scouts-l Mail Archive for May of 2000: Re: LDS & Scouts
Ted Burton (scouter@CONSULTBURTON.COM
Mon May 01 2000 - 22:41:25 CDT
In a message dated 4/30/00 11:35:26 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> I remain a little confused about the relationship between BSA and the
> LDS denomination. Is there some special agreement that I would be
> unaware of allowing LDS to be treated in what I perceive as a "hands
> off" situation?
I have the privilege of being the District Commissioner in a District
in which about one third of the units are chartered to the LDS Church.
Baden-Powell at the beginning did not envision Scouts as a new and
separate organization, but rather as program or approach to be
adopted by existing organizations for their youth programs.
Too many kids who were not really affiliated with an existing group
expressed interest in Scouting, for Scouting long to remain not a
separate organization in its own right. But that did not change
Baden-Powell's view that Scouting was a good approach for existing
organizations existing youth groups.
Many years after Baden-Powell first envisioned Scouting, the LDS
Church took those words to heart and adapted Scouting to the special
attributes of the church.
One of the attributes of the church is that the religious education
program is both extensive and designed to lead to lay minister roles
for all youth members as they mature to adulthood. The scouting units
are organized to correspond in age group to a particular level of
religious education. To do so is perfectly harmless to the program.
Another attribute of the church is that they take Sunday very
seriously. Youth members have roles assigned to them during Sunday
services. It is not a matter of being present for the service, so
much as being present in the service. Hence it is not something that
can be replicated in the woods. How much activity can occur in the
woods with LDS Scouting is somewhat flexible according to the local
leadership, although the national church literature is less flexible.
Community troops have trouble finding adult leaders, but more often
that not when they get one, they get a committed one who works out.
LDS troops have no difficulty finding adult leaders, who are
appointed by the leader of the local church parish (Bishop). The
difficulty LDS units have, then, is not with finding leaders, but
with making sure the Bishop appoints people who care. The latter then
becomes a problem not unlike the community troop one.
Another difference is in the Commissioner Service. The LDS units have
within the church a whole structure of advisory persons,
approximating in many ways Commissioner service in the sense of unit
life saving. It does not duplicate the Commissioner Service in terms
of making sure the units are aware of District opportunities, and the
District is aware of unit problems. It may or may not foster true
blue Scouting, depending on how knowledgeable such persons in fact
are respecting Scouting; they also have religious education
responsibilities for the same youth.
Lastly, the LDS equivalent to the unit commissioner usually comes
from the same local parish as the unit. I will never appoint someone
to be a unit commissioner for his own home unit. I fear that damages
objectivity, and makes it more difficult to offer constructive
criticism if the person who may be offended may wind up in the same
pew on Sunday with his 'commissioner.'
Anyway, they have no special deal. Like every Scout unit, the unit
needs to pay attention to the charter partner's desires that are
consistent with Scouting.
My troop is chartered to the Knights of Columbus, which as many of
you know is 'true, blue' Catholic. I would not dare to have the troop
camping out on Easter Sunday. Were the troop chartered to the Free
and Associated Order of Druids, camping on Easter would be just fine.
That's the beauty of Scouting. Our obligation is to teach our kids
that it is all right for different units to answer to their different
views of what God wants from them.
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:firstname.lastname@example.org ; and Macintosh fan.
Take a look at http://www.consultburton.com/scouter.html