The Boy Scout Handbook (Thirteenth Edition, 2016) is divided into 14 numbered sections that address the elements of Scouting from 1) “Character & Leadership” to 14) “Awards & Advancements.” As an eleven-year-old (EYO) Scout leader, I provide the overall guidance for the EYO Scout patrol in their annual planning, working with them to select one of these sections as a monthly theme or program focus. This month we are doing Citizenship and had a wonderful opportunity, which I will share.
Working with the EYO patrol in my ward, the first meeting of the month is always the patrol planning meeting. In this meeting, the EYO patrol reviews the Scout through First Class advancement requirements for the program feature found in Troop Program Features Volume I and completes the Troop Outdoor Program Plan, as well as Troop Meeting Plan (note: I modify the Troop plans for EYO Patrol use).
As we reviewed the Scout rank requirement to “repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance, and in your own words, explain its meaning” (Boy Scout Handbook, page 50), we were discussing the words “one nation under God, indivisible . . .” My EYO Scout leader assistant made a remarkable observation—that we as a nation pledge to be indivisible. It was a very timely comment for us to remember that as Scouts, we may have different opinions, but we should remain united.
Here was the opportunity to connect the EYO Scouts with heaven. In 2 Nephi 1 of the Book of Mormon, Lehi prophesizes to his sons on this concept of indivisible. In verse 21, he exhorts them to “be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things . . .” (emphasis added). We as followers of Christ are a people united in baptism and united in purpose. In Alma 60 we see the consequences of not being united when Moroni admonishes the Nephites for not being united and the subsequent calamities that befalls them.
In Doctrine and Covenants 45:65, the early Saints were encouraged as follows:
And with one heart and with one mind (emphasis added), gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you.
In the New Testament, in an epistle to the Romans (Romans 15: 5-6), Paul describes indivisible in the following manner:
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus;
6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Acts 2:46 we have the reference of the early saints, “continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”
We recently lost our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, but the Quorum of the Twelve will meet and be of one mind and one accord to select our next prophet. And it will be unanimous. Our commitment in the Pledge of Allegiance to be an indivisible people is not only a secular concept, but a concept of being part of the Lord’s chosen and anointed.
Thus, as we teach the Pledge of Allegiance and have discussions about the meaning of the Pledge, we have the opportunity to connect our EYO Scouts with heaven. We can show them that being a united people, being indivisible, is an important concept not only as a Scout and a citizen of the United States, but also as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, and national levels in the U.S. and overseas. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, serving in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake where he is an EYO Scout leader. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.