Independen Order of Odd Fellows
Ritual of the Third Degree Degree of Truth

 
1989


Instructions
 
The emblems of the initiatory, first, second and third degrees shall be illustrated by banners, charts, projector, or other presentation, consistent with the work.
The Chaplain, as High Priest Aaron, may occupy and speak from his official station, or he may speak from any position in the lodge-room except the station of the Noble Grand. He must occupy his official station during the closing ceremony.
The Right and Left Supporters of the Noble Grand and of the Vice Grand, as priests of the degrees, may occupy and speak from their official stations, or from any other appropriate position. During the closing ceremony, they must assume the positions designated by the ritual to be occupied by them.
Appropriate music and tableaux, consistent with the ritual, are permissible at any time.
 
 
Preliminary
 
Noble Grand: Brother , are you ready to receive the third Degree?
If the brother answers in the affirmative:
Noble Grand: Brothers, we are about to close the lodge in the initiatory degree, to reopen in the second degree. All brothers who have not attained the second degree will retire inform.
Vice Grand will answer the countersign.
Noble Grand calls up the lodge.
Noble Grand: Warden, declare the lodge closed in the initiatory degree, after which you will ascertain that all present are qualified to sit in the second degree.
Warden: I declare the lodge closed in the initiatory degree.
The Warden will examine the brothers in the proper password, or otherwise satisfy himself that all present are entitled to remain, and report.
Warden: Noble Grand, I find all qualified to sit in the second degree.
Noble Grand: The brothers will advance the sign of the second degree.
Noble grand will answer the sign.
Noble Grand: Warden, you will proclaim the lodge open in the second degree.
Warden: I proclaim this lodge open in the second degree.
Noble Grand seats the lodge.
Noble Grand: Inside Guardian, inform the Outside Guardian that the lodge is open in the second degree.
Inside Guardian retires and re-enters without form.
Noble Grand: Conductor, present the brother f or examination,
The Conductor and candidate, will proceed to the center of the floor, when the Noble Grand shall examine the candidate, as follows:
Noble Grand: My brother,
What is the entersign?
What is the password of the second degree?
For working purposes, how is it given?
Demonstrate the sign of the second degree.
What are the teachings of the second degree?
Noble Grand: Brother, retire to the anteroom and await further instructions.
Candidate retires in form.
If the examination has been satisfactory, the lodge will proceed to open in the third degree.
Noble Grand: Brothers, we are about to close the lodge in the second degree, to reopen in the third degree. All brothers who have not attained the third degree will retire inform.
The Vice Grand will answer the sign and the brothers will retire.
Noble Grand calls up the lodge.
Noble Grand: Warden, declare the lodge closed in the second degree.
Warden: I declare the lodge closed in the second degree.
Noble Grand: Warden ascertain if all present are qualified to sit in the third degree.
The Warden will examine the brothers in the proper password, or otherwise satisfy himself that all present are entitled to remain, and report.
Warden: I find all qualified.
Noble Grand: Brothers advance the sign of the third degree.
The Noble Grand will give the answer.
Noble Grand: Warden, proclaim the lodge open in the third degree.
Warden: I proclaim the lodge open in the third degree.
Noble Grand seats the lodge.
Noble Grand: Inside Guardian, inform the Outside Guardian that the lodge is open in the third degree.
If officers retire to robe, the following form may be used.
Noble Grand: The officers will proceed to robe for the third degree. During their absence, Brother , Past Grand, will officiate as Noble Grand; Brother , Past Grand, as Vice Grand; and Brother as Inside Guardian. The officers will retire.
The lodge is called up when the officers retire and re-enter.
Officers retire and re-enter in procession, without form.
Noble Grand seats the lodge.
The ceremony shall proceed, and no brother shall be permitted to enter or leave until the degree has been completed, except as provided.
 
