Mac’s Message #34: Duty to God Process Teaches Young Men How to Feel the Spirit

Mac McIntire

Mac McIntire

When I was a stake Young Men president several years ago I spoke in a priesthood leadership session of our stake conference. In my remarks I said that the greatest achievement a boy can attain during his years in the Young Men and Scouting programs is not: becoming an Eagle Scout, obtaining a Duty to God certificate, or receiving his mission call. Rather, I believe the greatest achievement a young man can attain in his youth is to learn to diligently fulfill his duty to God, regularly and faithfully.

I believe being a faithful priesthood holder is the crowning achievement for a young Aaronic Priesthood member. As I mentioned last week, Duty to God (DTG) is a process, not a program. It is a lifelong experience. It is a means to a much more important end in a young man’s life. The DTG process teaches a young man how to regularly feel the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “Men ought—above all things in this world—to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing as important as having the companionship of the Holy Ghost. . . . There is no price too high, no labor too onerous, no struggle too severe, no sacrifice too great, if out of it all we receive and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost” (A New Witness of the Articles of Faith, 253).

Elder Richard G. Scott counselled: “There is no simple formula or technique that would immediately allow us to master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit. Our Father expects us to learn how to obtain that divine help by exercising faith in Him and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 6-7).

The greatest blessing a young man can receive in his life is to learn how to feel, recognize, and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The DTG process is designed to teach a young man how to “master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit.” It helps him “learn how to obtain divine help” by exercising faith in God. The activities in the Fulfilling My Duty to God guidebook help a boy develop spiritual attributes and become the kind of priesthood holder Heavenly Father wants him to be. DTG is a process where a young man gains the spiritual strength to stay on the path of righteousness by developing habits of regular prayer and scripture study. As a young man fulfills his duty to God he administers priesthood ordinances, serves others, and invites all to come unto Christ.

Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood are the perfect platforms upon which your boys can feel the Spirit of the Lord. A boy gains experience with the Holy Spirit as he faithfully fulfills his priesthood duties to “preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties” (D&C 20:46-47). He experiences the workings of the Holy Ghost when he learns through faithful study of the scriptures, acts upon the things he has learned, and bears witness of his experience by sharing his testimony with others. Additionally, the Holy Ghost quietly touches a young man’s heart during moments of reflection following a Scouting or priesthood activity. A boy hears the whisperings of the Spirit as he quietly ponders the significant experiences of his life from the vantage point of a mountain top or a secluded campsite. It is in the quiet of a vast, starlit night that a young boy is often moved by holy promptings. The still small voice speaks loudest in the silence of the night.

Brethren, you are in the business of saving boys. The most powerful tools you have in your arsenal to fight against the evil influences of the world are Scouting, the Aaronic Priesthood, and the Duty to God program. You can help bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of your boys by teaching them how to feel and recognize the Spirit of God as He speaks to them. You save boys when you help your young men learn, act, and share their experiences with the Spirit of the Lord.

Take a Moment to Reflect

  • Have you taught your boys how to feel and recognize the Spirit? Do you feel the Spirit in your own life?
  • Are you personally engaged in the Duty to God process? Are you working in your booklet?
  • How is the Duty to God process affecting your life? Is it making a difference in your life?
  • Have you received a personal testimony of the Duty to God process?
  • Have you learned about the Duty to God program, developed a plan of action to help the boys, and shared your experiences with your young men?
  • Are your experiences helping you to better teach your boys how to feel and recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost?

 

Turn Your Reflection Into Action

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

 

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).

