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The LDS Scouting program and BSA program

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GernBlansten, "So is the priesthood no longer a prerequisite for being an SPL in an LDS unit? If not, when did that change?"


As far as I know it has always been that way.


I have both the last Scouting Handbook(1985) and the current handbook(1997)and they both allow for non-member boys to be SPLs as long as they meet the church worthiness standards in an interview with the IH(Bishop).


However, I will say that its usually the YM who is the Quorum President(think Class President)called by the Bishop.


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jhankins, "Patrols and programs are supposed to be run in a textbook fashion like this:


11 year olds (Their own troop)

12-13 Boy Scouts

14-16 Varsity Scouts

16-18 Venturing"


While everything, jhankins, say is true and I agree with, I just wanted to make one small correction.


11 year olds are not a troop of their own. They are a patrol under the Boy Scout Troop. However, they meet separately from the troop. This is because they are not part of an Aaronic Priesthood quorum until they turn 12.


When I was an 11 year old scout leader, I had one of the older boys help out as a troop guide.


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I think that part of the problem here is that we non-LDS Scouters know much less about LDS Scouting than we'd like. The perception that I have is that of a somewhat withdrawn, self-segregated group within Scouting that I learn about mainly through isolated encounters with LDS Scouters. While I certainly realize that this is not the best way to form a perception, it's usually all I have to work with.


Is this perception common, and if so how might it be countered?

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Eagle92, "If this sound like bashing, I'm sorry as that is not my intent. Hopefully you know this from our other conversations, both public and private."


Pointing out differences or problems a person has seen in order to get clarification is not bashing.


Eagle92, "I think the biggest problem is the lack of communication on both the LDS units' and districts' parts."


I also think this is a problem. But I don't think its specifically an LDS problem as much as it is one of units not getting involved at the district level. If unit leaders never attend monthly round tables and monthly district meetings they will never get the information needed on district and council programs. And some leaders just don't think its important enough to attend.


Eagle92 "For what ever reason the LDS units i am most familiar with really have nothing to do with the rest of the district, and this appears to be common in my neck of the woods."


In my neck of the woods its just the opposite the non-lds units seem to have nothing to do with the rest of the district. Though in conversation with some of the non-LDS unit leaders it has to do with the attitude of some of the LDS units. This happened before I moved here, but I still see the problems.


Eagle92, "I know that folks have tried and tried to get them involved, only to get frustrated at run around given as we are told that another person is in charge now, or never receiving return calls. So we've given up on trying to contact them."


I understand the only thing I can recommend is to get with the Stake President (leader in charge of the Stake)and see if he can help you with the problem.


Other than that a district e-mail letter maybe a solution. Thats what we do in our district.

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There is one significant program difference that hasn't been mentioned yet. My understanding - and please correct me if I'm wrong! - is that the 11-year-old Scout patrol is only allowed to go camping three times a year, and that each campout can only be for a single night.

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OldGreyEagle, "Sorry, but I feel like I just came in from another dimension.


For as long as I can remember, I have been told that if the BSA was to accept Homosexaul leaders, or more properly put, if the BSA allowed Chartering Organizatoins to allow Homosexual Leaders than the LDS would pull out of scouting.


Have I got this wrong? I thought that the LDS told the BSA that if it ever accepted gay leaders, then the LDS would drop scouting. Am I wrong on this?


The loss of the LDS scouts always seems to be touted as the main reason the BSA won't consider allowing Chartering Organizations to allow gay leaders.


Are you saying this is not so? Have we/I been wrong in our impressions?"


What you have heard is personal opion from church membership. Some of which you may have heard form local leaders.


I personaly feel the same way, although I don't know this for sure.


I will say that as a long time member of the church, and a long time LDS scout leader. I have never heard any of the leadership at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City Utah make this statement, and it is not official for the whole church if its does not come from Salt Lake as an official statement.

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JMHawkins, "ldsscouting.org seems like it's full of pretty good advice and steers readers towards a traditional BSA program. I have no idea how well it matches with what the typical practice is in an LDS ward (not being a member myself), but after skimming over the faq, I find myself hoping a lot of LDS adult leaders find that site."


I have been farmilure with this site for years and as a LDS Scout Leader have found their information to well with in the church guidelines and the typical practice in an LDS scouting unit.