 
Part I
 
Noble Grand: Conductor, retire to the anteroom, receive and introduce the candidate.
The Conductor retires in form, bearing staff.
The Conductor will place a white robe upon the candidate, approach the inner door, and give the alarm.
Inside Guardian, opening wicket: Who comes there?
Conductor speaks in a low tone to the Inside Guardian.
Conductor: A brother, who seeks the degree of truth.
Inside Guardian to Conductor: Why does he seek this degree?
Conductor: Because truth is the imperial virtue.
Inside Guardian to Conductor: What does he expect from the truth?
Conductor: That it will teach him his duty to God and his fellow-man.
Inside Guardian advances to center of floor.
Inside Guardian: Noble Grand, a brother seeks the degree of truth. He states that truth is the imperial virtue and that thereby he expects to learn his duty to God and his fellow-man.
Noble Grand: Admit the brother that he may be instructed in the mysteries of the degree of truth.
Inside Guardian returns to his station and o pens the door.
Inside Guardian: You have permission to enter, that you may be instructed in the mysteries of the degree of truth.
Being admitted, the Conductor will proceed with the candidate to the center of the floor and present him to the Noble Grand.
Conductor: Noble Grand, I present to you Brother giving name in full, who seeks the mysteries of this degree.
Noble Grand to Conductor: Present the brother to the Acting Past Grand for the charge of this degree.
Conductor presents candidate to Past Grand.
Conductor: Worthy Past Grand, I present the candidate for the charge of this degree.
 
