By Utah National Parks Council
Feb 22, 2016

Stephen W. Owen, YM General President, Inspires Scouters

Stephen W. Owen, General Young Men President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke Saturday at the 2016 University of Scouting, telling attendees that having young men and mentors come together is what Scouting is all about.

Brother Owen gave the keynote address at the event held February 18 at the Utah Valley University Institute Building and addressed his comments to Scouters in the Utah National Parks Council. He spoke fondly of his own Scouting experiences and said the thing that mattered most to him as a Scout were the associations he had with other boys and his leaders.

Brother Owen went on to encourage leaders to keep the real purpose of Scouting in mind:

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi is commanded to build a ship. There’s a lot that went into it and I’m not going to go into the whole story, but if we are not thinking clearly and not looking at the right purpose, we may think that building the ship was the goal.

Do you know what it really was? The real goal was to build the ship to get to the Promise Land. I want you to think of Scouting in that regard. When we think of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Scouting is not ‘it’, Scouting is not ‘the goal’, it’s not ‘the purpose’, it’s only part of the vehicle that helps us to the, so called, Promise Land.

We understand the purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood, we understand the purpose of the Church and the need in trying to help our young men. We look at it as between the ages of eight and eighteen, what does a boy need to be when he turns eighteen? What does he need to become? We know that we want them to become a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, not just to stay as an Aaronic Priesthood holder. Become a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, endowed in the temple, serve a mission and become a husband and a father. All these wonderful things that come their way in the future are for them, the promise land.

He also addressed the 103-year relationship between the Church and the Boy Scouts of America, referring to the new adult leadership resolution passed by the BSA and statements given from the Church in the past few months that caused concern among many members of both organizations.

Many have expressed concern at the phrase “At this time” in the Church’s statement. Brother Owen said, “‘At this time…,’ that’s a fair and accurate statement. At this time, we as the Young Men General Presidency are in. We need to understand that President Thomas S. Monson is our prophet and when he makes a statement, that’s what we do and we are grateful for that.”

“I love Scouting and I know all of you do. Let’s move forward. Let’s not sit in idle, let’s not sit on the sidelines and worry about it. Let’s move forward and keep going.”

Stephen Owen

Author: Stephen W. Owen | General Young Men President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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3 thoughts on “Stephen W. Owen, YM General President, Inspires Scouters

  1. Maloree Anderson

    I attended this University of Scouting and had the blessing to hear his words in person. It’s exactly what we need to hear. I loved that he said “We are all in.” I came away from his keynote excited to continue working alongside the BSA. This is a great work that we are doing and having heard that the LDS church is all in with Scouting is such a strong motivation!

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  2. DOUG DRURY

    I have closely studied the BSA resolution on the change in leadership registration requirements and the LDS church’s responses and the UNPC outlines of why we must accept the decision of BSA and the church’s position as it moves forward with the scouting program. I have been an active scouter for over 40 years in all parts of our country wherever my employment took me and enjoyed immensely the opportunities I’ve had in both LDS and non-LDS scouting units to help young men grasp the meaning of scouting and see them succeed. The question of allowing gay leaders into the program has been fought for many years, mostly successful until the recent tide in this country turned under pressure from such groups as LGBT to force their way into organizations that prohibited their entry due to the common belief of most religious organizations in a deity that looks with disfavor on those of his children who refuse to repent of the homosexual act and follow the commandments. The leadership of the BSA indicates it has determined from extensive study and counsel that successfully arbitrating this question again before our current liberal supreme court at this time is unwinnable. I agree. That leaves me with the decision whether or not to abide by the tenants of the Prophet for the LDS scouting program. Since it is apparent the LDS leadership and other religious organizations secured their right to choose scout leaders in accordance with their standards under the First Amendment I will also support that direction. I am however dismayed and fearful of the future of BSA and other units that do not have our protection and will be subject to the pressures and wishes of various gay organizations that will eventually in time undermine the concepts of scouting promoted by scouting’s founder Lord Baden Powell. Remember his word’s when the “nose of the camel” that is now under the tent is someday standing in the middle of the feast. “The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God…we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class…In the Scouts each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged…[through this] we have the opportunity in developing the spirit of mutual good will and understanding., ” —Lord Robert Baden-Powell

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