AUTHOR: Kevin V. Hunt

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: 1991, 2007, 2013 By Kevin V. Hunt

BRIEF BOOK DESCRIPTION: This book details the history of the Boy Scouts of America (Scouting) program within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The book tells of the beginning of Church Scouting in 1913, how the Church became the first Organization in the United States to become a chartered sponsor, and details Church support of Scouting through a century of partnership. It contains inspirational quotes relative to the Scout Law, Oath, Motto and Slogan. It testifies that Scouting continues to be the Aaronic Priesthood program of the Church.

Note:  This book was totally revised in 2013 in preparation for the Centennial of Scouting in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This new book is 300 pages, has new chapters and contains updated quotes and historical data up to 2013.  This book will be available very soon.  I am now taking orders for a hardback edition.  Contact me immediately at or 480-833-4867 for more information, publication schedule, etc.


Scouting in the LDS Church - A Centennial History


        CHAPTER    CHAPTER TITLE                                   PAGE

1                   The Beginnings                                       5

2                   A Great Partnership Begins                    23

3                   In the Spirit of Scouting                        37

4                   In Support of LDS Scouting                   55

5                   New Programs for Growing Needs          77

6                   Making it Happen                                101

7                   Celebrating Scouting                            127

8                   Campfire Inspiration Mission Preparation 149

9                   Mountain Top Experiences                    171

10              Doing our Duty to God                          195

11              Scouting and the Priesthood                  213

12              Church Scouting is Here to Stay             240

13              Into the Second Century                       253

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                   278


This book was written about 15 years ago. I had noticed that there was not a history of Scouting in the Church and knew well the impact of Scouting in the lives of the young men and adults of the church. I determined to write the History.

I went to the Church Historian's Office and Library and talked with personnel there. They said, "We do not have a history of Scouting in the Church. It would be great to have such a record."

The staff explained to me the mechanics of their library. They noted that I could have only five documents to be searched at a time. I looked in the card catalog to ascertain all documents on the subject of Scouting. I could tell by the descriptions the documents that I wanted and needed.

I went to the counter and ordered the first five documents. The staff then said that I could have five documents in various areas of the library but could only physically have only five at a time. So, from that moment on, the staff was fully cooperating and assisting me. It seemed that all staff were working on my project that day.

I soon had five documents with me. Five more were on the counter waiting for the return of the previous five. Five more were on the escalator coming down to me. Five more were sitting on the desk waiting to go down the escalator. And five more were being gathered by staff. As I finished one stack of five, I would return it. Then it would go up the escalator and all other stacks of five would advance one step.

Once I had the documents, I could see immediately - yes or no - if I wanted or needed the document. I would then take them to the copier to be copied. This added another five books to my process and I would get more at the counter.

This process continued for two full days. It was exciting and wonderful to feel the support of the full Historian Department staff. I could feel the Lord's blessings as the cycle continued.

Armed with a three or four inch stack of copied articles, fliers and other documents, I went home to write. The writing came easy as inspired of the Holy Ghost. I very much felt that this work was to be published but it did not come forth at the time.

A few years later, I received a surprise phone call. The caller said that the Church Historian's office had given him my contact information. He identified himself as being from Ohio. Ironically, we realized that we had been friends 30 or more before – when he lived in Arizona as a teenager. Anyway, he noted that he had gone to the Church Historian’s with the same mission that I had – to write a history of Scouting in the Church.

He was surprised at the reception that he received at the Historian’s office. It was very much unlike mine. He said that they told him, “We have already given that information to a Brother Kevin Hunt in Arizona.” They would not give him any help or new information.

So, I think this is a significant fact – in that it means that I believe that I am the only person to whom the Historian’s Office has given this information. That being the case, I feel all the more compelled to get this book published so that Scouters of the Church can have access to it.

Also a few years ago, I sent a copy of the original manuscript to Elder Jack H Goaslind, then the General Young Men President of the Church. He wrote me back on 3 October 1991. He said, in part:

“I am in receipt of your draft manuscript of the book entitled, “The Scouting Partnership” (the original book name). I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this manuscript and how anxious I am to read it.

“… I am grateful for the efforts you made to complete this manuscript and have every confidence that it will not only be helpful to me but to many others as they have chance to review it. Hopefully the Copyright Office of the Church will give you approval to use the material quoted from the Historical Department holdings as well as permit the proposed manuscript to be published.

