Fulfilling Your Duty to God through Scouting

By Mark R. Francis

Director of LDS–BSA Relationships

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Scouting provides a great way to invite young men to come unto Christ.

historical Scout photo

Missionary work has been an important part of Scouting in the Church for the past 100 years. In fact, back in 1913, one reason the general leaders of the young men first recommended that the Church participate with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was because of “the missionary work of our boys associating with their fellows.”1 The spirit of brotherhood and inviting others to join with our Scout troops continues today as “young men of other faiths who agree to abide by Church standards [are] welcomed warmly and encouraged to participate in youth activities.”2

Inviting your friends to Scouting activities is a great opportunity to share the gospel and help you fulfill your Aaronic Priesthood duties. Young Men general president David L. Beck calls this work “real growth through Scouting.” When young men of other faiths join Church-sponsored Scout troops, two things happen: (1) Latter-day Saint Scouts have an opportunity to share the gospel through their testimonies and actions and prepare for their full-time missions by inviting others “to come unto Christ” (D&C 20:59), which is one of your Aaronic Priesthood duties; and (2) Scouts of other faiths then have an opportunity to participate in Scouting activities under the direction of priesthood leadership.

Here are some of the ways you can encourage others to join with you in Scouting:

  • Talk about your Scouting activities with friends, classmates, and neighbors.

  • When you’re studying a particular merit badge, share your excitement with your friends and ask if they’re interested in learning about that topic with you.

  • Help plan quality troop and patrol activities so that other youth will want to attend. Have a calendar of upcoming activities to share.

  • Invite other young men to attend unit meetings, activities, and courts of honor with you.

  • Look for ways to expand your Scouting activities to include others.

  • Use Scouting as a tool to involve less-active young men who may not be interested in attending Sunday meetings.

As you invite your friends to participate with you in Scouting, they can begin to understand what it means to do their duty to God (see the Scout Oath), and all of you will be blessed in the effort.

Photographs courtesy of Great Salt Lake Council, Boy Scouts of America, LDS-BSA Relationships Office, and Church History Library and © IRI

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Notes

  1. 1.

    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.

  2. 2.

    Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 8.17.3.