Brotherhood of Maintenance-of-Way Employees


To the President

This should be read at every meeting of the Lodge and its importance impressed upon every member.
One of the most important duties of the President of a Subordinate Lodge is to impress upon all members the necessity of promptly paying their assessments and dues. The officer or member who carelessly neglects to meet the financial requirements of our laws not only forfeits all benefits for himself and his loved ones, but he sets a bad example which extends to other members and often results in an entire Lodge being suspended.
It is the duty of the President to open the Lodge promptly, to preserve discipline during the sessions, and to see that the other officers perform their duties in accordance with the laws and Ritual.
Each officer should memorize his portion of the Ritual so that the initiatory work may be impressively performed, and during initiation or the routine work of the Lodge, there should be no unnecessary delays and no interruption by the members, such as conversing in audible tones or crossing the Lodge room.
The laws of the Brotherhood are enacted by the members through their regularly elected delegates and are binding upon all members alike The authority to interpret the laws is vested in the Grand Lodge President, and his decision is final, except as provided in the Constitution. As all members through their chosen representatives had a voice in making the laws, all should aid in their enforcement.
When any law of the Brotherhood is found to be unsatisfactory, there is a way provided to alter or abolish said law, but no man should refuse to abide by a law which he helped to create and obligated himself to obey.


Opening Ceremony

When the time for opening arrives the President will take his seat and call the Lodge to order by giving one rap with the gavel.
This Lodge will now come to order. All who are not members will please retire to the ante-room. Officers will assume their stations and the Sentinels will see that none but duly qualified persons are permitted to enter. Brother Conductor. you will place the open Bible upon the altar after which you will learn if all present are in possession of current password.
If any are present without the password the Conductor reports that fact to the President, who will call those entitled to receive it to his station and give them the password. Those not entitled so same must retire. When the hail has been cleared of all except members in good standing the Conductor reports.
Brother President, all present are duly qualified to sit in this meeting.
I thank you, Brother Conductor. Brethren, let us unite in singing our Opening Ode, after which we will look to the Supreme Ruler for his blessing. ***.

Opening Ode

Brother Workmen, let us render
Unto God, our Father dear,
Grateful praise for care so tender,
And the joy of meeting here.
Let us raise our hearts and voices
In a song of grateful praise,
For His love each heart rejoices,
He hath blessed us all our days
Let our objects be remembered
And our motives ever pure
Then we will not be dismembered,
As we shall life’s toils endure
Let us pledge unto each other,
Charity and Truth and Love,
And we ne’er shall lack a brother,
And at last shall meet above
Most holy and glorious Ruler of the Universe, the Giver of all good gifts and graces, in Thy name we have assembled, and in Thy name we desire to proceed in all our deliberations. Grant that the sublime principles of our Brotherhood may so subdue every discordant passion within us, so harmonize and enrich our own hearts with Thine own love and goodness, that this Brotherhood may humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign forever before Thy Throne. Amen.
All respond:
Brothers (and Sisters) give the countersign. I now declare this Lodge open for the transaction of such business as may be properly brought before it. Sectarian discussions are strictly forbidden.
Brother Inner Sentinel, you will notify the Outer Sentinel that the Lodge has been duly opened, and admit all persons qualified to enter. *.

