Latter-day Saint Life

8 Boy Scout Requirements That Also Count Toward Duty to God (+ How Both Programs Help Prepare for Priesthood Service)


For young men in the Church, there is a lot expected from them at a very early age. From priesthood responsibilities to merit badges, there are a lot of opportunities for them to learn and grow both physically and spiritually. But sometimes it can seem overwhelming—even for those helping them! To ease the burden, here are 8 requirements for Boy Scouts that also count for Duty to God.

1. Duty to God—It’s a Boy Scout Requirement

Boy Scout: A major theme of Boy Scouts is found in the first task of the Scout Rank requirements. It is “Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan. In your own words, explain their meaning” (Boy Scout Requirements, Scout Rank, 1a). In other words, the initial theme is: develop an understanding of purpose. Ultimately, the goal of scouting is to prepare youth to “become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Scout Law” (BSA Vision Statement, emphasis added). Included among each rank advancement for Boy Scouts is the requirement to “demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law,” coupled with “tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life” (Boy Scout Requirements, Star Rank, 2, emphasis added). Did you catch the familiar phrase?

Duty to God: The Duty to God booklet falls right in line with the vision of Scouting but fills in the gaps for young men who are also trying to keep an eternal perspective. In the Duty to God booklet, it states, “Fulfilling your duty to God is a lifelong experience. . . . focus on how the activities you choose can help you develop spiritual attributes and become the kind of priesthood holder Heavenly Father wants you to be” (Duty to God, 8). The purpose of Boy Scouts and Duty to God complement one another in helping young men become righteous priesthood holders and leaders in the home, community, and world. If you are doing your Duty to God, you are already fulfilling some of your Scout requirements.

2. Boy Scouts Must Grow Spiritually

Boy Scout: The Scout Oath says “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” The key point here is “duty to God.” How will young men understand what it means to do their “duty to God”? That’s where the Young Men program comes in.

Duty to God: “As you diligently complete the activities in this book, you will have opportunities to learn your duties, make your own plans to fulfill them, and share your experiences with your parents and quorum members. Make plans that fit your interests and your needs. Make them challenging but also enjoyable. Focus on ways you can exercise the priesthood to be of service to others. By making and fulfilling your own plans, you will be taking responsibility for your own spiritual growth” (Duty to God, 8, emphasis added). Elder Robert D. Hales shared, “As youth work on these goals, they will develop skills and attributes that will lead them to the temple and prepare them for a lifetime of service to their families and the Lord” (“Fulfilling Our Duty to God,” Ensign, Nov. 2001). The most significant part of Duty to God and Boy Scouts is about young men becoming strong spiritual leaders who worthily bear the priesthood of God and serve to their fullest capacity.

3. Boy Scouts Become Leaders and Disciples

Boy Scout: The Scout Law, as is repeated regularly by Scouts, fits perfectly with the principles of the gospel: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

Duty to God: Compare the Scout Law with the Christlike attributes listed in D&C 4: 5-6:

“And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

“Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.”

Elder Hales has also said, “An important part of fulfilling our duty to God at any age is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, which means that we accept His invitation to “come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). To follow the Savior requires us to know who He is—the Son of God—to take His name upon us, to remember His atoning sacrifice, and to keep His commandments” (“Fulfilling Our Duty to God,” Ensign, Nov. 2001).

As young men recognize how both programs fit together, they will learn of Christ and strive to become like Him. They will be His disciples.

4. Service Hours

Service hours are required for each rank advancement Scouts, as well as for Duty to God progression. The following are all overlapping service requirements for Boy Scouts and Duty to God:

Boy Scout:

- One hour of service (Tenderfoot Rank, 7b)

- Two hours of service (Second Class Rank, 8c)

- Three hours of service (First Class Rank, 9d)

- Six hours of service (Star Rank, 4)

- Six hours of service with at least three hours being conservation-related (Life Rank, 4)

- A final service project led and carried out helpful for “any religious institution, any school, or your community” that is approved by the organization receiving the service, the Scoutmaster and unit committee, and the council or district (Eagle Rank, 5)

