Comments about ‘As partners, Mormons and Scouts turn boys into men’

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Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Bruce T. Forbes
Kearns, UT

It all sounds good on paper, but the truth is that the relationship between the LDS youth program and Scouting is only as good as those who try to make it work. Some of us retained our spiritual growth and manhood by fleeing from the scouting program in our ward. When a scout leader's idea of turning us into men involved nothing more than playing basketball every week and being publically humiliated when one was not a good ahtlete, then we realized that Scouting was merely a tool that was either constructive or destructive. Fortunately, some of us were able to find other tools that worked much better.

Ogden, UT

Well said, Bruce Forbes. My husband and I had no problem turning our sons into good, productive, God-fearing men. It had nothing to do with the scouting program in our Ward -- we kept our sons out of the scouting program because it was destructive, not constructive. We did what was best for our sons, and we found tools that worked MUCH better.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

What does scouting do? It teaches boys to work together as a team. It gives them leadership responsibility. It teaches them to plan and to carry out that plan. If they work towards an Eagle, they have to learn to contact adults, make appointments with them, and then explain why they are qualified to receive "merit badges". They do all of that in a fun atmosphere, camping in the wilds, hiking, boating, swimming. They get out of their homes, where they may have spent too much time in front of the TV or with computer games.

It takes good leaders to make the program work. Some adults don't have the vision of what it takes to help a boy become a man who learns valuable skills on that journey into manhood.

Instead of "slamming the system", why not volunteer to be a part of it? If you can't volunteer, then you can at least support the boys who are on that journey by encouraging them to achieve excellence.

  • 8:31 a.m. Oct. 18, 2012
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Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Bruce T. Forbes Kearns, UT

Instead of dumping on a volunteer scout leader that received no financial rewards for his efforts real fathers step up to the plate, sacrifice some vacation time and help out on camping trips.

To become an Eagle Scout requires effort from the boy, the scout leaders, and the parents. Take any of those elements away and boys don't advance.

Eagle Scouts who enlist in the US military after high school can start off with a higher rank.

non believer

Mormonism has morphed the Boy Scouts into a religious organization in which they use to indoctrinate the young men into a lifetime of church membership. Awards and rewards are based on Mormon Priesthood rules and regulations. More emphasis is placed on indoctrination and obedience to the Mormon Gospel. Young men are accelerated through the program faster than boys outside the Mormon controlled BSA. Mormon boys can receive an Eagle Award simply by placing bags on neighbor doors to collect food for homeless shelters.

Temple City, CA

At "non believer": Mormon boys become Eagle scouts the same way boys in other troops do. They earn the required merit badges (no less; no different); they earn the required number of merit badges; they serve the required amount of leadership time; they are in the Scout troop the required amount of activity time.

Your criticism appears to be criticism of a particular Scout's Eagle project (another requirement). The project, which appears to have included a collection of food for homeless shelters ("simply"? really? do you object to collecting food for homeless shelters? is it an unworthy thing for a teenage boy to do as a project?) could not have been the only thing the boys did.

Because your criticism appears to have been ill-researched, it also appears ill-intended.

non believer

@ Jeff
Were you a boyscout here in Utah? I have had these same bags put on my door many many times! They do this project because it is easy! No creative though process needed.

Please tell me how my own personal experiences are ill- researched?

Thank you

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: non believer PARK CITY, UT
"Mormon boys can receive an Eagle Award simply by placing bags on neighbor doors to collect food for homeless shelters."

You can believe what you've typed but as a scout leader who has been there and done that I can tell you that you're dead wrong. To obtain an Eagle Award the project must be pre-approved by the BSA, and simply collecting food for homeless shelters just doesn't make the grade.

Nonmember scouts are welcomed into LDS sponsored troops where they will be taught scouting principles .... not the LDS gospel.


Scouting can be great, however we as LDS are really suffering in the way we do it. Some of the things wrong:
1) Too many great Young Men Leaders are pulled too often too soon to another position leaving lousy leaders there.
2) Too many families just dump their child on the Scout Leaders to get it done.
3) WHERE ARE THE FATHERS? (some families don't have them and I understand that believe me, but families with fathers come on......)
4) Spiritual growth for boys happens in the HOME, but scouting can help....not the other way around.
5) Wards sometimes have so few boys in an age group that it is near impossible to have a good program let alone a great program.

Bottom line is that Scouting is a family thing period, not a leader thing.

BTW I have 3 sons all eagle scouts as am I.

Mesa, AZ

Going forward with the new lower missionary age, maybe Scouting needs to be practiced only at the deacon ages, while the upper quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood focus more on mission and temple prep. The Young Women have far surpassed the Young Men in this regard for far too long.


Non believer in PC. The scouts have long performed the annual food drives. What makes you think it's related to a boy's scout project? If you want to rant about the church do it. Don't try to find a way to bag on the church through the scouting program. It's a proven program.

There is one problem with the program... How would BSA survive without the church? The leader of the Boy Scouts is paid around $8M annually. Why would I donate $50 each year to a program I never participated in and have no children who will participate? I understand there are needy boys who want to attend camp. But the BSA has the means to provide a spot for all who want to belong to the program.

