BP also said that: “The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and recognizing that God is the one Father of us all, that we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class.” I believe for an organization like the Boy Scouts to function well, we need to adhere to the same principles. It does not matter what religion or sect a Scout chooses but if he has aligned himself with the Declaration of Religious Principle (page 17) then all scouts can grow together. We all have one purpose and if we are in one mind then we will be able to help each other grow and progress.
Every month on The Boy Scout we theme an article on one of the Six Pillars of Being Prepared. For the month of January, we’re focusing on Pillar 1 – Testimony. Pillar 1 states, “Be prepared by developing a testimony of Christ and of the gospel while doing our duty to God and our country.”
Recently the Boy Scouts of America has gone through a few policy changes. One policy of allowing gay scouts and leaders to participate has been particularly trying for many. As the representatives from different Councils across the US as well as National BSA representatives met, tensions were high. Even after a resolution was met, tension still remained. We all need to subscribe to the same principles now more than ever. In a transcript 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 he said:
“Some may not see the sacred gatekeeping role Scouting plays. They may see only fundraising and not a foundation. Others may brand Scouting activities as merely outdoor recreation, but it can and must be shown that BSA is not a camping club; it is a character university centered on duty to God.
“I quote again from Robert Baden-Powell: ‘The whole of [scouting] is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.'”
“I stand here today with a resolute belief that Scouting must never overlook this core principle. We still need duty to God. We always will. When the societal and political winds come, and they surely will, Scouting cannot unhinge itself from this foundational principle. This great organization cannot be deterred when we remain strong in our solid foundation, when we stand united for duty to God.”
Young men learn to do hard things and when they stretch themselves to do hard things that they didn’t know they could do, they rely on a power greater than themselves. This power can be in many forms but as I look back on my own Scouting experiences I realize that the power to stretch and grow was given to me from my religious leaders, my Scouting leaders, my parents, my troop and crew, and my Savior. Scouts can and will learn to honor each other and God by learning their duty and doing it.
Author: Scott Major | District Executive, Tavaputs District, Utah National Parks Council