Re: LDS troop merges w/ non LDS
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Mon, 26 Sep 1994 23:56:38 CST
James Harrison <BSAHARRI%EKU.BITNET@pucc.Princeton.EDU> writes:
>I do not want to sound too harsh on this subject but I have a question.
>Having worked three years with a camp director and a lot of fellow staff
>members who were LDS, I became somewhat familiar with there religion.
>My question is what does it matter if a troop is compleatly LDS or mixed?
>In the troop I am currently involved with we have a catholic sponcer, but
>the troop has everything from catholics to methodist. On of the biggest
>thing that I learned in scouting was the acceptence of diffrent races,
>religions, and traditions of each of these.
The Church uses the Scouting program as an combination outreach
program and missionary/preparation program for its youth members. This
is vastly different than most Scouting partners.
Most partners (in the case of St. Mark's Parish) uses the program as
a addition to their outreach program. They are hoping that as youth
become more confortable in meeting at their church, participating in
activities with the church and with the community, that they would get
a better acceptance for the Catholic faith and the Church which is
located there. Nope, you're right...Scouting is NOT about
"conversion of youth to a particular faith"...never has, never will.
However, the LDS Churches (both the "Mormom" and the "Reformed"
Churches...and you have to be careful because there IS a difference
between the two!) use the Scouting program in the same way that your
church does; but in addition, they use the program as a tool to train
their male members in elements of their faith. In particular, 11 year
boys in their faith undergo a religious "conversion" and become
junior leaders of the Church. The Aaronic Priesthood is so important
to the Church that 11 year olds are placed in a special unit called a
"Blazer unit" to assist in their tranformation from boy to man.
Additionally, the Church uses the Scouting programs as a way to
involve their families as a unit and entire communities into the
Church's family-oriented programs. It is not uncommon, Jim, to see
several Church members state here that their Bishop wants them to "do
another role in Scouting" or to leave Scouting altogether for another
program or ministry. This is unlike any other Church's influnce in
the Scouting program...in a Catholic unit, for instance, you could see
the same Scoutmaster for decades. The Church has definate plans for
each and every Scouter and after much prayer, the Bishop assists the
Scouter in "finding his or her place" in the Scouting program.
For those reasons, many LDS Scouters and some Bishops found it
neccessary to "alienate" their units from the "traditional District
structure". This has sometimes causes some "bad vibes" between LDS
and non-LDS Scouters and Scouts. For instance, when I was growing up,
all of the Arrowmen going to my high school wore green jac-shirts
(which were military issue items) with the 6-inch OA patch centered on
the back. We wore them every Monday to school and into the hallways,
because that was the same day that our sports teams wore their
letterman's jackets. ALL of the OA members wore theirs EXCEPT the LDS
Scouts...they wore the RED jac-shirts with the OA patch on the back.
When asked "how come", Bill Foster (a LDS Scout and a friend of mine)
explained that the Church's Bishop would not allow LDS Scouts to
participate in the same events as non-LDS Scouts; and that they were
discouraged from "joining in". (This explained how come I'd never see
the two LDS Troops at the Camporees...they went to a special
emcampment in keeping with their faith instead!!).
So, the notes about the combined Troop *IS GREAT NEWS* for both those
LDS Scouters here and elsewhere that have stated that their Bishop or
Stake would not let them do "secular things"; and for those non-LDS
Scouters that are in a mist about that Church and why they do things
"differently and separately" from the rest of us.
This is not bad stuff, Jim. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints brought the Scouting program a lot of improvements over the
years. It was the Church that influnced the BSA in tinkering around
with the changes to the Cub Scouting program, with the Varsity program
and later the Venture program. There were several policy changes
which can also be attributed to the LDS influnce.
Those within the Church will agree with you that Scouting is the
"Great Equalizer". They will also disagree with you that they
shouldn't be able to tailor-make Scouting to fit the image and program
of their Church. I think that Scouting is large enought to
I hope that I've answered yours and other's questions. Nope, I am not
a "Mormon Scouter", however I have met and worked alongside many in my
volunteer and preprofessional roles and found those Scouters great
friends, great parents and great Scouters. I even have adapted a
cruical element from their Church when Jess and I started to date, in
which on Thursdays we don't do any work but just relax and do
"family activities". I think it's a worthwhile element and will
continue to use it.
As you stated, Jim....one of the biggest things that I too learned in
Scouting was the acceptance (and working alongside) those of different
racial, ethnic and religious (and may I add here sexual) orientations,
and traditions of each. In all cases, the things I've learned through
Scouting (and those from my parents and church) have made me more
appreciative of whom I am and how great this nation really is.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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