Boy Scouts of America Propose Brilliant Plan: Upset Pretty Much Everyone

The Boy Scouts of America will present an important proposal at their meeting next month, that if passed will become effective January 2014, which will allow openly gay youth to fully participate in the scouting program; but will continue to ban openly gay adults. In my initial, positive response, I quickly came to realize that I was among very few who share similar feelings; and this, surprisingly, coming from both the left and right; Mormons and gays.


The instigating of this potential change in BSA policy

Due to increased pressure from the homosexual community and many of their commercial allies, who some have either already withdrawn funding or are threatening to withdraw monetary support if gays are not allowed to fully participate, BSA have been compelled to spend a considerable amount of time, since February, on an extensive journey with the intent to mine the best possible solution; so as not to compromise their long held conservative, religious values.  This process has resulted in excellent feedback from those who are longtime supporters of the scouting program, and the general public, who have a great interest in the future of scouting in America; some who are strongly opposed to any changes and some who feel changes are a must.

But even with all of the input that BSA received, they freely admit the issue to be "among the most complex and challenging issues facing BSA and society today" and acknowledged the extreme difficulty in determining the possible impact of policy changes, of any kind, will ultimately have; but most agreed that youth should not be denied the benefits of scouting. 

In regard to the proposed resolution, BSA made this statement: "The proposed resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting is contrary to the virtues of Scouting."

The message I hear in that statement, is that although openly gay youth would be welcomed to participate in BSA, they will be required to adhere to the existing standards of BSA; which I can't imagine anyone would find an unreasonable requirement for those wanting to participate in a group with a known expectation.

BSA proposal being viewed as caving into social pressure

This seems to be the popular, initial opinion that I'm hearing and reading online, from most... that BSA with this proposal is conceding by allowing openly gay youth to participate, but not allow openly gay adults to be leaders; is just a way to meet the gay community half-way.

In fact, some conservative Christian groups are promoting a specific day to get behind BSA and send a message of support. It is their belief that by doing so, perhaps BSA will have the strength to stand up against being bullied by the gay agenda and not allow openly gay youth to participate. (see video below)


Video: Stand With Scouts Sunday



Let me say publicly, that I'm opposed to this response. Not because I think that my fellow Christians are necessarily wrong.  I just feel that they've not really thought this through completely, and that currently they are acting out of fear.  Because once they do think it through, I honestly believe that they will begin to see this proposal, allowing gay youth to participate in the BSA program, as an opportunity to emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ.

As we've heard from BSA, the extensive research that they've conducted to reach this proposal is what brought them to this conclusion. Reuters reported that, "A report on the matter found religious groups linked to the Scouts were concerned with homosexual adult leaders, not with youth, and concluded "a change in the membership policy specific to youth only would be consistent with the religious beliefs of the BSA's major chartered organizations."

I think this is significantly, significant!

How I think BSA proposal could work for the LDS Church (Note: These are just my personal thoughts, as I am not in any way speaking on behalf of the LDS Church)

I'll admit, perhaps, that I probably view this BSA proposal through a different lens than most; due to the fact that I frequently blog about issues relating to gay Mormons. In other words, I see this proposal as a positive for faithful gay Mormons in the LDS Church; and from that perspective, I can see this as a very, very good thing! And not only for gay youth, but for faithful gay Mormon adults, too.

I also see this as a positive for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their outreach to the homosexual community in general. Of course the Church will wait to give any official response or decisions until after BSA have taken their vote and made a final policy decision. Meanwhile I imagine the Church will prayerfully consider every angle of what accepting this proposal would mean for the Church.

Michael Purdy, Church Spokesman made this statement, "The Church has been provided a copy of the new resolution regarding membership standards for BSA. Church leaders will take the time needed to fully review the language and study the implications of this new proposal. We note that BSA will make a final decision on this matter at their National Annual Meeting next month."

Anything we discuss at this point is simply speculation about what hasn't even been decided by BSA, nor accepted by the LDS Church. If the first does occur, it would be very surprising, at least from my perspective, to imagine the Church not supporting BSA considering the current outreach to the homosexual community and the feedback BSA received.  Again, I absolutely see this as a potential positive and even a brilliant proposal by BSA; almost tailor made for the Mormons!

Let's imagine....  

Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, faithful gay Mormons, could potentially be called, if their bishop or branch president felt inspired to do so, to serve as leaders in the scouting program of their branch or ward; because although they are same-gender attracted, they do not practice homosexual behavior. Faithful gay Mormons, most single, have chosen a life of complete celibacy, in making the choice to be obedient to God by keeping His commandment to stay morally clean. In my opinion, these individuals would make excellent leaders to serve with our youth!

In considering gay Mormon youth, it's important to remember that all youth, 12 through 18 (Usually the time when we would be concerned about most morality issues.) homosexual or heterosexual, regularly meet with their bishop for worthiness interviews to discuss personal spiritual challenges and growth. And certainly issues of gender identity require spiritual guidance.

All youth need the youth programs of the Church. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all inclusive, and in my opinion if this push by the homosexual community has forced BSA to include gay youth, then perhaps we are seeing the Hand of the Lord in action; as I can't imagine He would want it any other way. So in this case of gay advocacy, it has worked in favor of God's children; in my opinion.

I am not a scouting expert and so this post is not addressing many of the issues that those of you who are, may be concerned about. I realize that there are many of you who are thinking of the many logistics of having openly gay youth in the program. I understand your initial fears of things you don't fully understand and/or are not comfortable with. And one thing you probably don't understand, think about, or realize, is that more than likely, your son has already shared a pup tent with a gay boy that you just didn't know was gay at the time; or will in the future, regardless of whether openly gay youth are permitted or not. Also, there are equal concerns about pornography, masturbation, and sexual promiscuity regardless of sexual preference.

If this does go forward, and I personally pray that it does, I would hope that we will trust LDS leaders making the decisions about how to make it work, and that the program will be setup in such a way to help all involved feel comfortable, so that all of the youth involved will feel the inclusion that their Heavenly Father would have them feel as they participate in BSA.

Every child of God should feel included in His Church programs

Last week, in my stake we had Stake Conference. In the adult session, my Stake President took some time at the close of the meeting to informally speak to us about some of the current issues going on in the Church. In particular, he brought up the new website: MormonsandGays.org, which I blogged about here.  He read the LDS Church position on homosexuality, posted on the website, and shared that he had recently spent some time with two gay members, recently baptized in our stake, and encouraged us as members to reach out and help them to feel of our love. He also commented on how the gay community, in general, see Mormons as the "enemy" and, although I don't recall his exact words, inferred that we needed to work to change that perception. I was deeply touched that my stake president wants to help the members of my stake learn to become more Christlike, and challenged us specifically relating to gay members.

"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters." 

I realize that I have not addressed every concern, not by a long shot, that have many of you upset with this 'half-way' proposal, as many of you see it. I know that some of you wonder what will happen when these gay young men reach 18 and would 'like' to become scout leaders? There's a simple answer to that: Individually they will need to make a life choice. right? I don't think BSA is required to worry about that in lieu of making the right decision for BSA; where youth are the priority and not the desires of adults. I think the statements BSA have distributed make that point pretty clear.  I have to say, its kind of nice to see adults actually putting children first. It's truly a rarity in our day. So thanks, BSA --  much respect.

I have no clue what will ultimately end up happening in about a month from now with BSA, and less of how the LDS Church will respond. Heck, I probably shouldn't have even speculated about it. I guess I just have a tender spot for gay youth and our faithful gay Mormon members, and anywhere I see an opportunity to include them in ways that I believe Jesus Christ would do so, I would really like to see that happen; awkward as I am at it.


"As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach."   
Elder Quentin L. Cook

tDMg
Kathryn Skaggs

Note: In regard to any comments you'd like to leave, make sure they are respectful in every way, and on point to what I've written about and not other facets of BSA that are not pertinent to this  particular conversation. Thanks!

LDS.org President Monson Discusses Strengths of Scouting

New ERA: A Pillar Supporting the Priesthood

Photo Credit: LDS.org

39 comments:

  1. two thoughts in response to you thoughtful well-written article. 1. scouting begins at age 5 for non-LDS groups and age 8 for LDS groups. Careful consideration for all ages serviced by BSA needs to be addressed when discussing this issue. 2. The BSA rule of two leaders deep at all times is a wise policy and if always followed serves as protection for both boys and leaders and would make many parents more comfortable and accepting.
    finally comment: the handling of this issue for me has lead to a thought that the BSA may no longer be the best program for LDS boys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks.

      I would imagine both of your concerns have been taken into account by BSA.

