That conversion, if you will, began only months ago, when I felt compelled, on principle alone, to take on what I feel is the biggest controversy having to do with the Church, this year, and that many thought would threaten the relationship with BSA. I felt completely different and decided to say so, and why, in this post.
'A Century of Honor', presented in the LDS Conference Center, was a gala event to celebrate the 100-year-old, strong, partnership between the Boy Scouts of America and the LDS Church - made perhaps even more significant (from my perspective), after the decision of BSA to allow openly gay boys to fully participate in the scouting program. Prior to that vote, the LDS Church made a public statement that rocked the Christian world - and left many of its own members confused.
Right beside BSA, in full support, and in the face of tremendous backlash, the LDS Church stood boldly, and issued a statement following that decision. Not surprising, a good amount of that opposition came from those of Christian faith, including Mormons on all sides of the aisle - some threatening to withdraw their boys from BSA, feeling that the wrong decision had been decided by leaders of the Church. And perhaps even more surprising, was the positive feedback from many within, and who support, the LGBT community who although they would like to see more inclusion of gays, willingly gave the thumbs-up to both organizations.
What ensued during and since the initial controversy has been a strengthening of this partnership by taking important opportunities to make clarifications as to the purpose of the BSA program, in relation to the purpose of the LDS Church.
Throughout this journey, although I have personally never seen the program fully activated, as described, it became crystal clear why it is of great value to the work of the Lord, when implemented by the Spirit. The bottom line for me, personally, was the underlying message that both testify of, in word and deed: the love of Jesus Christ, who's arms stand ready to receive all of His children, willing to respect His commandments, and is the foundation that drives both programs.
Though I am now a convert to the 'purpose' of the scouting arm of the Church, I am still in favor of leaving the 'woodsy' operations to the many good parents and enthusiastic leaders of Boy Scouts! ( I wonder if my bishop will read this post?)
That was a powerful moment, that I felt while I watched the broadcast, online. I can only imagine what it felt like to stand unified with that powerful army of Christ, who were gathered to stand for truth and righteousness.
Those thoughts, moved me to know that BSA and the LDS Church have a friendship worth forging for the next 100 years!
Watch this short video for a brief overview of the celebration:
Mormon Newsroom Video:
The Mormon Newsroom has an excellent article covering the celebration, A Century of Honor, including beautiful photographs and helpful links posted on it
LDS.org: Watch A Century of Honor broadcast, online.
Hashtag when sharing this story: #scouts100
LDS Church News and Events: “A Century of Honor” Chronicles Scouting in the Church
Deseret News: LDS Church, Boy Scouts celebrate 'A Century of Honor'
Photos: Mormon Newsroom © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
"Thomas S. Monson received the Boy Scouts of America award the Honor Medal by BSA's national leaders (left to right) Tico Perez, national commissioner; Wayne Perry, BSA president; and Wayne Brock, national chief Scout executive. Also pictured are President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, counselors in the Church's First Presidency. The Honor Medal is awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has demonstrated unusual heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save life at considerable risk to self. President Monson performed that act of bravery as a young Scout."
"Two Boy Scouts rappelled from the Conference Center rafters with the American and Scout flags in a unique flag ceremony as the 100-plus Cub Scout choir sang the national anthem and the audience repeated the Pledge of Allegiance"