Scouting and the Mormon Church


#1

I've just returned from spending my week of vacation from work instructing a lot of young Boy Scouts at a large camp in Washington State. It was great fun for everyone and filled with learning experiences. Among all the troops that attended from across the Northwest there were some from LDS churches (Latter Day Saints). One LDS troop visiting from Canada even had a man playing the Scottish bagpipes as he led their boys in a twice-daily march to our flag ceremony. All the rest of us were treated to this display throughout the week. It seems they came to an American Boy Scout camp because of our shooting ranges which they are denied due to Canadian gun restrictions.

What surprised me was to learn from a few BSA representatives that all Mormon churches rely heavily on the Boy Scout program to teach their boys the principles of life. This would not be so unusual except that many councils across America are now composed of a large number of LDS affiliated troops. These troops refuse to take part in any activities that support BSA programs like popcorn sales, etc. Some BSA council officials are getting very frustrated with these LDS troops for taking that position. Apparently its a teaching of Mormonism that now threatens the future of some Boy Scout programs across America and even in Canada.

What's your take on this? There were no Catholic affiliated Boy Scout troops at the camp I attended.

Peace be with you, Steve

Boy Scouts of America - Young people need to know to be good and to do good. Few will argue with the importance of teaching values and responsibility to our children - not only right from wrong, but specific, affirmative values such as fairness, courage, honor, and respect for others. Beginning with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, the Boy Scouts of America program is infused with character-building activities that allow youth to apply abstract principles to daily living situations.


#2

Well I was in an LDS troop when I was younger, and I can’t say for sure, but I do recall selling candy bars and popcorn for it. Do you know why they take this stance? My experience was with a troop in Germany (military base). I do know that when I moved to Utah, I was going to continue with scouts, but the mormon troop near my house weren’t the most welcoming folks to non-mormons.


#3

There is a sub section of scouting that was started by the Mormons. Venture Scouts I think they are called, but they are not exclusively Mormon.


#4

That’s interesting. There is one council in Western Washington where half the troops are LDS affiliated. I’m told they have all consistently declined to participate in any fundraising activities that require sales. It could be something more political than religious - perhaps some misunderstanding.

Also, it’s interesting that the Mormon Church as a whole is directing so much of it’s resources and monies from titheing to focus on putting their boys through the scouting program. The troop that I went with depends largely on resources and funds donated by a community chamber of commerce. Many Catholic Churches also depend on support from businesses to supplement their activities, but the Church has not concentrated it’s efforts toward a goal like this - to actually direct it’s young people to participate in a program such as scouting, the way that the Mormon Church in America is apparently doing.

Thanks for your response!

Boy Scouts - Young people need mentors. Positive relationships with adults—community and religious leaders and, of course, parents—provide youth with good role models and have a powerful impact on their lives. Young people of every age can benefit from constructive, one-on-one interaction with adults beyond their own families. Scouting provides such adult interaction. We have a process that screens, selects, and trains the leaders who can provide that extra attention all young people need to succeed in life.


#5

I was also a part of a short-lived Venture Crew, the organization Lutheranteach is referring to, I think (girls are allowed:p). I had no idea they were started by the Mormons. That’s interesting.

I don’t know why fundraising via sales would be an issue. Perhaps the Mormon troops aren’t really interested in any council-wide activities? Some troops are more stand-offish than others.


#6

I am a Scouter and have been for many years. It is my understanding that the LDS Church does not want to put it’s tax exempt status in jeopardy.

It has been a puzzlement to me that all the other Religious Denominations I know of have Yard Sales, etc., to support their whole church operation let alone their BSA.

If the congregation would pay an honest tithe, yard (rummage) sales, candy, popcorn and other fundraiser activities would not be necessary.


#7

Just as I suspected - the reason is more political than religious. Thank you very much for your response. It never occurred to me that an LDS member might read my post on Catholic Answers Forum and respond to it, though I’m glad to have you here in our community and I’m sure we all welcome your input.

Peace be with you,

Steve


#8

Wooly Wolf, you said the magic word when you said “GERMANY!” The US government looks for reasons to take away your tax exempts, we just don’t want to give them any excuses.

Ventures are 14-15 year old scouts and I don’t recall what Explorers 16-17 year old scouts are called now. Girls (Young Women) are welcomed in the Ventures and Explorers. We also have women in the Order of the Arrow.

