The Fraternal Tribunes
Initiation Ritual


Opening Ceremony
This Home Tribunal will please come to order. Sergeant-at-Arms, you will proeeed to take up the Passwords and Grip and report to this station.
Each member should rise in turn while giving the Semi-Annual and Permanent words and the Grip to the Sergeant-at-Arms. The passwords are to be given in a whisper. If anyone is without the words, the Sergeant-at-Arms so reports to the Chief Tribune, who will act accordingly.
Chief Tribune, I find all Companions present duly qualified to sit in this Home Tribunal.
Sergeant-at-Arms, you will arrange the altar by placing thereon our Mystic Number and other paraphernalia.
The Sergeant-at-Arms places upon the altar the Mystic Seven Emblem and the Torch-Holder which is to receive the seven lights.
Chief Tribune, your orders have been obeyed.
CHIEF TRIBUNE, calling the members to their feet by three raps of the gavel:
Companions, let us sing our opening ode:
Opening Ode
Again we mingle here,
In true fraternal cheer,
Companions all.
With thankful hearts we raise,
A song of grateful praise,
To Him who guides our ways
In paths of peace.
The Seven Virtues blend,
Our cause to bless.
If we as Tribunes strive,
Our Order e'er will thrive,
And ev'ry storm survive,
For ever more,
Then let us ne'er forget,
Till life's last sun has set,
This purpose true;
To dry the orphan's fear,
To banish want and fear,
And to Companions dear
Our hands extend.
Companions, let us exemplify the Signs of the Order, as given by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
The Sergeant-at-Arms advances to the altar and gives the several Signs in the following order, naming each as given: Salutation Sign and answer; Distress Sign and answer and Distress Word; Recognition Sign, answer and Test Words; Voting Sign. All present give the Signs in unison.
The Sergeant-at-Arms returns to his station.
The Chief Tribune will seat the members by one rap of the gavel.
CHIEF TRIBUNE, calling any member to the Chief Tribune's station, by addressing him as follows:
Companion …, you will take charge of the Tribunal until its proper officers have assumed their stations.
Chief Tribune and all the officers retire. Officers, properly clothed, being in readiness to enter, signify the same by proper raps, whereupon lights in the Tribunal room are turned off, and, organist playing a march, the ante-room door is thrown open, and the seven officers enter, each bearing a lighted candle, representing one of the seven virtues. As procession enters door the presiding officer calls Tribunal up by three raps of the gavel. Procession should march by well practised drill, to music only, until the officers reach their respective stations, after having placed the candles on the altar in the seven-branched candlestick. Then, officers having reached their stations, all remain standing.
Beneath the silent representative of thal mystorious number, used by the inscrutable Lord of Hosts in the creation and control of the universe, do we, before entering upon our deliberations, reverently appeal for a downpouring upon us of the spirit of sanctificatiou, and for peace, harmony and brotherly love. And, as from time immemorial this sacred number has commanded the esteem and reverence of mankind, so may it ever symbolize for us the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; ever tempering the speech, actuating the motives, and eucouraging the nobler impulses of all our members, wheresoever they may be. Amen.
Sergeant-at-Arms steps to Altar.
Vice Chief Tribune, yonr duty?
Representing the virtue —Faith, it is my duty to inculcate a firm and earnest belief in a Supreme Being, to teach strict fidelity to our fraternal obligations, and to assist you in the work of the Tribunal.
One candle extinguished by Sergeant-at-Arms.
Secretary, your duty?
Representing the virtue—Hope, it is my duty to impress on all, that if loyal to our obligations to God and to each other, we may, with confident expectation, look forward to a rich reward. In my official capacity, I am to keep a correct record of the proceedings of the Home Tribunal.
Second candle extinguished by Sergeant-at-Arms.
Treasurer, your duty?
Representing the virtue—Charity, it is my duty to, in every way, encourage that kindly disposition which inclines us to be indulgent to and to think favorably of all our fellow-men, and especially those of the household of our own faith, to whom we are bound by the ties of companionship in this Order. In my official capacity, I am to keep just and true account of the financial transactions of the Home Tribunal.
Third candle extinguished by Sergeant-at-Arms.
Sergeant-at-Arms, your duty?
Representing the virtue—Temperance, it is my duty to recommend moderation in all things, especially in the indulgence of the natural appetite and passions, and the avoidance of all excesses having a tendency to injure the mind or body. In my official capacity, I am to obey your orders, and to assist you during; initiation and in the work of the Home Tribunal.
Fourth candle extingnished by Sergeant-at-Arms.
Guard, your duty?
Representing the virtue—Fortitude, which is the guard and support of the other virtues, it is my duty to encourage all to bear adversity with patient resignation, and to face the dangers and difficulties of life with dauntless courage. It is my official duty to see that the inner door of the Home Tribunal is properly guarded.
Fifth candle extinguished by Sergeant-at-Arms.
Sentinel, your duty?
Representing the virtue—Prudence, it is my duty to recommend the constant practice of wise forethought, caution and circumspection, not only to prevent improper disclosure of the secret transactions of this Society, but also with reference to the ordinary affairs of life. It is my official duty to guard the outer door of the Home Tribunal and to obey your commands.
Sixth candle extinguished by Sergeant-at-Arms.
Sergeant-at-Arms, the Chief Tribunal's duty?
Representing the virtue—Justice, it is his duty to teach steadily the great lesson that under the certain operation of God’s righteous laws, wrong-doing must inevitably be followed by just retribution; that sin will be punished and virtue be rewarded. In his official capacity, he presides over, controls and directs the affairs of this Home Tribunal.
Seventh candle extinguished, the lights being turned on at the same instant.
CHIEF TRIBUNE: I now declare … Home Tribunal, No. …, of The Fraternal Tribunes, duly opened for the transaction of business.
Seats all present by one rap of the gavel, the Sergeant-at-Arms saluting and retiring to his station.

