Boy Scouts and LDS Church come together to celebrate ‘A Century of Honor’

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A Scout rides a zipline across the conference center while another Scout kayaks while suspended next to the Conference Center organ as part of "A Century of Honor"
A Scout rides a zipline across the Conference Center in front of another Scout “kayaking” next to the Conference Center organ pipes as part of the “A Century of Honor” broadcast on Oct. 29. (Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom)

Green and khaki filled the Conference Center seats as Scouters — from Cubs to seasoned veterans — gathered to witness “A Century of Honor,” a production sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to celebrate the values of the Boy Scout program.

Those watching repeatedly gasped as they saw Scouts rappel from the ceiling, kayak while suspended above the Conference Center organ and zip line across the building. Choirs featuring Eagle Scouts and Cub Scouts, a trumpet ensemble, an Eagle Scout drum line and an enormous cast of actors also entertained.

“It was inspiring, well-produced and probably the best show I’ve seen at a Boy Scout event,” said Jeff Jonasen, a member of the BSA’s national committee. “It was probably the best show I’ve ever seen. It was big.”

The event was broadcast to LDS stake centers throughout the country and is now available for viewing at scouts100.lds.org. According to the website, nearly 1.2 million people participated in the event its first day, including all the members of the BSA’s national and regional committees who were in Salt Lake City for their annual meetings.

Actors and video presentations conveyed the significance of Scouting by telling its history. Actors portraying Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Scouting’s founder, William D. Boyce, the founder of the Boy Scouts of America, Joseph F. Smith and others, told of Scouting’s progression the past 100 years. The show focused on showing Scouting values and how they are as important today as they were 100 years ago.

Video presentations and actors featured Scouts highlighted common experiences for Scouts, including conversing around the fire, learning duty to God and demonstrating Scouting’s action-based programming.

President Thomas S. Monson received special recognition for his lifetime of service to the Boy Scouts of America. President Monson has served almost half a century, the longest-serving member of the BSA’s national executive board.

“His leadership, his guidance, his life personifies the purpose of Scouting every single day,” said Tico Perez, BSA national commissioner, in a video tribute. “It has been an honor to serve with President Monson.”

Before the broadcast, national BSA leadership presented President Monson with The Honor Medal, a rare gesture, for saving a girl from drowning near Vivian Park in Provo Canyon when he was 12 years old.

Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf also joined national BSA leadership to offer tribute to President Monson.

“He doesn’t just teach the values of Scouting, he lives them to the fullest,” President Eyring said.

BSA National President Wayne Perry announced that the Leadership Excellence Center, located at the new Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia, the new site for national jamboree and a national high adventure base, would be named the Thomas S. Monson Leadership Excellence Complex in a tribute to his legacy of leadership.

“I am grateful for Scouting’s influence in my life,” President Monson said. “It taught me a great deal and gave me opportunities I might not otherwise have had. Scouting helps bring out the best in each of us.”

President Monson reaffirmed his commitment to Scouting and his hope to be involved as long as he is able. He promised youth they would find similar benefits if they stayed involved in Scouting.

“As you continue to participate in this fine program your abilities to think, to plan and to achieve will be heightened,” he said. “This, along with your personal integrity and spirituality will help guide you and keep you on the right path as you journey through life. If ever there were a time when the principles of Scouting were vitally needed, that time is now.”

In one final surprise, the curtain opened to reveal the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, which performed several songs, ending with a reprisal of the “On My Honor” song used throughout the event. Many Scouts and leaders could be heard singing the song to themselves as they left the Conference Center. Its message stuck with many who participated.

“I felt it was a well-done production that was focused on instilling the support the Church has for the Boy Scouts of America,” said Tyson Murray, a BYU alumnus who graduated in April 2013. “It showed the importance Scouting has in contributing to many of the great leaders we’ve had, a crucial and key point.”

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