By David Peterson
Jun 26, 2015

Be Prepared to Do Our Duty: Must We Choose Between our God and our Country?

“A man seeks employment on a farm. He hands his letter of recommendation to his new employer. It reads simply, ‘He sleeps in a storm.’

The owner is desperate for help, so he hires the man.

Thunderstorm on the PrairieSeveral weeks pass, and suddenly, in the middle of the night, a powerful storm rips through the valley.

Awakened by the swirling rain and howling wind, the owner leaps out of bed. He calls for his new hired hand, but the man is sleeping soundly.

So he dashes off to the barn. He sees, to his amazement, that the animals are secure with plenty of feed.

He runs out to the field. He sees the bales of wheat have been bound and are wrapped in tarpaulins.

He races to the silo. The doors are latched, and the grain is dry.

And then he understands. ‘He sleeps in a storm.'”  — Mitch Albom, Have a Little Faith

Each one of us in our lives will face different storms. In order for us to be able to sleep through our storms we must too be prepared. Pillar one of the Six Pillars of Being Prepared states, “Be prepared by developing a testimony of Christ and of the gospel while doing our duty to God and our country.”

While there are many ways to develop a testimony of Christ and of the gospel, Pillar one asks us to develop it ‘while doing our duty to God AND our country.’

Right now in our country we are going through many changes that brings question and uneasiness into the hearts of many. Social media has blown up with stories of the Jade Helm operation, the Charleston church shooting and the very recent speech by BSA President Robert Gates. With all of this happening, how can we do our duty to God and our country? Perhaps we will be forced to choose between the two?

I ponder about LDS pioneers who were driven from state to state. As the country continued to push them from place to place they did not rebel. Instead, they answered with peace and obeyed their country and also continued to obey the Lord. In fact, it was their belief in the Lord that kept them from rebelling against their brothers and sisters. They “laid down the weapons of their rebellion” (Alma 23:7) as did the Anti-Nephi-Lehites in the Book of Mormon.

As with both of these examples, if we remember to do our duty to God, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to obey his commandments, our duty to our country will always follow. Let us strive to always remember that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). So it is in Scouting. Scouting teaches us that we must “Do a Good Turn Daily.”  Baden Powell stated, “We must change boys from a ‘what can I get’ to a ‘what can I do’ attitude. Serving others IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ as He served everyone by giving His life.

Our country will always face its own storms. If we are prepared with a strong testimony of Christ and his gospel by serving God and our country, we will always be able to sleep through the storm.

Dave PetersonAuthor: David Peterson | District Director, Zion District, Utah National Parks Council

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

9 thoughts on “Be Prepared to Do Our Duty: Must We Choose Between our God and our Country?

  1. AvatarDan Madsen

    Great article — well written and exactly what we need to hear. With leaders like you our young men are in good hands and I am sure that they will be prepared for any “storms” that may come their way. Keep up the great work!

  2. Avatarmbrown

    Great article. I appreciate the way we are able to combine scouting and gospel principles. They are great at building good men of God.

  3. AvatarBrad Horrocks

    B. Take the message and apply it to your own faith, just because there are LDS references doesn’t mean the message isn’t worthwhile. Duty to god and country with a testimony of Christ and whatever doctrine you believe will help you “sleep through the storms” and our country needs more of that. Or just dismiss it as preachy LDS. We have a great assistant scoutmaster who belongs to another faith who hears LDS references at Wood Badge, scout camp, round table, and these publications all the time as expected in this part of the world, and he understands the take home message for him according to his faith. I thought it was a great message Dave.

  4. AvatarVicki Gerlach

    David, I enjoyed your comments of doing your duty, despite the storms around you. It is very sound for every scout to find your faith to be very similar to theirs. As men grow and work in the work force to provide for their family, they will be saving, studying, changing fields, getting insurance, working on healthy habits and still find things they couldn’t fully plan, yet still be successful because they had God backing them sincerely and with all His heart. I am so appreciative you lead in this council and hope you will continue to have faith in the scouting efforts of origin principles. Where an organization has God given principles in it, there is God backing it. Lauren Johnson, 11th grader, wrote in her 2015 Freedom Festival Winning Essay:
    Trenchard and Gordon’s Cato’s Letters tell us,
    “Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation,
    must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech; a
    Thing terrible to Public Traitors.” Free speech allows
    the people to keep their government in check through
    common opinion, as well as promote essential beliefs
    and principles that benefit the morals of society.

