By Lizbeth Caldwell
Oct 11, 2017

One Mom’s Take on Scouting

From its beginning, Scouting has emphasized spirituality and religious values. Scouting’s founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell said:

There is no religious ‘side’ of the movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God. Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don’t let the technical outweigh the moral. . . . Our objective in the Scout movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God’s kingdom on earth.”

Consider  the three aims of Scouting, character, citizenship and fitness. Together they build strong values, qualities, outlook and spiritual growth. The boyhood of Jesus Christ was described in the scriptures in one verse, which captures these aims of Scouting amazingly well: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). The phrase “favor with God” describes character; “favor with man” describes citizenship; and to increase “in wisdom and stature” describes mental and physical fitness.

One day, while serving in the Provo Ut South Mission, I asked an assistant to the Mission President about how Scouting prepared him to be a Christ like person:

“Being a Boy Scout and an Eagle Scout has taught me to be compassionate towards others and to help rise them to their potential. My first time going to a Boy Scout camp was for a week long camp. I was just 12 years old. Almost all of the boys (we were all first time Scouts) cried softly in our sleeping bags—having been away from home our first time and having been asked to do hard things.  I was on the verge of tears myself. 

“I got up and then knelt down to pray and ask Heavenly Father for comfort.  I felt this overwhelming comfort and and wanted to share it with everyone in my tent.  They all joined me in prayer and a hymn and got back in our sleeping bags.  As I listened to each of them sleep softly the spirit whispered to me —it is good to look outward and help others to feel and recognize comfort. I am forever grateful for this beautiful privilege of learning that prayers are answered.”

This young man is constantly humming hymns around the mission office and asking each of us what he can do to help us …when his load is even heavier than ours with being the missionary leader of 240 missionaries. 

Lets consider the spiritual aspects of Scouting by looking at Scouting’s Ideas:

Scout Oath

On my honor I promise to do my best to do my duty to God, and country, and to obey the scout law.  To help other people at all times and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,

Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, Brave, clean and reverent.

Motto: Be prepared Slogan: Do a good turn daily

Ether 12:4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

I had the privilege of driving three young men from our troop to National Youth Leader Training three hours from our home and back home again. They were excellent young men, natural leaders with testimonies of the gospel and had been participating in Scouting because of church obligation and parent expectations. 

I will never forget the excitement in the car on the ride home from this training.  In their enthusiasm for what they had learned and what they wanted to share with their troop, one of the Scouts said to me:  “Why didn’t you tell me how God’s hand is in this program?” 

I put it all together with with  this acronym:

B – Build character – Keep the commandments

– Service – Who taught us by example how to serve?

A – Activities that lead to a testimony of Christ

Can you imagine my shock?  How could he not know the Scout oath and know what it means? 

The boys and I talked the rest of the way home about what it meant to say and live the Scout oath, repeat it when making the Scout sign and what that sign represents.  From that day forward, our Scout advancement committee and troop leaders were trained to help these young men realize the meaning of oath they were saying and honoring.

Author: Lizbeth Caldwell | Silver Beaver and Scouting mom with grown Scouts who discovered the value of Scouting as a Primary President in Oregon. 

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