Ask the Chairman - Can members choose not to participate in the tests of the Ordeal?

Q: Dear Ray,

Is it acceptable for members of a chapter or lodge to not participate in one or more of the four tests of the Ordeal in the presence or view of the candidates for convenience or logistical simplicity?

A:

Other than for an immediate health or safety concern or to counsel a candidate who appears to be voluntarily withdrawing from the Ordeal, it is always undesirable to violate the fourth of the ten induction principles: members' compliance. When members fail to comply with the tests of the Ordeal from the viewpoint of the candidates, this detracts from the meaningfulness and significance of the tests, as well as their symbolic meaning. Setting the expectation that all members will comply with the tests of the Ordeal in the presence of the candidates is a challenge that requires a culture change for many lodges and chapters, but the results in terms of providing the highest quality induction experience for the candidates are immeasurable. Such a culture change requires leadership by example from all of the key youth and adults present.

Ray

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