Monday, September 08, 2014

Doing LDS Scouting the Right Way

Mac McIntire addresses some profound truths in this LDS-BSA Relationships post. I encourage all to read the relatively short post because paraphrasing or repeating part of it is simply inadequate.

Brother McIntire tells how, after two stints as ward Young Men president, he still had little use for the Scouting program, which officially is the activity arm of the YM organization in the LDS Church. Why not just run a program similar to what the Young Women do?

When Br. McIntire shared his thoughts with his bishop, the good bishop responded, "Brother McIntire, maybe the prophet knows something you don’t know about Scouting. Maybe you should pray about it and find out why Scouting is the Lord’s program for the young men."

You will want to read what happened when a humbled Br. McIntire followed his bishop's counsel. Suffice it to say, Br. McIntire now loves Scouting. He offers this challenge: "I encourage you to pray for a testimony of Scouting. Pray to know what the prophets know. Pray to know what I now know."

The anti-Scouting sentiment that Br. McIntire once felt seems to be quite common among LDS Church members in North America. Even — perhaps especially — among men called to serve in the YM organization. Given that Scouting is a prophetic priority, perhaps we would do well to humbly consider what the root source of these unfavorable opinions might be.

In this July 2014 Ensign article, Christopher M. Grimes discusses the challenges he faced after being called to serve as Varsity coach, following his service as bishop. His initial experiences seem to echo what I wrote in this May 2012 post about how poorly Varsity Scouting is currently implemented in many LDS units.

Br. Grimes tells how his "eyes were opened" by becoming properly trained and working to implement the Varsity program instead of reinventing the wheel every week. He found that his love for each young man he served grew immensely. He writes, "Scout training made my calling 10 times easier, and we had 10 times the results."

I suppose that the main reason that some men in YM and bishopric positions fail to properly implement the Scouting programs is that they think it will be too hard — much harder than throwing together their own program. They think the benefit won't be worth the cost. This line of thinking is a diabolical deception from the adversary.

The Lord has put together a program that is designed to produce the best outcomes for our young men. The Lord promises to help and even carry us as we follow his plan. When we follow our own alternative plan we are on our own and have no such promise from the Lord (see D&C 82:10). Br. Grimes discovered this when he found that following the Scouting program was much easier and produced far superior results than following his own program.

I have seen a lot of mediocre LDS Scouting (see October 2007 post, June 2009 post) and a lot of Scouting done the wrong way (see February 2013 post). But I have also seen LDS Scouting done well (see October 2011 post, November 2011 post). Let me tell you that there is a world of difference between the two. No, there is an eternity of difference between the two for many of the young men that are served by the program.

I echo Br. McIntire's invitation. Seek your own testimony of God's prophetic priority for young men. Then work to implement that priority. You will be blessed as you do so.

1 comment:

Will Craven said...

The Boy Scouts are a wonderful organization that helps boys become good men. The LDS program is a disgrace. Merit badges are handed out with little or no effort. A "merit badge fair" last Saturday boasted that a Scout could earn five merit badges in a single day. A real merit badge actually involves some work. The way Eagles are passed out to all has devalued the award for those Scouts who actually earned it. The LDS should stop using the name Boy Scouts and come up with some other name for there program to brainwash the youth to better accept the lies of their cult.