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  #1  
Old 06-19-2006, 04:16 AM
AGDem AGDem is offline
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Maintaining secrecy?

Recently, someone I know in a fraternity at another school said that he knew the secret handshake to another one of the national fraternaties on his campus and was actually able to show it to me. When I asked him how he knew, he said that he knew a guy who had transerfed to his school, and at his old school he was a member of a certain fraternity and had no regard for the secrets of his fraternity and disclosed their secret handshake to my friend. I don't believe that this other person fell in with the chapter of his fraternity at his current school, although to my understanding he is still a member.

Now, I don't believe for a second that certain secrets of fraternities or sororities haven't gotten out to non-members in the past, and I'm sure that that has only happened in rare cases. But it still remains that our organization's secrets are part of who we are, and without them our organizations loose part of our identity.

And oppinions on the matter? Can those who may disclose secrets be weeded out before it's too late? Or is secrecy not as important of an issue as some people make it out to be?
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  #2  
Old 06-19-2006, 07:37 AM
AlphaSigOU AlphaSigOU is offline
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To me, it's a question of personal integrity. All of us who have joined a fraternity or sorority and have gone through the ceremonies of initiation have taken an obligation never to reveal the secret work of the organization or the internal business of a chapter or of the fraternity. While in modern days secret mottos, signs and forms of recognition may appear to some as quaint and outdated, it is a tradition that ties us all the way back to our founders.

If this person can't - or won't - keep a secret, I'd have a very hard time trusting him or her for anything else.
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  #3  
Old 06-19-2006, 09:02 AM
KSigkid KSigkid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaSigOU
If this person can't - or won't - keep a secret, I'd have a very hard time trusting him or her for anything else.
This is how I feel; the secrets are important, but also important is the act of keeping those secrets from people who are not members of the organization. I think that if someone is more than willing to spill their guts about handshakes and the like, they're more likely to talk openly about chapter business (fights between members, contentious meetings, sanctions against members) with those outside the chapter.

I think part of the reason for the pledge/new member period is to spot those tendencies. If a pledge or new member is told esoteric info (not necessarily ritual), or private info about a brother, and they go around telling everyone that info, it's a sign that maybe they won't keep secrets when they are a brother/sister of the organization.

There's no perfect process, though, and obviously there will be instances where someone slips through and blabs all sort of secrets.
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  #4  
Old 06-19-2006, 11:48 AM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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I value my ritual very much, but here's something to think about. Someone could theoretically read your entire ritual book and STILL not *know* anything. To a non-member, they are just words.
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  #5  
Old 06-19-2006, 11:56 AM
BigRedBeta BigRedBeta is offline
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Jocelyn, I agree a lot with what you said. I've heard/seen secrets of other groups and it's a pretty hohum sort of thing, one of those "well, that's...nice". It doesn't really mean that much to me because it's not my organization.

I think that for GDI's the mystery gets to them and there is a bigger wonderment at what the letters mean, finding out the handshake, and those sorts of things. When you have your own symbols to appreciate, the symbols of others are less a wonder. I understand the attachment and respect that the organization is dear to the individual just as I want my own membership respected.
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  #6  
Old 06-19-2006, 12:01 PM
tunatartare tunatartare is offline
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Echoing what BigRedBeta said, a lot of it depends on the person who learns the secrets as well. I know some things that I shouldn't know about several organizations. Yet when I was told this stuff, I really just didn't care. It may mean something to a lot of people, but it means nothing to me. I could've found out more stuff had I wanted to, but I just didn't care to.
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2006, 12:08 PM
adpiucf adpiucf is offline
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There's no way to stop this or prevent someone from learning secrets from a loose-lipped member, other than to educate your new members on the importance of secrecy and discretion.

If a non-member approaches you with one of your secrets, you can laugh them off and tell them they're way off-base.
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  #8  
Old 06-19-2006, 12:16 PM
UNLDelt UNLDelt is offline
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I agree that keeping our organizations traditional secrets intact is of great importance...but I think it is for a different reason that isn't compromised if one disloyal person spills the beans to someone.