Initiatory Ceremony

When the fifth order of business is reached the President will address the Conductor as follows.
Brother Conductor, you will retire to the ante-room and ascertain if there are any candidates in waiting for initiation.
Conductor retires and if candidates are waiting, returns and reports.
Brother President, I find … candidates in the ante-room awaiting the pleasure of the Lodge.
Brother Secretary-Treasurer, has the candidate (or candidates) been duly elected to become a member (or members) of this Lodge?
Secretary answers, and if the candidate is duly qualified the President will say:
Brothers Past President, Secretary-Treasurer and Conductor, you will retire to the anteroom, collect the proper fees, obligate the candidate (s) and present him (or them) for initiation.
The Past President, Secretary-Treasurer and Conductor will retire. During the examination of the candidate no one will be admitted to the ante-room; the Past President will address the candidate as follows:
: Do you believe in a Supreme Being as the controller of all human destinies?
Do you assure us on your word of honor that you are prompted by an honest purpose in seeking membership in this Brotherhood?
Are you willing to take solemn obligation never to reveal any of the secrets or private transactions of this order to those who are not members in good standing, and will you abide by all the laws, edicts, contracts and obligations which are now in effect or may hereafter be promulgated by the Grand Lodge or by any person or committee acting under its authority?
Do you assure us that you are capable of earning a livelihood for your family and that you will maintain a good moral character?
After the candidate has been obligated and fee collected, the Secretary-Treasurer will return to the room and report. In case the questions are not answered satisfactorily the Secretary-Treasurer shall report that fact, and the Lodge shall then determine what disposition shall be made of the candidate.
Past President remains in the ante-room and assists Conductor in preparing the candidate. The Conductor shall see that the candidate removes his hat, coat and vest, and is securely blindfolded.
Brother President, the candidate has answered all questions satisfactorily, has been obligated and the required amount of money has been collected.
The Conductor will advance to the inner portal and make an alarm, the Inner Sentinel will open the door and the Past President standing at the door will address the President as follows.
Brother President, the candidate is ready for admittance, he has been pledged to secrecy and is prepared for initiation.
Brother Vice-President, are there any reasons why the candidate should not at this time be admitted?
There are none.
Let him beware if his object is that idle curiosity, or if he is an impostor; for, if such we well know how to punish, and will place upon him a brand known and detected by all of our members. If he is prepared for this grave responsibility, let him enter.
Past President resumes his station and the Conductor conducts the candidate once around the room, stopping at the Vice-President’s station, where he shall be left alone for at least one minute, during which profound silence shall be kept, then the Conductor repeats the following lecture.
Alone in darkness, deserted by friends, robbed of liberty, a prisoner at the shrine of this Brotherhood As darkness obscures the terrible dangers that surround you, even so does ignorance separate you from a knowledge of yourself and your duty to mankind. There are many near you who have escaped the dangers which beset you and are willing to assist you if you are willing to take the same obligation they have taken. Are you willing?
Candidate answers.
Brother Vice-President, this candidate has thus far complied with our requirements and signified his willingness to take our obligation.
My friend, your presence here indicates a worthy motive upon your part. If all men were honest and just there would be no need of this solemn ceremony which is intended to bind us together as true brothers; but in order that only worthy persons may enter our meetings, we have prepared certain tests which all must undergo before we can accept them as brothers Our obligation is solemn and binding, and when once taken can never be laid aside. It will not conflict with your duties to your God, your country or your family. With this assurance on my part, are you willing to proceed?
Candidate answers.
In placing the candidate its position so receive the obligation she Vice-President should wait until each command is executed before ordering the succeeding one.
Brother Conductor, the candidate will now be placed in position to receive our obligation; face about, advance to the altar, place your right hand on your left breast, and your left hand on the Bible. President, the candidate is now in position.
Brothers (and Sisters), you will now form a circle around our altar.
President advances so the altar, the members forming a circle around the candidate by clasping hands, leaving the President. Conductor and candidate inside the circle.
Let your thoughts be seriously on this obligation while you repeat it after me: I, …, your name, in the presence of Almighty God and these witnesses, do solemnly promise that I will keep secret all signs, passwords and private transactions of this Brotherhood until death, even though my connection herewith should cease before that time, nor will I write, print or make ally impression or sign that would convey any idea of the secret work of this Order. I will support and obey the Constitution and By-Laws of the Grand Lodge, those of the System Division or System Federation on which employed and those of the Subordinate Lodge in which I hold my membership I will not violate the agreement which may be in effect on the railroad where employed nor will I allow it to be violated by others if in my power to prevent I will assist a brother or a brother’s family in distress, if in my power to do so I will not knowingly wrong a brother; nor will I see him wronged by others, if in my power to prevent To a faithful performance of all these promises I pledge my sacred honor.
Then the brothers around the altar will say. Do not forget your obligation.
Having taken this most solemn obligation, what is your further desire?
Conductor will whisper to the candidate to say "more light." After the candidate has repeated it, the Conductor takes off the hood-wink and all members sing the

