Scouting principles: 'An ideal outline for living'

The Scout Oath is an ideal outline for living that corresponds in every respect with gospel principles and supports Aaronic Priesthood purposes, according to Elder Marion D. Hanks.

Reciting the oath, Elder Hanks noted the principles that "fit in remarkably with priesthood and youth leadership"He spoke of honor, doing one's best, duty to God and country and obedience to the Scout Law, which he called "a series of remarkably sensible principles of life that include being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent."

"We are talking about duties," explained Elder Hanks, "to which a commitment is made, a commitment to obey these principles and to help other people while keeping oneself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. These are marvelous, fundamental principles from which this country has strayed, and to which it seems it knows it needs to return.

"That's about as good an outline for living as anybody has ever fashioned, and it's totally compatible with what the Church stands for."

Elder Hanks then went on to discuss four foundation principles that can be taught and reinforced through Primary, Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting experiences to strengthen the lives of young Latter-day Saints:

Self-esteem. "Whatever we teach in our religion, fundamentally we're talking about our image of self and our relationship with God and Christ and with others, including our family. Unless those relationships are right, we're not right.

"If we do not merit our own self-esteem, if we cannot look in the mirror and generate a certain amount of self-respect on the basis of what we do with what we know, then we're not happy. That's what proper love of self is all about, not egotism or narcissism, but an acknowledgment of who we are, whose spiritual children we are.

"And with a good self image, we can reach out to family, friends, associates and fellow men. If we don't have a reasonably good relationship with our fellow men, we're not going to be happy. And all of this relates to the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father and the Savior.

"What any of us needs - and this applies with remarkable appropriateness to youth - is an appreciation for our origins, our potential, our relationships, and to look to the future. There is going to be a future. The biggest concern in the minds of young people who take their own life seems to be the uncertain future and their part in it, whether there is going to be a future, which is a tragedy. Young people need to know that there is a God, and while life doesn't always seem fair, He is there, and we need to reach for Him and to plug into the high line of spiritual strength available."

This February marks the 79th anniversary of the partnership of the Church and Boy Scouts of America.

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