Mac’s Message #27: Gaining a Vision of Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood

Mac McIntire

Mac McIntire

This past Friday the LDS Church News published an article highlighting the LDS-BSA Relationships website. Over six months ago, I started writing a weekly blog on the website regarding LDS Scouting. These blog messages have generated a lot of wonderful discussions, both in the comment section of each blog message and in direct email correspondence to me. It has been exciting to see how novice and highly experienced LDS Scouting leaders have been inspired by these messages. It has been a joy for me to feel the inspiration of the Lord while contributing to the blog.

Since this may be the first time some LDS Scouting Leaders have become aware of this valuable resource through the Church News article, I’ve been asked to repost my first blog message regarding how I gained a testimony of Scouting. Here is what I said over six months ago:

 

I have a secret. I love Scouting. But I haven’t always felt that way.

To be honest I used to think Scouting was silly. I couldn’t fathom why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported Boy Scouting. Twice I had been a ward Young Men president and never understood why the boys were required to do Scout activities for Mutual. Sadly, I did not support the Scouting program and did all I could to channel our Young Men efforts to what I felt were more appropriate Aaronic Priesthood activities.

I often wondered why the Young Men program couldn’t be more like the program for the Young Women. Each week in Mutual the young women stand up and recite the YW theme. Their lessons and activities are designed around the YW values. I was surprised that the young men didn’t have a theme and values. I felt the Church should drop the Scouting program and develop a YM curriculum similar to that of the young women.

Then one day, in a priesthood executive committee meeting, when our bishopric was struggling to find someone to be the Scoutmaster for our ward, I shared my disdain for Scouting. Our wise bishop reminded me that the current prophet, and many other prophets, strongly supported the Scouting program. “Brother McIntire,” he said, “Maybe the prophet knows something you don’t know about Scouting. Maybe you should pray about it and find out why Scouting is the Lord’s program for the young men.”

That night I did just that. In my prayer I told the Lord I didn’t understand Scouting and I wondered why the Young Men program didn’t have a theme and values like the young women. What unfolded was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I heard a voice ask, “Would you like to hear the Young Men Theme?” When I responded “yes,” I heard, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

The voice then asked if I wanted to hear the Young Men values. When I said “yes”, the voice said, “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.” For over an hour I was instructed by the Spirit showing me why the Scouting program is the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood. I learned that Lord Baden-Powell was inspired of God to establish the Scouting program. I came to know Scouting was a divinely-established means to help the young men in the Church to become strong men of character.

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Where there is no vision or understanding of the value of Scouting in the Young Men program the boys perish spiritually. Scouting is the best way I know to instill the values of the gospel in young men. It is the best means for taking the lessons learned on Sunday and applying them in the lives of the boys. Scouting is the Lord’s way to turn the young men of the Church into strong men of character. It is His way of creating faithful future missionaries, husbands, fathers, and Melchizedek Priesthood leaders. Scouting is the Lord’s program for young men in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because there is no better program than the Boy Scouts of America for teaching boys the morals and values espoused by the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Few things are more important in your Aaronic Priesthood responsibilities than that of gaining a personal testimony—or vision—of the Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting programs. I encourage you to pray for a testimony of Scouting. Pray to know what the prophets know. Pray to know what I now know.

 

Take a Moment to Reflect

  • Do you have a testimony of the Scouting program? Can you see what the prophets see in your vision of Scouting?
  • Do you know why Scouting is “the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood”?
  • Have you resolved to run the Young Men program the way the Lord has designed it, including the Scouting elements of the Aaronic Priesthood?
  • Can you feel the Lord’s Spirit when you are involved in Scouting activities?

 

Turn Your Reflection Into Action

  • What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?

 

“Brethren, if ever there were a time when the principles of Scouting were vitally needed—that time is now. If ever there were a generation who would benefit by keeping physically strong, mentally awake, and, morally straight—that generation is the present generation” (Thomas S. Monson,”Called to Serve,” Ensign, Nov 1991, p. 46).

 

-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, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. Alvin Crown says:

    While serving in the Eastern States Mission, 1968-1970, Elder Mark E Peterson spoke at a fireside where he mentions several invention that have come about since the Church was organized. When I became involved in Scouting, got trained, I felt that Scouting was one of the things meant for the youth of the Church. It is the Lords Program for the young men of His Church.

  2. JD says:

    Without Vision, people (programs) perish. I usually keep 1-2 copies of Trails to Testimony with me and hand these out to leaders. If the leaders could understand WHY we do Scouting, then it is much easier to dedicate and magnify your calling. It’s all about helping these boys become Men of God. In the process, the leaders grow as well and both are edified.