So non believer if you want to pitch a fit over the church running the program here in Utah tie your argument to all the church funds and free labor to allow the CEO to keep his multimillion dollar annual salary. And also the peer pressure on Sundays to contribute so each boy can participate.

I'd rather give the money to the boy than BSA.


I should note that while I myself not receiving one single merit badge, none of my friends who were all eagle scouts as a boy or now an adult could tie appropriate knots to secure a load in a pick up truck. Nor find a safe place to camp aproproitely situated safely from lightneing, wind, flash floods, falling trees, or bears. My friends couldn't start a fire if their life depended on it. And what about marksmanship? Shooting a bow or a long rifle? Don't think so. Changing a car tire or the oil? The Boy Scouts program has got to be one of the most overrated programs ever. I'll never be a Boy Scout, but I will always be prepared. I pray the Bishop never calls me to attend a camp out where we learn to tie square knots.

Here is one very important tip for a poor sucker who is stuck in a church calling to be the Boy Scout leader. Never ever allow your boys to build a fire pit with rocks that were pulled soaking wet and cold from a river. Let me tell you, it's explosive.

Orem, UT

The Boy Scouts don't put the bags on the doors; the Cub Scouts do. The Boys Scouts pick up the bags full of food. (I'm a Cub Leader, so it usually means *I* put the bags on the door... somehow, the boys never show up that day.)

It's not an Eagle Project; it's just part of the Scouting For Food program. The Cubs can't even get anything signed off for it, not even one part of one requirement, so I'd be surprised if the Boy Scouts can either. It might count for a service project? They do it as a group and it's organized by the leaders and the local council, not by the boys, so there's no way for it to count for Eagle.

California transplant
Saratoga Spring, UT

Scouts is a wonderful program for boys that are interested and want to be involved. The issue arises when a young man who is a member of the church does not have interest in the scounting program. There is the stigma and expectation that all young men are suppose to attend scouts as part of the church attendance. I have personally experienced and seen how great young men who have interest in other activities are pushed and shunned away by leaders because of the lack of interest in scouting.

Has anyone paid attention to how much Boy Scouting cost these days? Have you asked how much your local BSA leader makes annually? When they come to your door on the holy Sabbath day to collect money for friends of scouting they dont even send the scouts anymore. They send the members of the local church. I am sorry, but the BSA business is less about the boys and more about making a profit.

Once again, for boys and families who are interested and want to pay for this experience this is a wonderful program.

Big Island, HI

Shame on the Boy Scouts! There are so many more pressing things we should be mobilizing our children to think and care about, instead of fostering hatred. And considering the tremendous pressure that gay youth face and the high rates of depression and suicide reported amongst gay youth–-the Boy Scouts decision to continue its long-standing policy of discrimination against LGBT scouts and scout leaders is downright irresponsible and bigoted. The LDS religion (and others) have hijacked an otherwise good organization with their money and influence and made it into a much less desireable place for many boys to be!


I've been an LDS Boy Scoutmaster and mostly a Cub Scoutmaster for 12 years in both Utah and California. No one at the troop or pack level or even the level above whose meetings I have attended has ever once mentioned one word against LGBT scouts or LGBT in general.

I can disagree with Scouting leadership, the decisions they make, the money that is wasted (true of all organizations!) but run the local groups with love and compassion. We (not just me) have welcomed nonmembers, special needs and gay youth into our groups with open arms and I believe we go out of our way to make them comfortable and successful. I believe you will find this true for the vast majority of local scouting leaders.

I'm sure I have not been the best leader, but I think the vast majority of boys gain from being part of a pack or troop! Scouting is not the answer to all problems, but it is better than a lot of the alternatives out there. In the end the greatest gift we can give these boys is the same love, compassion and attention we give our own children.

Big Island, HI

The Boy Scouts of America maintain that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God." Boy Scouts of America, Bylaws. So what does this mean to a non-religious boy or LGBT? The BSA is viewed by many as an inclusive organization open to all boys and youth of good character whose ages fall within certain limits. This belief appears in the BSA's own recruitment literature. In reality, the BSA regards itself as a religious/spiritual organization with specific membership exclusions based on the youth's:

Belief in the existence of God and
His sexual orientation.
The unstated belief of the BSA is that one cannot have religious values unless they first believe in some sort of deity.

If scout troops and leaders are ignoring the above policy of the BSA--that is good--but you can't say that all are doing that or are accepting all boys under the above criteria into the scout unit. The organization (as a whole) needs to change stated policy. Otherwise, the discrimination remains in the BSA.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Isaiah 5:20 (King James Version) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

The Boy Scouts of America are not going to change their values to accommodate 3 or 4% of the population who are confused about their sexuality. They teach concepts of morality and belief in God, and those who are not of like mind need not apply.

And no, they don't foster hatred. They are too busy working on merit badges and camping to worry about concepts that don't involve them.

Maricopa, AZ

Agreed rifleman.
So if it's so important to the LGBT groups to have these types of programs for their kids then they should organize a program for themselves, fund it, volunteer for it and serve year round receiving no compensation.
The same with all the inexperienced critics above.

Salt Lake City, UT

They still need a better business model. Cookies > popcorn.

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