Thomas S. Monson Award

C-83484 LDS BSA MONSON AWARD BSA - side1Final C-78279 LDS BSA MONSON DOG TAG - side2


The Thomas S. Monson award may be earned by youth and adults of all ages.  In the section below you will find the requirements and electives that need to be completed to earn The Thomas S. Monson award.

To order this award, please visit the LDS BSA Store




  1. Read “100 Years of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” which is included on  this card. With your family or a Scout leader, discuss two things you learned from this history.
  2. Read “Run, Boy, Run,” which is included on this card, and write your feelings about this story in your  journal.



  1. Complete at least two requirements toward earning the Genealogy merit badge.
  2. Complete at least two requirements toward earning the Family Life merit badge.
  3. Memorize the thirteenth article of faith, and discuss with your family or a leader how this article of faith  and the Scout Law support each other.
  4. Meet two youth outside of your area and discuss with them how Scouting has benefited your life or the  life of a Scout you know.
  5. Share your feelings about doing your duty to God with your family, a friend of another faith, or a leader.

100 Years of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

100 Years of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

On May 21, 1913, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially affiliated with the Boy  Scouts of America. Since the beginnings of that dynamic partnership, millions of youth and adults have  registered in LDS Church–sponsored Scouting units, and leaders of the two organizations have worked together  to instill character, citizenship, and fitness in young men.

The first LDS Scout troop was formed in the Waterloo Ward, Salt Lake City, Utah. Thomas George  Wood, a 22-year-old English Latter-day Saint emigrant in Salt Lake City, Utah, learned about the Boy Scout  movement from his uncle in England. In September 1910, after taking a hike and doing “lots of thinking,” he  resolved to “do all in my power to start the Boy Scout movement in the ward for the good of our boys” (Thomas  George Wood Diary, vol. 13, Sept. 5, 1910; capitalization standardized). He proposed the organization of a ward  Scout troop to his bishop, Asael H. Woodruff (son of Church President Wilford Woodruff), who agreed to the  idea. Using the guidance of an English Scout manual, Brother Wood organized a troop on October 12, 1910.  The first Scout meeting was held a week later.

Other wards soon organized Scout troops within their Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA) organizations. Even though the Church was not officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, some ward troops operated under the direction of the Boy Scouts of America National Council. Scouting continued to grow in Utah.

On March 8, 1911, the YMMIA board organized a committee to study the Scouting movement and  the possibility of affiliating with the National Organization. The committee concluded that LDS young men  needed more outdoor activities and that Scouting was a beneficial movement. Although they did not recommend  affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America, a Church Scouting organization was formed and Scouting was  integrated as an official activity of the YMMIA. The name MIA Scouts was adopted on November 29, 1911.

From 1910 to 1913, the Boy Scouts of America gained momentum and popularity across the country.  By January 1913, over 6,000 troops and 300,000 boys were active in the growing movement. The MIA Scouts organization continued to grow as well, and by January 1913, approximately 1,500 troops and 20,000 boys were involved in the Church program. John H. Taylor, YMMIA athletic director, traveled among Church stakes promoting and assisting with MIA Scouting. He was often asked why the MIA Scouts were not affiliated with the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America. It was suggested that Brother Taylor informally investigate the advantages and disadvantages of national affiliation and make a recommendation to the YMMIA general board. Brother Taylor contacted the National Organization for assistance. National field commissioner Samuel A. Moffat was en route to the West Coast on Scouting business at the time, and a meeting was arranged in Salt Lake City.

On the morning of Wednesday, January 8, 1913, Commissioner Moffat met with Heber J. Grant, Brigham H. Roberts, Lyman R. Martineau, Bryant S. Hinckley, Brigham F. Grant, Oscar A. Kirkham, and John H. Taylor at the YMCA building. The mechanics of a possible partnership were discussed.

