Mormon Merit Badge #1: Membership In the Ward

As is so often the case, BCC has been asked by the PTB to assist in the development of new methods and materials designed to improve Gospel consumption. This time, the PTB have specifically requested that we revamp the Scouting program by creating new merit badges and requirements for implementation into a youth program that will better meet the needs of young men and young women, but also adults seeking to increase the number of good turns they do daily. Your input on the requirements for each new merit badge will be requested, collected, and formalized in due time.

BCC’s Mormon Merit Badge #1: Membership In the Ward
(Replacing: Citizenship in the Community)
Membership In The Ward
Requirements:

  1. Minimum Age Requirement: 8 years old
  2. Knowledge of Ward Members:
    a. Draw or purchase a map of your ward boundaries
    b. Locate chief church facilities such as chapels, temples, Seminary/Institute buildings, and canneries, and Beehive Clothing outlets
    c. Locate your father’s workplace, your mother’s workplace (Europe only), and your Bishop’s workplace
    d. [Requirement needed]
    e. [Requirement needed]
  3. Leadership:
    a. Ask to help serve as an usher or setup/put away the folding chairs. (Note: If you are a female, skip this step)
    b. [Requirement needed]
    c. [Requirement needed]
  4. Gospel Knowledge:
    a. Choose an issue that is important to the members of your ward (e.g., pr0n, attacks on the family, threats to religious freedom, immodest blouses)
    b. Find out which members in the ward have problems with this issue.
    c. [Requirement needed]
    d. [Requirement needed]
  5. Missionary Work:
    a. [Requirement needed]
    b. [Requirement needed]
    c. Pitch this idea to ward members as “an excellent missionary opportunity”
  6. Gospel Teaching:
    a. Visit LDS.org and typing your chosen subject into the search bar. Hit “Enter”
    b. Print out the 3 top hits (Note: If all 3 talks were from Elder Marion G. Romney, then type “Vaughn J. Featherstone” in the search bar and substitute the top result
    c. [Requirement needed]

Comments

  1. Where oh where did you get that picture?

    3 b – Assign someone else to do your assignment for you, call it “Delegation”.

    2 d – Identify each elderly member by the sound of their snoring during sacrament meeting.

    5 a – strong-arm one kid at the playground at school until he/she promises to attend church next week. Wedgie as needed.

  2. Jacob M.,
    You didn’t know that Steve Evans had earned every merit badge by his 13th birthday?

  3. I want that image in poster-size, framed, for my living room.

  4. Mark Brown says:

    I discern the invisible hand of Br. Matsby at work.

  5. 4. c. Start a Facebook group against at least one of these threats.

  6. 3b Visit the house of each member and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties. When iniquity, lying, backbiting, or evil speaking is encountered see that it is stopped.

  7. 2d Identify the key leaders of your ward: Primary president, nursery leaders, that guy in the elders’ quorum who can improve a boring lesson on repentance or home teaching with a provocative comment about politics and/or deer hunting. (Identification of bishopric members is optional.)

  8. Scott, you forgot the citizenship requirements:

    7a Explain what citizenship in the ward means to you.
    b Then explain what citizenship in the ward means to the bishopric, the young women, and the geriatrics.
    c Explain why your understanding of citizenship might be a little different from responsible people, in particular why climbing on the roof of the building, setting off stink bombs in the Young Women’s room, stealing refreshments, and organizing coordinated shouts outside the institute classroom might be considered poor citizenship.
    d Describe in detail the consequences to which you may be subject should you demonstrate poor citizenship, and the restraint you suspect your leaders may be exercising in order to demonstrate theirs.

    You’re welcome. Why they’re asking you rather than us scoutmasters is a mystery, but I suspect it has to do with your excellent artwork and presentation skillz.

  9. observer (fka eric s) says:

    2.d – Know the age, regional, and ethnic demographic of your ward in preparation for Thanksgiving conversations.
    2..e. – Know the name of the oldest person in the ward, the river (or Crick) he/she was baptized in, and the war that he/she endured as a youth. Learn about that war.

    3.b – Delegate fast offering collection. You must specifically hand out the pleather blue zip pouch.

    4.c. – Study post immigration Utah history, including implementation of the word of wisdom as a temple-recommend requirement, MMM, the Utah War, statehood, Reed-Smooth hearings, and the persona of “Jack Mormon” as a caracature of rural settings.

