Scouting has been a part of the Young Men program in the Church since 1913. The three aims of Scouting—character development; citizenship; and proper physical, mental, and moral fitness—align perfectly with the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood.
The boyhood of Jesus Christ is described in only one verse in the scriptures: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). The phrase “favor with God” describes character; “favor with man” describes citizenship; and “in wisdom and stature” describes physical, mental, and moral fitness.
Scouting is “the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood” because it provides an ideal program for building character within your young men. Scouting encourages your boys to subscribe to an oath, law, motto, and slogan. It then provides opportunities for the boys to practice these values through small group associations and outdoor activities. When properly exposed to and taught these values, your boys will have a higher propensity to incorporate these characteristics into their daily lives.
As you may have noticed, I continually encourage you to learn and follow the Scout program as designed. I know it is an inspired program that is of increasing importance in keeping your boys on the proper path in this confusing and difficult world. You will strengthen the boys, and their moral fortitude, when you continually reinforce gospel and Scouting principles.
There is great power in pledging weekly on one’s honor do one’s best to do his duty to God and country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, and to keep oneself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. The weekly renewing of our covenants when partaking of the sacrament reminds us of our commitment to God. Likewise, when repeated weekly, the Scout Oath will remind your boys of additional commitments to God, their fellowman, and themselves. The Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan reaffirm the characteristics and attributes the boys should emulate in their daily lives.
The Lord uses repetition to ensure we “always remember” important gospel principles. When the young men raise their arms in the Scout sign each week and recite the Scout Oath, Law, motto, and slogan, they are repeatedly reminded of the qualities that will help them become noble men of profound character. The ritual of repetition engrains in the minds of the young men the values we wish them to exemplify as missionaries, priesthood holders, husbands, fathers, and community citizens. As they stand in unison, the boys raise their arm to the square and testify they will be men of honor who do their duty to the best of their ability. They affirm they will represent what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America are all about.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Do you have your boys repeat weekly the Scout Oath, Law, motto, and slogan?
- Are you preparing future missionaries, husbands, fathers, and priesthood leaders who are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent?
- Are you giving your boys ample experience doing a “good turn” by providing them with regular service opportunities?
- Are you preparing your boys to succeed in life by instilling in them the qualities and characteristics that will make them good boys and great men?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“Verily I say, [young] men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as [young] men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward” (D&C 58: 27-28).
-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas. The views and opinions expressed in these blog messages are solely those of the author.