Improved Order of Lions
Initiation Ritual


Instructions to the Grand Master
The Grand Master shall call the Den to order promptly at the time appointed and fill all vacancies in the Stations by pro tempo appointments.
In the absence of the Grand Master, the Master will assume his duties. In the absence of both the Grand Master and the Master, the King shall be the next officer to preside.
The presiding officer should see that everything is in readiness before opening.
No motion or suggestion to adjourn shall be in order without the regular opening and closing ceremonies when quorum is present.
Every effort should be made to transact all business and initiation and close by 10:00 o’clock. The presiding officer should not allow his meeting to lag or any long-drawn-out, unnecessary discussions
The Grand Master should see that each officer commits to memory his part of the Ritualistic work within a reasonable time. He should see that silence is observed by all present during the time the Ritualistic Work is being conducted, especially the Obligation.
When the Den is in its formation, or working under dispensation from the Supreme Den, the Grand Master and all other officers should follow the instructions of and give the fullest co-operation to the Supreme Den’s Representative, who is especially trained and bonded for this work.
Opening Ceremony
Grand Master calls Den to its feet: In the name of the Supreme Den, Improved Order of Lions, Den ... Number ... will now come to order. All persons who are not duly qualified members, in good standing, of the Improved Order of Lions will retire to the ante-room. The officers will clothe themselves in their proper regalia and take their respective Stations.
The Master will see that the Inner and Outer Doors are closed and properly guarded.
Master: Grand Master, your order has been obeyed.
Grand Master: Overseer, you will ascertain if all present ha acquired the wisdom that qualifies them to remain.
Overseer advances to the Grand Master’s Station, communicates to him the quarterly pass-word, beginning on his left, he takes up the pass-word. On finding a member without the pass-word, he reports as follows: Grand Master, I find Brother ... without the proper pass-word. Thereupon the Grand Master will request the Brother to report to his Station.
The Overseer having completed his work, will advance to the Altar, facing the Grand Master, and report as follows: Grand Master, I find all present duly qualified and entitled to remain.
Grand Master: Overseer, you will now prepare the Altar.
Overseer: With this cloth of Blue and Gold I drape this Altar and place hereon the Holy Bible. It is our guide and our inspiration. This is the American Flag, symbol of Liberty and Justice.
Its colors are red, white and blue, sacredly blended. Just and true.
To this Holy Banner may we ever be loyal and true. Flag of our Country, we salute thee. The Den, with the Overseer, give military salute.
Grand Master: Overseer, resume your station.
Let each head be bowed in reverence to the Supreme Grand Master of the Universe, while the Chaplain invokes the Divine Blessing.
Chaplain: Oh Thou Almighty God, Supreme Ruler of the Universe, in Whom we live and have our being, in reverence to Thy Great Holy Name we acknowledge Thy supremacy in all things. We invoke Thy blessings on our assembly here this night. May our every act and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Thy sight. Look Thou with favor upon our Order. Our homes and all within our gates. Prosper our noble Order. Give it peace, harmony and progress. Grant us to be just and honorable in our dealings with our fellow men, ever practicing the Golden Rule. Forgive our many transgressions, Bless each member of our Order and those near and dear to them, and at last suffer us to come unto Thee in everlasting life. So may it be. Amen.
Grand Master and Den in concert: AMEN.
Grand Master: I do now declare ... Den Number ... Improved Order of Lions, open in due form and ready to transact any and all business that may legally come before it. May the spirit of co-operation, helpfulness and loving kindness; of loyalty to our Order and a sincere desire to help our Brother onward and upward unto better things, animate and be manifest in every word and deed.
Overseer, instruct the Outer Guard that this Den is now open in the regular order of business.
Order of Business
1. Calling Roll of Officers and Noting Absentees.
2. Reading Minutes of Last Meeting.
3. Reading Communications and Bills.
4. Proposing Candidates for Membership.
5. Reports of Investigating Committees.
6. Balloting On Applications.
7. Initiation of Candidates.
8. Reports of Standing and Special Committees.
9. Unfinished Business.
10. Introduction of Business and Professional Men.
11. Introduction and Instructions to All Members Out of Employment.
12. New Business.
13. Good of the Order. (Talks and Entertainment.)
14. Payment of Dues.  
15 Report of the Recorder on All Monies Collected Since Last Meeting.

16. Report of the Treasurer of All Monies Received and Budgeting of Same.
17. Report of Educational Board.
18. Closing Exercises.

Grand Master: Overseer, you will now ascertain if any candidates are in waiting.