      As far as the LDS Church leaving BSA, and considering the current outreach to the homosexual community... I would imagine if that were to happen, then we could be certain all bans against gays (faithful) would definitely be removed; youth and adults. I would be all for that!

      Honestly, you don't really think that the LDS Church would ban its own members from its own Church run program? That would go 100% against Church policy on homosexual outreach -- nothing withheld for faithful members -- all the way to receiving temple blessings.

      Delete
  2. I've been told that there has been a fairly consistent small percent (3%?) of men throughout history who engaged in homosexual behavior. I imagine many boys have had or will have an invitation at some time in their life to experiment with same gender attraction. Each boy must choose how to respond. School athletics, community athletics, video gaming group activities, anywhere boys get together, the temptation can surface, but does not need to be indulged. I expect the 97% "straight" boys will be a good influence on the 3% "gay." All can be respectful of each other. Being a friend to a "gay" does not need to influence you to become a "gay" yourself. Love the person, do not approve the aberrant behavior. It can be done. Many are successful worldwide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know the those particular statistics.

      Where the temptation to engage in immoral behavior comes from, in my opinion, doesn't really matter (minus illegal abuse of any type) The fact is, that it will come is %100 guaranteed; and many times, particularly, throughout a child's adolescent/teen years; much to all of our discomfort and fears. These are the thoughts that makes us all want to move to the mountains and homeschool our children!

      But I agree, as parents, we must take responsibility to teach our children to resist immoral behavior.

      NOTE: We need to be VERY careful with making the immediate assumption, especially within the LDS Church/community, that when a member refers to themselves as 'gay' that we don't associate that with "aberrant behavior" as we normally would outside of the Church. Often times, now, when an active member of the Church refers to themselves as 'gay' they are faithful -- meaning, they are a faithful gay Mormon, who keeps the commandments.

      We also need to avoid a 'them' and 'us' mentality, as "all are alike unto God".

      Delete
  3. I came to the same conclusion that the BSA did before this announcement was even made. Based on our church's stance that we welcome people who experience SSA...and the fact that I wouldn't want to exclude a kid from the positives of scouting. I don't know a ton about scouting but I know from my time as a girl scout that there are a lot of youth out there with unimaginable hardships. One year I personally shared a tent with girls who had been abused and raped. Before the night was through one of them tried to commit suicide right there in our tent! I had to hide her knife in my jeans until morning. These are very adult issues for kids to navigate. I think I was 12. And I was horrified. Whoever leads the scouts sure has their work cut out for them because today's youth need so much love
    ....every single one of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting, Jocelyn. I'm not sure if I would have come to this conclusion on my own, but I would like to think that I would have, if I had taken the time to ponder it; which I did not.

      Although it only took me mere minutes to think it over and have that light bulb in my mind go off, and literally shout out "BRILLIANT!" and with such clarity that BSA had made the right decision; and to clearly see how this also could fit with the current outreach within the Church among our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

      But you are right, our youth often deal with extremely sensitive issues and very young ages and every single one of them need special, and loving guidance in order to navigate these times. Heaven forbid any one of them should be excluded, due to our fears.

      Delete
  4. I have had very similar thoughts to yours as this policy was issued. While I do kind of fear the BSA taking small steps in this matter towards something I don't think is great, I do think that allowing boys to stay in Boy Scouts is good.

    In my experience the boys need scouting and the structure and support that it provides. It teaches morals and values that are often missing in kids lives these days. I think that the BSA took a position that it was better to keep boys in scouting and help them at a time in their life that is often awkward and unstable regardless of their sexuality. And overall that is probably a good thing.

    I think that it would be damaging to take a boy who had grown up in scouts and had started to have feelings that he was gay and then yank him out of that world. Scouting teaches how to control your actions and urges and that is a necessity for life regardless of sexuality.

    That being said I am still uncomfortable with having gay leaders and I don't know how I would deal with that. I am grateful overall for church leaders who are wise and can counsel us in the way that the Lord wants us to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jill,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and in particular your tender feelings of "fear" you expressed, but without any agression whatsoever. I think it's important for everyone to know that it's okay to have these feelings and also to express them, and to realize that this doesn't make us bad people because we are uncomfortable with something we don't understand. In fact, this is actually normal human behavior.

      The more we discuss this issue amongst ourselves, the more comfortable we will become. I would highly recommend members visiting the new Church website mormonsandgays.org and watching each of the videos. I really think it is helpful to try and understand the minds and hearts of our members who experience same-sex attraction. They are more like us than you imagine. Many of the things we hear about what it means to be 'gay' are simply false.

