IMAGE: CNS photo/Marie Mischel, Intermountain Catholic
By Marie Mischel
Utah (CNS) — Each year for the past decade, a group of Boy Scouts in Ogden have
spent a day walking from house of worship to house of worship, learning how the
Ten Commandments are put into practice in different faith traditions.
the very beginning, the idea was to build an awareness of an ecumenical
spirit,” said Deacon Herschel Hester, one of the four original organizers of
the Ten Commandments Walk.
most of the Scouts have never been exposed to a faith outside their own, “the
whole idea is for these young men to be introduced to a larger (faith)
community than just theirs,” he told the Intermountain Catholic, newspaper of
the statewide Diocese of Salt Lake City.
has nothing to do with a merit badge, but it all has to do with living out the
12th point of the Scout Law: A Scout is reverent,” said Deacon Hester, who is a
member of the diocese’s Committee on Scouting and a member of the executive
board of the Boy Scouts Trapper Trails Council.
who belong to the council’s member troops take part in the event, which took
place this year May 12.
walk also helps emphasize the Scout oath, which promises duty to God, the deacon
Scouts participated in the inaugural walk. This year more than 300 boys walked
the 6.6-mile route that took them to Ogden’s Second Baptist Church, Emmanuel
Church of God in Christ, the Salvation Army, the Episcopal Church of the Good
Shepherd, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Elim Lutheran Church, the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Fourth Ward, Hope Resurrected Church, First Church
of Christ, Scientist, First Presbyterian Church and Congregation Brith Sholem.
the final stop, Rabbi Ben Stern chanted the Ten Commandments in Hebrew from the
synagogue’s Torah scroll.
someone reads Torah, the most important thing is to be accurate on their reading,”
he said, and explained that generally on the Jewish Sabbath the person reading
or chanting from the Torah uses a book rather than the handwritten scroll
because the book is easier to read.
book is held by a person other than the reader, and the person holding the book
will correct the reader if there is a mispronunciation, Rabbi Stern said. “If
you get something wrong, they have to stop you. It’s required.”
Stern also answered questions such as why yarmulkes are worn, how long the
Jewish worship services are, and the concept of kosher.
night before the hike, the Scouts camped out at Marshall White Center Park.
That evening, they heard from Charles W. Dahlquist II, the national
commissioner of Boy Scouts of America and past Young Men general president of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
is a world organization of people who care about each other and who care about
duty to God and faith in God, and who not only believe what they have learned
but they practice what they preach and they practice what they believe,” said
urged those present to learn about the different faith practices they would
hear about the next day “because understanding brings peace.”
was invited to speak to the gathering by Jacques Behar, a member of the
National Jewish Committee on Scouting and president of the Ogden synagogue.
of Dahlquist’s closest friends are people of faiths different from his own, he
said. “There is much more that joins us than separates us. We live in a time
when we need to be joined more than ever before.”
who has been an adult Scout leader for 32 years, said in an interview that he
is pleased young men of many faiths participate in the hike because afterward
“it’s interesting to have them walk away and say, ‘Gee, I didn’t realize how
close we all are.'”
I always tell them that if you would just concentrate on the 85 percent that
we’re all alike, and not so much on the 15 percent that we’re not, the world
would be a much better place,” he said.
Crezee, an Eagle Scout from St. James the Just Parish’s Troop 293 who served as the
master of ceremonies for the evening, said the opportunity the Ten Commandments
Walk gives for Scouts to learn about different people’s faith is important,
“especially today where everything is just very polarized. … I think that makes
us better people as a society.”
is editor of the Intermountain Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Salt Lake
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