Initiation Ceremony
Sergeant-at-Arms, yon will retire and ascertain if any candidates are in waiting.
Sergeant-at-Arms retires, and upon his return, if any candidate is in waiting, reports.
SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Chief Tribune, I find Mr. … waiting initiation.
In case candidate is a lady, change reading throughout accordingly.
CHIEF TRIBUNE: Sergeant-at-Arms, you will retire and prepare the candidate for initiation, after which you will conduct him (or her) into the Tribunal room.
Companions Secretary and Treasurer, you will retire and collect the necessary fee.
Upon the return of the Secretary and Treasurer, the Secretary reports.
Chief Tribune, the fees required have been collected.
Guard, you will properly arrange the altar for our initiatory ceremony.
Seven red candles, burning, are placed on altar, representing the seven cardinal sins. Candidate being properly prepared hoodwinked, and with black paper cap on his head, Sergeant-at-Arms announces his readiness to enter by the proper raps on inner door. Guard answers by similar raps from within, when the wicket is opened.
Guard, who seeks admittance, breaking the silence by the signal representing our Mystic Nurnber?
A strange wayfarer, who declares himself in readiness for the ceremony of initiation.
Is he true and strong of heart, and does he seek to benefit others rather than himself?
He so declares.
Such, alone, are worthy and qualified. Let him enter.
The candidate is conducted once about the room, to music, halting before the altar and facing the Chief Tribune.
Sergeant-at-Arms, who is your Companion in this journey?
Chief Tribune this is Mr. …, who is seeking light among the Seven Hills.
Mr. …, you now stand before the altar of The Fraternal Tribunes. As presiding officer of this Home Tribunal, it becomes my duty to assure you, that in the obligations or practices of this Order there is nothing to interfere with your political or religious beliefs. We teach, alone, the fatherhood of God, the common brotherhood of man.
Being thus assured, are you willing to proceed?
CANDIDATE, prompted by Sergeant-at-Arms:
I am.
CHIEF TRIBUNE calls up the Tribunal with three raps of gavel, goes to altar, and says:
Mr. …, you will please repeat after me the obligation of a Tribune:
Upon the altar and symbol of this Order, I do most solemnly promise, that I will strictly comply with all the laws, rules and usages of The Fraternal Tribunes. That I will hold allegiance to the Supreme Tribunal, and be loyal thereto, as long as it does not conflict with my civil or religious righrs. That I will not wrong or defraud this Order, or any member thereof.
That I wil l do my utmost to promote the well-being of all my Companions.
That I will not, knowingly, recommend for membership, anyone of unsound health or immoral character.
That I will keep forever secret, all that may transpire during my initiation, and will never improperly communicate, to any person, any of the words, signs or work. And should I be expelled or suspended, or voluntarily sever my connection with The Fraternal Tribunes, I will consider this obligation as binding out of it as in it.
Companions of the Mystic Seven, you will bear witness to this solemn obligation of our newly-made Companion.
We are witnesses.
to candidate: Compainon, above all human witnesses there is a Higher Witness from whose clear vision your conscience can find no escape. We read in the Holy Scriptures that after the deluge God made a covenant with man, that never again would He destroy the earth and the inhabitants thereof by flood, and, as the token of His covenant, He placed His seven-hued rainbow in the heavens. Companions, the obligation taken by our newly-made Companion is a sacred covenant with you, and each of you. Let us invoke the Creator and Preserver of the Universe to bear witness to this covenant.
God be witness to this covenant, betwixt me and thee.
Sergeant-at-Arms, you will restore the candidate to light, that he (or she) may behold the Mystic Seven.
8ergeant-at-Arms removes the hoodwink. Chief Tribune retires to his station, and seats members by one rap of gavel.
