Ezra Taft Benson
Quotes on Boy Scouts


Eagle Recognition Banquet, Logan, Utah, 22 March 1974
Scouting is a great program—a truly great program. I don't know of any program in America for boys that is more universally approved than is Scouting. Men of prominence in business, professional life, and in government and other activities are making contributions from time to time—big gifts of various kinds—because they want to make a contribution to the future of this country and there is no better way to do it than to invest something in boys.

When you help a boy, a satisfied feeling takes hold of you. It never leaves and this is why—you have helped a boy on his way to manhood, honorable manhood, and you have enriched your own life in the process.

Whether one studies the Scout oath, the Scout law, the Scout motto, or the Scout slogan, they all add up to America's finest character-building program. How fortunate are those who may participate in it and have their lives enriched thereby—boys and men alike. They with whom Scouting is concerned are made of eternal stuff; theirs is a divine destiny. Godlike men, men of character, men of truth, men of courage, men of goodwill—there, then, is our challenge. …

Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.243-244
Scouting helps to prepare a boy for honorable fatherhood. It helps to prepare a boy to head up a home. It helps to prepare him to take his place in life, in any profession or business or any occupation that is worthy. Yes, it does more than that. It brings to him personally a satisfaction, a feeling of confidence and assurance because he is basing his life on the fundamental principles of righteousness. It helps him to live the full life. So it isn't any wonder that men and women everywhere—good people everywhere—support the Boy Scout program. (Eagle Recognition Banquet, Logan, Utah, 22 March 1974.)

CR April 1951, Improvement Era 54 [June 1951]: 423
The Scouting program is not a substitute for the Aaronic Priesthood program. The most important possession that a boy can have is the Aaronic Priesthood. Scouting is a supplementary, a complementary program. It works hand in hand with the program of the Primary, Sunday School, and the Aaronic Priesthood, and is an important and vital part of our program for our boys.

CR April 1986, Ensign 16 [May 1986]: 44
Young men, take full advantage of the Church programs. Set your goals to attain excellence in the achievement programs of the Church. Earn the Duty to God Award—one of our most significant priesthood awards. Become an Eagle Scout—do not settle for mediocrity in the great Scouting program of the Church.

CR April 1986, Ensign 16 [May 1986]: 44
Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned the Duty to God Award and is an Eagle Scout. Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a young man, and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life.

Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.235 - 240

I would to God that every boy of Boy Scout age in America could have the benefits and the blessings of the great Boy Scout program. It is truly a noble program; it is a builder of character, not only in the boys, but also in the men who provide the leadership. I have often said that Scouting is essentially a spiritual program, a builder of men. It is established, as is our government and its Constitution, upon a deeply spiritual foundation. (So Shall Ye Reap, p. 138.)

A Scout must be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent. To be a good Scout, he must be faithful in his religious duties. Scouting provides a program of training and experience. It is a program for character development. It is a supplementary educational program, a program of citizenship training and vocational exploration. Many boys have found their vocations through this program—through the merit badges which are concentrated courses in vocational guidance in fifteen different activity fields. Scouting teaches boys the crafts and the skills and to do something useful with their hands.

So Shall Ye Reap, pp. 138-39
In the first part of the Boy Scout oath we declare, "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout law." Scouting emphasizes duty to God, reverence for sacred things, observance of the Sabbath, maintenance of the standards of the church with which the boy is affiliated. As each boy repeats that pledge, usually at every Scout meeting or function, he says aloud in the presence of those whose friendship he values most highly, "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God." It cannot help but make a deep and lasting impression upon him. It becomes the foundation upon which a noble character is built. The oath also pledges duty to country, and that, too, is basically spiritual.

Eagle Recognition Banquet, Logan, Utah, 22 March 1974
A Latter-day Saint boy who is living the Boy Scout oath would never break the Word of Wisdom, as we know it. He would keep himself morally clean. He would not take into his body those things that destroy and weaken it. The Scout motto is "Be prepared." Be prepared for any emergency. Be prepared to meet the temptations of evil in the world and resist them. Be prepared for any eventuality. That is emphasized in the Scout law, to say nothing of the other laws—glorious principles, religious, spiritual principles—all of them embodied in the gospel of the Master.

CR April 1951, Improvement Era 54 [June 1951]: 423
Scouting is dedicated to a fourfold program: First, it teaches the boy his duty to God—reverence, observance of the Sabbath, and the maintenance of the spiritual standards and ideals of his church. Second, it teaches duty to country—true patriotism—a love for the Constitution, for our free institutions, and for our American way of life. Third, it teaches the value of service to others—willing, unselfish service, and that the greatest among them must be the servant of all—symbolized by the "good turn." Fourth, it teaches duty to self—that they must keep themselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. They must be prepared for any eventuality to serve themselves, their church, and their country.

"Scouting: A Great American Partnership," Improvement Era 67 [February 1964]: 103
Religious emphasis is a part of Scouting. All would agree that the most important statement in Scouting is the Scout oath, and the first principle enunciated in it is "duty to God." To implement this great principle, the Boy Scouts of America has urged the churches of America to design awards and to establish requirements for their achievement, to recognize Scouts and Explorers when they have done their duty to God and have been faithful in their religious duties. This has been done by the churches and synagogues and has become a cornerstone among the great blessings of Scouting.

Why have we adopted Scouting? We were the first religious body to adopt Scouting as a part of the youth program of the Church. Some two and one-half years after Scouting came to America, it was made an official part of the program of the Church.

Eagle Recognition Banquet, Logan, Utah, 22 March 1974
Scouting helps prepare boys for Church responsibility. If this were not true, we would drop the program tomorrow, because we want these boys to become better men and boys and honor their priesthood and to be faithful members of the Church and kingdom of God. Scouting will help them do that and so it isn't any wonder that President Heber J. Grant at one time said, "It is my desire to see Scouting extended to every boy in the Church." President David O. McKay said, "Scouting is not an optional program. It is part of the official program for boys in the Church. We desire every Mormon boy to have the benefit and blessing of Scouting."

"When I Was Called as Scoutmaster," Boy Scout Satellite Broadcast, Salt Lake City, Utah, 14 February 1988
It is one of the choicest experiences in my life to serve in and participate in Scouting, which I have done for almost seventy years. Scouting is a great program for leadership training, teaching patriotism, love of country, and the building of strong character. It is a builder of men, men of character and spirituality. As I have said many times, I would hope that every young man would become an Eagle Scout and not settle for mediocrity in the great Scouting program of the Church.

"Scouting—Builder of Men," Annual Meeting of the National Council, Boy Scouts of America, Washington, D.C., 29 May 1954
The genius of the program is to learn to do by doing. Almost limitless opportunities are provided to explore every field of worthy endeavor and to develop crafts and skills which will be a source of joy forever. Of such a program we may well say, "He who chops his own wood gets warm twice." Scouting encourages boys to chop their own wood.

"How to Be an Effective Regional Representative," Regional Representatives Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 31 March 1978
Where Scouting is available, please understand that this is not an optional program. Make certain priesthood leaders in your regions understand this. It is an economically, socially, and spiritually sound program. It builds men of character and spirituality and trains them for citizen and leadership responsibility. Scouting teaches a boy to take care of himself and stand on his own two feet. It is an inspired program for a demanding time. This is that time!