The temperance movement of the 1840s saw the birth of secret fraternal orders dedicated to total abstinence and temperance, but served as lodge organizations that offered fraternal benefits to their members. Here are five of the most famous and largest fraternal orders of the temperance movement:


The Sons of Temperance were founded in New York City in 1842 as a temperance organization that also functioned as a fraternal benefit society. It admitted both men and women into its ranks, and had secret ritual, signs, passwords, grips and regalia such as collars. It became the model for several other temperance fraternal orders, and created considerable disagreement within the temperance movement as to whether fraternalism and secret ritual were appropriate to the cause.  In America the order is long defunct.  The Society is still functioning in Britain.  Perhaps you'd care to take a look at their website



This men's secret fraternal order was founded in the United States in 1842 as spin-off society of the English Independent Order of Rechabites, which was organized in 1835. It was a total abstinence secret society which used a three degree form of ritual for its members. Organized in "tents" (lodges), the Rechabites took their name and ritual from the Holy Bible, in which Jeremiah the prophet described the Rechabites who abstained from wine and lived in tents.

A separate organization, the United Daughters of Rechab, was established for women. The Independent Order of Rechabites' "High Tent" or grand lodge was based in Washington, DC. Both orders are defunct.


This order was established in 1845 and was originally known as "The Marshall Temperance Fraternity," then the "Marshall Temple, Sons of Honor," before adopting its title of "Templars of Honor and Temperance."

The order was a fraternal temperance society, modeled on the "Sons of Temperance." It utilized a six degree system for its members, and whose ritual were based on the Biblical story of David and Jonathan, of the legend of Damon and Pythias, and the medieval Knights Templars.   It had secret signs, passwords, grips, emblems and collars and aprons very similar to the Masonic Fraternity and the Odd Fellows. The order was thought to be defunct, however the T.H.T. was introduced in Scandinavia in the late 19 century, and is still in existence there.  The orders home page is www.tempelriddareorden.org a mostly Scandinavian page, but with some information in English as well.


This order was founded in Utica, New York in 1850 as the "Knights of Jericho," a secret fraternal temperance society. It used three degrees originally in its ceremonial, and now uses only one. It also used Masonic-like regalia like collars and aprons, but no longer uses regalia. They claimed that their order was better than the Sons of Temperance in that they were not distracted from their primary purpose by offering insurance, and because it admitted women on an equal basis. It admits both men and women into its ranks and is now known as the International Order of Good Templars. Its national magazine is called The Good Templar.  Its governing body is the National Council.  The I.O.G.T is now known as The International Organization of Good Templars, and itís homepage is www.IOGT-International.org

A special "Thanks" to Brother Denis P. McGowan who provided the history of these Orders.  Brother Denis P. McGowan is a dedicated fraternalist and student of the history of American fraternal organizations.

Loyal Crusaders
Enlistment Ceremonies

Opening Service
The Worthy Commander presides. One rap calls the Company to order.
Attention! Company.
The Worthy Commander is now ready to proceed with the opening exercises of Company Ö of Loyal Crusaders of Ö Parents of the comrades of this Company, Sons of Temperance in good standing and other adults eligible to admission under our rules are invited to remain. All under fifteen years of age who are not comrades in this or some other Company of Loyal Crusaders will please retire.
Worthy C.:
The Marshal will see if the officers are at their stations and report.
Worthy Commander, the officers are all at their stations except: Ö Names absentees.
The W.C. fills the vacancies, those in the Junior staff from the first rank, if practicable.
Worthy C.:
The Guard will allow no one to enter or retire during the opening, closing, or enlistment ceremonies.
Three raps.
The W. C. and Captain give the military salute, which is returned by the Company.
Worthy C.:
Comrades. We have enlisted as a Company of Temperance soldiers, to be instructed and encouraged in our efforts to war against Strong Drink; to overcome all evil habits, especially the use of tobacco, and profane and vulgar language; and to be led in the paths of purity and truth.
Believing that no human efforts can be truly successful without Divine aid, we will now listen reverently while the Chaplain invokes Godís blessing.
Heavenly Father, we come to Thee for Thy he]p and Thy blessing. Inspire us with love for all that is pure and good. May we feel an earnest; desire to be helpful to others, that we may win them from evil ways. Be Thou our Divine Commander in our battle with the hosts of sin, and grant us the victory at last, in ;he name of Jesus Christ, who has taught us to say: Company repeats the Lordís Prayer in concert.
Worthy C.:
We will sing our opening chorus.
Tune: "sparkling and bright"

