Last month’s blog showed how you can do pioneering in December by staying indoors and doing knots and lashings on a miniature scale. This month, I want to show how you can turn that pioneering project into a Faith in God activity by having the eleven-year-old (EYO) Scouts build King Benjamin’s tower (using their newly acquired pioneering skills) and give portions of his stirring speech.
Once my EYO Scouts had demonstrated the skills of pioneering, I planned with the patrol leader an April outing where the EYO Scouts would build a replica of King Benjamin’s tower. Then, acting the part of the prophet, they would give portions of his epic speech found in Mosiah 1-5.
We arrived at our day-activity site early and spent the time before lunch building the tower. I gave the patrol leader the following instruction:
It is New Year’s Day in 124 B.C. and you, a young Nephite, are employed by King Benjamin, in the land of Zarahemla. King Benjamin has called his people together to give a farewell address to the people and to declare that his son, Mosiah, would now be king. Unfortunately, more people than they anticipated have come to pay their respects to this beloved king, who has done so much for them. He had planned to give his farewell address in the temple, but so many have gathered that he has written his words down and directed a tower to be built so he could speak to a greater number. This is where you and your patrol come in. King Benjamin’s chief engineer has asked that YOU assemble the tower for the king based on the diagrams provided. Your task is to organize your patrol to accomplish the task.
POINTS TO CONSIDER: Before anyone gets on the tower, you must have it safety-inspected by the king’s chief engineer [me, the assistant Scoutmaster]. For safety purposes, only one Scout is allowed to be on the tower at a time. When you begin the assembly of the sub-assemblies, see the chief engineer in order to receive your instructions to prepare for your follow-on activity. Please note: King Benjamin is old, much like a future Latter-day prophet, President Monson. You really want your frappings to be tight, especially on the ladder assembly. Think about President Monson climbing up on your tower. Loose knots will cause the tower to be rickety.
Upon completion of the tower, the EYO Scouts gave portions of King Benjamin’s farewell address from the tower emphasizing the following ten priesthood principles.
|Principle||Scripture to be read aloud|
|Righteous leadership is service to God||Mosiah 2:9-12, 15-17|
|The righteous are aware of their debt to God||Mosiah 2:19-25|
|The condemnation of those who know the truth and rebel||Mosiah 2:36-41|
|The Lord will come to minister and redeem||Mosiah 3:5, 9-13|
|Submissiveness to the Lord is key||Mosiah 3:17-19|
|Words of the prophets condemn the wicked||Mosiah 3:20-25|
|Reaction of the people . . . their desire for salvation||Mosiah 4:1-3|
|A call to faith in God||Mosiah 4:4-12|
|Charity and service are fruits of repentance||Mosiah 4:13-16, 19-20|
|Diligence to service is requisite||Mosiah 4:21, 26-30|
Several times I would have the EYO Scout read his scripture again, this time more dramatically—emphasizing that he is King Benjamin and the principle he is reading is what he wants to get across to the people.
Each time I have had my EYO Scouts build King Benjamin’s tower, the EYO Scouts have walked away with new insights into King Benjamin’s speech and deeper insight into the precepts contained in the Book of Mormon. Understanding the principle to be presented, reading the scripture, and then standing upon the tower to orally and dramatically present the scripture solidified in the Scout’s mind what King Benjamin was teaching.
The Scouts amazed themselves. When we arrived back in the parking lot I recalled one EYO Scout running up to his mother and exclaiming with pure rapture and glee, “I gave King Benjamin’s speech today! It is so amazing.”
This type of personal participation in the gospel develops lasting testimonies, provides depth of knowledge in the scriptures, and instills a sincere love for the teachings of the prophets. There are many ways you can use the scriptures with Scouting. I bet you could design one around Nephi’s bow and fashioning their own arrows. What would your EYO Scouts put on their Title of Liberty? The people of Zeniff have just been attacked and the EYO Scout patrol must perform first aid on the victims. There is no end to Book of Mormon scenarios that could be used.
-Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, and national levels in the U.S. and overseas. His current positions include assistant district commissioner and district Cub Scout training chairman. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, serving in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.