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
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
THE INDEPENDENT ORDER OF RECHABITES
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
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.
THE TEMPLARS OF HONOR AND TEMPERANCE
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
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.
INDEPENDENT ORDER OF GOOD TEMPLARS
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
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.
The Worthy Commander presides. One rap calls the Company to order.
Captains: Attention! Company.
Herald: 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
Worthy C.: The Marshal will see if the officers are at their
stations and report.
Marshal.: 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,
Worthy C.: The Guard will allow no one to enter or retire during
the opening, closing, or enlistment ceremonies.
The W. C. and Captain give the military salute, which is returned by the
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.
Chaplain.: 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
Worthy C.: Comrades, what is the name of the enemy that we have
pledged ourselves to fight against?
Captain, rising: What is Alcohol?
Company: The poisonous element that is found in all intoxicating
Captain: Did God make Alcohol?
Captain: Where does it come from?
Company: From the decaying and fermenting of fruits and grain.
Captain: W hat names does Alcohol take to deceive and ruin people?
Company: Beer, Wine, Cider, Brandy, Rum, Whiskey.
Captain: Do all these drinks cause drunkenness?
Company: They do.
Captain: What does the Bible say concerning intoxicating drinks?
Chaplain: 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.
Company: The use of tobacco and profane and wicked language.
Lieutenant: Can our hearts be pure and our bodies healthy if we are
slaves to these unclean and vicious habits?
Company: They can not.
Lieutenant: What does the Bible say of those who are free from all
evil and impure ways?
Chaplain: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Lieutenant: How can we live pure lives?
Chaplain: Only by Godís help, which lie will give us if we ask in
the name of Jesus Christ, the Savior.
Worthy C.: The Guard will now admit any who are entitled to enter.
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.
Worthy C.: The Marshal will retire and introduce them.
The Marshal retires, arranges the volunteers in single
file, and when ready notifies the Guard.
Guard: Worthy Commander, the Marshal is ready to enter with the
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.
Herald: 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.
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.
Marshal: 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
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
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
It sparkles in the glass of cider that many will tell you is harmless "apple
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.
Chaplain: Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow?
Company: They that tarry long at wine.
Chaplain: Who hath contentions, and wounds without cause, and
redness of eyes?
Company: They that seek strong drink.
Chaplain: Look not upon the wine when it is red; when it giveth its
color in the cup.
Company: At the last, it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an
Worthy C.: What is the best safeguard and shield against this
Company: 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!
You will now place your right hand on your heart and repeat after me the
I solemnly promise that I will not taste or touch any Wine, Beer, Cider,
Brandy, Whiskey, or any other drink that contains Alcohol.
Chaplain: May God bless you and keep you faithful to your promise.
Company: Be faithful unto death!
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
Company: 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
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
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
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.
Company: Keep thyself pure!
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.
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:
Comrades, what is a Saloon?
Company: A place where alcoholic drinks are sold, and where
drunkards are made.
Vice-Com.: Is it a good or an evil place?
Company: It is evil always and everywhere.
Vice-Com.: How do we know that it is?
Company: A tree is known by its fruits.
Vice-Com.: What are the fruits of the Saloon?
Company: Drunkenness, vice, poverty, crime, disease, murder, death.
Vice-Com.: 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?
Company: The law of Prohibition.
Vice-Com.: What is the law of Prohibition?
Company: A law that forbids the selling of intoxicating drinks.
Vice-Com.: Why do the saloon-keepers and beer brewers and their
friends spend so much time and money in fighting the Prohibition law?
Company: 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?
Company: 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.
Vice-Com.: When you are old enough to vote what will you do with
the Prohibition sword?
Company: Use it with brave and steady hand,
To drive the Rum King from the land.
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.
Captain: 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.
Company: If God be for us, who can be against us?
Captain: 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?
Company: 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
Captain: In this precious, life-giving drink, we solemnly pledge
ourselves to be true to our vows, true to each other and true to God.
Chaplain: 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.
Captain: Comrades, salute your newly enlisted comrade.
The military salute is given promptly.
Captain: 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.
Captain: 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?
Company: 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
Every comrade will place the right hand on the heart and repeat after me the
"Thy love is better than wine"
Worthy C.: We will now listen to the Chaplain.
Chaplain: Our Father in Heaven, we pray that Thou wilt protect
these young temperance soldiers from evil and enable them to withstand all
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.