Order of Benefit Association of Railway Employees
Initiation Ritual


Opening Ceremony

Conductor takes his station and calls the Division to order with one rap of the gavel.
Sisters and Brothers kindly come to order. All who have not been duly initiated or obligated will please retire to the ante room until we are ready to receive you. (After pausing.) Brother Brakeman, secure the doors, and allow no one to enter or retire until so ordered.
After the doors have been secured the Brakeman will report to the Conductor, as follows:
Brother Conductor, your orders have been obeyed, and the doors are secured.
Brother Machinist, you will satisfy yourself that all present are members of the Order, collect the pass word, after which you will report to me.
In giving the pass word each member shall arise, extend the right hand to the Machinist, and give him the grip while communicating the pass word in a whisper; if there are any who are not in possession of the pass word, they will be sent to the Conductor to receive it, after which the Machinist will ascertain that it is right. After the canvass has been completed, the Machinist will approach the altar and place upon it the open Bible, set Flag in standard at right of altar, after which he will report as follows:
Brother Conductor, I find all present in possession of the pass word, and entitled to sit in this Division.
I now declare ... Division No Ö Order of Benefit Association of Railway Employees open for the transaction of all business legally brought before it. Sectarian, political, or labor discussions are strictly prohibited. Brother Brakeman, you will now admit any who are waiting in the ante room, and who are qualified to enter.

Order of Business

No. l. Introduction of visiting members.
Machinist escorts visitors to the altar, facing the Conductor, and says:
Brother Officers, and Members, I take pleasure in presenting to you, (Sister or Brother) ... who is a member of ... Division No ....
CONDUCTOR gives two raps of gavel, calls members to their feet.
On behalf of this Division, I extend to you a most cordial welcome, and assure you that we are pleased to have you with us.
If the visitor is a National Officer, or an officer of another Division, the Conductor will invite him to a seat on the platform at his side.
No. 2. Roll call of officers.
Machinist arises and answers for all.
No. 3. Reading of the minutes of the last regular or special meeting.
Sisters and Brothers you have heard the reading of the minutes, do you note any errors or omissions? If not, the minutes will stand approved as read. (Short pause to give time for any corrections that may be necessary.) They stand approved as read (or as corrected).
No. 4. Balloting for candidates.
Brother Brakeman, are there any candidates waiting in the ante room to be voted upon for membership?
(After investigating, the Brakeman reports as follows:)
Brother Conductor, I find ... waiting.
(If there are none waiting, the Conductor will proceed with the regular order of business, if there are one or more candidates waiting, he will proceed as follows:)
Brother Machinist, you will retire to the ante room and ascertain the names of the candidates in waiting and present the names in writing to the Secretary of this Division.
(The Secretary will arise and read the names, pronouncing each one plainly, after which the Conductor will order the ballot box to be prepared.)
Brother Machinist, you will prepare the ballot box.
(The Machinist then presents the ballot box to the Conductor, who inspects it, seeing to it that all the ballot halls are on the outside section of the box, after which the Machinist places the box on the altar, and then takes a position about five feet from the altar, not allowing a member to approach the box until the one preceding him has cast his ballot.)
Sisters and Brothers, we are about to ballot on the application of ..., who desires to become a member of this Division. White balls, elect; black balls, reject. Remember your obligation, and vote for the good of the order.
(lf there is more than one candidate to be voted on, the Conductor may order ballot to be taken on all of them collectively, unless there is objection offered by some member, in which case the ballot will be taken separately on each candidate; if the ballot is taken collectively, and not more than two black halls appear, the candidates shall be declared elected; if there are more than two black halls, then the Conductor may assume that a mistake has been made, and order another ballot taken collectively, after which, if there are again more than two, the Conductor will order a separate ballot taken.)
Have all voted who wish?
If so, I declare the ballot closed. (One rap of the gavel.)
(The Machinist will then present the ballot box to the Engineer for inspection, after which he will present the box to the Conductor, and return to his seat. After inspecting the ballot, the Conductor will say:)
Brother Engineer, how do you find the ballot?
ENGINEER: I find the ballot favorable (or unfavorable, as the case may be).
CONDUCTOR: I also find the ballot favorable (or unfavorable, as the case may be), and declare the candidates elected (or rejected).
No. 5. Initiation of Elected Candidates.


