Sons of Norway


Opening Ceremonies

We are now about to open … Lodge No. …, Sons of Norway. Those who are not members of the Order will please retire. Officers will be clothed with their proper regalia and assume their respective stations.
When the officers have taken their places, the president appoints necessary temporary officers, where such are needed, and continues:
Marshal and Assistant Marshal: You will see that the lodge is properly guarded, ascertain that all possess the correct password, and announce the result.
M. and A.M. advance, greet the president with the sign of the Order, give the password to the president, and proceed to take up the password from the members. Marshal starts at the president’s left, Asst. Marshal at the president’s right. Those who do not possess the proper password are directed to the president. When finished, they assume their stations and announce:
President! All is in order on your left.
Asst. Marshal:
President! All is in order on your right.
The president raps twice with the gavel and all officers rise.
Friends! It is my duty to preside at this meeting; to maintain order; to see that the officers perform their duties, and to guide the deliberations with impartiality. Officers, what are your duties?
Vice President:
It is my duty to assist you in maintaining order and to see that no one is allowed to enter or retire during the opening, closing or initiation ceremonies without your permission.
Social Director:
It is my duty to select the songs to be used for the lodge ceremonies, to direct the singing, and to plan and supervise social activities.
It is my duty to instruct and examine the candidates who present themselves for initiation, and to guide the other officers with word and deed.
Friends! We are gathered here to transact the business that may come before this meeting. Let us perform our duties in the spirit of brotherly love and for the purpose of advancing the best interests of our Order.
We shall now sing our opening song.
The president raps three times and all members rise. After the singing the president raps once and all are seated.
I now declare … Lodge No. … lawfully opened. Inner guard will request members in the anteroom to enter.

Balloting on Applications

Marshal! You will examine the ballot box and exhibit it to the president and the vice president.
The marshal does as ordered, and when the ballot box has been inspected it is placed on the center table. Marshal salutes the president and says:
President! The ballot box is now ready for the balloting.
If there is no objection, the president may order all applications be voted on at the same time.
We shall now proceed to ballot on the applications read by the secretary. The black balls reject, the white balls elect. Be careful and vote for the best of the Order. The members will please proceed to ballot, starting on my left.
The president raps three times. All rise and remain standing during the balloting. Music should he provided, if possible. The marshals advance to within four steps of the center table and remain in such a position, facing each other, that the voting members must pass between them, and allowing no one to pass while another is voting. When the balloting seems finished, the president says:
Have all, who so desire, voted? Waits a moment. Then I declare the balloting closed.
Marshal! You will please exhibit the ballot box to the vice president and the president.
The president raps once, and the members take their seat. When the marshal has shown the ballot box to the vice president and advances toward the president, the president says:
Vice President! How do you find the ballot box?
If less than three black balls have been cast, the vice president answers:
Vice President:
The ballot box is light, president!
When so assured, the president shall say:
President: Such is the case, and I therefore declare that the candidates voted on have been elected to membership in our lodge.
If, on the other hand, three or more black balls have been cast, the vice president shall say:
Vice President: The ballot box is dark, president!
When so assured, and where there are two or more applications, the president shall say:
Such is the case, and I therefore direct that the lodge ballot on each application separately.
Should there be only one application, however, the president shall say:
Such is the case, and I therefore declare the application rejected.

