Loyal Americans of the Republic
Ritual of the Fraternal Degree
President, standing: Comrades, we are about to open … Lodge No. … of the Loyal Americans of the Republic for the transaction of such business as may be brought before it. I trust that proper discipline will be observed by all, that fraternal love may mark our deliberations and that the business of this session may be transacted in a seemly manner.
NOTE: The President then addresses the Orderly.
President: Comrade Orderly: The Orderly rises at his station, turns and faces the President and salutes with the sign of the Order. The President recognizes the salute and then continues.
You will arrange the altar and ascertain if the Guard and Sentinel are at their posts, Instruct them that until further orders no one can enter here except on permission from me.
Orderly: Comrade President, your commands shall be obeyed.
NOTE: Thereupon the Orderly places the open Bible upon the Altar; lays a furled American Flag across the Bible; distributes officers' and members' Badges, if any; distributes Rituals to other officers and Ode Cards to members; ascertains that the Guard and Sentinel are on duty; returns to the Altar and reports.
Orderly: Comrade President, your orders have been executed.
President: ‘Tis well. Comrade Orderly return to your station.
NOTE: Orderly returns by right angles to his station but does not pass between the Altar and the President's station.
President: Comrade Sergeant: Sergeant rises and salutes and President recognizes salute you will now have the Corporals ascertain if all present are in possession of the term pass-word and then report to me.
Sergeant: Comrade President, I shall execute your command.
Comrade Corporals: Corporals rise, salute, and stand at attention, you will collect the term countersign from all present and report to me.
NOTE: Corporals then proceed to collect the Term Pass-Word from the Comrades present on their respective sides of the hall, return to their stations and report privately to the Sergeant. Comrades without the Pass-Word should be vouched for by the Secretary, and should be given the Pass-Word at the close of the session.
Sergeant: Comrade President, I find all present are in possession of the countersign or are properly vouched for. We are comrades all.
Comrades, in unison: We are comrades all.
President: Comrades: President calls members to their feet give heed while our Prelate invokes aid from on High.
Prelate: Heavenly Father, we acknowledge Thee as the Ruler in all things. May fraternal love prompt and control us in all that we say and do at this meeting. Help us to do our duty willingly and well. Aid us to be patient, patriotic, honest, and fraternal. Guide us in the performance of our humble but full share toward making our homes the happiest, our neighborhood the best, our Country the greatest, and our Order the safest in all the world. Amen.
Comrades, in unison: Amen.
Comrades remain standing.
President: Comrades, we shall now join in our Opening Ode.
President, seats all Comrades: Comrades, this Lodge is now open for the transaction of such business as may properly come before it. Comrade Guard, you may now admit those in waiting who are properly qualified.
President takes his seat and then proceeds with the regular order of business.
If the officers of the local Lodge have Robes the President will declare a recess while the officers retire and robe themselves. When the officers are ready to return, some Comrade designated by the President will call the Lodge to order. The officers will then march, accompanied by music, around the Lodge Hall. The officers, beginning first with the President, will drop out of the line of march as they leach their respective stations and will assume their several stations. All officers will remain standing at their stations until seated by the President. If the Lodge has a Drill Team, it should act as an escort for the officers during their march. After officers are seated the initiation should begin at once.
If the officers of the Lodge have no robes, no recess will be taken; but the work of Initiation will proceed at once.
President: Comrades, we have before us the names of …, who have been balloted upon and duly elected to membership with us, and who are now awaiting initiation at our hands. Are we ready, Comrades, to confer upon them the Fraternal Degree of our Order?
Comrades, in unison: We are ready.
President: Comrade Vice-President, you will bring forth the candidates in order that they may learn the lessons exemplified in our initiatory work.
Vice-President brings candidates into the hall and conducts them by square turns, accompanied by music, to the Altar, where they are made to face the President. If the Lodge has a Drill Team it should act as an escort for the Vice-President and the candidates.
President: Friend, you now stand before the sacred Altar of this Order, awaiting initiation. Before you can proceed further it will be necessary for you to take a solemn and holy obligation, which will be binding upon you until death. Are you willing to take such an obligation?
Candidate: I am.
President: Comrade Prelate, you will proceed to the Altar and administer to this friend the sacred obligation of our Fraternity.
Prelate proceeds to altar and faces candidates. President calls Comrades to their feet and says: Comrades, you will gather around the Altar and be witnesses to this solemn rite.
Comrades gather in a semi-circle back of the candidates.
