The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church, has been officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America since 1913, just three years after the BSA program was introduced in the United States in 1910. This year, The Church of Jesus Christ celebrates its 100-year long partnership with the BSA by launching two new exhibits in the Church History Museum, located in downtown Salt Lake City. The two exhibits, “American Originals: Norman Rockwell and Scouting” and “A Good Turn Daily: 100 Years of Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood,” are intended to highlight both the history of the Boy Scout program and the Church’s long-standing relationship with the BSA.
Norman Rockwell Portrayed the Best of Scouting
Norman Rockwell is an iconic American artist and illustrator whose work most famously appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post for over four decades. His work also appeared in the Boy Scouts of America’s official magazine, Boys’ Life. Rockwell began his career with the BSA as a staff artist in 1913, and his first cover was published that same year. Over his long and prolific career, Rockwell created numerous pieces for the BSA, most of which were featured in their annual calendar between 1925 and 1976. Many of Rockwell’s pieces created for the BSA will be featured in the Church History Museum’s exhibit, including 23 original works.
Rockwell is known for his art depicting American life and values—values shared by both the BSA and The Church of Jesus Christ—although during his lifetime he was dismissed by critics as too idealistic and picturesque. According to the Deseret News, Rockwell’s clean-cut Scouts appeared as such at the direction of the BSA, who wanted to portray the best of what scouting could offer.
Mormon Reliance on Scouting
The Church of Jesus Christ has been a partner with the Boy Scouts of America since 1913, and is currently the organization’s largest partner, sponsoring more scouts than any other organization. Young men in The Church of Jesus Christ are encouraged to participate in scouting, and thousands of young Latter-day Saints have earned their Eagle Scout award. Latter-day Saint leaders and members feel that scouting teaches important values and life skills, and helps their young men grow into strong leaders and citizens. So important is scouting to LDS leaders that Latter-day Saint men in local congregations are asked to serve as scoutmasters, and many Latter-day Saint men have volunteered thousands of hours serving in the Boy Scout program. The Church of Jesus Christ is committed to scouting, and feels that the influence of the BSA is very important in the lives of young men. To learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ’s partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, please visit theBSA’s official website.
The Church History Museum’s other exhibit, “A Good Turn Daily,” focuses on the history of the scouting program since it first came to the United States in 1910. Both exhibits opened on July 19 and are free to the public. The Museum is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Megan is a graduate of BYU-Idaho and recently married member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is a writer and avid reader, and loves music, hiking, and her family.