Memo to the Newsroom: If the real leaders are away, best to keep quiet until they get back

[A few further points now added at the end of the post.]

The poor judgement exercised by some sections of Public Affairs was in evidence during the Kate Kelly affair. It has happened again, this time in the form of one of the most intemperate releases I have read coming from 15 E. South Temple Street. The Newsroom can do better than this.

Herewith some comments on the testy “Church Re-evaluating Scouting Program” statement of 27 July 2015:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet.”

If they knew the vote was going to happen anyway, perhaps some vacations needed to be re-arranged? It sounds to me as if an organisation that is used to getting its own way with Scouting is shocked that this may no longer be the case.

“When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined.”

Wow. What an I’m-taking-my-ball-home comment! If Scouting is good for young American men, then it will surely remain good whatever the outcome of the vote. And to be grumpy like this in public seems remarkably impolitic.

“The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation.”

Really? It would certainly have come as a surprise to Elder Jack Goaslind, who in 1991 said that he “would recommend that the church withdraw from the Boy Scouts of America if the church is forced to register homosexual Scouts.” Openly gay Mormon youths could not officially be BSA Scouts until 2014, when the BSA’s policy changed (a move which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints admirably did not oppose, having distanced itself somewhat from the attitudes of 1991). It would be better to say that “The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation for as long as the BSA has had that policy,” which, of course, is pretty meaningless. The Newsroom might counter that this has only ever been about a commitment to chastity not orientation, but there are gay Mormons whose experiences suggest otherwise. (Best also to keep quiet about the time when black Mormon Scouts were not allowed to have leadership positions in their troops.)

“However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”

Can someone point out to me the “doctrines of the church” that are opposed to openly gay leaders holding leadership positions in the BSA?

“As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available. Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead.”

There’s so much wrong here. First, the sheer Amerocentricism. Scouting is most assuredly available to the vast majority of Mormon youth, just not in Mormon troops. There are over 30 million registered Scouts worldwide in over 200 countries (thus only 0.8% of Scouts are Mormon). Ironically, in some countries Mormon youth have a better chance of being a Scout than their LDS counterparts in the United States (who feel confined to Mormon scouting) by virtue of Scouting being available to girls. This reflects the second problem with this statement: all this concern over “one-half of its youth” internationally (boys), but seemingly little interest in the half of its non-Scouting youth in the US (girls). N.B. In Canada, Scouting is open to girls but the church won an exemption to run boys-only troops.

The church’s whole approach to homosexuality is in flux and it is understandable that the odd statement will be a little ragged. However, given that this is about the only thing the church seems willing to make a public stand on, it is only reasonable for members to expect the Public Affairs department to be very careful in what it says. Mormons around the world are affected by the church’s policy on gays given that it is rapidly becoming the hallmark of the modern LDS image. They deserve better than this half-baked lecture.


[Edited to include the following post script:]

This story is now doing further rounds online, which leads me to some final observations:

1. The sheer absence of the “other half” of Mormon youth (girls) in all of this is very frustrating.

2. The Mormon bubble is a major problem. Mormon kids in other parts of the world are active in their wards and youth programmes and get involved in non-Mormon activities. For example, in the UK: Scouts (for girls and boys), Guides (for girls), cadets (JROTC), the Duke of Edinburgh Award, etc. The church need not be the overseer of everything Mormon children get up to.

3. The fuss over the vote taking place when church authorities were away makes no sense given that we know that “that church leaders Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Young Men’s President Stephen Owen and General Primary President Rosemary Wixom, all of whom belong to the BSA National Board, voted against the new policy.”

4. I thought gay Mormons were welcome to hold callings in their wards (“Members of the Church who have same-sex attractions, but don’t act on them, can continue to enjoy full fellowship in the church, which includes holding the priesthood, carrying out callings, and attending the temple.”). Why then can a gay Mormon not be a Scout leader? What is the truth about the status of gay Mormons in the church?

5. Why does the church feel the need to review its relationship with BSA given that BSA clearly says, “This change also respects the right of religious chartered organizations to choose adult volunteer leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own”? The church can still discriminate against gay Mormons (but see #4) in Scouting, so why vote against the change? If the church does disassociate from Scouting because of this it will be a retrograde step, especially given what looks to be the Catholic position.

6. I am still amazed that anyone can, with a straight face, say that the church has always welcomed gay Scouts.

7. I can only surmise that the church expected its dissent would have clout, but it didn’t and so feels the need to strike back. The whole thing is remarkably intemperate.

8. Is there nothing other than homosexuality that exercises us? If there isn’t, it will be our doom.

Comments

  1. It’s a win win for me, personally. I’ve hated our marriage to the BSA for years, they are a limited, expensive, program that is a TERRIBLE pain in the butt for leaders and I’ve always found it problematic that YW and girls’ programs are given far less consideration and money. I’ve hated how much $$ we pay the BSA; how much time and money their materials, awards, trainings, and paperwork costs. I have three little boys and have hoped year after year that somehow, by some miracle, by the time they are old enough they won’t be forced into scouts because that is what the church requires for their full membership. My parents were scouters, I am a woman, but I’ve even been to every scout camp and scout meeting under the sun. I am not a fan. So, the idea that my boys may actually never have to be in scouts makes me so grateful and happy.

    Also, I am glad that the BSA is moving towards being more accepting and inclusive. They should be. The church should be ashamed that this is their hard line. That last line kills me, that our policy on gay people becoming the hallmark of the modern LDS image.

    Why, why, can’t the hallmark of the modern LDS image be how we used all the tithing to free children from sexual slavery or end hunger? Why can’t we shine as Christians? It’s so disappointing and shameful.

  2. Observer says:

    This reads as though you are taking every opportunity to choose the worst possible interpretation of everything the release said.

    You make a very big leap at the start, by assuming that the reason the Church’s governing counsels don’t meet during July is because of vacations. There are numerous other possible reasons why they don’t meet.

    For example, new mission presidents start their service on July 1, and along with that many of the highest counsels spend a good part of July traveling to visit those new mission presidents in the field. I know when we got a new mission president in my mission (all those years ago) we had an increase in general authority visits in the first month or two, including a member of the Quorum of the 12.

    When you consider that there are 406 missions, and about a third of them receive new mission presidents each year, that’s around 135 missions to visit. For a group of 13 men, not all of whom can be traveling at the same time, that’s a lot of travel, which would make regular meetings far more difficult. In such a case, cancelling the regular meetings makes far more sense than trying to force them to happen anyways.

    It would be extremely unusual for any organization that runs ongoing operations to cancel regular meetings for an entire month just because of vacations.

  3. Actually Observer, that is the case with vacations. It is the official schedule of the church that all seventies and members of the twelve get July off. There’s a few exceptions for internationally stationed seventies who have to stagger their vacations to keep someone in country at all times.

    I know this from personal experience as I vacation with my seventy family member this July.

  4. Amen and amen, Ronan. I don’t think there’s any great reason to mourn the Church’s conscious uncoupling from the BSA program if that’s what happens. I just hope it doesn’t devolve into petty grandstanding and accusation slinging such that members feel they must either accede to the “encroachments” of the LGBT agenda or stand firm without budging an inch toward openness and acceptance. That narrative is neither helpful for the Church nor an accurate reflection of its current policies and practices (and “doctrines” if you will).

    There are lots of raw nerves on both sides right now regarding LGBT issues, and this most recent press release is uncharacteristically slapdash and out of harmony with other messages we’ve been hearing from the Church. I anticipate/hope that future statements will be more charitably, carefully, and non-dogmatically composed.

    I also really wonder who might have penned this and who would have given the okay before it was published.

  5. I wonder if this is more about power and control of the BSA than campfires and badges. Historically the BSA has been beholden to Church interests; now this no longer seems the case.

    The doctrine piece seems tacked on and quite frankly rings utterly false and contradictory to the Church’s overall messaging on gays.

    Not the best.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    I thought BSA left the religious exemption intact, such that LDS units could still maintain the old policy. So the real concern seems to be that the culture is moving away from them and they don’t like it and don’t know what to do about it.

  7. Karen H. says:

    Everything about the statement is terrible…but the absolute invisibility of girls in the equation of “youth” is galling and heartbreaking. in the minds of the several people who must have contributed to the crafting of this press release, girls are not even an afterthought. They are a no thought at all. Not. Acceptable.

  8. Karen, rest assured that no matter the resolution to this conflict, girls will continue to have a program that is second to one.

  9. I’m with Karen. Of all the things that rankle about this–and there are several!–the “half of its youth” comment rankles most. It’s hard to believe on so many levels that this is the best we can do.

  10. reaneypark says:

    The professionals who advise the Brethern on how to do PR failed them here. Unless the decision has already been made, you don’t send out these kind of “we may” statements because, judging from the opinions of “good” members on Facebook, Scouting has now been polluted forever. It also gives ammunition to critics of the church’s relationship with Scouting.

    This is not true leadership, it’s a bullying negotiating tactic and I would think the Church of Jesus Christ could do better than this.

  11. Since last night, I have been telling myself “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” over and over again. The Newsroom release is a disaster (are they confusing “openly gay” with “actively gay”?) but the end result–hopefully the end of church participation in the BSA–will be a good thing. Not because of gays, but because of everything else.

  12. Mark Brown says:

    This statement is discouraging to me for the following reasons:

    1. The BSA meeting was a telephone meeting only, and we have known about it for weeks. Therefore, it is ridiculous to suggest that the meeting was too disruptive to busy schedules. Our willingness to have a public tantrum about it does not show us at our best and is, in fact, the kind of behavior for which children get sent to their rooms.

    2. The invisibility of our young women is yet more evidence, if any were needed, that we are blind to our deeply embedded sexism.

    3. The claim that we have always welcomed gay young men into church sponsored troops is a blatant lie.

  13. Paul Browy says:

    And why the request to postpone the vote until leaders could meet? Just to delay things a bit more? It’s not as if leaders hadn’t known the vote was coming and hadn’t met and discussed the subject ad infinitum.

    The newsroom needs some adult supervision.

  14. I was with 6 LDS families when we heard about Church reconsidering relationship with BSA and it was High-Fives and celebration all around. It’s uninteresting to too many boys and a burden to YM leaders. Let those who are interested in scouting go do their thing and the rest of us won’t have to spend time learning knots that we will gladly forget when released.

  15. Dave K. says:

    Thanks for this write-up RJH. Your feelings track mine.

    I would also add that the church has had at least 2 full years to consider this proposal. In January 2013, BSA announced that it was considering adopting the exact same policy just ratified by the executive board; i.e., allow gays nationally, but also allow local chapters to define their membership standards. Initially, BSA was to decide the issue within a month, but after an LDS petition, BSA decided to delay the decision until May 2013. At the May vote, BSA chose to adopt the policy of allowing gay youth, but not gay leaders.

    Speaking of the decision to delay a vote until May, the Church stated:

    “The Church is following this proposed policy change very closely. We believe the BSA has acted wisely in delaying its decision until all voices can be heard on this important moral issue.”

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is carefully assessing the consequences of this policy change on the Church’s program to build and strengthen young men, but it has not commented on it and a decision will not be made until we have assessed all of the implications.

    The Church cautions others not to speculate about the Church’s position or to assume that individual Latter-day Saints inside or outside the Scouting movement speak for the Church. Neither has the Church launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change.”

  16. N. W. Clerk says:

    Remind me of the canonicality of the various portions of LDS.ORG: “Gospel Topics” are canonical but “Official Newsroom” is not?

  17. reaneypark says:

    Going forward, if the church decides to end its relationship with Scouting, will LDS boys who continue with Scouting in a non-LDS troop be stigmatized and discouraged? I know about a dozen good young men in my ward working toward earning their Eagle who will be left in quite a conundrum if this relationship ends.

  18. stephenchardy says:

    I have long pondered about whether scouting is the right program for our Mormon YM.

    As a several times YM president in my current and other wards, I have seen how scouting works well for some boys, and not for others. Thus I have thought that divorcing ourselves from the BSA might be a good idea. (This has been a recurrent issue in the bloggernacle.)

    But now I fear that we are in the process of doing the right thing for the wrong reason, and it feels awful. The statement that “given that this is about the only thing the church seems willing to make a public stand on…” in painful.

  19. reaneypark says:

    Stephenchardy:

    Agreed, perhaps Scouting isn’t compatible with the Young Men’s program and the relationship should end. But what I fear now is that Scouting will be seen by many in the church as something that no faithful LDS boy should do, even on his own time. That greatly troubles me. I thinking Scouting is a wonderful organization when done correctly and it’s just the thing many boys in this era of video games and Internet need to get out and learn about the world beyond a video screen.

