Order of Tonti
Initiation Ritual

No date

Opening Ceremony
The President will give * with the gavel and say.
I am about to open this Lodge of the Order of Tonti, if any present are not members they will please retire.
The officers will clothe themselves in the appropriate regalia, and take their respective stations.
Marshal, you will examine all present in the current password. See that the outer and inner doors are securely guarded, and the members wearing the regalia of the Order.
The Marshal will give the password to the President, and then take it in turn from each person present. Then standing before the altar, and saluting the President will say.
Brother President, I find this chamber properly guarded, the officers occupying their proper positions, and all present entitled to remain with us.
The Marshal will then resume his station.
P., * *:
Vice-President, what is your duty in this Lodge?
To assist you in maintaining order, while this Lodge is in session. To aid in all our work, and in your absence to perform the duties of the President.
Chaplain, what is your duty?
To offer prayer in behalf of this Lodge.
Marshal, what is your duty?
To examine all present in the password, conduct candidates through the initiation ceremony, to have charge of the regalia, and perform such other duties as may be required.
Secretary, what is your duty?
To keep a correct record of the business of this Lodge, conduct its correspondence, receive and account for all moneys paid into my hands and turn over same to the Treasurer.
Treasurer, what is your duty?
To receive all moneys from the Secretary and pay out the same when authorized to do so by this Lodge.
Guard, what is your duty?
To guard the entrance to this Lodge, and admit no one without the proper password, unless instructed by the President or Vice-President to do so.
Sentinel now stands within the door.
Sentinel, what is your duty?
To guard the outer door and see that none approach the inner door unless known to me to be privileged to do so.
* * *.
This Lodge of the Order of Tonti has met for the transaction of such business as may properly come before it.
Let us harmoniously spend the hour together, actuated by friendly principles and brotherly kindness.
We will now sing our

Opening Ode

Come Gracious Spirit, Heavenly Dove,
With light and comfort from above?
Be Thou our Guardian, Thou our Guide,
O'er every thought and step preside.
The light of truth to us display,
And help us learn and choose Thy way,
Plant holy fear in ev'ry heart
That we from Thee aiay ne'er depart.
The Chaplain will invoke the Divine blessing.
Let us pray. Almighty God, Creator and Ruler of the Universe, whose wisdom is infinite, whose mercy endureth forever, we adore Thee as the Giver of all good. We thank Thee for Thy kind care and protection extended to us since last we met as members of this Order.
Enable us by Thy wisdom to faithfully discharge the duties now before us. Control our thoughts and feelings, help us to legislate only for the good of our Order, and may our fraternity enjoy Thy Heavenly benediction, and Thy name shall receive all praise, Amen.
I now declare … Lodge, No, …, of the Order of Tonti in session, and qualified to transact all business aad work devolving upon it.
Marshal, you will learn if any candidates are in waiting, and if so return a nd report their names.
Marshal performs this duty and standing at altar will say:
Brother President, I find … in waiting for admission into our Order.
Secretary, has this candidate been duly elected to membership in this Lodge?
He has, brother President.
Secretary, you will see that all fees and assessments required of a candidate have been paid.
If they have not been paid, the Secretary will retire to ante-room and collect them; after payment or if already paid, the Secretary will say:
S. :
Brother President, the fees and assessments have all been paid.
Brothers, we are about to perform the work of initiation. During the ceremony no person is permitted to enter or retire, and no conversation or interruption from without will be allowed.
Past President, you you will now retire and prepare the candidate for introduction into this room.
The Past President mires to ante-room and prepares candidate by blind-folding him, and approaching the inner door, gives the enter sign; blind-folding is not obligatory.
Who knocks?
In audible tone.
P. P.:
The Past President with a candidate, who seeks admission to our Lodge.
Vice-President, our Past President, with a candidate, seeks admission.
V. P.:
You may admit them.
The Guard opens the door, and the Past President leads candidate just within the threshold and halts. Then, while Guard closes the door, the Past President resumes his station and the Marshal approaches within a few feet of the waiting candidate.
* * *.
My friend, you stand at the open portal of our Fraternity seeking admission; but before you can become one with us, we must know if it is your intention to be led by its principles and be governed by its laws. You must therefore take upon yourself the obligation of our Order, and it is my privilege to assure you that it will in no manner interfere with the duties you may owe yourself, your family, your country, or your God.
Are you willing to proceed ?
The candidates signifies his readiness, and the Marshal leads him upon straight line to open space in front of Vice-President's chair, and then advances to the altar, while the Past President takes a stand
P. P.:
Raise your right hand, palm forward, and repeat after me, using your name where I use mine.
I, …, in the presence of these members, do most solemnly pledge myself and promise that I will support and obey the Constitution and Laws of the Order of Tonti, and the By-Laws of this or any Subordinate Lodge of which I may become a member. I will be loyal and true to the principles of the Order, doing all in my power; to promote its growth and advance its interests abroad. I will not wrong or defraud a brother member, nor suffer others to do so, if in my power to prevent; and to a worthy brother in distress, I will render such aid as I can without material injury to myself or family. I will faithfully comply with all the terms of my Relief Fund Certificate, promptly paying all assessments and dues necessary to maintain the same, so long as I remain affiliated with the Order. I will be present as often as possible at all the meetings of this Lodge.
I further pledge myself never to communicate the secrets or any private business of the Order of Tonti to any one who is not known to me as a member of the Order, nor will I reveal any password or secret sign of the Order to any one, except while holding proper official position, nor then unless fully assured the the member is in good standing and entitled to receive it. I will consider this obligation binding upon me, even though I should cease to be a member of the Order. Fully understanding this my solemn pledge and obligation, to its true and faithful performance I pledge my sacred honor. Amen,
Past President will resume his station, and the Chaplain will offer Prayer.
Heavenly Father, we pray Thee, let Thy favor rest upon this candidate for admission to our beloved Order. Imbue him with Divine inspiratiou that he may sacredly keep his pledges. Enable him to walk uprightly in life. Hellp us to be faithful to him, he to us, and may all strive to cultivate true fraternity one toward another. We ask these blessings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Members all respond:
The hoodwink is now removed, and the Lodge will sing

