Your New Life As An Elk
Congratulations on having completed your entry process into full membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. As you hold your new Elks card you are entirely justified for any feelings of pride and satisfaction you have at this moment of accomplishment, because for over a century we have had a tradition of accepting only America's best citizens, and this privilege was granted to you only after a favorable review of your background and character. Had you not shared out beliefs in responsible conduct based upon duties to our Creator, to our Nation and its laws, and to nurturing the basic positive values to be found in the family and out community life, you could not stand as an equal among millions of Citizens who make the American way of life possible. Tomorrow and in the years to follow, you will continue a program of learning and growth devoted to a greater enrichment of your membership.
We hope you had a wonderful Initiation celebration with memories that will last a lifetime.
Some new members are apprehensive when they learn of the many doings in the Lodge, in the mistaken belief that they will be expected to join in every activity and area. As the interests of all the members cover a wide range, our Lodge offers an assortment to serve them and encourage participation, and new members should choose those suited to their wishes plus try some which might expand their horizons. It is entirely possible that, as a new member, you might have a hobby or personal interest for which the Lodge does not yet have a matching activity. Don't hesitate to talk to our Officers and leaders about starting a new program; our Lodge is constantly on the lookout for new and different ideas which will keep the Lodge's calendar lively and adapted to the times. The input from new members, you included, is what will continue to shape our organization with modern viewpoints and guarantee our position in America's mainstream.
It's completely understandable if you don't clearly recall all of the details of the Initiation ceremony by which you were made a member of our Elks Order, considering both your own excited state of mind and the complexity of this elaborate and impressive ritual. So that you can gain a deeper appreciation of its beauty and meaning, we highly recommend that you plan to attend our Lodge's next Initiation, this time as a witness. We promise you an enjoyable and enlightening experience, and this will also be your first opportunity to extend the welcoming hand of friendship and guidance to Elks newer than you who are being brought under the mantle of our warm association. As some of your senior colleagues can tell you, bright remembrances from each one's own Initiation are recollected whenever you have the pleasure and privilege of watching the pageantry of an Elks Initiation Ritual, either in your own Lodge or in another that you visit.
By far the most significant way to experience the richness of Elks Initiation is to be the Sponsor of a friend into our organization. This is another privilege which comes to you through your valid membership card. Because our Order is selective, to maintain the quality of our membership and thereby perpetuate the good works that stem from our rigorously guarded good character, no person can simply walk into one of our Lodges and join in the same manner as subscribing to a newspaper or enrolling in a book of the month club. Only through the sincere invitation and character endorsement of one who is already an Elk can one become an Elk.
-Excerpted From What It Means To Be An Elk
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