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Q/A: The Handclasp of the Lodge

Q: I am Allowat Sakima in my chapter's Ordeal ceremony team, so I am the first brother to give the Ordeal members the handclasp, and its meaning. My problem is that, according to the current Ordeal Ceremony book, I am to give the new Ordeal members the "Lodge Handclasp." This is in direct contradiction to what I was taught and what I am told by my Chapter Adviser, who says there are diffferent handclasps for Ordeal and Brotherhood. I have done considerable research into this, and believe that there is only one handclasp. Is this true?

A: There is only one Order of the Arrow Handclasp, there are not three different ones for the three different Honors.

The current printing of the Ceremony for the Ordeal (1999 revision) clearly describes the Order of the Arrow handclasp on page 17, and explains its meaning.

Because past ceremony book printings used different (and perhaps more confusing) language to describe the handclasp, and because the Boy Scout handclasp changed in 1972, there was a period of time when many people mistakenly believed that Ordeal members had a different handclasp than Brotherhood members. It is likely that your adviser and others received their instruction during this period, or received it from those who had.

In any case, it is only right that all of us make the effort to use the correct handclasp from now on. Part of our leadership in service is to set the proper example. You are correct to follow the description given in the current ceremony books.

If your adviser has additional questions, please encourage him or her to contact the lodge adviser or national office.