“… Scouting does, indeed, have a great legacy in the Church, and pray, with you, that the program can continue to bless the lives of many more young men.”

In 1994, I was able to have a copy of the book delivered to Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone when he was the General Young Men’s President. On 27 April 1994, he wrote the following to me:

“I received today a copy of the Scouting Partnership. It is terrific! I have already read deeply into it. I couldn’t put it down. It was an interesting study and extremely impressive regarding the research work you had done. … Your expert research and specific quotes have helped me a great deal. I think you have done a marvelous job in pulling together specific quotes and actual detailed information regarding Scouting. I know it will be of constant use to me in my calling in the Young Men.

“I commend you personally on a marvelous job of compiling and editorializing on the materials which you have gathered. I am really extremely impressed. I have underlined many things and am outlining many more from your compilation.”

Then in the margin after the letter had been received back from typing, he hand wrote, “I am halfway through your book now.”

A couple of years after he received the book, Elder Featherstone was the speaker at a youth fireside – for youth and their leaders – in Mesa, Arizona. I went up to him after the fireside and talked with him. I told him that I was the guy who had written the book about Scouting in the Church. He got all excited and said, “I LOVE THAT BOOK! It is the greatest! I refer to it DAILY”

And more recently, I sent a copy to President Charles W. Dahlquist, II, the current General Young Men President. He phoned me at my home one morning. He expressed personal thanks for the book and said how useful it was to him. He wanted additional copies for his counselors.

I believe that Elder Goaslind, Elder Featherstone or President Dahlquist could be persuaded to write a foreword or introduction for the book and this could help make it more marketable. It might be easier to get Elder Featherstone to write – since he is not a current General Authority.

One additional note: I do have authorization from the Church Historical Department to use the quotes in the book of their material. I have the letter dated 31 October, 1991 wherein they wrote:

“Thank you for your letter dated 11 October 1991 requesting permission to quote from remarks given by various Church leaders regarding the subject of Scouting which you obtained from the Historical Department. You have our permission to use the sources (quotations) obtained from the Church Historical Department in your forthcoming publication. We request that you include the following copyright/credit near each quote or on a general acknowledgment page:

“(“Title or description of source or photograph”) Courtesy of the Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Used by permission.”

This letter was signed by Carl m. Johnson, Manager, Copyrights and Permissions Office.

As noted, this book was written several years ago. The ending quotes of the book are by current church leaders and the statements are as valid today as they were when the book was written. A few quotes with more recent dates could be added to the book before its publication.

WHY THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN: This is a book of nostalgia for all Scouters of the Church, and it is a historical record of the Scouting program within the church. It contains valuable material which can motivate and inspire the leaders and youth of the Church today - as well as bring back memories for veteran Scouters everywhere.



Scouting and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: What a grand partnership!

In 1913 the Church became the first organization in America to become a sponsor of the program of the Boy Scouts of America. Since that time, Scouting has been an integral part of the Church youth program.

Who can even begin to imagine the scope of the citizenship training, the character development, and the physical and moral strength developed through the Scouting movement? Through a hundred years Scouting has touched the lives of countless boys, men and women. Most men and boys of the Church today can claim some special tie to the Scouting roots of their youth.

Scouting has indeed touched our lives. Its quiet lessons have penetrated our souls. We have been motivated through Scouting to greater heights of personal achievement. Scouting, in partnership with the Church, even the Aaronic Priesthood, has been a force for good in many lives.

Scouting has taught us about honor and the challenge to be true to God and our fellowmen. Scouting has instilled a conviction to do our duty to God. Scouting has taught us to achieve the best from within each of us. Scouting has given us a pride of heritage and a commitment to liberty and freedom. It has made us proud Americans and also men of God.

Scouting’s Motto has challenged each of us to "Be Prepared". We've learned to "be prepared for 'any old thing'" (as Baden-Powell, Scouting's founder once remarked). Scouting has helped us prepare for life's many challenges.
We've reached beyond ourselves as we've been inspired by the Scout Slogan to "Do a Good Turn Daily". Service to others has become our guiding star.
The Scout Oath and Law have become a part of each of us who have been privileged to be a part of Scouting. The grandeur of starry skies, the smell of the campfire and the aroma of sizzling bacon, the Scouting brotherhood - the thrill of outdoor adventure - all have helped us live and enjoy the good life of Scouting. As we've practiced the Oath and Law on the many outings and adventures, they have deeply penetrated our hearts.