      Also, it goes both ways. Our members with SSA need to give members of the Church a little slack as well, and allow us time to get comfortable with learning more about them, too; and try to not be offended when some members seem to overreact in ways that might make them feel a bit uncomfortable initially.

      I think if we can all be patient with one another, we are going to see some amazing things happen within the Lord's Church; as He would have happen.

      After all, the gospel of Jesus Christ is about becoming like Him; which means that we must stretch beyond our natural abilities and learn to love as He loves.

      Delete
  5. On second thought I think I was only 11 that summer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree with you that this is a positive change. Imagine a faithful LDS youth who happens to be gay doing temple baptisms on Saturday, blessing or passing the Sacrament on Sunday, and prohibited from attending scouts on Wednesday! That of course sounds absurd to anyone, but that is exactly what the current scout policy requires. This change is overdue, but I'm delighted to see it happening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you put it like that, Cynthia... that is just not okay.

      Delete
  7. This proposal does make sense and I am pleased to hear the Church's position on the subject of gays. There are many times we are expected to accept things in our own lives we are not comfortable with, even within the Church. Sometimes they are not necessarily good, but they are things we can not change. Other times they are things that are right, but just are outside of our comfort zone. I realize. In the latter, if we stick with something that is right we can become comfortable with it. This also makes it easier to say great and offer support when it is not going to be in our own back yard. It is much harder when the details of it are in our face. I understand the resistance. I am probably not as much a WBMW as you. I think and say things I think, that may ruffle a feather or two, although I don't actually mean to. Now the thought I have is this with the issue. Are there concerns about intimate settings? changing rooms for swimming and restrooms. It is really the only area that makes me question this. It seems the only reason boys and girls do not have co-ed restroom and changing rooms is a sexuality issue related to gender. So I myself question what is the difference of a girl in the locker room or shower than a homosexual boy all showering and changing together? This is the elephant in the room I haven't exactly heard discussed. Again, I reiterate, I totally want each boy to have the wonderful experience scouting offers, regardless of orientation, but will this reality be addressed. It seems, it would flip things and force the other kids to feel extremely uncomforatle, in a sense, vitimizing them. Imagine being at the gym and having a man in there changing as you and your girlfriend are? Your thoughts...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne,

      Believe me, that elephant is much too large to think that he is hidden. As I said in the post, "I realize that there are many of you who are thinking of the many "logistics" of having openly gay youth in the program. I understand your initial fears of things you don't fully understand and/or are not comfortable with."

      Here is my response to your question, which granted, is not fancy or articulate: I'm not going to get into housing issues. I will leave those details up to BSA IF this proposal passes AND the Church accepts it. Meaning, I have no doubt BSA has taken those concerns into consideration, and I trust that if the brethren did accept such a policy, all important details would be to their complete satisfaction.

      Question: Why are we not marching down to our local middle and high schools requesting separate facilities, if we have such grave concerns for our children being "victimized"?

      Delete
    2. Kathryn, Regarding middle schools or anywhere, I think for kids as well as adults facilities need to make changes and incorporate more private showers and dressing rooms for those of us who are more interested in personal modesty, regarding orientation. Addressing the details, by the BSA, I think would bring a little more peace to minds of the resistant, and make them more willing to be open to the BSA decision. I expect within the Church, the leaders will be sensitive to these issues, but the rest of the Organization may have a harder time with it.

      Delete
  8. Secretly, I have been hoping that the church would drop the Boy Scouts. With 4 boys, I find the work to get them through their scout stuff painful and tedious. I really wish the boys could just do Faith and God and Duty to God and call it good. I was hoping my secret wish would be granted this time around. It looks like not. Still, as a mother of 4 sons, I do not feel the same way you do on this.

    I have watched my sister, a faithful Mormon with SSA move from feeling like homosexuality is just a temptation to the point where she feels "lesbian" is her number one identifying factor as a human. I know the change has come in part from her association with people who believe the same and have convinced her of this, and in part being rejected by heterosexual men enough times. However, seeing the first part and how it has affected her take on herself and her relationship with God and her ideals for marriage and family, I hesitate to set boys in a situation where they would treat ssa as an identity rather than a temptation. I think that just saying "we accept openly gay boys" is an acceptance that homosexuality is more of an identity than a temptation. My kids get that at school and in the media all the time. I would rather they didn't get that at church too.

