The Spirit of Christmas is the spirit of doing good to others. What better way to honor Christ then by doing a good turn daily. The theme matches the spirit of doing a good turn with artifacts from LDS Scouts and prophets, video of “good turn” stories and floral displays.
One such exhibit features a book by Elder James E. Faust, “Christmas and the Good Turn Diary.” Elder Faust tells the story of Brigham Card, a young man in the 1930s who left his family to work in Canada. Brigham did not have any money to buy his father a Christmas gift, but he had been following his father’s example in Scouting and he was doing a good turn daily, then writing it down. He sent his good turn diary to his father with the words, “This is all I have to give to you…a record of a good turn which I have done for someone each day this year.”
Next to Elder Faust’s book is a cane owned by Joseph Knight Sr. In the 1840s, Joseph Smith Jr saw Joseph Knight Sr hobbling down a street in Nauvoo. Smith approached offered this cane to him, saying that Joseph Knight Sr needed it more than he did. It was such a nice cane to give away, but this good turn represents the spirit of giving, just as it is the spirit of Christmas.
The video playing in the lobby shows Scouts sitting around a fire telling a story of “The Christmas Scout.” It’s the story of a Scout who got many great new things for Christmas, but when he saw the needs of those around him, with out a second thought, he gave them all away. You can read a version of the story here. The story tells us that serving others brings more joy, than when you don’t. The video closed with the words, “doing a good turn is it’s own reward.”
The star of the show is the grand “good turn” Christmas tree. Designed by LDS Church florists, the tree is adorned with old Scouting photos in wooden frames, various outdoor sporting equipment, then topped off with a campaign hat and canoe oars.
The exhibit also displays several unique crèche (nativity) sets from around the world. These artifacts exemplify good turns done. For example, one crèche set was made by the Happy Factory. The Happy Factory’s founder, Charles Cooley, started this non-profit organization in Cedar City, Utah, as a way to deliver wooden toys to children in need.
Make sure to head up stairs to visit the other two Boy Scouts of America exhibits, “American Originals: Norman Rockwell and Scouting” and “A Good Turn Daily: 100 Years of Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood. Write about your good turn for the day on the good turn board and explore Norman Rockwell’s iconic art depicting Scouting. These exhibits will be closing 31 December 2013.
The Church History Museum is free and open to the public, good for any scouting activity, family home evening or date night. The Museum is located at 45 North West Temple in Salt Lake City, UT. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information please call 801-240-4615.
Author: Melany Gardner | Marketing & Program Assistant, Utah National Parks Council