Eleven and a half years ago a young Arrowman named Scott was preparing to serve a mission. He had recently become a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and was uniformly described as a true friend by those who knew him. Ever willing to keep his obligation to unselfishly serve others, Scott happily dropped his personal plans one day to help a friend do something the friend could not do for himself. Unfortunately, a tragic accident took Scott’s life that day. His final act in this life was one of selfless service for another.
For the past few years, a group of Scott’s Order of the Arrow brothers has gathered at his gravesite near the anniversary of his passing to commemorate his life and to renew acquaintances. Stories of old times are told and tales of missions, school, and family life are swapped. For some of these men it has clearly been a while since they last sang the song of the Order. But their faces reflect the fervor of yore as they gather in a circle and sing loudly.
Scott left a legacy exemplary of the three principles to which the OA is dedicated: brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service. Forever affected by Scott’s life, many of his OA brothers continue to live out these cherished principles. Some of those brothers shared Scott’s LDS faith; some did not. But they all found common ground in unselfishly serving others.
Priesthood quorums are essential to the functioning of the Church. The brotherhood fostered in those quorums should be encouraged and cherished. OA brotherhood differs from quorum brotherhood in distinctive ways. Among them is that the OA offers opportunities for LDS young men to develop bonds of brotherhood with good people of other faiths. The resulting understanding can be invaluable as a missionary and later in life.
In his October 1982 general conference talk Marion G. Romney, a member of the First Presidency said, “Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.” Unselfish service is at the heart of what the OA does.
Cheerfulness is important when rendering service. Those who reach out to serve should recall Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). As quoted by his son Moroni, Mormon reminds us in Moroni 7:8 that a gift grudgingly given is no gift at all. The OA teaches young men to serve cheerfully, even when it is challenging to do so.
The Order of the Arrow takes fine young men like Scott and helps build them into better young men who realize that cheerful unselfish service is the essence of a meaningful life, and who join together with others in purposeful efforts to serve in that fashion.
It is a tragedy that Scott’s life was cut short that day years ago. But it is marvelous that he had become the kind of young man who was willing to give his life in rendering cheerful unselfish service. The fact that his OA brothers still gather to remember him is a testament to the brotherhood he helped develop as an Arrowman.
Would you like to give the Scouts you serve a better shot at becoming this caliber of young man? Contact your local Scout service center to find out how you can help them join the Order of the Arrow.
Questions to Ponder
- Which Order of the Arrow principle do you feel would be most helpful in the life of each of the young men you serve?
- What will you do to help your young men have the opportunity to more strongly develop that principle?
-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.