    Again, I can see both sides of the matter. No one wants to exclude anyone. If I had a son suffering from ssa, I would not want him to be excluded for that temptation alone. On the other hand, I would not want him to be taught that ssa is his very identity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Diane,

      Well, I'm sure you're not alone in your secret. With four boys, who can blame you!

      I'm sorry to hear about your sister's struggles. I do know how that specific issue can take over a person's life, and that is certainly not the ideal situation for a member with SSA, but I also feel that there is a journey that they must take, and that focus, for a time, is part of that journey and so time and space is required for something we can never fully understand.

      As far as what BSA is proposing, I don't believe that declaring identity is what they are suggesting. In fact, my understanding is that BSA takes no position on such matters. They are simply agreeing to include youth who are openly gay, but will expect them to adhere to BSA standards if they wish to participate; which seems reasonable.

      I believe that BSA is against any form of activism.

      Delete
  9. Well put! I agree with you Kathryn.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I appreciate your rational and fair-minded approach here, Kathryn. I have been a bit taken aback by the negative reaction many LDS have had to this proposed policy, as it seems to move only towards greater consistency with current LDS policy. The comments on the Deseret News' piece certainly surprised me. It's simply encouraing to see your sincere and coherent objectivity even as someone whose apparoach to gay issues is perhaps more "traditional" than "progressive Mormons". I think it emphasizes what should be common ground here that, as you point out, seems to be unnecessarily eluding a lot of people on all "sides" right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, my friend!

      I have to say... you are a sight for sore eyes... literally! And let me be completely honest, as I have always been with you, late last night, as I was pondering over this issue, after having gone back and forth in conversations with different people on my FB wall, and various other places online (feeling like a ping-pong ball), attempting to explain my position, NOT popular with many, as you know, I realized that I had not heard from one gay person; and I knew if I did, they would at least be supportive in this one, focused area, which I have addressed: in allowing openly gay youth to participate in BSA.

      So for that, I thank you Chase, for speaking up. Because frankly, many (more liberal, if I can say that) are not even willing to see this as a positive, as they would rather take down my position, BSA, and anyone else who isn't 100% against the proposal; and as you say, it's not just LDS.

      I heard someone say yesterday, in something I read (can't remember where?) that if you've got both sides up in arms, you've probably got the right plan. ;)

      Again, on a personal note, it is very nice to 'see' you, Chase.

      Best,

      Kathryn

      Delete
    2. Thanks Kathryn -- you too.

      I agree -- reality often lies in the middleground, not at an extreme edge. I cannot understand how any LDS would be against this policy given that it aligns with their own religious doctrine, nor can I understand the usefulness of those on the "left" who might be too quick to throw the baby out with the water. Do I respect the double standard the policy still imposes on gay versus straight scouts? No. Do I think that's reason to malign the progress I do think was made? Certainly not.

      As for the scout leader issue... Although I feel uncomfortable that the maintained ban on gay scout leaders affirms an ignorant, unfair and offensive stereotype (and sadly most comments I read reflected that), I'll tell you that I did read one comment that helped me take a more pragmatic view by taking myself out of the equation (ah, indeed, always a clarifying experience for us all!). That commentor said that he/she was uncomfortable with a gay scout leader going out on treks and campouts with boys. At first, this really upset me, because it seemed to affirm that stereotype that gay men are, or must be more likely, to be pedophiles. I'm gay, not a pedophile. However, the commentor then pointed out that he/she would feel the same way if straight female leaders were scout leaders, or if straight male leaders were accompanying girl scouts. If I had to ask myself if I'd allow a straight male leader to take my daughter camping, I would say no. Even if he were my Bishop, my best friend, or whatever, I wouldn't do it. Is that rational? Is it really safer? Is it a reflection of his character? No, no, and no. It's unfair. It might even be insulting. Evidence shows us that the sexual orientation of pedophiles often has little to nothing to do with who becomes victims. But the fact is, it's a norm of our society; we're uncomfortable with allowing our children go with members of the opposite sex (or, in the case of gay adults, children of the same sex). Maybe someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I couldn't think of any examples, at least in my upbringing, where I can conceive of a double standard.