During the following weeks, Church and Scouting leaders corresponded. James E. West, chief Scout  executive, sent copies of the national charter and bylaws as well as excerpts from the BSA Handbook for Boys  for review by YMMIA leaders. After several weeks of study, the YMMIA athletic committee recommended affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America for five reasons: broader opportunities as Scouts; definiteness of purpose and standardization of merit; a general uplift and fellowship of the boys of the nation; the missionary work of our boys, associating with their fellows; and a worthy spirit of fellowship and brotherhood with the National Organization (adapted from a letter to the General Superintendent and General Board of YMMIA, Feb. 19, 1913; see also Century of Honor: 100 Years of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [2013], 30).

On May 21, 1913, a charter was signed and the MIA Scouts officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. A dynamic partnership, destined to affect millions of boys, had been formed. As the first nationally chartered organization, the LDS Church established a pattern for other religious and community groups to partner with the Boy Scouts of America, thus affecting additional youth and organizations throughout the following century. Today, the LDS Church is the largest chartered organization of the Boy Scouts of America, sponsoring approximately 430,000 youth and 37,000 units in 2012.

The LDS–BSA centennial will be celebrated with commemorative memorabilia (a patch, coin, and pin); a newly released history titled Century of Honor: 100 Years of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; a Monday night stadium show at the 2013 National Jamboree; an exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City from July 19 to December 31; and a grand celebration at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on October 29.

The inspired decision made 100 years ago to affiliate Scouting programs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the Boy Scouts of America has resulted in a century of good turns and strong relationships and in millions of lives being positively affected by both organizations. A century later, this Scouting partnership continues to help LDS young men to successfully serve as missionaries, husbands, and fathers and to fulfill their duty to God, country, and family.

“Scouting brings out the best in each of us. . . . May you uphold Scouting’s tradition, for it can be as a lighthouse beacon in the world of stormy seas. It can be a motivation to prepare for your role in life. It can be a yardstick against which you measure your accomplishments.”
—President Thomas S. Monson, President Monson Discusses Strengths of Scouting (video, 2010)

Run, Boy, Run

Run, Boy, Run

By Thomas S. Monson

Tuesday, June 8, 1982, dawned bright and clear in London, England. It was destined to be an historic day. A spirit of excitement permeated the very air and filled expectant hearts with keen anticipation. The President of the United States of America had arrived in Great Britain and soon would be addressing Parliament. Crowds gathered for the occasion, filled the streets and overflowed the nearby park. Uniformed policemen maintained order while famous Big Ben chimed its proud and clarion call which marked the appointed hour.

My wife, Frances, and I stood midst the milling crowd. Then, suddenly, Parliament’s doors swung open, the Prime Minister and the President greeted the throng, entered their limousines, and the motorcade drove slowly away. The crowd gave a mighty cheer, then began to disperse. Frances and I walked from the sunbathed street into the semi-dark, yet welcome, refuge of Westminster Abbey.

A reverence filled this world-famous edifice, as it should. For here, kings are crowned, royalty wedded, and rulers, whose mission of mortality has ended, are honored then buried. We walked along the aisleways, thoughtfully reading the inscriptions which marked the tombs of the famous. We remembered their achievements, recalled their deeds of valor, and marked their well-earned places in the world’s history. Then we paused before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, one of many who fell in France during the Great War. From an unmarked grave, the body of this fallen youth had been brought to London to forever lie in honor. I read aloud the inscriptions: “They buried him among the kings because he had done good toward God and toward His house.” “In Christ shall all be made alive.”

Toward the doorway we walked. Still visible in the park beyond were the remnants of the crowd. The immortal words of Rudyard Kipling coursed through my mind and spoke to my soul:

The tumult and the shouting dies,
The captains and the kings depart;
Still stands thine ancient sacrifice:
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget.
(“Recessional”; see also Hymns, no. 77.)