Happy and free as the birds are we,
And we bring a joyous greeting
To comrades dear who are gathered here,
In our young Crusadersí meeting.
As a ternperance baud we will bravely stand,
For help on God depending,
For whenever we fight for the Truth and the Right,
his cause we are defending
One rap.
Worthy C.:
Comrades, what is the name of the enemy that we have pledged ourselves to fight against?
Captain, rising:
What is Alcohol?
The poisonous element that is found in all intoxicating drinks.
Did God make Alcohol?
Where does it come from?
From the decaying and fermenting of fruits and grain.
W hat names does Alcohol take to deceive and ruin people?
Beer, Wine, Cider, Brandy, Rum, Whiskey.
Do all these drinks cause drunkenness?
They do.
What does the Bible say concerning intoxicating drinks?
Wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Worthy C.:
There are other evil habits that deprave ;he morals and injure the health of the young. Name the two that ought to be condemned and shunned by all.
The use of tobacco and profane and wicked language.
Can our hearts be pure and our bodies healthy if we are slaves to these unclean and vicious habits?
They can not.
What does the Bible say of those who are free from all evil and impure ways?
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
How can we live pure lives?
Only by Godís help, which lie will give us if we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, the Savior.
One rap.
Worthy C.:
The Guard will now admit any who are entitled to enter.

Enlistment Ceremonies

Worthy C.:
Has any comrade the name of a volunteer to propose for enlistment in this Company?
Secretary, rising:
Worthy Commander, Comrade Ö proposes Ö Reads name, age, and residence. These volunteers have received the approval of the Worthy Commander.
Worthy C.:
Comrades, all who are in favor of receiving these volunteers will raise the right hand. All opposed will manifest it by the same sign. I declare them elected. The Marshal will retire and see if there are any volunteers in waiting.
The Marshal retires and obtains the names of candidates.
Marshal, advancing to the center of the hall:
Worthy Commander, I find the following volunteers waiting for enlistment. Reads names.
Worthy C.:
The Marshal will retire and introduce them. The Marshal retires, arranges the volunteers in single file, and when ready notifies the Guard.
Worthy Commander, the Marshal is ready to enter with the volunteers.
One rap.
Worthy C.:
Comrades and visitors will maintain perfect order during the ceremony of enlistment. The Guard will admit them.
As the door is opened the Herald advances.
Worthy Commander, the Marshal approaches with the volunteers. He returns to his station and when the candidates enter led by the Marshal, he takes his place at the end of the line and retains it during the ceremony.
Three raps.
Company sings.
Tune : Auld Lang Syne.

