Re: Unique Promise wording
(no name) ((no email))
Fri, 9 Feb 1996 11:20:23 -0600
I'm not sure who wrote what, so I answered the basic questions
>>The case, Bob, is that the inclusion of the clause of being
>>"physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight" is a >>UNIQUE
feature of the Scout Promise just in the BSA. I have >>found no trace of
such wording in any other version of Scout >>Promises around the world. In
fact, in adding these words on its >>inception, the BSA went away of a
established standard wording >>agreed by the world-wide Movement.
>I think it's time for a little "history" lesson. I recall seeing
>something about this in a recent issue of Scouting Magazine. The >magazine
is not handy, and I'm too lazy to look it up :) If >memory serves me
correctly, the additions to the Boy Scout Oath
>or Promise ("to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and >morally
straight"), and the Scout Law ("a Scout is Clean" and a >"Scout is
Reverent"), were added at the insistence of either >James E. West, or Ernest
Thompson Seton, whoever was previously >associated with the Young Man's
Christain Association (YMCA)
>Indian Guides before becoming Chief Scout Executive.
Here's what William Murray, the BSA's biographer for years, state
about the additions of the "physically strong...." string to the
Oath AND the THREE additional Scout Laws (Brave, Clean and
Reverent) to the existing Scout Law used by England and other countries:
First, the Oath or Promise:
(describing the members of the Committee...)"The members of the
Committee were men whose experience with boyhood were most valuable to the
adolescent Movement. Prof. Jeremiah W. Jenks,
then of the New York University, formerly of Cornell, was secured as
Chairman. As A.E. Winthrop wrote, "Getting Professor Jenks
into the game is one of the best things yet developed." This became more and
more evident as the work of the Committee proceeded. The other members of
the Committee were: Dr. Lee K.
Frankel, George D. Porter, E.M. Robinson, G.W. Hinckley, G.E. Johnson, Clark
W. Hetherington, Arthur A. Carey, John L. Alexander and James E. West."
"The change from the English Oath to the American form was due
largely to Dr. (James E.) West (whom became our first Chief
Scout Executive). He wanted to bring into the obligation
something which seemed more close and vital and meaningful in
terms of the boy's own experiences."
"Wishing to widen the scope of the Oath or Promise, the Committee further
changed the English form by adding our third requirement,
"To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally
straight" -- body, mind and spirit."
"Whether to use the word Vow, Promise, Oath or Pledge brought out
various opinions. One prominent churchman objected to the use of
the word Vow. Baden-Powell had used the word "Promise" and in the handbook
edition sent out it was called "The Scout Vow". The
final decision was left with the Executive Board and the term
"Scout Oath" has proven entirely satisfactory for the boy's
promise or pledge to do his best to follow the ideals."
...and about the Three PERSONAL LAWS:
(the "three personal laws" are what *I* call the three points
of the Scout Law which was added in 1912: Brave, Clean and
Reverent. It speaks to each and every Scout personally that they
must be ready to accept all challenges with their head high and
proud; that they must be as clean in thought as well as in
appearance, because that is how others will appraise and approve
you and what you do; and they must be respectful of their own
religious convictions as they are respectful of others' convictions -- even
if those convictions are different or contrast with your own.)
"(Chief Scout Executive West stated the Committee's rationale
for the additional points)"We took the nine English Laws and
analyzed each of them. We had before us recommendations, including some
fifty laws including many suggestions by Mr. Ernest
Thompson Seton. We agreed finally to add one for cleanliness,
which the English did not have then. We added one for bravery.
They did not have this. My judgement of the Twelfth Scout Law
is that it is one of the finest things in the whole scheme of
Scouting and one of the reasons we had had such outstanding success." "
>True, this was an addition to what was agreed by the WOSM, but >that group
let it go. Perhaps (purely speculative), since the >Boy Scouts of America
is one of the oldest member associations, >with one of, if not the, largest,
membership pool, WOSM was >willing to allow the change.
Or perhaps that the American Scout Oath and Law met the needs
of the American Boy. I haven't found anything which suggests
that the WOSM disapproved or even put up a fight when the BSA
attended the first World Conference in 1920.
I hope that this information, taken from William Murray's
book "The History of the Boy Scouts of America", 1937, helps
in the discussion!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Servics of Kentucky (502.826.7046) __)_
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