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#1 SummerFun

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 01:03 PM

We have two sons that are very active in an LDS troop.

 

Our elder son is very committed to the LDS church and has earned the associated religious emblem. Our other son does not believe in the tenants of the LDS Church but is a humanitarian and wants to explore all religions without joining them. Is it possible to earn the faith emblems of other churches? Is this even appropriate?

 

By learning about other faiths he is not searching for a personal church, but rather a better understanding of his fellow man.

 

Any thoughts are much appreciated.

 


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#2 NJCubScouter

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 06:30 PM

SummerFun, welcome to the forum!  (I find your choice of account name interesting, since it snowed a little here today.)

 

This subject has come up a few times over the years, and my recollection is that there have been a few mentions of Scouts who did earn religious awards that were not of their own religion.  I do not recall any mention of Scouts who earned awards from MORE than one different religion, which it sounds like your son is considering.

 

Personally I think the best way for your son to start out would simply be to attend worship services of a few different faiths, without necessarily committing to a set of formal requirements.  Perhaps he has friends from different religions and could go with them, or if he is a bold individual, just walk right in.  The other idea would be read about these faiths and the comparison of different faiths.  If, after doing that initial exploration, he decides he wants to go further and actually earn a religious award from one of the faiths, he should read the requirements and see whether anything in there would require him to profess any beliefs that he is not comfortable with professing.  (I am not suggesting that the different religious awards do or don't require such a thing, as it has been a long, long time since I actually read the requirements for a religious award, and never earned one.)


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#3 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 09:14 PM

Agree with NJ.  I've met only 1 individual who received a religious award that was not of his faith. This was a respected council level Scouter who worked to get a religious community more involved in Scouting, and help them set up a council committee for their faith. The faith community thanked him by awarding him their adult leader recognition. It was a surprise and humbling experience for him.


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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt


#4 SSScout

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 10:50 PM

Two comments:  first, I respect the fellow that questions his faith rather than blindly following or accepting what is presented him.  I like William Penn's comment: 

 

"" 522. It is a sad Reflection, that many Men hardly have any Religion at all; and most Men have none of their own: For that which is the Religion of their Education, and not of their Judgment, is the Religion of Another, and not Theirs.""   = from Some Fruits of Solitude  (1682)

Let your boy do his searching.  He may find God elsewhere, or he may come back to your fold a stronger believer.

 

Second,  a story.   I attended our Council's  University of Scouting . I met a young man with FOUR medals on his pocket.  I recognized the Eagle, the Ad Altare Dei  (the Catholic award),  the  Ner Tamid ( the Jewish award)  and the God and Country, which I had earned as a Scout.    I asked him, "You know I HAVE to ask you, how do you come to have those three religious awards"?   He replied that his mother was Jewish, his father was Catholic and his Troop was sponsored by a Methodist Church.  He said it was easy to earn each of them.    I smiled and shook his hand. I did NOT ask what House of Worship he attended.  

 

There is no BSA limitation as to which religious award a Scout may earn. That is between him, his conscience and the faith whose award he seeks.

 

See you on the trail.


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#5 krypton_son

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 06:58 AM

I can't see any harm in it at all.  My mother was raised Catholic, my father Methodist.  I was baptized as a Methodist.  I have studied all the denominations and really don't adhere to just one.  I consider myself to be a Christian.  I've always been of the mindset that going to church is good and you should if you want to, but it's not necessary to be a Christian.  With that being said, I don't see why he shouldn't be able to profess a love, respect and belief in God without professing a denomination as his own.  Isn't that pretty much what Scouting itself doe?  Duty to God, not a denomination.


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#6 qwazse

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 07:22 AM

LDS is now "another faith" to him. So why not start by studying that religion? The advantage of the religious awards is that they help foster a constructive relationship between a youth and their (or their parent's) clergy. Most scouts who I know tell me that their work on a religious award is much different than sitting in a service or attending Sunday school.

 

Also, if he is of venturing age, he may want to join a crew and consider the Trust award.

 

Regarding duty to God, yes scouts have boundary issues. This goes straight back to the army of Baden Powell's day who had to incorporate fighters from all walks across the British empire.

 

As St. Paul said, "forsake not the assembling of yourselves together". At the time, according to his and other apostles' writings, he was addressing folks from a broad swath of cultures and classes -- an intersection of bubbles, if you'll allow the use of a recently popular term. So, the proper exercise of religion is one of bringing people together -- a humanitarian endeavor indeed.


Edited by qwazse, 22 November 2016 - 07:23 AM.

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#7 blw2

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 07:48 AM

Sorry, don't have any more to add, except a side story

this reminds me of my last semester in college.  I only had a few hours remaining to earn my engineering degree.  One of the missing requirements was a humanities elective.  I picked "World Religions", for exactly the reasons you describe about your son.  

 

I had been raised protestant/Baptist, and really didn't know much at all about any other religion or even the denominations.... So I figured it might be a good way to learn just a bit about Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Jews, Buddhists, and the rest....  I was on part time status with only a couple classes left, so I figured it would be easy and eye opening.

