By Michelle Carpenter
Jan 04, 2017

A Scout is Clean–12 Days of a Scout Christmas

Traditionally, the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and last until the evening of January 5th – also known as Twelfth Night. The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and were a time of celebration.

It has been our custom at The Boy Scout to post a Scouter’s minute each day leading up to Christmas. This year, we decided to try something new. The Christ­mas messages will focus on the lives of modern-day prophets and times when they exemplified a point of the Scout Law. Come back for the next eleven days to find out how prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been trustworthy, loyal, helpfulfriendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Joseph Smith teaches us to be clean.

Joseph Smith was Clean

It’s important to be clean in mind, body, and spirit–and Joseph Smith understood that.

” But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been…I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies.” (JSH 1)

He hungered for a clean soul, and he repented frequently when he felt he was lacking. He also believed in the importance of keeping his body clean.

It was the end of winter, and Joseph Smith received life-changing health instructions from God for Latter-day Saints:

“Every morning after breakfast, the men met in the school to hear instruction from Joseph Smith. The room was very small, and about 25 elders packed the space.2 The first thing they did, after sitting down, was “light a pipe and begin to talk about the great things of the kingdom and puff away,” Brigham Young recounted. The clouds of smoke were so thick the men could hardly even see Joseph through the haze. Once the pipes were smoked out, they would then “put in a chew on one side and perhaps on both sides and then it was all over the floor.”3 In this dingy setting, Joseph Smith attempted to teach the men how they and their converts could become holy, “without spot,” and worthy of the presence of God.”

How was this evidence of Joseph’s cleanness? It wasn’t. The circumstances were filthy, certainly not ideal for revelation from God. But then, Joseph Smith decided to act.

“The whole situation seemed less than ideal for those who were called of God as these elders were, especially when we remember that the room with the filthy floor was Joseph’s “translation room,” the same place where he received revelations in the name of God. Joseph began inquiring of the Lord about what could be done, and on February 27, scarcely a month after the school started, he received the revelation later canonized as Doctrine and Covenants 89.”

The revelation he received ushered in a new attitude of cleanness among saints. They were invited not to smoke or use strong drink. They were encouraged to eat grains, herbs, and wholesome food.

When he told the men the news, they reacted immediately. They tossed their tobacco pipes into the fire. LDS members continue to live this law of health today.

Boy Scouts also commit to being clean. They must decide for themselves what is required to be clean in body, soul, and mind. As they reflect on this story, they can learn to look for answers from God.

As they turn to Him, they will know what is required to be clean.


Author: Michelle Carpenter | Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council.



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