Wills hearts and voices we extend
A greeting of good cheer,
And gladly welcome to our ranks
Each temperance volunteer.
The candidates are slowly led around the room during the singing and placed before the Worthy Commander.
One rap.
Worthy Commander, I have the pleasure of introducing reads names, who have been elected for enlistment in this Company.
Worthy C., rising:
My dear young friends. History tells us that Palestine, or the Holy Land where our Savior was born, was once captured by the Turks, who killed many of the Christians and treated others with the greatest cruelty.
At last, men banded together in great armies and marched against these wicked Turks. At one time thirty thousand boys joined them to aid in driving these tyrants front the Holy Land, and this is called in history the "Childrenís Crusade."
An enemy more fierce and cruel than the pagan Turk, has captured our native land. It slays thousands of people every year; it holds thousands in a terrible slavery, and it brings suffering, sadness, and sorrow into many hearts and homes.
We have joined in a crusade to protect ourselves and to rescue the captives of this wicked foe, who is known as Alcohol, the poisonous element that lurks in every kind of intoxicating drink, whatever may be its name. Its great power for evil lies in the fact that it comes in various forms to entice and entrap the young.
It sparkles in the glass of cider that many will tell you is harmless "apple juice."
It foams on the mug of beer that others will say is good for your health.
It gleams in the rosy-tinted wine that may be offered by the hand of a friend.
But in whatever form it may come to tempt you, it is your enemy, and you must not be deceived by it.
Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow?
They that tarry long at wine.
Who hath contentions, and wounds without cause, and redness of eyes?
They that seek strong drink.
Look not upon the wine when it is red; when it giveth its color in the cup.
At the last, it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.
Worthy C.:
What is the best safeguard and shield against this deadly foe?
The Pledge of Total Abstinence.
Worthy C.:
In olden times the soldier who went into battle carried before him a large metal plate called a shield, which protected him from the blows of the enemy.
The Pledge is our shield. As long as we hold to it and shelter ourselves behind it - looking up to God for help - Alcohol can have no power over us. We must not forget it, or lay it aside for a single moment.
Our enemy often comes in a pleasing disguise, and is continually watching to find us unguarded. Beware!
Three raps.

You will now place your right hand on your heart and repeat after me the pledge.


I solemnly promise that I will not taste or touch any Wine, Beer, Cider, Brandy, Whiskey, or any other drink that contains Alcohol.
May God bless you and keep you faithful to your promise.
Be faithful unto death!
Company sings.
Tune: America, or God Save the Queen.

Father, be near us now
As we this solemn vow
Pledge Thee to-day
We know that we are weak,
Strength from above we seek,
Pure, faithful, brave, and meek,
Keep us, we pray.
Captain, advances and fastens badge on candidateís breast:
I now adorn you with this badge, and proclaim you a Loyal Crusader. Never be guilty of any word or act that will bring disgrace upon it. Let the principles it represents shine in your conduct and beautify your life.
Lieutenant.: Comrade, we rejoice that another soldier has enlisted in the army that is battling against King Alcohol. We bid you welcome to the ranks of the Loyal Crusaders.
Welcome! Comrade, welcome. The candidates are placed before the Chaplain. Chaplain, rising: In a grassy meadow, under the blue arch of the summer sky, there was a pond of water, with rushes and ferns fringing its edge, and sunbeams glancing like golden arrows over its quiet surface.
Away down at the bottom of this pond there was a tiny flower-bud all folded up in its dark-green covering.
As it looked up it could see the light of day dimly shining through the water, and soon it began to reach toward it. But there were snakes and worms and slimy, crawling creatures near it that clung about it and tried to hold it back. Some of them were as strong as they were hideous, and the little bud had to strive against them with all its might.
But it shook them off and went on climbing upward, and growing stronger as it came nearer to the light and sunshine.
At last it lay in its cradle of glossy, green leaves on the surface of the pond, a beautiful, snow-white lily, sending out from its golden heart a perfume so delicious that the birds sang more sweetly, the children laughed more gleefully as they passed, and all who saw it rejoiced in its beauty and fragrance.
Your soul is like the slowly unfolding lily-bud, and there are ugly creeping creatures, in the form of evil habits, that will try to fasten their grasp upon you and draw you away from purity and goodness. Pray always to God that you may be able to resist them, and with his help they will lose their power to harm you.
The following paragraph is to be omitted when the candidates are all girls.

Next to the use of intoxicating drinks, against which you have just been pledged, I must warn you, my brother comrades, that the use of Tobacco is a vice to be hated and shunned. It defiles the breath, degrades the morals, and injures the health. The cigarette is a deadly foe to health and purity.
The use of profane and vulgar language is another wicked habit, against which you must carefully guard your lips. You can not take the name of God in vain, nor utter wicked words, without dishonoring Him and losing your own self-respect.
The following paragraph to be omitted when the candidates are all boys.

