Second Generation Three Flap System

October 7, 2009


Around 1978 the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America moved to make Scout patches more uniform and identifiable. They required that all Scout patches either say “BSA” or have the fleur-de-lis in their design. This was a watershed for patch designs. Most Scout councils and O.A. lodges around the country had to change the design of their emblems to comply with the new rule.  John Rhodes designed the next generation of flaps for the three flap system. He incorporated the fleur-de-lis in his design to meet the standards. The new Ordeal flap was identical in design to the old one with the addition of the fleur-de-lis. The new Brotherhood flap lost the spread Ws and some of the symbolism used in the old design was moved around. It retained its black background.  The two new flaps are now known as the “Ordeal With” and the “Brotherhood”. The “Ordeal With” was sold from the Summer of 1979 to the Summer of 1983. The “Brotherhood flap” was sold from the Summer of 1979 to the Autumn Fellowship of 1983. There is a variation of each flap which exists. The early looms of the “Ordeal With” have a cloth back while later runs have a plastic backing. There exists a cloth back “Brotherhood flap” and two variations on the plastic backing. One variation has a clear backing and one is black.

The lodge did not issue a new Vigil flap to meet the requirements laid down by national. The tough restriction on purchasing the flap and the limited number of Vigil Honor members meant that the lodge still had a bunch of flaps left from the first loom of them. Instead of making a new loom with a new design the lodge decided to wait to sell off the initial order of ones.

The Vigil Honor Committee voted to recommend that the lodge not order another loom of the Vigil flaps. Because of this, the lodge ran out of Vigil flaps in the summer of 1980. Some of the Vigil candidates in the summer of 1980 got a Vigil flap only because other brothers donated flaps so everyone could have at least one. In the summer of 1981 and 1982 there were no Vigil flaps available.

Prior to the Dixie Fellowship in 1979 the lodge had run out of flaps to issue and was informed by the Lion Brothers patch company that the new Ordeal flaps would not be ready until after the event. The lodge placed an order for one loom run of flaps with the Moritz Company because they promised to have it there for Spring Fellowship. Although an identical design was sent to the Moritz Company the loom of flaps that came back were very different from the style of work the lodge was getting from Lion Brothers. The flap was shorter and had a thick black border and crowded features. This set of flaps was dubbed the “Moritz” by lodge members. At the Summer Fellowship brothers were allowed to buy either a Moritz or one of the new Ordeals or Brotherhoods. The lodge eventually sold out of Moritz flaps by the Fall Fellowship of 1980.

In the fall of 1982 the lodge decided to move away from a three flap system and go back to having just one flap for everyone. Many reasons were cited for going away from the old system. One was that the lodge could not afford to buy three sets of patches that could only be sold very slowly due to the tight restriction. At the time the lodge had about $800 dollars in its account. Ordering new looms of the Ordeal, Brotherhood, and Vigil flaps would have cost over $1100.

Another argument raised against the three flap system is that it promotes the idea of rank in the order and this is not the purpose of the three levels of membership. Ordeal membership is what you are in the beginning. Brotherhood membership simply is a sealing and greater understanding of the order. The Vigil Honor is bestowed upon a person and can not be earned.

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