Welcome Ode
We welcome to our circle
As member, brother, friend,
This one who here has promised
Our faith he will defend;
And through life's changing shadows
Be ever staunch and true,
Until we reach the haven
Prepared for me and you.
Marshal, conduct the candidate to the Vice-President.
Vice-President, I now bring this candidate for your instruction.
V. P., standing:
Friend, you have thus far done well in that you have signified your willingness to be governed by our principles. We are one in our aim to help bear each others burdens, and it is my pleasant duty to say to you that if you accept our teachings, following the dictates of an honest heart, you can but gratefully contemplate the sacred source of.all our joys. We believe you will feel impelled to steadfastly discharge every duty implied in the practice of the virtues of our triune motto: Faith, Firmness, and Fraternity, which unites us in bonds of brotherly kindness.
With Faith in the Supreme Father, Firmness in our adherence to His righteous law, Fraternity becomes an anchor which checks our wayward passions, and they all inspire a love which prompts the fulfilment of duties not made binding by physical law. Duties that are inscribed in our hearts. They began not as you stood by yon altar, nor do they terminate when you leave this chamber, but throughout life, in sickness and in health, iin sorrow or joy, aye, until we are summoned to appear before the Supreme Ruler, we must keep our sacred motto and its teachings in view.
Our efforts thus to impress upon you these truths are fruitless, if your association in our beneficient work does not beget in you a firm faith and a charitable heart, prompting you to alleviate the sufferings of your fellow beings, to comfort the sorrowing, and perform among the weaker ones loving deeds of kindness. The dark hours of our pilgrimage will be brightened, heavy hearts will be cheered, while joy will be added to happiness as the beneficient principles of our noble Order accomplish their inspired ministry.
Marshal, you will conduct the candidate to this chair.
Marshal does so.
President stands as he delivers the charge.
My Brother, for I am now permitted thus to address you, in your research into the workings of our Order, you have doubtless noticed the extensive introduction of the number "seven" into its plans.
If you study the emblems displayed upon our graven charter, you will find our founders have beautifully adapted the symbolism of this mystic number to our fundamental principles. This number, so prolific in metaphor, sung in song through long years of past ages, may well be so applied, and we may profitably refer to a few of the many ideas involved in its application to various historical and practical events.
In the Book of books we learn of God's wisdom in the creation of light whereby it was composed of seven primary colors; and He established the unchangable law of time whereby seven days constitute a week. Scattered throughout this Holy Book we find the number seven embodied as an idea of perfection in God's law, wherein He decreed the "seven years of plenty," and "seven years of famine," while the book wherein are recorded the doings of "Man" is sealed with "seven seals,"
In ancient history we read of Solon, Thales, Pitacus, Bias, Chilon, Cleobus, and Periander, known as "seven wise men," whose words and writings are to-day valued for their weight of wisdom.
We also learn of the construction of edifices, that for distinctive architecture and massive proportions stand unrivaled, and the "seven wonders of the world" are known as The Egyptian Pyramids, The Mausoleum of Arcemesia, The Temple of Diana, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Colossus of Rhodes, Jupiter Olympus, and Pharo's Watch Tower.
If in the darkness of night we scan the diamond studded heavens, we can trace that beautiful constellation whose sweet influences are proclaimed in holy writ, the Pleiades, composed of seven sparkling stars.
And thus we might study for hours this symbolic number in its many historical and mythical relations; but we especially want to speak upon its application to the plan of the Order of Tonti, namely the payment of benefit in seven years,
This feature, though confined to few societies, is based upon precisely the same, laws of finance as have governed co-operative mutual protective associations for centuries past.
Under the ordinary plan of life insurance we find the average expectancy of life computed at twenty-eight years. Experience has proven that upon an average payment of fifty cents at each assessment, a sum of one thousand dollars can be paid at death.
The conception of our Order is to give a life benefit at the expiration of seven years, and as seven years is the fourth part of the life expectancy, it follows that we must pay into the Treasury of Tonti four time as much, and thus it is made possible to accomplish in our Order, at the end of seven years, the same results met with in other fraternal societies, whose plan is consummated at the end of a man's life, be it twenty-eight years more or less, and that too at no greater cost.
But there is one important requisitenamely, a steady acquisition of new members. Your obligation and pledge to endeavor to promote our growth should be faithfully kept, if you expect the Order to make good its contract with you. Set not idle among us, but bear your share of the burden bravely and well.
I will now invest you with the grip, signs, and secret work of our Order, We have the following;
1. An alarm at the outer door.
2. An enter sign.
3. A permanent password.
4. An annual password.
5. A sign of salute for use in Lodge room.
6. A grip.
7. A sign of recognition and answer for use in public,
8. A sign of distress and answer, also answer and words.
9. Words of recognition and answer.
The President will proceed to instruct the candidate as follows, and when giving the passwords and grip will leave the chair for a moment to do so.