One final marker to see, one more inscription to read. As a Scouter, I had come from America to view the plaque of honor dedicated to the memory of Scouting’s founder, Lord Baden-Powell. We stood before the magnificent marble memorial and noted the words:

Robert Baden-Powell, 1857–1941
Founder of the Boy Scouts
Friend of all the World

On that day during this year which commemorates the 75th anniversary of Scouting and the 125th anniversary of its founder, I pondered the thought, “How many boys have had their lives blessed—even saved—by the Scout movement begun by Baden-Powell?” Unlike others memorialized within the walls of Westminster Abbey, Baden-Powell had neither sailed the stormy seas of glory, conquered in conflict the armies of men, nor founded empires of worldly wealth. Rather, he was a builder of boys, one who taught them well how to run and win the race of life.

Boys do become men.
Nobody knows what a boy is worth;
We’ll have to wait and see.
But every man in a noble place
A boy once used to be.
(Quoted by Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, p. 50.)

The reality of this thought is delightfully portrayed in the closing lines of the well-known musical Camelot. King Arthur’s Round Table has been destroyed by the jealousies of men, the infidelity of a queen, and the appearance in the present of a mistake from the past, even Mordred. Deprived of his dream, King Arthur and his forces prepare to meet the armies of Lancelot. All he held dear is gone; disillusionment has darkened into despair.

Suddenly, however, there appears a stowaway—the young boy Tom of Warwick. Filled with the hope of youth, he tells the king he has come to help him fight the mighty battle. He reveals his intention to become a knight. Under the questioning of Arthur, Tom declares his knowledge of the Round Table. He repeats the familiar goals: “Might for right! Right for right! Justice for all!”

A look of renewed confidence spreads across King Arthur’s face. All is not lost. To the boy he repeats the goals and glory of Camelot. Then he formally knights him “Sir Tom of Warwick.” Thus commissioned to depart the battlefield, to return to England, to renew the dream of Camelot, to grow up and to grow old, Sir Tom places aside the weapons of war; and armed with the tenets of truth, he hears his monarch command, “Run, boy, run!” A boy had been spared, an idea safeguarded, a hope renewed. (Alan J. Lerner, Camelot, New York: Random House, 1961, p. 115.)

Every boy blessed by Scouting learns in his youth far more than that envisioned by Sir Tom of Warwick. He adopts the motto “Be Prepared.” He subscribes to the code “Do a Good Turn Daily.” Scouting provides proficiency badges to encourage skills and personal endeavor. Scouting teaches boys how to live, not merely how to make a living. How pleased I am that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1913 became the first partner to sponsor Scouting in the United States.

I love the inspired words of President Spencer W. Kimball when he spoke to Church members everywhere: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms the continued support of Scouting and will seek to provide leadership which will help boys keep close to their families and close to the Church as they develop the qualities of citizenship and character and fitness which Scouting represents. . . . We’ve remained strong and firm in our support of this great movement for boys and of the Oath and the Law which are at its center.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1977, pp. 50–51.)

What is the Scout Oath of which President Kimball spoke?
“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” (Boy Scout Handbook, North Brunswick, New Jersey: Boy Scouts of America, 1972, p. 34.)

A hero from war’s battlefield, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, emphasized this same commitment when, in the twilight of his illustrious career, when the daylight of youth had departed and the shadows of age had descended, he declared in a message to young men: “In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory, I always come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes in my ears—Duty, Honor, Country.” (Address accepting Sylvanus Thayer Award, West Point, 12 May 1962.)

The Protestant minister Harry Emerson Fosdick phrased differently the same commitment: “Men will work hard for money. They will work harder for other men. But men will work hardest of all when they are dedicated to a cause. Until willingness overflows obligation, men fight as conscripts, rather than following the flag as patriots. Duty is never worthily performed until it is performed by one who would gladly do more, if only he could.” (Vital Quotations, comp. Emerson Roy West, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968, p. 38.)

And from the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee: “Duty is the sublimest word in the English language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.” (Inscription beneath his bust in the Hall of Fame.)

Let us consider the Scout Law referred to by President Kimball. When I think of the Scout Law, I reflect upon the life of one who knew the laws of God and who kept them—even the Lord, Jesus Christ. The twelve points of the Scout Law have their counterpart in the message of the Master.

