In the 20th Century,
used to be all the rage —
At one time,
during the 1940’s,
over half the males
above the age of 21
– or aspired to belong to –
one of the many fraternal organizations in the United States.
There were several types of these groups–
some were just lodges built ‘for fun’,
while others were:
or charitable in character.
A few were founded to sell their members life insurance.
most fraternal groups have now been labeled
as so-called “Secret Societies”.
The only thing mysterious about these groups
are things that only members would care anything about.
And if they were really ‘secret societies’ ,
nobody would ever admit to being a member.
Never mind have an emblem on their car.
I’m not ashamed to tell you
I belong to such an organization, myself.
They can do a lot of good inside a community,
and promote brotherly love and friendship.
Which is NEVER a bad thing.
some people get all hinked-out about ‘secret’ rituals and stuff.
While others mock it as just silly stuff.
initiations are part of what builds a sense of belonging.
there’s an important ethical concept
that is being reinforced by the group’s ceremonies and rituals—
— this mode of teaching has been used for thousands of years.
It’s got nothing at all to do with goats, man.
Not only is the initiation model effective,
but a shared belief system makes a group more cohesive.
Some say these groups are outdated,
and perhaps a few of them are,
But, many others still are doing work
that serves an important societal function —
Let’s face it —
You either stand for something,
or you fall for anything.
we need to spread all the faith, hope, love, and charity we can,
however we can.
Still others comment on how insular these clubs might seem to folks outside the group.
somebody gotta pay dues to support all the good work.
Or kick about how much influence
certain of these groups have with their members ..
So many folks have so many misconceptions .
Fraternal organizations are no different
than any other batch of people —
People are more likely to trust people they KNOW
and have shared experiences with.
Not really surprising, right?
And using ones membership for mercenary motives
is contrary to any good fraternal orders’ basic principles and rules.
Does it happen?
But the good we accomplish far outweighs the potential of that negative aspect.
Let’s see now….
There were/are so many organizations to choose from,
with a variety of mission statements:
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons,
(“Making Good Men Better “)
The Odd Fellows,
(“Friendship, Love and Truth “ )
Benevolent Protective Order of Eagles (BPOE),
(“People Helping People.”)
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR),
(“Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty” )
Fraternal Order of Elks (BPOE),
(“ Service and Fraternity” )
Knights of Pythias,
(“Visit the sick, relieve the distressed,
bury the dead and educate the orphan.”)
Fraternal Order of Moose,
(“One for all, all for one “)
(“A Sound Mind in a Sound Body”)
Woodmen of the World,
(“Fly The Flag”)
Ancient Order of Hibernians,
(“Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity“)
(“Serving the Children of the World”)
(“Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nations’ Safety”)
The Improved Order of Red Men,
(“Freedom, Friendship, Charity“)
(“Service Above Self” )
( “Friend of Youth“),
(“For God and Country” ),
Knights of Columbus
(“In service to one, in service to all”),
Order of Owls
(“Through silent, he speaks“),
Ancient Order of United Workmen
(“Charity, Hope and Protection“)
not to mention a good many unusual
and more-or-less forgotten ones like:
Knights of the Maccabees,
Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles,
Knights of Tabor,
Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm,
Even the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo.
I couldn’t make THAT name up.
( I guess this picture kinda lets the cat out of the bag
about their initiation rituals, at least …. )
I love finding postcards about these groups….
As obscure as the meaning is on some of them.
Sometimes you can’t tell
if it’s making fun of the group,
or being used by it’s members.
Sometimes it was both.
After all ,
something like this–
— ” Shall I Jump ” —
( a reference to a Knights of Pythias ritual)
only has whatever meaning
is given to it by the sender and the viewer.
Which of course,
is a good way of explaining the rituals
used by many of the groups as well.
And dammit —
——— there’s still no goats, man.