    (Note added before continuing Johnson’s Essay found in American Heritage School, American Fork, Utah, Newsletter: Cato’s Letters are essays on civil and religious liberty by
    British writers John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, first
    published from 1720 to 1723 under the pseudonym of
    Cato (95–46 BC), a famously stubborn champion of
    republican principles and intractable foe of Julius Caesar.
    Trenchard’s and Gordon’s arguments strongly influenced
    the ideals of the American Revolution. It is estimated that
    half the private libraries in the American colonies held
    bound volumes of Cato’s Letters on their shelves.)
    Lauren Johnson says:
    Though free speech can offend people, spread lies, and
    destroy morale, it can also inform, teach, and promote
    general excellence. As such, it is unfortunate that fewer
    and fewer people take advantage of the good side of
    free speech.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your words, David. I have worried about the protection of scouts because of it’s fantastic position in the world to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I believe it must be protected like a church of a denomination as it is a faith of a group of denominations. AHS struggles with protection to stay accredited as a religious educator because of marriage and the law of chastity. To this we see what will unfold. As I see scouting and religious schools under attach I see unity of allies. I believe Boy Scouts of American should contact Bucket Fund, a law firm committed to protect religious liberties. Where there is not freedom of religioun there is not peace and the Supreme Court understands this and has been very favorable. When groups come together of the same faith–faith in family– with different religious names, there should be unity of free practice of religion. The Boy Scouts was always intended to raise MEN OF FAMILY QUAILTY. It is hard for men to get the support of their own wives–a cultural influence has left many stranded. They have images of stepping down in the board room, for less efforts or even hues of more negative positions in all the ugly rainbow like images. As you know in the LDS faith it is believed a man becomes a man of quality through steps, ranks. This coming of age is not new. It is in American Indian culture and I believe this is typical in many cultures–recognizing you can’t make a man out of boy behavior, but through giving incremental responsibility and care and guidance and truly the wiliness of a boy to earn such a growth title. Girls typically see a crying baby, and empathy kicks in to automatically pick them up to sooth them. They seem to self assign themselves. Boys really need scouting in it’s original pure form. It is so good and well done, it is under such great attack. I hope all the presidents will stand and downsize and even recruit more adult women to help where some men haven’t the vision to lead men to the boyhood of fatherhood ideals, not to say adults with the hearts for family structures, regardless of their circumstances, are perfect in the family classroom setting, but to say there is perfect ideas we can have a “perfect understand” through study and efforts to apply it, Like Captain Moroni in the LDS Book of Mormon. he was a man of “Perfect Understand”. I say keep up the work in Faith that God will bless this great Umbrella where many of faith find shield and fellowship under. My favorite high school teacher was a Jewish man. May all faiths feel the friendship of my faith. I celebrate my daughter who is on a choir tour singing in a Jewish School and singing one of their songs; singing on the Lincoln Memorial, reminding me of Tim Ballard’s efforts to protect from children trafficking and his 13 years of no Thursday night’s going without sleep to learn through primary research on the Covenant of America. My husband had the privilege to be Tim’s son’s scout leader, and Tim understood treating a boy well is vigilants on parents and leader’s parts. He attended his sons overnighters because of his daily understanding. This is a hard world for boys so keep up your effort to be optimistic to lead as our founder lead of scouting boys to achieve their personal success in family life. I discovered “Follow Me boys” a Walt Disney movie from the scouting office. My husband liked it as a boy and got it I cry and cheer and cry as I witness the victories of family and community life with it’s challenges. It may be one of my top 10 movie picks. What the boys need is a vision and watching the movie recognizes scouting has roots.

  5. AvatarMaloree Anderson

    What a great article on a subject that seems to be very sensitive at the moment. The words that stood out to me were, “love our neighbors as ourselves.” This statement means so much to me. I try to live and accept everyone, even when I don’t agree with their beliefs or values. I believe that we are all God’s children and in order to duty our duty to God, we must do as he would, which is love everyone. In turn, you will be doing your duty to your country because of the unity and respect that you will show.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.