Scott’s Brotherhood Blog #2: The Ties Of Brotherhood

Scott Hinrichs

Scott Hinrichs

My Ordeal, the overnight experience where I was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, tested and stretched my capabilities. Almost none of the others in attendance were familiar to me. I felt very alone. Little did I know how much that would change.

While my first OA brothers were friends from my home troop, I soon found myself serving with fine youth and adults from around my council and eventually from other councils in the area. My friend Scott, who happens to have a great name, is among those many OA brothers. Scott and I first met around an OA campfire, where bonds are still built in the age-old way. His friends dubbed him Indian Paintbrush due to his artistic abilities and his intense interest in Native Americans and mountain men.

Over the next few years Scott and I shared many OA adventures, first as youth and later as adult Scouters. Nowadays Scott is a professional artist and an assistant Scoutmaster for a special needs troop. We no longer see each other frequently, but we will always be brothers.

Brotherhood is one of the three main principles of the OA. Members are taught to develop brotherhood through cheerful unselfish service together, extending morally sound friendship to others, and setting a good example for all.

At a recent OA event I asked Dan, a 15-year-old member of a teachers quorum, about his views on the types of brotherhood found in his quorum, the OA, and sports teams. While all three types seemed good to him, he felt that priesthood and OA brotherhoods were qualitatively different from sports due to their focus on serving others.

Several teachers and priests said that they cherished the opportunities they had to fulfill their priesthood duties with respect to the sacrament and home teaching. But each noted that their Varsity Scout teams and Venturing crews focused mainly on personal growth, while the chief aim of OA involvement was to fulfill their obligation to unselfishly serve others. The brotherhood they had developed through regular and purposeful service with their fellows was important to these young men.

Many heads nodded knowingly when Baden, a member of a priests quorum, said that not much real Scouting happened in his ward once a boy turned 14. The OA provided an outlet for continuing and expanding the Scouting endeavors he had found so fulfilling from ages 8 through 13.

Last summer I had the privilege of spending a week with two of my sons and 15,000 OA brothers at the centennial National Order of the Arrow Conference at Michigan State University. It was a grand event where brotherhood was instantly shared with OA members from across the nation. I’m thinking of people like Dr. John, a chemist from South Carolina. We worked side by side volunteering for two days so that young men could experience the wonders of hands-on chemistry.

For the OA’s 50th anniversary in 1965 founder Dr. E. Urner Goodman wrote, “The Order of the Arrow is a thing of the spirit rather than of the mechanics. . . . The things of the spirit count.”

“Brotherhood—in a day when there is too much hatred at home and abroad.

“Cheerfulness—in a day when pessimists have the floor.

“Service—in a day when millions are interested only in getting or grasping rather than giving.

“These are the things of the spirit, blessed of God, the Divine Spirit,” (Order of the Arrow Handbook. 2015 ed. Boy Scouts of America, 1).

Like thousands of other Latter-day Saint OA members, I have seen how the OA can build upon and enhance the Aaronic Priesthood principles and skills young men like Dan and Baden are developing. The Scouting brotherhood found in the OA can complement and intensify the brotherhood fostered in priesthood quorums.

While priesthood brotherhood is essential, it is also vitally important that Aaronic Priesthood bearers develop choice connections beyond the Church. When Glenn L. Pace was a member of the Presiding Bishopric, he taught that “we cannot become the salt of the earth if we stay in one lump in the cultural halls of our beautiful meetinghouses. We need not wait for a call or an assignment from a Church leader before we become involved in activities that are best carried out on a community or individual basis,”  (Glenn L. Pace, “A Thousand Times” [general conference, Oct. 1990];.

The Order of the Arrow consistently offers opportunities for young men to develop brotherhood as they serve with fine people outside of their wards and stakes, people who may or may not be Latter-day Saints. It provides ways for young men to let the light within them influence others who are also God’s children.

 

Questions to Ponder

  • How could the young men you serve benefit from service-based brotherhood beyond their Church assignments?
  • How could others benefit from Aaronic Priesthood bearers serving through the OA?
  • Could the OA be an avenue for greater fulfillment of the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood?

 

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:27).

 

-Scott Hinrichs has been actively Scouting since age eight. He has served in many youth and adult Scouting positions and has been a member of the Order of the Arrow for more than four decades. He and his wife are raising their family in North Ogden, Utah. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. Brother Scott, Greetings! This was a really excellent article about the brotherhood of the OA and the opportunities for service within the organization. I remember you, Scott, when you were a member of my staff at Camp Loll (under Delose) years ago. Those were great times. You were great then and it fabulous that you continue to serve. Keep up the great work.

  2. Brother Scott, Greetings! This was a really excellent article about the brotherhood of the OA and the opportunities for service within the organization. I remember you, Scott, when you were a member of my staff at Camp Loll (under Delose) years ago. Those were great times. You were great then and it fabulous that you continue to serve. Keep up the great work.

  3. Donald G Wesel says:

    Scott:

    I’m thinking and hoping you are the Larry Gibson of the next decade. I’ve have been hording LDS-BSA relationships blogs since I first started getting them from Mac, hoping always to carve out time to read them, but never successful.

    For some reason, I read yours. Thank God you wrote it. I am not saying His name in vain. Till I opened your piece, I had no idea you were alluding to OA.

    I read your article just a few days after a person we were home teaching, a Scout leader in the Church much of his life, quipped with my basketball star partner, a new teacher and son of a bishopric member, that there’s not much to keep a boy interested in Scouting after 14.

    I now pray that everybody leading young men in the Church reads your article.

    Boy Scouts of America – still the greatest non-sectarian youth leadership program in the world.

    My area representative once asked in a Little Philmont: “What if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were to save Boy Scouts of America?”

    I’m asking, what if the Church members were to get behind OA and use it to light our Scouting Units for the Teachers & Priests into a bonfire and help Him save the world, like He asks us to do?

    These are my own opinions, and not necessarily that of my ward, stake or Church.

    1. Steve Faber says:

      I’ve been very impressed with Scott’s perspective on Scouting in the LDS Church. I first came across Scott’s perspective when he wrote on his blog about the comments made on the UNPC’s “The Boy Scout” blog on the problems with Scouting in the LDS Church: http://reachupward.blogspot.com/2015/02/lds-scouting-its-imperfect-and-plenty.html . A very good read.

      Scott’s understanding has helped shape my perspective on Scouting in the LDS church.

      1. Steve, I am flattered by your kind remarks. I am always hopeful that my meager contribution might be beneficial to others. May the Lord bless you in your service.

    2. Donald, I am grateful that you were moved to read my post. I work constantly with LDS young men in the Order of the Arrow that are making great strides in learning that it’s not all about them and that they are happier when they make a point of unselfishly serving others. I would love to see more LDS Aaronic Priesthood bearers get involved in the OA. Not only would it help Scouting, it would help the boys and their quorums.

  4. Marni says:

    As an OA mom, I love this. My oldest received his Vigil last year. He’s always been very quiet about everything OA though I love to tease him about the “nothing in scouting is secret” policy. I do get it – it’s very deep in the heart. He was part of the ceremonies when my second son did his Ordeal and we were doing camp service at the same camp, so he came and grabbed me for the two big ceremonies for that. It was an honor to be there, and feel more why it is so important to him.

    I keep being told I could be voted in too, but I’ve got plenty on my scouting and non-scouting plate already right now. Maybe someday!

  5. Maria S. says:

    Is the Order of the Arrow part of the Lds Scouting program? Do Lds units fund the activities of the OA or because is optional the parents pay all the expenses? Please hep!!

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