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The LDS Scouting program and BSA program

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I'm sorry that you've chosen to not respond any further. I've found this thread very enlightening, and do still have to questions outstanding that I hope you might respond to. I do hope that I didn't come across as argumentative. I come from an Eastern state where there aren't many LDS Church members, period, and this is really all new to me.


- Have you ever seen a unit's members reject a SPL or PL selected by the IH/bishop?

- What is the reason for the LDS Church's selection vs. election process? Is there a theological basis to it that you might be able to explain?

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Yah, and I'm still curious whether a local ward can implement a different, more traditional scouting program along the lines I suggested, eh?


Extended webelos II for 11-year-olds.


Boy Scouting / Varsity Scouting for 12-13 and 14-15 with a goal for First Class by age 13 and Eagle by age 15, using da 14-15 year olds as PLs/leaders for the 12-13s. And 16-17 Venturers, who help in JASM/Guide/Instructor roles in the younger programs.


Maybe it's that "quorum identity" thing bacchus mentions. But it seem this would be a better, more effective use of da BSA materials without as many safety / advancement mill concerns.


I fully support your ability to run a BSA unit as you see fit to reach your goals, and I think some here are being unfair in their criticism. But there are some areas where the departure from what we'd generally consider a strong BSA program implementation seems also to work against your own goals.




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Yes, Beavah, they could. In fact, the Aaronic Priesthood section of the Church Handbook of Instructions (last publish date 1998) mentions doing just that as an option in one paragraph, although choosing when boys move from a troop to a crew (14 or 16 or whenever) is all local option. The LDS handbooks have apparently been updated recently and the big release date is the 13th of this month. I'm really excited to see what (if anything) the new handbooks have to say about Scouting.

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One of the problems I see in LDS scouting working against them is that their leaders are called to service ,instead of volunteering, for one year and then move on. Some do stay on but most do not, from what I have seen personally and told by LDS scouters. This results in inconsistencies in the way the program is delivered, lack of training of the leaders, and probably why the LDS has to put more emphasis on the priesthood aspect than traditional scouting programs. I would be interested in your take on this Bart.

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LDS people believe that the heavens are open, that miracles still happen, that angels are still around, and that (and this is one of the major sticking points between the LDS faith and some other faiths) God not only listens to our prayers but responds to them, that he is not an inactive landlord in a world fast approaching destruction. Rather, the LDS viewpoint is that God doesn't turn his back on his children, but rather is just waiting for people to honestly and earnestly pray. Thus, the LDS faith is predicated upon a working relationship with God -- that one can, through the Holy Spirit, be inspired by God. LDS leaders are instructed to pray about decisions such as who to call to which calling and to keep praying until they have an answer that God supports. Praying to be guided by God is termed "revelation" in the LDS faith. Each person has the right and privilege to receive revelation for their own bailiwick -- parents for themselves and their children, people for their church service callings (jobs), a Bishop for the ward (pastor for the congregation), etc.


In the 2007 Aaronic Priesthood/Scouting broadcast, Charles W. Dahlquist, II the (then) head of the LDS Young Men's organization said that one of the four characteristics of a good leader is tenure.

Ideally it would be wonderful to leave leaders of the youth in callings as long as possible, but we recognize that is subject to revelation. Over time, leaders become trained, establish strong Scouting traditions, and build relationships of trust with the boys and their families.

This usually takes years, rather than months.

When considering a possible change for an effective youth leader, you might ask yourself, "Why would we want to release Jim when he has only been serving for several months, has finished basic training, and is having such a profound effect for good in the lives of our young men?" If you ask yourselves that question, you have just opened up the window to inspiration, and the Lord will help you know the answer.

BadenP, I suggest that you perhaps are not as familiar as you think you are with the LDS Scouting program. It seems like your posts generally take the form of "It's the LDS Scouting practice to yadda" when such isn't the case. I'm not saying it's malicious, just misinformation through ignorance. I can't speak for what you've seen, I don't know where you've been or what's happened, but it is not the general LDS practice for Scout leaders to serve only a single year and then go do something else. Life does happen, though. Feel free to send me a message if you have any more questions. :)

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Wait a minute, Bart.

On one hand, you're saying that BP's comment regarding tenure is misguided. On the other, you quote Charles commenting on the importance of tenure. It reminds me of "A Few Good Men." If tenure is not an issue (and BP is just blowing smoke), why did the lead dog have to write about it? Was it an issue, or wasn't it? Looks to me as if quoting Charles supports BP's position.