      Although I am doubtful that many people are being so rational and fair-minded in justifying the ban on gay scout leaders, at least it better helped me to understand and feel a bit less maligned. Perhaps those on the left would say I'm giving critics too much credit, and maybe I am, but today, I'm trying to step back and see this from a greater context even if too many people are too busy narrowing in and singling out gay leaders. As for educating people better about pedophilia, homosexuality, and religion's place in making policy for all citizens, well, I can leave that conversation to a different arena.

      So, let's savour this special moment today, Kathryn; we agree! :)

      Delete
    3. Nor can I explain it, Chase; other than to feel it is based in mainly fear of the unknown. Because as you point out, BSA's proposal is in line with LDS doctrine/policy, at least in my opinion of how Christians should behaved, as well it is the current policy of the Church to reach out to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, in love and inclusion. So, to me, this is very much in keeping with who we as a people and a Church profess to be. I have no defense.

      On your position as what you feel is a "double-standard" for gay and straight scouts; as well as issues having to do with scout leaders: I respectfully would not expect you to feel differently, as I am learning to be more sensitive in realizing that most often we see things through completely different lenses; not necessarily because one of us is wrong and one right.

      But for today, Chase, we're not going to worry about all that, because I'm 100% in agreement with you!

      So yes, let us "savour" our special day! In fact, I have a mind to perhaps burn something… or hike an extremely tall mountain…. or sing a rousing version of Kumbayah at the top of my lungs!

      Perhaps you can hear me -- because I'm dedicating this to YOU! : )

      Delete
  11. May I clarify my earlier comment that seemed to have been misunderstood. I suggested that for me the handling of this current issue by the BSA board suggests that its program may not be the best choice for LDS youth. The response following indicated that the author assumed that I was saying that the church should ban gays from whatever program might replacing BSA. In re-reading my comment several times I could not locate anything that would give that impression. Those are not my feelings nor would I support that type of exclusion. My point was that the handling of this current issue by the BSA board brings into focus a number of issues and to me suggests that the current BSA program may not be the best choice for LDS youth. As the author requested that we do not address other areas concerning the BSA I will refrain from discussing or listing other facts and concerns that support my suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your clarification. My apologies if I misread your original comment.

      Delete
  12. There are two separate and distinct groups in the scouting program - and the programs are very different in the way they are administered - LDS and Non-LDS Scout troops. Anyone who has been involved in Council level scouting leadership will understand this fully. So there is a sort of double standard at work in scouting, absent any other factor (such as homosexual boys in scouting). The money that the LDS Church puts into scouting has kept the organization alive. No LDS troops = the end of Boy Scouting as we know it.

    There have ALWAYS been homosexual boys in scouting. Now we are branding them (or their parents are - and in some cases maybe the boys are self-branding) which in most cases forces a de-facto separation between those scouts who are and those who are not homosexual. There are a lot of boys who are not and may not want to pitch their tents with homosexually oriented boys. Do you advocate FORCED integration in sleeping arrangements? I anticipate, Kat, that you would not. But by making this a big issue, you are putting up a dividing barrier, which is what the homosexual lobby would say that they are trying to break down.

    I can say for one that I would never knowingly send a boy to be a member of a troop managed by a homosexual scoutmaster. But that's not the only category of leader that I'd prefer to avoid. And it comes down to this. Nobody is forcing anyone to participate in scouting (except in the Church where it's nearly mandatory for boys). Scouting is a choice. If the Boy Scouts of America make a choice, people who decide whether or not to participate also have a choice.

    Likewise, if there was a hobby group (I don't personally do hobbies but I'm trying to come up with a scenario to make the point) that I participated in and people that I wasn't comfortable (let's call them communists or "progressives") with decided to join, I'd leave the group and either form my own group or pass on the group situation all together.

    Yes, in a scouting setting as with "white flight" from the inner city, you may be left with primarily homosexual scouts and homosexual leaders, giving the organization and distinctly different character based on sexual preference, but it's a free country.

    And it would end Boy Scouting because without the numbers (and the money) the organization would fold, except in the Church where it's nearly mandatory and LDS troops can make up their own rules and the BSA would allow it because of the money they put into the organization - just like they do today.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, LL, this sure can get complicated, can't it? I can tell you one thing, there's been a whole lot more opinions expressed off my blog than on it; and in all the years I've been blogging there's never been an issue where both sides have been equally as oppositional. Okay, that's two.

