Articles/Essays – Volume 53, No. 4

His Twelve Points of the Scout Law (Grandpa Fesses Up)

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Excerpt from “Taps for the BSA”

Mormon Church to cut all ties

with the Boy Scouts of America

at the end of 2019.

News release

Dedicated to the memory of James “Jim” Tuepker,

field-archer, Scoutmaster extraordinaire,

BSA Troop 10, Pasadena, California.


Generally, with exceptions.

Buffalo Nickels skimmed when

he worked at Botts’ Ice-Cream,

small bills at Sam’s parking-lot

when he was desperate to pay

for babies that kept coming,

supplements when he was a

caregiver for a blind old lady.

An opportunistic pilferer, a

borrower of no-return. Face it,

a bit of a thief. Ouch! But he

only cheated on a wife once—

oops, forgot, well twice.

(No wonder Baden-Powell

put this first. Ouch!)


Another stinger. Yes, but

passively, irresponsibly.

A beatnik outsider, a rebel

without a cause partly raised

by pinko-commie­sympathizers

Wants to overthrow everything,

marched in ’67 in S.F. against

the Vietnam War, but stands

and sings the National Anthem.

WWII history buff, files but

doesn’t pay. A contrarian—thinks

Bernie’s too conservative, etc.

Wants to put everyone on

Social Security and Medicare

pay couples to marry, and pay

them for having kids too.

Complains, but seldom votes

(he lives in Utah, folks!).


Easy to be entreated

(facile à supplier).

Soup-kitchen volunteer,

Anyone on his road

holding up a sign gets

five bucks (at least),

a Book of Mormon,

and some Grandpa

Teresa conversation.

(“Where you from,

where you going?

God bless you on your

way.”) Shows love.

Picks up hitchhikers,

gives blood, big tipper.


Superficially, always,

but no glad-hander.

Treasures old friends,

but seldom writes or calls,

(neither do they, but

such waters run deep).

He’s here for them, and

them for him, if possible—

the mystery of knowing

some so deeply he

can’t discover why

they met or why they

continue connected, the

experience too sacred to

take lightly, analyze.


Door opener. Pro-driver.

Signals, yields right-of-way,

lets people in, Keeps

under the limit, never

tailgates. Looks both ways

checks his mirrors, no

hollow-headed lane switcher.


Unfailingly, but firm

rather than gentle.

Non-combative, simply

finds less to do with

those he can’t abide.

Forgives everything

short of murder (Do

yo thang!) “Loosey-

goosey,” his wife

would say. Sweetly,

secretly resentful

and judgmental like

his mom, but a quick


like his dad, when

pushed too far.


Fearfully so.

Church every Sunday,

Temple every Monday,

Prayers morning

and night. A chapter

of Scripture most

mornings: Bible,

(Old T and New T)

Book of Mormon,

Doctrine & Covenants.

Full tithe-payer

(on gross) plus

$100/m for the needy.

Family history buff.

But like his friend

Gene England, Grandpa

has “moments of utter

skepticism” (How

could an embodied

God survive in a

space full of black

holes?) A Jesus freak,

but still trying to fathom

His mysterious Father,

and still more in love

with himself than his

neighbor. A religious

revolutionary, like

Joseph Smith (his 4th

cousin) and Brigham

Young. An evolutionist,

Gay-Rights Advocate

(“Same rules same

blessings for all!”) Sees

the Body of Christ as

a person—born, growing,

messing up Big Time,

learning from mistakes

(about now a teenager).


Seriously, because

as soon as he could talk

he had to find words

to make his lonely

anxious mom smile.

(Dad worked seven days.)

So Grandpa still has

this habit of listening just

enough to hear something he

can spin into a one-liner

for a laugh, or better yet,

something unforgettable,

amazing if possible,

at least droll. And while

he’s got your attention,

hit a shot over his net

and see if he doesn’t

return it to a corner

to your left while

you’re running right.


Compulsive saver,

agonized spender.

14% Scot on one

side (Muir, Stewart)

14% German-Swiss

Jew (Wetzler-Guggen-

heim) on the other.

His pinched pennies

look like the ones

the kids used to

put on tracks

for trains to run

over. But married

a money-maker

spender. Loved it!

Lived on Osmond

Lane in Provo

in a 6,000 sq. ft.

French Country

chateau. Went

bankrupt twice.


Two minor tussles with

bullies in grade-school.

Boxed at Stanford until

he didn’t see a left-

hook coming and came

fully “to” a couple hours

later and decided he

preferred to be able

to think. Otherwise

physically and militarily

untested. Too young or

too old or too married

with kids for any wars,

but foolhardy enough

to get hitched in Vegas

on a weekend and

make it last 12 years.


Addicted to the usual

suspects until he

was fifty. Went cold

turkey on cigarettes

and alcohol when he

got married the third

time. Porn was tougher.

Finally forswore all

images, even bathing-

suits (No Images

Therapy). There’s

scars on his plate,

some flecks, leftovers

for Jesus to wipe off,

but Grandpa keeps it

clean as he can.

A poster-adult for

continuing repentance.


Shuts his mouth and

parks his brain and

his butt in Church

most Sundays and

bows his head, folds

his arms like a little

kid and closes his eyes

as he partakes of a

piece of bread and a

thimble of water in

remembrance of the One

who descended below

and rose above, in order

to redeem him and

everyone else, in a

world that looks like

it created itself.