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shortridge, "I think a significant part of the disconnect may be the additional level of jargon. Why are "boys" or "Scouts" called "YMs," for example? (No, seriously, that's a real question. I'm curious.) Ditto "wards" and "stakes." It can be confusing terminology to someone who doesn't live in an area with a substantial LDS population.


Young Men. Young Men is just a term used when referring to male youth ages 12-19 years in age. The Young Mens program includes the Aaronic Priesthood Quorums and the Scouting program connected to that quorum. Together they make up the Young Mens program.


Aaronic Priesthood. In the Church today, worthy male members may receive the Aaronic Priesthood beginning at age 12. These young men, typically ages 1217, receive many opportunities to participate in sacred priesthood ordinances and give service. As they worthily fulfill their duties, they act in the name of the Lord to help others receive the blessings of the gospel.


Wards and Branches. Members of the Church are organized into congregations that meet together frequently for spiritual and social enrichment. Large congregations are called wards. Each ward is presided over by a bishop, assisted by two counselors. Small congregations are called branches. Each branch is presided over by a branch president, assisted by two counselors. A branch may be organized when at least two member families live in an area and one of the members is a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder or a worthy priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. A stake, mission, or district presidency organizes and supervises the branch. A branch can develop into a ward if it is located within a stake.


Each ward or branch comprises a specific geographic area. Different organizations in the ward or branch contribute to the Lord's work: high priests groups; elders quorums; the Relief Society, for women ages 18 years and older; Aaronic Priesthood quorums, for young men ages 12 through 17; the Young Women program, for young women ages 12 through 17; Primary, for children ages 18 months to 11 years; and the Sunday School, for all Church members ages 12 and older. Each of these organizations fulfills important roles in teaching the gospel, giving service, and supporting parents in their sacred duty to help their children become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. These organizations also work together to help members share the gospel with others.


Stakes, Missions, and Districts. Most geographic areas where the Church is organized are divided into stakes. The term stake comes from the prophet Isaiah, who prophesied that the latter-day Church would be like a tent, held secure by stakes (see Isaiah 33:20; 54:2). There are usually 5 to 12 wards and branches in a stake. Each stake is presided over by a stake president, assisted by two counselors. Stake presidents report to and receive direction from the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency.


A mission is a unit of the Church that normally covers an area much larger than that covered by a stake. Each mission is presided over by a mission president, assisted by two counselors. Mission presidents are directly accountable to General Authorities.


Just as a branch is a smaller version of a ward, a district is a smaller version of a stake. A district is organized when there are a sufficient number of branches located in an area, permitting easy communication and convenient travel to district meetings. A district president is called to preside over it, with the help of two counselors. The district president reports to the mission presidency. A district can develop into a stake.


More information can be found at these sites.


Aaronic Priesthood /Young Men




Index Topics about the LDS Church




Both of these sites are official LDS Church web sites.

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And there it is! The root cause of so many things!


Now, I don't mean you specifically Sherm, just in general over the history of people.


People of one particular religion would label people of another beliefe as heathens because thet didn't know much at all about it. Take Pagan and Wiccans for example: Old school ( and some modern) Christians called them devil worshipers. People still think Pagan sacrified human in blood rituals. Not true. Pagan don't believe in the devil, Wiccans are earth-force types ..basically hippies and Indians combined. :)


The communities of Olde Salem thought you to be a witch or possesed if they did not understand something.


Today, you have Nancy Grace basing the "real news" on people calling in during on air polls. Since when did we take people's opinions - based on no experience or contact with the actual event as the understanding of why?


Sherm is right. Non LDS units do not understand how the LDS unit works, how the LDS church works, or how the pack/troop works. So there must just be something wrong , right?


Again, I say this: So what? If it works,the boys benefit, and turn out okay...then let it be!

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shortridge, "What are the "Standards," "


Standards: Principles and teaching in which LDS church members pattern their lives after. In the YM program they include Scout Oath and Law.


Here is a link to a guide book we give to our youth to help them live good lives within the church standards.


For the Strength of Youth.




shortridge, "and what "conduct" needs reinforcing beyond the Scout Oath and Law?"


Conduct: Gospel teachings and Doctrine in which members of the LDS Church strive to live by. Which includes the Scout Oath and Law.