 
Past Grand's Charge
 
Past Grand: My brother you are now entering upon the last degree of an Odd Fellow lodge which represents the third link in the chain of Odd Fellowship. We devote it to truth, which is appropriately introduced in this portion of our work; for it follows closely after love and has an intimate connection with it. It is the spontaneous result of genuine and constant love. If you are faithful to the duties enjoined in the last degree, truth will appear in all you say and do, as an intrinsic ornament of your character. If love is the fundamental element of all morality, truth is the imperial virtue. It is the treasure for which the candid mind ever seeks, the consummation for which we strive in all our investigations. It is the sanction of every appeal that is made for the good and the right. It condemns the wrongs, the sins, and the falsehoods of the world. It may be long in achieving its victory, but it is omnipotent, and must triumph at last. The man of truth is the best and strongest man; his soul, like a spring of clear water, reflects the light of heaven and is full of life. His speech and his actions are always just─he wins involuntary respect─he blesses and purifies all around him. He is a solid landmark amid the waves of faction, the storms of passion, and the conflicts of error.
Based upon the principles of universal brother-hood, opening wide its doors of relief and sympathy, imparting the beautiful and sacred sentiments of friendship and love, Odd Fellowship sends forth its novitiates clothed with the dignity of truth; without which, all professions are uncertain and insincere with which, they become harmonious and effectual.
To the Conductor: Proceed with the candidate to our Noble Grand.
Conductor presents candidate to Noble Grand.
Noble Grand: My brother, it is my duty to ask you several questions touching your qualifications.
We trust you will answer them with all sincerity.
Noble Grand: Do you desire to obtain this degree in order that you may extend the social and fraternal relations of life?
Candidate answers.
Noble Grand: Will you assist in performing the duties enjoined upon Odd Fellows to "visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan?"
Candidate answers.
Noble Grand: Will you endeavor to emulate the example of the Good Samaritan?
Candidate answers.
Noble Grand: My brother, we trust we have imposed on you no obligation that in later-life you may regret. You may not realize how difficult are the duties you have assumed. Our work is a constant war with selfishness. Think of the sacrifices implied in that great commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Pause, then, and reflect! You may be summoned from the pleasures of life to stand at the bedside of anguish. You may be called upon to use the worldly goods you have accumulated for the assistance of a less fortunate brother.
Having given you this admonition, it becomes my duty to advise you that if you feel you cannot perform these duties you are now privileged to retire.
Do you care to proceed further with this work?
Candidate answers.
If the candidate answers in the negative, he shall be permitted to retire.
If the candidate answers in the affirmative, the ceremony shall proceed.
Noble Grand: Conductor, present the brother to the High Priest.
Conductor presents candidate to Chaplain.
Conductor to chaplain: High Priest Aaron, I present a probationer, who is qualified to receive the scarlet degree, or priestly order.
Chaplain as High Priest Aaron: My brother, you came among us in darkness and in doubt. With faltering steps you groped your way to light. Here you learned the lesson of man's mortality, and of the certain decay of all earthly greatness. For your benefit was told the story of Jonathan and David, that you might rejoice in the triumph of friendship; and for your instruction the Good Samaritan exemplified his works of love and brotherhood.
Now listen to the voice of truth, speaking through forms and symbols, for truth is taught as well by emblems as by words. They speak of duty and of love they inculcate morality they foretell destiny.
Be attentive to the instruction you are about to receive.
The Conductor shall place the candidate in proper position in the lodge-room. The candidate may be seated until the symbols have all been described and shown to him. The chair for candidate should be in position before he enters the lodgeroom.
Chaplain: Warden, what are the symbols of the initiatory degree?
Warden: The all-seeing eye, the three links, the skull and cross-bones, and the scythe.
Chaplain: Priest of the Initiatory Degree, what do these symbols teach?
Left Supporter of the Vice Grand as priest of the Initiatory Degree: The all-seeing eye, reminds us that the scrutinizing eye of Omnipotence is upon us; that all our thoughts, words, and actions are open to His view. The light of morning and the darkness of night are alike to Him. It also illustrates that sleepless goodness which looks down in mercy upon our frailties and kindly ministers to our ever-returning wants.
The three links represent the grand motto of our Order friendship, love, and truth.
They are welded in the fires of purity by the sacred hands of Jehovah. They belong to that long chain of moral principles that bind us together as a fraternity. Thus bound with the chain of sincere friendship, unfeigned love, and simple truth, we may live in the bonds of peace and harmoniously pursue our labors for the amelioration of our race.