Vice Chief Tribune, leaving his station, approaches altar, and standing near, and in view of the candidate, says:
CHIEF TRIBUNE: To better cultivate the seven cardinal virtues as taught by this Order, you should renounce those opposing sins which transgress the laws of God and are an offense against the rights of man. These seven sins are symbolically represented by these lights which you now behold, and these sins you must renounce if you would be one of us. From my station I come to you representing Faith, to take from you the sin of unbelief. Do you so will it?
Candidate answers affirmatively. Whereupon Vice Chief Tribune extinguishes one light and retires. While one offcer is retiring, the next in order should be advancing. Secretary approaches altar ans says:
From my station I come to you representing Hope, and urging you to have sublime confidence in an overruling intelligente. I would seek to take from you the sin of despair. Do you so will it?
Secretary extinguishes one light and retires. Treasurer approaches altar and says:
From my station I come to you representing Charity, to take from yon the sin of selfishness. Do you so will it?
Treasurer extinguishes one light and retires. Sergeant-at-Arms approaches altar and says:
From my station I come to you representing Temperance, to take from you that which, though it charms and cheats youth, covers old age with shame and disgrace, the sin of intemperance. Do you so will it?
Sergeant-at-Arms extinguishes one light and retires. Guard approaches altar and says:
From my station I come to you representing Fortitude, bidding you to be ever steadfast of purpose and to fight valiantly against, weakness and vacillation. Do you so will it?
Guard extinguishes one light and retires. Sentinel approaches altar and says:
From my station I come to you representing Prudence, to take from you the sin of extravagance and imprudence, the indulgence of which causes so much of misery and misfortune. Do you so will it?
Sentinel extinguishes one light and retires. Chief Tribune approaches altar and says:
From my station I come to you representing Justice. Heed well the spirit, and true meaning of that lessou which we seek to teach to you and all who enter herethe
fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man. Then, indeed, will you know that the morning of infancy, the noon of manhood, and the evening of old age, as we travel our brief journey from the cradle to the grave, is but as one fleeting day in an immortal life. Accept as the rule and guide of your conduct the words of holy Writ: "What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." I therefore charge you to renounce injustice. Do you so will it?
Final light extinguished, and Chief Tribune retires to his station and says:
Sergeant-at-Arms, you will conduct the candidate to the Chief Tribune’s station for further instruction.
Sergeant-at-Arms conducts candidate to Chief Tribune's station.
In religious ceremonials of ancient times, men offered sacrifices by fire for purposes of purification, and as he High Priests of Judea, offered seven lambs, to the sacrificial fire, so, too, do we, by fire, symbolize the purification of our newly-made Companion. You, alone, in this body, still wear the covering of the outer world, which by reason of your vows I now submit to the sacrifice of fire.
Chief Tribune removes cap from candidate's head, and, touching it to the flame, while the cap burns, says:
As this smoke is garnered in the breath of nature, voiceless and silent, so may the secrets ot this society be kept inviolate within your breast; and as this lurid flame turns to ashes this symbol of your worldly life, you behold approaching Companions bearing a fraternal covering, significant of purity and worth, which, if worthily worn, will mark your entrance here and now upon a higher and nobler life. Unless strong of faith and firm of resolution, do not, I beseech you, accept this covering of regeneration, which signifies the perfect union by which you become one of us; for as the seven notes of music make harmony, so must the Companions of the Mystic Seven dwell in union, that discord may be unknown.
Chief Tribune takes Tribunes cap from bearers, and placing it on candidate’s head and says:

