Skip to main content
We've detected that you're using an unsupported browser. You may experience issues using the OA website. Please visit our supported browsers page for more information.

Our History

Ceremonial Rituals are Changed

Three Rituals are Again Re-written to Change Terms and Also to Meet Religious Requirements

In 1933, the Grand Lodge was making the preparations necessary to become an official BSA program. In August of that year, a document entitled: A Statement of Principles Applying in the Case of National Approval of the Order of the Arrow, was produced to give guidance to the transition needed within the Order of the Arrow (OA).

One of the sections made reference to the Rituals of the Order of the Arrow and stated the following:

A competent committee will review the Ritual in its entirety with a view to assuring that it is free from:

1. Any words or phrases, which may cause offense to religious bodies
2. Any performance or expressions, which may be interpreted as acts of religious worship
3. Any employment of the element of secrecy as in obligation, which may prove inconsistent with the policies of Scouting.

Between 1933 and early 1935 the OA’s rituals underwent strong examination and rewrites to ascertain that the rituals were in compliance with the guidelines set forth in 1933 necessary for National Council BSA approval.

Meteu’s prayers were a topic of concern and required changes. Thomas Cairns wrote to George Lower, author of those prayers and asked for his help in rewriting the prayers. Lower was at first reluctant but after Cairns persistence and good humor (remarking that he would lose what little was left of his hair if Lower did not respond) did eventually help in the rewrites.

Some of the changes made included the dropping of “Gitchee Manitou”, a reference to a deity, from all ceremonies. The word “Password” was changed to “Admonition”. Previous to 1933’s guidelines, the words “altar” and “sacred” had already been replaced and the word “Fraternity” had been replaced with “Brotherhood”.

In 1936 a series of five new pamphlets with all the approved changes were printed. The Ordeal cover was red ink. The Brotherhood cover was green ink. The Vigil Honor cover was blue ink. The Local Lodge Manual cover was brown ink and the Constitution and By-Laws cover was black ink. All the pamphlets were produced in 1936 except the Vigil Honor pamphlet, which was not printed until 1940.

The 1936 versions of the Ordeal Honor and Brotherhood Honor ceremonies remained virtually unchanged through and until 1948 when final changes were necessary for the OA to become fully integrated into the BSA program.