    5.a. – Post an LDS-related message on Facebook, and read friendly comments.

    6.c – Share 4.c with your young mens quorum or ward during a talk on Sunday–coordinate with Pioneer Day if possible.

  10. Chad Too says:

    2d. Show on a map the homes of your ward members that show early indications of apostasy (mother wearing pants, lack of Romney 2012 posters, lack of garden plot, fully empty two-car driveway during business hours, etc.). Demonstrate how to turn this information into a registry.

  11. Hey! I’m a female and I’ve put up/taken down cart-loads worth of chairs over the years!!! If girls are even able to get this merit badge there are lots of requirements we could add. Surely bringing cookies to at least 4 ward activities a year would count for something.

  12. Do you really have to identify someone in your ward who has a porn problem or wear immodest blouses? If that is the case the next requirement should be telling them to stop.
    Since when were boy scouts set up as the Hitler youth? Maybe I’m just misunderstanding it…

  13. Lee,
    You are misunderstanding it, the post, I mean.

  14. Marcy, as a scoutmaster with three teenage daughters, I have no problem with the YW earning merit badges, but I remain opposed to mixing female scout with male scouts, at least until the age of 16.

    I’m well aware that female scouts are fully as capable of stupid jokes, playing with fire, and creating blue-dart farts as their male counterparts, and there are probably even some that can draw smiley faces in the snow with urine, but I adamantly maintain there are general differences in their modes of demonstrating immaturity. For example, while male scouts like eating large quantities of M&Ms, and some may like to obsess with each other about their weight, they’re unlikely to enjoy doing both simultaneously around a campfire.

    Remember, they’re all supposed to want to get married in the end.

  15. Marcy,
    Of course women are capable of setting up chairs. That’s why it’s funny (or sad) that men are always asked to do it for them.

    Lee,
    It’ll help a ton if you go back to the top of the post, insert your tongue into your cheek, and read it again.

  16. In the pantheon of Matsby pieces, this is definitely top three.

  17. Hey, I love Matsby as much as the next guy, but I don’t see why you people are all having so much trouble believing that Steve Evans is a former BSA model.

  18. 3.Leadership:
    a. Ask to help serve as an usher or setup/put away the folding chairs. (Note: If you are a female, skip this step)
    b. Ask the Deacon’s President to demonstrate how on passes the sacrament. (Note: If you are a female, skip this step)
    c. Ask the Teacher’s President to demonstrate how to set up the sacrament. (Note: If you are a female, skip this step)
    d. Have your father demonstrate how to give a priesthood blessing and explain the different symbolisms. (Note: If you are a female, skip this step)

    4.Gospel Knowledge:
    a. Choose an issue that is important to the members of your ward (e.g., pr0n, attacks on the family, threats to religious freedom, immodest blouses)
    b. Find out which members in the ward have problems with this issue.
    c. Create a sign-up sheet asking for help visiting and testifying to troubled person.
    d. Visit EQ and RS and pass sign-up sheet around.

    6.Gospel Teaching:
    a. Visit LDS.org and typing your chosen subject into the search bar. Hit “Enter”
    b. Print out the 3 top hits (Note: If all 3 talks were from Elder Marion G. Romney, then type “Vaughn J. Featherstone” in the search bar and substitute the top result)
    c. Give your talk in sacrament meeting. Be sure to marvel that the other person asked to speak on the same subject used the exact same talks to prepare. Testify that this is the inspiration of the spirit guiding you.

  19. They don’t let Canadians be scouts. Its un-patriotic to give a Canadian a title that includes the word “eagle”, and it would just be insulting to the good name of scouting to call someone a Great Northern Loon Scout.

  20. Thomas Parkin says:

    Loon Scout is something I may have aspired to.

  21. Fitting this would replace Citizenship in the Community. Was that intentional?

  22. You need a membership in the tiny, little branch if you’re going to go international with this. Of course, the merit badge would be hardly worth doing then.

  23. James,
    Yes.

  24. Stephanie says:

    Very, very clever.

  25. Miss Otis Regrets says:

    Please….
    What is PTB?
    I’m familiar with many Mormon Three-Letter-Acronyms, but I can’t decipher this one.
    Help.

