the Assembly hall you will approach the President and receive from him the word.
You may receive this word only from the President of the Assembly to which you belong or from the President of any other Assembly of the order to whom you present your receipt for assessment and dues, showing you to be in good standing in the order. The semi-annual password for this term is … whispers the word.
The second password is called the permanent password and is never changed. It is used at the inner door to gain admission to the assembly hall. It is also to be given to the Warden at the opening of the assembly. The permanent password is … whispers the word.
You will remember that both passwords are always to be given in a whisper.
After the assembly has been called to order and you desire admission, you will make your presence known by any alarm at the outer door. The Outer Guard will open the wicket, through which you will give the semi-annual password. You will then be admitted to the anteroom, when you will approach the inner door and give four raps, by twos, thus: * * * *. The Inner Guard will respond in like manner and open the wicket, through which you will give the permanent password. You will then be admitted to the assembly hall, when you will advance to the altar and salute the President with the first sign of the order, which is the sign of salutation, and is made thus …. The President will recognize you in like manner, when you will be at liberty to be seated.
Should you wish to retire before the assembly is closed, you will approach the altar and salute the President with the same sign as on entering. If the President returns your salute, you may retire. If not, you will return to your seat.
In rising to address the Assembly, you will salute the President with the sign of salutation, and say, Friend President, and when the President has recognized you by the same sign, you may proceed with your remarks.
At the opening of the Assembly when the flag of our country is unfurled, you with the other members, will salute the flag with the sign of salutation and say: "Emblem of Liberty, we salute thee, and will cherish and defend thee while life shall last."
The second sign of the order is the sign of sincerity, and is made thus …. It is used in taking the obligation, and may also be used as a sign of recognition outside of the Assembly, the person making the sign indicating, I am a member of the Equitable Fraternal Union. The person seeing and recognizing the sign, in like manner indicates, So am I.
The third sign of the order is the voting sign, and is made thus …, the same sign being used to indicate an affirmative or negative vote, as the case may be.
The grip is made thus ….
The motto of our order is: "Not for self, but for each other."
In conducting the business of the assembly one rap of the gavel calls the Assembly to order or seats the members if standing. Two raps call the members to their feet.
All members of the order are known as Friends, this being the term by which you will address them while the Assembly is in session.
My Friend, you are now in full possession of all the unwritten work of our order. As long as you remain faithful to the obligations you have here assumed, you will be entitled to all its rights, privileges, and benefits, together with all the honors it can confer upon its members.
You have become a member of this order with this thought foremost in your mind: To protect those near and dear to you should the hand of death be suddenly laid upon you. That this thought may be carried to its final completion, let me charge you with one thing. Be prompt in paying your assessments and other financial obligations to the order. The service of this order to you and yours is valuable only when you fully discharge every obligation thereto which you have here assumed.
PRESIDENT, * *: Warden, you will face our newly made Friend to the Assembly.
Friends of … Assembly No. …, I take pleasure in introducing to you our new Friend, …, who has completed his initiation, and is now in full membership with us. May the benefits to be derived from our order be a help and assistance to him and those dependent upon him, and may our friendship endure to the end of life.
You will all join in singing our closing initiatory ode.
The chain is one link longer
That binds us each to each,
And friendship's tie is stronger
Fraternal truths to teach.
Join hands tonight, my brothers,
The old friends and the new,
And pledge we to each other
A love that's strong and true.
PRESIDENT: I now declare the assembly at ease, that we may welcome our newly made Friend.
Characters taking part in the ceremony