LDS Church to Hang in With Scouting Program for Now

In an unexpected turn of events, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) announced that they will continue (for now) their ongoing relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The Mormon Newsroom released the following statement on behalf of the Council of the First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth. As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country. 
In the resolution adopted on July 27, 2015, and in subsequent verbal assurances to us, BSA has reiterated that it expects those who sponsor Scouting units (such as the Church) to appoint Scout leaders according to their religious and moral values “in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.” At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards. 
With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.

There seems to be an initial, broad consensus from members online that "it's only a matter of time" before the LDS Church will need to part ways with BSA. Some expressing disappointment in the decision to remain affiliated considering the new policy to allow openly gay leaders to participate in the program. Others share a concern that the Church will soon find itself knee-deep in laws suits to defend the principle of Religious Freedom in order to maintain its right to uphold the standards of the Church in appointing BSA leaders within the faith.

The particular sentence within the above statement that seems to give members the feeling that the Church is still in a holding pattern, of sorts, and will continue to monitor the situation is this one:


"At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards." 

In other words, only time will tell the future of the Church's ongoing relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. But for now, no knee-jerk reaction to throw in the towel. Rather, we forge ahead and "come what may" seek for the good.


Update: The thought that came to my mind (feeling that the Church knows it will end up in court) is that it wants the opportunity to defend Religious Freedom. No doubt, this inevitably would be high profile and really test the waters of where society is on the issue. That, and the fact that BSA is entrenched in Mormon culture/tradition and there would likely be some strong kickback. Timing is everything and with so much on the line, I just don't think its time, yet. I think time and experience going forward will develop the unity necessary to move on. 

tDMg

Kathryn Skaggs

You might also enjoy reading this: Mormon 100 Year Partnership with BSA that Almost Wasn't

6 comments:

  1. I think that the value of having the Church connected to the hip with Boy Scouting has run its course. Obviously there are church leaders who disagree.

    The LDS Church accounts for well over half of all the registrations for Boy Scouts. If the Church withdrew, the impact on the scouting organization would be catastrophic. Then again, the decision to allow openly homosexual and transexual leadership accomplishes the same catastrophic end in my opinion.

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    1. I can't say I disagree. I did add a few new thoughts to the bottom of post that I think might have some merit as to why the Church decided to stay, for now.

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    2. I appreciate your updated reply. I happened to go to the temple last night and came to basically the same conclusion. The Church Leaders chose this course for a purpose, and time will tell what that purpose is.

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    3. The church will do what they will do. On a local level, it's up to parents (LDS and non-LDS) to evaluate scout leaders on their personal merits. Protecting children is the duty of parents and watchful adult leaders in the scouting program. That's true of mainstream education, daycare and every other situation where we hand custody of our children to others.

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  2. The idea that the Church might want test the legal boundaries is intriguing. It reminds me of something similar happening in 1878. George Reynolds was offered up as a test case on the constitutionality of anti-bigamy laws. The Church felt those laws were against religious freedom and therefore illegal. The Supreme Court ruled against the Church. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynolds_v._United_States

    Whether the Church would try such a test again is not clear. There is less at stake then polygamy. But there is precedent.

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    1. Interesting. I do think it is a viable idea, considering the encouragement for members to do the same in our personal lives. The only reason we would leave has nothing to do with the program itself. The reason the Church would part ways, in my opinion, only has to do with our ability or inability to protect its right to function according to faith beliefs.

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