The Provident Fraternity
Form for Opening a Lodge
The President takes the chair and with one blow of the gavel calls the lodge to order, and proceeds as follows: Sentinel, you will close the outer door and admit none except members of the order and candidates for initiation.
Guard, you have charge of the inner door. Admit none but qualified members and initiates.
If any applicant for admission is without proper password report to the president and take his direction.
Guide, it is your duty to have charge of the rituals and paraphernalia of the lodge, to assist in the initiation of candidates, and to see that all present are qualified to remain. You will now ascertain and report whether all present are qualified to remain.
Secretary, you will call the roll of officers.
The president shall either now or before make temporary appointments for the places of absent officers.
And after the roll call the president shall direct the secretary to read the record of the last meeting, and the record shall then be approved and corrected. After which the president shall declare the lodge open.
Form of Initiation
The President shall request the Guide to ascertain whether any candidate is in the ante-room awaiting initiation.
The Guide shall then proceed to the ante-room, ascertain the names of any candidates in waiting, and on returning to the lodge room, advance to the centre of the hall and report to the President, announcing the names of all candidates found in the ante-room,
The President shall then ascertain from the Secretary whether the candidates have been duly elected, and if for beneficial membership whether the approval of the General Medical Examiner on their medical examination has been given. If a candidate has been duly elected, and the approval of the General Medical Examiner has been given when the candidate is for beneficial membership, the President shall summon all the officers and members to attend to the work of initiation.
There shall be an officer at initiation called the Prophet; if the lodge has a chaplain he shall officiate as Prophet, otherwise the President shall appoint a Prophet when there is an initiation. The station of the Prophet shall be on the left of the President directly opposite the station of the
If the lodge has official regalia, it shall be worn by the officers during an initiation and shall be assumed before the candidates are brought into the lodge room.
The President shall then direct the Guide to repair to the ante-room and introduce the candidate or candidates.
GUIDE shall precede the candidates in a slow movement to a position just inside the inner door, and halting the candidates, shall address them as follows: Candidates, you are now about to be initiated into a lodge of the Provident Fraternity. You will be required to take an obligation by which you will bind yourself to recognize, respect and practice the FRATERNAL principle as a law of universal obligation.
You will also be required to promise conformity to our laws and to keep the confidences and privacies of the Order; upon the understanding and assurance, however, that our laws and secrets are not repugnant to the laws of God, your conscience, or your civil or religious duties or relations.
With this assurance are you willing to proceed?
If any candidate declares his unwillingness to proceed, he shall be at once dismissed and conducted outside of the outer door.
Such candidates as are willing to proceed shall be formed in line by the Guide who shall lead them in procession to the centre of the lodge room and shall form them in line facing the President so that the altar shall be between them and the station of the President.
PRESIDENT shall address the candidates, saying: The Provident Fraternity is founded upon the great principle of Fraternity—the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. At the same time it inculcates the moral duty and the practical importance to every individual of self help. It repeats to you now, at the very threshold of our lodge room, some of the maxims of a great statesman and philosopher.
"God helps them that help themselves."
"Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them."
"Little strokes fell great oaks."
"What maintains one vice would bring up two children."
While inculcating providence and thrift, we invite you to lift your eyes to the mountains and to think noblest thoughts.
We say to you in the words of an ancient Roman: "Men are born for the sake of men, that each should assist others. Nature has inclined us to love men, and this is the foundation of the law."
Epictetus, the noblest Roman of them all, said: "You are a citizen and part of the world. The duty of the citizen is in no thing to consider his own interest distinct from that of others."
Hearken, my brother, to the words of the Talmud: "Clothe the naked; heal the sick; comfort the afflicted; be a brother to the children of thy Father."
Hearken, also, to these words: "Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you."
The President shall then direct the Guide to present the candidates to the Vice President,
The Guide, leading the candidates in procession, shall present them in line before the Vice-President.
The VICE-PRESIDENT shall rise and say: Let us now praise famous men,
Even the artificer and workmaster,
That passeth his time by night as by day;
They that cut gravings of signets,
And his diligence is to make great variety;
He setteth his heart to preserve likeness in his portraiture,
And is wakeful to finish his work.
So is the smith sitting by the anvil,
And considering the unwrought iron:
The vapour of the fire wasteth his flesh,
And in the heat of the furnace doth he wrestle with his work;
The noise of the hammer is ever in his ear,
And his eyes are upon the pattern of the vessel:
He setteth his heart upon perfecting his works,
And is wakeful to adorn them perfectly.
So is the potter sitting at his work,
And turning the wheel about with his feet,
Who is always anxiously set at his work,
And all his handiwork is by measure;
He fashioneth the clay with his arm,
And bendeth its strength in front of his feet;
He applieth his heart to finish the glasing,
And is wakeful to make clean the furnace.
All these put their trust in their hands,
And each becometh wise in his own work.
Yea, though they be not sought for in the council of the people,
Nor be exalted in the assembly;
Though they sit not on the seat of the judge,
Nor understand the covenant of judgment;
Though they declare not instruction and judgment,
And be not found among them that utter dark sayings:
Yet without these shall not a city be inhabited,
Nor shall men sojourn or walk up and down therein.
For these maintain the fabric of the world,
And in the handiwork of their craft is their prayer."
Guide, you will now present the candidate to our Venerable Prophet.
The VENERABLE PROPHET shall rise and say, speaking slowly and solemnly: My son, if sinners entice thee Consent thou not.
