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  • 1. Couldn't Duty to God replace the older boy programs, Varsity and Venturing, as the activity arms of the Teachers and Priests quorums? Do the Church leaders approve of this?
  • In the United States and other countries where scouting is available to the Church, the intent of the General Authorities of the Church seems clear.  This is that we use both Duty to God and the Scouting programs, and to the extent possible that we use them together. Here are some statements of Church leaders about the two programs:

      (Elder Robert D. Hales, Semi-Annual General Conference Priesthood Session, 6 October 2001).
      "If you will fulfill the requirements for these [the Duty to God Award], you will prepare yourselves for the Melchizedek responsibilities and future challenges in your life.  I promise you that your achievement of the Duty to God Award will provide you with a living testimony that will sustain you throughout your life.
      "Where available, Scouting can also help you in this effort. We encourage you to participate in Scouting.  Many of the Scouting requirements can fill goals and requirements of the Duty to God certificates.  Scouting is a part of the Aaronic Priesthood activity program.  The Duty to God Award is a priesthood award...
       "Brethren of the Aaronic Priesthood, set your goals now and start working toward earning your Duty to God Award and Eagle Scout Award. You will be blessed for your efforts."

       (Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., Ensign, November 2001)
      "Where Scouting is available, you will note that many of the Scouting requirements can fill necessary expectations for the Duty to God Award.  Both Duty to God and Scouting activities teach us to "be prepared" in "every needful thing."  Achieving the Duty to God Award and Eagle Scout Award [or similar awards] are complementary, not competitive."

      (Teaming up for Youth, Ensign, January 2002)
      "Elder [F. Melvin] Hammond emphasizes: "Our effort was to find something that would be compatible with priesthood principles and also with Scouting.  Duty to God embraces Scouting, which is wonderful for our young men.  I see no conflict at all between Duty to God and Scouting.  Duty to God focuses more on the spiritual–bringing young men to Christ. Scouting is primarily an activity program with some spirituality as well.  They are complementary of each other."
      "Priesthood and Scouting leaders are encouraged to preserve and strengthen Scouting by blending the two programs. One way this can be done is to allow the completion of Scouting requirements to fulfill personal goals in Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God. "  ...The First Presidency has said, "We desire all young men to strive to earn the Eagle Scout [or similar awards where Scouting is not approved and available] and Duty to God Awards.""

       (F. Melvin Hammond, "In Abraham's Footsteps," New Era, September 2002)
      "The Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God program has been prepared to strengthen your sense of duty and to help you progress in every way as one of God's covenant sons...  The Scouting prorgam will also strengthen you.  As you advance until you achieve the highest rank, you will grow in stature and in spirit. You will grow in stature and in spirit.  You will learn skills that will develop your body, your character, and your intellect. Every boy, whether he enjoys athletics or literature, can find a welcome niche in Scouting."

      (F. Melvin Hammond, interview by Church News, September 20, 2003, entitled "Scouting's future secure, more relevant than ever. Any notion that Church is parting ways is rumor.")
      Church News: Can you comment on the ongoing relationship between the Church and the Scouting program?
      Elder Hammond: I think there is no question that at this period of time the relationship between the Church and Scouting is on solid ground.  We have a great relationship with Scouting...
      Church News: There are rumors that the Church is planning to part ways with the Scouting program. Can you address that?
      Elder Hammond: It's a pure rumor.  I think the rumor arose out of the creation and implementation of the [Church's Aaronic Priesthood] Duty to God program.  The Duty to God program was not meant in any way to diminish Scouting in the Church. It was meant to complement Scouting and they work hand-to-hand beautifully...

       

    (Go to What benefits are there in operating the BSA-related activity programs, compared to Duty to God alone?)