1.  A Scout is trustworthy. What did the Lord say? “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:4.)
2.  A Scout is loyal. “Get thee behind me, Satan.” (Luke 4:8.)
3.  A Scout is helpful. “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” (John 5:8.)
4.  A Scout is friendly. “Ye are my friends.” (John 15:14.)
5.  A Scout is courteous. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matt. 7:12.)
6.  A Scout is kind. “Suffer the little children to come unto me. . . . And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:14, 16.)
7.  A Scout is obedient. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38.)
8.  A Scout is cheerful. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.)
9.  A Scout is thrifty. “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22.)
10.  A Scout is brave. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39.)
11.  A Scout is clean. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” (D&C 38:42.)
12.  A Scout is reverent. “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt. 6:9.)

Such inspired teachings, when taught by devoted leaders to precious boys of promise, influence not only the lives of the boys; they also affect eternity. “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” (Eccl. 11:1.) Such is Scouting.

Several years ago a group of men, leaders of Scouts, assembled in the mountains near Sacramento for Wood Badge training. This experience, where men camp out and live as do the Scouts they teach, is a most interesting one. They cook and then eat—burned eggs! They hike the rugged trails which age invariably makes more steep. They sleep on rocky ground. They gaze again at heaven’s galaxies.

This group provided its own reward. After days of being deprived, they feasted on a delicious meal prepared by a professional chef who joined them at the end of their endurance trail. Tired, hungry, a bit bruised after their renewal experience, one asked the chef why he was always smiling and why each year he returned at his own expense to cook the traditional meal for Scouting’s leaders in that area. He placed aside the skillet, wiped his hands on the white apron which graced his rotund figure, and told the men this experience. Dimitrious began:

“I was born and grew to boyhood in a small village in Greece. My life was a happy one until World War II. Then came the invasion and occupation of my country by the Nazis. The freedom-loving men of the village resented the invaders and engaged in acts of sabotage to show their resentment.

“One night, after the men had destroyed a hydroelectric dam, the villagers celebrated the achievement and then retired to their homes.”

Dimitrious continued: “Very early in the morning, as I lay upon my bed, I was awakened by the noise of many trucks entering the village. I heard the sound of soldiers’ boots, the rap at the door, and the command for every boy and man to assemble at once on the village square. I had time only to slip into my trousers, buckle my belt, and join the others. There, under the glaring lights of a dozen trucks, and before the muzzles of a hundred guns, we stood. The Nazis vented their wrath, told of the destruction of the dam, and announced a drastic penalty: every fifth man or boy was to be summarily shot. A sergeant made the fateful count, and the first group was designated and executed.”

Dimitrious spoke more deliberately to the Scouters as he said: “Then came the row in which I was standing. To my horror, I could see that I would be the final person designated for execution. The soldier stood before me, the angry headlights dimming my vision. He gazed intently at the buckle of my belt. It carried on it the Scout insignia. I had earned the belt buckle as a Boy Scout for knowing the Oath and the Law of Scouting. The tall soldier pointed at the belt buckle, then raised his right hand in the Scout sign. I shall never forget the words he spoke to me: ‘Run, boy, run!’ I ran. I lived. Today I serve Scouting, that boys may still dream dreams and live to fulfill them.” (As told by Peter W. Hummel.)

Dimitrious reached into his pocket and produced that same belt buckle. The emblem of Scouting still shone brightly. Not a word was spoken. Every man wept. A commitment to Scouting was renewed. It has been said, “The greatest gift a man can give a boy is his willingness to share a part of his life with him.” To leaders who build bridges to the hearts of boys, to parents of Scouts, and to Scouts everywhere, on this our 75th anniversary, I salute you and pray our Heavenly Father’s blessings upon you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Ensign, Nov. 1982, 19–21

“Look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue.”

President Thomas S. Monson
“Standards of Strength,” New Era, Oct. 2008, 2

© 2013 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. 5/13. PD50050780

Want to keep up with the latest LDS Scouting news? Sign up for our newsletter!