Four young men from my Order of the Arrow chapter recently joined other members of my lodge who had been Ordeal members for at least 10 months to discuss how each had fulfilled the high ideals learned during their Ordeal. That evening I attended a ceremony where each of these youth were recognized as a Brotherhood member of the OA and where each reaffirmed his devotion to the principles of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service within the framework of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
“From the beginning of the Order in 1915, all members have been equal. There are no ranks” (Order of the Arrow Handbook. 2015 ed. Boy Scouts of America, 55). Yet an Arrowman’s induction is not considered complete until he has demonstrated his commitment to the aims of the Order through service to his unit as an Ordeal member for at least 10 months and has completed certain requirements.
While the Ordeal Ceremony comes at the completion of an intense overnight experience, the Brotherhood Ceremony follows months of regular service. The Ordeal signals the start of a journey. Brotherhood attainment recognizes seasoned progress along the path to a lifetime of cheerful unselfish service and a renewed commitment to this high purpose.
The purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood include principles of service, honor, duty, and development toward eternally valuable goals. Given how well the ideals of the Order of the Arrow align with these values, I have seen how participation in the Order has augmented the eternal development of hundreds of Aaronic Priesthood holders during my decades of OA involvement. These young men have received a double dose of some essential elements of priesthood activity. Many have matured into valiant Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
I am confident that the pattern of Latter-day Saint young men benefiting from their association with the OA will continue as the relationship between the Church and the BSA evolves. The boys you serve can be among the number that prosper from their involvement in both the Aaronic Priesthood and the OA. As one of their adult leaders, you hold the key to making this happen. Contact your local Scout council for information on how boys in your unit can become members of the Order of the Arrow.
Questions to Ponder
- How important is it for the youth you serve to develop the traits of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service?
- Did you realize that the Order of the Arrow program works to enhance vital elements of the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood?
- How will you use this knowledge in your ministry?
-Scott Hinrichs has been actively Scouting since age eight. He has served in many youth and adult Scouting positions and has been a member of the Order of the Arrow for more than four decades. He and his wife are raising their family in North Ogden, Utah. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.