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Multiple Religious Award Levels

This has been touched on in a general fashion but I can’t seem to find anything definite on this part. Many denominations have varying levels of their version of “God & Country” (to use a generic term). Some have as many as 5 levels separated for Cubs, Webelos, Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Ventures. I know of one young man who has earned his award for Cubs, and Webelos. Upon his crossover some years ago, he was told that he could wear the youth square knot for his religious award on his Scouts uniform. Unfortunately the award authorization was not carried over on his official record when he crossed into Scouts. Now that he is getting close to attaining his Eagle my concern is that his record does not show the award. I don’t like the idea of asking him to remove the knot after all this time. If I can find his original award date through paperwork or PRAY records can I use that date as the approval/award date? Even though he does not have the “Scouts” level award? My only concern here is that we avoid any controversy or question when his Eagle BOR comes around. He is a fine young man and I can’t see penalizing or embarrassing him for a possible error from years past. I have emails sent to the PRAY section for his denomination and his mother is searching for his workbooks (You just have to love the mothers who zealously hold on to these kind of things!). I wonder how we can go about getting a secondary label on the records to denote the level of the award. This doesn’t seem to be a specialized age level award. I would think the one square knot would be sufficient to show the award achieved regardless of level. I’m just trying to get the ducks into the same pen, then I can worry about lining them up…grin

I have never heard of a BOR question a Religious Emblem (if your District BORs are doing this they are WAY OFF BASE and should read the GTA). This is nothing to worry about


Well that certainly ducks the questions. “Be Prepared”

I’ll start by saying I agree with @DonovanMcNeil. I can’t imagine an Eagle BoR that said “We see you’re wearing this knot, but it’s not in your official record. What’s that about?”, particularly in regards to the religious emblem. I could totally see a question like “I see you earned your youth religious emblem. Can you tell me what attracted you to earning that award?”

That said, the religious awards are recognitions awarded by the respective religious denomination/organization, rather than by BSA itself. I wouldn’t expect to see the award itself (e.g. Ad Altare Dei) recorded in the BSA’s database. Regarding the youth square knot – which is a BSA recognition – I’m not sure that even appears in the official BSA advancement/awards database, but it might. I suspect that, if it does appear, entering the correct date is the right course of action. I wouldn’t sweat whether or not the award was entered under the troop interface or under the pack interface.

ETA: Regarding recording the completion level, we have put that information in the notes for the award, along with the name of the award earned.


In response to this post I just looked at a Scout’s Scoutbook account, the Scout I knew earned a religious emblem in Cub Scouts. It shows as an award both in Scoutbook, and when I ran a Scouts BSA History report it shows up there with the date earned in Cubs.

I’m fairly certain you can enter it into his record, yourself.

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@JohnJeter - on all of the EBoR that I have been a part of, there was never a discussion about awards religious or otherwise. Most of the conversations revolved around the project and related topics.


A scout is trustworthy. If a scout says, “Respectfully, sir/madam, I earned the award, but BSA botched the paperwork.”
Guess who should be believed?


FWIW, this is what my form letter when counselors send a scout for my signature:

To whom it may concern, ____ is a scout. A scout is trustworthy. If he said he completed a requirement, you may rest assured that he did.

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Sorry, @Qwazse , many Scouts “believe” they have completed a requirement, but when you review the wording of the requirement with them, it turns out they haven’t…

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There are a couple of issues here:

  1. There have been some long discussions of what should be discussed at a BOR. I suspect you can find those by searching for them.

  2. BSA is very clear about the religious organization, not BSA, rewarding a religious award.

  3. My personal opinion is that these awards do not expire. If the religious organization is using medals for their award system, a Scout should be allowed to wear the highest medal award they have earned on the Scouts BSA uniform.

  4. Personally my only record of having earned the youth award many years ago is a badge on a non-US boy scouting uniform (which I still have).


I think a Scout with multiple awards should wear whichever one(s) they want to, subject to the Insignia Guide limit on medals (5). They may have earned a “higher” one, but one could have special significance for the Scout.

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If it was earned as a Cub you can’t amend his scoutbook record to show it. You can add a note to his file. Like others have said, if it comes up, he can say he earned it as a cub. If he wears the cub device pin on the knot, it will add a bit of credence to that explanation.
Hopefully the family can locate the records.
I can imagine someone asking about it, and then asking why the scout didn’t continue. But this seems like a very unwise course of questioning.

Most of know this, but as a reminder, the youth religious award knot is one of only three knots to carry over on an adult uniform shirt. Even if earned at several levels, only one knot is worn, but the miniature “devices” are pinned into the knot to show the levels earned.

BSA councils typically don’t receive or ask for paperwork verifying these awards, but the awards can be put into Troopmaster or Scoutbook for reference.

The other two knots to carry over to an adult shirt? The knots for heroism, and the James E West knot if a donation to the council developmental fund is made in the youth’s name.