  26. Powers That Be. It’s not a Mormon-specific acronym.

  27. 3b: Volunteer to help with an Elder’s quorum “moving project,” and recruit at least one other youth to assist as well. If the move involves taking a piano up or down at least two flights of stairs and you assist in moving it, you may skip 3c.

  28. brilliant!

  29. Scott, this is so brilliant that a number of people do not seem to have realized this is a funny new series, not a real mandate from the Church Office Building.

  30. One of the greatest pictures I have ever seen.

  31. requirement 4 c. Stop looking at that sister (or brother)’s blouse.

  32. Senile Old Fart says:

    It will soon replace the present Duty to God award requirements, which replaced the previous requirements, which…

  33. Mark Brown says:

    I’m not 100% up to speed on the meaning of all the scout badges, but look carefully under the Eagle insignia of rank. Isn’t that a badge for The Order of The Arrow?

    One can only hope.

  34. Fletcher says:

    2d) Develop a Ward Seating Chart for Sacrament Meetings, and coordinate with the Ushers to make sure everyone sits in their designated seats.

    3b) If you are female: Plan and coordinate an appropriate activity to be held outside of the normal Sunday block and YW meeting time. This activity can be one of the following: Quilting, mani/pedi, makeovers, introductory cooking, sewing, presentations on the Law of Chastity involving damaged and/or used objects, babysitting for Ward Temple night, or Preparing for Celestial Marriage as the pinnacle of our mortal probation.

    3c) If you are male: Plan and coordinate an appropriate activity to be held outside of the normal Sunday block and YM and Scout meeting time. This activity can be any appropriate activity NOT listed in 3b.

  35. shouldn’t there be a sustain your leaders/prepare to sustain them by speculating who they will be requirement?

  36. Note that if you live in Utah, the map drawing may need to expand to be stake-wide or even temple-region-wide if you actually want to put anything on the map. All that we have in my ward boundaries are houses – even the church building isn’t within our boundaries! (Yes, I know the post is tongue in cheek – I just can’t figure out how to make my comment the same. ;) )

  37. Mark, # 33, sorry, that’s a Webelos award, given to Cub Scouts for pretty much showing up on time during your 10 year old year.

    The Order of the Arrow, being a secret combination, is signified by a long white sash, with a large red arrow, and the small subscript saying “Founded 1838, Sampson Avard”.

    Just so you know.

  38. Robert Moncrief says:

    Why did you leave facebook, Scott?

  39. Rob–
    I deactivate my account every now and then when I get slammed at work. I’ll be back shortly, I think.

  40. Mark (33),
    As kevinf mentioned, the award is actually the “Arrow of Light” Webelos award. I earned this award, but to be honest, I have no idea what it is for or how I got it.

  41. Yet Another John says:

    Re #33. Actually it the patch for the Arrow of Light.

  42. Don’t confuse the “Arrow of Light” award with the “Order of the Arrow” award, which is an award you get for submitting yourself to being tortured, starved and then used as slave labor.

  43. Oh, and I’d like to have Steve Evans in my living room, too.

  44. Steve's Wife says:

    Okay, so I totally need a copy of this image as well. It’s getting framed and hung someplace in our house.

  45. I’m printing this out and taping to my office door. No wait. To someone else’s office door.

  46. Any chance Matsby is printing the picture on fancy shiny poster paper? I feel the need to put it next to our stock temple photo.

  47. Fletcher says:

    4c) After completing 4a and 4b, devise a plan on becoming the home teaching companion of someone who home teaches a member who was identified in 4b. Implement this plan. This requirement is only fulfilled when you are officially assigned as companion to the home teacher.

    4d) As a the newly called home teacher, give awkward lesson to the person identified in 4b who struggles with problem selected in 4a. This requirement is only fulfilled when a hypothetical call to repentance is delivered to the struggling individual, such as “If you find, some time in your life, that you struggle with [insert issue], I urge you to repent and seek counsel from our bishop.”

  48. I realize many of these comments are humorous and some are serious and i can’t tell the difference on some of them. Being involved in a top-notch non-LDS scout troop I can tell you that in my limited experience Mormon scouting is generally a joke much laughed at by others.

    If you want a serious suggestion, it would be to turn down this arrogant attitude that Mormons know best and perhaps move towards doing what the rest of those in scouting have found that works. Scouting is flexible but we have stretched it too far.

