You need go no further than the scriptures and Church history to learn what manner of men your young men ought to be. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are full of examples of men who exemplify the Scout Oath and Law. Pioneer stories also show the amazing impact a man of faith can have when he magnifies his priesthood calling and does his best.
Captain Moroni was the ultimate Boy Scout. He did his duty to God and country. His “soul did joy in the liberty and freedom of his country.” He was “a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people . . . he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.” (Alma 48:11-13). The Book of Mormon states that “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” (Alma 48:17). Imagine your Aaronic Priesthood boys becoming men like Moroni.
Jacob Hamblin was a missionary and friend to the Indians in Southern Utah in the late 1800s. He created eight rules—or values—to live by when interacting with the Indians. He was a great influence for peace because he lived by his principles. One man said “no braver man ever lived” than Hamblin. (Letter to the Pioche Nevada Register dated Feb. 5, 1874, submitted by Mr. J. E. Smith). Imagine your young men bravely going on missions to areas of the world deemed “hostile territory” and being an influence for peace because they live the Scout Oath and Law.
Imagine the impact you can have around a campfire as you tell stories about men of faith from the scriptures and Church history. You can raise a winter campout experience to a higher spiritual level by helping your boys visualize the suffering of the trapped Saints at Martin’s Cove. While on a strenuous ten-mile hike you can teach your boys about the obedience of the brethren who served faithfully while marching with Zion’s Camp. Lessons on following the prophet can be taught from the examples of early Utah pioneers who often were asked to uproot from their homes to establish another community in the west. Hundreds of examples of great men of character can be found in the scriptures and in Church history.
Before you can tell inspiring stories about others you must learn about them. Read your scriptures. Read with the purpose of finding stories to which your boys can relate. Read books about men of character, particularly men in the early history of the Church. Study the lives of the prophets. Look for examples in the lives of people you know—even examples from your own life.
There are scores of stories you can tell to your boys that will inspire them to be better. One of your roles as an Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting leader is that of a storyteller. The stories you tell inculcate the principles of Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood into the hearts, minds, and souls of your young men. They make the values of the Scout Oath and Law come alive. Through the constant telling of faith-promoting, character-building stories you slowly build the framework that will help boys become strong men of character. **
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Are you searching your scriptures daily for stories you can use to touch the hearts of your boys?
- How often do you use examples from the scriptures as you teach your young men?
- What books do you read to uplift and inspire you? Do you share stories from these books with your boys?
- Do you purposefully seek “teaching moment” opportunities to share your insights with your young men?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand . . . That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the (Young Men) calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.” (D&C 88:78, 80).
-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 Evanston, Wyoming.
** In the reply section below, please feel free to share any character-building stories you’ve told to your boys to inspire them to fulfill their Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting duties.