Backpacking Bibles (Part 2 of 2)
Cynthia D King (cdk7552@JUNO.COM)
Sat, 21 Dec 1996 20:44:16 EST
This is the second part of an article appearing in the 12-6-96 edition of
the United Methodist Reporter. It is quite lengthy. I did not <snip>
anything so that my personal opinion is not included. Cindy King
from ' BACKPACKING BIBLES' FOR BOY SCOUTS HALTED
by Cynthia B. Astle, Associate Editor
-----continued from earlier posting-----
" 'I'M SORRY'
"I'm sorry to hear this because the idea of the Bibles is just
outstanding," said Mr. Hogue when informed by the Reporter of the
project's halt. "It was a United Methodist project just to get the Bibles
our, not to offend anybody."
Meanwhile Mr. Diemler, relationships coordinator for the Boy Scouts of
America, told the Reporter in a telephone interview that he elected to
bar "backpacking Bibles" after he was told by Mr. White that "someone
raised questions" about it.
When informed by the Reporter that neither New Mexico conference
officials nor United Methodism's chief financial officer objected to
"backpacking Bibles," Mr. Diemler said he didn't know who had raised the
"I was told by Byron that there were questions about church procedure
involving the project," he said.
"Whether the questions are right, wrong, or whatever, the fact that
questions were raised seemed sufficient for us to pull out of the
Mr. Diemler continued that his office has spent "great amounts of money"
printing a devotional guide, Eagle Soaring High, that has been in use at
Philmont during the same time that "backpacking Bibles" were distributed.
"We've just made a big committment to Eagles Soaring High and we thing
that's what ought to be used," Mr. Diemler said.
"Halting 'backpacking Bibles' doesn't mean it can't be brought back again
or that it wasn't a good project. We appreciat everyone who supported
ATTEMPTED TO RAISE $25,000
The SEpt 13 story reported that "backpacking Bibles" leaders were
attempting to raise $25,000 by mid-December to "piggyback" on an
International Bible Society printing of New Testaments.
The six-month lead time would have enabled the printing of 10,000
"backpacking bibles" including an eight-page spiritual supplement with a
plan of salvation geared to the Scouts' trail experiences at Philmont.
Because the money wasn't raised, the 10,000 Bibles weren't ordered, Mr.
During the six-year project more than 18,000 bibles were distributed to
Scouts. In Summer 1995 demand so exceeded supply that toward the end of
the camping season, Scouts themselves contributed to the project. One
troop reportedly took up a $75 offering while on the trail.
Those contrbutions--and others secured through an article which appeared
in Spring 1996 in the national United Methodist Men's newsletter--paid
for an additional 3,300 Bibles. Those Bibles--printed in late Summer 1996
without the Philmont logo--are stored in the chaplain's office at the
"I told [Mr. White and Mr. Diemler] that the Bibles weren't mine'
technically they belong to the sub-district churches [sponsoring the
project]," Mr. Farris said.
'A REAL PROBLEM'
" I have a real problem with having 3,300 Bibles around that people paid
to be given to Scouts."
In response to the Reporter's questions about the project's financial
accountability, Mr. Farris said that all contributions to "backpacking
Bibles" have been routed through the treasurer of the Sievrr Grande,
N.M., sub-district where the sponsoring churches--Amistad, Cimarron,
Clayton, Des Moined, Maxwell, Raton and Springer--are located.
"We have records and thank you letters on file for every contribution
that the donor didn't want to be anonymous," Mr. Farris asserted. "We
have receipts for all the money we've spent.
"I have a letter dated December 1995 from Philmon's general manager
giving us permission to use the logo. I asked him in early October, after
the story appeared in the church newspaper, whether he wanted me to come
give a report to the Philmont board of directors. He said it was not
"I've kept [New Mexico] conference officials informed all along of what
we were doing. At the Nov. 12 meeting, I had records to show [Mr. White
and Mr. Dimler], but they weren't interested in seeing my supporting
material. The matter had been decided before I entered the discussion.
"I thought I was doing what was necessary. If I was wrong, I'm sorry, but
it seems someone could have instructed me without killing the
project--which, by the way, has never cost the Boy Scouts of America a
---end of article-----
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City