Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

'A Century of Honor'

President Thomas S. Monson lauded for service to Scouting
Published: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013

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For 100 years, LDS Scouts have hiked mountain trails, bunked under open skies and earned Eagle Awards and merit badges ranging from American Business to Woodwork. But the history of LDS Scouting transcends rank advancements, courts of honor and summer camps.

Scouting in the Church has, first and foremost, been defined by bridge building — bridges that connect a young man to his fellow Scouts, his leaders, his community and, most important, to the Lord.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
President Thomas S. Monson speaks as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

A century has passed since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became the first organization to formally sponsor Scouting troops for its youth.

Since then, millions of LDS young men have worn the iconic uniform of the Boy Scouts of America. Legions of men and women, meanwhile, have served as leaders in Scout troops and Cub Scout packs.

The Church's 100-year-old partnership with Scouting was celebrated Oct. 29 in the Conference Center in an original stage production chronicling the ongoing story of LDS Scouting. The program — which was broadcast live to thousands of meetinghouses across the United States — included choir music, historical reenactments and video tributes to what Church and Scouting leaders called "A Century of Honor."

President Thomas S. Monson was recognized at the event for his lifelong service and support of the Scouting movement. BSA National President Wayne Perry, a Church convert, added his voice to a variety of Church and Scout leaders who offered thanks to President Monson in video tributes — including President Monson's two counselors in the First Presidency, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
President Thomas S. Monson testifies of the good that Scouting continues to offer in the lives of LDS boys.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Young actors dressed in historic Boy Scout uniforms utilize their outdoor skills to start a campfire during the Oct. 29 stage production at the Conference Center. Outdoor fun continues to play a role in Scouting.

Earlier on the day of the event, President Monson was presented Scouting's Medal of Honor for saving the life of a young girl who was drowning in the Provo River when he was 12.

"That was just the beginning of a lifetime of reaching out and rescuing others in need of hope, friendship, encouragement and strength," said Brother Perry. "Further evidence of President Monson's enduring commitment to the values of Scouting came in his response to that presentation, when he recited the Scout oath and law flawlessly."

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

Brother Perry then announced that the Leadership Excellence Complex, to be built on the 10,000-acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia, will be named the Thomas S. Monson Leadership Excellence Complex.

"This state-of-the-art facility will provide hands-on training, where Scouts cannot only learn leadership principles, but also have the opportunities to put them into practice," he said.

President Monson, who has served on Scouting's National Executive Board for nearly 44 years, said he was humbled by the recognition.

"I love the Boy Scout organization and can think of nothing with which I would rather have my name associated than the Leadership Excellence Complex of this organization," he said. "Scouting changes the lives of boys in positive ways, and I am grateful that this complex will help provide the training for them to become the leaders of tomorrow."

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

He then recalled his own adventures as a Boy Scout, including his first overnight camp during a cold winter weekend at Tracy Wigwam in Millcreek Canyon. (His parents delivered ice cream to the shivering Scouts. The boys secretly wished they had brought hot chili.)

Scouting, he concluded, brings out the best in boys and their leaders.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
The Tabernacle Choir performs for thousands of scouts and their leaders assembled Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

"As you continue to participate in this fine program, your abilities to think, to plan and to achieve will be heightened. This, along with your personal integrity and spirituality, will help guide you and keep you on the right path as you journey through life."

President Monson noted that the principles taught in Scouting are more relevant today than at any time before. "May you uphold your promise as a Boy Scout to do your duty to God and your country and serve others at all times."

In a video tribute, President Eyring said President Monson does not simply teach the values of Scouting — he lives them to the fullest.

"In all that he has done throughout his life, Scouting has never been far from President Monson's mind to build a boy, and to teach him [that] to run and win the race of life is significant beyond all worldly honor."

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

Also in a pre-recorded message, President Uchtdorf called President Monson "a role model" because of his Scout-like commitment to help another in need. "His example has shown the world that a single Scout can be a powerful source of strength and hope by serving God and fellow man."

Video tributes also included remarks from Scouting and business leaders, including Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.

"Thomas S. Monson demonstrates the highest quality of leadership to which all of us should aspire," he said. "He set high moral standards for himself and for those around him and he leads by example. He embodies the deepest and longest lasting values of Scouting."

Reenactments and video clips told the story of the history of Scouting and its storied partnership with the Church. The program also championed Scouting's guiding principles such as honor to God, duty, parents and leaders.

The sprawling production included actors portraying Scouting founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell and W.D. Boyce, the American who would organize the Boy Scouts of America.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

The evening's event — which included a cast of hundreds of actors — reaffirmed LDS Scouting's commitment to adventure and outdoor fun while building bridges to God and others, including those who will come after. Clips included testimonials from World War II-era LDS Scouts who spoke of the influence the program continues to have in their lives.

Other clips highlighted the priceless tradition of young men in uniform gathering around a campfire with their leaders and discovering the wonders of God's creations and priesthood fellowship.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

The stage production also celebrated the big-hearted fun that defines the Scouting experience for Aaronic Priesthood holders. One light-hearted song even saluted the essential role mothers typically play in helping their sons earn their Eagle Awards.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
National President, Boy Scouts of America, Wayne Perry announces President Thomas S. Monson as the recipient of The Honor Medal. Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

The evening concluded with a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, who sang "This Land Is Your Land," "God Bless America" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
John Moffitt is lowered from the roof for the flag ceremony. Thousands of Scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.

Additional music was provided throughout the evening by a choir of Eagle Scouts and a collection of Cub Scouts.

At the beginning of the program, the Primary general president, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, invited all those participating in the event — live or via the Internet — to use their cell phones to text a designated number to collect a tally of all those participating. By 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, almost 1.2 million people had sent texts to the designated number.

A recording of the centennial celebration can be viewed at scouts100.lds.org.

jswensen@desnews.com

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Adventuresome Scouts rapel from the Conference Center rafters while a choir of Eagle Scouts stand to sing during the Oct. 29 event celebrating the Church's ongoing partnership with Scouting.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Dozens of Scouts equipped with aprons and cooking utensils perform during the Oct. 29 stage production "A Century of Honor." The one-night-only event highlighted the many lifelong skills, such as cooking, that LDS Scouts acquire through the storied program.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Cub Scouts and their leaders were included in the massive cast for the Oct. 29 stage production commemorating LDS Scouting.Cub Scouts and their leaders were included in the massive cast for the Oct. 29 stage production commemorating LDS Scouting.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Actors sporting a variety of Scout uniforms from the past century perform light-hearted songs that capture the fun offered in Scouting. Over the past 100 years, millions of members have worn the iconic uniform as a Boy Scout, Cub Scout or leader.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
A trio of young actors perform during a musical segment of the Oct. 29 production "A Century of Honor." The boys are accompanied by a choir of Eagle Scouts seated in the choir seats of the Conference Center. Original music and songs were among the evening's highlights.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts celebrate as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of Scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Buglers blow on their horns as the start of the celebration. Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scout leaders wave to friends as the find their seats. Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
A couple of scouts pose for a photo prior to the start of the celebration. Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
A scout leader with a neckerchief of the 100 years of scouting finds his seat as Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouters stand and salute during the national anthem. Thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Scouts perform as thousands of scouts and their leaders assemble Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to celebrate a century of honor.