We can all be grateful for our Church association with the Boy Scouts of America. We can be grateful always for the insight of prophets and church leaders who nearly one hundred years ago, saw a vision of Scouting - and what it could do for the youth of the Church. How blessed we are that with that vision, the Church leaders took steps to incorporate Scouting into the Y.M.M.I.A. program and the Aaronic Priesthood quorums of the Church.

We can appreciate the dedicated efforts of the early Scouting pioneers who worked to form the foundation that remains firm even today. They gave to us a great and noble heritage in the best of the Scouting tradition.

For one hundred years now, Scouting has been a part of the Church youth program. In those one hundred years it has become very evident that Scouting DOES do what Church leaders thought that it could do. It truly has proven to be a God-inspired program.
Those early Scouting pioneers, coupled with the faith and commitment of three or four generations of Church Scouting leaders - and millions of Scouts - have proven that Scouting works in the lives of boys (and men). Scouting can and does touch lives as it teaches boys to choose the upward road - to strive to be men of God in word and deed.

And that's what Scouting in the Church is all about! And that's why Scouting and the Church have been a successful partnership team. Scouting has the inspired program and the Church has the boys for the program. The Aims of Scouting are congruent with the mission of the Church. Scouting's aims, methods and ideals have fit almost perfectly within the Church as the Boy Scout organization has allowed the Church the freedom to use the program to achieve its own goals and expectations for youth of the Church. Great results have been achieved through the partnership.
Scouting and the Church of Jesus Christ ... What an inspired partnership! What a glorious vision of excellence for generations past, present and future!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To know the beginnings of Scouting in the Church we must know of the beginnings of the Scouting movement itself. Those beginnings actually go to Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a military hero from England.

Baden-Powell rose to prominence as he led the British to victory during the siege of Mafeking in the Matebale uprisings of the Boer wars of Africa. During his military career, Baden-Powell noted that his men needed to be trained in basic military skills. He published a book entitled Aids to Scouting to assist in their training.
The book was directed to men of the military and not for boys. Hence, Baden-Powell was surprised as he returned a war hero to his native England and discovered that boys throughout the country had started using his book. Boys everywhere were practicing the skills detailed in Aids to Scouting. Baden-Powell was also somewhat alarmed since the book was not geared to a youth audience.
Friends of Baden-Powell suggested that he revise the book so that it might be more applicable to the youth who were so interested in the new and exciting outdoor skills of "Scouting". Baden-Powell soon envisioned a new program that would teach boys of the outdoor life while also building character. These ideas were incorporated into his revised book - which he called “Scouting For Boys”.
Before making his book public, however, Baden-Powell decided to try his experiment of "Scouting". He recruited a group of twenty boys to experiment with him. And so it was, in August, 1907 that he and the boys began Scouting's first encampment at nearby Brownsea Island.

The boys were soon organized into four patrols and for several days they lived and learned under the careful tutelage of General Baden-Powell. Baden-Powell and his boys camped and worked together. They learned about pioneering and hiking. They learned of nature and they learned about themselves as "B-P" inspired them with their own potential.

The camp was a grand success. Baden-Powell realized that his idea would work. He realized that boys could develop valuable lessons for life as they participated in outdoor adventures together under the careful guidance of a "Scoutmaster". The book was soon published and was an instant success.

With new vision, Baden-Powell set out to develop and organize the Scouting program. As enthusiasm for “Scouting for Boys” increased, Baden-Powell envisioned a worldwide program that would incorporate the outdoor skills training as suggested in the book. An idea was born! A special program had begun!

The program too, was an immediate success. Scouting "Mania" was soon rampant as boys rallied around the promise of adventure and the hope of learning the skills of the outdoor life. Boys everywhere were anxious to try the new skills as introduced by England's war hero. "Troops" were soon organized throughout England and beyond. Boys around the globe wanted to be a part of the excitement.

