"Your decisions will master you, whichever direction they take." MARY BAKER EDDY

Take the haze out of hazing

Early in my college education, I wanted to join a fraternity—intensely. It appealed to me because of the camaraderie. Also, at that time, it was "the thing to do" on campus. It was obvious to me that fraternity life was part of being popular. More important though, the friendship and true bonding implied by the word fraternity appealed to me. Joining a fraternity required a simple petitioning, a long two months of fairly harmless indenturing, followed by an initiation process of one very long week of "abusive and humiliating tricks"—hazing. It seemed worth it, though, because my peers were demanding it.

One dictionary offers two definitions of the word haze—"lack of transparency; vagueness of mind or mental perception" and "to play abusive and humiliating tricks on by way of initiation." Many fraternities have insisted on hazing as an important part of initiation. Of course, it is certainly not necessary for true bonding. In my case, hazing actually had the unintended consequence of introducing me to God! It gave me the opportunity to put into practice the strength of my convictions that I had received through Christian Science Sunday School.

During the last night of the hazing tricks, we were taken on a long ride to the countryside, over 30 miles outside the city, and dumped out in the middle of the woods to find our way home without money or identification. We had been allowed to sleep or rest only a maximum of two hours per day for seven days, so we were pretty tired. We were blindfolded with duct tape tightly bound about our heads, and we were hoodwinked. During the ride, I knew my head was bound too tightly, and I was growing afraid, angry, disturbed, and began to feel as if my head were about to explode from pressure. I felt myself getting so nervous that I began to shake. So I turned to God for a solution.

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Get off the dreadmill
October 16, 2000

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