    I’m afraid this news release may have helped kill off Scouting as an option for many LDS boys no matter what decision the Brethren make.

  20. With no inside information, I have assumed an internal decision to separate from the BSA made some time ago, for lots of reasons but probably crystallized by Robert Gates becoming president. But this is a particularly awkward way to make that announcement (if that’s what it is). It is incorrect and unnecesarily reinforces the “Mormon church is about anti-gay” image that is going to take years of work to overcome (if that is even possible).

  21. aredesuyo says:

    The militarism and statist idolatry that pervades the BSA is a deeper problem than whatever buggery might be occurring.

  22. A while back I seem to remember Michael Ottersen saying that the newsroom doesn’t freelance without direction from above. Thus, while it’s fun and cathartic to beat up on tone-deaf releases, this probably reflects the opinions of at least some GAs. That might be the worst part now that we’re inventing new doctrines whole-cloth in press releases.

  23. Who is Michael Ottersen? Have I sustained him in General Conference?

  24. Dave K. says:

    Reading the reactions on fb and deseret news, it is hard to believe how far things have deteriorated since October 2013: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/century-of-honor

    I have had similar thoughts to stevenchardy – will wards take down eagle plagues?; will BSA be demonized like girl scouts? – but I also have hope that there is enough goodwill from 100+ years of common service to keep a friendly relationship should we divorce.

    The “with us or against us” mentality is a short-lived frustration with the public’s acceptance of same-sex families. In the long-term, we will mend fences with BSA, just like we have with catholics, baptists, and others. We have much much more in common than not.

  25. The choices the church offers for young men are combined activities with the young women once a month and either Scouts or basketball. If the church separates from Scouting, for three out of four weeks all the young men will have is basketball. For my older son that would have been awesome. The younger one (just turned 16), not so much.

    I second the concern for what will happen to the young men who LIKE scouting. It would not be hard at all to find a troop outside the church for my son here in the deep South. Might be a problem for young men in the Mormon Corridor.

    Finally, Amen to the OP. Whenever the Church says something stupid, it’s from the PR department. No exception here.

  26. Quickmere Graham says:

    I’m genuinely puzzled about why the Newsroom felt this was an issue that should be talked about publicly right now. If there were concerns about procedure such as the scheduling of the vote shouldn’t they be taken up directly and personally with the people involved? I recall a lot of criticism was leveled at Kate Kelly when she discussed her side of the church disciplinary process while the Church remained silent on what it considered to be a matter between Kate and church leaders. Shouldn’t the church afford the same courtesy to the BSA that it expects of people like Kate Kelly?

    I also echo the question about the invocation of “doctrine” here. I consider myself more than reasonably informed about LDS doctrines, teachings, and policies, but I am unaware of any doctrine on the limitations imposed on gay members of the church and the BSA. I would expect that gay church members could fulfill callings in BSA if they follow church standards and obey the law of chastity as it is currently taught. One can of course be gay and chaste, and the Church has said so. Where is the doctrine (or even policy) to the contrary? Is this a matter of believing that whatever a church leader states constitutes doctrine by virtue of being stated by a church leader?

  27. Quickmere Graham says:

    (Also, of course the complete overlooking of all young women of the church was astounding as well. Just astounding.)

  28. With rare exceptions, most young men lose enthusiasm for scouts by the time they’re about 14, maybe 15. They still enjoy the outdoors for the most part, maybe some sports and games, but their enthusiasm for structured merit badge earning is mostly gone. The Scouts or basketball dichotomy is a huge failing on the part of leaders, and it is all too common for leaders not to plan other activities for Mutual that will keep the young men engaged. Whether we stick with Scouts or switch to a beefed up DTG, the more important factor will be leaders who magnify their callings by planning and carrying out activities. It used to be that YW leaders were always the more organized, but lately that paradigm seems to be slipping, too.

  29. The great thing about the release is how it offers so much to get upset about.

  30. It sounds like the general leaders made time to vote: “Hawkins told the Deseret News on Monday that church leaders Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Young Men’s President Stephen Owen and General Primary President Rosemary Wixom, all of whom belong to the BSA National Board, voted against the new policy.”

  31. To me, this looks like an attempt to determine policy by the PR department. Church leaders have been hesitant to retract public statements like these, regardless of how awkward or incorrect they are. The recent statement that all PR releases are approved by leadership shows how anxious they are to preserve the appearance of unity. This allows a subset of leaders and employees to circumvent the decision-making process and push their agenda forward.

    That being said, I hope the church moves away from the BSA, for many of the reasons in the comments above.

  32. I see that there are many walking that slippery slope here …. As for me, I will follow the Prophet.

  33. Michael says:

    We have three wards in our building, and each ward has a troop that is marginal at best. Our leadership went to the stake to ask about the possibility that three wards combine Scout efforts – each ward would have a patrol, and the building would have a troop that might be able to muster support for regular campouts, some non-basketball activities, and leaders who really like to be leaders. The Stake thought it was a great idea and called SLC. We were told in no uncertain terms that the Church wanted to keep the number of troops up – that with large troop counts, we would be able to exert more influence over the national program. So, it follows that influence over national policy is more important than a quality program for a few individual boys.

    I don’t personally have boys, so I don’t have a dog in this fight. But I’d be more than happy to see the Church stop requiring units to sponsor scout troops. Perhaps without a scout troop, wards would get their butts in gear and start providing some better quality youth programs and activities. I grew up with a born-again (TM) best friend in high school, and youth night at his church put Mutual activities to shame. At some point, we should make sure that Mutual activities are an attractive option for the youth. Too often, when at the Church, my daughter sees “stuffing tithing slips into envelopes” as a better option than “playing basketball (again)”.

  34. Dave K. says:

    ifokus raises an interesting point. President Monson is a member of the executive board, and yet the news reports do not say that he voted (or how) even though they report on other church member’s votes such as Elder Holland and Sister Wixom.

    I can only assume that President Monson abstained. If so, is that a reflection of his poor health, or strong life-long support for scouting, or maybe both?

  35. I follow the prophet too. Last I heard him on the matter, he praised the BSA mightily and had an award named after him.

  36. ifokus grades out at a B+ for trolling; B- for creepy sounding moniker.

  37. Corbin Volluz says:

    As for me and my family, we will follow the newsroom.

  38. “Fully one-half” of Mormon youth are excluded from scouting–the girls. If church leaders were only capable of remembering that girls exist, they would have a much more rational reason for changing their relationship with boy scouting, since it diverts human and financial resources disproportionately toward boys at the expense of girls. But the fact that they can’t even remember that female youth exist is evidenced not just by a stupid press release, but by the failure of the Church to even attempt to pay equal attention to girls as boys over the past hundred plus years.

  39. The BSA vote was 45-12 in favor of the new policy. Having LDS board members present or not would not have made any difference (in fact, being absent allows for opposition to the vote without having to register an official vote against the policy).

  40. Queno, three of the four church leaders on the board did vote. No word on if President Monson did.

  41. John Harrison says:

    A few thoughts…

    This is the sort of thing I would expect me to do on the internet: go and make wild threats when upset by current events. This isn’t the sort of thing I expect from the leadership of the Church. The upper leadership is, if anything, slow and steady. They don’t make public threats. They consider things for waaaaay too long and then act. Measure twice and cut once doesn’t begin to describe the process I am familiar with.

    On the other hand, the Newsroom has often struck me as more Catholic than the Pope. This seals the deal.

    Who does this sort of statement benefit?

    If the Church sticks with the BSA this harms the relationship.

    If the Church leaves the BSA this is an inelegant way of initiating the break.

    Does at as an example of how members should interact with gay people they come in contact with? I hope not.

    Does this make our current gay scouts feel like they belong? Not at all.

    Does this make our current gay scout leaders feel like they are welcome? Nope.

    I don’t understand the Church’s position very well. The Church has long insisted on its right to determine eligibility for the leaders it installs in Scouting. This has included installing leaders that the BSA would consider “gay” but the Church does not. Instead we have the vocabulary of “SSA” as an alternative allowing us to skirt the policy. Now other groups have been granted the same ability to determine who can be placed in leadership positions and the Church is somehow upset? Strange at best.

    In short, this is the most bizarre thing the Newsroom has done. This makes Ally Isom on Radio West look like a home run. This is the PR equivalent of shooting off your own leg with a shotgun.

  42. Clark Goble says:

    I think the situation would improve if we left BSA. We could start doing things like making the pinewood derby or boat races open to all. (Fortunately in my ward they let my daughter contribute – it was fun building the derby car with both her and my son)

    I also think there’s so much baggage with the BSA. It’s too complex and has too many meetings not everyone can attend.

  43. Quickmere, it seems that the Newsroom must have confused “openly gay” with “actively gay”. That makes this particular release even more hasty and amateurish. We know that a gay member can hold Church callings and face no kind of disciplinary action whatsoever as long as he or she is obeying the law of chastity like everyone else. But according to this Newsroom release there is a “doctrine” that such a member cannot serve in a calling as a leader in a Mormon scout troop? He can be an Elder’s Quorum President but not an assistant scout master?

    It seems incorrect to say that there is a Church doctrine that an openly gay man cannot be a scout leader. As long as such a man is chaste like any other member, he can hold such a calling (being a scout leader is actually a Church calling in Mormon troops — this creates many other problems that have been discussed at length on Mormon blogs).

    The press release also ignores the explicit carveout that individual troops, particularly religiously affiliated troops, can continue to exclude gay people from being scout leaders.

    Finally, the release incorrectly states that Mormon troops have always welcomed gay boys. This has only been true since 2014 when the BSA nationally changed that policy. It was simply not true before that.

  44. I am not defending the petulant press release, rather commenting on the curious decision by the leadership of the BSA. I am baffled that they would take this step. Yes, the funding issue is perhaps a 50/50 split between religious organizations that will cease to donate now (e.g., the LDS/Catholic/Baptist) contrasted with business organizations that were threatening to cease to donate(e.g., Disney), but its the dedication and time involved that will not be re-gained. Disney will not be providing hours and hours of volunteer service to help 12 year olds earn the Astronomy merit badge for 4 days in July.

    I concur with the others who see this as a sign of positive change on the horizon. Free up the money that has been going to the BSA, and the Church’s Harvard MBAs can build a better program. Maybe this DOES put Kim Clark back in the running to fill an open seat.

  45. I will add that there are a lot of good reasons for the Church to extricate itself from the BSA. But if we leave because of this decision history will not look kindly on us.

  46. Has anyone out there ever read a history of the LDS Newsroom? Love to see an examination of this mysterious organization.

  47. The Church is admittedly in an awkward position here: they dropped scouting in all other countries because in many of them, gay leaders were already allowed. I believe this is a large part of the reason that the Church does not participate in boy scouts in most other countries. So if the US now allows gay leaders (though, again, the measure expressly included an exception for local troops to exclude gay leaders at their discretion), then to be logically consistent, the Church should drop boy scouting in the US as well. Otherwise, it seems silly not to have been involved in scouting in the UK or Germany or etc.

    Also, it seems to me that the Church actively worked for decades to stigmatize participation in girl scouts. Is that correct? Does someone think that is not the case? And my sense was that the reason was that (1) the Church wanted more control over messaging to girls and young women that developing those kinds of skills (leadership, adventuring, woodcraft, camping, orientiering, etc.) wasn’t necessary or as important as developing homemaking skills, and (2) a mistrust of girl scouts as some kind of cover or front for blatant feminism.

    I would imagine that this press release does indeed signal that participation in boy scouts after the Church decides to break with boy scouts — by sending boys to the normal local community boy scout troops, likely hosted at a different church or at the civic center and run by leaders who truly love scouting and are the type of boy scout leaders who run the real scout program and not the derivative scouting program that the Church has always run through leaders called to do it even if they do not personally appreciate scouting or have time for it — will be stigmatized similar to the posture that the Church takes toward girl scouts.

  48. Jennifer Whitehead says:

    It’s hard to follow the prophet when he’s on vacation.

  49. “Maybe this DOES put Kim Clark back in the running to fill an open seat.”

    Kim Clark? Isn’t he principally known for making compliance with BYU-Idaho’s rule prohibiting the wearing of shorts into a measure of someone’s character? Harvard MBA or not, that’s just ridiculous and antithetical to Christian discipleship. And it unnecessarily burdens our members who feel subject to such dominion, without any rational reason for making it so aside for the preference or assumed preference of some particular Church leader.