Steve I enjoy reading CA. Lots of good comments from a lot of good people.


#9

Thank you for the acknowledgment. In my extended family there are some special relationships between a heritage of Catholicism and a peculiar joining of our two Churches by way of a wedding. It is made even more incredible when an interested person studies the teachings that contradict one from the other. But I’ve always found the Mormons that I’m distantly related to are among the most gracious and unassuming people I know.

My work at the BSA Camp was as a volunteer, and while there it is important to always adhere to their guidelines. It’s not my habit to comment on the direction that certain Churches may take within the scope of an inclusive program for boys - where all are very reverent. But I really appreciate what everyone has provided here, thank you!

Vivat Jesus, Steve

Boy Scouts of America - Young people need faith. There is abundant evidence that children benefit from the moral compass provided by religious tradition. We acknowledge that faith can become an important part of a child’s identity. Each of the major faiths breeds hope, optimism, compassion, and a belief in a better tomorrow. Scouting encourages each young person to begin a spiritual journey through the practice of his or her faith tradition. One of the key tenets of Scouting is “duty to God.” While Scouting does not define religious belief for its members, it has been adopted by and works with youth programs of all major faiths.


#10

I don't know anything about Mormons and Scouting per se but I was an adult leader for 14 years in two councils in 2 states and it was always the policy that fundraisers were optional for any troop, never required.


#11

[quote="puzzleannie, post:10, topic:206441"]
I don't know anything about Mormons and Scouting per se but I was an adult leader for 14 years in two councils in 2 states and it was always the policy that fundraisers were optional for any troop, never required.

[/quote]

That's right, it is an option and is not required. That is why the quotas can be so difficult to meet. When a goal is made completely out of reach due to some intransigence - without a given explanation. This can cause frustration for some, and it's also possible to open a pandora's box when your dealing with very sensitive issues, such as the traditions of churches. This is especially so when some churches have been in contention with one-another. Then it becomes important to avoid misunderstandings, and try to save a force for good in our world, such as what scouting programs for our youth have provided.

Peace be with you.

Steve


#12

Interesting fact about Scoutings origins.

Its founder, Col Baden Powel commanded the Mafeking garrison in the Boer War in 1900.

Short of food he first gave the White troops and civilians Grain and the Black civilians the Horse Fodder. This lasted a while but as the seige progressed, he sent 2000 of the Black population to their deaths by ejecting them into Boer gunfire.

Nice Chap


#13

The BSA does get a lot of charitable donations from the LDS, but if that's been cut off in the last few years by a threat to their tax exempt status, I'm not aware of it. At one time, they were the top contributor to the BSA.

I was a Boy Scout when I was little and while I grew up Catholic, I don't know if any of the local troops were supported by the RCC when I was participating.


#14

[quote="Returning_Home, post:13, topic:206441"]
The BSA does get a lot of charitable donations from the LDS, but if that's been cut off in the last few years by a threat to their tax exempt status, I'm not aware of it. At one time, they were the top contributor to the BSA.

I was a Boy Scout when I was little and while I grew up Catholic, I don't know if any of the local troops were supported by the RCC when I was participating.

[/quote]

Actually what I've noticed in my travels is that here and there you'll find Cub Scout Packs and a few Boy Scout Troops that claim Catholic parishes for their home. But many of them are poorly supported and rely on major fund raising activities to help pay for their activities, or their meetings and activities can sometimes be cut back due to a lack of adult involvement.

Families with boys who desire an involvement with scouting routinely visit many troops before deciding on which one to join. That is very common around Seattle and many other cities. With small towns that have few corporate sponsors, Scouting organizations depend almost entirely on the goodwill of qualified adults who sacrifice a great deal of their time and resources.

I just happen to think its for a truly good cause. And it's a great solution to the many poor influences on our kids these days..


#15

[quote="StevEdward, post:14, topic:206441"]
[FONT="Georgia"]Actually what I've noticed in my travels is that here and there you'll find Cub Scout Packs and a few Boy Scout Troops that claim Catholic parishes for their home.

That would make sense; I just never happened to have been involved with any. If my son goes into scouting, I'll be on the lookout for LDS indoctrination attempts.

[/quote]


#16

Do I understand then that in the LDS Church there is no fundraising of any kind and that all church activities are funded from tithing?