    1. Mac says:

      I highly recommend “Trails to Testimony: Bringing Young Men to Christ Through Scouting” by Bradley D. Harris and “On My Honor: A Guide to Scouting in the Church” by Thane J. Packer. Both should be required reading for LDS Scouters.

  3. Ross Young says:

    I have always felt that any activity arm of the church is about having fun. Scouting is about having a game with a purpose. Too often young children think church is boring, because they haven’t been able to recognize the spirit and receive answers to their prayers. If we can keep boys interested in Scouts because it is fun, then we may find that is the basis for keeping young men attending church until finally they catch the higher vision of being a priesthood holder. The scout oath and motto closely align with Christlike doctrine which allows boys to gain something more than just physical fitness from sports.

  4. Sharon says:

    Thanks you for your comments, I would like to share a woman’s perspective. I got into cub scouting for my son who was a cub, it seemed a good fit and soon I was cub master. We had such a great group of parents and leaders and without me even realizing it, I had a testimony of scouting and it’s powerful effect in the lives of boys and families.

    Now I am a stake primary president and am even more heavily involved in scouting. I love the program and have seen first hand how it helps boys prepare and then receive the priesthood. Whenever I see a boy magnify his priesthood calling, I always think of the scouting values in action.

  5. Karen says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughts. I currently have a boy scout and cub scout. I love the scout program. I share with anyone who will listen how this should be important to each of us if it is important enough to be our young men’s program. It is a real struggle in our ward to have families see the importance of it. I currently serve in cub Scouts and attend every training and round-table possible
    Can’t say enough good about what can come from scouting.

  6. Mike says:

    Thank you for re-posting this wonderful blog. I shared it with our ward’s bishopric and troop, team, and crew committees. I also shared it when I taught COR training to several LDS CORs in our council. They were all touched by your personal revelation and your testimony of the Scouting program.

    Thank you for taking the time to create this series of blogs. Each of them helps me understand another aspect of how Scouting and the Young Men program, when done right, work so well together to serve our boys.

    1. Mac McIntire says:

      Thanks, Mike, for your very kind words.

  7. Bret Belnap says:

    It is so much more than a program for young men. Your story illustrates that. As we serve in scouting and follow the program as outlined we become converted and are better fathers to our children. Our eyes are opened to not what these young men are but we are shown what they can become. What a great honor to be able to see through eternal eyes. I cherish the discussions I have with my sons as we share the things we have experenced in scouting. I am a better father to my sons and daughters through what scouting has taught me.

    1. Mac McIntire says:

      What a wonderful testimony. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  8. Bob Whitworth says:

    I am glad a friend of mine from church had the inspiration to send me this blog, I am a young men’s president and at this time struggling with parents who feel scouting is not something they feel their boys should be involved in and because of this choice our quorums do not have the bond and friendship that is gained from spending time together on scouting events. I will pass this on and thank you for your words.

    1. Steve Faber says:

      Bob, I’m interested in learning of the outcomes of your presidency’s efforts to resolve the concern of “parents who feel scouting is not something they feel their boys should be involved in.”

      “As you may be aware, there seems to be a significant “bad taste” in the mouths of both parents and youth members of the LDS church regarding Scouting as evidenced in the UNPC’s blog post at http://blog.utahscouts.org/venturing/real-problem-scouting-lds-church/. I feel the answer lies somewhere in this personal challenge at http://blog.utahscouts.org/lds-scouting/is-the-boy-scouts-of-america-an-inspired-program-a-challenge-to-all-seekers-of-truth/, but I’m interested in knowing your’s and others successes in this regard.”

  9. Marla Thomas says:

    “From the top down!” were the words expressed at one of our quarterly council training meetings. This response came from both non-Latter-day Saint and Latter-day Saint district training chairmen when the question was raised by the council training chairman of “How can we get our LDS registered scout leaders to take training courses?’ EVERYONE at that executive table burst out with the words, “From the top down!” It is so exciting to now have so much direction on this http://WWW.ldsbsa.org and the http://WWW.LDS.org sites! It is so much better than before! Keep up the good work! THANK YOU!

  10. Since your original post was first published I have shared it with many. And I know that many of those have shared it with others.

    I am so glad that your bishop was inspired to ask you to pray about the Scouting program. I am even more grateful that you were humble enough to seriously follow his counsel. I’m afraid that the natural man in me might have taken offense and thwarted the kind of sweet experience you describe.

    I wish that all of those with whom I have shared your post would do the reflection at the end of the post and then work to implement the results of their reflection. Unfortunately, some have quickly let what they have read fade away. Happily, at least some have taken the reflection seriously.

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