Part of a speech given by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the Boy Scouts of America national annual meeting on 23 May 2013.
Sometimes we forget that we are part of a like-minded faith-based society — that the precepts embodied in the scout oath, are generally regarded and respected in our culture. Recent studies indicate that 80% of Americans believe in heaven and 73% believe God has a plan for them.[Mark Chaves, “The Decline of American Religion?” The Association of Religion Data Archives (2011).] That notwithstanding, boy scouts of today face issues not faced by generations before them: declining morals, technology, addictive behavior, and declining academic performance to name a few. I believe that the key to solving these issues lies in family and duty to God. If boys truly understood what their duty to God entails and lived it, they would grow safely into manhood. That is where the Boy Scouts of America can help. Speaking on behalf of the organization I represent, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I feel that it is this common belief in duty to God that has forged the iron-strong connection with Boy Scouts of America we have shared over the last 100 years. One hundred years of evidence has shown that this impact-proof, non-rusting core principle works better than whatever has been, historically, the next-best idea. Duty to God is where the power lies. Duty to God is what changes lives.
A God-given vision of their potential as men is powerful when it’s as common as a compass to young Scouts.
Yes, the answer to the challenge of the century is simple: duty to God. This answer is a bold but true concept, one for which I claim no authorship, and which has existed from the infancy of this organization. When asked where religion enters into Scouting, Lord Robert Baden-Powell replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting.”
Author: Bishop Gary E. Stevenson | Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints