scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Ordeal
Michael Bowman (mfbowman@USSCOUTS.ORG
Tue Nov 23 1999 - 22:08:41 CST
My first reaction would be that somebody ought to sit down and talk with the
young man who feels that what was being taught at his Order of the Arrow
Ordeal went against his religion. We can discuss what the O-A is supposed
to be teaching, how Ordeals are supposed to be conducted, and how various
groups have reviewed the standard ceremony, but this doesn't get to the
heart of the problem. The problem is that this Scout apparently saw or
experienced something that he thought went against his religious beliefs.
The questions have to be directed towards his experience - what happened?
What did he think was objectionable or counter to his beliefs? Did he
misunderstand something? Did the local Lodge add-to or embelish the
ceremonies with additional language, actions, or something else? Does the
Scout have a problem with accepting any ritual or ceremony that is
non-religious that seems similar? The answer to the question has to start
with understanding what the Scout was upset about at his Ordeal. It may be
as simple as thinking that the concept of labor under silence with meager
food is not consistent with the golden rule or much more complex. This is
an age when young men learn that life is not consistent and that it is
sometimes confusing. It may be that this is an excellent opportunity for a
Scout leader to sit down with him and just listen and talk. Things like
this can be great growth experiences.
Mike Bowman, Vice President
U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.