Grand United Order of True Reformers
Ritual of the First, or Faith Degree
The Worthy Grand Master, on taking the chair, will give one rap with the gavel and say: Brothers and Sisters, if any of you who are present are non-Degree members, you will please retire to the anteroom.
W. G. M.: Brother Deputy Grand Master, you will please direct the W. Conductor to collect the Sixth Degree Password, and report.
W. Con.: Deputy Grand Master, all present are in possession of the Sixth Degree Password.
W. G. M.: Are the Officers at their respective stations, and the entrance to the Lodge room duly guarded?
D. G. M.: The Lodge is duly guarded and the Officers at their respective stations.
W. G. M.: Brothers and Sisters, be pleased to clothe yourselves in regalia.
W. G. M.: Brother Deputy, for what purpose are we here assembled?
D. G. M.: For the purpose of holding a Degree Lodge, and to enter into a more solemn covenant with each other.
W. G. M.: With whom are we authorized to make such covenants?
D, G. M.: With those who bring certificates from their Subordinate Lodge that they have pledged themselves to a life of total abstinence and Christian Charity.
W. G. M.: Your duty in this Degree Lodge.
D. G. M.: To have charge of the inner door, admit none except such as have taken the Degrees, and can give to the sentinels the Password of the Degree in which the Lodge is open; act as proxy during the absence of the W. G. M., also to open and close the Lodge.
W. G. M.: W. Con., your duty in the Lodge?
W. Con.: To prepare the candidates for Initiation, and conduct them to the proper Officers for instruction.
W. G. M.: W. Sec., your duty in the Lodge?
W. Sec.: To keep the records of this Degree Lodge, collect all dues and fines from the members, pay the same to the W. Treasurer, taking his receipt for the same.
W. G. M.: W. Treasurer, your duty in the Lodge?
W. Treas.: To receive all moneys from the W. Sec. and by order of the Lodge pay the drafts when legally signed by the W. G. M. and W. Sec., and make my report quarterly.
W. G. M.: We will now proceed to open the Lodge by singing the following verses: Three raps.
Lo! what an entertaining sight,
Those friendly brethren prove,
Whose cheerful hearts in bands unite,
In harmony and love!
Where streams of bliss from Christ the spring,
Descend on every soul;
And heavenly peace with balmy wing,
Shades and revives the whole.
W. G. M.: W. Prelate, you will please implore Divine blessing on this, our meeting.
W. G. M.: The members will now assist the D. G. M. in opening the Lodge in the Sixth Degree.
All give the countersign,
D. G. M.: By the desire of the W. G. M., I declare this Lodge opened in the Sixth Degree,
W. G. M.: I declare it so opened. One rap.
First or Faith Degree
The W. G. M. directs the W. Con. to examine all present in the Faith Degree and report.
W. Con.: W. G. M., all present are qualified to remain.
W. G. M.: The members will rise while the Deputy Grand Master opens the Lodge in the First, or Faith Degree. Three raps.
All give the countersign.
D. G. M.: By the desire of the W. G. M., I declare this Lodge opened in the Faith Degree for the purpose of conferring its honors.
W. G. M.: I declare it so opened. One rap.
W. G. M.: The W. Con. will retire to the ante-room, prepare the candidates, but first asks the following questions:
W. Con.: Do you believe in the existence of a Supreme Being who rules and governs all things?
Candidates: I do.
W. Con.: Are you willing to take an Obligation that will not conflict with your religious or political opinions?
Candidates: I am.
The W. Con. gives one loud rap on the door.
D. G. M.: Who comes there?
W. Con.: Brothers (or Sisters) desiring to be initiated into the mysteries of the Faith Degree.
D. G. M.: Admit them.
The W. Con. with a pole in hand, brings in the Candidates and marches them towards the chair of the D. G. M.
Just before they reach it the D. G. M. steps before them and says: Hold, Strangers, the place where you stand is sacred to the cause of suffering humanity, and before you can proceed further you must receive instructions from the W. G. M. of ceremonies.
W. G. M.: Moses was a shepherd, and while attending the flocks of Jethro, his father-in-law, the Lord appeared him in a burning bush. Moses saw the bush on fire, though burning did not consume; he therefore turned aside to view the sight, and as he did so the Lord said unto him out of the burning bush, "Moses, Moses," and he said, "Here am I," and the Lord said, "Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground," moreover he said, "I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God, and the Lord said, "I have surely seen the afflictions of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows and am come down to deliver them put of the hands of the Egyptians. (Exodus, 3d chapter, 2d to 18th verse.) And it was at this time, my brothers (or sisters) and on this occasion that Moses was commissioned by the Almighty to bring out his people, with a strong arm, from the bondage of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. And as Moses and the children of Israel marched out of Egypt, so may we move on in this glorious cause of love and good will to our fellow men.
The W. Con. leads the candidates twice around the room to the chair of the D. G. M., while the Lodge sings:
Children of our Heavenly King,
As we journey let us sing;
Sing our Saviour's worthy praise,
Glorious in His works and ways.