The password can be given you only by the President.
To enter a Lodge room, you will observe the following: 
Approach the outer door and give an alarm…. The Sentinel will respond, and you give your name and the permanent pass-word, which is …. This will admit you to the ante-room, where you will clothe yourself with regalia. Then advance to the inner door and give the enter sign, which is made thus …. The Guard will open the wicket and to him you will give your name, the name and number of your Lodge, and your full rank in the Order; these the Guard will report to the Vice-President, who will direct him to admit you if correct. The Guard again will open the wicket, and you will give the annual password, which is for this year …. You will then be admitted to the Lodge-room, and moving upon lines at right angles to each other, and direct from front of the Vice-President's chair you will approach the altar and salute the President thus …, the President will respond in like manner and you will be seated.
Your movements upon this floor should be as nearly as possible in lines at right angles to each other. You should never pass between this chair and the Altar, and when crossing the room you will salute the President in manner just shown. Should you wish to retire while Lodge is in session, you will salute the Vice-President with the same sign, and if in order he will respond and you may retire.
It will not be in order to enter or leave the room during opening or closing ceremony, during initiation, while a motion is being put, a vote taken, or a member speaking.
You will address all officers by their titles, and members as brothers.
Our other secret signs are the grip, made a sign of recognition to be used in public when necessary, made thus and its answer, made thus …; A sign of distress, made thus …, and its answer, made thus …. At times when signs cannot be used, you are permitted to use the word … and if a Tontian is in hearing he will respond ... We also have words of recognition and answer, which are ….
It will be your duty to respond to these signs, under proper circumstances, for you may know that a fellow Tontian is in quest of a brother in the Order.
Marshal, you will conduct our brother to the Secretary's desk to sign the roll and then return, to this chair.
This being done, Marshal will say.
Brother President, the roll has been properly signed.
Marshal, you will clothe our brother in appropriate regalia.
Brother, the gavel is the emblem of authority, its sounds are imperative and should be obeyed.
One rap calls the Lodge or a member to order, and seats the Lodge when standing; two raps call up the Officers, and three raps the entire Lodge. Face the Vice-President and see its effect.
* * * * *.
Officers and members of … Lodge, it affords me pleasure to introduce our new made member, Brother …. May he ever be and remain worthy of our esteem and fraternal affection. I ask that you now greet our brother with a warm welcome, and declare a brief recess for this purpose.
Closing Ceremonies
P., *:
The work for which we came together is now completed, and I am about to close this Lodge.
* *.

Officers, I thank you for your kind assistance in the performance of the duties of the evening, and I hope you will actively endeavor to promote the welfare of our Lodge.
* * *.

Members of … Lodge, I also thank you for your presence. It is necessary that you should heartily second the efforts of your officers to upbuild the Lodge, and I trust each will exert himself to this end, and be present at our next meeting.
We will now sing our

Closing Ode
Father, drop a parting blessing,
As to life's labor forth we go;
To Thy work our zeal addressing,
May we all Thy wishes know.
Guide our feet along life's pathway,
Fill our hearts with filial love;
Aid us in our work of mercy,
‘Til we reach our home above.
The Chaplain will invoke the Divine blessing.
Heavenly Father, we invoke Thy blessing upon us as we separate. Accompany us to our homes; and help us so to live that our daily walk and conversation will be acceptable to Thee. Let Thy blessing rest upon our beloved Order and its members. Watch over and protect all our loved ones, grant us Thy presence in every hour, and at the end of life’s labor accord us a place in Thy kindom. To Thy name will be praise evermore.
All respond:
The Marshal will collect the rituals and regalia,
After which, the President will say:
I now declare this Lodge closed until … night, the day of … at 8 o'clock.