      Nevertheless, I must be one stubborn gal, because I keep coming back to the same thing over and over again, regardless of all of the seemingly sound arguments, and that's the baseline principle that compelled me to look past all of the activism and agendas in play: WWJD?

      And doggone-it, every time I picture Him in our presence, I'm certain He would look at us all and just shake His head... and then He'd look at all the boys, and signal to all of them to come with Him...

      And we would all be left standing there... feeling like a bunch of jerks.

      And then again, maybe I'm totally wrong.

      Delete
    2. We aren't a Zion society. We're not even a pale moon cast shadow of a Zion society and we don't put much effort into it. - and moving on - My comments were directed at the likely cause and effect reaction. That means human beings, and fallibility are the central core of the argument.

      From an LDS point of view, there is a difference between wanting to be a Sodomite and being one. I do understand the fine line. However Lot's wife ended up in a bad way because she yearned for something that was wrong without doing it. That's what it seems to me that LDS Homosexuals are doing. WWJD? What did he do to Lot's wife?

      Just sayin'.

      Delete
    3. No, we are not, but we have the challenge before us to figure out how to get there. If there are not situations that cause us to stretch beyond our comfortable places, I seriously doubt we will ever get there on our own. Could this potentially be one of the issues to move that work along?

      I say 'work', because we are going to have to 'choose' to work for Zion, and I don't think it's going to come easy. And when I think of "Zion" I am always reminded of this warning: "If ye are not ONE, ye are not Mine". It is interesting that the Lord needs to 'remind' us of this important principle, as if we need correcting; apparently we do.

      But again, I could be totally wrong.

      Delete
  13. Wow Kathryn. I'm recently new to reading your blog but just wow. At first I was thinking absolutely not but then again I don't know what will go down. I suppose it all depends on the language of the policy. I wish I had a copy of it to review. I guess there's a fine line between "Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting is contrary to the virtues of Scouting" and "we're okay with active homosexuals in Scouting." It seems to me the BSA, especially the LDS group, always had a check system in place and there really is no need for BSA to further develop the policy.

    I suppose if the policy stated everyone is welcomed in Scouting so long as it's understood that "Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting is contrary to the virtues of Scouting", I'd be okay with that because we've have always had that.

    On the contrary, I'm more concern about any language indicating anything in the slightest that might say it's okay to be homo-sexually active because it's a dangerous and unhealthy environment for any one righteous person to subject themselves to.

    I hope this makes sense. I keep rereading and editing.

    An article about what happened in Canada seems to paint a prediction of could happen with BSA.

    http://ww2.onenewsnow.com/culture/2013/02/04/tragic-consequences-in-canadian-scouting

    What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The link is actually in the post, right at the beginning in the word proposal.

      My understanding is that BSA would require anyone, regardless of gender preference to adhere to their longheld moral standards if they desire to participate in the program -- and would not tolerate any type of activism.

      I have no comment on Canada's scout program, as I just don't know enough about it.

      Delete
    2. Okay. I read and studied the proposal.

      . . . and

      Color me stupid! Curse the media and the proposal or resolution! There's no change!

      It's already BSA's current standard not to question or deny employees, volunteers, or members (including adult leaders) regarding their sexual orientation but "do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA." Why go through all this trouble to resolve another (duplicated) standard which has previously been spelled out? Good grief!

      This has really gotten blown out of proportion. The idea that BSA is making a new resolution on their position towards having gay members give many the impression that, "Yes. It's okay to have 'open', 'avowed', and 'engaging' 'homosexuals' into the program. At least from a laymans perspective that's the impression I got. What a cause for wasting time! The program is good and has been for 103 years! Quit the scrutiny!

      I do apologize if this seems to be a detrimental comment on your blog but I think it's a clear and clean expression of my now disbelief in the whole matter. Your blog is good and really shedded some light in a whole other perspective I didn't really see before. Thank you. . . and if it weren't for you I wouldn't have found the proposal until later if at all. Thanks again. Keep expressing. I do enjoy them when I have the time and interest to read them.

      Delete
  14. I have a hard time hearing gay and faithful member in the same sentence. If we think of the grand scheme of our belief to get to the celestial kingdom and create worlds of our own, there is no room for homosexuality. You need a man and a woman. God and godess.

    I think the gay issue is a social and cultural issue. I have no problem with gays in scouts. Its like you said there should be no sexual issues in scouts hetero or homo. It should be a safe place for our youth to focus on scouting not on sexuality.