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I had a wonderful, pleasant conversation yesterday with David Pack, the liaison national professional located in Salt Lake. What a guy!


Brother Pack is passionate about Scouting. He gave himself goose bumps talking about Baden-Powell's vision for the patrol method, and how we're not educating each other the same way we used to. He talked about Commissioners helping to educate and fill the gap in training where we don't teach the patrol method in basic training now. He talked about finding ways to work around the current issues and loss of training.


He talked about the importance of training at any level, from Troop Leader Training all the way through Wood Badge. That every training class gives boys the opportunity to learn and teach and become who they need to be, regardless of what they might do once they leave scouting.


He talked about getting back to the goal that a troop be 32 boys. Baden-Powell said it with humor and parable, but that 32 boys was the perfect size. Mega troops mean scoutmasters aren't mentors anymore, they're crowd control.


He talked about the fact that every LDS troop should be recruiting outside its own walls. If a ward is responsible for every single soul and life outside its walls an in its area, then the boys should be invited to partake in the gift of scouting.


He also mentioned that the coming changes to the Scouting Green book are all at the discretion of the Stake President and the Bishop. Should a troop need more fund raising because they have 25 non-member boys, go ahead!


If you really have concerns about LDS scouting, call the LDS BSA relations office, and talk to Mr. Pack. You won't regret it.

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My, my, my you are beginning to sound like a catholic priest. Stating LDS is the only true faith towards salvation. If I remember my graduate school theology classes correctly Jesus was neither LDS or Catholic, so your comment is way off base since God has no favorites.

Your categorization of all other faiths is what is truly false, as for my knowledge of the LDS remember I was invited by my LDS volunteers as a DE to attend Philmont for the LDS Church and Scouting week at which I learned quite a bit about the goals and mission of the LDS church theology and how they use scouting to achieve those goals. I have read the Book of Mormon and other books on Joseph Smith, etc..


What you and Gary have stated is that the LDS scouting program is the exact same as any traditional scouting program when you and I both know that simply is not true. LDS use the scout handbooks but what the boys are indoctrinated with are church doctrines and missionary preparation first and foremost. I have no problem with LDS scouting, except when certain individuals insist it is the exact same program as traditional scouting when your own church leadership from Salt Lake told all of us at Philmont that week something entirely different. So my point to you is don't kill the messenger your own leadership looked upon LDS scouting as "a call to the holy priesthood", if you don't agree write to Salt Lake they were the ones who said it, not me.

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Your message is simply incorrect, BadenP.


Any Charter Organization has the means and methods to apply the program to reach its own goals as long as they stick to the fundamental Scouting program. That's the beauty of the Charter agreement. A service club uses the scouts to accomplish their goals just as much as any church organization uses it.


If you're being told that the LDS church inserts its religious goals over the Scout Oath and Law, then that message is completely incorrect.


The program is the same. How the boys acquire merit badges and rank is the same. The boys excel and become excellent leaders and by doing so, become the citizens of the world we would want them to be. Because they then become missionaries for two years and use the skills they learned as Scouts doesn't mean that the entire program's benefits are negated.


Sorry, you're just simply misinformed.



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Baden, Bar did not say LDS ws the only way. He did say what LDS believed and how they approched their beliefs, but NEVER said that LDS was the only way.


But look, I am completely saying this in a "freind to freind" way:


The only predjudices I see are yours. You are hearing LDS say that all other religions are wrong when that was never said.


You are claiming that several LDS members from different areas are wrong about LDS based on what you saw locally anf what ONE person told you. And you are doing it as an outsider ( meaning non-familar) to LDS, not somebody who really gets it.


Do I get everything about LDS? Nope, not hardly!


But I also do not make judgement on ALL of BSA, Cub Scouts , Boy Scouts, Venturing, or Crews based on one persons opinion of it.


I see on a daily basis that there are hundreds of different ideas about the "right" or "corect" way that BSA is supposed to be run.


There are different"absolutely correct" ways to run an EBOR.. For example: Is a boy at an EBOR not in uniform if he doesn't have his book? You can't add to requirements, and the book is NOT listed under Uniform Inspection, but I have read where many trops consider it a part of the uniform.


So, the point I am getting at is this: Is it coorect or not?

Depends on who you talk to. And who ever that is, may not actually know what is correct, just what their troop deems correct.