Initiation Ceremonies

Inner Guard! You will ascertain if there are any candidates in the anteroom who wish to be initiated into our lodge.
Inner guard proceeds to the anteroom, returns and announces:
Inner Guard:
President! I find … announces number of candidates candidates in the anteroom who wish to be initiated.
Secretary! You will proceed to the anteroom and ascertain that the applications are in order, and if so, collect the balance of their initiation fees and report back to the lodge.
The secretary proceeds to the anteroom, and returning announces:
I find the following candidates who desire to be initiated. … reads names. Their applications are in order and the fees paid.
The counselor and the marshal will please advance. They advance and salute. You will proceed to the anteroom and ascertain that the candidates are willing to take the pledges and submit to the laws and regulations as required by our Order.
The two officers salute the vice president and retire to the anteroom where the counselor instructs the candidates as follows:
Candidates! The basic principle of our Order is brotherly love; our aim and purpose is the preservation of everything good and noble in the tradition and character of our forefathers. The pledges required of you apply only to fidelity to our Order, obedience to our laws and rules, and mutual assistance in case of sickness. Are you willing to take the pledges and assume the obligations required of you?
I am.
We shall now leave you but other officers will escort you into the lodge.
Counselor and marshal enter the lodge room, salute the president and report:
President! The candidates are now ready for admittance into our lodge.
Our membership will now be increased by … new members. Listen closely to the instructions given the candidates so that we may again be reminded of the fundamental principles of our Order. Officers! Perform the ceremonies with dignity, so the candidates may be favorably impressed with the lodge, and let the guards see that the lodge is not disturbed. Marshal and assistant marshal will retire to the anteroom and escort the candidates into the lodge.
The marshals salute the vice president and leave the lodge room.
Social Director! You will please name the song of welcome.
When ready, the marshal signals inner guard is, the usual manner.
Inner Guard, opens wicket or door slightly, and says:
Who comes here?
Marshal and assistant marshal with candidates.
Inner Guard:
Vice President! Marshal and assistant marshal with candidates seek admittance.
Vice President:
President! Inner guard announces that marshal and assistant marshal with candidates seek admittance.
Admit them. Let us sing our song of welcome.
The president raps three times and all members rise as the door is opened and the candidates are escorted into the room. They are conducted around the lodge room, passing the counselor, the president and the social director. They halt in front of the vice president.
Vice President! I present to you these our friends who desire admittance into our lodge.
Vice President:
Candidates! I bid you a hearty welcome. Your application for membership in our lodge is evidence of some knowledge and understanding of the aims and purposes of our Order. You will now be further informed. The Order, Sons of Norway, is a fraternal organization of men and women of Norwegian birth, descent or affiliation. Our aim is to preserve and maintain interest in everything that is good and noble in the Norwegian national character. From history we learn of the discovery of the American continent by the Norsemen. Leif Erikson is the discoverer of this our grand and glorious country. Later on thousands of men and women left the land of their fathers and made for themselves and their children happy homes in this new world. Here, we, their descendants and affiliates, are enjoying the fruits of their labor. We are the heirs of the western pathfinders and pioneers whose great achievements in the upbuilding of this country it is our duty to continue.
The marshals will now conduct you to our Social Director for further information.
Social Director! We now come to you for further information.
Social Director:
The Order, Sons of Norway, has on its emblem the North Star. As it always points to the north, so shall our aim and endeavor always lead towards a fixed goal, to help our fellow members. The fundamental principle of our social activities is the practice of good and true fraternalism. The fundamental principle of the material welfare of our Order is protection to its members in cases of sickness, want and adversity. Marshal! Conduct the candidates to our Counselor.
Counselor! Because of your experience and high position, our social director has sent us to you for further instructions in the principles of our Order.
Friends! On behalf of the Order I again bid you a hearty and sincere welcome into our lodge, our fraternal home, the motto of which is Freedom, Fraternity and Progress. The pledges required of you by our Order do not conflict with your political or religious views. For us the promises contain pledges of faithfulness to the grandest and noblest ideals of life, which shall lead us onward and upward on the path to which our motto points. Loyalty was a predominant trait of our forefathers.
We trust that you who are of Norse descent or affiliation, will live up to the tradition of the past and take your pledges seriously and earnestly. The assistance which we promise, and is promised us in case of sickness and want, the brotherly love and understanding which we pledge, and this Order pledges us, is dependent on what each member contributes within this Order. Candidates! Truthfulness and Fidelity are first of all required of you.
Marshal! Conduct the candidates to our president in order that they may assume the obligations of the Order.
President! I present to you these our friends who are now prepared to take the pledges and assume the obligations required by our Order.
My friends! You have been instructed regarding your duties and obligations in this Order. You will now listen closely to the pledges required of you.
You solemnly promise that you will faithfully observe the laws and regulations of this Order.
That you will obey all decrees that may be issued by the Supreme Lodge, the District Lodge, or your Local Lodge, provided they do not conflict with your civil rights and religious liberty.