Prelate: Place your left hand over your heart and repeat distinctly after me: In the presence of the All-Seeing Eye, and in the midst of Comrades here assembled, I solemnly pledge my word of honor that I will never reveal any of the secret work of this Fraternity; that I will obey the Laws, Rules and Regulations of this Lodge and of this Order; that I will not knowingly wrong or injure a fellow Comrade nor permit it to be done without resenting it; that I will do my utmost to protect and defend the reputation and good name of my Comrades; that I will not be guilty of slander, back-biting, or belittling a Comrade, this Lodge, or this Order, nor will I tolerate such unfraternal and vicious acts to be committed in my presence; that I will to my uttermost power protect my home and loved ones, defend my country, and honor my Creator; and that I will in every respect, whatsoever deal honestly, honorably, justly, and fraternally with my Comrades, with this Lodge, and with this Order. All of this I most sacredly promise.
Comrades, in unison: Thy pledge is recorded.
Vice-President: Friend, let us now visit the shrine of Fraternity.
Prelate retires to station and Comrades resume their seats. Vice-President now leads candidates around Lodge Room past the stations of the Prelate, Sergeant, and Ex-President and stops with them before the President's station. Music should accompany the march; also the Drill Team should escort Vice-President and candidates, if there is a Drill Team. When all is in readiness the President delivers the following charge:
President: Friend, welcome to the shrine of Fraternity. You have just vowed constancy and fidelity to the Comrades of this Order. We tell you: here and now, that in the unselfish, united and concerted thought, word, and action of men is born Fraternity―that invincible power which puts to flight and utter rout every foe to the highest weal of human kind. In this noble Order we seek to help ourselves by co-operating with and aiding others. We hope to benefit you, and fully expect you in turn to strengthen us. This is the simple fraternal pact.
An ancient story tells of an husbandman who had a quarrelsome family. Having tried in vain to reconcile them by words he thought to succeed by the use of a simple but striking illustration. He called his sons about him and bade them lay before him a bundle of sticks.
If desired this can be actually demonstrated by using a bundle of sticks.
Having tied them into a faggot he commanded the lads, one after another, to take up the faggot and break it.
President may let candidates in turn try to break the sticks.
They all tried, but they tried in vain. Then untying the faggot, he gave them thc sticks to break one by one.
President may let candidates break the sticks.
This they did with the greatest of ease. Then spake the father: "Thus, my sons, as long as you remain united, you are a match for all your enemies; but differ and separate and you are undone."
My friend, we are like the sticks. Alone, we are weak and helpless, easily defeated or destroyed. Collectively, we are mighty. Fraternity is the silken cord that binds us together and makes us mighty, so mighty in our strength that neither height nor depth, nor principalities nor powers can avail against us. Fraternity sustains us while we live and protects our loved ones after we pass away.
We cannot conquer death, but, in the name and though the mighty power of Fraternity we can minimize its ill effects. With our feet firmly planted upon the bedrock of Fraternity we can cry out to the uttermost parts of the universe:
"Oh grave! where is thy victory!
Oh death! where is thy sting!"
Friend, learn this lesson of the strength, the power, the might of Fraternity. Learn it well, and forget it not.
Vice-President: Friend, let us now journey to the shrine of Opportunity.
Hereupon the Vice-President leads the candidates around the Lodge room past the stations of the Prelate and Sergeant to the Ex-President’s station. Music should accompany the marching. The Drill Team, if there is one, should act as escort for the Vice-President and candidates.
When all is in readiness the Ex-President delivers the following charge:
Ex-President: Friend, you do well to make a pilgrimage to this Royal Shrine. you have taken a most solemn obligation to regard as sacred your responsibilities and to take quick advantage of your opportunities. Hark ye, therefore, to the voice of Opportunity as it speaks to you:
"Master or human destinies am I,
Fame, love, and fortune, on my foot-steps wait,
Cities and fields I walk, I penetrate
Deserls and seas remote―and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late,
I knock unbidden once at every gate.
If sleeping, wake; if feasting, rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate
And they who follow me, reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death. But those who doubt or hesitate
Condemned to failure, penury and woe
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore
I answer not and I return no more."
I answer not and I return no more.
Vice-President: Friend, let us now wend our way to the shrine of Duty.
Hereupon the Vice-President leads the candidates all the way around the hall and then across to the Prelate's station. Music should accompany the march. The Drill Team, if there is one, should act as an escort for the Vice-President and candidates.
When all is in readiness the Prelate delivers the following charge:
Prelate: Friend, Duty is a word of broad meaning; and of universal application. No human being; can escape its demands. All must either perform it or neglect it. There is no middle ground. Whether we dwell upon land or sea; upon the mountain or on the plain: among the hills or in the valley; in the city or in the fields, the call of Duty is ever with us―inviting; and commanding: entreating and demanding, pleading and urging us to perform the tasks imposed by it.