  50. Do you honestly think they suddenly went rogue and issued this, speaking for the leaders of the Church without them knowing? Not on your life. I used to work for Church PA several years ago and I guarantee that Church Public Affairs does NOT freelance. They’re not allowed to. Just like in every huge organization, communications need to be approved before going out. It’s protocol. Every piece of communication that goes out whether from the Church or its spokespeople (and I mean everything, including responses to blog posts) is reviewed by either the Q of 12 or First Presidency. They are never, ever allowed to send anything out without approval from the Brethren. Never.

    And just because they are on vacation doesn’t mean they don’t have access to email, folks.

  51. It would be nice to think that something this clunky comes from rogue employees holding down the fort with the grownups away, and maybe it does. The Presidency of the Seventy sent it right out to stake presidents, though, to be forwarded to bishops, with instructions to keep an eye on the newsroom for further developments.

  52. 1. The Church knew the vote would be coming on July 27.

    2. The Church knew its top leaders would not be meeting in July.

    3. The Church knew media outlets would want/need/expect a statement concerning the BSA vote.

    All adds up to: They could have (and should have) prepared a statement (or several) weeks ago which the minions could release on the date of the vote. This is PR 101.

    Shoddy planning, shoddy work. But if the organization wants to remain in REactive mode instead of PROactive mode, carry on. Reactive dovetails with Persecutioin Complex very nicely.

  53. Actually, clothing regulation and evaluation is, like, Scouting in a nutshell, Trond.

    http://www.boyscouttrail.com/docs/uniform_boy.pdf

  54. >>Because we all know *for a fact* that a gay member can hold Church callings and face no kind of disciplinary action whatsoever as long as he or she is obeying the law of chastity like everyone else.<<

    Actually, this is not entirely true. There are two versions of the Law of Chastity.

    LoC for straight people: no sex until you get married, and then sex only with your spouse.

    LoC for gay people: no sex ever.

  55. Yes, that is, of course, very true, Joni. But it is beside the point in this particular discussion, because the focus is on whether gay people can hold Church callings, which we know that they can. And boy scout leader is a Church calling for us.

  56. “LoC for gay people: no sex ever.”

    Correct.

    LoC for unmarried heterosexuals: no sex ever.

    LoC: gender and sex (male/female binaries) are an eternal characteristic of the spirit person/intelligence; it was present and established (by direct lineal descent) in the prexistent state,and will be present for eternity in the post-mortal resurrected state. There is no homosexuality or “LGBTQ” identity/relations in either the preexistent or post-mortal state. All such mortal accretions will, at some point, be dissolved and our psyche/consciousness restructured and reoriented to reflect reality and eternal gospel law, irrespective of the degree of glory we inherit (every knee will bow…).

    This life is a probationary state; at time to “prepare to meet God,” and our harmonizing ourselves mentally, intellectually, and ontologically with gospel truths must not be “procrastinated,” as the Book of Mormon so starkly reminds us.

  57. Well, it does raise the question of whether a monogamous, married gay male can be a Boy Scout leader. Inside the Church, of course, the answer is no, because a monogamous married gay male can’t be a member of the Church, even though he is abiding by the version of the LoC that we covenanted to in the temple any more than it makes sense to exclude, say, an unmarried man who’s having sex with his girlfriend. (In other words, I’m not aware that non-LDS Boy Scout troops require their leaders to adhere to the LDS version of the law of chastity. And despite being LDS and a girl, I do have some experience with non-LDS BSA.) Outside the Church, it doesn’t make sense to exclude the same monogamous married gay male from a BSA position. Especially when we are in an era when gay couples are raising children. The monogamous, married gay male may be the father of one of the boys in his troop. And from what I’ve seen from non-LDS scouting, fathers of scouts make the best leaders, because they are the most involved.

  58. Loran Blood, thanks for stopping by.

  59. LORAN BLOOD DOESN’T STOP BY, HE DRIVES BY.

  60. it's a series of tubes says:

    LORAN BLOOD DOESN’T STOP BY, HE DRIVES BY.

    *hits virtual like button*

    because a monogamous married gay male can’t be a member of the Church, even though he is abiding by the version of the LoC that we covenanted to in the temple

    Joni, both of your clauses here are factually incorrect.

  61. Just for clarification…I spent a semester as an intern with the Media Affairs team within the Church’s Public Affairs department. In other words, I got to see the internal workings of how statements are created, approved, and released.

    What I hope people realize is that “statements” on bigger issues like this one are signed off, and often directed, by Church leaders. These statements do not go out to the media until the Public Affairs committee approves it. The committee includes: 1 First Presidency member, 2 Quorum of the Twelve members, and a few Seventy and other auxiliary members.

    I often see Church apologists and antagonists lay the blame for these “statements” at the feet of the Public Affairs department, when in fairness the statement has been officially endorsed by the Brethren.

  62. I should clarify, a monogamous married gay male *who is married to another man* can’t be a member of the Church *in good standing.* He may still be a member on record, but he is unlikely to be extended a calling as a Boy Scout leader.

    And it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to the temple, but my recollection of the LoC is that we are only allowed to have sex with our *spouse* to whom we are legally and lawfully wed. It doesn’t specify that the spouse must be of the opposite gender. (I expect that the wording of the endowment will be changed in the future to clarify that only heterosexual married sex is kosher.)

  63. Left Field says:

    And it probably matters for some purposes if the monogamous married gay male has a wife or a husband.

  64. My theory is that a decision has already been made to part ways, and the “we’ll reevalute the relationship next month” angle is an attempt to break the news gently to the die-hard scouters within the church. Also may need some time to negotiate a plan for scouts well on their way to earning eagle to be able to finish.

  65. I don’t doubt that high authorities signed-off on this. I wish they would put their name to it.

  66. I’m suddenly curious is anyone like Ty Mansfield or Josh Weed or other openly gay men who are married in the temple have had a leadership calling in Boy Scouts.

  67. Scouting is available to girls in the US as well, just not in LDS troops.

  68. >>Scouting is available to girls in the US as well, just not in LDS troops.<<

    I grew up in the Church, and I was a Girl Scout for many years (until I discovered boys, basically).

    My mother got funny looks and judgemental comments about this at church.

  69. I have seen several people assure us that this statement was approved by the GA’s. How is it supposed to make me feel better to know that a poorly worded and/or dishonest statement that seems so needlessly bitter was approved by the leading quorums of the Church? I prefer to believe that this was a mistake made by a Church employee.

  70. I just heard the chairman of Trail Life Scouts speaking on Here & Now on NPR. I hope that if the Church parts ways with BSA that it can do so with better judgment and grace than this other organization. I thought his comments were in exceedingly poor taste. By comparison the Newsroom statement is the very picture of moderation.

    As to what AJ said, I’m seeing a number of discussions on Facebook right now representing politically moderate to conservative Mormons. It sounds like pretty much everyone is fine with parting ways, most of them due to funding and staffing disparities, and then the lack of programs in most areas for boys over about 14 years old. Primary presidents and Cub Scout leaders are particularly opinionated on the topic and have interesting ideas on replacement programs.

  71. When can we expect a PR release about reconsidering the BYU ballroom dance camps? They’re, like, totally gayer than Scouts will ever become.

  72. I think that there is something up with this. That the church has already been planning an abrupt departure from BSA, but wanted to delay the vote until just before they were ready to announce it, may be one possibility. We will know if this is the case shortly. I suspect that they wanted a longer time to lobby other BSA leaders. About what, I am not sure. Some possibilities include:
    – A more nested leadership structure which groups LDS and other conservative troops together locally with only the top BSA leaders as an umbrella group.
    – A split into religious and secular brands of BSA
    – Other national proposals that would delineate between gay people and unchaste homosexuality
    – A BSA leadership coup?
    – Other???

    Also, it is obvious to me why the church is very opposed to this BSA rule, even though they have always been fine with celibate gays in other church callings. The LDS scouts will eventually be working with a non-LDS BSA leader who is an open, practicing homosexual. This would have the endorsement of the church if the relationship with BSA continues.

  73. Amen, RJH. The worst part of this piece for me was the statement that Scouting is not available in large portions of the world. I think this is an outright lie – Scouting is available almost everywhere, but is politically unpalatable to the church outside of the US (as I understand it, not over gays, but over girls for the large part).

  74. I accept that this comes from our leaders that are authorized to speak for the institutional church and reflects how they think and what they value. There is no other reasonable conclusion. It is not a bad day for the PR department, it is a glimpse into how things really are. We should all admit that to ourselves.

  75. Lew Scannon says:

    If this is just a very awkward excuse for breaking with Scouting, I can forgive the leadership. I’ve wondered for decades why the Church doesn’t scrap Scouting, but I never expected it while President Monson is alive. I’m an Eagle Scout, and I can truthfully say that almost all my worst experiences in the Church were in Scouting. I’m just glad my daughter didn’t have to be go through it. Let’s not invent some new pseudo-Scouting program. Let’s treat our young men and young women as equals by making their programs comparable.

  76. Why not just have the YM adopt the Personal Progress program? There is nothing in there that would be inappropriate for males.

  77. Alas, AM, alas. Amateur hour, indeed, the new normal

    Loved this, Brother Blood, but how can I trust someone on these eternal matters who is not entirely human? Unless you belong to a non-migratory African haplogroup {highly unlikely}, you, like the rest of us, are also parts Neanderthal, Denisovan, and probably Homo erectus. Indigenous Africans are the only pure human race. Isn’t that interesting? Following your line of reasoning, one would think that God would only communicate with us through them. Speaking of genes, there’s another problem: all the Lamanites have disappeared, replaced by insurgent Siberian Asiatics – IOW gender/sex should be way way WAY down yo list, bro, much as the entire issue of homosexuality should be to Church leadership. A massive sh*t storm heads our way on SO many issues and this is how we chose to spend what pathetic little social capital we have left. Incredible.

  78. For those boys who like it, BSA runs a good program. Not all boys however like the structure or the outdoor component. By trying to force all boys into the same mold (and in the same ward) the Church has created local variations of scouting that are very different from real scout troops. I hope that if the Church uses this as an excuse to break with BSA, local civic organizations will step up and sponsor troops for the boys who want it in the Mormon corridor.

  79. el oso said, “The LDS scouts will eventually be working with a non-LDS BSA leader who is an open, practicing homosexual. This would have the endorsement of the church if the relationship with BSA continues.”

    This does not make sense. Our scouts are currently exposed to heterosexual, non-LDS Scout leaders openly having sex outside marriage. I do not believe that the Church is endorsing that behavior.

  80. I’ve long hoped that the Church would end its association with the BSA–I don’t like how it sucks up so much time and money and leader resources arguably at the expense of the young women, and I don’t like how it pretty much inextricably ties a young man’s religious life to scouting whether he likes it or not. But if this policy change does in fact mean the end of this association, I wish it were for better and less petulant reasons.

  81. lastlemming says:

    I have been searching Google, without success, for evidence of the stem cell fiasco of some years ago. The newsroom released a mealy-mouthed statement on stem cell research which was so incomprehensible that it was withdrawn in short order (and all evidence of its existence seems to have been scrubbed, save for a few comments on another BCC thread).

    But the point is, it was issued and, regardless of how many GAs signed off on it, withdrawn. So there is hope.

  82. ahjeez: “When can we expect a PR release about reconsidering the BYU ballroom dance camps? They’re, like, totally gayer than Scouts will ever become.” My decades-ago observation of BYU ballroom dance was that it was one of the few programs where beards were not only acceptable, but for some participants, a necessity to remain in the community.

  83. I agree with several other commenters:

    -this was definitely signed off on, giving a depressing view of upper GA mindset
    -the church has not participated in worldwide scouting because it has been open to both genders. I have a friend in Australia and that is the reason they are given for not being in Scouts; they are co-gendered
    -from what I hear in the BSA they even have venturing (?) programs for older YW to participate in that we’ve not been interested in
    -the church wanted more control if they were to participate in girl scouts; GSA said no way. Since then GS has been treated as a liberal pariah of an organization (especially since they have policies of accepting transgender, not teaching gender roles, etc).

    it’s likely that instead of this being a short-sighted reaching, this has been a long-term strategy: know they want to start moving out of BSA (bc worldwide/womens/lgbt issues) and they strategized to make sure the most fundamental of members were personally turned against the organization first; make the break and come off looking like the good guy.

  84. AM,
    The unfaithful scout leaders of course exist. In my 38 years involved in scouting, I have never known of a non-LDS scout leader who fit that description. I have known of LDS scout leaders who were having marital problems of various sorts. These were all released soon after the problems became known to ward leadership. Some are released over much less than an adulterous affair. Most extramarital affairs, although known to some people, are not widely broadcast and are explicitly not endorsed by BSA. It is doubtful that the local equivalent of Bill Clinton would be a BSA leader in many locations up till now.