Duty to God:

- “Discuss with members of your quorum the opportunities you have to serve others (ask your bishop or quorum leaders for ideas)” (Duty to God, 26)

- “Also plan several things you will do on your own to give service, including service to members of your family” (Duty to God, 26)

- As a deacon, teacher, and a priest, plan personal and quorum service projects for a total of six service projects (one more than that required for a Boy Scout)

5. Leadership

Besides the requirements of serving in leadership roles, there are requirements in both programs to be a friend and to invite others to participate in the programs. Here is one example that fulfills a requirement for both:

Boy Scout: “Tell someone who is eligible to join Boy Scouts, or an inactive Boy Scout, about your Scouting activities. Invite him to an outing, activity, service project, or meeting. Tell him how to join, or encourage the inactive Boy Scout to become active. Share your efforts with your Scoutmaster or other adult leader” (First Class Rank, 10).

Duty to God: “Create a project that will help you apply what you have learned about loving others. It should include two parts: (1) plans to improve your relationship with your family and (2) plans to be a better friend” (Duty to God, 80).

6. Education

Duty to God gives a requirement that young men are to prepare for the future by creating a project that will help them gain the education and career they want. They should decide on potential interests, learn as much as they can about them, then set plans to pursue them.

Boy Scout: Although there are multiple required educational merit badges to advance in rank, there are many more that are optional. Many merit badges would be helpful in deciding what future careers young men may be interested in.

Duty to God: “Create a project that will help you apply what you have learned about gaining an education. It should include two parts: (1) plans to gain an education and (2) plans to explore future occupation options” (Duty to God, 56).

7. Money Management

Another part of preparing for education (or the future in general) is to understand finances and become thrifty and wise. The following is a requirement regarding finances that counts for both.

Boy Scout: “With your parents or guardian, decide on an amount of money that you would like to earn, based on the cost of a specific item you would like to purchase. Develop a written plan to earn the amount agreed upon and follow that plan; it is acceptable to make changes to your plan along the way. Discuss any changes made to your original plan and whether you met your goal” (Second Class Rank, 8c).

“At a minimum of three locations, compare the cost of the item for which you are saving to determine the best place to purchase it. After completing Second Class requirement 8c, decide if you will use the amount that you earned as originally intended, save all or part of it, or use it for another purpose” (Second Class Rank, 8d).

Duty to God: “If you have income, develop and follow a personal savings and spending plan. It should include paying tithing and saving money for a mission. Share your plan with your parents or quorum members” (Duty to God, 55).

8. Physical Health

Among the many requirements for a Boy Scout, they must also strive for excellent physical health. In Duty to God, it states on page 32 that young deacons will need to create a project that will help apply principles of good physical health.

Regular Exercise

Boy Scout: Develop a plan for improvement in various physical and aquatic exercises such as running/walking, pushups, situps, and swimming (see Tenderfoot Rank, 6; Second Class Rank, 5 & 7; First Class Rank, 6 & 8).

Duty to God: “Create a monthly exercise chart. Include a variety of exercises that help you become more physically fit, such as running, biking, or training for a sport” (Duty to God, 32).

Eating healthy and preparing meals/Nutrition

Boy Scout: Learn about nutrition; plan and prepare and cook meals for a group (see Tenderfoot Rank, 2; Second Class Rank, 2; First Class Rank, 2).

Duty to God: “Learn principles of proper nutrition from Doctrine and Covenants 89 and from books, the Internet, or other sources. Teach your family or quorum what you discover. Keep a record of what you eat for a month, and then make changes to your diet based on what you have learned about nutrition.

“Learn how to prepare three nutritionally balanced meals.” (Duty to God, 33).

" a Sense of Your Duty to God"

As you help your young men work on these achievements, remind them of the blessing and promise from Elder Hales:

“I promise you that you will be blessed for your faithfulness and declare with the prophet Alma, “I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God” (Alma 7:22). That each Aaronic Priesthood holder will fulfill his duty to God and return with honor to his Heavenly Father is my prayer” (“Fulfilling Our Duty to God,” Ensign, Nov. 2001).

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