The skull and cross-bones are to remind us of the consuming process of nature. They most forcibly remind us, that we are bound by solemn engagements to give to the mortal remains of a departed brother decent sepulcher; and while we lay his body in the tomb, to cherish a lively recollection of his virtues.
The scythe, the universal emblem of time, is to us the symbol of death. As the grass falls before the mower's scythe, so man, like the flower and grass of the field, must wither beneath the touch of time and f all before the scythe of the King of Kings.
Chaplain: Warden, what are the symbols belonging to the first degree, or the degree of friendship?
Warden: The bow and arrows, the quiver, and the bundle of sticks.
Chaplain: Priest of the First Degree, what do these symbols teach?
Right Supporter of the Vice Grand, as Priest of the First Degree: The bow, arrows, and quiver are to remind us of the covenant between Jonathan and David, and by them we are taught to put forth every effort to save a brother from the wrath of an enemy.
They also remind us that we should always be ready to do battle in the cause of truth and justice.
The bundle of sticks is a beautiful emblem of union and teaches us the importance of that virtue in our benevolent enterprise. Separate the sticks, and the strength of a child may destroy them; but while united a giant's power might be exerted in vain to break them.
Separated, we should be speedily broken and destroyed by the accumulated tide of worldly selfishness; but united as brothers we bid defiance to all opposition and triumph over the greatest difficulties.
Chaplain: Warden, what are the symbols belonging to the second degree, or the degree of brotherly love?
Warden: The axe, the heart and hand, the globe, the ark, and the serpent.
Chaplain: Priest of the Second Degree, what do these symbols teach?
Left Supporter of the Noble Grand, as Priest of the Second Degree: The axe is an emblem of progress, as by it the pioneer made advancement through the forest tor the spread of civilization.
The heart and hand imply, that when we greet our brothers, it should be with that sincerity and affection which proceed from the heart. This emblem, also, reminds us of that constant and uniform desire for the welfare of our brothers, which should impel us to action in the furtherance of those plans that will most promote their happiness.
The globe represents the extensive field of our labors. It not only teaches us that we are to move onward in our work until misfortune has no want to relieve and sorrow no tears to dry; but, also, that from whatever nation our brothers may come, they are not to be sent empty away.
The ark reminds us of the receptacle of the two tables of stone upon which the Ten Commandments were written; and as the prosperity of the ancient Israelites depended upon their observance of that law deposited in the Ark of the Covenant, so will our happiness be promoted by an observance of our good and wholesome laws.
The serpent is an emblem of wisdom, and is placed among our symbols to indicate the necessity of a wise caution, which will protect our mysteries from improper disclosure and guide us in the proper regulation of life and conduct.
Chaplain: Warden, what are the symbols belonging to the third degree, or the degree of truth?
Warden: The scales and sword, the Bible, the hour-glass, and the coffin.
Chaplain: Priest of the Third Degree, what do these symbols teach?
Right Supporter of the Noble Grand, as Priest of the Third Degree: The scales and sword are emblematical of justice, which judges with candor and rewards with impartiality.
Among Odd Fellows, both justice and mercy are administered without regard to the false distinctions of society. In the lodgeroom, the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned, meet as brothers, and unitedly. engage in the promotion of benevolence and truth.
The Bible is an exhaustless fountain of truth, the store-house from which all our principles are derived. Guided by its instructions, we may reach that golden age when the fetters of prejudice will be broken, the shackles of mental and moral bondage fall off, and man, redeemed and disenthralled from the slavish life of the passions, will assert his high birthright, and own the ties which bind him in universal consanguinity with his brother man.
The hour-glass indicates the march of time, and tells us of the frailty of human life. Like the sands of the glass, we are passing away.
How important that we improve our fleeting hours, in order that we may meet our end in peace.
The coffin points to the last home of man. How great or small, high or low, all must meet on this common level all must submit to the dominion of death. How cheerless the home of the dead unrelieved by the prospect of immortal life! But hope bends over man's last resting-place a bow bright with immortality, which, based upon earth, extends far into the sacred realms of eternity.
If the candidate has been seated he must now rise. Conductor with candidate takes position, facing Chaplain.
Chaplain: My brother, the natural world is full of emblems. They utter no sound; they write no alphabet; yet the human mind understands, and the human heart appreciates the meaning of their myriad forms. The adopted symbols of Odd Fellowship constitute a universal language, understood throughput the globe, as an admonition to mankind everywhere, to always speak and act the truth, and live a righteous life. An observance of the lessons they teach will guide our hands, our hearts, and our speech in the consistency of a sincere and upright nature.
To the Conductor: Conduct our brother to the Noble Grand.
Conductor presents candidate to Noble Grand from center of floor.
 
