Scott’s Brotherhood Blog #28:  Follow the Prophet

Scott Hinrichs

A few months ago I opened an email from the Church carrying the subject line “New Initiative for Children and Youth Development.” I quickly discovered that the Church will discontinue sponsoring all Scouting units on December 31, 2019 in favor of a new global youth program.

The email included a link to this Church web page that introduces the new initiative. A statement from the First Presidency explains that the “new approach is intended to help all girls and boys, young women and young men discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills, and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God.”

What a thrilling time to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when the Lord through his servants is implementing a number of changes in the continuing restoration of all things! As we seek to sustain God’s prophets, it is important to pay attention to all of their counsel.

In 1831 shortly after the Lord revealed that Jackson County, Missouri, was to be a gathering place for the saints, he cautioned Church members against moving there in haste (D&C 58:56, 64:23, 101:15). He issued a similar warning regarding Clay County in 1833 (D&C 101:68,72). During the years of heavy migration to the Salt Lake Valley, Church leaders repeatedly counseled saints to properly prepare before migrating. Yet in each of these instances, some Church members caused themselves and others great hardship by eagerly journeying too early.

I am excited for the Church’s new youth program. But let’s avoid excessive eagerness in shifting away from Scouting. After explaining that the new youth program will begin in January 2020, the First Presidency counseled, “We encourage all youth, families, and leaders to continue their active participation and financial support of Scouting until that date.”

This means that Scouting is still the official activity program for boys in the Church ages 8-13. We are prophetically mandated to fully and enthusiastically carry out the Scouting program for the next 16 months.

The authors of this Church News article note that 19 months is enough time for important things to happen, including Columbus’ voyage to the New World eight times over and an entire mission for a sister missionary. They write, “History has proven much can happen in 19 months — and Church leaders hope the time leading up to the historic youth initiative will be, well, time well spent.”

As a Latter-day Saint Scout leader, what will you do to ensure that you follow the leadership of the prophets on this issue? How will you make sure that over the next 17 months the Scouting program is “time well spent” for the boys you serve?

One approach that can benefit your Scouts is to ensure that they have an opportunity to join the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society. As I explained in blog #27, the OA offers young men a culture that “enthrones hard work that benefits others as an indispensable feature of a meaningful life.” It promotes resilience over leisure. What Scoutmaster would not want this for his Scouts?

I suppose that many of the young men you serve will never again be members of the Boy Scouts of America after the end of 2019. But some of them might find fulfillment in continuing their relationship with the BSA. Humble Scoutmasters will recognize that they may not be able to tell which boys those will be.

The OA will continue its mission after the Church and the BSA part ways so it is well positioned to help Latter-day Saint boys who will continue to find fulfillment in Scouting. But only if YOU take action to bring OA elections to your troop. You can do this by contacting your local Scout service center or Order of the Arrow chapter.

Do it now. Time is short for the young men you serve.

 

Questions to Ponder

  • How willing are you to follow the prophet?
  • What will you do to ensure that the boys you serve will have a high quality Scouting program over the next 17 months?
  • Will you enable your Scouts to become members of Scouting’s national honor society before it is too late for them?

 

-Scott Hinrichs has been actively Scouting since age eight. He has served in many youth and adult Scouting positions and has been a member of the Order of the Arrow for more than four decades. He and his wife are raising their family in North Ogden, Utah. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. Mac McIntire says:

    Excellent article, Scott. Great way to convey the messaging of staying on course until the prophet tells us to begin our new journey in the children and youth program. Great job!

  2. Ken Rawlins says:

    Ditto! Well said. My family is a three generation Eagle Scout family. All of my son’s are Eagle Scout’s, and members of the Order of the Arrow. My oldest son is a Vigil Honor member along with my wife and myself. We have been and will always be an LDS Scouting family. Character development and EDGE are the hallmark of Scouting.

  3. Aaron Worthington says:

    Great article! Spot on!

  4. Ronald Murphy says:

    Scott,
    One point that you should have made.
    While the Church will no longer sponsor any Scouting units, the Church does and will not discourage our youth from participating in Scouting. It will just be a voluntary activity as of 2020.
    Sadly there are wards and stakes who have already dropped Scouting, contrary to the direction of Salt Lake.
    For those who see the value of Scouting, we should inform scouts and their parents that Scouting WILL NOT END after 2019. The Church is NOT directing our youth not to participate!
    I have to disagree with Brother McIntire to “stay the course until the Prophet tells us to begin our new journey in the children and youth program”. This gives the false impression that all LDS Youth should no longer be in Scouting. The Prophet DID NOT say that.
    For many LDS Scouts and Scouters, we can not walk away from Scouting like that.

  5. Mac McIntire says:

    Ronald,

    You are right. Thank you for making this point. I did not mean to imply that people should drop Scouting after December 2019. I meant they should continue to do as the Lord has directed through His prophets rather than choosing another course. Far too many members of the Church have abandoned Scouting already. I would love to see boys/girls and young men/women continue with Scouting after December 2019 because it is an outstanding character development program.

  6. Kenneth Rawlins says:

    Agreed!

  7. George Weight says:

    Too many members “dropped” scouting long before the announcement was made. Much of this was due to a misunderstanding of what Scouting is and does. My plea would be for members to educate themselves on the values that Scouting and the Church hold and will continue to hold in common–and to avoid labeling those of us who still want to be involved with pejorative labels. We’re not apostatizing in any sense of the word!

  8. Ronald,

    Thank you for pointing this out. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has made it clear that the Church is NOT discontinuing its support of Scouting; the Church is merely discontinuing its sponsorship of Scouting units at the end of 2019 due to international growth.

    Elder Holland recently said that “when our charters are finished, we hope that many LDS youth who wish to do so will still choose to be in Scouting.” Reflecting on his own Eagle Scout award and those of his sons, Elder Holland expressed the wish that his grandsons will also become Eagle Scouts.

    Charles W. Dahlquist recently explained in this video how LDS young men can continue their involvement in Scouting after 2019. He promised more information to come on this.

    After the end of 2019 the Order of the Arrow will continue to offer a program that trains Scouts, including Latter-day Saint youth, to lead out in unselfish service to others.

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