From the Church

What is the new Eagle Scout award? The Young Men presidency answers

Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, President Steven J. Lund, and Brother Bradley R. Wilcox.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

All three members of the Young Men General Presidency were guests on a recent episode of the Church News podcast. They talked about the importance of youth listening to the prophet and trusting the Lord to guide their lives during the pandemic. President Steven J. Lund also emphasized the life-changing impact of the temple in a young person’s life.

“The temple … places us in the context of our eternal existence. And reminds us that we didn’t spring into existence at our birth, but that we are ancient, and that we’ve been working towards this day that we’re standing in … for as long as there is,” he said. “Our youth, 11-year-olds, can go into the temple and get that perspective [and] begin to see their place in the stream of their existence.”

Additionally, Brother Brad Wilcox shared an interesting observation that demonstrates how important the temple is to this presidency in particular. In 2018, the Church announced that it would end its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, and for many young men, earning an Eagle Scout award was a formative event of their youth. So the Church’s decision to stop participating in Scouts left some youth and parents asking what mark of achievement might take its place. Brother Wilcox shared President Lund’s answer:

“When people come up to [President Lund] and say, “What’s the new Eagle? What’s the new Eagle?” [He] says, ‘It’s called a temple recommend.’”

Brother Wilcox taught that the temple reminds youth, and adults, of the why of their life—the truths taught in the plan of salvation.

“If we don’t keep that focus on the why, then all of a sudden life starts losing meaning,” he says. “If we don’t keep the focus on the plan of salvation then we start saying, ‘Well, why am I going to school?’ ‘So you can get a job.’ ‘Well, why?’ ‘So that you can earn money so you can raise a family.’ ‘Why?’ ‘So that [your kids] can go to school so that they can get a job.’ [And] it starts cycling into something where you just sit there and say, “What the heck am I doing?”

But the temple provides a big picture view that Brother Wilcox says provides motivation for all of us to keep moving forward in both our public and private lives. Brother Ahmad Corbitt added that a temple recommend provides something an Eagle Scout award could not: a deep sense of true identity.

“[The temple helps you] contextualize yourself and your identity in eternity, rather than getting all caught up in mortal identities or cultural identities, which can do all sorts of mischief, if we’re not careful, and confuse us. We are first and foremost children of God, and if we start with that, then we see everything in context.”

Listen to more from the Young Men General Presidency, including why they encourage youth to go on a mission even during the uncertainties of a pandemic, on the Church News podcast.

▶ You may also like: Brother Brad Wilcox: Three things you need to know about patriarchal blessings

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