By Melany Gardner
Jul 17, 2015

5 reasons why the BSA adult leadership standard resolution is right for Scouting

There is nothing I hate more than inconsistency. Like a toaster that never toasts my bread perfectly the first time, I hate when I can’t get what I expect. Especially when it comes to organizations. So, July 10 when the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Executive Committee unanimously adopted a resolution amending the adult leadership standards policy, I had cause to ponder on the consistency of this decision with Scouting’s long-standing standards and values.

After careful thought I found five reasons why this resolution is right for Scouting.

Read the full resolution: BSA Resolution on Adult Leadership Standards

Rockwell PreparedToDoAGoodTurn crop1. Because a Scout is brave and reverent; defends religious freedom:

By far the most important fact surrounding this resolution is the BSA’s reaffirmation of the longstanding right of religious chartered organizations to select adult volunteer leaders according to their own standards and beliefs and who meet BSA Youth Protection requirements.

So, to be clear, this is not a policy decision that forces chartered organizations to accept leaders without regard to sexual orientation, but rather a non-policy on the issue, allowing the religious and community organizations to make the final call without the BSA limiting them with standards that not all organizations or even religious organizations agree on.

Nevertheless, based on first amendment protection of religious freedom, the BSA will defend to the fullest extent allowed by law any religious chartered organization against any claim or action that contends with this right to choose their adult leaders based on their religious beliefs.

Ultimately, the proposed change allows families to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families. This change also respects the right of religious chartered organizations to choose adult volunteer leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own, which they have had the right to do for over 105 years.

More on the history of the concept of a chartered organization, which was largely brought about by the LDS Church’s relationship with Scouting HERE.

Truly this is a brave move by the BSA that respects all the different points of view represented in Scouting’s membership, while staying true to the religious principles that Scouting was founded on. In fact this resolution is not unlike the Utah LGBT anti-discrimination law passed this year to much applause from both sides of the issue.

The Scout Oath begins with the duty to God and the Scout Law ends with a Scout’s obligation to be reverent. Scouting respects and defends the rights of others to practice their own religious beliefs without criticism.

Rockwell Tomorrows Leader crop2. Because we must “Be Prepared” in a changing environment:

It is clear that the social, political, and legal changes taking place in our country are shaping the decisions that have to be made in many organizations across the nation. In an effort to “Be Prepared” for such changes and maintain our core values such as “duty to God,” the BSA has preemptively resolved to address the adult leadership standards issue and set its own course before any court involvement.

The potential cost of litigation aside, allowing the issue to remain unresolved and waiting for the courts to act could lead to “a broad ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard, including our foundational belief in our duty to God and our focus on serving the specific needs of boys. Waiting for the courts is a gamble with huge stakes,” Dr. Robert Gates said in his speech at the 2015 National Annual Meeting in May. More on Dr. Gate’s speech HERE.

To me, this is not a resolution brought about by fear, but by a sense of preparation for foreseeable consequences. People do not necessarily use a life jacket on a boat because they can’t swim, but because they want to be prepared for any circumstance.

“…if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” –  D.&C. 38:30

By preemptively amending the adult membership policy to reiterate the right of religious chartered organization to choose their leaders according to their standards, I believe the BSA is being consistent with what they preach on being prepared.

Rockwell EverOnward crop3. Because duty to God and country are Scouting’s immutable core values:

In no way is this resolution the beginning of the end of the core values that the Boy Scouts holds dear. Duty to God and duty to country are immutable tenets of the Boy Scouts of America—forever unchangeable. The Scout Oath and Law are central to teaching young people to make better choices over their lifetimes and will not be abandoned for any reason—socially, politically or otherwise.

“The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God…we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class…In the Scouts each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged…[through this] we have the opportunity in developing the spirit of mutual good will and understanding., ” —Lord Robert Baden-Powell

Today we cannot and will not forget that the Scouting movement was based on religious principle. Youth and adult members of the BSA are required to agree to and adhere to the BSA Declaration of Religious Principle which says “that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.”

In the matter of duty to country, we recognize that the United States of America is made up of countless families and communities, and that we should all work hard to be good family members and good citizens by striving to make our country better, obeying its laws, and serving our communities.

I feel proud when I think of how I live in a diverse country with people who are willing to work together despite differences in religion, class or creed to bring about good. Here we can fight for the right to our differences and then turn around and work together for benefit of all. That is what Scouting has always been about, and that’s darn-right American.

Rockwell GoodTurn crop4. Because a Scout is helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind:

In Scouting there is a subtle overreaching spirit of inclusion. You’ll find countless stories of boys that don’t feel like they fit in anywhere, but find a place in Scouting, or about the boy who is passed up for positions in school or sports, but given opportunities for leadership experience in Scouting. It happens all the time and it’s because of what Scouting teaches.

Scouting teaches youth members and adult leaders to be helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind to all and to respect those whose beliefs—in particular religious beliefs—differ from their own. Scouting inherently teaches to be tolerant and respectful of different religious and moral beliefs, acknowledging that reasonable minds may honorably differ, without sacrificing their own deeply-held beliefs.

Nationally, Scouting represents approximately 2.4 million youth members and nearly 1 million adult leaders with diverse beliefs. Even among the religious organizations, there are differing opinions on the subject of sexual orientation which deserve respect.

This resolution is not contradictory to, but holds true to the BSA’s teachings on tolerance and respect while giving full rights for everyone to act according to conscience.