CONDUCTOR: Brother Machinist, you will retire to the ante room, prepare the candidates for initiation, and when ready give the proper alarm at the inner door. (Machinist complies.)
Brother Conductor, the Machinist is in the ante room, seeking admission for himself and candidates.
You will admit them.
Machinist conducts candidates once around the room, by way of the Motorman's station, making left turns, to the Fireman's station, where he will turn to the left across the lodge room towards the Motorman's station, until the candidates are before the altar, when Machinist will halt the candidates, and face them towards the Conductor.
Brother Conductor, it affords me pleasure to introduce these ... candidates, who have placed themselves under our protection and who now desire to become affiliated with this Division.
On behalf of the Order of Benefit Association of Railway Employees, I bid you welcome. We are pleased to have you with us in our noble work. We admit no one except those whom we believe to be worthy, and while we have no creed except that of fraternity and mutual protection, we believe this is so important to persons of our calling, that our position is a most important one. In order to admit you to full membership it will be necessary that you take our obligation.
It contains nothing that will in any way interfere with your rights as an individual, nor with the duties you owe to your family, your country or yourself. With this assurance, are you willing to proceed?
Candidates will all answer.
At this stage, the Conductor will give two raps of the gavel, calling all the members to their feet, and will then approach the altar.


Memberís Obligation

You will place your right hand on the left breast, covering the heart, and repeat after me the following obligation: I solemnly promise and declare, that I will forever keep secret, all signs, pass words, and other matters belonging to the Order that are
to be kept secret, to the end of my natural life; that I will never write, print, or indite any of the secret work, unless duly authorized to do so by a National Officer of the Order.
I further promise to obey the laws of this Division, and of the National Division having supervision over it, and that I will never wrong a Division, a Member or a Member's family, and I will always give a Worthy Sister or Brother preference over all others.
I also promise to do all in my power to secure good and worthy persons for membership in the Order.
Candidates may now stand at ease; Conductor returns to bis station, and seats members with one rap of gavel.
Brother Machinist, you will now conduct the candidates to the Fireman's station for instruction in the principles of our Order.
Machinist conducts candidates to Fireman's station, by way of Motorman's station, past Conductor's station, making left turns all the way; when at Fireman's station, halt candidates,
facing Fireman.
Brother Fireman, I take pleasure in presenting these candidates for instruction in the principles of our Order.
Sisters and Brothers, I welcome you, and as you have taken our obligation of allegiance, you are now one of us, and it affords me pleasure to instruct you in the principles of our Order, which stands for two important factors in building for the betterment of mankind: First and foremost is a true and simple application of fraternalism to our daily lives. Second, and no less important, is protection, and the quality of protection that railroad employees need must always be adequate, sound and stable. We never know when accident or illness may overtake us, and have need of this type of protection provided by the Association.
We all know how cold the word charity is, and we have no desire ever to be made an object of charity. Fraternal care, and proper protection is all we ask and this Order is founded on Fraternity and Protection. Fraternity, how full of meaning is that word, how laden with portents for good. True fraternalism applied to our daily lives makes our pathway smooth and our burdens light.
You will now be conducted to the Engineer's station, where you will be instructed in the secret work.
Machinist conducts candidates to Engineer's station, left turns same as before, facing candidates to Engineer.
Brother Engineer, I present these Sisters and Brothers who have taken our obligation, have been instructed in the principles of our Order, and now desire to be instructed in the secret work.
Sisters and Brothers, the secret work is for the purpose of protecting our Division meetings against imposition from those not entitled to admission, as Well as to enable us to identify a Worthy Sister or Brother. I will now instruct you in this secret work and, as I proceed, I admonish you to pay particular attention to what I disclose, for by these signs and pass words only, will you be able to gain admission to and qualify to take part in the activities of a Division when in session, and whenever you visit a Division of the Order of B. A. R. E. the same signs, and secret work are used.
In order to gain admission to a Division when in session, you will announce your presence at the outer door, by any ordinary alarm; the officer in charge of that portal will open the wicket, and you will give to him in a whisper, the permanent pass word, which is ....