 

-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. Deb Wolfley says:

    Agree with your comments 110%.
    Where scouting is the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood, what activities besides high adventures camps and over night camp outs would involve or can be specifically tieing in scouting to Aaronic Priesthood goals?
    Would like any suggestions and responses to my maybe not so clear question.
    thanks

    1. Steve Faber says:

      The Duty to God resource (as President Beck likes to call it) contains the opportunity for young men to engage in three significant activities (projects) while he serves as a Deacon, Teacher and Priest. While a Deacon, he can work on “Physical and Emotional Health” goals, while a Teacher he can work on “Education” goals and while a Priest, he can work on “Family and Friends” goals. Boy-led quorums/councils can design week night activities that help satisfy these goals. In my mind, all of these Duty to God goals are Aaronic Priesthood goals, all are scouting goals, all are “strength of youth” goals. The root of each of these significant activities line up with the Aims of Scouting. Each of these activities line up with the way the Savior learned as a youth (Luke 2:52). In my mind, there is no distinction between a priesthood activity and a scouting activity, when it’s led by priesthood keys, it’s always a priesthood activity, because its ALL about the priesthood. Scouting is a resource to help a young man fulfill his Duty to God.

      1. Deb Wolfley says:

        great thoughts and I like how you tied everything together, appreciate it.

      2. MarlaThomas says:

        Fantastic information in these “REPLIES” and in this particular blog post! This is the first time I have heard about the “The Duty to God resource” (as President Beck likes to call it) with three significant activities (projects) while the youth serves as a Deacon, Teacher and Priest. I have not heard of the concept of a young man working on the “Physical and Emotional Health” goals being done while a Deacon, “Education” goals being done while a Teacher and “Family and Friend” goals being done while a Priest. Very, very interesting information in this little “REPLY”. It would be great to hear more about this. My husband is a second Assistant Scoutmaster in our ward. Even though there are not many Boy Scout level/Deacon aged young men (only 4 right now) in our ward he has been called so that there is more likelihood of a second adult being available at all activities. He has been called in addition to the 11 year old scout leader (we have no 11 year old boys right now), the Scoutmaster and the Deacon’s Quorum Advisor/2nd Counselor in the YM Presidency. My husband attends Deacon’s Quorum each Sunday and, in fact, helped with a lesson presenting “Duty to God” to the Deacons last Sunday. When my husband was a youth he earned his Duty to God Award; but, now the requirements are quite different. The philosophy has always been that Scouting and Duty to God are done in tandem; but, in practice, the two have not always been a seamless match. Where can I search for more? Is there a talk or reference explaining about this? Great information! Thank you!

        1. Steve Faber says:

          As I listened to David L. Beck during the April 2010 general conference, a thought came into my mind that what I knew as “priesthood meetings” (opening exercises, quorum meetings, quorum presidency meetings, lessons, service projects, scouting activities, etc.) are supposed to be carried out differently than they are currently being carried out. This thought came to me as President Beck said, “During the past year I have been on a journey that has forever changed the way I view you and the Aaronic Priesthood.”

          I caught a little bit of the vision of what it means to me to fulfill my own Duty to God and how to help my own sons and other young men fulfill their Duty to God by listening to and re-reading all the conference talks centered around Duty to God:

          – Henry B. Eyring “Act in All Diligence”
          – Robert D. Hales “Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation”
          – David L. Beck “The Magnificent Aaronic Priesthood”
          – Keith B. McMullin “Our Path to Duty”

          The full online resource can of course be found here: https://www.lds.org/young-men/duty-to-god?lang=eng

          When trying to wrap my head around the “how” of this process, I’m encouraged by phrases in the pamphlet such as “Heavenly Father has great trust and confidence in you”, “Focus on what you are becoming”, “Learn, Act, Share”, and “conversations along the way.”

          If we are constantly opening and using the handbook in all of our quorum activities, acting on what we learn and sharing what we feel, we will start to see the patterns and the path to fulfill our Duty to God.

    2. Mac McIntire says:

      I think my blog messages #30 and #31 provide a partial answer to your question.

    3. Mac says:

      Deb,

      When I first obtained a vision of Scouting in the Church I put together a PowerPoint presentation to teach bishoprics what I had learned. On eight of the slides in the presentation I showed how Scouting provides the “means” to achieve the “end’ of the Eight Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. Listed below is a sample of two of those slides:

      End:
      Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live its teachings.