If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness, be not thou dismayed thereat; for one higher than the high regardeth.
For verily God shall bring every work into judgment, and every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.
If there be within thy gates any man waxen poor, or fallen in decay, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother; but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely help him; yea, though he be a stranger or a sojourner among you.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
The Venerable Prophet shall slowly resume his seat, when the Guide, without any instruction, shall conduct the candidate past the Vice-President to the Past President and halting before that officer shall say: Past President, I present this candidate for further instruction in the principles of our Fraternity.
The PAST PRESIDENT shall rise and say: A faithful friend is a strong defence;
And he that hath found such hath found a treasure.
Change not thy friend for the gold of Ophir
Forsake not the old friend;
For the new is not comparable to him:
For a new friend is as new wine;
But when it is old, thou shalt drink it with pleasure.
Nothing doth countervail a faithful friend,
Yea, his excellency is beyond price.
For some man is a friend of his own occasion,
And will not abide in the day of trouble.
And there is a friend, who being turned to enmity and strife,
Will discover thy reproach.
Again, some friend is a companion at the table,
Yet will he not continue in the day of thy affliction.
In thy prosperity he will be as thyself;
But if thou be brought low, he will be against thee,
And will hide himself from thy face.
Every friend will say, I also am his friend:
But there is a friend, who is a friend in name only.
Is there not a grief in it even unto death,
W hen a companion and friend is turned to enmity?
But a faithful friend is the medicine of life;
And they that fear the Lord shall find him.
Yea, who so feareth the Lord shall direct his friendship aright,
For as he is, even so also shall be his friend.
So an ancient scripture celebrates personal friendship.
We teach a universal brotherhood in the family of man.
Where'er a human heart doth wear
Joy's myrtle-wreath or sorrow's gyves,
Where'er a human spirit strives
After a life more true and fair,
There is the true man's birthplace grand,
His is a world-wide fatherland!
Where'er a single slave doth pine,
Where'er one man can help another—
Thank God for such a birthright, brother,—
That spot of earth is thine and mine!
There is the true man's birthplace grand,
His is a world-wide fatherland.
The Guide will now present you to the President, who will administer to you our simple and noble obligation, and give you final instruction.
The Guide now conducts the candidate before the President.
GUIDE: Mr. President, this initiate has been duly instructed and is ready for obligation.
PRESIDENT: You will raise your right hand (or, if there be more than one candidate shall say: Each candidate shall raise his right hand) and keep it raised, in token of assent, while I repeat the obligation.
Each candidate having raised his right hand, the President will administer the obligation, first calling all the members to their feet by three raps of the gavel.
You do solemnly promise to recognize and respect the principle of fraternity as a law of universal obligation, and to practice that principle in your relations and dealings with all men, to the best of your ability.
You do promise also to respect, conform to and obey the constitutions, laws and rules of the Provident Fraternity so long as you remain a member of the Order; and you also promise to keep secret the private business of the Order and all signs, tokens, passwords, grips or signals that are now or may hereafter be instituted by this Order. Do you so promise?
Each candidate shall answer "I do"; whereupon the President shall give one rap of the gavel to seat the members, and shall proceed.
PRESIDENT: By the taking of this obligation your membership in the Provident Fraternity is complete. You have been instructed in the foundation principles of the Order, industry and providence, virtue, charity and fraternity. We hope you will exemplify its teachings in your life. One of the most important of its objects is the protection of widows, orphans and other dependents when deprived by death of their natural protectors. This is accomplished by a Benefit Fund administered by the Supreme Lodge and to which the whole Order contributes by a system of assessments.
The Provident Fraternity has a system original with itself and which it believes to be the most perfect system of fraternal life insurance ever existing, and that it may be perpetuated at a cost so moderate that its benefits may always be enjoyed by all. You may have supposed and you are at liberty to suppose, that this society is only one among many of its kind, all good but having inherent weakness. As you study and reflect upon the plan of the Provident Fraternity, you will come to know that it differs from all others and is so founded in science and prudence, that it is the acme of safety and can endure forever at practicable cost. You will become loyal and devoted to this plan and will .work to spread our Order.
In conclusion: You owe certain duties to the lodge and the lodge and its members owe certain duties to you.
You owe the duty of attending the meetings as often as is consistent with your other duties, of paying your assessments and dues in the month when due (and this is a duty to your family as well as to the lodge); and of bringing within our fold such as will make good members.
The lodge owes you the duty of bringing in new members, thereby strengthening the Order to which all the brethren look for the protection of their families, of, making prompt returns to the Supreme Lodge; and in case you are at any time rendered incapable by misfortune of keeping yourself in good standing, the lodge or its members should keep you in good standing so that you may not die and leave your dependents unprotected.
This last duty is not a positive requirement of the Supreme Lodge, it may or may not be required by lodge law, but it is the dictate of the fraternal principle, and it has become customary in our Order to assist in case of need in keeping the brothers in good standing.
The emblems of the Order are the Scales and the Pyramid. The Scales are emblematic of the justice of our plan and tables, and the Pyramid is emblematic of the stability of the Order.
I will now instruct you in the secret work.
Exemplification of the Secret Work.
The Guide will now furnish you with a seat.
The President and Guide shall take care that the new members are made acquainted with the members, and this duty shall be especially done not only on the night of initiation but at succeeding lodge meetings.
Form for Opening a Lodge