President Ezra Taft Benson has been referred to as the "chief Scout" in the Church because of his support and love for the Scouting program. During his 45 years of service as a General Authority, he has spoken out several times on the subject of Scouting.
The following, taken from his new book, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, are a sampling of his feelings about Scouting:- "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. (page 235.)
- "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 a 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 build. The oath also pledges duty to country, and that, too, is basically spiritual. (page 235.) - "Why have we adopted Scouting? We were the first religious body to adopt Scouting as part of the youth program of the Church. . . .
"Someone has said that it isn't mentioned in the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and, of course, that is true. Neither is the Primary nor the Sunday School, but one of our Articles of Faith clearly indicates that `if there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.' (Article of Faith 13.) Scouting is a help. It is a tool in achieving the objective of building of real men. It helps to build character. It trains for citizenship. It helps to build leadership. It helps to prepare people to live in a wholesome manner, in a full and enjoyable manner here in this life, and prepares them for life to come. (page 237.)
- "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. . . . (pages 237-238.)
- "We are now moving into an era when we need to have young men with strong spiritual strength who will stand up and teach with conviction the principles of the gospel. This will come about through a righteous home environment and activities in the quorum, including Scouting, which will build character. (page 221.)
- "It is one of the choicest experiences in my life to serve in and participate in Scouting, which I have done for almost 70 years. Scouting is a great program for leadership training, teaching patriotism, love of country, and the building of strong character." (page 238.)