 

Well let me tell you, that was by far the hardest course I took in college.  I was used to some fairly rigorous classes, being an engineering major , but in engineering there is a right and wrong answer.  2+2 does not equal 3.  Turned out not to be what I was looking for.  It was really more about WHY people have religion, and there was a lot of stuff like...."read the following parable, and write a paragraph about what it means to you."  So I would do just that, give it some serious thought, and write a paragraph.  And I would get a "C", or a "D" or worse!   Ugh, that was frustrating, and really brought down my GPA too!  How could that be a "D", I did what he said to do?!?!?

 

Anyway, I hope your son finds what he's looking for.


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 09:17 AM

... I was used to some fairly rigorous classes, being an engineering major , but in engineering there is a right and wrong answer.  2+2 does not equal 3.  Turned out not to be what I was looking for.  It was really more about WHY people have religion, and there was a lot of stuff like...."read the following parable, and write a paragraph about what it means to you."  So I would do just that, give it some serious thought, and write a paragraph.  And I would get a "C", or a "D" or worse!   Ugh, that was frustrating, and really brought down my GPA too!  How could that be a "D", I did what he said to do?!?!?

 

Anyway, I hope your son finds what he's looking for.

:laugh: Son #1 and his wife, both trained as engineers, are in a leadership class through our church. Our young-adults' leader is an avid reader in the humanities. We love the guy: Eagle scout, his words always met with action, so he commands a lot of respect. His reading list for this class ... not so much. My poor linear thinkers are struggling to wade through these authors (Lewis being the notable exception):

"Why is he taking 5 paragraphs to make one point?"

"I started this supplemental survey online, four questions on the first screen, clicked submit, and 37 questions later ..."

"I have no idea what we were supposed to glean from these five chapters."

 

I'm on the verge of asking them if my suggestion to study some Islamic philosophy is starting to sound less far-fetched.


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#9 NJCubScouter

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:17 PM

blw2, my recollection of college is that any course that had the reputation of being "easy" turned out to be a nightmare.


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#10 blw2

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:22 PM

So true..... in this case though, I don't recall knowing any sort of reputation about the course or the prof.  It was all assumption on my part!  Taught me a lesson about assuming!!


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#11 SummerFun

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 11:00 AM

Thank you everyone. I have shared your thoughts with our son.

 

The block he is running into with the LDS troop is that the Bishop 'requires' the scouts earn a religious emblem before working on their Eagle rank. I am certain the Bishop intends for it to be the LDS one - but our son has gone that route before.

 

Two years ago he went through the lessons (over several weeks) with the missionaries and chose not join the church. In trying to earn the LDS emblem he was asked to sit through these lessons again this summer, which he did. He still didn't want to join the church so he was not signed off as earning the emblem.

 

Last week we call our council office and no one knew if he could work on other faith emblems. The Rep said to 'try it out' and see what happens. Our son feels learning about different faiths will benefit him personally so he is going to start exploring. He's created a short list of issues to address with the leader of other churches he is interested in learning about. If you have any thoughts, he would appreciate them.

 

His list:

*Tell the religious leader that he is attempting to learn about the faith, not necessarily join.

*He is very happy to volunteer, assist and work with them to help their parishioners / building / community.

*He is completely respectful of their faith, brings no judgments and will always be reverent.

*He will always present himself in a manner that is respectful of the faith (in dress and appearance) with the appropriate studies done ahead of time.


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#12 The Latin Scot

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 11:24 AM

I am an LDS leader, and it is important for you to know that the Bishop CANNOT require your son to earn the religious emblem in order to progress towards his Eagle. The official BSA-LDS Manual entitled "Scouting Handbook" does not permit such a restriction, and you need to make sure the Bishop knows that before proceeding. I am sure his intentions are good, but good intentions go oft awry, and his creating such a limitation could end up driving people away from the flock rather than leading them into it. 

 

Here is the link to the Scouting Handbook as used by the church. Read it and make sure you know it so that you can approach your Bishop about possibly lifting his imposition on the boys:

 

https://www.lds.org/...ng.pdf?lang=eng


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Hearken world, and listen up! There is no such word as "Webelo." If your son is an older Cub Scout, he is NOT a "Webelo!"

The singular of Webelos Scout is ... WEBELOS SCOUT!  That's it! Please take the extra half second and get it right! Thank you for indulging my little pet peeve!

 

Did I mention my obnoxious OCD?  :D 

 


#13 qwazse

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 11:44 AM

Yes, the bishop is playing fast-and-loose with the advancement method.

 

But if your son still thinks it's a good idea -- even if it's not required, he should talk to some clergy ... starting with someone closest to what he'd likely believe.

Needless to say, some clergy will have a harder time with a post-modern scout like your son. He is defining reverence on his own terms, and that's okay for some practitioners of religion and not others. You'll only find out by asking them.


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#14 SummerFun

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 06:08 PM

Thank you again. Our son has what he feels is a good relationship with God - but is interested in learning how others 'walk in faith'. Part Sociology, part respect - completely who he is. I will have him speak with the Bishop again and we will read the BSA-LDS guidelines. Good news though - this afternoon he made contact with a nearby Catholic church (via their troop) and they are excited to have him learn about their church.

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday Season!


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