Thursday, June 9, 2011

LDS Scouting Heroes

I’d like to tell you a story. It’s a story about a group of Boy Scouts. Of course, they didn’t start out as Boy Scouts, but that’s really what they were.

These young men were living at a very dangerous period of time. Their country was at war. But they were being attacked by more than just an enemy from outside. There were many of their fellow countrymen who agreed with and openly supported their enemies.

The fathers of these young men had a great desire to join the military in support their country, but through various circumstances, were themselves unable to fight. But these young men could. Being Boy Scouts, these young men made an oath to do their duty to God and their country. They formed themselves into patrols and troops, took up weapons, and reported for duty.

Can you imagine going to war? Having not served in the military myself, I don’t think I can really appreciate what these young men did. There must have been times when they were frightened or scared. But, like any Boy Scout, they were brave. Anyone who would volunteer for military service would qualify for this title, but these young men were especially so. Because of their age and inexperience, they were often used as decoys. They would parade out in front of the enemy to lure them away from their hiding places. The enemy, thinking they would be an easy target, usually went after them. These young men then had the duty to run and hope that the rest of their army could catch up before they were caught and slaughtered.

Time and time again, these young men were placed in this situation. And when the fighting began, they not only fought along side everyone else, but they were known for standing their ground when others would fall back. Their captains frequently remarked on their courage. They were brave.  

These young men were known for living and exemplifying every point of the Scout Law. Just as they were known for their bravery and courage, they were also Trustworthy. If they were given an assignment, it would get done.

They were Loyal to their country, their God, their families, their faith, and their leaders.

They were Helpful. At a period of time when their country needed them most, they stepped up and helped. Whenever their fellow soldiers were in a bind, they came to help.

They were Friendly. The original description of this point of the Scout Law stated that “[A Scout] is a Friend to all and a Brother to every other Scout.” These young men considered themselves to be brothers. As a group they were so close to each other, and to their leader that they called their captain, Father, and he called them his Sons.

These young men were Courteous. They had great respect for women, especially their mothers. They would often tell of their mothers and the things they learned from them.

They were Kind. The records we have of these young men don’t say much about their kindness, but it can be inferred. It has to do with their being helpful, friendly, and courteous.

They were Cheerful. They never grumbled or complained at an assignment, but did it willingly. In fact, when given a choice, they often chose the harder path. Perhaps that came from their loyalty and bravery.

They were Thrifty. Again, the surviving records don’t say much about this, but they were known for being helpful to those in need. You can’t do that without being thrifty.

We already mentioned how Brave they were on the battlefield. Their entire army was impressed with their courage and convictions. But they were brave in more than just that. They had the courage to stand for right. They did not fear what others could do because they had an unshakable faith in God. This was learned from their parents, who had to stand up for their faith, even when they were hated and threatened for doing so.

They were Clean. Cleanliness is more than just washing your hands before dinner. It means being clean in thought, speech, and action. This is also related to the last point—Reverent.

These young men were known by all to be reverent. The record states that “they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually.”

If you didn’t know before, that last paragraph should have given away who these young men were. They were the “Sons of Helaman.” The 2,000 stripling warriors we read about in the Book of Mormon. You probably never thought of them as Boy Scouts, but that’s what they were. They may not have ever worked on merit badges or earned the Eagle badge, but they were Scouts. Another way to say it is that through active participation in the Scouting programs, our modern youth can become the kind of men Helaman would have been proud to call his Son.

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