    The church now perceives that the national BSA is going the way of local cultural norms. A serial adulterer like Bubba has been elected President twice by the nation. There will soon be even fewer moral standards in BSA unless a major change is made.

  85. ugh, reaching = reaction

  86. it's a series of tubes says:

    national BSA is going the way of local cultural norms. A serial adulterer like Bubba has been elected President twice by the nation. There will soon be even fewer moral standards

    As opposed to that paragon of personal morality elected in 1960, fifty-five years ago? Couldn’t keep it in his pants, but was an excellent executive… infidelity in high places is not a recent development, nor a sign of the apocalypse.

  87. It may also be useful to contrast the current embarrassment with the eloquent First Presidency statement opposing – successfully, it turned out – the MX missile system, issued during Pres. Kimball’s tenure, on May 5, 1981. Excerpt:

    “Our fathers came to this western area to establish a base from which to carry the gospel of peace to the peoples of the earth. It is ironic, and a denial of the very essence of that gospel, that in this same general area there should be constructed a mammoth weapons system potentially capable of destroying much of civilization.

    With the most serious concern over the pressing moral question of possible nuclear conflict, we plead with our national leaders to marshal the genius of the nation to find viable alternatives which will secure at an earlier date and with fewer hazards the protection from possible enemy aggression, which is our common concern.”

  88. “A Roman Catholic committee that acts as a liaison with the Boy Scouts of America has urged Catholic churches to continue sponsoring Scout troops despite the Scouts’ decision Monday to permit openly gay leaders.

    While the group, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, does not speak officially for the church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops “defers to them” on issues concerning the Boy Scouts, said Don Clemmer, a spokesman for the influential bishops conference.

    The committee’s stance, in a statement issued late Monday, suggests that wholesale defections from the Boy Scouts by religious sponsors are not likely any time soon, despite the markedly more negative response from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which said it would consider severing ties.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/29/us/catholic-panel-urges-churches-to-continue-sponsoring-scout-troops.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

  89. I have been told for decades that the reason that the church has embraced BSA and not GSA is because BSA did not allow gay leaders like GSA did. BSA was “morally straight” and GSA was not. Totally lame but I was given that line from bishops & stake prezes from the West coast to the Midwest. Now that that is no longer the case, there is no leg to stand on. Don’t get me started. And they had to change the name of the night from Achievement Night to Activity Night because our girls weren’t achieving anything! GRRRRRRR!

  90. el oso,

    I am not thinking of adultery. That is also rare in my experience. However, there are plenty of young, single leaders (counselors and other staff members) at scout camp who are sexually active.

  91. Let’s tell Salt Lake the gays are in Sunday School now. Maybe we can get a 2-hour block.

  92. AM and el oso – totally. Including plenty who live with their girlfriends and maybe even have children with them — things that might, maybe, come up in conversation with the boys during camp, or whatever. And yet, no one has ever suggested that that is a problem.

  93. joni and john f. I’m not sure I can agree with that characterization of “two” laws of chastity. I’m a heterosexual guy (to the extent that you want to accept that binary characterization) and the law of chastity forbids me from having a sexual relationship with another man. My heterosexuality makes me not really want to anyway, but who knows, maybe one day I’ll feel like experimenting. The LoC tells me not too. In other words, there aren’t “two” sets of rules. There is one set of rules and it forbits all of us, regardless of our orientation from having sexual relations with a member of our own sex.

    Now, whether that’s a good or a dumb rule is a different question, but to say that there are two different sets of rules isn’t really accurate, I don’t think.

    Maybe you were just being tongue in cheek, in which case, apologies in advance.

  94. it's a series of tubes says:

    My decades-ago observation of BYU ballroom dance was that it was one of the few programs where beards were not only acceptable, but for some participants, a necessity to remain in the community.

    Subtle, yet excellent. Bravo!

  95. >>That is also rare in my experience. However, there are plenty of young, single leaders (counselors and other staff members) at scout camp who are sexually active.<<

    This is something I was attempting to allude to in an earlier comment (but did so clumsily). Basically, for a non-LDS scout troop, you would have to exclude *all* single men from leadership if you want to make sure your leaders aren't having sex with anyone other than their wives. But for most people outside of the church, it's not really seen as a character flaw to be having sex with your girlfriend. Just as long as you aren't also married.

    So the BSA, which has already (at least unofficially) been allowing sexually active, unmarried straight men to act as leaders is now considering allowing gay men in the same position to act as leaders too. It's hard to argue that you should allow one but not the other. Of course, the Church would say that neither (1) nor (2) is okay but they have so far managed to avoid issuing statements allowing their disappointment with the BSA for allowing the former. So in the Church's eyes, there is obviously a difference. Gay men having sex (even within the bonds of a legal SSM) pose more of a threat to our children and youth than straight men having premarital sex.

    I'm just trying to parse out what the difference is and why the Church, or at least the Newsroom, has a vested interest. Since it is apparently doctrine.

  96. Those who think Loran Blood is just a drive-by commenter need to ask the admins why they insist on blocking his posts.

  97. Jay, the Law of Chastity as it is currently practiced and taught *encourages* you to seek out relationships with the people you are attracted to. It teaches you that your greatest joy in life will come from an eternal relationship with the kind of person to whom you are sexually attracted. We say almost the exact opposite thing to people who are attracted to the same gender. To seek out the affection and companionship of a sexual marital relationship is wrong. A gay person can either 1) marry a person to whom he/she is by definition not sexually attracted, or 2) never have a relationship with a person to whom he/she IS sexually attracted. That is NOT the message that we give to single, straight people.

  98. In other words, as I see it, the Church teaches a single straight person to be *chaste* and a single gay person to be *celibate.* Chastity and celibacy are not the same thing.

  99. But what will parents bribe their sons with to blackmail them before they can learn to drive? Ballroom dance camp?

  100. Joni – yeah, I agree, and I don’t mean to be disagreeable. I just think it’s properly characterized as a single message and single rule. The fact that it applies differently to different people does not make it two different rules for two different sets of people. It’s one rule — don’t have sex with anyone other than your opposite-sex spouse — and it’s a hard rule to live if you are gay (and, again, I’m not sure we should even talk in those sorts of binary terms, but I digress).

    I also agree that single hetero members (obviously) get a different message than do single gay members. But is it correct to call that a function of the “law of chastity”? I’m not sure it is. The message to “go out and find a spouse” seems like a message rooted in the basics of the plan of salvation more than the LoC — “go out and find a spouse because the eternities are populated and governed by eternal families.” That message is, I guess, though I’m not sure the church really has it worked out yet, going to be different for single gay members. But the underlying idea really isn’t different. The LoC governs your sexual conduct, and the doctrine of the PoS tells you what kind of family you should set up to prepare for life in the hereafter. (And that last bit is why I think the church hasn’t really figured out what to say to single gay members — is it really appropriate for the church to tell them to just not start a family when the doctrine tells us that starting a family is a critical and important part of earth life? Or should it be telling them to find an opposite-sex spouse? The latter is too offensive to too many but it seems more consistent with the underlying rationale rooted in the PoS).

    (And if you couldn’t tell, I’m working through this stuff myself, so I don’t really know what I think about it all.)

  101. In good BCC fashion, can we get a Things Way Gayer than Scouts with Gay Leaders that the Church Has No Problem With, Ranked?

    Obvs, the BYU Folk Dance Team will be on there. Elements of the Hill Cumorah struck me as more than a little gay when I was about 15 and very sensitive to such things. Suddenly being made siblings with the girl/boy you are hetero crushing on during the Pioneer Trek isn’t gay, but definitely an act of queering. Marching martially in BoM, flesh-baring, LARP get-ups and brandishing spears, swords, and flagpoles is totally gay, by any objective standard. The old showers in the MTC and the soaped-up sub-culture that they induced were SUPER gay. Surely there are more.

    Anyhow, rank request submitted.

  102. I think the tone of this Newsroom release had as much to do with the recent Supreme Court decision as it did with anything to do with scouting. The church lost a major battle and is having difficulty not being a sore loser on the subject of gays.

  103. Rockwell's personal PR department says:

    Dear Bloggernacle,

    It saddens us to know that such posts as this would be placed at such a time as to allow so many comments to be posted while Rockwell is indisposed earning a living and unable to add his statement. We are forced now to release this carefully prepared statement under the pretense that he has no knowledge of it so that he can plausibly deny his sponsorship of its contents when if becomes unpopular.

    It is bizarre that the LDS church ever handed over its activities to another organization, allowing a third party to decide who is or is not eligible to participate. BSA could at any time decide to allow other undesireable elements, such as cat owners, slow drivers, and people with bad haircuts. The church should not be ceding its authority to outside organizations. Rockwell stands firm in supporting the end of involvement with the BSA. Of course, that has nothing to do with the new policy; that would be ridiculous because the LDS church has always picked its own scout leaders.

    It is Rockwell’s sincere hope that the LDS church will discontinue its relationship with the BSA, (insert ad hominem attack here).

    Sincerely,
    PR department of Rockwell

  104. fuddyduddy says:

    I second ahjeez’s request. And don’t forget to look through LDS cinema classics…

  105. It’s a series of tubes,
    your reference to the late JFK is much different than the more recent President Clinton that I cite. Very few of the electorate knew of JFK’s affairs when voting in 1960. Only the willfully ignorant denied that Clinton was an adulterer. For the instruction and development of children, which situation was more acceptable?
    AM and others,
    The same rationale prevails in the LDS church. Any young men who are known to be unchaste are not likely to be called to serve with younger scouts. In district and council activities, many of the employees/volunteers are not necessarily boy scouts or registered adult leaders. There were teenaged girls who were working at the most recent activity I attended this year. The leaders that I knew were all very upstanding adult citizens.

  106. Dave K. says:

    Since we’re derailing the thread, I would include a ranking of future LDS classics too. First up … a latin gay mormon RM searches for his 8-cow husband in “Johnny Domingo.”

  107. Just when I was beginning to lose hope in BCC, RJH posted this and totally redeemed the blog. Nice work, RJH!

  108. Lose hope?!?

  109. marcella says:

    I currently serve in scouting as the stake unit commissioner for primary scouts. I’ve served in scouts for many, many years mostly in Primary but also with the YM. I hate it :-) However, this is quite possibly the worst way ever for us to cut ties with the BSA. According to this article that’s being pretty seriously considered: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865633343/LDS-Church-relationship-with-Boy-Scouts-in-doubt-may-create-new-international-program.html

    The BSA is allowing charter organizations to choose their own leaders according to their religious beliefs. There is no requirement for openly gay leaders in every troop and pack. It’s really distressing to me that our leaders are responding as they have and showing a very bigoted and intolerant side of themselves. Maybe if we leave scouting we can spend all that found time actually studying and learning to live the gospel. Maybe then we’ll start to behave better.

  110. >> It’s one rule — don’t have sex with anyone other than your opposite-sex spouse — and it’s a hard rule to live if you are gay<<

    That's not entirely true. The covenant that we make in the temple says nothing about your spouse being of the opposite gender as yourself – just that it must be the spouse to whom you are legally and lawfully wed. SSM would fall under the law of chastity as it is thus laid out.

    I am no longer participating in the endowment until at least some of the sexist messages are removed, but I fully expect I will hear about it if the language is changed to emphasize that the spouse must be of the opposite gender as oneself. I'd be shocked if this doesn't happen within the next couple of years.

    There was a very thought-provoking post on ZD a few weeks ago entitled, What Does The Church Want Non-LDS Gay People To Do? Other than total celibacy – which is a tough sell – there really aren't any good options.

  111. John Harrison says:

    Most of our presidents have faced credible allegations of adultery. During the Clinton presidency an off cited factoid was that only Carter and Nixon (!) have never faced any allegations involving their chastity.

    Clinton may have been more flagrant, but he isn’t that special.

  112. it's a series of tubes says:

    The covenant that we make in the temple says nothing about your spouse being of the opposite gender as yourself – just that it must be the spouse to whom you are legally and lawfully wed. SSM would fall under the law of chastity as it is thus laid out.

    Joni, take a look at the pre-1990 language of the endowment. It’s simple to find online. Note that the language is express regarding opposite gender there. It wouldn’t surprise me to see that language tweaked again to revert to these specifics, to avoid those grasping at straws as you are doing here.

  113. Okay, I think I’ve figured out a way to clarify my thought process a little. Did some deep thinking while at the pool with the kids ;)

    “Dave” is a single man who has sex with his girlfriend. He is skilled at knot-tying and woodworking, and wants to volunteer with his son’s Scout troop.

