THE SOLEMN AND BINDING OBLIGATION
What are you REALLY saying when you take it?
“Before proceeding further with your initiation, it is necessary for you to take the solemn and binding Obligation of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.”“Are you willing to assume such an obligation?”
The Obligation is completely voluntary.When you answered “I do,” you agreed willingly to accept the terms and conditions of membership in the Elks.
“Please be attentive while I am administering the Obligation.”
This is serious stuff!Taking the Obligation can be like a wedding – you may be overwhelmed by everything going around and it may seem like a blurry, distant memory.Hearing the Obligation again can help you remember your own Initiation.Being courteous and paying attention while the Exalted Ruler is administering the Obligation helps others remember as well.
“I, Elroy Elk, in the presence of God and this Lodge of Elks, do solemnly promise and swear that I will never reveal any of the confidential matters of the Order which have been, or may hereafter be, committed to my charge and keeping.”
You’re putting yourself out there, to the members witnessing the Initiation.You are essentially letting these members know that they can trust you with confidential information, such as financial statements.
“I will support the Constitution, and obey the Statutes, rules and regulations of this order, and the by-laws of Nashville-Franklin Lodge No. 72, and those of any other Lodge of which I may become a member.”
This is the internal Law & Order of the Elks.You are agreeing to uphold the standards of the Order.You are also agreeing to protect the Order from un-Elklike behavior.Remember, House Rules are part of the by-laws, so you are agreeing to comply with those as well.
“I will uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.”
You are agreeing to protect the Lodge, and the Order, from illegal activity.You are also agreeing to refrain from illegal activity yourself, thus protecting yourself as a member.
“I will propose no one for membership in this Order whom I do not sincerely believe to be worthy thereof.”“I will ballot for a worthy candidate and against an unworthy candidate when proposed by another.”
Again, you are agreeing to uphold the standards of the Order for membership.Candidates must be of good character.
“I will not permit any political, sectarian or personal prejudice to influence me in the slightest degree in the exercise of my right of franchise in the Order.”
You are agreeing to ballot on a candidate based solely on his or her character.
“I will obey any lawful summons sent me by any competent authority of the Order.”
You are agreeing to protect due process in the Order.If you receive a notification that you have been charged with an offense, you have the opportunity to plead your case and face your accuser.You may receive a notification that you are a witness and requested to testify in a hearing or trial involving other members. You should testify truthfully to what you witnessed and be willing to answer questions from both sides.
“I will never apply to the courts for redress in any matter concerning the Order, without first appealing to the councils of the Order.”
You are agreeing to use the internal legal process of the Order for certain civil matters that occurred on Lodge premises.This protects the Order from public scrutiny in such matters.This does not apply to criminal charges.
“I will never reveal to anyone, not an Elk, the name of a member asking or receiving aid or relief from the Order.”
The member involved should be the one to decide whether he or she reveals to anyone outside the Lodge any requests for aid or relief.You are agreeing to protect the member’s privacy.
“I will not, directly or indirectly, use my membership in this Order, nor any emblem, insignia or sign thereof, for business or commercial purposes.”
You are agreeing not to unduly influence other members to utilize your services or business.You also cannot use our membership roster to promote your business.You are protecting our members’ right to privacy and free choice.
“I will never introduce into the Order anything of a political or sectarian character, nor in any way by my conduct bring reproach upon it.”
You are agreeing to protect the Order from outside influences.You are agreeing not to unduly influence members, by using your membership in the Order, to vote for you or your candidate for political office or to practice a specific belief system.You further agree that you will conduct yourself appropriately in public, so as to shield the Order from public scrutiny.
“I will always protect our members, their good names and their families; and I will always respect and defend the purity and sanctity of their homes and firesides.”
You are agreeing to protect our members, and their family members, from the inside.You are also agreeing to respect our members’ privacy.
“If I break this Obligation, may I wander through the world forsaken; may I be pointed out as a being bereft of decency, unfit to hold communion with true and upright members. And may God help me, and keep me steadfast in this my solemn and binding Obligation in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America. Amen.”
You are agreeing to accept consequences for any violation of the terms and conditions within the Obligation.So be it.