 
Concluding Charge
 
Noble Grand: My brother, you are now admitted to the third degree, known also as the priestly order. You have already been informed that it is dedicated to the principle of truth. You were prepared for admission by having placed on you a white robe to represent the purity of truth. But the emblematic color of this degree is scarlet, implying that truth is an imperial virtue. The pure white robe is an external symbol, representing that your lips should speak the truth, and at all times be ready to administer words of affection to a brother requiring consolation.
You are now placed in a position among us to gain rank, the highest in a lodge. It, therefore, becomes your duty to enforce by example, as well as by precept, the tenets of our Order. Its mysteries are confided to your charge; you are to preserve them inviolate; duty and honor, your own solemn vows, all require that you be faithful, and that you also guard your brothers against any breech of fidelity. Be true and steadfast in this, and in all things, to demonstrate that merit constitutes the great title to our privileges, and that on you they have not been undeservedly conferred.
My brother, I will instruct you in the mysteries of this degree.
The Noble Grand instructs, according to the unwritten work: In this degree there is an alarm at the inner door, a password, a sign and answer, and an explanation of the sign and answer.
Wishing to visit a lodge which is open in the third degree, you will proceed as instructed in the initiatory degree, except that you will give the Inside Guardian the password of this degree and address the Vice Grand with the sign of the third degree.
Wishing to leave the lodge before it is closed in the third degree, you will address the Vice Grand with the sign of the third degree and that officer will answer you with the proper sign. The Inside Guardian will permit you to depart. You will give me the sign of the third degree and I will respond with the answer.
After a satisfactory rehearsal, the Noble Grand shall proceed: Members of the priestly order, are you willing that Brother giving name in full, shall receive the decoration of the third degree, or priestly order?
The members of the lodge, led by the Vice Grand, answer: I am.
Noble Grand: The Conductor and Warden will remove the robe from the brother, and conduct him to this station.
Conductor and Warden remove white robe from candidate, and conduct him to a position in front of the Chair of Noble Grand.
The Noble Grand leaves his station and places regalia upon the candidate.
Noble Grand: My brother, I clothe you with this regalia, the decoration of the priestly order; it indicates your rank. We trust that your zeal for the promotion of Odd Fellowship will be ardent and pure. I welcome you in truth and urge you to attend our meetings, that you may assist your brothers, and promote your own happiness by acts of mutual assistance.
By this grip, he gives the Odd Fellow's grip I greet you as a brother of the degree of truth.
Noble Grand returns to his station.
Noble Grand: Conductor, present our brother to the Vice Grand.
Conductor presents brother to Vice Grand.
Vice Grand: My brother, you have just completed the third degree of our Order the degree of truth. It is my privilege and my duty to explain to you what we consider as the sublime meaning of the three links. You have learned that the first link is the link of Friendship. Friendship is a great virtue, but needs our sublime meaning of fidelity. What value has friendship, if it is not faithful?
Fidelity gives friendship the stability to make it impenetrable so it will stand forever like the Rock of Gibraltar.
You learned the second link is Love brotherly love. Supporting love is our sublime and everlasting virtue of loyalty. Love inconstant has no value, but combined with loyal and unswerving devotion, can last a lifetime.
Truth, the third link, although a noble attribute of man, can often be cold and unfeeling. Truth combined with our sublime meaning of tolerance teaches us the compassion needed in our dealings with our brothers and our fellow man.
Taken together, friendship and fidelity; love and loyalty; truth and tolerance give us three links doubly strong. They help us build a better world and to live a more rewarding life.
Vice Grand: Conductor, return the brother to the Noble Grand.
Conductor: Noble Grand, the brother has returned.
Noble Grand calls up the lodge.
Noble Grand: I declare you entitled to all the rights and privileges of a lodge of Odd Fellows.
Brothers, I introduce to you Brother giving name in full, who has been advanced to the degree of truth, You will welcome him as a brother of this degree.
The Lodge, led by the Vice Grand: Welcome, welcome, brother.
Noble Grand seats the lodge.
Noble Grand: There are other degrees in our Order, embodied in the Rebekah Degree and the Encampment or Patriarchal Degrees, which teach sublime and useful lessons. These you are now entitled to seek. We earnestly commend them to your attention.
After acquiring the Encampment degrees, there remains the Patriarchs Militant degree, whose members are mustered in cantons and are uniformed, providing a semi-military department in our Order. This with equal earnestness we commend to you. You may be seated.
Conductor escorts candidate to a seat.
If officers retire to disrobe, the following form may be used.
Noble Grand: The officers will retire. During their absence, Brother , Past Grand, will officiate as Noble Grand; Brother , Past Grand, as Vice Grand; and Brother as Inside Guardian.
The lodge is called up when the officers retire and when they re-enter.
The officers retire and re-enter in procession, without form.
Noble Grand calls up lodge.
Noble Grand: We are about to close the lodge in the third degree, to re-open in the initiatory degree. Warden, you wilt declare accordingly.
Warden: I declare the lodge closed in the third degree and open in the initiatory degree.
Noble Grand seats the lodge.
Brothers receiving the third degree should submit to the following examination, in open lodge, as to their proficiency within a reasonable time after receiving the degree.
Such examination must be conducted while the lodge is open in the third degree.
Noble Grand: My brother, What is the alarm at the inner door?
What is the password?
For working purposes, how is it given?
Demonstrate the sign of the third degree.
Give the explanation of the sign and answer.
What are the teachings of this degree?



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