Duty to God at the Heart of Scouting, Says Presiding Bishop
“Isn’t it impressive that this great organization, so far ahead of its time, established this foundation or mission statement, integrated it deeply into its culture, and practiced it, beginning in 1910.” —Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, Presiding Bishop
GRAPEVINE, Texas —
“Duty to God” is the heart of Scouting and is a foundational principle as old as the organization itself, Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told over 1,500 Scout leaders May 23.
Bishop Stevenson was addressing leadership of the Boy Scouts of America at its “Duty to God” breakfast meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
Bishop Stevenson did not address the vote that took place the same day on Boy Scout membership policies.
“I am very aware of the controversial moral, legal, and policy issues that face this great organization. They are deep and they are wide and they will test the best in us,” Bishop Stevenson said. “Although I don’t speak directly to these issues this morning, I believe it constructive counsel for each of us to pray that divine direction manifest itself upon those who have the weighty responsibility to lead this organization appropriately.”
Speaking of the Scout Oath, which contains the phrase “I will do my best to do my duty to God,” Bishop Stevenson said, “Isn’t it impressive that this great organization, so far ahead of its time, established this foundation or mission statement, integrated it deeply into its culture, and practiced it, beginning in 1910. Ask any man who was a Boy Scout, and you will find near 100 percent recognition and an ‘off the chart’ recall of this mission statement.”
Bishop Stevenson said that duty to God is the heart of Scouting. “It is a founding principle as old and deep as the organization itself,” he said. “What does it imply? The World Organization of the Scout Movement defines duty to God as ‘adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them, and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom.’ And a BSA duty to God task force said, ‘Spirituality, reverence, morality, [and] ethical behavior . . . are terms which reflect and demonstrate ways to fulfill duty to God.’”
As the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bishop Stevenson oversees the programs for young men in the Church, including Scouting. For the past 100 years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has enjoyed a strong relationship with Boy Scouts of America.
Read Bishop Stevenson’s full remarks.