That you will, to the best of your ability, assist any member of this Order, in health as well as in sickness and distress.
That you will be honest and fair with all people and endeavor not to judge the errors and shortcomings of others.
That you will never introduce any matter of a political or religious nature into our lodge.
That you will never write or communicate, or give others an opportunity to communicate any signal or password of this Order, except to members, and then only in accordance with the laws of the Order. And bear in mind that this pledge of silence shall remain binding for life.
Candidates! You have heard the pledges required of you by our Order. Do you consent to same?
I do.
The president raps once and all members take their seats. The president continues:
You have now taken a solemn pledge, and we expect that your influence and activities will be with us and for us, that you will, to the best of your ability, be present at our meetings, and that our association both here and elsewhere may be of mutual benefit and pleasure. You have on your honor and conscience promised to respect the ties that unite us. From now on your own interest and the progress and welfare of this lodge will be closely related. We expect that you will be sociable and tolerant in your conduct, not easily offended, and always willing to forgive. The fellowship you experience within this Order will go with you through life, and may it guide you to a better understanding of your fellow men. Hold
Sons of Norway’s standard high and let us all by our association and our conduct show the right understanding of the principles of our Order.
We have a password and certain signals of which I shall now inform you. The password is changed every six months and is used at the opening of a meeting or when entering the lodge room during the meeting. Marshal and assistant marshal! Communicate the password to the candidates. They so do.
The password may be communicated only by the presiding officer and in a whisper, and never by one member to another unless so ordered by the president.
Admittance, Withdrawal, and Conduct in the Lodge
To gain admittance to the lodge room after the opening of a meeting you give the following signal at the inner door. The president gives the signal. Inner guard will then open the wicket, or the door slightly, and you give that officer the password. You will then be admitted to the lodge room, whereupon you immediately advance in proper form to the center of the room and salute the president with the sign of the Order, which is made in this manner. The president gives the signal.
The president answers with the same sign, and then you may be seated.
When you visit another lodge you are required at the inner door to give your name and the name and number of your lodge. The name and number of this lodge is ….
If you wish to leave the room during the meeting you advance before the vice president and salute that officer with the sign of the Order. If there is no objection to your leaving the room the vice president will answer with the same sign.
If you are present at the opening of the meeting, you give the officer who examines the members the password.
If you wish to speak, you rise, salute the president with the sign of the Order and say, President! When the president has recognized you, you are entitled to speak.
The voting sign is the same as the salutation sign.
The gavel in the hand of the presiding officer is a symbol of authority. One rap of the gavel signifies that the lodge shall come to order, or that the members shall be seated. Raps once. At two raps the officers rise. Raps twice and at three raps all members rise. Raps three times.
The marshals will now conduct the candidates to the center of the room, after which the members will form the fraternal chain.
Each member gives the right hand to the member on the left, and the left hand to the member on the right. The candidates with the president and marshals are in the circle.
You are now surrounded by friends whom you may trust as brothers and sisters. The Fraternal Chain is a symbol of everlasting friendship. Union of our hands signifies union of our hearts, aims and efforts within our Order. As our noble ancestors, when they had finished their historic task at Eidsvoll on the 17th of May, 1814, pledged each other unity and fidelity until the Dovre mountains should fall, so the circle surrounding us signifies that we, in our endeavors within the Order shall stand "United and True until Dovre Falls."
The members repeat in chorus: United And True Until Dovre Falls.
President: By authority of the Order, Sons of Norway, I hereby declare that you are now members of this lodge, and as such entitled, to all the rights and all the benefits promised members of the Order by our constitution, by-laws, rules and customs. I hand you herewith a copy of the constitution and a copy of the by-laws of this lodge, which I trust you will read.
We shall now take a recess to give everyone an opportunity to become acquainted with and congratulate the new members. The new members must sign the membership roster on the secretary’s desk before leaving.
Where local lodges so desire, the candidates may be instructed to join the Fraternal Chain before the president declares them to be members of the lodge. While in this position the member and candidates may sing appropriate songs as the social director may announce.
Flag drills or the use of drill teams to assist in the initiation ceremony is very appropriate and should be used if possible.
In case the members are initiated outside of a lodge meeting, all ceremonies are omitted. The candidates take the pledges and are instructed in the secret work.


Closing Ceremonies

Secretary! Do you know of any other business to be transacted at this meeting?
Secretary, if there is none:
President! Our work is completed.
Officers and members! I thank you for your presence and attention. We will now sing our closing song.
Raps three times.
Counselor, after the song is ended:
May peace and harmony prevail within our lodge.
The members will please remain standing while the marshals gather the regalia and song books.
After this has been done the marshals shall report:
President! All is in order on your left.
Assistant Marshal:
President! All is in order on your right.
Our next meeting will be held … at … o’clock. I now declare this meeting adjourned.