We owe a duty to the soil of the earth. We owe a duty to the beasts of the field, to the fowls of the air, and to the fishes of the deep. We owe our highest duties to the loved ones about our firesides, to our friends, to our acquaintances, to the stranger, to our country, to the generations-past, present, and yet unborn-and, above all, to Him Who has created us and given us all things. It matter not whether we be smart or dull, weak or strong, rich or poor, large or small, young or aid, sick or well, happy or miserable, Duty confronts us every moment of our lives, and we must either perform it or evade it.
The performance of Duty is of ten common-place and irksome. For most of us it consists of wearisome toil day after day; of supporting, protecting, and cherishing our homes and loved ones; of encouraging the depressed in spirit; of lifting; up the fallen; of visiting the sick; of burying the dead; of comforting those stricken with grief; of living clean respectable lives; of doing the right thing by everybody; and of worshipping God in a quiet unpretentious way, The performance of such simple, daily recurring duties requires hearts courageous, infinite patience, and constant perseverance.
He is, indeed, a hero who performs every duty well. He may never be even for a moment in the public gaze; he may never hear the plaudits of his fellow men; no monument may ever pierce the sky in his honor; he may never live in the pages of literature; no high place in history may ever be assigned to him; and yet we know that he, who to his utmost power performs all his duties―both great; and small, ―will have his name written and his deeds recorded in the eternal Book of Life, which is made and kept by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Greater reward than this can no man have.
Vice-President: Friend, we shall now go to the President's station, for the purpose of receiving further information about the principles and teachings of our noble Order.
Hereupon the Vice-President leads the candidates around the Lodge Hall past the stations of the Sergeant and Ex-President to the President's station. The march should be accompanied by music. The Drill Team, if there be one, should act as an escort.
When all is in readiness the President will order the candidates taken to the ante-room, if one or more of the amusing Side-Degrees are to be exemplified. Lady candidates should never be given any of the Side-Degree work but should be seated in the Lodge Hall to see it.
If Ancient Rites of Borneo, or Side Degree work, is to be conferred the President, says:Friend, you have observed and learned some of the most important lessons taught by our Fraternity. Of your sincerity we have no further doubt. But before admitting you to full companionship, our Comrades desire to test your courage and fidelity. You must, therefore, retire and prepare yourself to face the obstacles and trials that you are about to meet. You must make a long journey. You must go alone. The way will be beset by many perils, but they can be met and thrust aside by those who are of strong heart and fearless spirit. Be brave! Be true! And all will be well.
Comrade Vice-President, you will now retire with our friend and aid him to prepare for the ordeals yet to come.
Hereupon the Vice-President leads candidates around the Lodge Hall and then to the ante-room. The march should be accompanied by music. The Drill-Team, if there be one, should act as escort to Vice-President and candidates. As little delay as possible should be permitted to get Side-Degree paraphernalia in readiness. In the meantime lady candidates should be brought back into the hall and seated. All male candidates, not used as victims in Side-Degree Work, should also be seated in the hall.
If Side-Degree Work is not to be given; or, if given, after it is over, the President will proceed to give instructions as follows: Friend, you have seen and heard the lessons of this noble Order exemplified; we trust they have sunk deeply into your memory and that they will enable you hereafter to lead a less selfish life―a life that is more helpful to others than it has been heretofore. Then you will be a worthy Comrade in spirit and in fact.
By virtue of the authority vested in me, I shall now instruct you in the secret work of this mighty organization.
The Salutation Sign of the Order is thus …, place left hand over heart and bow. It is used upon entering a Lodge while in session; in such cases you will advance to the Altar and salute the President. He will answer thus …, a nod of the head or wave of the hand. You will then turn and give the same sign to the Sergeant, who will answer it. You may then he seated. In retiring from a Lodge while in session, you will march to the Altar and give the Salutation Sign of the Order, first to the President and then to the Sergeant. This sign is also used when you desire permission to speak. In such a case you rise in your place and give the sign, but you will not be entitled to speak until recognized by the President.
The Voting Sign of our Order is thus: …, raise right hand.
We have two Pass-Words, a Permanent and a Term Pass-Word. Comrade Vice-President, communicate to our friend the Permanent Pass-Word. This Pass-Word never changes. Comrade Vice-President, you may now communicate the Term Pass-Word to our friend. This Pass-Word changes in January and July of each year.
The motto of our Order is Loyalty.
The Insignia of our Fraternity is the Flag of our country―Old Glory. Its colors signify the purposes of our Order and the characteristics of our Comrades. The red signifies courage; the blue, fidelity; the white, purity.