    “Bob” is a married man who has sex with his husband. He is skilled at orienteering and First Aid, and wants to volunteer with his son’s scout troop.

    Obviously neither “Bob” nor “Dave” would be allowed within twenty feet of an LDS-sponsored Scout troop. (Your first sign that they are unsuitable? They volunteered. Everyone knows that the best Scout leaders are conscripted.) However, the BSA has been allowing “Daves” to work with scouts for many, many years without a whiff of complaint from the Church. They are now considering a change in policy which would allow “Bob” to become involved with the organization, and the Church’s response is an unsigned letter threatening to end involvement with the BSA.

    My question is, why is “Dave’s” association with non-LDS Scout troops something the Church can overlook, while “Bob’s” is beyond the pale? After all, it is “Bob,” not “Dave,” who is living the law of chastity as it is currently taught – having sexual relations with the spouse to whom he is legally and lawfully wed. Where can we find the doctrine the Newsroom cites, which lays out who is and is not allowed to work with scouts?

    And why are either “Bob” or “Dave” more of a threat to the safety of youth than “Steve,” the bishop who meets with 12-year-old girls behind closed doors to ask them about their sexual habits?

  114. it's a series of tubes says:

    your reference to the late JFK is much different than the more recent President Clinton that I cite. Very few of the electorate knew of JFK’s affairs when voting in 1960. Only the willfully ignorant denied that Clinton was an adulterer. For the instruction and development of children, which situation was more acceptable?

    Clinton, an adulterer, signed DOMA into law. Obama, a man against whom no credible allegation of marital infidelity has been cast, spoke against DOMA, refused to defend it, and celebrated its invalidation.

    For the instruction and development of children, which situation was more acceptable?

  115. Series of tubes, I don’t thnk it’s grasping at straws. The endowment language was obviously changed for a readon. They also changed the covenant of wives to “obey” their husbands; since I was endowed well after 1990, I don’t consider myself to be under obligation to obey my husband. Therefore, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say a same-sex married couple is keeping the law of chastity as it is currently spelled out.

    Either the pre-1990 endowment was wrong or the current one is wrong – they have us agreeing to different things.

  116. It is actually true, in a limited sense, that “The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation.”.

    The missing phrase is: “as long as we did not know that they were other than completely heterosexual.”

  117. el oso,

    I am not sure what you think I am rationalizing. You said the Chirch cannot associate with BSA now because boys will come into contact with openly gay people who will give a bad example supposedly approved by the Church. However, it is clear to anyone who has attended a scout camp in the last 20 years that our boys have been exposed to bad, heterosexual examples through scouting. This does not seem to have been a problem. We all knew that the Church did not endorse this behavior. It would be clear going forward that the Church does not endorse homosexual behavior.
    Also, it is quite likely that at least some, if not most, of the single “upstanding, adult citizens” at scout camps are sexually active.

  118. it's a series of tubes says:

    Either the pre-1990 endowment was wrong or the current one is wrong – they have us agreeing to different things.

    Ah, I really have to thank you for the chuckles this afternoon. By your reasoning, if the language of the endowment is again tweaked to restore specific language confirming mixed-gender, people who are endowed thereafter will be breaking the law of chastity if they participate in SSM, but people endowed between 1990 and the date of the reverted language would be keeping the law of chastity when participating in SSM?

    I do admire your commitment to this straw. Watch out for those tricky Bible verses, though, like 1 Timothy 1:10, Romans 1:27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10…

  119. Joni – I totally understand what you’re saying and I’m frustrated by it too. Why *this* BSA policy would be the one to destroy the relationship is kind of unblievable.

    I still do disagree with one thing you’re saying — that the LoC “as it is currently taught” allows “sexual relations with the spouse to whom [one] is legally and lawfully wed.” I’m not sure if that’s the language from the temple or not, but I don’t think it matters. The handbooks and a hundred GC talks make it very clear that any same-sex sexual activity is a LoC violation, married or not. That is how it is currently taught and I don’t think there’s any way around it.

    So, in your example, Dave and Bob are both violating the LoC (openly, and in a way that could influence the boys at camp), yet the church has never felt the need to sever ties with the BSA over the one example, and that’s why it’s frustrating to hear that they might sever ties over the other example. It’s crazy, frankly.

    Add to that that the 2013 BSA decision not only did not prompt the church to run away but actually prompted a big “we support the BSA and we’re not going anywhere” statement. Weird. Why this is so different is totally beyond me.

  120. Joni, the most likely explanation is that they changed from “husband” or “wife” to “spouse” to streamline the ceremony. Arguing that the purpose of the change was to amend the law of chastity to allow for sex in gay marriages (something that nobody in church leadership was even thinking about in 1990) is going to be a really tough sell. The church has been pretty clear that it does not consider gay marriage to be “marriage” at all, so “spouse” is not likely to be interpreted as the church as something other than “opposite sex spouse.”

    Now it is certainly possible that new revelation could amend the law of chastity in that way, but I don’t think you’re going to get very far with the claim that the 1990 changes already did that and we just haven’t realized it until now.

  121. Guys, guys: let’s keep this focused on the Boy Scouts!

  122. >>So, in your example, Dave and Bob are both violating the LoC (openly, and in a way that could influence the boys at camp), yet the church has never felt the need to sever ties with the BSA over the one example, and that’s why it’s frustrating to hear that they might sever ties over the other example. It’s crazy, frankly<<

    Exactly. And it's weird that the Church seems so focused on "Dave" and Bob's" sexual habits, and not their skills in knot-tying, map-reading, and lighting their farts on fire.

  123. it's a series of tubes says:

    JKC: the word “spouse” is not used in the temple. It’s “except with their husbands or wives to whom they are legally and lawfully…” yada yada.

    /threadjack. Back to the Scouts. Fie, fie!

  124. This story is now doing further rounds online, which leads me to some final observations:

    1. The sheer absence of the “other half” of Mormon youth (girls) in all of this is very frustrating.

    2. The Mormon bubble is a major problem. Mormon kids in other parts of the world are active in their wards and youth programmes *and get involved* in non-Mormon activities. For example, in the UK: Scouts (for girls and boys), Guides (for girls), cadets (JROTC), the Duke of Edinburgh Award, etc. The church need not be the overseer of everything Mormon children get up to.

    3. The fuss over the vote taking place when church authorities were away makes no sense given that we know that “that church leaders Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Young Men’s President Stephen Owen and General Primary President Rosemary Wixom, all of whom belong to the BSA National Board, voted against the new policy” (per the DesNews).

    4. I thought gay Mormons were welcome to hold callings in their wards (Mormonsandgays.org: “Members of the Church who have same-sex attractions, but don’t act on them, can continue to enjoy full fellowship in the church, which includes holding the priesthood, carrying out callings, and attending the temple.”)? Why then can a gay Mormon not be a Scout leader? What is the truth about the status of gay Mormons in the church?

    5. Why does the church feel the need to review its relationship with BSA given that BSA clearly says, “This change also respects the right of religious chartered organizations to choose adult volunteer leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own”? The church can still discriminate against gay Mormons (but see #4) in Scouting, so why vote against the change? If the church does disassociate from Scouting because of this it will be a retrograde step, especially given what looks to be the Catholic position.

    6. I am still amazed that anyone can, with a straight face, say that the church has always welcomed gay Scouts.

    7. I can only surmise that the church expected its dissent would have clout, but it didn’t and so feels the need to strike back. The whole thing is remarkably intemperate.

    8. Is there nothing other than homosexuality that exercises us? If there isn’t, it will be our doom.

  125. Ronan, re: #5, the only way this impacts the Church is if the BSA leadership itself includes gay people.

  126. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that an overwrought response by the newsroom can only be matched by an overwrought analysis of same by BCC.

  127. RJH – #8 is really something to think about. Since around 2008 it seems to be the case.

  128. Blogging is supposed to be overwrought. Professional PR departments? Just wrought.

  129. thisgreatdeep says:

    LDS girls don’t have a parallel program to the scouts, but this discussion does have me wondering. We don’t prevent “openly gay” women from serving in Primary or Young Women’s (in all capacities: leadership, teaching, assisting with Personal Progress, camp leaders, etc.). Many of these activities are very similar to scouting. Whether or not they are called in the first place is another question entirely.

  130. Samurai6 says:

    My response to scouting (where I am currently significantly involved) is that I’m happy to be involved in the activities and the learning where it specifically involves the boys doing something productive. If I am required to sit in a room of adults with scout socks, I won’t go. I would like it to be co-ed and I would like our church culture to let men and women learn to interact as friends without constant apparent fear of spontaneously combusting into a sexual fervor.

    I am a believer in the outdoors and physical labor being a good influence on everyone (temples were mountain tops for a reason) although one’s worth is not counted by mosquito bites. I think the church’s current substitute programs are not very interesting or helpful in comparison. Scouts includes an overview of lots of different topics from cooking to electronics to sailing etc. What I see happening in my ward at 14+ is much less productive and some real adventure and learning activities could be happening with the time. No problem dropping scouts and if so it would be nice to only have boys and girls and their parents that are motivated instead of obligated.

    Anyway, the press release is ゴミ。

  131. 8. “Is there nothing other than homosexuality that exercises us? If there isn’t, it will be our doom.”

    Finally, someone said it. Thank you, RJH.

  132. It occurs to me that the relevance of July (“when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet”) may have little to do with the BSA and more to do with the status of the press release. It might be read as a signal that this press release, unlike most that are carefully reviewed and approved, is the work of one or a few of the general authorities. Perhaps Elder Holland alone? Or Elder Holland, President Owen, and President Wixom? (“Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Young Men’s President Stephen Owen and General Primary President Rosemary Wixom, all of whom belong to the BSA National Board, voted against the new policy.”)

  133. it's a series of tubes says:

    If that is the case, it would be uncharacteristic, indeed. “Intemperate” is not a word usually suitable to describe Elder Holland’s tone or approach.

  134. MDearest says:

    I’m surprised that the church doesn’t doesn’t hire better in the newsroom. It’s not like we don’t have the resources. I also don’t believe that the hacks there published this without approval from the top. Which raises more troubling questions. Thanks to RJH for covering the multiple missteps in the OP (and all the commenters for their able deconstruction of each and every one!) so that I don’t have to re-list them all. (Also RJH 3:18pm covers it. So well.)

    The problem that bothers me the most is seeing the church begin the process of separation from the BSA in this way. Yikes.

    My nephew hates scouts, but otherwise loves participating at church, and enjoys his Sunday meetings. His wise parents back him up, running interference with the YM leaders, some of whom have cluelessly labeled him “inactive.” He’s a good kid with good parents and his eternal salvation is not at risk from opting out of scouts. I served for over a decade in my ward troop and have a well-informed fondness for the BSA, but I understand that it doesn’t apply universally to every young man, though I did my best to adapt it to all the differences our individual young men presented. I see the problems with ward/BSA troops and I can accept that the church needs to rethink their approach to scouting. I give credit to the BSA for the way they are addressing their policies; it must be a difficult process, but they appear to be trying their best to be grownups. The newsroom’s petulant, half-baked statement regarding the BSA policy adjustment wasn’t necessary, and doesn’t contribute anything constructive. I keep wondering about oversight.

  135. Does anyone else think it’s ironic that President Wixsom gets a vote despite being, you know, a girl? Weren’t they worried about cooties?

  136. Joni,

    I like your example. After thinking about it, I can see one reason why the Church is more upset about Bob than Dave. If Dave’s girlfriend shows up at camp, we can all pretend that they are upholding Church standards even if they hold hands, kiss, or otherwise show appropriate public affection. Unless Dave is particularly crude, most boys would not even comment. However, if Bob’s husband shows up, there is no way to sweep under the rug what is going on.

    I do not like dealing with them differently. It seems to me that we are judging from outward appearance. We are ok with a relationship, as long as they are not members, if there is some way we can ignore the parts that do not measure up to gospel standards. However, when we cannot, then we publically reject it. It does not feel right, to me.

  137. Clark Goble says:

    Is there nothing other than homosexuality that exercises us? If there isn’t, it will be our doom.

    Let me introduce you to this guy named Trump. Honestly on the list of things that get us riled up this is pretty far down I suspect.

  138. Serious question: wouldn’t the church rather have openly gay leaders than deeply closeted ones, you know, the kind who are peppered among scout troops across the land and who might be carrying some severe emotional distress from a lifetime of all that comes with closet existence?

  139. ahjeeze – I think so, probably. But they really don’t want married ones floating around.

  140. Chris B says:

    The thing that’s really confusing me is – just 2 weeks ago, the church released a statement that simply said: any resolution must affirm the right of chartering organizations to select the leaders they want.

