Scouting is Not Just the Activity Arm of the LDS Priesthood, It is the Priesthood in Action

I am writing this blog on a break as I sit in a training session in Philmont Training Center near Cimarron, New Mexico. I’m here for a week with the Key 3 from the Alpine District.

“I shudder when I hear someone say that Scouting is the activity arm of the priesthood,” said Elder Wilson, “That lessens it’s role. It is really the Priesthood in action.”

Last night we met with Elder David A. Wilson, the LDS Philmont Chaplain for over an hour and got to ask him lots of questions.

david-a-wilson-chaplain-philmont

Photo by Jason Swenson – From left, Father Raymond L. Fecteau, David A. Wilson and Charlene Wilson take a break from their activities at Philmont to take a picture. Father Fecteau and the Wilsons have developed a friendship through their chaplain service at Philmont.

We had Sacrament Meeting on a Tuesday night a 7pm, actually a common experience for LDS and non-LDS groups who often arrive back from 10-12 day hikes that range from 50 to 105 miles long. These never cease to be life-changing experiences for the youth and adults and the LDS chapel on site offers evening meetings to allow them to share their experiences and testimonies.

One of the first things that Chaplain Wilson taught us was a new way to look at the relationship between the LDS Church and Scouting, which is coming up on it’s 100th anniversary.

“I shudder when I hear someone say that Scouting is the activity arm of the priesthood,” said Elder Wilson, “That lessens it’s role. It is really the Priesthood in action.”

He went on, “I challenge you to find anything in Scouting that does not prepare a young man for faithful service in the Priesthood.

  • Leadership? The Patrol Method.
  • Service? The Eagle Project.
  • Tithing? The Personal Management Merit Badge.
  • Missionary Work? Family Life Merit Badge.
  • Temple Work? Geneology Merit Badge.”

Elder Wilson is one of seven chaplains at Philmont. He and his dear wife Charlene have served at Philmont for eleven years. He and Sister Wilson are from Orem, Utah. Elder Wilson is the only LDS Chaplain outside of the US Military.

Approximately 22,000 Scouts from around the world visit Philmont each year. Elder Wilson opens up the LDS services to all of them as well as the 1,100 employees of Philmont each year. There are also services for Protestants, Catholics, and Jewish scouts.

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