You, my sister comrades, must always discourage and condemn in others the use of Tobacco, profanity, or other impure and degrading habits. Win them to a love for purer ways. You know not how strong your influence may be. Use it always for temperance and truth, and you will be happy in knowing that you are helping to make the world better.
The Water Lily is our emblem of Purity. May your young lives, like the snowy flower, grow upward in the sunshine of Godís love, and blossom out into the fullness and fragrance of beauty and purity, that will shed their blessing on all around you.
Keep thyself pure!
Three raps.
Company sings.
Tune: I Am So Glad That Jesus Loves Me

Pure as the lily so fragrant and fair,
Seeking the sunlight of Godís loving care,
Upward and onward our pathway must lead,
Shunning all evil in thought, word, and deed
Striving with gentle pleading to win
Souls from the ways of error and sin,
Ever while gathering straying ones in,
Keeping our own hearts pure
The candidates are led around the room and placed before the Vice-Commander.
One rap.
Vice-Com., rising:
When the crusaders of olden times went to war, they used their swords to kill their enemies. We use the sword also; not for the shedding of blood, but as a sign of warfare against Strong Drink, and an emblem of the law which is to destroy its great stronghold and headquarters: the Saloon.
Comrades, what is a Saloon?
A place where alcoholic drinks are sold, and where drunkards are made.
Is it a good or an evil place?
It is evil always and everywhere.
How do we know that it is?
A tree is known by its fruits.
What are the fruits of the Saloon?
Drunkenness, vice, poverty, crime, disease, murder, death.
Men get the privilege of carrying on the business that causes these evils by paying a sum of money, called a license fee; but there are many places, both in the United States and in the Dominion of Canada, where men can not buy a license to make drunkards. What prevents them?
The law of Prohibition.
What is the law of Prohibition?
A law that forbids the selling of intoxicating drinks.
Why do the saloon-keepers and beer brewers and their friends spend so much time and money in fighting the Prohibition law?
Because it breaks up their business.
Vice-Com., to candidate:
Comrade, we all agree that a business which causes so much wickedness, poverty, and suffering ought to be broken up, and it is the duty of ovary Loyal Crusader to help in this work. You can plead with people to vote for the destruction of the saloon, as you mean to do when you are old enough. You can sing for it and talk for it, and get others to thinking about the subject, for we depend on our young temperance soldiers to do grand work for our cause.
Comrades, what does the Sword on our banner and badge represent?
The sword is a sign of warfare against strong drink and all evil habits, and also represents the law of Prohibition, which is designed to destroy the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks.
When you are old enough to vote what will you do with the Prohibition sword?
Use it with brave and steady hand,
To drive the Rum King from the land.
Three raps.
The candidates are faced about and placed in front of the table. The Ensigns advance with their colors and stand with their backs to the desks of the Secretary and Treasurer, and about three feet distant from them. Captain and Lieutenant take their places in front of the Ensigns.
Forward, March!
The instant the command is given to "March," the Sergeants of the third ranks lead their soldiers out and fall into line behind the Ensigns. The second and first follow in order, and they march down to the end of the room, then turn and march up. The Worthy Commander advances to the table and the two lines meet behind him, forming a semi-circle three ranks deep, the Sergeants of the two sections meeting in the center. The Captain and Lieutenant take their places on either side of the Worthy Commander.
Company sings while marching.
Tune: Marching Through Georgia

Raise our banner, comrades, march with earnest hearts and true,
Close beside it, carry high, the old Red, White, and Blue,
Pledged to Total Abstinence, we love our Country, too,
While we are marching to victory.
Chorus: Hurrah! Hurrah! weíll bring the jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah! our Nation will be free
Shout for Prohibition till it rings from sea to sea,
While we are marching to victory.