May you ever wear this cap with pride to yourself and honor to our Society. Companion, behold approaching the Keeper of Decorations. Heed well his words, for they are the words of age and experience.
Keeper of Decorations is seen approaching, the lights being very dim, followed by two pages, bearing with them a small locked box, in which is the decoration; on top of box is a sword. On reaching candidate, the Keeper of Decoartions says:
An old man, hoary with age, and endowed with the wisdom of many years, and one filled with the follies of youth, are an ill-matched pair. But an old man’s blessing should gladden the heart of youth, and this I freely give unto thee. And, as the fires of youth are subdued by the waters of time, so wilt thine adherence to the Seven Virtues subdue all sinfulness.
My age, and my knowledge conceruiug the ancient and honored founders of the Tribunes, recommend me as one worthy to impart unto thee some of our most hallowed traditions, and to confer upon thee the decoration of our Order. So let thine ears incline to listen and thine heart to cherish my words,―feebly, but earnestly, uttered.
Beside the river Tiberius, sevcn gray and rugged hills stand sentinel over the life and death, the pains and pleasures, the hopes and fears, of the people of the eternal city―Rome. In the silent watches of the night, four hundred and ninety-four years before the birth of Christ, on the most sacred of these mounts, a band of Plebeian citizens made solemn compact, one with the other, for the betterment of their condition. These Tribunes were the beacon-light that shone through the darkness and chaos of a struggling civilization, made possible our declaration of independence, and gave unto each of us the individual rights we now enjoy.
Through all the centuries that have passed since that meeting on the sacred mount, has the odor of the sanctity practised by the members of that primitive Tribunal permeated every quarter of the globe. Though revolution followed revolution, though assassination followed assassination, and though Patrician strangled Plebeian, yet the Tribunes, forftified by the seven cardinal virtues, the gift of God, thc heritage of man, and bound together by the oath of brotherhoodone for all, all for one―lived to control the destiny of their country and break the tyrant's rule.
Sulia and Ceasar, Cicero and Claudius all paid tribute to their power and worth. They were of the people, for the people. Individually, they were weak; but collectively, they were a human torrent, sweeping before them the environments of poverty and helplessness, and enthroning in each household the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The Tribunes of today are carrying forward, in the fear of God, and in defence to man, the work of their ancestors, and, like the conclave on the sacred mount, our covenant is―that assistance and aid will be rendered unto a distressed friend and brother, his widow and his children. As the first Tribune lived, and loved, and died, so, too, wilt thou; for what are a few brief years in the great cycle of Time, but tomorrow? And tomorrow may never come! Soon the hoary frost of death may blight the blossom from thy cheek, the cold and clammy shroud thine only raiment be. Thou wilt be gone, but not forgotten; for on our Tribunal altar hath this night been consecrated, hearts that throughout life will beat in sympathy with thee and thine.
Takes box.