    The resolution did precisely that – and the church follows up with, “this is deeply troubling, we’ll have to rethink our relationship.” Wait, what?

  141. Jeremiah says:

    I don’t understand what the big deal is. BSA specifically indicated that the Church can continue to have its own criteria for leaders, and can continue to exclude gay men from leadership. What’s the problem? Is this really all a disingenuous way to extricate the Church from scouting, pinning the reason on the gay leaders who can now be involved like other human beings are? This stinks to high heaven, and it will do nothing to improve the Church’s image RE LGBT issues. If this IS the case, they are willing to make gay leaders the scapegoat instead of manning up being honest about their reasons.

    On a personal note: my father was a great scouter, and I have had some opportunities to work with scouts over the past few years (in spite of my sexual orientation). I believe in the mission of scouting. I would love to be involved, but will probably never have the opportunity again. This news release, along with the infamous letter read in wards over the past month, has driven a wedge between me and the Church. It is obvious that in spite of flowery words about loving gay people, the Brethren don’t see us as decent human beings. We ARE second class citizens in the kingdom, and it’s going to take a h&*( of a lot of sincere love to win back the trust of LGBT folks who still have some kind of relationship with the Church.

  142. MDearest: The church does have the capability to hire “better in the newsroom”; you’ll find, however, that some positions are limited to Melchizedek priesthood holders (something I learned when I was in the COB for an interview). I’m not saying they’re bad at their jobs, just that it can cut the applicant pool by more than half.

  143. This is just another sign that the top down model of eighty-year old men running things is not working. They cannot adapt and are seemingly always 30 years behind. Homosexuality and feminism are not the devil scourge they think they are. Come on already before we all leave in masses!

  144. I trust the men God has chosen to lead His church to do the right thing. (Because I have personally gained a testimony of these men, I obviously don’t try to speak for everyone with this) Nothing done by the leadership of the church is done without serious thought, fasting, and prayer. I gained a better understanding of the respect the church has for the LGBT community when I read about how they donated money to help fund a youth center in Salt lake city for LGBT youth, while at the same time maintaining their side on the doctrine of marriage. I do not hate those with different sexual orientations. There is no hate in the Gospel, it is filled with love, respect, and laws. Christ kept his standards while loving everyone. We as members (I hope) do our best to follow in his footsteps.

  145. Cheers, J.

    Jeremiah, I’m really sorry about what you’ve had to go through. Hopefully sites such this one have shown you that Mormons are capable of sincere love towards our LGBT members.

  146. Gay mormon here. Overall my initial response to the statement was the same as most of you so not worth repeating. I will say, however, that this has actually reduced the significance of the Mormon Newsroom in my estimation which I think will be healthier for me going forward. I guess I find them less intimidating when they take the tone of a whiny child.

  147. i joined the church after meeting members at scout camp. I know many who have done the same. It saddens me greatly that the church will lose this connection to the world.

  148. Michael Chopin says:

    Who is RJH? I think it suspect that such bold opinions are given by someone who hides behind initials. I do not necessarily agree with your assertions, but I do believe that you have a right to say whatever you want. If you really believe in what you say, however, you should not be afraid to state your name and then say whatever…it lends more credibility to your statement(s).

  149. Michael, welcome to BCC, where RJH has been posting under his real name for over a decade. Before you call out an extremely well-recognized and not at all pseudonymous person, do some research, man. You might even find his name in THIS VERY THREAD!

  150. Likely story, Steve. You don’t even use your middle name. How are we supposed to trust you?

  151. It’s sad and even depressing that our Mormon leaders, a long time ago and regarding all topics, have proven they cannot be trusted to distinguish their own bias, ignorance and bigotry from the God they claim to speak for.

    It’s not really surprising that this is becoming more obvious (including from their recent spate of essays) at the same time they have also embarked on a more visible and doctrinaire and authoritarian ‘FOLLOW THE LEADER’ push.

    It is just so sad and disheartening, given the opportunity to do the right thing and be more and larger, that they chose instead to be less and be smaller.

    Never as a Mormon have I ever felt so much that this has become the Church of the Leaders of Latter-day Saints; a church of un-inspired men where it’s hard to find any connection with a reasonable image of the Jesus of the New Testament.

    Nothing about the church’s response to the BSA surprised me. What surprises me is that I continue to cry about what my church has become. Not least because they continually confuse religion with morality.

  152. I would not be surprised if the Church distances itself from the Boy Scouts to create a robust second-to-none program for girls — using the BSA policy as an excuse to do this.

  153. AnnieKC,

    Why would they need any excuse to do that? Couldn’t they have done it long ago?

  154. Bingo MM.

  155. I think many of the criticisms perpetuated by some ‘progressive’ bloggers (so called), including this one, stem from an apparent inability to accept who’s Church this is, hold their peace, and wait and see. But well done, you got quoted giving your Church a kicking in the Washington Post (assuming this is your Church), you must feel proud.

  156. Does anyone think that the reason the LDS leadership is wringing their hands over Bobs and not Daves is that they fear the possibility of sexual activity (or sexual attraction) occurring between gay leaders and scouts?

    And if anyone cares to be patient with me, I’ll ask for some clarification on the relationship between the Church and the BSA. Forgive me; I am not a member, but I have lurked here for about a decade. My husband is (inactive but still believing) LDS, but I’d like more than one perspective on this.

    To what extent is BSA integrated with the YM program? Why is a pp’s nephew mistaken for being inactive due to his non-participation in scouts? Why does the first commenter in this thread say that the Church requires BSA involvement for boys’ “full membership”? What does that mean, exactly?

  157. Hi Dan,
    Nice to see you around these parts. Hope all is well for you and yours in Loughborough.

  158. Guys, when I first heard the news that the church might reevaluate its relationship with Scouting in the US, I pull the car over and cried. I had felt the relationship needed reevaluation for years and had prayed for understanding. I knew that many General Authorities had spoken about Scouting, explaining the revealed reasons for the current doctrine, but still I prayed in my heart for understanding. At last, the long promised day has arrived!

  159. The President of the BSA is the former Secretary of Defense and former CIA director. He is the embodiment of the military-industrial complex, emphasizing the paramilitary, statist, and corporatist nature of the BSA. Given that orientation, the latest policy change, so soon after another compromise, was inevitable. Gates is serving his corporate and government masters. These should not be our masters. The handwriting is on the wall of the tent that the time has come for a parting of ways.

    See also

    http://www.onenewsnow.com/culture/2015/06/01/christian-leader-boy-scouts-approaching-moral-collapse

    http://www.isegoria.net/2008/07/robert-conquests-three-laws-of-politics/

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-destruction-of-civil-society-by-left.html

  160. You just have to ask yourself why, in a church lead by Heavenly Father and his prophets, a statement like this could make it past the first draft. Was it Heavenly Father or 15 of his anointed on the earth who were asleep at the wheel?

  161. Geoff - Aus says:

    Is this as disturbing or surprising as the ensign article Bruce Hafen, in which he makes all sorts of peculiar arguments, supposedly to defend LDS Marriage. In much of the church the Ensign is seen as equivalent to scripture.
    They seem to be doing all they can to destroy their credibility.

    The incredible assertion that individual human rights have to be balanced against Social interests, that that balance was right about 1960 to 1970, and isn’t now.

    Historically, laws maintained a workable balance between social interests and individual interests because each element plays an important role in a healthy society. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, U.S. courts began to interpret family laws in ways that gave individual interests a much higher priority than social interests, which knocked the legal and social system off balance.

    So who have improved their position since then, women, racial minorities, and gays. Who has lost as a result, white males? I would have thought that full human rights for everyone was the goal. Do we expect some to be deprived of their equal rights in the celestial kingdom? All are alike unto god black and white, bond and free, male and female, bond and free. Doesn’t speak to me of some being deprived of their rights to defend marriage as it was in the70s, Patriarchy was challenged less then, can’t think of anything else that was better about society.

    He also quotes a lot of discredited (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-24/same-sex-parenting-fact-or-fiction/6616352) figures about the dangers to children of marriage equality.

    One of the proofs that things are out of balance is that

    Domestic violence against women has increased, and poverty has shifted increasingly to children.13
    Like most of the other list he gives they are not signs that things are getting worse, but that they are now reported. Police didn’t recognise domestic violence as a crime then.

    The whole logic that society was better in the late 60 and now, because women, minorities, and gay have civil rights, society is going down the tubes, seems like a false concept. That it is in the official magazine of the church, as gospel/doctrine, should be questioned.

    Is it really church doctrine/policy that we would prefer to go back to a time when we practiced racism, when patriarchy was much stronger, and women had far fewer freedoms, when gays were persecuted, and illegal in many places?

    Is the news room announcement about scouting, and this article in the Ensign part of a campaign to make the church look bigoted, out of date, patriarchal, and irrelevant to our lives, or is this just the unintended result?

    Joni. I agree that the definition of chastity in the endowment, does not exclude gays. It is only in the last 20 years that the definition elsewhere has been changed to exclude them. Only the LDS definition has changed, I doubt the Lords has.

  162. your food allergy is fake says:

    I think the reason the church doesn’t call openly gay members to scout callings is the sexual attraction issue. Would you send your 17 yr old daughter on campouts with a 23 year old hetero male leader? Or your 17 yr old son on campouts with a 23 yr old gay male leader? Some would, and more power to them, but I can see why many would not.

  163. Dave K. says:

    food allergy,

    I’m a father of 3 scouts. My wife and I have no concerns with gay leaders that go beyond our concerns with hetero leaders. The basic point to grasp is that attraction to a gender does not equate with attraction to an age group. Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality should ever be associated with pedophilia.

    If someone has concerns with safety measures in BSA, they should have much more concerns with safety measures in the LDS church. As a few examples, BSA requires 2-deep leadership; no solo meetings with youth ever; no sharing sleeping quarters unless you’re family; completely separate bathroom and changing facilities; background checks on all leaders.

    In contrast, the LDS church allows for significant solo interaction between adults and youth. Non-related men are called as HT companions with 14 year old boys – meaning they drive alone, sometimes for hours at a time. Hetero men (bishops/counselors) are required to meet solo with girls and discuss their sex lives. Hetero men are required to go camping overnight with girls (priesthood leaders presiding at girls camp). LDS chapels and temples have shared bathrooms and changing rooms (its kind of awkward to change clothes in a stall next to a deacon on a youth temple trip, especially when you’re the only two left in the room – something allowed under LDS procedures). And there are no formal background checks on any leaders (except for BSA leaders – because of BSA policy)

    This isn’t to say that BSA is immune from bad actors. If you put your kids in any group there is a chance they could be harmed. But for purposes of this LDS-themed discussion board, I can say that I worry about my kids less at scout camp than I do when they’re at other church events.

  164. Dave, quite right. In most organisations in the UK, adults with regular contact with children have to undergo vetting. So far, the LDS church has declined to do this.

  165. Bro. Jones says:

    your food allergy: That’s the same line of argument that says married men and women should never be alone in the company of adults of the opposite sex. If I can trust myself around my female boss, then I expect that I could trust a campout with multiple adult leaders to somehow keep their hands off the kids. I don’t think minors should be alone in the company of a solitary adult in any church setting to be honest: so yes, under the assumption that my 17-year-old child would never be sharing a tent with a solitary adult leader of any gender or orientation, I’d be okay with that.

    For heaven’s sakes, members of the bishopric attend Young Women’s camp. Do you have a problem with that?

  166. Left Field says:

    The thing about the church always welcoming gay scouts is certainly problematic. On the other hand, the handbook does say that all Young Men should be registered in scouting, and does not deal at all with the question of those Young Men who were ineligible by BSA rules. In practice, I doubt many gay boys were formally excluded. Ward leaders wouldn’t want some kid singled out, sent home, or sitting in a corner while everyone else learns to tie knots. Much better to just say he’s going through a phase, than to label him gay and forbid his participation.

  167. your food allergy is fake says:

    Dave K: ” My wife and I have no concerns with gay leaders that go beyond our concerns with hetero leaders.”

    Exactly my point. In not calling gay men as scout leaders, the Church seems to be consistent in its approach with not calling hetero men as young women’s leaders or hetero females as young men’s leaders.

    “The basic point to grasp is that attraction to a gender does not equate with attraction to an age group. Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality should ever be associated with pedophilia.”

    Sexual attraction in an adult towards a post-pubescent minor is not pedophilia. One would consider as normal the possibility of attraction in an adult hetero male towards a post-pubescent female and vice versa, particularly if they are close in age. I would consider homosexuality no different here.