Fear not, brethren, joyful stand,
On the borders of our land;
Jesus Christ, our Father's Son,
Bids us undismayed go on.
D. G. M.: Brothers, (or Sisters,) you have at last arrived at the borders of the Red Sea, and thus far your journey, though attended with much toil, has been prosperous.
The arm of the Lord has been made bare to deliver you from the dangers which threaten you; and because that arm was made bare for your defence, you have been delivered. But yet another difficulty seems to await you to prevent your flight. Behold those impassable mountains on either side of you, the Red Sea in your front and the Egyptian host pressing hard upon your rear, escape seems impossible. Turn around and see your sad condition.
As they turn, the members in the rear stand in a menacing attitude with swords and spears in hand.
D. G. M.: What is that you hold in your hand?
Con.: A representation of that Rod by which Moses wrought all those wonders in the land of Egypt.
D. G. M.: What further use do you intend to make of that Rod?
W. Con.: To smite the waters of the Red Sea, that a passage may be made for the hosts of the Lord to pass over.
D. G. M.: The Lord directed Moses to stretch forth his rod on the Red Sea that the waters might be divided; and Moses did as the Lord commanded, and the waters went backward from the centre, making a way through the midst of the sea so that the Israelites passed over on dry ground, while Pharaoh and his hosts, attempting to follow them, perished, the Lord having brought back the waters of the sea upon them. (Exodus 14th chapter, 23d to 28th verse.) And as the rod of Moses was the instrument by which the children of Israel were enabled to overcome their enemies, so may our pledge and obligation to each other and our reliance on Divine Providence enable us to escape the difficulties which beset our pathway through life, and render us abundantly useful in the cause of virtue and benevolence.
The Lodge responds: So may it be.
The W. Con. leads the candidates twice around the room to the chair of the W. G. M., while the Lodge sings:
There is a land of pure delight,
Where saints immortal reign,
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain.
Their everlasting springs abide,
And never withering flowers;
Death, like a narrow sea, divides
This heavenly land from ours.
Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
Stand dress'd in living green.
So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
While Jordan rolled between.
Could we but climb where Moses stood,
And view the landscape o'er,
Not Jordan's stream nor death's cold flood,
Should fright us from the shore.
W. G. M.: Brothers, (or Sisters,) we hail your near approach to that blessed land, the land of promise flowing with milk and honey. You have reached its borders, for you are now, symbolically, on the banks of the river Jordan, and when you cross its waters you will stand on the promised possessions. But before you enter upon these possessions it will be necessary that we enter into mutual obligations with each other.
W. G. M.: You will now receive the Obligation. Three raps.
In the presence of the members of the Faith Degree here assembled, I, …, do solemnly promise, declare and say that I will keep sacred all the secrets of this Degree. I will not write, indite or cause to be written or indited in part or whole, any of the signs, tokens, grips, or words, upon anything movable or immovable so that the same may be by any means obtained. I further promise that I will adhere to the Laws, Rules and Regulations of the Grand Lodge so long as I remain a member of the Order. I furthermore promise, declare and say, that I will do all that in me lies to assist to keep and further the interests of the Order of True Reformers in America, and in violation of any part of this, my obligation, be brought to trial, and if found guilty, to be expelled, thereby forfeiting all claims as a member of the Order. All this I promise to perform with a full determination to keep my word unbroken.
W. G. M.: Brothers (or Sisters,) in taking this obligation you have promised not to write, indite, or cause to be written in part or whole any of the secret, sign, token or word upon anything movable or immovable, and that you will adhere to the Laws, Rules and Regulations of the
Grand Lodge, so long as you remain a member of the Order; that you will do all in your power to protect the interests of the Order; and in violation of any part of this, your obligation, to be tried and if found guilty, to be expelled, thereby forfeiting all claims as a member. So in token of your sincerity you will kiss this book.
W. G. M.: Brothers (or Sisters,) covenants are of ancient date, and of a very binding character. The Lord made a covenant with Noah which reaches down through all posterity. And God said to Noah, behold I establish my covenant with you and your seed after you, and with every living creature that is with you. And God said, this is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you. I do set my bow in the clouds and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass when I bring a cloud over the earth the bow shall be seen in the cloud and I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
W. G. M.: Brothers (or Sisters,) there are to this Degree a Countersign, Token, Grip and Word.
The Countersign is given thus, by drawing the palm of the right hand across the forehead and let it fall to your side.
The Token is the word Fides.
The Grip is a grasp of the little finger and thumb.
The Word is the word Hope and is used as the password.
In the name of the Grand Lodge, I declare you fully initiated into the mysteries of the First Degree. You will salute the chairs and retire into the ante-room.
The members will rise while the D. G. M. close the Lodge in the First or Faith Degree. Three raps.
D. G. M.: By the desire of the W. G. M. I declare this Lodge closed.
W. G. M.: I declare it so closed. One rap.