History teaches us that from time immemorial kings, princes and potentates, have been decorated in commemoration of brave deed and good works. But never, since the dawn of time, has there been conferred an insignia of more honor or glory than this, if properly worn.
Unlocks box and takes decoration therefrom.
More ancient it is than the Cross of Malta, more ennobling than any decoration conferred by man.
From my custody I am about to pass it unto thee. Guard and cherish it. Wear it upon thy breast when thou hast the privilege so to do, and in thy heart of hearts during thy worldly life, for this sacred number has by the great All-Father been sanctified and made holy. Adhere to its teachings, strive to impress its lessons upon thy fellow-men, and peace will be unto thee and unto thine.
Candidate kneels.

And now, Companion …, by order of our Chief Tribune, I confer upon thee the decoration of The Fraternal Tribunes, and so create thee one of us. Arise, and follow thy conductor within the circle of thy friends. Be thou faithful unto all thy vows, and I, who wish thee well, will go back into the Past, from whence I came.
The Keeper of Decorations will totter slowly away, and when he has reached the ante-room the Chief Tribune will say:
Sergeant-at-Arms, yon will conduct the candidate to the Chief Tribune's station for instructiou in the unwritten work of the Order.
The unwritten work is given to the candidate by the Chief Tribune in the following manner: at outer door, alarm and semi-annual password; at inner door, alarm and permanent password; at altar, salutation sign and answer, distress sign and answer, distress word and answer, recognition sign, answer and test words, grip, voting sign, raps of gavel etc.
Sergeant-at-Arms, you will now conduct the Companion to the Secretary's desk, that he may sign the Register, after which you will introduce him (or her) by name to all present.
When the Register has heen signed, the Chief Tribune will call the members to their feet by three raps of the gavel, and the Sergeant-at-Arms will say:
Chief Tribune and Companions, I take pleasure in introducing Companion … as a duly qualified member of … Tribunal of The Fraternal Tribunes.
The Chief Tribune seats the members with one rap of the gavel. The Sergeant-at-Arms escorts the new member to a seat and returns to his station.


Closing Ceremony

There being no further business, we will now proceed to close … Tribunal in due form, trusting that all will be present at our next meeting on the … day of ….
Let us now sing our closing ode.
Chief Tribune calls the Tribunal to its feet by three raps of the gavel.

Closing Ode

O, Companions of the mystic tie,
While our thoughts to home are turning
From the lessons we are learning;
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet―till we meet

Till we meet in joy complete,
Joy complete;
Till we meet―till we meet

God be with you till we meet again.

There is work we must as Tribunes do,
In the field that lies before us,
Lest the orphan’s eyes implore us―

God be with you till we meet again.


Lo! Together we attend the sign,
As we gather ‘round the altar,
Let us not in duty falter―

God be with you till we meet again.

Chief Tribune.
You will secure the emblems and deposit them with the jewels of this Tribunal in the archives thereof.
The Sergeant goes to the altar, facing the Chief Tribun, taking the symbol in his right hand and holding same above his head.
CHIEF TRIBUNE: Companions, look to the symbol and together attend the sign.
Chief Tribune.
Throw wide the door, that we may enter into our worldly lives, bearing with and for each of our brethren the seven cardinal virtues.
And in our relations with our fellow men, may our lives be such that they will feel the benign influence of our brotherhood, and learn from each of us, by our personal conduct, the cardinal principles of our Society, on earth peace, good will toward men.
Dismiss the Tribunal with one rap of the gavel.