Boyscouts. Moral issue

I am a Boyscout.

I want to become an Eagle scout.

Part of becoming an Eagle scout is getting some required merit badges. To get these merit badges, it is easiest and fastest to attend summercamp with your troop.

I “completed” two merit badges (first aid and cinematography) at this summercamp. I put completed in quotes because I was just reading online some of the requirements: there were more to do than what we did. So, if our leaders really marked our classes as complete, they’d be saying we completed merit badges we clearly didn’t. That would be cheating, right?

Since cheating in this case would be mortally sinful, I am worried. I don’t know what to do. I’m home now, so I can’t go back and tell them not to mark me as “complete”. And our troop leaders won’t unmark me, either, as I’ve already gone through something similar with them.

This happened last year kinda, too, when I didn’t know cheating could be a mortal sin (I think) at a different summercamp. It was for the Art merit badge, and one of the requirements was to visit an Art museum. Instead, our teacher just showed us some famous paintings. What do I do about this one?

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to get my Eagle rank through lieing. I just want to quit. Please, what do I do?

I read the requirements online at (or at least somewhere on that site, I think). I don’t know if it’s credible or not… but it probably is.

… my dear friend ,

… i would not worry about this , i’m quite sure it’s no sin for you at all , i’d look at it like this – you’ve no doubt been given extra credit in these cases for other things you’ve done or fulfilled the requirements for your badges in other ways , don’t be too rigid on the laws and rules with scouts , it’s not that serious a matter morally speaking all this in scouts , with scouts it’s much more important to be in the spirit of it all than to obsess about laws and rules like this , sounds to me like your fine , trust your leaders on this one and if you want you can go about fulfilling all the rest of the requirements in your own time when you can – if it’s necessary for your peace of mind , but take gods law very seriously , i’m not saying do the spirit of things with all – just scouts , hope this helps dear friend , i loved scouts when i was a kid , it’s great ,

… may god bless and love you :thumbsup::slight_smile: ,

… john …

Troop leaders have a lot of lattitude in the requirements and projects assigned for badges.

You are being scrupulous. Please stop.

Don’t worry about it. As both an Eagle scout myself and a (former) merit badge counselor, I feel qualified to say a couple things that may ease your conscience:

First, since your counselor(s) passed you on the merit badges, they felt that you met the requirements. Sometimes I’ve varied a bit on what I’ve asked the scouts to do in terms of what is required for the merit badge, IF I felt that they “knew their stuff”. If you know how to do what is required, that is the goal. If you feel that you don’t, get a leader to show you how.

Remember, the goal is learning.

Second, morally speaking, there has to be an intent for it to be cheating. If one or two of the requirements were overlooked by mistake, don’t worry. Just show one of your leaders that you’ve completed the requirement; they don’t need to sign off on it a second time. IF you were trying to get the merit badges by intentionally not doing some of the requirements, that is a different story.

See the difference?

So as far as the art museum is concerned, the merit badge counselor has some discretion in how they interpret the requirements. Just go to an art museum when you get a chance, don’t worry about it.

Third, this is a wikipedia page where you got your information. Wikipedia isn’t always accurate. This seems to be a more reliable link:

Fourth, do NOT give up. Your achievment of earning the Rank of Eagle Scout is something that will benefit you in your life, believe me. A fellow Eagle scout and friend of mine is in charge of hiring in his department at a spring manufacturing company. He told me that he’s hired a couple Eagle Scouts over the years, and that they having earned Eagle was a big factor in their hiring.

I would also look for Eagle Scouts in my business, but we’ve only had women apply for jobs at my veterinary clinic. :shrug:

Earning Eagle Scout says loads about one’s character. It still means something.

And remember, there are no “former” Eagle Scouts. You will be an Eagle Scout for life. :thumbsup:

About the checklists. Leaders are given leeway for several reasons. One is that they know you well and know that, for instance, you don’t need to go over the knot-tying part of the tent making becuase you already know it.

For First Aid there may be things you didn’t do becuase of time. I know they used to have a first aid canidate carry x pounds for x distance. It may not have been feisable.

For Cinematography there may be things you didn’t do becuase of cost or becuase technology changed.

Friend, it sounds like this is out of your hands. Others are guilty of negligence or laziness and put you in this situation but you are not at fault. If it eases you conscience to quit, then quit. But please don’t feel guilty and don’t feel like you have to make reparation for somebody’s else negligence. Be careful not to fall into scrupulosity as many of us have.

When I was in Scouting the figure quoted many times was that about 2% of all boys that enter Scouting ever become Eagle Scouts. Since not all boys ever go into Scouting to earn that achievement says quite a bit.

I understand your desire to follow the requirements set out to earn each merit badge, it’s really a good example of a person incorporating Scouting’s values into your life. I think unless some serious steps were overlooked in awarding the merit badge I wouldn’t worry about it. As another poster mentioned it’s about learning a skill or gaining knowledge, not necessarily checking off certain tasks you’ll soon forget. If your summer camp isn’t near a museum should’ve the counselor not signed off on everybody’s card because you couldn’t get to a museum?

I remember one summer camp I took the archery merit badge. One of the requirements was to make a bowstring and fire it several times. Our counselor felt it was too dangerous to do that and that he wouldn’t fire strings he’d made himself, he simply felt that the pre-manufactured ones were much safer and reliable. Did none of us earn a merit badge because we didn’t fire the string we made?

As an Eagle Scout myself, I urge you to continue on. There will be other merit badges that test your time, skills and patience that will more than make up for the few waived steps here and there.


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