Structure (Odd Fellows)
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF also known as the Order)
An Odd Fellow Lodge is considered the Subordinate Lodge and all new initiates must be a member in good standing of their Subordinate Lodge in order to advance through all of the degrees of Odd Fellowship.
Why Are There Degrees?
It is through the ritual of degree work that all of the principles of Odd Fellowship are conveyed to new members. Odd Fellows, like other fraternal orders, have century old rituals. During these rituals you will be instructed in the ideologies of an Odd Fellow and will take on important responsibilities, none of which will conflict with your obligations to your God, family, or country.
There Are Four Degrees of Odd Fellowship
The Initiatory Degree
The initiatory degree is required in order to attend an Odd Fellows meeting. With the initiatory degree you are a full fledged voting member of the lodge and able to participate in business meetings. In the initiatory degree you will witness a representation of our mortal existence, which begs the question; “How will I spend my life?” In our modern fast paced society there are many things that compete for our attention. As Odd Fellows we are bound by sacred obligations to extend the hand of fellowship as we are commanded to: visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan. In short you will commit, as an enlightened member of our order, to do your part to build a better world.
The First Degree Or The Degree of Friendship
The first degree is a representation of friendship. The story of David and Jonathan is reenacted as a representation of true Friendship. Jonathan is the son of King Saul and heir to the throne. When King Saul finds out that David has been selected to be the next King, he desires to kill David. Jonathan demonstrates true friendship by protecting David from the King; with his own life if necessary. True friends will help, protect, and rejoice in each other’s accomplishments; they will not be divided by jealous competitions.
The Second Degree Or The Degree of Love
The second degree is a representation of Love. The age old story of the Good Samaritan is recounted. This simple story depicts a man that has been beaten, robbed, and left for dead. His own people and a priest pass him by without offering help. The man who stops to offer aid is a hated group by his people. This story teaches us that true love transcends race, religion, or national origin. As an Odd Fellow you are expected to make the same commitment.
The Third Degree Or The Degree of Truth
In the third degree you will be instructed in the Universal truths of Odd Fellowship. For thousands of years humanity has relied on symbols to represent ideologies and principles. In this degree you will be introduced to the symbols of Odd Fellowship and instructed in their representations. They are used to remind us that the Creator and Preserver of the universe sees all that we do and expects us to live by certain universal truths. In summary; we should treat others the way we want to be treated.
Other Degrees Of The Order
As a third degree member (one who has received the initiatory degree and all 3 degrees of Odd Fellowship) you are entitled to seek out the other degrees of our Order and are admonished to do so when you receive the 3rd degree of Truth. The other degrees are the Rebekah Degree
, the Encampment or Patriarchal Degrees
and after acquiring the Encampment Degrees, one may receive the Patriarchs Militant
Degree also known as the Canton