Soon after the start of Scouting in England, An American publisher, by the name of William D. Boyce, was in England on business. He found himself lost in the dense London fog. In his confusion, a young man suddenly appeared out of the fog and assisted Boyce to his desired destination.

Mr. Boyce offered to pay the boy for his timely services. The boy politely refused - saying that he was a Boy Scout. Boyce was very much impressed and inquired further. The boy suggested that he talk with Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement.

Following the completion of his own business Mr. Boyce visited with Baden-Powell and returned to America with a stack of Scouting material. Upon his return Boyce found that the program had already taken root in America with a few troops already organized.

Subsequently, in 1910, Boyce assembled Daniel Beard, Ernest Thompson Seton, and other great men of the day who were interested in youth. Together they organized the Boy Scouts of America. The program was incorporated in the District of Columbia on February 8, 1910.

"On January 2, 1911, [James E. West] a young lawyer of Washington, D.C., who had been the motivating force in the first White House Conference on Youth, became the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. He agreed to accept the responsibility for a period of six months during which time he assumed he could whip an organization into shape and give the movement a good start. The six months extended itself to thirty-two years of service as the Executive Officer of the Boy Scouts of America. (51)”

The thrill of Scouting adventure soon spread like wild fire across America. Boys everywhere wanted to be Scouts. Even in far-off Utah, troops soon began to be organized. Although the Church did not become affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America until 1913, some wards operated troops under the direction of the National Council, Boy Scouts of America.

"In October of 1910 a 22-year-old English emigrant ... named Thomas George Wood was commissioned by Boyce as the first LDS Scoutmaster in America. Wood had heard about the program through an uncle in England. (5)" Wood lived in the Waterloo Ward in Salt Lake City.

"The Bishop of the ward building - located [on] 5th East (at 17th South) - had as its Bishop, Asael H. Woodruff, a son of President Wilford Woodruff. Bishop Woodruff liked the idea of Scouting when Thomas Wood presented it to him.
"At the time, the ward had more than fifty boys over twelve 'who were noisy and not easy to manage' said Wood in his personal history. With his English Scout manual he enrolled twenty-five of the fifty boys on October 12. The first Scouting meeting was held a week later. Troop 1 had begun. The first Scout meetings consisted of a flag ceremony, close-order drills, calisthenics and games. (5)"

Mr. Wood, a man of small stature, was not much older than his Scouts, but he was an organizer. He (like all good Scout leaders) willingly sacrificed his time to hike and camp with his boys.

On their first campout, held in 1911, sixteen boys and Scoutmaster Wood boarded a street car and rode it to Holladay southeast Salt Lake County. They then hiked 14 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon, with their supplies piled on a horse-drawn wagon. They camped at the Brighton recreational area. "Discipline was strict. ... If any of the boys got out of line they had to take up their own blankets and carry them. (5)"

Wood served as the troop's Scoutmaster for fifteen years. Years later, one of his Scouts said, "We climbed every peak in the Salt Lake Valley with Scoutmaster Wood. Emphasis was on doing a good turn daily. We did a lot of shoveling coal and chopping wood (5)”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Scouting was a very popular program and leaders throughout the "Mormon" community were quick to catch the vision of it. It was clearly a program for the boys of that time. Enthusiasm for the Scouting program was high.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
From the days of pioneer Utah, the spirit of the pioneer ancestors - and the work they had done -remained strong in the hearts of all Church members. Much was done to perpetuate their memory.

"Time went on, however, and conditions [in Utah] changed. The city of Salt Lake in 1910 was not the same as in 1847. Already boys were hearing more of the great adventure than they were participating in it. The "crossing of the plains" was the subject of many a story by hoary-headed grandparents as they sat around campfires with the grandchildren, on an evening in the nearby hills. Children gulped and chilled at the daring adventures - but each morning renewed the same problems of what to do with the leisure time of the youth of our more populated communities ... (30)"

Many leaders in our communities [became] alarmed at the 'softening up' process that civilization was working on our boyhood" (30), said Eugene L. Roberts, then Director of Physical Training at Brigham Young University.

"The Boy Scout Movement," said Roberts, "has awakened an interest and is gaining a firm foothold throughout the civilized world. The time is apparently ripe for such an organization with its primitive and healthful activities for boys. (2)"
Recalling the pioneer heritage, Roberts said,