The following may be used very effectively: three Comrades―preferably young ladies―assemble before the Sergeant's station and face the President. One carries a red rose or a bunch of them; the second carries one or more violets; the third carries one or more white
flowers, preferably lilies. As soon as these three Comrades take their position, as above stated, the President will command the friend to turn around and face the Altar.
Thereupon, the three girls or other Comrades, advance together to the Altar.
There the Comrade with the red rose steps forward, lays the rose on the open Bible, and says: Emblem of Courage am I. A reminder to all Comrades that good deeds―whether great or small―are accomplished through courage. Many are the ways in which this great attribute may be displayed. It may be in the payment of an assessment at the sacrifice of something much desired. It may be in speaking a kind word, or in reaching out a helping hand to a Comrade who has fallen in disgrace. It may be in the humble acknowledgment of a mistaken word or act. Strong hearts are not those that feel no fear, but those that subdue their fear and bravely dare the dangers nature shrinks from. "Think not that in a world like this one shall not know ere long how sublime it is to suffer and grow strong."
The Comrade who deposited the red rose steps back. Then the Comrade with the violet, or blue flowers, steps forward, deposits the flowers on the Bible beside the red rose, and says: Emblem of Truth am I. The foundation of all good deeds in life. Fidelity to one and all is the essence of a happy, useful life.
"To thine own self be true, and it must follow,
As the night the day,
Thou cans't not then be false to any man."
This Comrade steps back and thereupon the Comrade with the lily or white flowers steps forward, deposit the lily or other flowers beside the rose and violets, and says: I am the Emblem of Purity. I signify that the pure things in life are worth living for. Perfection cannot be found. There is none who is wholly good; no, not one. But we can guard our speech and actions. Look for the good in others, not the evil. Cast out the dross; retain the good. Share one another’s burdens and true Comrades be.
"No radiant pearl which crested fortune wears,
No gem that, twinkling, hangs from beauty's ears,
Not the bright star which night’s blue arch adorns
Nor rising sun that gilds the vernal morn―can surpass
The lily white, low bending on the stalk its dewy head.
This Comrade steps back; all three about face and walk back to Sergeant's station. There they turn, either left face or right face, and march in single file to their seats.
Thereupon, the President has the friend to face about and completes his instructions: Friend, I will now complete our instructions to you. To gain admission to the Lodge Hall, when the Lodge is in session, give an alarm at the outer door. The Sentinel will open the wicket. Give him the Term Pass-Word and he will admit you. Then you will advance to the inner door, where you will give an alarm. The Guard will open the wicket. To him you will give the Permanent Pass-Word and he will admit you, if then permitted to do so. When admitted, you will march by square turns to the Altar. There you will give the Salutation Sign of the Order; then turning you will give the same sign to the Sergeant. Thereupon you may be seated.
Our noble Order has no Grip or Hand-Shake. Friend, you are now in possession of the Secret Work of our Fraternity. Remember it and keep it sacred. Let the lessons that you have this night learned become indelibly fixed in your memory. Exemplify the principles you have here seen portrayed, in your daily life. By virtue of the authority in me vested I now recognize you as a Comrade of this Fraternity. Please face about. Calls Comrades to their feet. Comrades, I ask you now to extend Fraternal greetings to our new Comrade.
Comrades, in unison: Welcome, Comrade, welcome.
President seats Comrades and directs the Vice-President to seat the newly initiated Comrade.
The Drill Team, if there be one, may then give au exhibition drill, if the Lodge so desires.
After ending the business of the session the President rises and says:
President: Comrades, we are about to close this session. Are you all willing?
Comrades, in unison: We are willing.
President: Very well.
President calls Comrades to their feet: Comrades, let us give heed while our Prelate invokes Divine blessing.
Prelate: And now, Heavenly Father, as we are about to go our several ways, may we go forth better men and women. May our minus be broader, may our hearts be larger than when we came, May each of us lay hold with a firmer grasp upon the principles underlying the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Watch over us in our daily walks. Protect us in our lives, in our homes, in our work and in our rest, in our time of joy and in our days of tribulation. Amen.
Comrades, in unison: Amen.
President: Comrades, let us all join in our Closing Ode.
HOME, SWEET HOME.
President, seats Comrades and says: Comrade Orderly, close the Book of Law and collect the property of the Lodge.
The Orderly then closes and removes the Bible, collects the Rituals, Ode Cards, Badges, etc., returns to his station and reports:
Orderly: Comrade President, I have obeyed your orders.
President: Comrades, the labors of this session are ended. We are about to go forth into the outer world. Forget not your obligations to each other and to the Order. May each of you live up to the full measure of your opportunities and duties.
Calls all Comrades to their feet.
I now declare this Lodge duly closed, and I bid you all a kind good-night.
Comrades, in unison: Good-night.
President gives one rap.