In many of our organizations' pasts the secrets were a necessity to be able to identify ourselves as members to each other without identifying it to the outside world. Many fraternities started as secret societies (as did Delt) and if the administration of the institutions we were located out found out who our members were they would be expelled (which for students attending elite higher education back in the 1800's was professional and social suicide). So maintaining the secrecy of our activities through passwords, handshakes, signs, and disguising the meaning of certain things within symbols to ensure that only loyal members were privy to important information-was a very practical tradition. As our orgs grew over the past few centuries and we all eventually became public organizations, those secret traditions became more and more symbolically important as they bonded current members to their brotherhood or sisterhood's history and past.

I think we all agree that knowing a handshake, or a password obviously doesn't make someone a brother or sister. I think it's because the meaning behind the tradition isn't there for a non-member. Without the meaning and experience behind membership, which can't be told or shown by some bitter or drunk ex-member, knowing a handshake is like knowing simple trivia.

Think about the experience we members go through to learn those secrets, the great things we learn about ourselves and others through our involvement in our orgs, and the symbolic experience of our Ritual, the most carefully guarded secret, as it's a defining ceremony for our orgs. Even if someone found a Ritual book of any fraternity or sorority, figured out who it belonged to (as I'm sure many don't have the name of the org printed anywhere in it), someone may read on paper words and actions that we perform, but they'll never experience them in the context that true and loyal members do. Strangers won't feel that connection, that pride, that we do. And that's what protects our traditions, secrets, mysteries, and Rituals, from loosing any importance or reverence, even if a few outsiders stumble across some trivia about them.

Does this mean I'm saying it's all ok if someone publishes our stuff for the whole world to read...no, absolutely not. But a leak here or there is not the end of the world and is bound to happen when you have orgs as large as some of ours. Perhaps some of these leaks are even an eye opening disappointment to outsiders or Greek opponents when they realize that we're not hiding anything bad or illegal...

I agree 100% that keeping our secrets is a task that symbolizes our loyalty and respect towards our orgs, and our personal character. And that's why every member should WANT to keep them, and good members understand that, and do.

I don't think any quote is more appropriate than:

"From the outside looking in you could never understand it. From the inside looking out you could never explain it."
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  #9  
Old 06-19-2006, 01:36 PM
PhoenixAzul PhoenixAzul is offline
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Well said, Delt.
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  #10  
Old 06-19-2006, 02:56 PM
TheEpitome1920 TheEpitome1920 is offline
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1. If someone said that to me I would have kept going. I don't care about the rituals/secrets of any organization but my own. It does nothing for me as a Zeta to know the grip of an organization other than Zeta.

2. I think its sad that folks dont have respect for the oath they took. Even if you no longer want to be an active member you should just return your materials to IHQ and call it a day.

3. Folks who "claim" to know the secrets of other organizations need to get a life.
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  #11  
Old 06-19-2006, 03:39 PM
DSTCHAOS DSTCHAOS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AGDem
Can those who may disclose secrets be weeded out before it's too late?
No......
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  #12  
Old 06-19-2006, 05:28 PM
purplewindex purplewindex is offline
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Some of the fraternities at my campus joke around by trying to guess what our letters and other sororities' letters stand for. As funny as they think they are, it's kind of rude and unnecessary, in my opinion.
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  #13  
Old 06-19-2006, 05:34 PM
Buttonz Buttonz is offline
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Well said Delt....

He basically sums up how I feel...
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  #14  
Old 06-19-2006, 06:05 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Respect may be the key word here.

Do You Respect Your Fellow Members?
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  #15  
Old 06-19-2006, 06:06 PM
KillarneyRose KillarneyRose is offline
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When I was initiated into my organization, I gave my word that I wouldn't tell the secrets of the sorority to any non-member. And I haven't. Seems like that'd be a no-brainer to anyone with a shred of personal integrity.

One of my alltime favorite Greekchat posts is from a "former DZ" who explained to anyone who read it how our entire Ritual was based on the Tales of the Arabian Nights.

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