This will admit you to the ante room. You will then approach the inner door, and give thereon ... distinct raps, whereupon the officer in charge of that portal will open his wicket, and to him you will give, in a whisper, the semi-annual pass word, which is ... together with your name, and the name and number of your Local Division, which in your case will be ... Division No ....
This will admit you to the lodge room, as soon as the business of the Division will permit.
Upon entering the lodge room, go directly to the altar, face the Conductor, and give the salutation sign, which is made in this manner ....
The Conductor will recognize you by returning the same sign, when you will be at liberty to take your seat in the lodge room. Should you wish to retire before the Division has been regularly closed, approach the altar, face the Conductor, and give the retiring sign, which is made in this manner ... and the Conductor will recognize you by the same sign, when you will be at liberty to retire.
The recognition sign, commonly called the "flag," is made in this manner .... This sign is used when you see a person wearing our emblem, and desire to ascertain whether he or she is entitled to fraternal courtesies. If they are, they should answer by returning this sign .... After you have received the answer to your challenge, shake hands with them, and they should give you the grip which is made in this manner .... The stranger should first give the grip, then you will answer it in the same way.
The distress sign, which is never to be used, except when a member is in imminent danger, and desires assistance from a Sister or Brother Member is made in this manner ...; at the same time saying, "is there no help for me?"
If you wish to address the Division, or to make a motion, you will arise in your place and, giving the salutation sign, say, "Brother Conductor," and you will not proceed with any remarks until you have been recognized by the Conductor.
The voting sign is made in this manner ..., and is used in voting on all questions not requiring a secret ballot.
The use of the gavel is imperative, and must be strictly obeyed at all times:
One rap calls the membership to order, or seats them when standing.
Two raps calls the entire membership to their feet.
Three raps calls up the officers only.
Grand honors, used in saluting a National Officer of this Order, are given as follows:
The Conductor will call all members to their feet with two raps of gavel, and when the National Officer is presented at the altar, all members will place their left hand on the left breast, covering the heart, and extend the right hand, as if to shake hands, and remain standing in this position until the National Officer has been seated.
Sisters and Brothers, this concludes the instructions in the secret work. Remember your obligation, and see well to it that you keep inviolate the trust we have reposed in you.
Brother Machinist, you will conduct the candidates to the Conductor's station for final instructions.
We welcome you among us, and we urge you to be mindful of your obligation, remembering that we accept this obligation as a solemn promise from you, and we are justified in expecting you to live up to it. May you set us an example that will cause us to be proud of your membership, and may the golden chain of sisterly and brotherly regard bind you to us, and thus make your association among us both pleasant and beneficial.
Remember well the lessons we have endeavored to impress upon you and always bear in mind that we, as Sisters and Brothers, stand willing and ready at all times to aid ani' assist you, and those near and dear to you.
Conductor now calls the members to their feet and has the new members turn and face the Division.
Brother officers and members, I take pleasure in presenting these new members, whose admission you have just witnessed, and I now declare them members of this Division, entitled to all rights, privileges, and benefits afforded as set forth in our Constitution and By-Laws and regulations of the National Division, and may we be of mutual benefit in carrying out the splendid purposes for which we are banded together.
Sisters and Brothers, you will now be seated.
(Return to regular order of business.)
No. 6. Communications, Notices and Bills. (Secretary reads.)
No. 7. Reports of Officers
No. 8. Reports of Standing or Special Committees.
No. 9. Unfinished Business.
No. 10. New Business.
No. 11. Reports of sickness, or Sisters and Brothers in need of assistance.
No. 12. Election of Officers.
No. 13. Installation of Officers.
No. 14. Good of the Order.
No. 15. Closing Ceremony.

Closing Ceremony

Brother Secretary, do you know of anything further to come before this meeting?
SECRETARY answers.
We will then proceed to close. In closing this meeting, I wish to thank you all for your attendance, and to assure you that it is duly appreciated, and has served as a benefit to this Order, in which we are all equally interested. Please remember the date of our next meeting, and hold yourselves in readiness to attend, and thus assist in the great work that we have set for ourselves. I now declare this Division duly closed.
(One rap of the gavel.)