Ryan Wood, a Scoutmaster in our council, begins the video with the reason why the outdoors can be a great tool for testimony building, he said, “My favorite thing is when they are out in the outdoors it seems like young men are a little bit more free with their testimony and some of the most powerful testimony meetings I’ve seen are in those experiences.”
Chad Lewis, former NFL football player, relates how the consistency of teachings at church and in Scouting strengthened his testimony, he said, “Scouting helped my testimony because the values you learn in Scouting are the exact same values that you learn at church.”
A Cub Scout leader and mother of five Eagle Scouts, Cindy Gagon, has seen young men grow in their testimonies through Scouting, starting as Cub Scouts where they get their first opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
“Scouting provides a vehicle for young men to go outside,” said Brad Harris, author of Trials to Testimony. “I learned almost anytime you leave a building to go outside — where you see nature, where you experience nature — boys are distracted from other things in the world and their minds and hearts are more receptive to the spirit.”
He also mentions that to help a young man gain a testimony, it takes an inspired leader to lead discussions — who has a strategic purpose for that end in the outdoors — then, you have a perfect storm.
Robert Louder, a member of a stake presidency in the Utah National Parks Council, recalled an experience where his young men hiked up King’s Peak, a difficult hike to the highest peak in Utah. He said the boys experienced some “suffering” on the trail, but when they reached their destination, inspired leaders lead a reflection.
“Those who went up the mountain shared powerful testimony,” he said. ” They knew they were able to overcome obstacles in their lives…strengthen their testimonies…and be able to bear powerful testimonies as they served as missionaries of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The video ends with the touching experience of Stephen Webber, a former bishop and author of Shepherd of the Flock, who at 14 years-old was not attending church. One day friends from the ward invited him to a Scouting activity to build a boat. He thought that sounded like a lot of fun and joined the Scout troop from then on.
“Then all of a sudden, through this activity, I started to develop a testimony of my own,” he said. ” If it weren’t for those kids inviting me out to build a boat, I never would have developed a testimony of my own of the Savior Jesus Christ.
This is the first installment in a series of six videos produced with special thanks to Eagle Scout, Harrison Webber and Web-5 Productions for the Utah National Parks Council, BSA. Each video will focus on one of the Six Pillars of Being Prepared: Testimony, Service, Mission Preparation, Confidence, Life Skills and Integrity.
Author: Melany Gardner | “The Boy Scout” Editor and Marketing Specialist, Utah National Parks Council