NOw, I may not be correct in my understanding, but this is what it is: Scouting is a tool used by LDS that helps them in their bigger mission, which is Arionic Priesthood. And that preisthood is actually a tool for a bigger picture, which is living a life in the good graces of God so you go to heaven.


But in using scouting for a buigger reason does not mean they change it, or tarnish it in any way.


Likewise, as much as I love, enjoy, participate in and work within scouting myself, it is not the end all of all for me. It too is a tool for a bigger picture: Having my son grow up respecting others, doing his part to keep the earth livable, learning to be the best he can while supporting himself, and living within the ideals that will get him to heaven.


Now, the only difference I can actually see are the little details between what i believe and what LDS believes.


But the goal, mission,plan - what ever you want to call it is the same: We are turning to scouting to HELP our boys during their journey to and getting to the final destination.



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Excuse me jhankins but I think I will take the words of your church hierarchy over those of some anonymous posters in this forum anyday. You keep telling yourself whatever you want but LDS scouting is NOT, NOT the same program as traditional scouting, your church elders have said so during Philmont LDS Week but I guess you think you know better than they do. Anyone, non LDS, who is really interested can find out the truth for themselves as I did. Your kids may earn the same badges but the LDS program is a church modified program from traditional scouting programs. Maybe you should listen to your own church hierarchy sometime, you might find it illuminating.

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Yah, hmmmm...


A thanks to Gary_Miller, BartHumphries and others for takin' the time to share with us brothers in Scouting and try to inform everyone from their perspective.


As with any such sharing of perspectives, each takes away what revelation his or her own soul is ready to hear. God speaks, our friends and fellows speak, but we aren't always ready to listen, eh? Sometimes da negative experiences of each individual's past get in the way; other times the language trips us up.


Same goes both ways. BartHumphries, I think you'll find that most of us fellow Christians still believe in all da things you mention. We might at times use different words or have a slightly different perspective, but da essence doesn't differ at all from what you describe as LDS belief. And while not all Christian denominations tie their Scouting program as tightly to their religious education program (in part because most religious education is co-ed), many do use da Scouting program the way it was intended - as a component of their youth ministry work. In fact, yeh see a fair number of ministry-focused Venturing crews.


I do think there are a few ways that LDS tends to implement Scouting that don't make as effective a use of the program as is possible. Of course that's true of everybody. :) But it's unique in da LDS case because it's a pattern that repeats across a lot of troops. It's interesting and heartening to know that some modifications are possible on da local level, and that the direction from above is consonant with movin' toward that sort of more effective scouting model.


For da rest, it's just hard for folks with different perspectives, language, and goals to hear each other well, eh? Thanks again for takin' time as brothers in Scouting to share.


And thanks for all yeh continue to do for the youth in America.




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The LDS units call themselves Scouts and Scouters and use the BSA's uniforms and insignia. Our congressional charter states that only Scouts and Scouters use the BSA's uniforms and insignia. Further, the LDS has an enormous sway in BSA policy areas despite their insistence that the BSA allow the "local option" for them in areas of their choosing. Therefore, what the LDS units are doing must be Scouting, right?!

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Scoutfish, my observations are not based on one individual or LDS units in my time as a DE alone but based on a week at Philmont during the summer on the "The LDS Church and Scouting" usually only attended by LDS scouters and with the presentations made by LDS church hierarchy and the LDS Scouting Association. Now you tell me where else you can get such a complete or better understanding of LDS scouting?


Secondly, as I stated previously, I have no problem with the LDS scouting program and the service those scouters give to their youth, I wish them all the best. But Gary and Bart are blowing smoke when they state that LDS scouting is exactly the same as traditional scouting programs because if you or anyone else here read their literature, went on an LDS conference/camporee or attended Philmont during the LDS Scouting week you would see for yourself as I did when I attended all of these events. The LDS freely admit that their scouting program is "uniquely fashioned and geared towards young men achieving the Aaronic Priesthood"( a direct quote from an LDS church leader presentation at Philmont).


So I have NO prejudices or dislikes of the LDS Church or their scouting program, as some of my best friends are LDS scouters. They work as hard with their units as we do with ours and their boys develop leadership skills just as ours do, but the LDS focus in scouting is not the same as non LDS units. I encourage any of you to go to an LDS scouting event and/or conference so you can find out for yourselves as I did. The LDS scouters are great friendly people who love scouting and are always open to an outsider wanting to learn more about their program. They are our scouting brothers and I wish them well.

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