Modern day prophets have warned us that the world and the Church are increasingly growing apart.
President Thomas S. Monson said, “I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed much of the metamorphosis of society’s morals. Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider.” (April 2011 general conference).
The overarching purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood program is to instill the values in young men that will help them remain true to the faith throughout their lives as they face the challenges of the world. Fortunately there is an organization that has an exquisite, well-designed, beautifully structured program that has the same overarching purpose—the Boy Scouts of America.
The mission of the BSA is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” This is why Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood are so strongly linked in the Church.
The purpose of the Young Men program is to fashion boys who have “honor” and strive to do their “best.” It is to help young men understand and fulfill their duty to God and to their country. The Aaronic Priesthood years are designed to teach young men how to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes.
The Lord wants young men who are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. He wants missionaries, priesthood leaders, fathers, and husbands who model these same values in everything they do. He wants boys to learn in their youth how to help other people at all times so it becomes natural for them to do their home teaching and serve their fellow man.
More important, the Lord wants an army of priesthood brethren who are physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. He wants young men whom He can rely on to build the kingdom of God.
When Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts this is what he had in mind. He designed the organization to achieve this end. He created a program that he knew would appeal to the hearts, minds, and interests of young men. He knew he could instill proper values in boys by involving them in outdoor activities. This is the purpose of Scouting. This is the purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood.
This is why you need to run the Scouting program the way it is designed. This is why you need to become fully trained in your Scouting duties so you can fulfill the purposes of the Lord.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Do you run your Scouting programs the way the BSA intends?
- Do you understand how the mission of Scouting and the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood are aligned?
- Have you been properly trained in your Scouting duties and responsibilities?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing or do better as a result of your reflection?
“There is no religious “side” of the movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God. Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don’t let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, back woodsmanship, camping, hiking, Good Turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is CHARACTER with a purpose. Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation.” (Robert Baden-Powell).
-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in these blog messages are solely those of the author.