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He was at least 70 years older than the Scouts at the Utah Heritage Jamboral. But as President Gordon B. Hinckley toured the camp from the front seat of a Millard County Sheriff's vehicle, he shook hands, tussled hair and laughed with the Scouts.

"I love the Scouting movement," President Hinckley said a few minutes later during his keynote address Sept. 27 to 28,000 Scouts from the Utah National Parks Council.The three-day Heritage Jamboral drew Scouts from between Utah County in the north to the Arizona-Utah border in the south for the purpose of celebrating the state's centennial.

As President Hinckley's four-wheel drive vehicle inched its way around camp - forging over rocks and bouncing through ruts - Scouts recognized the prophet's profile and scampered across camp, kicking up a cloud of dust like a stampede of cattle, to get a glimpse of the president.

Accompanying President Hinckley was Elder Jack H Goaslind of the Presidency of the Seventy and a member of the National Board of the Boy Scouts of America.

"It is a wonderful thing that you have gathered here in such large numbers in celebration of our state," President Hinckley said during the evening's closing ceremony. "It is appropriate to be in the city of the first territorial capital before this became a state."

President Hinckley opened his remarks by remembering 74 years ago when he was 12 years old and became a Scout in 1922. "It was a much simpler program at that time. I filled out an application form and paid the 50-cent registration fee. That seemed like a very great deal of money at that time. That wouldn't buy a candy bar at this jamboral."

To give the Scouts some sense of their place in history and of their legacy in the state, President Hinckley related his experiences of visiting the Grand Encampment in Kanesville, Iowa, in July.

"Long before you," he said, "there were pioneer scouts who were real scouts in a very practical way. It was 150 years ago that your forbearers, very many of them, were crossing the state of Iowa in the great exodus from the city of Nauvoo, bound for these mountain valleys of the West. It took them 105 days, more than three months, to cross from the Mississippi River to the Missouri River. The other day, we flew across the entire state in less than one hour.

"Many of you are descendants of those who came to this part of the world between the years of 1847, when the first company arrived in

the Salt LakeT valley, and 1869 when the rails were joined at Promontory, Utah, to complete the transcontinental railroad.

"After that, many thousands more came on the railroad. But that wasn't a very comfortable ride. There was no air conditioning. Trains were slow. Windows had to be kept open in the warm weather. The cinders and the smoke blew on the passengers just as the dust has been blowing on us today."

Using his own experiences as a boy to illustrate a point, President Hinckley told how he and his brother Sherman, who was also present at the jamboral, would sleep under the stars during the summer in the bed of an old wagon. "We always looked for the North Star," he said.

"We noticed that the North Star never moved in its place. The whole sky seemed to turn around, but the North Star remained constant.

"That becomes a great lesson to each of us. If we are constant in our place, others will use us as a beacon by which to guide their lives, and thereby, we will do vast good in this world.

"There is so much of filthy talk by boys and girls in junior high and high school. There is so much of immoral filth around us. We, who are Scouts, must stand tall and stand above all of this. We cannot afford to become involved in the use of drugs. To do so would be a great repudiation of the Scout oath to `keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.'

"If every boy in America knew and observed the Scout oath, we would do away with most of the jails and prisons in this country.

"If each of us would live up to those few words, `On my honor, I will do my best,' whether it be in school, whether it be in our social life, whether it be in our business or professional life, if I will do my very best, success and happiness will be mine."

As President Hinckley was about to conclude his remarks, he looked over the huge audience of boys, an audience so vast that several large video screens were erected to show the proceedings, and said, "Think of the vast good that you can do in this world. God bless you throughout your lives."

The focus of the Heritage Jamboral was to unite the council in such a way that Scouts could gain some appreciation of who they are, what they belong to and the good they can do, said Alan Bird, president of the Utah National Parks Council.

The jamboral was held on the west side of Fillmore on the property of Allison Robison. Enthusiasm ran high for the jamboral. Prior to the Sept. 26-28 weekend, three shipments of Class A Scout uniforms were sold out throughout the council. Organizers were also surprised when more than twice the number of boys registered than anticipated.