  168. Re your food allergy (and replies) … Another way to make this argument is to observe that Church programs and procedures currently operate on the assumption that everyone obeys the law of chastity all the time (and will be ex’d if not). We know it’s not true, but have continued with the fiction for a long time. For some reason (I would call it homophobia, but opinions will differ) homosexuality is a tipping point, where openly gay people involved in Church programs (which clearly happens today) puts this false assumption in highlight and threatens to force change in a whole lot of programs and practices. I say “past due” and “about time” but others will find this troubling.

  169. your food allergy is fake says:

    Left Field: “That’s the same line of argument that says married men and women should never be alone in the company of adults of the opposite sex.”

    No, it’s not quite the same when minors are involved, as your next observation shows:

    “I don’t think minors should be alone in the company of a solitary adult in any church setting to be honest”

    These issues actually don’t bother me very much, but I would not call someone ridiculous who did have a problem with bishops interviewing young women about sex or with male leaders camping with female minors. I am trying to address the apparent contradiction some see in the church’s allowing openly gay people to hold callings but not scout callings. I suggest the church may have the above as the underlying rationale.

  170. your food allergy is fake says:

    Sorry, I misquoted Br. Jones above as Left Field.

  171. your food allergy is fake says:

    Christian:
    Interesting observation, but wasn’t this assumption that everyone obeys the law of chastity abandoned long ago when solitary men were disallowed from teaching primary classes?

  172. Dave K. says:

    food allergy,

    The church does call hetero men to be leaders over women and young women. Bishoprics, stake presidencies, seminary and institute teachers, sunday school teachers, basketball coaches, and many others. Granted, women rarely serve as leaders over men (primary president is the major exception) but this is due to the gendered priesthood ban rather than sexual attraction.

    The example you give of a 23-year old leader and 17-year old boy is exceedingly rare. Most BSA leaders are older men and fathers. This is particularly true for LDS troops. And most scouts on campouts are younger boys. By the time they hit 15 most boys no longer go to scout camp and rarely go to other overnights.

    This discussion has me curious as to where you propose that LGBT members serve in the church. Take the 23-year-old gay man in your hypothetical. Can he serve as a sunday school teacher? How about a missionary? Would you exclude him from any contact with youth, and if so, until what age?

    To be frank, if you’re worried about youth sleeping in the same quarters as LGBT youth of similar age, the last thing you want to do is send your child on an LDS mission. Statistically speaking, if a mission has 200 missionaries, about 4-10 of them will be LGBT. If your child has the typical 6-8 companions over a mission, and if he/she shares an apartment with 3 other missionaries, there is a very significant chance that at some point he/she will be sleeping in the same apartment, even the bedroom, with someone who is sexually attracted to their gender.

    We live in a world with gay people. They’re not the enemy. They’re our brothers and sisters. How about we start viewing them firstly as children of God, and view them as potential rapists only after they’ve been convicted of that offense.

  173. Food allergy said: “In not calling gay men as scout leaders, the Church seems to be consistent in its approach with not calling hetero men as young women’s leaders or hetero females as young men’s leaders.”

    Dave K. asked “This discussion has me curious as to where you propose that LGBT members serve in the church.”

    The obvious solution here (by food allergy’s logic) is for gay men to serve in YW presidencies and lesbian women to serve in YM presidencies, no?

  174. I think the old BSA policy gave the church cover for not calling gay men as Scout leaders. Why did they need that cover? See “food allergy” above. Now, if they want to exclude gay men from Scouting callings, they will have to stand on their own two feet and say so. They can still do so, but it will be THEIR decision, not BSA’s.

    The main contradiction to my hypothesis is the press release itself, which is way up there in “shooting yourself in the foot” moments by the church. All they had to do was…nothing.

    I don’t disagree with the folks who say the church does not issue press releases that have not been vetted. However, that is not a comforting thought in this situation.

  175. eponymous says:

    Whether you want to accept it or not, food allergy’s call out of comparing not calling gay scout leaders to not calling men as YW leaders – and none of those you listed ever camp alone overnight with the YW – is a consistent and accurate analogy to how the Church currently functions. We may not like that thinking but it is consistent. Yes it goes farther than the two deep leadership question but all of these other leaders should not be camping alone with YW either so it’s not really different. Scouting is about camping, it is a primary activity that the scouts regularly do, and leaders will be camping with their scouts.

    There are all kinds of inconsistencies here but that is not one of them.

    And Dave K, every temple I have attended with youth for a baptismal trip now requires the youth and adults to get changed separately – an adult cannot be in the changing room at the same time as any youth. Apparently some have not yet received the note but given how these kinds of policies tend to trickle down at times that doesn’t surprise me.

  176. your food allergy is fake says:

    Dave K, I basically agree with all your points here. My line of argument has been me speculating what church policy-makers may be thinking. If the church has a policy that I as an adult male must have another male in the room before I am allowed to teach primary kids, or a policy that male and female missionaries shouldn’t be assigned as companions, or a policy that a man (or two) shouldn’t be camping with teenage girls, we can cynically and uncharitably see those policies as the church viewing the male as a potential rapist, or we can see them as protecting vulnerable people and protecting the church’s legal interests. Do you think the church is treating gay people as potential rapists any more than the above policies treat hetero men as potential rapists?

  177. Why can an adult male not be alone in a room with MULTIPLE children, where it’s unlikely that even a pervert would act, but an adult male can be alone in a room with a SINGLE child, such as when interviewing for baptism?

    The Church’s overreaction to the BSA decision has really highlighted the difference between the two organizations when it comes to keeping children safe. The BSA has policies and training. The Church doesn’t have training or required background checks, and policies are unevenly applied (as I’ve mentioned here – two deep for multiple children but not a single child seems like the opposite of what makes sense).

    But, I don’t thnk for a minute that the Church’s tantrum is about ACTUALLY protecting children and youth from sexual predators. I think it’s more about preventing the children and youth from experiences that would lead them to view The Gays as actual human beings.

  178. Samurai6 says:

    How is it consistent with how we currently function when bishops interview girls alone all the time about sexuality from ages 12 and up? Either we need a cadre of specialized gay bishops so as to be able to properly interview these women, RS presidents should do the interviews or else we are not being consistent with our ongoing fear of spontaneous sexual combustion.

    Nobody is allowed to stay in the same tent with scouts as an adult and in my time at scout camp this year I had significantly less one on one time (none actually) than a bishop would have had in his office alone.

    Promised my oldest a shotgun when he gets his eagle and he is close but perhaps he’d better finish quick so we can do some bird hunting this fall.

  179. Samurai6 says:

    Ok, Joni got to my point ahead of me. Guess you have to post fast on this thread. My lurker chops just can’t keep up.

  180. Either that, or I REALLY need to get a life.

  181. Dave K. says:

    eponymous,

    I don’t know how to say this any more clearly. In the LDS church, men are called as leaders over young women. Talk to you bishopric about their 6-month solo interviews with each young woman in the ward. And in BSA, no adults ever sleep in the same quarters as youth unless they are related family members. Under the new BSA policy, its possible for a gay leader to be in the same campground with his scouts, but he’d be in a different tent – similar to men who sleep in separate tents at girls camp. And of course, under the policy, LDS units would not be required to have gay leaders at all. At most, our boys would interact with gay merit badge counselors or camp cooks. This is no more of a concern for me than having a gay band leader at my kids public school.

    As for the temple, I can only report my personal experience. Two months ago the Columbus Ohio temple had men showering, walking around in towels and changing in stalls – all in the same bathroom as young men. Two weeks ago the Nauvoo temple did the same. I’m happy to hear if that practice is changing but it hasn’t reached the midwest yet.

  182. “Is there nothing other than homosexuality that exercises us? If there isn’t, it will be our doom.” Assuming “us” and “our” refers to the “bloggernacle,” I can’t disagree!

  183. Jenny Ballif says:

    I thoroughly agree with your post RJH. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the Church does split from BSA (and a petition in favor of the split – https://www.change.org/p/the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints-mormons-for-separation-of-church-and-scout). The gender inequality of the system, particularly with cub scouts and activity days, has always bothered me.

  184. eponymous says:

    Dave,

    I’ve served in several Bishoprics and YM Presidencies, I know how it works. Food allergy is asking the right question:

    Do you think the church is treating gay people as potential rapists any more than the above policies treat hetero men as potential rapists?

    As for the Midwest, perhaps not Columbus or Nauvoo, but definitely in Chicago and Nashville. Like I said, trickles down per the attitudes of the local Temple presidency and whether or not the subject has come up in their visits from General Authorities.

  185. marcella says:

    I’m kind of wondering where you all live. Granted I don’t know everyone in my stake but I only know of two openly gay active members. You all are talking like your wards have many openly gay members being shunted out of callings right and left. While I firmly believe we have many gay members who are quiet about their status, since they don’t share this information about themselves they probably serve wherever they are called.

    In the mid-1990’s when the BSA started doing fingerprinting and such for staff. The stake I was living in held a youth protection training class for all adults who served with the youth (so rather than just scouting callings all YM, YW, youth Sunday school teachers and primary workers were to attend) When the scout office person doing the training started talking about the rules for reporting suspected abuse a shouting match broke out. Men started yelling that we didn’t have to do that, all we needed to do was tell the Bishop and he would handle things. We never reported anything to the police or to the BSA. Man, was that an uncomfortable meeting! Also made me really wary about who at church I let my son be alone with since clearly his best interests did not come first.

  186. rd,
    So far this year, 2/3 of the “official statements” by the church have been on gay related issues. The Bloggernacle is losing that battle!

  187. Dave K. says:

    eponymous,

    I’ve been a bishop and currently am a YM President. I also know how it works. I’m sure that church leaders care about child safety. And they care about costly lawsuits. Both are valid concerns.

    I can point to several recent policy changes that I would chaulk up to those concerns. Door windows are now installed on all class doors (but not yet bishop’s offices). Missionaries – male and female – are no longer allowed to give hugs or allow children to sit on their laps (something that truly baffles my youngest children). Men are generally required to have more supervision if they are primary teachers. Some of these changes I’m fine with (door windows). Some grate me, but I understand the need from a liability standpoint (missionary contact and men in primary).

    But here’s the big difference. None of these policies relate to a doctrinal issue. The policies are necessarily for this time and place because we live in a fallen world. But we don’t teach that – as a matter of doctrine – missionaries should not give hugs or men teaching children should raise extra concern. 3 Nephi 17 shows quite the contrary.

    That’s where these policies differ from the church’s media release. The church statement did not say anything about child safety or point to studies suggesting that gays have a higher propensity to endanger children. Rather, the statement said that “the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church.” So this is not a safety issue. It’s a doctrine issue. At least we accept the church at its word.

  188. your food allergy is fake says:

    I agree that statement is a trainwreck, and the word “doctrines” I believe must have been used in error.

  189. I believe that “The Church” is not protesting the new BSA policy out of an effort to protect our youth from sexual assult. I am sure that “The Church” would go to any length to protect our youth from sexual assault, homo-, or hetero-sexual. Rules and policies are in place that ought to work in our children’s favor and protect them from this. The rules are needed, and protect everyone: the child/youth, the leader, and the institution. I applaud these rules.

    No, I think that rather “The Church” does not want our youth to be in a position where the youth would see an openly gay person as a role model. I don’t think that “The Church” wishes to convery that kind of legitimacy on a gay person. Anything but that!

  190. Kristine says:

    ” The church statement did not say anything about child safety or point to studies suggesting that gays have a higher propensity to endanger children.”

    That’s because there aren’t any.

  191. I suspect the issue if the Church disassociates itself from Scouting maybe more over the legal ramifications of staying and what the future holds legally than anything else. If the Church could be guaranteed it would be shileded from lawsuits down the road I suspect they would just let this be and continue to issue calls for Scoutnaster as has always been done. The way I read it the National BSA vote shields the National organization from any legal action now, but the Chartered Organizations can still choose their own leaders. That’s fine, but I suspect the Church and other organizations will be challenged eventually on that and they probably don’t want to deal with all the legal activity and costs resulting from that. Just my 2 cents….and a guess only.

  192. This article seems to refute Kristine:
    http://reut.rs/1aJp8QY

  193. eponymous says:

    Six, no, that article points to pedophiles who preyed on scouts. You are perpetuating an ugly slur in linking that case to this conversation.

    And Dave, we agree that this isn’t a doctrinal issue. All too often policies and doctrines are conflated within the Church. This is one of those cases.

  194. Jason K. says:

    The article is about pedophilia, not the propensity of gays to harm children. Homosexuality =/= pedophilia.

  195. Or does the above article point to a correlation between scouting and pedophilia?
    Both claims are absurd, and the article does nothing to support the first that could not also be used to support the second.