Overseer approaches the Altar, gives the retiring sign and proceeds to the ante-room, secure the number of candidates in waiting and returns.
Overseer: Grand Master, I find in waiting ... Strangers, who desire to become members of our Den.
Grand Master: Captain, you will now ascertain the names of those in waiting and report to this Station.
The Captain gives the proper sign, retires and secures the names and reports.
Captain: Grand Master, I find in waiting ... (give names) who have fully qualified for admittance and desire to become members of the Improved Order of Lions.
Grand Master: Recorder, (or Director of Organization,) have these candidates paid the necessary fee?
Recorder: Grand Master, they have.
Grand Master: Recorder, (or Director of Organization,) have ante-room and propound the necessary questions, after which the Captain will report while the Overseer prepares the candidates for initiation.
The Overseer and Captain retire to the ante-room.
The Overseer checks the list of candidates, while the Captain forms them into line, then the Captain proceeds as follows: Friends, in seeking to gain membership in a Den of the Improved Order of Lions it will be necessary for you to answer the questions I will now ask you:
Do you believe in a Supreme Being?
Are you addicted to the intemperate use of drugs or alcoholic liquors?
Are you willing to practice business co-operation in the interest of yourself and the members of the Improved Order of Lions?
Are you willing to take upon yourself an obligation to never reveal the secrets of this Order, and to abide by the Laws of our Order as provided in the Constitution and By-Laws?
It is well, my friends, I assure you that our Obligation will in no wise conflict with the duty you owe your home, your Country, or your God.
The answers being satisfactory, the Captain says, addressing the candidates:  Your answers having been satisfactory, the Overseer will now see that you are properly prepared for advancement into the mysteries of the Improved Order of Lions.
The Overseer places the candidates in single file with right hand on left shoulder of the candidate in front of him. The Captain reports to the Grand Master: Grand Master, I have propounded the necessary questions and the candidates are prepared and ready for advancement.
Grand Master: Captain, retire to the ante-room and assist the Overseer in presenting the candidates.
Captain: Overseer, you will present the candidates to the Grand Master.
The Overseer presents the candidates at the Altar, facing the Grand Master’s Station, and reports: Grand Master, by order of the Captain, I present to you these strangers, who have qualified for advancement and desire to become members of this Den of the Improved Order of Lions.
Grand Master: Strangers, your names for membership in this Den of the Improved Order of Lions was approved by honorable members of this Den, after which you were duly elected by secret ballot. You are to be congratulated because of your selection. Our Den is composed only of worthy men of noble principles, and sincere purposes. Men who are ever ready to assist their Brother, socially, intellectually, commercially; therefore, I caution you that as you advance, in becoming a member of this Progressive Order, be ever alert to comprehend its precepts and principles, that your membership may be of greater value to our Order and that we may be of service to you.
In behalf of the membership of this Den of the Improved Order of Lions, I welcome you, and in doing so it becomes my duty to inform you that our Order is founded upon the Holy Bible. Our Ritualistic teachings are not cloaked in mystery, nor based upon the ancient traditions of some forgotten age. Our teachings are modern and based upon the practical and worthy things of life.
Our Order requires each person seeking membership to take a solemn and binding Obligation, which binds you to the Improved Order of Lions, and to eternal loyalty. Let me assure you that there is nothing in our Obligation that will in any wise conflict with the duty you owe to your Country, or your God. Therefore I admonish yuo to take this Obligation without any reservation or secret evasion of mind, whatsoever.
Grand Master: Overseer, conduct these strangers to the Chaplain for the Obligation.
Overseer: Chaplain, by order of the Grand Master, I present these strangers for the Obligation.
Chaplain: Strangers, you stand at the Altar in the presence of Almighty God and the members of the improved Order of Lions here assembled. You have promised to take upon yourselves a sacred and binding Obligation, to hold forever the precepts and principles of our Noble Order, and never to reveal in any manner our secrets and signs to any person or persons not lawfully entitled to receive the same.
Strangers, our Order is the parent Lion organization, incorporated on July 28th, 1930, at Bradenton, Florida, by worthy and honorable men, upon my assurance that our Obligation was designed for your own personal welfare and financial benefit, and will in no wise conflict with your religious or political beliefs, do you promise faithful obedience to the same?
Candidates answer. Receiving the affirmative answer the Chaplain continues: Place your left hand upon your heart, with your right hand uplifted; gaze upon the Holy Bible, in the presence of Almighty God, and repeat after me, using your own name where I use mine:
I, (repeats name,) do of my own free will sincerely promise and swear that I will never unlawfully reveal the secrets of this Order, that I will be an honorable and upright member of the Improved Order of Lions. I will be temperate in all my conduct,  habits and dealings in public and private life.