Now this IS helpful. I was not aware of any ‘Devices’ that could be attached to the square knot. That allows covering all the details in the questions. My career involved working with grade B poisons transport for over 20 years. I had a perfect safety record because of attention to all possible details. I always told my trainees to “Plan for the absolute worst, and hope for the absolute best.” I appreciate your help in this matter. With any luck I can obtain the proper devices for the young man and impart an important lesson in paying attention to details that so many of our youths fail to learn. Thanks! .

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In that case why do we require written records of advancement items being completed? It’s not a matter of doubting that the Scouts word. It’s a matter of showing that a thorough job was done by paying attention to the details.

the religious emblem is an acknowledgement from the BSA for an award earned out side of the program . there is no place in scoutbook to add it in . no paperwork is needed in order to wear the square knot . the scouts unit usually award the square knot after the scout earns the appropriate award from there religious institution . i believe there are attachments that indicate which level it was earned at . I have had the honor of sitting on a dozen Eagle boards and not once has anyone asked for proof of the award .the scout may wear the religious award from the institution on the uniform during formel events on the left shirt pocket if they wish .

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You are most welcome. I was the manager of our council-owned Scout Shop for five years (after retiring from USPS). I had to be knowledgeable of uniform standards. The devices are little tiny pins, and we kept them behind the counter.

There are also Commissioner devices for the Key knot, which can be earned by adults in different programs. If you earn the Key knot several times, you still only wear a single knot with devices pinned to it.

Good Afternoon Everyone, I am on the Catholic Committee for my local Council here in Southern California. I have been involved with a Pack and Troop(of which my son is an AoL and Eagle respectively) that is chartered by a Catholic Church. When my son joined the Cub Scout Pack we had a mom who promoted the Religious Emblems for the Cub Scout Program. They are Light of Christ and Parvuli Dei. Many of our scouts earned these. As part of the awards program for the Catholic Committee a scout is awarded the Religious Emblem knot and the pin device(if it is the 2nd, 3rd, 4th emblem earned). Many years ago we also started promoting all faiths in the Pack not just the Catholic Faith. We now have many scouts earn the RE for Christian Faiths. On the Troop side we have adult members who are Counselors for the Scout Catholic Religious Emblems, Ad Altare Dei and Pope Pius XII. If a scout earns all 4 RE’s then they also earn The Pillars of Faith. And if they earn Eagle and are a HS Senior they can apply for a Scholarship from the National Catholic Committee.
In our Pack we enter in the Religious Emblems into Packmaster. And I believe the Catholic Committee sends the information of who earned what to our Council Registrar. Our Council Registrar has been around for many years and is amazing! Before my son earned Eagle we asked for his Advancement Report to make sure everything was on it. There is an area on the report for Pillars of Faith. It is on the top right underneath the scouts email address and phone number. I think it might say, “Additional Comments:”. All 4 of his other Religious Emblems were listed within his record in the order he earned them, with Cub Scouts Ranks, Scout Ranks and his OA Memberships. For our District Eagle BoR, our Catholic Scouts wear the Religious Medals they have earned. Many of our District Eagle Board volunteers are familiar with them.
The Religious Emblem books for the Catholic Faith and Christian Faiths are sold in our Local Council Scout Shop. Books can be ordered through P.R.A.Y. (even the Catholic ones). Our Pack orders them from P.R.A.Y. due to the volume we order.

JohnJeter, the scout you are referring to had to have either worked with a committee, such as the local Catholic Committee or P.R.A.Y. The Catholic awards have to be ordered from the National Catholic Committee and can not be ordered by a parent. For other faiths, I know awards can be ordered from P.R.A.Y. and I believe a parent can be the one to order, it does not have to come from an official committee. However this scout earned his RE’s, I would encourage the Pack or Troop Committee to contact the Registrar of your Council and get the information recorded.

I agree with you. If there is no medal but the religious organization has a small pin that can be worn on the square knot ribbon, BSA should allow a Scout or Scouter instead of a medal. May be we can get BSA to change the insignia guide to allow that.

We don’t require specific records of each and every requirement. A scout returns a blue card with the counselor’s signature that he completed the whole badge. We keep the unit’s copy and sign the youth’s copy noting that we received the completed application (and implying that we’ll soon order the badge and certificate), the counselor keeps his copy. All other materials belong to the scout, and should stay with him for a scrapbook or shoebox.
Partial applications? Those are kept with the scout for when he/she wants to meet with the counselor. They are for the scout to know what’s been done in case he/she forgets where to pick up.
All other transactions are between a scout and his counselor.

Don’t get me wrong, if a scout would like me to review his camping log to help tally nights, I will do it. In fact last year a scout and I returned a camp’s blue card and requested a partial for Camping MB because they glossed over the log and counted up cabin nights. But, this was the scout’s initiative, not mine.