      Means:
      Leadership positions in Priesthood and Scouting
      Opportunities to receive personal revelation and feel the Spirit
      Duty to God requirements regarding personal prayer, personal scripture study
      Camping experiences that test and try them so they have to call upon God
      Pray at meetings, activities, campouts, etc.
      Spiritual Scoutmaster Minutes and “teaching moments” at every meeting and reflection after activities/camps
      Spiritual experiences in church, Scout meetings, activities, service, campouts
      Sing the hymns of Zion
      Learn reverence and respect for temple, chapel, and sacred things at Scouting activities
      Scouting service projects

      End:
      Prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission

      Means:
      Many leadership opportunities in priesthood and Scouting
      Conduct quorum and Scout meetings
      Conduct quorum presidency meetings
      Speaking and teaching opportunities in priesthood and scouting
      Hiking, Cycling, Cooking and other merit badges
      Physical fitness requirements in Scouting and Duty to God
      Correctly wear Scout uniform to prepare for wearing another uniform at age 18
      Proper church attire for sacrament
      Confidence through achieving rank advancement
      Live and work together with “companions” in Scouting activities
      Learn to get along with others at activities and campouts
      Away from home for extended time at Scout summer camp
      Learn to work hard through service, campouts, hikes,
      working on merit badges

      Hopefully this information, and the other comments made, will give you a better understanding of the power of Scouting helps accomplishes the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood.

      1. Deb Wolfley says:

        thanks so much for your reply and thoughts, appreciate it,

        by any chance is it possible to get a copy or look at the power point you put together that you mentioned, ?
        thanks again

        1. Mac says:

          Absolutely. Just click on my picture on this reply to get my email address. Then email me your request so I can send you the PowerPoint presentation.

  2. Steve Faber says:

    The Duty to God resource (as President Beck likes to call it) contains the opportunity for young men to engage in three significant activities (projects) while he serves as a Deacon, Teacher and Priest. While a Deacon, he can work on “Physical and Emotional Health” goals, while a Teacher he can work on “Education” goals and while a Priest, he can work on “Family and Friends” goals. Boy-led quorums/councils can design week night activities that help satisfy these goals. In my mind, all of these Duty to God goals are Aaronic Priesthood goals, all are scouting goals, all are “strength of youth” goals. The root of each of these significant activities line up with the Aims of Scouting. Each of these activities line up with the way the Savior learned as a youth (Luke 2:52). In my mind, there is no distinction between a priesthood activity and a scouting activity, when it’s led by priesthood keys, it’s always a priesthood activity, because its ALL about the priesthood. Scouting is a resource to help a young man fulfill his Duty to God.

  3. Jason says:

    My son does the duty to God program because we, his parents, work on it with him at home but I almost never hear about it in the YMs program in our ward nor have I ever seen them do anything with the YM on this. I have not heard of any YM in our ward completing this program since it was initiated. We are lucky if the YM presidency is even in the ward on Sundays to supervise the quorum. Many Sundays find the bishopric scrambling to figure out what to do with the YM because the YMs presidency is not there. One counselor was MIA for months and then suddenly showed up at a scout meeting. He hardly said a word and then went back to being MIA. Another one moved and they never filled the calling. The YMs President rarely attends anything other than the joint activity once a month and works many Sundays. No one seems to care including many of the parents of these boys. Very sad.

    1. Mac McIntire says:

      Wow! How very sad that members of the Church are so casual in their faithfulness and obedience. Satan seems to be easily winning the battle over the youth of Zion. Even in my own ward we have parents who are active in the Church who cannot be bothered to bring their children to Mutual or to YM/YW activities; not even when we are taking the youth to the temple to do baptisms. For some reason, these parents cannot see the long-term impact their short-sighted choices will make on the lives of their children. I so wish people could gain an eternal perspective from which to govern their lives. “In this there is safety. In this there is peace.”

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