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Kirby: My post-Scouting program for Mormon boys? Hint: It includes fire

Published May 15, 2017 3:01 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I possibly received an emergency call from LDS Church headquarters last week, asking for my help developing an outdoors program for older male Mormon youths.

Don't believe me? OK, here's a transcript of the voicemail left on my cellphone:

"Mr. Kirby … [garbled] … have chosen you … [inaudible] … special request … [ratlike noises] … for only … [squawk] … call now … [click]."

Go ahead. Tell me that's not a cry for help.

Honestly, I expected the call. Anyone who has been paying attention to the possibility of a change in the relationship between the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts of America knew something was going to happen.

My Scouting experience is impressive. From ages 11 through 17, I participated in any number of camps and outings and — get this — not once was I deliberately left behind or assaulted by a nearly homicidal Scoutmaster. Given my personality, that's a serious accomplishment.

Keeping in mind that I have not yet been able to meet with the church's youth leadership, I nevertheless put together a few notes for the new Mormon advanced "scouting" program.

First, there should be a program wherein grown men take boys into the wilderness and pass along important manhood knowledge. It's been done since the dawn of time.

Prehistoric Scoutmaster • "See that, boys? That's a woolly mammoth. If all you can see is its butt, sneak a little closer. But if it starts to move and both pointy horn things are visible, you need to run the #$%@! away."

Prehistoric Scouts: "Yes, sir."

Scoutmaster: "Good. Now I'm going to teach you how to drive several thousand bison off a cliff in order to eat just a few."

Scouts: "Ahh! We already know how to do that."

This is not the sort of thing boys learned from your average "cave-frau," but was needed to advance civilization. It takes men to idiot-proof young boys.

The lesson is the same in the modern age. Impressionable boys need to be taught proper behavior, and who better to teach them than men who've already had it beaten into them by their own elders?

Here's what I think the church's new "advanced scouting" program needs to stress. Setting up tents and tying knots are OK, but new skills are needed.

First, how to keep a fire from growing so big that it's visible from outer space. Boys are always going to have trouble with fire. Teaching them how to build one isn't nearly as important as how to put one out.

Next, how to treat women. Times have changed since wooing a breeding partner consisted of bashing the most attractive one in the head and dragging her away.

Modern boys need to understand that women today should be treated with respect. They deserve being regarded as equals, even if for no other reason than because technology has made it easier for them to bash back.

Finally, how to carefully hunt down and catch a job. This can be harder than it sounds, especially for a gender who tends to think that playing video games eight hours a day can be parlayed easily into a marketable skill.

That's all I have for now. But I'll keep working on the list. I don't want to get caught unprepared when the church calls again.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.






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