I furthermore promise that I will never defraud or wrong a member of the Improved Order of Lions, in thought, word or deed,  nor permit it to be done if within my power to prevent.  I will always be mindful of our members’ best interest, socially, morally, intellectually and financially. In all my business affairs,  other things being equal, I will favor a member of the Improved Order of Lions in preference to one who is not, I will ever be alert to recommend a member of the Improved Order of Lions  in his business, profession, or vocation, and I will practice business co-operation to the extent that I shall expect it for myself.
I will never knowingly violate the sanctity of a Brother’s home, but will protect his family as I would my own. I will do all within my power to make this Den most profitable to its members, worth much to the community and successful in the execution of its program.
I further promise and swear, that I will never retard the progress of this Order, by causing dissention or otherwise. I further promise that I will not recommend for membership any person whom I do not believe to be honorable and worthy.
If proven false to this Obligation I will accept as my just deserts to be published to the world as a traitor and unfit for membership with honorable men.
Should I be expelled from membership, I will still consider this Obligation sacred and binding.
To all of which I pledge my most sacred word of honor. May God keep me steadfast. Amen.
Den, in concert: Amen.
Grand Master seats the Den. After perfect quiet is restored the Chaplain proceeds: My Brothers, in the presence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and these members here assembled, you have pledged your most sacred word of honor. None can give a higher pledge. I trust your vows may never be broken.
You have now become a member of the Improved Order of Lions. Its teachings are not shrouded in mystery, or its lessons founded on ancient traditions.
In seeking membership in this Progressive Order, you stated your belief in a Supreme Being. It is accepted by all intelligent men that there is a Supreme Being to whom we owe allegiance. When civilized man subdued the earth, he found he had been preceded by savage tribes, all having some form of religion.
When our forefathers founded this great nation of ours, they placed on the American dollar, “In God We Trust.” We look out with a reflective mind the vast space of the Universe and see the myriad millions of stars and our own satelite, the Moon, and we cannot help but believe the Moon is a fossile world, and ancient cinder; a ruined habitation, perpetuated to admonish the Earth of her own inpending fate and to teach us that another home is to be prepared that frost and decay can never invade. No human soul can be supremely happy without some form of religion. We know not what the future holds in store for us. Death is not a theme lightly to be broached. We are all subject to its power. The young may die and the old must die, and the wisest know not when. We dwell ever in the shadow of death, therefore, my Brothers, be ye ever ready to sponsor the cause of righteousness; be true to your Obligation and loyal to our Order.
Overseer, conduct our Brothers to the Master for instructions in the business principles of our Order.
Overseer: Master, by order of the Chaplain, I present these Brothers for instructions in the business principles of our Order.
Master: Brothers, at this stage of your sojourn among us, it becomes my duty to instruct you in the business principles of our Noble Order You have taken a solemn Oath and Obligation to follow our instructions along this line, and feel assured in so doing, you will be greatly benefited thereby.
My brothers, ever since the fall of man and the penalty inflicted by Divine Edict, that “By the sweat of thy Brow shalt thou eat bread,” man has had one continuous battle and struggle against the forces of Nature in seeking an existence, and to this end, let me assure you his achievements, accomplishments, progress and success have only been wrought through co-operation and organization.
From the earliest times, when the savage roamed the unbroken forest of an uncivilized word, unorganized and alone, he was an easy prey for the wild and ferocious beasts of the jungle, but through tribal and clan organization he conquered the forces of Nature and survived the Dark Ages, and today we have a great civilization.
The blind force of the people is a force that must be organized to be effective. Gun powder exploded in the open is non-effective, but when confined by science and directed into certain channels, it becomes most powerful. The united efforts of our Noble Order is a power for good in the interests of our community and our members, when directed by worthy men.
Therefore, by co-operation and unity of action, as an Order, we can accomplish much for our community. Each individual member will be benefited and a lasting good can be wrought. “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”
Master: Overseer, conduct our Brothers to the King for instructions in the Educational and Recreational features of our Order.
Overseer: King, by order of the Master, I present these Brothers for instructions.