    On a less serious note, we could have the veggie tales boy scouts who don’t to anything, just lay around all day,and if you ask them to do anything, they just say they can’t do anything…….

  49. Thank you sir, for your condescension towards our scouting program while accusing us of being arrogant.

    But I do like the veggie tale pirate boy scouts idea.

  50. Just as an aside to the question of the Arrow of Light, boys have to have earned the Webelos badge, a handful of other merit badges, go on a hike or a campout, and visit the Boy Scout troop you will be joining and chat with the scout leader.

    I have two of my Webelos working on this right now, which is why I know. (Well, and that I’m the Webelos Den Leader. (And also that I just know random stuff like this.))

    2d. Identify possible dens of iniquity within the ward boundaries and label them.
    2e. Make a commitment to stay away from all such iniquitous locations.

  51. By the way, Steve Evans, I didn’t realise you were Catholic when you were 13.

  52. If you want a serious suggestion, it would be to turn down this arrogant attitude that Mormons know best and perhaps move towards doing what the rest of those in scouting have found that works.

    Well, thats one way we could go . . . .

  53. Meldrum,

    I realize many of these comments are humorous and some are serious and i can’t tell the difference on some of them.

    I’d suggest stopping after that, then.

  54. I want to hang Steve Evans in my living room, too.

  55. No, Ardis, we’re talking about the Matsby picture . . . not capital punishment.

  56. Capital punishment will be next week’s merit badge.

  57. Steve Evans says:

    #54 I’m already hung.

  58. That’s NOT what she said.

  59. Stephanie says:

    Meldrum, if you really want the BSA to fail because the church pulls out, keep it up. Most of us will thank you.

    (My experience in a non-LDS pack has not been the same. Our church pack is far superior. My experience as a unit commissioner has taught me that top-notch troops like the one you are talking about are few and far between.)

  60. 57 – wow . . . . . . Follow link, click button. You’ve earned it.

  61. Alex, re: Post 50, I think those are actually additional ACTIVITY badges that they must earn to get the Arrow of Light. They can’t earn MERIT badges until they are a boy scout.

  62. You are correct, Eddie. I guess I was so excited to think about the Boy Scout merit badges that I slipped. Minus 10 points for me.

  63. Stephanie;

    What in the heck am I supposed to “keep up”?

    Our ward has a horrible troop. They cheat on merit badges and go years between camp outs. Two deep leadership is a hoax. I have been available to do everything I can to help out. But the few youth don’t actually want to do scouting and the parents just want to pretend or get someone else to do it. Currently one father is flogging his son to the eagles nest as quickly as possible so they can be done with it and another guy with two boys is moving to another ward. It goes down hill from there.

    Nothing we Mormons are doing around here contributes one thing to scouting. I don’t know the big picture but Mormons are only 2% of the US population, and active ones probably less than 1%. I can not imagine that scouting can’t function without us. The bloated administrative organization with all the attorneys are probably costly and the church shells out.

    In this area served by one large public high school of around 2000 students, I know of 6 good non-LDs scout troops. They have their respective strengths and weaknesses. None are perfect. You could count on one hand the number of LDS scouts who are involved in them and have fingers left over for a table saw accident.

    My 17 year old Eagle scout son was asked to speak in stake conference on scouting recently. He got up and told the truth. Silence in the room. The first conference talk I can remember where someone offered feed-back on up the line and did it with dignity but with the sword of truth. Real scouting has helped make him at age 17 a far better man than I am.

    The Stake President talked to him afterwords and said he really appreciated his remarks. He senses a serious problem with scouting but lacking in much experience he really doesn’t know what to do. Tthe first step of repentance and reformation is recognition of a problem. It is here that the arrogance comes through and prevents us from making any further progress. This sermon in conference has caused numerous waves around the stake and many think it was inappropriate for a youth to say what he said. No substantial changes yet.

    Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, I think those of us who find themselves in lousy troops need to go to troops that seem to function well. We need to not expect perfection but contribute to them. We will be enriched in the process.

    I have extensive boots-on the-ground experience; hundreds of nights camping, thousands of miles hiking and backpacking, a handful experiences of leading multi-day high adventures, decent Dutch oven skills and I love to tell bear stories. I am fit enough to physically punish all the boys on up to age 18 on a hike except the ones on varsity track teams. I am not as much into “parlor scouting” and thankfully allow others better suited to serve in those capacities.

