Newly Published: Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
By Kevin V. Hunt
For many years, I have had repeated requests for a purchase opportunity of the book “Scouting in The LDS Church”. I am pleased to announce that this book is now available in a newly updated and reprinted version as the Collector’s Gold – Final Edition. I invite you to make a purchase:
Hardback Version – Available on Lulu.com: Order the Hardback Version
Paperback Edition – Available on Amazon.com Order the Paperback Edition
Order the Kindle Version: Order the Kindle Version
Here is the Story and Introduction:
World Scouting began in the year 1907 under the God-inspired leadership and tutelage of its founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell in England. This book again reiterates that glorious founding and the beginning of the world-wide Scouting program. God be thanked for Lord Baden-Powell. He was a man of God and he implemented eternal principles in the development of the grand program of Scouting.
Most Scouters of the United States are also generally familiar with the story of how the Scouting program came to the United States. As the story goes, William D. Boyce, a Chicago newspaper publisher was in England. He became confused (or was it lost) in a dense fog for which London is so well known. Then, out of the fog came a young man who performed a much-needed good turn. He led the man to his destination.
Following the good turn, Boyce was grateful for the services of the young man and offered to pay him for his help. He was very surprised when the boy refused Boyce’s gratuity. The “Unknown Scout” (as he has forever since been known) told Mr. Boyce that he was a Scout and as such, was expected to do a “Good Turn” each day. Boyce was much impressed and inquired further about this “Scout” business. The Scout took him to meet Lord Baden-Powell.
Mr. Boyce was very much impressed with Baden-Powell and excited about the program that Baden-Powell had begun. Then, armed with inspiration and materials of the Scouting program, Boyce returned home. He gathered youth and outdoor scholars of the day (Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Beard and many others) and together they developed what would become The Boy Scouts of America. The organization was established on February 8, 1910 and formally incorporated by the US Congress in 1916.
At the beginning, Scouting flourished everywhere around the country as men and boys became excited about the program and affiliated with the National Organization in New York City. In 1913, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became the first organization to officially adopt the program of The Boy Scouts of America as its own program for its boys. Early Church leaders and Prophets latched onto the program with full force and stamina as well as ardent support. Church leaders everywhere soon had opportunity to use the full program – combined with the Aaronic Priesthood – to meet the needs, energy and excitement of boys throughout the Church.
And then for nearly 107 years, the Church has been in a grand partnership with The Boy Scouts of America. And that association has been truly grand and marvelous. And in those years, generations of Scouts and dedicated leaders have experienced the grandeur of Scouting by the Lord’s design. Amazing are the lessons learned, the training received, and the effect of the program. Nostalgic has been the camping, the mountaineering, the campfire programs, and the brotherhood of the program.
In 2013, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrated – again in the grandest of style – the century-long association – the partnership – with The Boy Scouts of America. A book, “A Century of Honor” was written to commemorate the partnership. (And I was privileged to be a member of a team of historians who helped create that book.) A marvelous and exciting extravaganza was held for all Scouts of the Church radiating from The Conference Center in Salt Lake City. What an amazing and wonderful celebration. The Church really did it up in great style. Every Scout and leader gloated in and rejoiced in their personal ties to Scouting and the Church/BSA association.
And for several more years, Church Scouting leaders continued to do as they had always done … doing their best to deliver the best program possible for the young men of the Church.
Then, in May 2018, it all came crashing down – or so it seemed. On May 11th came the shocking announcement that effective January 1, 2020, the Church would cease formal association with The Boy Scouts of America (and all other world-wide Scouting organizations). Was it the “3-G’s” – (girls, gays and godless) that had wreaked havoc and total loss of BSA resources in litigation over recent years? Was it the huge amount of money needed to sustain the association? Perhaps so, but none of that matters. Though it came as a real shock, a Prophet of God had spoken, and it became all of us to follow his lead and direction.
With the news of formal association coming to a close, also came the promise of a world-wide program applicable to youth everywhere in the growing world Church. And while the methods of Scouting may not be so clearly defined, the principles and opportunities for new adventures will always be there available for us to use and enjoy.
So, what now? Well, first off … The Scouting/LDS association ends on December 31, 2019. But is that the end? Will Scouting forever be wiped from the memory of the millions of LDS Scouts and leaders who have participated? Will we no longer have opportunity to associate in the Boy Scouting program? Does that mean that no more LDS Scouts will ever be able to achieve the coveted rank of Eagle Scout? Will we ever stop living the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law?
All of that depends, I guess, upon our own individual decisions and how we want to go forward as individuals, families, groups and communities. We can each have a say in the future and how we envision it going forward. With the passage of time, history will be kind to The Boy Scouts of America and our memories of what it has been and meant to each individual Scout and leader who has participated in it through Church Scouting.
On one occasion, the Prophet Brigham Young said of his prophet predecessor, Joseph Smith, his work and mission: “I feel like shouting Hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet whom the Lord raised up and ordained, and to whom he gave keys and power to build up the Kingdom of God on earth and sustain it.” (DBY, 456). I think that this statement will sum up what each of us might say as we look back in future years as we recall our blessed association and our own roles and experiences through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and The Boy Scouts of America. That will and ever will be a part of each of us.
Scouting and the Church will no longer be officially affiliated, but we can remain “friends” and we can go forward. Each of us who so chooses, can retain personal and family Scouting affiliation. And yes, our sons (and even now daughters) can still become Eagle Scouts!
Scouting and Scouting in the Church will pass into history – as all good things do. But we should all forever remember the lessons learned, the activities shared, the brotherhood and the grandeur of the Scouting traditions within each of us.
Although he lived some 2500 years ago, none of us tire of reading of the experiences of Nephi as he left Jerusalem, as he sojourned in the wilderness, as he obtained the brass plates from Laban, as he communed with God and received revelation and inspiration from his mountain tops or how he remained faithful and obedient throughout his life. And the LDS pioneer experience never gets old. No matter how often we hear of the travels, the sacrifices and the testimony of our pioneer ancestors, we are uplifted, inspired, grateful and excited about the treasured legacy that they left to us. We relish in our connections to them and have pride in their accomplishments. Whether it is US, World, Church or personal history, it is that … a treasured history to be studied and remembered.
So it should be with our memories of our Scouting associations and experiences. Even though we will no longer have official church affiliation with Scouting, the legacy is there. How can we ever forget the training received, the recitation and daily living of the Scout Oath and Law? How can we dismiss the Scouting traditions so ingrained in us through family generations? How can we forget those special times around the campfire, the brotherhood shared with our brothers – fellow Scouts and leaders – our Scouting brothers? Scouting will and should live on in each of us. That is why this book is written … it need not be the final chapter.
All former Scouts, leaders, parents, teachers, trainers, and everyone who has been a part of Scouting should commit to keeping the Scouting legacy alive. We should each commit anew each day to remember and live the Scouting ideals in our own lives. And we need to record and share our Scouting experiences with our progeny. Who knows but what our Scouting experiences will some day be quoted as are our ancestor stories or even the stories and experiences of Nephi and other great men who have lived before? What will be our Scouting legacy that we leave behind? As noted already, the Scouting principles that we have learned are eternal. Though the delivery methods and programs may change, the principles will live on.
It is in this spirit that you are given opportunity to read and study again of the Scouting legacy within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It truly is a grand legacy and there is much that is good and great as we celebrate the past associations and then together begin new chapters in the days ahead.
Best wishes along your current Scouting trails and as you walk the path of Scouting memories. May Scouting live on in each of us and the lives of our families!
evin V. Hunt