How the drunkardís children will rejoice to see the day,
When their fatherís tempter shall be driven far away!
Death to Alcohol! the battle cry we sound to-day,
While we are marching to victory.
Chorus: Hurrah etc
Worthy C.:
Comrade, the true soldier is always courageous. Say no, boldly and bravely, whenever you are tempted to violate your solemn promise, or to, do anything you know to be wrong.
Be gentle and courteous to all, especially to your younger comrades. They will look to your example; let it be worthy of imitation.
Obey all the rules of the Company as laid down in the Loyal Crusaderís Manual.
When you address the Worthy Commander salute him thus raising the right hand to the forehead.
Never leave the room while the Company is in session without rising and asking to be excused; and always, on entering or leaving, salute the Vice-Commander, whose station is at the other end of the room.
Get volunteers for your Company whenever you can, Every one that is added to our ranks, weakens the enemy and hastens our victory.
Always speak kindly to the poor drunkard, and plead with him to sign the pledge and be a better man.
Be very gentle and pitiful to the drunkardís children. There are many sad-hearted little ones who suffer from gold, hunger, and cruelty, because of Strong Drink. They need all the help and sympathy you can give them.
Above all, remember that God sees you, and expects you to do your duty as a brave, true, temperance soldier, who is not afraid to stand up for the right, however strong the enemy may be.
If God be for us, who can be against us?
Next to the air we breathe, Godís best gift to us is water. Men kill and spoil the delicious fruit and wholesome grain, and bring forth from their decay and death, the Spirit of Evil we call Alcohol, which burns and poisons and ruins the bodies and souls of its victims.
Lieutenant, holding up glass:
Godís bright beverage cools, purifies, and blesses all his creatures.
Comrades, which do we choose, Alcohol or Water?
Water, pure and clear and free.
Godís own gift to you and me.
The Captain fills a glass for himself and one for each candidate. The Marshal passes them.
In this precious, life-giving drink, we solemnly pledge ourselves to be true to our vows, true to each other and true to God.
The faithful shall drink of the water of life.
They drink and the glasses are replaced on the table by the Marshal.
Worthy C., shaking hands:
Comrade, we welcome you most cordially. May the lessons you receive here be a great blessing to you, and may you prove in all your words and deeds a fearless and worthy Loyal Crusader. You will hereafter receive your enlistment certificate.
Comrades, salute your newly enlisted comrade.
The military salute is given promptly.
Forward, March!
The Company marches down to the end of the room as before, Captain and Lieutenant leading. The Ensigns leave the ranks on reaching their stations, and the ranks file into their places in order.
Company sings while marching.
Tune: Red, White and Blue.

An army of Loyal Crusades,
We rally for Temperance and Truth,
We bring to this contest with Evil
The hope and the courage of youth.
We know there are hearts full of sorrow,
And homes that are robbed of all joy,
And so we have banded together,
Humanityís foe to destroy.
Chorus: With courage to dare and to do,
For a cause that is noble and true,
Weíll stand by our colors like heroes,
Three cheers for the Red, White, and Blue.
Worthy C.:
The Marshal will now introduce you to the Sergeant whose rank your age entitles you to enter.
The Worthy Commander, Captain, and Lieutenant resume their stations.
Worthy C.:
I now declare a recess till the sound of the gavel.
One rap.



Three raps.
Attention, Company!
Worthy C.:
Comrades, the hour has arrived for us to break ranks and return to our homes.
May the instruction and the pleasure we have received leave their influence on our hearts and encourage us in our efforts to be good and to do good.
What does our motto, Love, Purity, and Fidelity, require us to do?
To love God, to keep our hearts pure, and to be faithful to our pledge.
Worthy C.:
As many temptations may beset us before we meet again, we will solemnly renew our pledge, and carry it with us as our safeguard and Shield.
Every comrade will place the right hand on the heart and repeat after me the Pledge.
Closing Song
"Thy love is better than wine"
Worthy C.:
We will now listen to the Chaplain.
Our Father in Heaven, we pray that Thou wilt protect these young temperance soldiers from evil and enable them to withstand all temptation.
Fill their hearts with love to Thee and keep them faithful to their vows. And when the battle of life is ended and the last roll-call is heard, may each one answer joyfully, "Lord, here am I."
We ask it in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.





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