Yesterday leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the Church’s relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. The Church reiterated its intention to continue to help the BSA “succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.”
As one who has been a fervent supporter of the tremendous role Scouting plays in developing strong young men of character, I am happy to hear of this decision by the Church. However, I know there are many people who have wished, and perhaps continue to wish, the Church would get out of Scouting. I have received emails from many people expressing their views of what a new Young Men program should entail. I, too, have speculated about what the components of an LDS-created “activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood” program should be. But as I did so, I became more and more frustrated. When run properly, there is no better program for preparing boys to become future missionaries, husbands, fathers, and Melchizedek leaders than that which is provided by the Boy Scouts of America.
We still want boys who emulate the Scout Oath by doing their best to do their duty to God and country. We want boys who help other people at all times. We want young men who are physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Most important, we want boys who are now, and will ever be, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Why would the Church want to get away from that? Of course the answer is: it doesn’t. That is why the Church leaders have spent a month to thoroughly consider this issue.
I sincerely hope any LDS Aaronic Priesthood leaders or parents who may have disengaged during this brief respite while the Church leaders pondered their position will reengage. I hope those who may have not supported Scouting in the Church in the past will rethink their position. I hope every member of the Church will firmly support the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in their decision to “go forward as a chartering organization of BSA.” I testify that the values and principles espoused by the Boy Scouts of America still hold true in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No matter how much the world’s values may become diluted or contaminated, LDS Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood adult leaders and boys need to be “the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill and cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14).
The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.