Initiation Ode

Welcome stranger! Welcome here,
To our fellowship sincere,
May you always keep in view,
Principle and purpose true
Here we rear a Temple grand.
That shall ever, ever stand.

Founded on true Charity,
UNION and fraternity
Let this grace, sweet Charity,
Ever your adorning be
Help the feeble, cheer the sad,
Clothe and make the needy glad.
Encircled as you are by members of this Brotherhood, bound together by ties that only death can sever, I charge you to so conduct yourself that this Brotherhood may never have cause to regret admitting you to its membership. Brother Conductor, you will now present the candidate to the Vice-President, who will instruct him in the principles of our Brotherhood.
Brother Vice-President, by direction of our worthy President I present this candidate for instructions in the principles of our Brotherhood.
My friend, we constitute a noble Brotherhood, bound together by our collective and individual benefits. The amount of good which our Brotherhood will accomplish depends upon the faithfulness with which we, each and all, discharge our duties as members of it We must be ever ready to make sacrifice for the advancement of our cause, to give financial aid when necessary, and moral support always. By the exercise of brotherly love we are taught to regard a Brother’s (or Sister’s) welfare as sacredly as our own. By practicing these principles we join in promoting each other’s happiness and rejoicing in each other’s prosperity. Such are the teachings of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.
Brother Conductor, you will conduct the candidate to the President for instructions in the secret work.
Brother President, by direction of our Vice-President I present this candidate for instructions in the secret work of our Brotherhood.
Having taken our most solemn obligation, I will now instruct you in the secret work and rules governing Lodges of the Brotherhood. To gain admission to this Lodge, while in session, you will, on approaching the outer door, give … to attract the attention of the Outer Sentinel, who will open the wicket. You will give him this password …; this password is never changed. He will then admit you to the ante-room, when you will approach the inner door and give …. This alarm should only be given loud enough to attract the attention of the Inner Sentinel. The Inner Sentinel will open the wicket and to him you will give your name and number of your Lodge, which in your case is … and this password, ….
This is the quarterly password and is changed every three months. The Inner Sentinel will report you to the Vice-President, who will instruct the Sentinel to admit you if correct in the password Should you be without the password, the Inner Sentinel will report to the President, who will ascertain if you are in good standing. If you are in good standing he will instruct the Sentinel to admit you. On entering the lodge room pass to the Vice-President’s station, then advance to the altar, giving the countersign, which is made in this manner … and is interpreted thus ….
If given correctly it will be answered by the President in this manner: …. This signifies …; then you are at liberty to take your seat. On every question which engages the attention of this Lodge, you will, when present, be compelled to vote, unless excused by the Lodge. The voting sign is made thus: …. Should you wish to retire before the Lodge is closed, you will, after receiving the President’s permission, pass to the altar, give the countersign, and retire. Whenever it may become absolutely necessary to know a member of our Brotherhood, you will first give this challenging sign …; any brother seeing this sign is bound to answer it thus …, which is termed the sign of recognition. If properly answered, the brother who challenged will approach and shake hands, and use this grip … and test word … with an appropriate sentence, and is answered by this test word … with an appropriate sentence. But before trusting an acquaintance too far he should show an official receipt for current dues. We have a sign of warning given thus …, to be used when it is apparent that a brother should be cautioned of some impending trouble, or when a brother is found acting indiscreetly, or talking in a manner that may disclose the work of the Brotherhood to outsiders. Should you be in such a position that the warning sign could not be seen, you will use the warning word, which is …. The distress words are … and are to be used when a brother is in danger, or overtaken by misfortune. Any brother hearing them is bound to answer promptly and offer what assistance he can. The gavel in the hands of the President is an emblem of authority with which he controls the members of the Lodge. One rap of the gavel calls the Lodge to order, or will seat its members if standing Two raps of the gavel will call the officers to their feet, and three raps will call up the entire membership. My friend, this completes the instructions in the secret work, let me charge you with another important duty, remember if you are in arrears with your dues and assessments, you forfeit all privileges and benefits of the Brotherhood as a protective institution. Meet your payments promptly as required by the Constitution and By-Laws; thus guaranteeing to your family the benefits and blessings which our Brotherhood affords. Brother Conductor, you will conduct the candidate to our Past President, who will explain the principles of our Brotherhood.
Brother Past President, by direction of our President I present to you this candidate for instructions in the principles of our Brotherhood.
My brother, the good name of our Brotherhood depends upon your faithfulness and fidelity to the trust which we have placed in you. I command you to be true to your obligation, and maintain the integrity of our beloved Order by being upright in your dealings with all mankind, and especially with the members of this Brotherhood. Our object is to promote the welfare of ourselves and brother members and to strive by our constant intercourse with one another to raise the standard of our worth to our employers. It remains with ourselves to form our future destinies Let us respect ourselves and ever strive to advance our profession, and the day is not far distant when our employers will respect our endeavors and learn to rely upon the Brotherhood as a body of earnest workers. At times events over which we have no control may be the means of a brother being thrown out of employment.
