Tuesday, March 10, 2015

For All the Saints

Working with new converts in the Church of Jesus Christ is a challenging yet rewarding part of our service.  My son Devin and I attended an all-LDS encampment at boy scout camp Daniel Boone in NC.  LDS troops are different than the other troops in that we make a point to bring as many of our boys to camp as possible.  This actually lead to some behavior issues and even increased theft at the camp store. Some of the leadership and staff believed LDS troops were wrong to bring all their boys but that summer scout camp should be a reward for the most serious scouters and that LDS troops should exclude the other boys and not bring them to camp.

But that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Pres. Thomas S. Monson was asked why he supported the BSA position (which is not a change) that boys with same-gender attraction (not leaders) be allowed to continue in the BSA program.  Pres. Monson declared "Boy Scouts is for all the boys". 

Likewise, the gospel of Jesus Christ and our church programs are for "all the members".  Only the Temple is reserved based on worthiness.  Everything else in the Church is for every member, and especially the weakest of Saints". Christ begged Peter and all of us three times, "Feed my sheep, ...  feed my sheep...    feed my lambs". 

Accordingly, the LDS Church participation includes even our newest members.  Pres. Hinkley instructed us that every new member needs 3 things: a friend, a calling, and to be nurished by the Word of God.  Serving in the primary can fulfill all these 3 areas for our new members as they befriend the other leaders and teachers in the Primary,  team teach children's classes. and prepare lessons. Also, do not underestimate the spirit of the children's songs.  They are filled with rich doctrine and the Spirit of Christ.

My local ward has a great non-member serving as our boy scout committee chair.  I warned him when he was assigned that the LDS Church calls people to positions in scouting who might not necessarily have had an interest in scouting before.  Consequently, some of the people in the callings may not be very active in their calling.  However, like the boys and scout camp, the reason we bring all the boys and the reason we give callings and include all the adults is because 1. this is a participatory gospel  and blessings are realized by serving and not just attending and 2. you never know which calling and which boy and which adult will catch fire. 

A little extra information on scout camp.  I asked the staff at camp Daniel Boone if they perceived LDS boys to be any different than the other non-LDS boys who attended the camp.  They unanimously answered,'NO'!.  "Boys are boys", they replied.  While I was initially a little disappointed, their next comment gave me heart.  The staff said that where they did notice a big difference was in the adult leaders.  This tells me that the programs like primary, scouting, priesthood and relief society are successfully transforming normal rambunctious boys and girls into mature and faithful wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, men and women of God. 

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