About Order of the Secret Monitor
“The Order of the Secret Monitor, or Brotherhood of David and Jonathan, is probably the most caring of all Masonic Orders”. Caring is described later. The Order is of Dutch origin and was discovered in the last quarter of the 19th. Century in the Amsterdam Archives by Masonic scholars. At the time, Holland was traditionally a Lutheran Presbyterian community. It enjoyed its freedom of religion, and to participate in Freemasonry. A union of two dynastic marriages created a strong Austrian and Spanish influence. Both countries being predomin-ately Roman Catholic, and of religious intolerance. Inevitably this led to the formation of secret societies. This eventually led to their settling in the new world.
In 1658, namely in the area of Rhode Island, where they were able to bring and develop, this new Order. It was later picked up by English traveller’s, who were returning home. The Grand Conclave of the Order of Secret Monitor or Brotherhood of David and Jonathan for the British Isles and Territories Overseas was formed in 1887. The early years of the Order in Great Britain were somewhat complicated, as the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees was also empowered to confer the Degree, but in 1931, C.W. Napier Clavering who headed both the Allied Masonic Degrees and this Order, arranged the agreement whereby the AMD gave up all rights to the degree.
The Grand Conclave of the Order of the Secret Monitor for Canada became autonomous and was inaugurated on March 26th 1997.
The Order consists of Three Degrees;
Induction as a ‘Secret Monitor’, is the First Degree and, graphically describes how Jonathan warned David (in a non-obvious manner, hence Secret Monitor) not to return to King Saul’s household. It is taken from the first Book of Samuel. The lesson in the degree is the importance of friendship and fidelity.
The Second is the Princes degree, and tells how David admitted into his band, one who escaped from a massacre carried out at the order of Saul. This is also taken from the First Book of Samuel, and again stresses the continuing importance of friendship and fidelity.
The Third Degree is the Installation Ceremony of Supreme Ruler who is the “Master’ of the Conclave It is somewhat unique, in that in addition to the actual Installation Ceremony which is carried out by the Supreme Ruler’s predecessor, there is the Ceremony of Commissioning. The Commissioning must be carried out by a ‘Ruler’. This confers status through
out the entire Order, and a Certificate is issued by Grand Conclave to that effect.
The governing body is the Grand Conclave. The annual meeting is open to all members of the Order and attendance is encouraged at this meeting. Brethren, mainly Past Supreme Rulers, who have worked well and willingly for their Conclave, may be recommended to Grand Rank, for dedication to the Order.
The Order of the Secret Monitor is one of friendship and brotherly appreciation. The qualification for membership is solely that of a Master Mason in good standing, and the office of Supreme Ruler, can be reached without having to have been through the chairs of a Craft Lodge.
Each Lodge or Conclave as it is called, has four officers called Visiting Deacons, each of whom has the responsibility for his fourth of the members of his Conclave “of affording assistance and support to a brother in time of sorrow and distress and to search out and warn him if he be exposed to danger, secret or apparent”. This is accomplished by having the name of every member listed in the summons with the number 1 – 4 consecutively. In practise, he must contact his members between each meeting, personally, by, phone, by letter, or by e-mail, in order to find out if all is well, if they are able to attend the next meeting, if not, give the reason for their absence, and if he can be of any assistance to them. With this custom, the ‘Visiting Deacons’ also assist the Recorder book meals for the refreshments.
At each meeting of the Conclave, a roll-call of members is held, the Visiting Deacons present a verbal report on their contact with the absentees, the reason for their absence, and if they are need of help in any way, whatsoever.
The regalia for members of the Order are quite simple. Dark dress suit and tie of the Order. A breast jewel suspended from ribbon for each of the first two degrees. The Officers of the Conclave wear a sash, the colours being different for each of the first two degrees. The Supreme Ruler wears a robe, a jewel suspended from a collaret and a sash with the initials SR on it.
Grand Officers wear sashes, purple in colour, embroidered in gold with the symbol of the Order, the symbol of Jurisdiction (Canada) Maple Leaf, and a Celestial Crown with diverse colours. Also, a “Grand Officer’ jewel” suspended from a collaret, gold with . purple edges. The Grand Supreme Ruler wears a Robe, Black with Gold edging, a Gilt Chain of Office, with a similar G.O. jewel suspended, but having a Celestial Crown above. He also carries a Baton of Office.
You may be surprised to learn that a bow and arrows are used in this Order as well as the usual swords etc.
Inter Conclave visiting is encouraged where friendships are made and maintained. It is not without substance that The Order of the Secret Monitor is often called the Friendly Order’. (This is not to infer that other Orders are not friendly).
Thank you for taking the time to read this online brochure. Please feel free to contact a Conclave Recorder to obtain further information on joining this “Not so Secret Order”.
Revised September 2018