Scoutmasters should teach duty to God

"Now, you who work with boys. Let me tell you several subtle things which you can do, if you believe them, or can do them as though you believe them, which will immeasurably increase the work and the happiness and the joy of the boyhood of this Church.

"When Sunday morning comes along, Mr. Scoutmaster, will you be found sitting in the class with the deacons? . . . I advise you to feel the importance of these young men under your care so greatly that when they walk into class, even though you may not be their adviser in that deacons quorum, there you will be sitting next to them, letting them see with their eyes that what is in your eyes is the reflection of what is in the teacher's eyes."I have often thought what effect it must have on a boy to reach out the sacrament plate to his Scoutmaster sitting in sacrament meeting. Boys love their Scoutmasters, usually, and here sits the Scoutmaster where he belongs, and the boy hands him the plate or the cup and smiles at him, and the Scoutmaster smiles back.

"Not a word has been said, but the boy knows what it means to do his duty to God. He does not have to put his hand up and say it, he just knows it.

"Do you Scoutmasters realize that every time you pass a grove of trees in your hiking programs and in your camping out, that it is possible for your boys to duplicate in a measure the experience of the Prophet Joseph? What a lovely thing it would be if a Scoutmaster could subtly teach a boy that whenever he came into a grove or passed a grove, if he cared to go in there and kneel down and offer a prayer to his Father, the Father would hear the prayer. He might not show Himself to him, but He would reveal Himself to him by a method which we have been told is sure, by the Holy Ghost.

"The forests of our land where God might influence boys are not confined to New York state, my brothers and sisters and fellow Scoutmasters. They are here and around us.

"I have been a Scout executive a long time, but I cannot recall many occasions that I have heard a Scoutmaster bear his witness at a campfire that Jesus is the Christ. I have been guilty of that myself.

"Could I do it over again, I would use many more occasions before the last embers died to stand there and tell my boys of the living Christ and of the goodness of Him in these days to reveal Himself to the boy Prophet.

"Who can teach observance of the Sabbath day more effectively than the quiet ways of the leader as he guides his boys in the breaking of camp on Saturday evening. As he lets them out of the car at each home, his cheery, `See you tomorrow in priesthood meeting,' is a powerful sermon. Conversely the noise of wheels turning against the pavement on Sunday is louder than any advice.

"And finally, I would be remiss indeed if I did not teach them to talk to their Father in Heaven. Campfire programs and camping-out programs and hikes and trips, when boys are away from home, put them on their own as to whether they shall talk to their Father or not.

"They can do it individually as I have suggested, in groves, but they must do it collectively at times.

"My fellow Scout leaders, at your campfires and in your dismissals, teach your boys that the Lord is not just a great Scoutmaster. He is our God. When you pray to Him and when they pray to Him, address Him as He suggested Himself. Let them say, "Our Father, which art in Heaven," asking for the favors of the night, for protecting care, for love and peace at home, and for all things concerning which they should inquire.

"Then let them always close it by saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ," thus bearing their witness that they believe in His holy name. That is the kind of prayer we ought to have our Latter-day Saint Scout say.

"For its kind, I have no objection to the other, but we have our kind which is better. It makes boys vocally free and can be given inspirationally to fit many occasions.

"My testimony is that God lives. . . . I would hope and pray that all boys in our care will develop the same testimony with the help of their leaders."

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