By Joel Zabriskie
Oct 11, 2015

Why I Give to Scouting

When I read the news release issued by the LDS Church on August 26, 2015, I perceived it was unprecedented in my Scouting experience and life time. I don’t recall seeing a statement supporting Scouting from the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Here is the complete text:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Wednesday from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the Church’s relationship with the Boy Scouts of America:

scout with scriptures“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth. As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.

In the resolution adopted on July 27, 2015, and in subsequent verbal assurances to us, BSA has reiterated that it expects those who sponsor Scouting units (such as the Church) to appoint Scout leaders according to their religious and moral values “in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.” At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.

Quorum of the Twelve“With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.” Source – LDS Church Newsroom, August. 26, 2015

What struck me was the fact that all the Brethren in the leading Councils of the Church came to a unanimous decision regarding the Church’s partnership with BSA. This wasn’t an announcement from the Young Men General Presidency or a single member of the Quorum of the Twelve. This involved discussion and agreement among the Brethren. Here is a statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“No decision emanates from the deliberations of the First Presidency and the Twelve without total unanimity among all concerned. At the outset in considering matters, there may be differences of opinion. These are to be expected. These men come from different backgrounds. They are men who think for themselves. But before a final decision is reached, there comes a unanimity of mind and voice.” May 1994 Ensign

Eagle ScoutCurrently the Utah National Parks Council is conducting their annual Friends of Scouting campaign. The LDS Stakes and Wards within the Council are involved. We are invited to make voluntary contributions. The Church’s May 2015 Scouting Handbook, paragraph 8.15 states:

“The Church supports the BSA’s annual Friends of Scouting drive. These funds provide financial support for the BSA local council. Stake presidents and bishops oversee the drive in their units.”

If I had any doubts in my mind as whether or not I should give to Scouting this year as I have in past years, they were erased when I read the statement from the Newsroom. I don’t need to be commanded in all things, and I want to be engaged in a good cause, and do this of my own free will, and try to bring about some good. (See D & C 58:26-28) Being retired now limits my gift, so I can’t contribute as much as in the past. This is one way I can sustain the Brethren as prophets, seers and revelators. Hopefully my donation will help a Scout or two somewhere. Scouting changes and saves lives.


Author: Joel Zabriskie | Keeper of the Flame, serves as the Utah National Parks Council Budget Chairman, where he just retired as CFO/Comptroller. He is past Stake President of the Highland Utah East Stake and currently serves in the Highland Utah Stake as Patriarch.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Give to Scouting

  1. AvatarPei99

    Thanks for the reminder of what is truly important – both the Council of the Twelve and the First Presidency support Scouting. Why should I question the role of Scouting any further?

  2. AvatarSteve Faber

    I’m not sure if others struggled with the LDS-BSA relationship late this summer like I did, but after being frustrated with BSA national’s announcement, and pondering on the LDS church’s statement, and reading this blog post from Joel, and doing a lot of pondering and talking with my family, we decided to continue our annual FOS donation, for this year.

    Specifically it was this line that hit me:

    “I don’t need to be commanded in all things, and I want to be engaged in a good cause, and do this of my own free will, and try to bring about some good. (See D & C 58:26-28) ”

    My family is blessed to be able to give. Not donating to FOS this year, like I’ve done in the past, might diminish the blessings of scouting to other boys in our council.


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