If through no fault of his, it is our duty to aid him to obtain employment. Let us admonish you not to withhold from him the assistance you can readily give, when it is his just due and in your power to give. Say unto him, or them, "Go and come again tomorrow, and I will give", when you can give relief at once.
I will now consecrate and dedicate you to noble work of the Brotherhood, your head, your heart, your hands, your feet. Your head that it may be quick to conceive plans of charity; your heart that it may overflow with love toward our brethren, your hands that they may always abound with means to relieve distress, your feet that they may be swift to run on errands of mercy, and may the Most High so guide and direct you through life, that you will ever teach and practice the three cardinal virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity. Faith in the integrity of each member of the Brotherhood, Hope in a brighter, happier future for the craft, and Charity toward all mankind. Guard well the trust reposed in you, and ever keep the senses alert to avert danger and trouble. My friend, we have endeavored to instruct you in the grand principles on which this Brotherhood is founded, and they, cannot be too firmly impressed on your mind and heart. Your loyalty to duty, your devotion to principle, make you an important factor in carrying out these beneficient purposes for which we have banded ourselves together. Do your part earnestly and faithfully, and your reward will be more precious than gold, more enduring than granite.
My friend, you will please fill out this blank in order that we may have a proper record of your membership
Past President hands the candidate a pencil and a blank, which is for that purpose. If he attempts to write the password, Conductor should grasp him by the arm as if to deal harshly with the candidate. Do not use Ritual during this proceeding.
Man! What are you trying to do?
Then turning to President and pointing contemptuously toward the candidate.
Worthy President, this man has written the password!
The Lodge for a time should appear uncontrollable, the members should rise to their feet, disregarding formality and apparently much excited, and demand an explanation and punishment of the candidate The President stops confusion by calling the Lodge to order, and says.
Brothers, I leave the disposition of this man entirely in your hands. Speak out! What shall be done with him?
It shall here be made to appear that the candidate has committed an unpardonable offense against the Brotherhood, and an expression of opinion in the matter should be given by a number of the brothers, some brother should intercede in behalf of the candidate, and the candidate should be requested to speak for himself and give such assurance that he will not repeat the offense at the Lodge may require. This proceeding should be entirely void of levity, after debate has proceeded far enough the President will instruct the Conductor to retire with the candidate to the ante-room, when the Lodge should, after a few minutes’ discussion, agree by yore or otherwise to accept the candidate into full membership. It should be so arranged
that the candidate might hear part of the discussion while in the ante-room After the Lodge has agreed to admit the candidate, the President will instruct the Inner Sentinel to notify the Conductor. Conductor conducts candidate in front of the President’s station.
My friend, this Lodge has decided after a thorough discussion, to admit you to full membership, being convinced that you were sincere in your explanation and honest in your intention.
In case the candidate refuses to write the password, this part of the initiation will be omitted and the following substituted:
I congratulate you on having proven yourself faithful to your sacred pledge of honor, and may you ever be as loyal and faithful as you have been at this time.
I will now confer upon you the endearing title of Brother.
The President then clasps the candidate’s hand warmly and says:
I take you by the right hand which is to teach you that the right hand of fellowship is ever extended to worthy and deserving brothers.
Hands candidate a copy of Constitution and general rules.
I now present to you a copy of our Constitution and general rules; study them well; nothing but a faithful compliance with all their requirements will secure for you the privileges and protection guaranteed by them; ignorance of their contents will not shield you from the penalty attending violation. And now by virtue of the, power vested mine by the Grand Lodge, I declare Brother … a member of this Lodge. He is hereby guaranteed all the rights, privileges and benefits given by our Constitution and By-Laws. Brother Chaplain, we will listen reverently while the blessing of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe is asked in behalf of our newly made Brother.
Candidate should stand at the President’s station facing the Lodge, while Chaplain repeats:
Almighty Ruler of Heaven and earth, we now implore Thy blessings on this Brother, who has just taken our solemn obligation, and whose influence is henceforth to be united with ours. May he have power to resist every temptation, and in Thy hands be an honored instrument in leading many to virtue and peace. Grant that he may be faithful to his vows, and when the voyage of life is ended, grant us all a safe landing in the harbor of Heaven. Amen.
All respond:
Brother Conductor, you will conduct Brother … to the Recording Secretary’s
station where he will sign the membership roll, and then introduce him to the Lodge.
Conductor conducts candidate to the Recording Secretary’s station, where he signs the Constitution Conductor then conducts the candidate in front of the President’s station, facing members and introduces him as follows:
Officers and members, it affords me great pleasure to introduce to you Brother whose initiation you have witnessed. May we never have cause to regret his membership, and may he, by his exemplary conduct and practice of our teachings be an honor to our Brotherhood and the pride of all true friends.
I now declare a short recess that we may extend the grasp of friendship to our newly-made brother. *.

