scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: Fw: OA & LDS
Ted Burton (scouter@CONSULTBURTON.COM
Sun Apr 02 2000 - 10:51:15 CDT
At 11:06 PM -0500 on 4/1/00, BMayhew65@AOL.COM spake about Re: Fw:
OA & LDS thus:
>You are correct, Dan...
>The Bishop here selects the Unit Commissioners for their respective
>ward. The District Commissioner really has no choice, unless the UC
>is so bad that they need to be replaced (which has never happened).
>The DC is not consulted whatsoever in the selction.
The relationship between the District Commissioner and the internal
administration of the LDS Church is fascinating. As I am one of the
former, and have a whole lot of the latter in my District (about half
the units, maybe a third of the boys), I have some experience in the
matter. I suppose I should identify myself as Catholic, before
launching into a discussion of LDS.
The Commissioner Service has not existed in this District to all
intents and purposes until I took over about eighteen months ago, and
getting it going has been like pulling teeth. I am looking for the
right Commissioners, not just bodies to fill a roster, and that takes
The LDS Church has integrated Scouting into their church programs
very tightly. While some squirm at the thought, their doing so is
fully in accord with Baden-Powell's original vision that Scouting
would be a method to be adopted by organizations with existing youth
programs, rather than a new youth program. It was pressure from kids
and parents without existing affiliations that caused the rise of a
separate Scouting association. Throughout much of Europe the model is
church oriented in large part. In Germany, for example, there are a
number of Scouting organizations, each associated with particular
pre-existing other organizations such as the Catholic and the
Evangelical churches. Thus the Scouting association known as DPSG
(Deutsche Pfadfinder Sankt Georg) is the Catholic organization.
The LDS Church had a whole youth ministry apparatus in place at every
level from top to bottom, when first Scouting was integrated into the
LDS Church, and it was both convenient and politic, as well as
subjectively religiously appropriate, to adapt the table of
organization of the District into the table of organization of youth
ministries within the Stake and Ward organizations. As compared with
a full-blown Commissioner Service set up in a District without any
church units associated with a church that cares about such things,
the result can look a little anomalous.
The Church appoints in its usual fashion a number of people to
oversee youth programs within the Stake and each Ward. Their duties
vis a vis the Church organization happen to correspond exactly to the
duties of the unit commissioner. They are not "Unit Commissioners" --
registered adult Scouters with position code 80 unless and until I
make them so, yet they are functionally the same in large part.
The scope of responsibility of the Church appointed persons is not
one on one with the scope of duties of a Unit Commissioner. Further,
since they are appointed within their own home units, they are not
what I would like to see if I were appointing Unit Commissioners for
those same units. I will not appoint a person who is already
associated with a Unit to be its Commissioner, as I feel they lack
the degree of detachment properly to analyze a situation, and lack
the independence to suggest change free of fear of fall-out next
Sunday. I would be happier if the Unit Commissioner for any given
Ward's units was not a member of that particular Ward.
I have appointed some of the folks in the local LDS Church
organization who serve in youth ministries upon determining that they
are indeed genuinely interested in Scouting per se. Like any other
organization that has adopted a program, whether church, business, or
government, local hiring and firing personnel have a lot to do with
how well the program is implemented. If they care, the program will
prosper, but if they are merely filling in blanks in a table of
organization, the program will suffer. Ergo.
I have probably blithered enough.
Asst Scoutmaster, District Committee, District Commissioner,
Lewis-Clark Trail District, Inland Northwest Council 611, &
'a good ol' Fox too'; Es Kaielgu Lodge 311, Tseminicum Chapter,
Vigil, mailto:email@example.com ; and Macintosh fan.
Take a look at http://www.consultburton.com/scouter.html