What would a Nephite-based youth program look like?

Last month I took my eldest son aside and we had a talk on Boy Scouting, about why I have always disapproved of it, and why I think the church never should have affiliated with it when they were tasked to create a youth program.  I explained to him that that was a missed opportunity and that the Lord had expected them to create their own program, based on the Nephites, but they blew it and went, instead, with a Gentile-based model.

The conversation is particularly interesting given that a week or so later the church sent out a press release about Boy Scouts:

Official Statement — 27 JULY 2015

Church Re-evaluating Scouting Program

Concern expressed over BSA policy change, lack of global reach


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement today after a vote on a policy change by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board to admit openly gay leaders:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet. When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined. The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation. However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.

As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available. Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead.”

So, now I’m wondering what kind of replacement we are going to get.  Others have also begun to wonder, and to offer suggestions.  For example, there is Stephen Marsh’s post, Down at the [Y]MIA — alternatives to the Boy Scouts, which approach seemed (to me, at least) to be yet another Gentile program.

As I told my son, our youth program ought to be based upon the Nephites, yet I had no idea what that would look like.  I have simply never taken the time to consider it, for the Boy Scouts is the program we have at present, and to waste time creating an alternative seemed pointless.  However, given this new opportunity, my mind has begun to think in that direction and also to wonder, “Could a Nephite-based youth program be created, considering the fact that all we have is an abridged record?”

Of course, no church committee will ever contact me to create such a program, so we will get what we will get.  And it will most assuredly be based upon Gentile ways.  But maybe the mental exercise involved in creating a youth program from the Book of Mormon would have benefits, if only for the youth of the parents who perform such an exercise and who incorporate the same into their families.  And so I ask the reader, “What would a Nephite-based youth program look like?”

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  1. After going through the Book of Mormon again, I think that there is a sufficiency in the text to make a youth program. Maybe it could be called, The Sons of Nephi, and be based upon what Nephi and the Nephites did (obeying commandments and civilization building), what the Nephite Mormon church did (charitable works), and also on the 2000 stripling soldiers (maintaining rights and privileges). Etc.

  2. We’ve never been fans of the Scout/Church relationship either. My wife’s been looking for a suitable replacement for it so we can justify not sending our kids. The news of the church wanting to “re-evaluate” its relationship with the program came as well-timed and welcome news to us.

    I don’t see any reason why the youth program for boys can’t be the same as what the youth program for girls already is. They also meet every other Wednesday, they go through the Faith in God program, they even have camp outings and other activities as planned by the leaders.

    That’s just one of the problems I have with the Scouting relationship the church has — it’s just giving boys one more “special club” they can be a part of that girls don’t have.

  3. News Release — 26 AUGUST 2015

    Church to Go Forward with Scouting Program

    Will continue to evaluate options that meet its global needs


    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Wednesday from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the Church’s relationship with the Boy Scouts of America:

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth. As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.

    In the resolution adopted on July 27, 2015, and in subsequent verbal assurances to us, BSA has reiterated that it expects those who sponsor Scouting units (such as the Church) to appoint Scout leaders according to their religious and moral values “in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.” At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.

    With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.

  4. Well, the Church can “go forward as a chartering organization of BSA” all it likes. They should have just kept their mouths shut, instead of giving me hope for change and getting my mind working. I’ve already begun thinking on this thing…so…I can’t roll back my thoughts and unthink them… Which means I’ll probably end up creating a Nephite-based youth program now. For my boys. Based on the plan that has already materialized in my mind. Which I will put up another day. So, thanks, LDS Church.

  5. I agree. Part of me thinks that announcement last month that they would be “re-evaluating” the program was just scare-tactics to tell BSA that the church takes this “gay stuff” very seriously — but it was a bluff, there never was any real intention of re-evaluating anything.

  6. scouting is a poor replacement for family camping trips. just take your kids to the wilderness and wander around for a few days, theyll learn more than they ever could at some stupid scout camp or merit badge class. there’s no reason to dress your boys up in mock military uniforms and imitate military drills unless you want to send them off to use that training. teach them to hunt, make fire, build and repair a tent or other shelter, which foods and herbs are useful, fish, trap, how to outrun, track, evade and hide from the armies of king noah and warring tribes, herd sheep, brew beer, grow plants etc…

  7. evade and hide from the armies of king noah and warring tribes


  8. What is “Duty to God ” then?

  9. For young men holding the Aaronic priesthood: Duty to God pamphlet

    For baptized girls who are not yet in the Young Women’s program: Faith in God pamplet

    For young women, prior to entering the order of the Relief Society: Personal Progress Program

    Each of these will give out medals/certificates for fulfilling milestones prior to them entering either the Elder’s Quorum or the Relief Society.

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