President Thomas S. Monson was presented the Bronze Wolf, the highest award in international Scouting, at Saturday's priesthood session of conference.
A citation and medallion honoring the 66-year-old second counselor in the First Presidency was presented by Eugene F. "Bud" Reid, former international commissioner and chairman of the World Scouting Committee, and Jere B. Ratcliffe, chief Scouting executive of the Boy Scouts of America. Also in attendance was C. Michael Hoover, assistant chief Scout executive.The Bronze Wolf award was instituted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of Scouting, and is the only international award given by the World Organization of the Scout Movement, whose work is based in Geneva at the World Scout Bureau. The award is given for outstanding service to Scouting in a recipient's own country and other countries.
The citation, read by Reid, said, "In his assignments throughout the world for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Monson has worked tirelessly to bring about the advancement of Scouting in many countries. He worked closely with the World Organization of the Scout Movement to find ways to strengthen the links between the church and national Scout associations. He is a committed, solid, hard-working volunteer in the Scout movement. His Scouting leadership has been exemplary."
In honoring President Monson, Ratcliffe talked of the "unprecedented" relationship between the Boy Scouts of America and the church.
"The partnership between the LDS Church and Boy Scouts of America is indeed a precious one, because of our organizations and what they embrace in terms of similar basic beliefs - beliefs that include commitment to religious principles and strong traditional family values," he said.
The LDS Church has sponsored Scouting for 80 years and is the largest religious sponsor of Scouting in the United States. There are 371,500 boys and young men registered in Scouting in 25,900 LDS-sponsored units. There are 152,884 LDS adult leaders.
President Ezra Taft Benson received the Bronze Wolf award during the priesthood session in April 1989. Past recipients include Swedish King Karl Gustav XVI and many of the Boy Scouts of America's chief scouting executives.
Since 1969, President Monson has served as a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, following President Benson and the late President George Albert Smith as LDS representatives on the board. He is currently the longest-serving member of the board. President Monson also has served on the national board's international committee. He has received the Boy Scouts of America's highest honors, the Silver Buffalo and Silver Beaver awards.
A Scout jamboree leader in both the United States and Canada, he was a member of the church's general Scouting committee for 10 years and has been on the executive board of the Great Salt Lake Council. He has represented the Boy Scouts of America at several world Scouting conferences.
President Monson was called to the First Presidency in November 1985, having previously served 22 years in the Council of the Twelve.