How does a poor church survive? are some forgiven the tithe?

As I understand it, Scouting is ‘sponsored’ by a church or civic organization but the Scouts are to provide their own financial resources. At least our scout troops operate that way.


#17

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:3, topic:206441"]
There is a sub section of scouting that was started by the Mormons. Venture Scouts I think they are called, but they are not exclusively Mormon.

[/quote]

Assuming that the Venture Scouts are the same as over here in the UK, they are nothing to do with the Mormons. They were started by the Scout Association as a way of keeping the older age-group involved.


#18

[quote="vsedriver, post:16, topic:206441"]
Do I understand then that in the LDS Church there is no fundraising of any kind and that all church activities are funded from tithing?

How does a poor church survive? are some forgiven the tithe?

As I understand it, Scouting is 'sponsored' by a church or civic organization but the Scouts are to provide their own financial resources. At least our scout troops operate that way.

[/quote]

Without getting too deeply into any comparisons, the Catholic Church is well known for recieving pitifully small offerings from its adherents when compared to churches that require a much larger commitment. It can be easily argued that people work harder when they are taxed more heavily, such as in countries like New Zealand where the socialist taxes amount to about half of one's income.

The Mormon Church requires about one third of a member's income, I believe, however this may be encouraged more than required in many instances. In my experience more then a few Catholic administrators have been a bit jealous of such generous giving - especially when compared to the meager offerings at their own parishes. We give according to our conscience instead of disclosing our actual incomes.

Peace be with you,

Steve

Boy Scouts of America - Young people need to serve. The level of community service is a good indication of the health of any society. Scouting has, from its inception, been deeply rooted in the concept of doing for others. "Do a Good Turn Daily" is a core Scouting precept. Scouting encourages young people to recognize the needs of others and take action accordingly. Scouting works through neighborhoods, volunteer organizations, and faith-based organizations to help young people appreciate and respond to the needs of others.


#19

Our troop does not do fundraisers. period. It use to frustrate the district because that is where the district gets it's money! But the parents LOVE it. With all the school stuff to sell, they don't want another thing. Because of the United Way no longer sponsoring scouting, there are other methods now for the district to get money. But most comes from Popcorn sales. So, really, it isn't an LDS thing that I know of, but a choice of the troop.

As far as the involvement of the LDS and scouting, very many of the executives in scouting are Mormon. Just the way it played out. There aren't as many Catholic Troops as Mormon. In fact, if I was told correctly, the LDS has more sponsored Troops than any other organization. Thanks to the government not allowing public schools to sponsor them anymore. (Gay rights tension, basically.)

Districts need money to function. If you don't participate in the pop corn sales, they will struggle unless a troop provides by other means. There are other means and we've found them. Money isn't required, but support of the district is VERY important in some way or another.

Scouting is a GREAT program. What many don't understand is that the program is just as great for parents as it is for the kids. And I don't mean weekend babysitting!:mad: So get involved! It's a great program, no matter who sponsors the troop!


#20

[quote="newbetx, post:19, topic:206441"]
As far as the involvement of the LDS and scouting, very many of the executives in scouting are Mormon. Just the way it played out. There aren't as many Catholic Troops as Mormon. In fact, if I was told correctly, the LDS has more sponsored Troops than any other organization...It's a great program, no matter who sponsors the troop!

[/quote]

Good, I agree, but what you don't understand is the subtle way that the church introduces people to its way of thinking, slowly and by using Christian terminology. They'll tell you that they believe, for example, in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. What they won't tell you, however, is that their Jesus is a created being and that God had to have literal, physical sex with Mary to produce him. Since the Mormon God is supposedly the literal father of all of our spirits (through sex with the unnamed heavenly mother), this ultimately means that the Mormon jesus (small j) is the product of incest. This is the logical result of their god having a body of flesh and bone.

They also won't tell you that the Mormon jesus plays a very minor role in their theology. Since Mormonism believes that mankind's nature is good, it redefines and reduces the role of Jesus to acting as a mere usher for Mormon men to become gods like God.

Does any of that sound Christian to you?

And I can back up each and every point I made here with LDS texts so they cannot tell you that I'm making this up or that I don't understand what it all means.

Is that the theology you want your kids or grandkids introduced to? Yeah, me neither.


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