  196. “An Oregon court last year forced the Boy Scouts to publicly release 20,000 pages of confidential records, dubbed the “perversion files,” documenting suspected or confirmed sexual abuse by the group’s leaders and volunteers.” This is very troubling to me as a parent. I know there are “equal opportunity pedophiles” who molest both genders. In no way am I implying that if you are gay you are a pedophile.
    But It appear the Church responded by instituting policies to help prevent this from recurring in LDS scouting after the BSA and the Church has been sued numerous times.

  197. Lady Kerri says:

    Ronan– NAILED IT.
    And based on this snit by the Church when it didn’t get its way, I wonder if the BSA didn’t plan this vote specifically for July.
    Reading this statement made me embarrassed of how we Mormons must look to others. Narrow-minded, mean, spiteful. Sigh.

  198. ” This is the kind of thing that happens when the people on the ground can no longer reach the people making decisions.”

    Precisely! Isolating and insulating themselves is the worst decision the Brethren have ever made. Pursuing a thinly veiled policy of rejecting and marginalizing gay people is a very close second and made possible by the first.

  199. eponymous says:

    From Peggy Stack’s Salt Lake Tribune (not exactly a pro-Church newspaper):

    http://www.sltrib.com/home/2778130-155/if-mormons-leave-scouting-bsa-will?fullpage=1

    Although the LDS Church has allowed — and does allow — openly gay Mormons to serve in church assignments, including the Boy Scouts, these members are deemed to be living the faith’s standards. This means they are not acting on their same-sex attractions.

    The BSA’s new policy, however, makes no such distinction between “openly gay” and “sexually active gay leaders.” So a gay Scout leader could have a partner or a same-sex spouse — and that troubles the Mormon brass.

    Did Peggy get this wrong or is the ongoing argument in this thread about gay members serving in Scout callings chasing unfounded air? Hmmm….

  200. Julia S says:

    I think they used the word “doctrine” of the church on purpose. I got my August Ensign today and there are three articles on gay marriage. The first one in by Elder Nelsin and he states, “Disciples of the Lord are defenders of traditional marriage. We cannot yield.” He goes on to speak of judgement day for those who differ in opinion. I think it’s fair to say any conciliatory speech before this has been for show.

  201. Interesting, Julia. Could at least parts of the press release be due to the Church legal department suggesting that the Church needs to meet some standard of doctrinal proof in case of litigation? If that’s so, hopefully they’ll meet the standard soon and be able to move on to topics a little more fresh and less wounding to the young LGBT members of the Church. (Perhaps the old ones, too, but I assume they’re used to worse by now.)

  202. Scout Master Baden says:

    I remember thinking as an Eagle Scout that there was but one difference between being a Scout and being a soldier: Scouts could shoot at clay pigeons and soldiers could shoot at actual people. Other than that you’ve got the same requisite uniforms, rankings, marches, parades, authority structures, oaths of loyalty, unbridled patriotism, etc.

    Fortunately modern warfare has changed substantially with most targeted assassinations being done remotely from air conditioned trailers in places like Langley and Nellis. Today’s new breed of killers can receive both their indoctrination, desensitization and well as their training from Call of Duty coupled with a flight simulator. There’s no reason to let the boys have all the fun, young women can build their reconstruction skills with games like Minecraft and hopefully land future jobs with companies like Halliburton.

    I do think, however, that a young man’s opportunity to frolick around in completely non homoerotic ways in the woods under the watchful eye of a gay leader have been greatly diminished. What’s left? Journey Into Manhood or Journey Beyond?

  203. Yep, all that

  204. Honestly, I hope the church pulls out, for the simple reason that it not be this mandatory church prescribed thing. The LDS troops are always filled with lazy kids that don’t want to be there. And I’d also like my kids to join a normal troop that includes non members.

  205. There are so many things wrong with this… Down to the extremely negative interpretation of everything the church said. If the writer had done a little more research he could have discovered these things. I do not feel it necessary to try to correct someone with such a hateful attitude toward the Church because of the lack of good that will be accomplished.

  206. MikeInWeHo says:

    I see that a link to the press release is now on the front page of the church web site, so I think it’s safe to say this wasn’t a shoot-from-the-hip response by unknown individuals in SLC.

    http://www.lds.org

  207. aynelson says:

    Brilliant – I couldn’t possibly agree more (or have said it better).

  208. I had a heterosexual scout leader attempt to molest me when I was a kid many years ago. The church has picked the wrong battle to fight. The pedophiles are serving is scout troops across the nation as we speak. Why aren’t they focused on background checks rate than demonizing gays?

    The answer, I think, is that our elderly leaders are more concerned about scouts actually looking up to gay leaders than they are about sexual victimization. It’s so sad how much their own prejudices are driving this bus. Too bad God isn’t leading this church.

  209. Clemens says:

    It’s funny how the blogger and many commenters attack the messenger (the PR department) because, it seems, that they disagree with the message. That’s a logical fallacy and has no place in reasoned public discourse. Bottom line: The BSA held the vote against the requests of their biggest Chartering Organization and Church leadership chose to flex their muscle in their response. Both are within their rights; both should not be surprised by the other’s actions; both should realize that their actions have consequences. The BSA may lose it’s largest chartering organization; the church will be criticized further for their stand on gays. I hope they will explain how their decision supports principle and value taught by Jesus of “hate the sin, but love the sinner!”

    I say “Yay!” for the church! I say we love the sinner but hate the sin! It’s a hard distinction to make, but it is how we can show compassion for same sex couples that are discriminated against while at the same time believing and teaching others that homosexuality is not of God. With the woman caught in adultery, Christ pointed out that stone throwers ought to back off. But he also turned to her and said “Sin no more!” That’s the model for our beliefs.

  210. Jack Hughes says:

    “I hope they will explain how their decision supports principle and value taught by Jesus of “hate the sin, but love the sinner!”

    And just where, exactly, did Jesus teach that? Citation please.

  211. Its not about the Church – its About Scouting – Yes, I am an Eagle Scout and also have a Silver Beaver Award – up until now, I have fully supported BSA – but truthfully, How can an individual honestly raise his had to the square and promise that he will be morally straight – when he is openly practicing be GAY – I supported scouting, giving countless hours of service and money when it held high moral values – now like the church – I have to seriously consider my future involvment with BSA

  212. The whiplash of our warming acceptance of gays punctuated by outbursts of hating them is frustrating and painful. I am so tired of this transitional phase of the church reconciling with gays, which I assume is inevitable. Can we just get there already? It’s like watching some horribly tedious romantic comedy where the couple obviously are meant to love each other but must first torture the audience’s patience with an hour of colossally stupid misunderstandings and willful insults and spats.

    Pride and Prejudice from Hell, with real people being directly and indirectly harmed.

  213. Wait until you get your next Ensign, SB2.

  214. Lynn: I am confused at your confusion. “…morally straight…” was not intended to be a pledge not to be gay. The phrase is much much broader. It was adopted long before “straight” and “gay” were used the way they are today. A gay person who is in a life-long, monogamous, emotionally intimate, and stable relationship feels fully justified in his/her commitment to being “morally straight”, just as a heterosexual person feel justified in their sexual conduct with their husband/wife. Such a gay person would feel fully justified to “raise his hand…” as you describe.

  215. Clark Goble says:

    Porter “Why aren’t they focused on background checks”

    I was required to submit to a background check when I was called to serve in scouts. I assume everyone is going by the paperwork. There are also training videos you have to watch to be able to serve as well.

  216. I was a counselor at a (secular, non-scout) summer camp when I was 21. Most the counselors were about 19 through 23, and the campers were about 10 through 18.

    The intensity of the sexual and romantic attraction the 17-year-old girls felt towards the cute French counselors who were only two years older was obvious. The male counselors never broached those boundaries, but yes, teenagers will be attracted to young adults.

    Hell, I had a huge crush about three years earlier on a missionary in the TRC. Those freckles! I looked forward to volunteering each week, that’s for sure!

    I think Mormons over-sexualize a lot of interactions, unnecessarily. Feeling attracted to someone and learning about boundaries as a leader should be, in my mind, separate conversations. Thinking that a gay camp counselor is somehow more likely to breach those boundaries is pure applesauce.

  217. If another country, like the old Soviet Union, had a youth organization (let’s call it Soviet Youth) and if the president of that organization was the former head of the KGB and the former head of the Ministry of Defense, one would reasonably conclude that the underlying purpose of the Soviet Youth organization was to act as a feeder into the Soviet military and its associated military-industrial complex.

    Robert Gates is the former CIA Director and former Secretary of Defense. He is also president of the BSA. What would a neutral and detached observer conclude from this about the underlying purpose of the BSA, at least in the mind of its president?

    And how, pray tell, are the CIA and the U.S. military doing? The CIA, after failing to prevent 9-11, scandalously embraced torture as part of its stock and trade with the help of permissive guidelines developed by the American Psychological Association. The military has scandalously high levels of unwanted sexual contact and rape. Women in the U.S. military are far more likely to be victims of sexual assault by a comrade than killed in combat. One in four women in the military have been victims of sexual assault and up to 80% have been sexually harassed. Four percent of men reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact since enlistment. Nearly half the assaults reported by women and 35 percent reported by men were violent assaults.

    Why should we trust Mr. Gates or look to him for moral guidance?

  218. The new merit badge for Water Boarding totally proves your point Leo.

  219. MikeInWeHo says:

    Well the Church won’t be going with Trail Life USA. They require their leaders to abide by a trinitarian statement of faith.

  220. @Talon

    A future merit badge on human sexuality (or some such phrase) with the latest PC standards is not hard to imagine.

    And to repeat my question, why should we trust Mr. Gates or look to him for moral guidance?

    @MikeInWeHo

    Yes, Trail Life USA is not a viable option. See http://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2015/7/31/mormons-southern-baptists-and-the-new-math-facing-the-boy-scouts-of-america

    and

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/05/27/a-requiem-for-the-boy-scouts/

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/01/29/morally-straight-the-transformation-of-the-boy-scouts-of-america/

  221. Personal Progress was fun... too says:

    “Merit Badges for Modern Times” — somehow, I think this comic is what both church leaders and the NY Times see at the bottom of this supposed slippery slope… only NYT thinks it’s preposterous and funny, and the church thinks it’s … well … not.

    Also, NYT thinks scouts includes both boys and girls, and the church … well … not.

    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/07/08/opinion/sunday/the-strip.html

  222. @Personal Progress: it’s not just the NYT who thinks that scouts includes both boys and girls. It’s also BSA, who has had a coed Venturing program for a long time now. The church has chosen not to participate, but that was their decision. http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Venturing.aspx

  223. Before Venturing there was explorer scouts. I met a mormon father from SLC at Philmont who made an all girls explorer scouts program for his daughter and her friends so she could go on a trek, It was just after I had joined the church. I really admired that man.

  224. The paramilitary aspect of scouting is obvious: the salutes, the flags, the patrols, the troops, etc. For decades the national jamboree was held as a U.S. military base. Now it will be held at a camp named after a major San Francisco-based military contractor and donor. It is not hard to foresee that scouting will become, like the U.S. military, politically correct and sexually integrated.

    Conquest’s 2nd Law states that any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing. Whether you believe that or not, it is obvious that at the national level, the drift (under big corporate donor pressure and threats of or actual law suits) at the BSA has been to the left, just like it has been at the Defense Department. That will continue. Trans demands will be next. One compromise will be followed by another. No one really believes that a local option compromise will be the last compromise. You can’t have a local option in the military. This is part of the left’s long march through the institutions of power.

  225. And don’t forget all the knot tying Leo. It suggests a deep rooted S&M culture.

  226. @Talon

    It is impossible to beat the left for snark, sarcasm, and sexual innuendo.

    It is also hard to match the left for hostility to Christianity. See http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-left-is-self-deceptive-enemy-of.html and http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-left-has-evolved-continues-to.html

  227. Leo, you’ve got me on three out of four. I’ll mark my calendar, this is the first time I’ve ever been accused of being a lefty. It makes me feel kind of tingly all over.

    There is a lesson from Scouting related to making tin foil dinners that can be applied to making tin foil hats: shiny side out…….or is it shiny side in? I can’t remember. The point is, just like the under cooked vegetables and raw hamburger in my tin foil dinners, the result, much like your theories, was the same: half baked.

    It’s been fun, but I’m done. :-)

  228. What I find particularly ironic is the fact that they won’t allow gay scout leaders because they fear “sexual abuse,” yet they allow girls to go into private interviews with bishops. Not to mention the fact that heterosexual men are ALWAYS present at girl’s camp. Such a double standard. So hypocritical. I am insulted by this as a young woman in the LDS church.