We all know that our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, loves Scouting. The Brethren don’t want us to be frustrated, or anxious, or worried about the recent announcement that the Church will no longer run the Varsity and Venturing programs. Elder Jeffery R. Holland, at a national Boy Scout meeting earlier this year, quotes Groucho Marx, saying, “There is less going on here than meets the eye.” In addition he said, that there’s less changing than you may think.
We need to remember that the Church’s association with Boy Scouting is continuing. We are discontinuing the Varsity and Venturing programs simply because we’ve never been, in Elder Hollands’s words, “terrifically successful” in fulfilling those programs. As young men get older they become interested in young women, they start driving, and they start working. As the missionary age has changed to a younger age, I believe our leaders simply wanted to refocus some of those years and activities.
So, our association with the Boy Scouts of America continues, full and strong. All of our young men need to be registered as Boy Scouts, as will boys 14 and older who are continuing to work on their Eagle. Like I saw at the recent court of honor, many teachers and priests earn merit badges or rank advancements. These boys will continue to be registered as Boy Scouts and the program will continue.
Our leaders want to help all of the young men be prepared for the blessings of the temple; to be prepared for the blessings of serving a mission. Therefore, our activities will continue to follow some basic principles that I believe we have always tried to follow. Our leaders are encouraged to spend time and be with the young men. President Henry B. Eyring said, “Even more powerful than using words in our teaching the doctrine will be our examples of living the doctrine…In priesthood preparation, ‘show me’ counts more than ‘tell me.” It’s great if we teach lessons, but it’s even more powerful if we demonstrate living the gospel, and we do that when we spend time with our young men.
We are also asked to focus on connecting young men with heaven. Our Heavenly Father is always there, and no matter what is happening in a young man’s life, at some point he will stand alone. When they know that they are connected to our Heavenly Father, they can do anything and accomplish anything.
The third thing that our leaders want the young men to be able to do is lead. Sometimes it’s hard for us old folks to turn the time over to the young men and let them lead. Sometimes we feel like maybe it’s easier for us just to do it. Not so. Our young men are the leaders and I have seen it demonstrated all the time during Scouting activities and courts of honor.
I want to thank the young men for all the good that you are doing. As you live the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, please remember that you are exemplifying the attributes of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We know that as a young man, He increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and with men. You are doing likewise. I bear testimony of the great work done through Scouting. Please continue on, work towards your Eagle, it is worth it. I share this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Author: Brett Birmingham | Second Counselor in Provo Parkway Stake Presidency