King: My Brothers, King Solomon, that great ancient ruler, builder and scholar, whose name and writings will live as long as the mind of man appreciates the sublime and beautiful, taught that we should gain wisdom, and in all things seek understanding. God has bestowed upon each of us a wonderful gift the human mind  which science teaches us that in no individual, however highly educated, has ever been fully developed. The human mind, my Brothers, is a precious gift; with it we can penetrate past events and visit every civilized country on earth. We can go with Napoleon to Waterloo, or stand with John on the Isle of Patmus, and see Revelations of God. The Roentgen Ray; the airplane and the radio are the products of the human mind: therefore, my Brothers, we should prize this wonderful gift and strive at all times to prove ourselves worthy of its possession.
My Brothers, in this great American Nation of ours, we boast of the land of the free and the home of the brave. There are thousands of boys and girls who possess a bright human brain, and who, if given the opportunity, through this Noble Order, would perhaps startle the world with their wisdom. It is a matter of history that many of the greatest minds of the world spring from the homes of poverty. Our immortal Abraham Lincoln, and many others are examples. My Brothers, it is the business of this Organization to look after and render assistance to the worthy boy or girl. We have a fund for that purpose, and your membership in this Order makes it possible to go forward with this program and eventually accumulate a fund that will enable us to assist hundreds of worthy boys and girls in qualifying themselves for the struggle of life; making this Den a living monument to the cause of intelligent education.
God’s gift to man not only includes a wonderful, comprehensive mind, but a body no less wonderful. It is needless to say that in this age of high tension and business anxiety, the business and professional man forgets the elements essential to a happy life, and goes down to a premature grave, when he could have followed the well known laws of Nature and scientific advice and engaged in intelligent social recreation and physical exercise, that his brain might have been more active, his body more healthful and his business more successful. Recreation, my Brothers, is just as necessary a part of your existence as the food you eat.
Our Order is especially interested in the recreational feature of life; therefore, in the program of this and all other subordinate Dens, we provide for establishing a home for recreational and gymnasium exercises, which are so essential to happiness and success. These, my Brothers, are two of our many great plans for the welfare of our members, and for the advancement and progress of every community within the jurisdiction of this Order.
King: Overseer, conduct these Brothers to the Grand Master for instructions in the mysteries of life and the secrets of our Order.
Overseer: Grand Master, I present to you these Brothers for further instructions.
Grand Master: My Brothers, I commend you for the Progress you have made in becoming a Lion. As the Lion is King of Beasts, be thou a leader of men.
As brothers we are banded together for the noble purpose of helping each other in the struggle incident to success. It is such gatherings as these which aid in our upbuilding and make us better, more progressive and wiser men.
A man may be called a man wherever you may find him, but his approach to ideal manhood is marked by a vast difference, and especially by that God-Given quality in his makeup called forgiveness. Let a man bear malice in his soul and no matter how great his distinction in affairs of State or finance, he faith short of that truly distinguished American who said, “with malice towards none, with charity to all.”
Therefore, my Brothers, let us not only be charitable in kind deeds, but inasmuch as we may be of valuable assistance to each other in our struggle for success, let us ever be ready to recommend each other to those seeking service in our respective lines and when we succeed in our chosen profession, business or vocation, we are not only able to care for our loved ones and enjoy the bounties of life, but are also in position to assist those less fortunate, and assist in restoring them to the station in life our Creator designed for them.
My Brothers, Life is the enigma of enigmas, the one inscrutable mystery of every age, and in the drama of life, all are actors and no one knows his part. In this great play the scenes are shifted by unknown forces; the commencement, plot and end are still unknown and still unguessed. One by one the players leave the stage and others take their places. There is no pause, the play goes on; no promoter’s voice is heard and no one has the slightest clue to what the next scene is to be. Will this great drama have an end? Will the curtain fall at last? Will it rise again on some other stage? Reason says “Yes.” Therefore, my Brothers, be ye ever ready to meet your loved ones in the great beyond, where we will be able to understand these unknown mysteries.
It now remains for me to instruct you in the unwritten work of the Improved Order of Lions.
In all Dens there is an Outer and Inner gate. The space between them is the ante-room. Desiring admittance to a Den of Lions you will give any rap on the Outer Door. The Outer Guard will open the wicket and to him you will give the permanent password, which is ... This admits you to the ante-room. You will then approach the Inner Door and give ... knocks. The Inner Guard will open the wicket, then to him you will give the quarterly pass-word, which is ... This admits you to the Den. When visiting any Den other than your own, you may be required to give your name, rank and the number of the Den to which you belong. On being admitted to the Den, you will advance to the Altar and salute the Grand Master with the Enter Sign, given thus: ... When answered by the Counter sign, given thus: ..., you will then take your seat.
