On a local level, let me show you how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is closely involved in Scouting by explaining the role of the LDS-BSA Relationships Committee for the Utah National Parks Council.
What is the LDS-BSA Relationships Committee?
The LDS-BSA Relationships Committee is made up of 19 agent stake presidents assigned to work with Scouting in their respective coordinating councils. Elder Dale H. Munk was recently assigned by the Seven Presidents of the Seventy to serve as chairman of this committee for the Utah National Parks Council.
These stake presidents meet quarterly to receive vital Scouting information, discuss pressing issues and give feedback to the Council. For an idea of what kinds of topics are discussed at the meeting here is the April agenda:
Why LDS-BSA Relationships Committee?
Some might wonder why stake presidents are asked to be involved on another committee when they are already so busy. The short answer is that Scouting and the priesthood are linked and aligned. Scouting is the activity arm of the Aaronic priesthood. Until about three years ago, there had not been a functioning committee. Since its inception, the committee has helped our Scouting executives and priesthood leader communicate better and remain in harmony with one another. These discussions have helped us to implement priesthood / Scouting with more success and less confusion. Many good ideas have come from our agent stake presidents as to how Scouting works best in the church. One recent discussion emanating from this group outlined the pre-eminence of using Scouting to establish positive and long lasting relationships between adult leaders and youth. Additional discussions regarding best practices for annual planning and for extending callings to new priesthood / Scouting personnel have been outstanding.
One last thing you might not know about how we work with Scouting is that all members of the bishoprics who look after Scouting in their units (chartered organization representatives, CORs) are official voting members in the Council. They are invited every year to the Annual Council Business Meeting to vote on items such as the council budget, policies and leadership.
The Church’s Involvement at the BSA National Level
On a National level consider this: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scout of America have enjoyed a long and beneficial relationship since the Church first chartered with with the BSA in 1913 and continues to be involved at the highest levels of both organizations.
For decades, President Thomas S. Monson has served on the BSA National Executive Board and is the recipient of Scouting’s highest national and international awards. Elder Jeffery R. Holland joined the National Executive Board in 2015 and Young Men General President Stephen W. Owen and Primary General President Joy D. Jones are also members. Just this May, former Young Men General President Charles W. Dahlquist was selected as the BSA’s 10th National Commissioner becoming a member of the top three leaders of the BSA.
I feel confident knowing that these five men and women are at the helm of Scouting. Their involvement will help to represent LDS values as well as those of the Scout Oath and Law for the Boy Scouts of America.
Author: Melany Gardner | “The Boy Scout” Editor and Marketing Specialist, Utah National Parks Council