Benevolent Protective Herd of Buffaloes of America
Ritual of the Third or Union Degree
Conductor examines the members and reports.
E.R.: The Lodge will rise while my Assistant opens the lodge in the Union Degree.
ASST.: By the desire of the Exalted Ruler, I declare this lodge open in the Union Degree for the purpose of conferring its honors.
E.R.: I declare it so opened.
Conductor retires to prepare the candidate. When ready give three raps on the door.
R.B.: Who comes there?
CON.: A brother of the Prairie Degree, who wishes to be initiated in the mysteries of the Union Degree.
E.R.: Admit him.
The Conductor and R.B. each with a lasso in hand, bring in the candidate and march him forward towards the chair of the E.R. Just before they reach it the Conductor steps before them and lassoes the candidate and says: Hold, stranger! this part of the prairie on which you stand is sacred to the cause of suffering humanity, and before you proceed further you must receive instructions from the Exalted Ruler of Ceremonies. Many brave Buffaloes who attempted to pass here lassoed without instructions have fallen victims to the hunter whom you may encounter on your journey across the plains, and I would advise you if you have any confession to make or know of any reason why we should not proceed, make it known now.
E.R.: Moses, my friend, was a great shepherd, and while attending the flocks of his father-in-law, the Lord appeared unto him in a burning bush, Moses saw the bush on fire and 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 he said: "Draw not nigh hither. Put off thy shoes, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground". Morover, He said: "I am the God of thy Father, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob." And Moses hid his face, tot he was afraid to look upon the Lord. And the Lord said. I have seen the affiction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters. For I knew their sorrows, and am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians." It was at this time, my brother, and on his occasion that Moses was commissioned by the Almighty to bring out his people with the strong arm from the bondage of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. But we would not profane the sacred text; the authority of Moses was divine, while our institution is of human origin. Yet we trust we are founded in some sense upon the benevolence of these sacred writings. Happy this fallen world, and as Moses and the Children of Israel marched out of Egypt, so may we move en into this glorious cause of love and goodwill to our fellowman.
The Con. and R.B. lead the candidate twice around the room stepping before the P.E.R., while the lodge sings.
P.E.R.: Brother you have at last arrived at the borders of the prairie. Your stampede is almost ended, and so far your journey has been prosperous, The arm of the Lord has been made bare to deliver you from all of the dangers that threatened you, and because that arm has made bare for your defence, you have been delivered. But yet another difficulty seems to await you to prevent your flight. Behold the prairie ahead is afire! On either side is a deep canyon, and look behind and behold the hunters coming with lassoes, ready to cast them upon you. Turn and see your condition.
Brothers standing in the rear in a menacing condition, with lassoes raised above their heads. Conductor then turns candidate to E.R. for instructions.
P.E.R.: Exalted Ruler now that the candidate is completely hemmed in, I beg of you to protect him. Let him kneel at the sacred altar and offer up a short prayer. If he cannot pray, let the priest do so for him, after which confine him by oath to keep secret things which he has beheld on this journey. Remember you have corralled yourself. Have mercy! have mercy!
E.R.: Brother, by the petition of my superior officer, I have concluded to do as he asks, thereby saving you from being captured and branded. 1 have now driven oft the hunters by strategy and saved you for the time being, but I am compelled to request of you a prayer and an oath, after which I ,will instruct you in the signs and grip of this degree.
Candidate offers up a supplication and receives oath as in former degrees.
There are in this degree a Grip, Countersign and Pass.
The COUNTERSIGN is given thus: Place your right hand upon your breast, over your heart and repeat "Purity of heart"
The GRIP is: Grasp each otherís left hand and shake three times.
The PASS is UNION, given as in other degrees and under same circumstances.
I declare you fully initiated ma the Third or Union Degree.
Test in Third Degree
QUESTION: Where have you been?
ANSWER: On the prairie as far as the fire
QUESTION: What were you surrounded by?
ANSWER: Deep canyons en either side, fire in the front, and a host of hunters in the rear.
QUESTION: What saved you?
ANSWER: The petition of the Past Exalted Ruler.
Salute the Chair and retire. Give the password to the R.B. and return and be seated.
Conductor examines the members and reports.