As I read through the conversations, one thing continued to come to my mind, “How do I know the Boy Scouts of America is an inspired program?” I knew then, that I wanted to share with you my process.
When I have concerns about something very important to me –for example, the well-being of my family, or young people under my guidance– there is a special method I use in seeking direction. The method I’m going to walk you through, I have used dozens of times to answer life’s questions, including questions about the Church’s and my own involvement in Scouting.
I invite and challenge you to follow it for yourself.
Step 1: Pray
Do you have doubts, questions, concerns, misgivings, misunderstandings about the relationship between the BSA and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Why not try asking the only person who knows your heart, knows the youth in your influence, and loves them, probably more than you do.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” – James 1:5
Ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith. Ask your Heavenly Father if the Boy Scouts of America is not an inspired program relevant to your young men today. (Moroni 10:4)
If you are brave enough to ask the Almighty about the relevancy of a program supported by the Church — realizing that this step requires one to put aside their pride and opinions — then you are brave enough to take on the next step.
Step 2: How
This next step is dependent on your receiving an answer, of course. But I am confident that those who seek an answer with real intent, will indeed receive an answer. I won’t go into the complicated ways in which individuals receive personal revelation, but if you’re ready, here’s the next question to ask the Lord – “How?”
For this part we’ll do a little role playing and go through both scenarios.
Let’s say the Holy Ghost has manifested to you that the Boy Scouts of America is indeed an inspired program relevant to your young men today.
Wow. Let’s take a moment and ponder that. What does that mean? At this point I feel the urge to take some sort of action. I know if we stop there and don’t take any action, then that glimpse of a testimony will fade quickly.
Okay, so Scouting is intimidating. Where do I start? There are so many good (and bad) examples out there, how do I know what to do? (Internal screaming, pulling out hair, etc.)
Simple. Ask of God. This time let’s try asking Him, “How should I implement the program?”
Again there’s a lot of complicated ways people receive revelation. You can look here –> LDS.org <– for guidance on how to receive personal revelation.
Hopefully the answer to the “how” question won’t frustrate everyone else like the Scout volunteers, professionals, young men, leaders etc, but I make no promises. (If you live in the Utah National Parks Council, BSA, you’re in luck; see in step 3.)
Now, perhaps your answer was to the negative and, for you, the Boy Scouts of America is not an inspired program for your youth. Then the question you may ask God is: “How do you I proceed?” or “Where can I go to find help and direction for my young men?”
Especially for some international cases, or likewise you may get this answer. Which is okay, there’s nothing wrong with that, when it was the Lord who told you, rather than the teachings of men. Now it’s just a matter of creativity and inspiration to find what’s best for your youth.
Step 3: Share
Now that your ready to implement the BSA programs, and you have an idea of how, it’s time to share the load. Let everyone know! Especially tell your local council and district leaders. That way they can know how to better serve you.
Here at the Utah National Parks Council, BSA, we have taken this to heart. We have actively sought out the views, opinions and counsel of the key holders in our area. From Districts meeting personally with stake presidents about the needs of their youth, to professional research, we want to know the answer to the question “How can we better serve you?” Read more about this research and the outcomes here –>Why Scouting Matters to LDS Church Leaders<–. We’re listening!
Sometimes even we, the Council, don’t know how best to implement the program for your youth and that’s why we need your direction and often your help. Tell us how we can help you help the young men!
In closing, I want you to know that I believe that the Boy Scouts of America is an inspired program and is relevant for the young men today. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be here. I believe there’s room for improvement on all sides of the big picture of Scouting, and that’s an exciting challenge to overcome in our day.
Just as I believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, I believe that the Boy Scouts of America is an inspired program as long as implemented correctly. I love the bible. Sometimes I get frustrated by it’s difficult wording and confusing passages, but when I finally get it, it’s beautiful. I feel that reading the bible enhances my reading of the Book of Mormon. I love Scouting, sometimes it’s frustratingly confusing or difficult. But, similarly, I believe that the BSA enhances the use of the priesthood and puts teaching into practice.
I invite you to take on this challenge and take action.
Author: Melany Gardner | Editor, The Boy Scout | Wasatch District Executive, Utah National Parks Council, BSA
Editor’s Note: Be advised that this article was written for the perspective of a priesthood leader who has authority to guide direction for their youth, but the principles certainly apply to anyone with a question about the LDS-BSA relationship.