Closing Ceremony

Brothers, I am about to close this Lodge. When you again mingle with the outer world, I trust you will remember the principles and lessons imparted here. Let us ever be mindful of the obligations we have taken and constantly strive to extend the principles of brotherly love and unity.
Brother Secretary-Treasurer, what are the receipts and disbursements of the Lodge since our last meeting?
The receipts are …, the disbursements ….
You will enter the receipts and disbursements upon the minutes of the meeting We will now sing our closing ode. * * *.

Closing Ode

Gracious Father and Giver of good.
Whose eternal protection we own,
Now unite us in true brotherhood,
And to each let Thy favor be shown.

We will stand for the right,
Never fearing to dare and to do,
We will stand for the right,
Faithful brothers united and true.

Let thy presence attend as we part,
Our Protector and Guide ever be,
Let fraternity join every heart,
And forever unite us to Thee.
Brother Chaplain, we are now ready for your parting benediction.
My brethren, he lives best who does most for humanity; he lives well who walks worthily in the paths of industry, and to him shall the full measure of praise be given: "Well done, thou good and faithful brother." In this parting hour let us not forget the obligation we have assumed; but as we leave this room let it be with a full determination that all our actions through life shall redound to our honor and insure the prosperity of this Brotherhood, and may the Great Ruler above watch over, bless and keep us until our next meeting. Amen.
All respond:
Brother Warden, collect the Rituals and Ode Cards and deposit them on the President’s pedestal. I now declare … Lodge No. … closed until its next regular meeting. *.