Presentation of Scouting Award
April 1977

Presentation of Scouting Award

President Arch Monson: President Kimball of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, distinguished guests, brother Scouts and Scouters, it is a great privilege and honor for me to be here in this renowned spiritual center on this momentous occasion. As president of the Boy Scouts of America, I bring you greetings on behalf of our executive board and tell you that we are pleased to be represented at this great meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I feel that as we meet on this great occasion that once again we should recognize the long and distinguished partnership between the Boy Scouts of America and your church. Since 1913 the Mormon Church has used the Scouting program as an integral part of its ministry to boys and young men. This unique relationship has been possible because of a close alignment of the goals and objectives between Scouting and the Church: namely, character building, citizenship training, personal fitness, and spiritual growth. We must pay a great tribute to those early Church leaders who in their great wisdom saw methods in the Scouting programs which, when properly applied, would bring youth into a closer and more meaningful relationship with their God and their fellowmen.

This is the real merit of the Scouting program. It can be adapted by community organizations—such as churches, service groups, civic clubs, and schools—and used by these organizations to help them achieve their aims for their young people. The methods of Scouting provide a most effective means whereby boys can learn self-reliance, teamwork, duty to God and country, and respect for the beliefs and convictions of others—all by subscribing to the Scout Oath and Law and supporting it. In this way they develop a code of ethics and a sense of values by which they pattern their lives.

In combination with other programs of the church and community, Scouting provides a genuine context for Christian living. In my travels around the Scouting world, I am continually impressed by the effectiveness with which the Mormon Church uses the Scouting program in cooperation with the various Scout associations. As a worldwide movement, Scouting lays a vital role in promoting world brotherhood and understanding; and even on the global scene, Scouting helps the Church achieve its aims.

I would, before continuing, like to thank you for sharing with us in my administration the fine leadership of President Ezra Taft Benson, Elder Thomas Monson, Elder Marion Hanks, and, through this long period of partnership, many others who have been so helpful in our national Scouting program.

I would like at this time to ask Mr. William Jackson, who is chairman of the relationship division of the Boy Scouts of America, and also Mr. James Sands, who is director of the international division of the Boy Scouts of America, to join me here at the podium. Will you gentlemen please come forward?

Today we pay tribute to your esteemed president, whose support and sincere belief in Scouting continue to make this fine relationship possible. President Kimball, would you please come forward? Spencer Woolley Kimball, world religious leader, author, humanitarian, friend of Scouting, the Boy Scouts of America salute you and confer upon you the Silver World Award, our highest honor for distinguished service to youth on a global basis. You, sir, are recognized among distinguished citizens of the world who have contributed so substantially to the spirit of unity and brotherhood among the youth of over 113 nations of this great world. We are honored to make this presentation.

President Spencer W. Kimball: Thank you very much. I think I would like to ask all the Scouts in this room to please stand a moment. [Most of the audience stood.] Thank you very much.

I deeply appreciate this recognition and this act of courtesy on the part of the Boy Scouts of America. I have enjoyed a long and respectful relationship with Scouting. I believe in its potential to motivate young men to live with effectiveness and integrity and to help them prepare for their manhood. There are some lines from a poet that reflect my feelings about boys:

Nobody knows what a boy is worth,

We’ll have to wait and see.

But every man in a noble place,

A boy once used to be.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands firm in its commitment to youth, to the families to which they belong, to the families they themselves will one day form, and to every program and effort that seek to build and strengthen and enrich and ennoble youth. The Boy Scouts of America has for many years found sponsorship in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since in 1913, we became the first partner to sponsor Scouting in the United States. We have remained strong and firm in our support of this great movement for boys and of the Oath and the Law which are at its center. To commit a boy to do his best—to do his duty to God, to his country, to his fellowmen, to true principles, and to himself—is to open avenues of vision and direction for him which can be critically important in his life. A young man who understands and is fully committed to the great principles of the Scout Law has his feet firmly planted on a path that can lead to a happy and constructive life. He will qualify for his own self-respect, and he will very likely form wholesome relationships with others and will establish an honorable family. Being true to Scout principles will help him in forming a companionship with his Heavenly Father that will strengthen all the other relationships and aspects of life. It is our understanding and belief that Scouting is still strongly centered in these duties and principles, and that there is a determination in its present leadership to strengthen them further. This being true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms the continued support of Scouting and will seek to provide leadership which will help boys keep close to their families and close to the Church as they develop the qualities of citizenship and character and fitness which Scouting represents.

Again, I thank you sincerely for this award.