If it is not in order for you to be admitted when you knock on the Inner Door, the Inner Guard will so inform you by giving ..., in which case you will wait. It is not permissible for you to be admitted during the Ritualistic, or Initiatory ceremonies. When it is proper for you to be admitted, the Inner Guard will so inform you by giving ... on the Inner Door, signifying that the Den is waiting for you to enter.
When you desire to address the Den, you will rise from your seat and give the hailing sign, ..., at the same time saying “Grand Master.” Upon being recognized by the Grand Master, thus: ..., you will proceed with your remarks.
If you wish to cross the Den from one side to the other, give the Hailing Sign and Without waiting for the Counter Sign, you will proceed, but never cross between the Grand Master and the Altar.
If you wish to retire from the Den before it is regularly closed, proceed to the Altar and give the Retiring Sign, thus: ..., meaning, I remember the teachings of our Order and understand the folly of the outer world. When recognized by the Grand Master, you will then pass out.
The sign of distress, indicating the need of a Brother’s assistance, is given thus: ... The answer is ..., but should it be in the dark, or emergencies demand immediate action, you will use the word, ..., the answer is ... It will be the duty of every Lion to come to your assistance. If you wish to hail a Lion in public, you will give the Hailing Sign, ..., the answer is the same sign, with the left hand. If you should see a Brother in immediate danger, it is your duty to warn him, in which case you will give the Warning Sign: ... The answer is ...
If you wish to test a Brother completely, you will approach him and give him the grip, given thus: ... The answer is ... As a further test there is a word or covered key connected with the grip, As you hold the hand you will say. ... He will answer, ... This cover key is composed of the most potent word of the most progressive Order of the present age.
The voting sign is the uplifted right hand, palm forward.
The Gavel has its meaning and uses: One rap calls the Den to order, or seats it. Three raps calls the entire Den to its feet.
My Brothers, by the authority vested in me by the Supreme Den of the Improved Order of Lions, I now proclaim each of you a member of ... Den, Number ... Improved Order of Lions, and entitled to all rights and privileges of our Order. Grand Master calls Den to their feet.
Grand Master: Brother Lions, I take pleasure in presenting to you these new Brothers, who have just completed their membership in our Order. Join me in extending the hand of fellowship to them. The Den will be at ease until we all pass the newly made Brothers, in single tile, shake their hands, while doing so, each of you will call your name.
Brothers, the Holy Bible, upon which you gazed when taking your Obligation, is the gift of God to man and is man’s guide for his earthly conduct. It carries in its teachings that hope of eternal bliss.
My Brothers, upon your honor as a man and with the memory of that sacred Oath still fresh in your mind, I ask each of you, “Have you ever transgressed the Laws defined in that Book of Books?” Yes, it may well be said, “Menu Mene Tekel U-Pharsin;” “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting;” therefore it is well to bear in mind that the lowest and most debased of the human race may readily boast of having violated the laws of both God and man, but it takes a man of real character and standing, who under all circumstances and conditions has real courage in all things.
The Lion is the king of beasts. It is strong and ferocious, and its roar brings terror to the jungle, You have been selected as honorable men, men who stand out as respectable citizens, men of character, men who will not destroy the sanctity of a Brother’s home, men who can he trusted to co-operate on the mutual advantages of all, men worthy of the association of gentlemen, men who regard an Obligation, therefore, my Brothers, let your conduct be such that the voice of this Order will bring terror to the criminal and unworthy, and protection to the weak, and happiness to its members.

Closing Exercises

Grand Master: My Brothers, the business of this Den has been completed. In going out to your respective businesses or vocations, you will again mingle with the outer world; let the spirit of business co-operation, the precepts and vital principles of our Order animate and be manifest in every word and deed, so will you bless mankind and assist our Brothers in their struggle for success.
Remember always, that the membership is composed of honorable men, so be ever ready to recommend for membership those whom you would admit to your home and share their friendship in the social and business world.
You will now give attention while the Chaplain gives the Divine Benediction.
Chaplain: Creator of the Universe, we beseech Thee to make us worthy of Thy image, and to respect Thy Holy Name. Guard us and keep us as we go our way. Bless the good we have done in this assembly. Hold Thou our Order in the hollow of Thy hand and let Thy Blessings rest upon our members and their families. May we be true to our Obligation and ever ready to assist our Brothers in their struggle for success, and to Thee be the power and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Den, in concert: Amen.
Grand Master: Overseer, close the Bible and collect the Rituals and Regalia and bring them to this Station.
I now declare ... Den, Number ..., Improved Order or Lions, closed in due form.