    My son will soon age out and it is felt by our non-LDS troop that getting parents of new scouts involved is crucial. Hence my role is fading. I would love to continue to camp and backpack. Youth leadership callings including scouting in my ward are sweet plums given to only the most loyal. My going outside the church for excellence in scouting automatically disqualifies me for any youth calling in the ward.

    Any suggestions?

  64. I realize that not all discussions on BCC are of interest to all of those who follow BCC. A more specialized forum for discussing issues related to LDS scout troops is located at http://www.groups.yahoo.com/Scouts-LDS.

    You’d feel comfortable there, I think, Mike.

  65. it's a series of tubes says:

    Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, I think those of us who find themselves in lousy troops need to go to troops that seem to function well.

    Leaving those ward members left behind to further flounder, I presume… or are you suggesting that wards with troops that just dont “cut it” simply axe the official ward connection with the program and allow the kids in the ward to join up with a more functional troop?

    Would you make the same argument for a ward? “Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, I think those of us who find themselves in lousy wards need to go to wards that seem to function well.”

    “If it aint working, quit” is a tough sell.

  66. Paul:

    Thank you for the suggestion. I will check it out. My “feelings” are not that important. My thoughts and ideas are what I want to express. Sorry wrong blog.

    Tubes:
    Not leaving them behind but continually begging them to come along. But they don’t really want to do scouting, remember. They pretend to do it because someone else told them they had to do it.

    Every ward is different and I don’t have broad experience. But in a ward like mine it would be wonderful if The Brethren blessed the decision to go to good scout troops. It would make a big difference. In some wards it might be better to stay and support especially if good troops are not always available, which I find hard to believe but acknowledge might be the case far away.

    How about my son’s suggestion he gave in Sake Conference? To build a troop in the ward that would be among the best in the community, drawing dozens of worthy young non-LDS boys to join the handful of LDS boys in scouting as a community service. Our non-LDS troop at a Presbyterian church has 60-80 boys and only a handful of Presbyterians among them. Our scoutmaster (who is a better man than any Bishop I have ever had) became active in the Presbyterian church following his service in scouting and his grandfather was LDS. In fact he jokingly agreed to listen to the missionary lessons if I could bring one other Mormon boy into our troop. See what I mean?

    “If it ain’t working, quit” is what free enterprise is all about. Do you buy moldy bread just because it was made by a Mormon baker? Vote for Harry Reid or agree with Glenn Beck for the same reason? If it ain’t working try something different seems more in line with Mormonism. Refusing to recognize faults and correct them seems like the gospel of damnation, rather than the gospel of repentance. I don’t think we are pulling handcarts around any more because, contrary to the faith promoting stories, it was not that good of an idea and it was abandoned immediately as soon as something better was available.

    You might be onto something with this idea of having a choice in wards. If we could choose, maybe the crappy wards would be weeded out. Trouble is travel distances often allow only one choice in wards. You realize this is what our missionaries ask people to do every day is leave something that isn’t going to work in exchange of something better. Why doesn’t it apply in the other direction?

  67. Stephanie says:

    Mike, I was responding to this:

    Being involved in a top-notch non-LDS scout troop I can tell you that in my limited experience Mormon scouting is generally a joke much laughed at by others.

    I hear this all the time. The truth is that most boys in the church wouldn’t be involved in scouting if it wasn’t the “official activity arm” of the YM. Laughing at Mormon troops might be fun for some other troops, but here are the facts: Membership in the BSA has been declining since the 1960s. The BSA is having a hard time recruiting because 1. some school districts won’t let them in at all. 2. Something like 75% of all troops/packs/etc. are chartered by religious institutions and only 25% of Americans polled say they attend church regularly. (I can’t remember the exact figures or cite them. I heard them at a presentation given by the Scout Executive for my Council last week.) Declining membership is a serious concern for the BSA. However, membership of LDS scouts has increased.

    I’ve heard that Mormons suck at Friends of Scouting and fundraisers. Individuals don’t give much to the BSA in terms of funding. But in terms of sheer volume, we provide the BSA with a lot of troops, leaders to staff those troops, and boys to fill those troops. Statistics I’ve read say that about 12% of all scouts are LDS. If the church decided to pull out, I don’t think the BSA would survive.

    So, I just don’t have much appreciation for mocking LDS troops.

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