    My issue will arise if there is ever gay temple marriage. To me fhat will mean our whole religion has changed, becuase you can't change universal laws and truths. We were meant to multiply the earth and that takes man and woman, it will take man and woman in heaven as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But here in mortality, Tabitha, many of our brothers and sisters, who are faithful members, do consider themselves either gay or lesbian; even if it makes you and I a bit uncomfortable. The Church considers this challenge important enough that they have created the new website http://mormonsandgays.org so that members might better understand how to reach out and understand the unique challenges these members have and know how to better support them. So, although homosexuality won't be an issue after we leave this life, it is here and we have been called to help them bear their burden.

      You have nothing to worry about with SSM entering our temples. Our doctrine is firm. April General Conference should have put that to rest for all of us; if anyone had any doubt whatsoever.

      Delete
  15. WWJD?

    He would surely not consider it a good idea to have men in charge of 8-18 year old female youth groups, yet that is the analogous situation to having gay men in charge of scouts--whether they have ostensibly chosen celibacy or not. Yet you've suggested that this is a good idea.

    He also would likely not support a policy that at least implicitly encourages 8-18 year old boys to openly discuss their "sexual orientation" as part of their identity. If, as a youth program, sexual conduct is contrary to the virtues of scouting, why should scouting be a place for youth to discuss their sexual orientation, which in most cases has not fully been developed? How is that consistent with the church and gospel principles? What does it mean for a 12 year old to "be" "openly gay" anyway?

    I understand the impulse to want youth who self-identify as gay to not be excluded on that basis. I agree with that, and it is consistent with the gospel, but I think it is already the policy in scouting. If a boy says nothing about his sexual feelings one way or another, he will be included. If that is currently not the policy, then any shift should be much more narrowly tailored to achieve that result. There is no reason to pander to a contingent in our society that will never be satisfied.

    -Pete

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pete,

      BSA has a strict policy, as I understand it, of never allowing an adult leader alone with a youth; meaning all adults are chaperoned by another adult. If this is the case, then there should be no cause for alarm if a responsible adult, a person of honor -- perhaps even temple worthy -- serves as a scout leader.

      BSA has a strict policy that they do not support any kind of homosexual activism.

      "WHEREAS, the Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization, nor may any member use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda;"

      I assure you, that although the acronym WWJD may seem a bit immature to most members of the LDS Church, I am coming from a place that is much more than a mere "impulse".

      Delete
  16. Kathryn, thanks for your thoughtful article. Just one observation about the following sentence: "Faithful gay Mormons, most single, have chosen a life of complete celibacy, in making the choice to be obedient to God by keeping His commandment to stay morally clean."

    Many people have the mistaken notion that the majority of faithful Mormons who experience same-sex attractions are single. My experience is that about half are single and half are married. These are my observations after serving over 17 years in leadership positions with the organization Evergreen International. See http://www.thessavoice.com/about-us

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Larry. From that perspective, it makes sense. Let's hope with continued outreach to our single gay brothers and lesbian sisters, that I can make 'my' statement without question. As well, it will be interesting to acquire more accurate studies, as more gay members feel safe to 'come out' within the LDS community.

      BTW, we learn new things about each other everyday, don't we? Good for you with your work at Evergreen. Nice to know I have a great resource!

      Delete
  17. Thank you so much for this. I stumbled onto your blog and was so happy to see my own thoughts laid out here in print! ;) My husband is a mid-level executive for the BSA. We are also faithful, card carrying LDS peeps. It's more rare than you'd think, to be both. We've been under a lot of stress the last few months, wondering how all the cards would fall, and where the church would stand, because at the end of the day, we follow the prophet, period. I have been SO pleased with the words of council that our church leaders have offered and have just thought over and over again, yes! This is why we have a prophet, to lead us through these VERY confusing moral issues. I for one, hope that this move spells a renewal of scouting and a renewal of commitment to serve all young men and lead them towards positive morals and lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi AmyJane,

      I'm so pleased with how things have turned out. I couldn't be more proud to be a member of this Church, than I am right now; The Church of 'Jesus Christ'. If ever His Name was was emulated correctly, this is clear evidence in my personal opinion. The funny thing is, that I've always struggled as a mom with scouting. I was a failure getting my own boys to all the activities. I see more clearly than ever before the necessity of this program for every young man. I finally 'get it'. Now that I've repented I am behind this great work. Thanks for all you do!

      Delete