Church Standards and Conduct go hand in hand with the Scout Oath and Law. They do not take away form the Scout Oath and Law.



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OldGreyEagle, "I thought this discussion was on the LDS Scouting program and the BSA and to talk about the BSA and LDS and not include the Gay policy is ignoring a huge factor. But, I have had my say and will not mention it again in this thread."


I was hoping it would be more about how the LDS church uses the BSA program for its youth and less on BSA policy.


But if you feel policy important we can discuss it as well. However, I do think the Gay issues has long since been put to bed until BSA or the courts state other wise.



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BadenP, "Even though Bart denied it in the site OGE references it states specifically "there are LDS scouting handbooks(plural) that the church uses to administer their program." The little green one Bart states is nothing more than a generic framework of setting up a unit but I remember being shown a much thicker red one and another blue covered one that showed the LDS philosophy in adapting scouting as tool to "prepare young men for the priesthood." in great detail as the SOLE focus of the scouting program and I notice these books are not available to the general public."


I'm not sure what books your talking about. However from your description it sounds like the blue on is the Aaronic priesthood handbook and the red one is probably the "General Handbook of Instructions(GHI)" for Bishops and Stake Presidents. The green book and the blue book are chapters with in the GHI.


You seem to really be bent on the "philosophy in adapting scouting as tool to "prepare young men for the priesthood."". I don't understand why it is so wrong in your eyes for a organization to use the principles, guidelines, and instruction available from the scouting program to help YM become good citizens, leaders and all around good men.


BadenP, "However don't pretend that your LDS boy scout units are just the same as other scout units because they are not."


Funny the last time I looked there was no difference in my Boy Scout Handbook, Scoutmasters Handbook, Committee Guidebook, and Scout Training as any other unit. So the facts are they are the same.


BadenP, "I have been told by LDS scouts and scouters of some of the rituals that go on in their scouting meetings that really have no place in any scouting program."


Rituals? You mean like saying the Pledge, the Scout Master doing a SM minute, and Opening and Closing the meeting with a Pray. Or could it be the service projects they do.


Or socializing with the Young Women in a combined activity once a month.


BadenP, "Bottom line, the LDS scouting movement is allowed extreme latitude, IMO, by the BSA and thats fine by me and yes, they use the BSA handbook for rank advancement and go camping, but to deny that their focus is on scouting skills is incorrect by what I have witnessed as a DE and from what I have been told by LDS scouters even today. I really wish the LDS Scouting program well, but to state that it is the same as non LDS units is just not true."


Sorry but you are just wrong in your views of the LDS Scouting Program.


Last I looked we still go camping, hiking, backpacking.


We still tie knots, make monkey bridges, learn outdoor skills, and first aid.


And we still pattern our lives after the Scout Oath and Law.


If your being told different then your being incorrectly informed.

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shortridge, "There is one significant program difference that hasn't been mentioned yet. My understanding - and please correct me if I'm wrong! - is that the 11-year-old Scout patrol is only allowed to go camping three times a year, and that each campout can only be for a single night."


You are correct. But how many campouts does a boy need to obtain 1st class.

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You need three, clearly. But there are other requirements that go along with camping. By just allowing three campouts, the program does limit the number of boys that can earn First Class to six. Requirement 4(e) says that a Scout must cook breakfast, lunch and dinner that he planned. If you just spend six days camping, then only six boys can complete that requirement (and that's assuming the patrol camps for two full days).

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Please don't quote me out of context as you did in your last post. So to clear up some questions for me then,


1)The main/primary purpose of the LDS scouting program is to prepare young men to achieve the Aaronic Priesthood?

2)Incorporated into the troop meetings are rituals and rites that are not scouting but recognizing a boy reaching certain stages toward priesthood and are recognized as part of their scouting advancement?

3) An LDS scout can still achieve scout ranks without attending meetings or campouts IF they are doing work for the church and the goal of priesthood?

4) Many LDS scout leaders purposely do not attend district camporees or events because they view mainstream scout units as a bad influence on their boys on their quest to achieving priesthood?


Now Gary before your answers it may interest you that I had the LDS Stake VP as my district vice chairman for five years and during that time I was invited to many of these special LDS scout and nonscout ceremonies within my district. So unless you can show me that this stake was some kind of rogue group I will stand by my posts and observations and conversations with LDS scouters and church leaders.

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