All Order of the Arrow Ordeal Secrets Revealed – Again!

Don’t worry – the incendiary headline is strictly for Google’s benefit.

My most popular posts, in which I supposedly reveal the innermost secrets of the Order of the Arrow (OA), AKA the pseudo-Taliban wing of the Boy Scouts of America, continue to attract an unreasonable amount of attention from angry Boy Scouts who think I have violated a sacred trust I established when I was hazed by white guys in Indian headdresses thirty-plus years ago.

If you need a history of my squabbles therewith, the original post can be found here; my follow-up where I discover I’m top-ranked in OA ordeal Google searches is here, and a particularly nasty follow-up on the subject can be found here.

I always find myself amazed at the incoherence of the comments that show up after all these years. You can see them yourself in the comments section in the sidebar, but some of them are just too delicious to avoid calling more attention to them.

Witness today’s excursion into rhetorical genius from our new friend “AnnoyedScout”:

Ordeal is not really a horrible thing and if you had any sense you would take this down; or at least edit it. You make it seem like they kill you just so you can get ordeal level. Having gone through ordeal it is not as horrible as people may think. If you actually got to first class and above without your parents doing everything for you like me it is easier than if your parents did. I do not think this reflects the OA at all. There are a lot of fun things about ordeal. Also ruining OA secrets for people just seeing how wretched this site is like all of the others is not okay. If I sent this to national you would be in so much trouble. If you remember in your induction you promised not to tell anyone any of this.

Except I don’t remember. Anything. I remember people smacking me in the back of the head if I peeked while they led me around on a rope, and I remember freezing and starving and doing slave labor, but if there are super secret loincloth secrets, I don’t remember what they were. And I haven’t revealed them here – not out of principle, but out of, you know, not remembering any of them.

I asked AnnoyedScout if he would, in fact, report me to the BSA national office, and that I’d be happy to print any nasty letter they send to me in its entirety. I shudder to think what other “trouble” I might be in. Can the BSA slash my credit rating? Or just revoke my neckerchief privileges?

Here’s another party recently heard from – someone who playfully refers to themselves as “Order of the Arrow member.”

That is a time honored ceremony going back hundreds of yours you disgrace the brotherhood by reveling these secrets

Not to put too fine a point on it, but, no, it does not go back hundreds of mine. Or yours. Or even years, for that matter. It goes back to 1915, when the Order was first established. Am I supposed to presume that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were Order of the Arrow members and were given a carrot and a gumdrop for dinner?

But I love reveling secrets. Revelry is always fun, unless the Order of the Arrow is involved.

Here’s “Zach Ness” from late last year:

I didn’t think ordeal was that bad i’ve been through worse not that i care a whole lot for the organization i just think if kids wanna be in it its their problem and if parents wanna force their kids into it shame on them but the order deserves better then this…

Better than what?

These are the bad eggs that deserve whatever Dixie Cup boiling they get. But I also had a pleasant exchange with a guy named Randall Cone from Atlanta, who was gracious enough to use his own name, proper grammar, and reasonable arguments. Here is his summation:

[The] OA just wasn’t for you at that time. Just as people who don’t skydive aren’t defective and people who smoke aren’t ALL dangerous (just a few of them). The guys that elected you may not have known you very well and the responsibility of the vote is to select the boys that WILL fit in with OA. I was inducted at age 16. When I was 14 I would have hated every second of my ordeal. If you completed ordeal then you are entitled to maintain your membership. Maybe you should attend a few functions and be one of the people that insure that ordeal isn’t the experience that you had. They still camp but most of the time it’s in permanent shelters with mattresses and good food.

Randall Cone
Atlanta, GA

Fair enough. And I have received a number of off-blog reports from people I respect that much of the hazing extremes that marred my own experience have been curtailed in the current order. So more power to them.

I should note, however, that the good Mr. Cone has revealed just as much detail about the OA as I ever have. Are you reporting him to “national” too, AnnoyedScout? I’d hate to be the guy that kept Randall Cone out of a neckerchief.

Up Yours, GOP!

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