Rockwell PointingTheWay crop5. Because Scouts keep themselves morally straight:

Matters of marriage, family, and sexuality raise profound social, moral, and theological questions. In an organization that has always been deeply respectful of the religious and moral beliefs of its chartering organizations, with so many differing voices, these questions cannot be answered at a national level.

To quote directly from the resolution: “The Boy Scouts of America affirms that sexual relations between adults should be moral, honorable, committed, and respectful. Adult Scout leaders should reflect these values in their personal and public lives so as to be proper role models for youth. The Boy Scouts of America affirms the right of each chartering organization to reach its own religious and moral conclusions about the specific meaning and application of these values.”

In today’s world morality has many different definitions, but that doesn’t mean that the BSA doesn’t have any required standards for their adult members; far from it, in fact.

All adult members of the BSA must:

Parents will always have the power to decide which Scout unit they choose to affiliate with according to that chartered organization’s definition of morality and values, and can choose that unit with beliefs that best match their own. In the end, Scouting is not an appropriate environment to discuss sexual conduct, ever.

The BSA will continue to have strict behavioral standards for its youth and adult members. Scouting is a youth program and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.

Conclusion:

With this resolution, Scouting will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth to help them grow into good, strong citizens. By focusing on the goals that unite us, we are able to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.

Members of the BSA National Executive Board—including four members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints general officers, President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Brother Stephen W. Owen and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom—will meet July 27 to ratify this resolution.

Read National BSA’s release HERE.

Melany Gardner2

 

Melany Gardner | Editor, The Boy Scout, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

 

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84 thoughts on “5 reasons why the BSA adult leadership standard resolution is right for Scouting

  1. Dave

    You can twist and mingle your post with scripture, it still doesn’t change the fact that the BSA is selling out in the moral department. This ability to choose local leadership is fine and dandy, but what happens when I send my son to a multi-troop camp that has a gay leader there?
    This whole gay movement in scouting isn’t about scouting it’s about the BSA selling out for sponsorship.
    Hopefully we won’t see this change ratified.

    Reply
    1. Unhappy

      You are absolutely correct Dave!

      No one would send their daughters into the woods for a week with straight leaders but we are now being asked to send our boys into the woods with homosexual leaders.

      Nope!

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      1. Martin

        The supreme court already gave the BSA the right to set membership requirements and exclude anyone that didn’t meet them. All the BSA had to do was do nothing. This is not about protecting the churches, but about conforming to a liberal societal agenda.

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      2. jacob

        Then become the leader so your son has the most moral leader possible. If you fill the position then there will be no room for that gay person to fill the position….so you won’t send your son in the woods with a gay leader…would u send your daughter into the woods with a gay male leader or a hetero female leader or send your son with a hetero female leader? Wow complicated isn’t it. With all the female teacher scandals of hetero females sleep in with male students it would seem immoral to send a boy into the woods with a hetero female, even a married one…keep in mind that 90% of adult male pedophiles do not identify with being gay.
        I served in the military and knew many gay soldiers that kept it secret and most of them I had no issues of serving with. In fact I had more faith in a few of them.then I had for most of the hetero soldiers. Good luck.

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        1. roger

          It isn’t complicated, Jacob. We try to protect our youth from exposure to immorality and to teach them to be morally straight. Camping with gay individuals who are held up as roll-models undermines this and puts our children at unnecessary risk for moral corruption. Your argument tries to muddy the issue by pointing out other irrelevant risks. Red Herring. BSA’s silence on the issue is perceived as consent.

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    2. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder

      What should BSA do with the pending litigation in the courts? By taking control of of their own fate, BSA has protected any church’s right to select its own leaders.
      As for the question of camping with other troops of other faiths, the LDS communities in Alberta Canada have done it successfully for two decades. Surely we can do as well.
      You may also want to consider one of our LDS encampment opportunities, which usually buy out an entire week at camp, ensuring Stake leadership is in control of standards and messaging all week long.

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      1. JR

        @Darryl

        What should the scouts do? Do what is right and let the consequences follow. That’s what.

        Do you think God would protect this program any less if we simply took a strong, firm stand against gay leadership? On the contrary, I think the program would become even stronger if we took a stand. And if not, and the BSA crumbles, so be it. Did the early LDS saints compromise with the mob or did they leave their homes burning behind them? Did Joseph capitulate to the demands of his accusors or did he go to jail knowing full well he would become a martyr?

        What happened to the organization that goes forth “boldly, nobly, and independent”?

        And this idea that they LGBT activists will simply stop after this chartering exception, they’ll be coming after that too. This is naive. Personal freedoms are being eroded almost daily. This isn’t helping us “be prepared” for anything, it’s just sending a message that we will back-pedal whenever things get tough.

        This isn’t the BSA I grew up with and was taught.

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      2. Paul Reber

        That’s exactly what our stake in Arizona did several years ago to adjust for the church’s request not to camp over on Sunday, which was part of the standard schedule for camps in the Grand Canyon Council. The Council made the accomodations for the LDS units to have a dedicated week at the camps, LDS themed. I hope that there will be accomodations for such considerations regarding all of these issues. It will be a challenge though outside of LDS member dominant or heavily influenced councils. With over 30 years and counting in scouting, I’m watching closely to see how this unfolds. Its so disappointing to see our culture degenerate to the point that BSA, a pillar of strength, is being so negatively attacked and influenced this way. I have to admit that I’m relieved that my own boys (all Eagle Scouts) have completed the program, and that my grandsons are not yet of age to participate until the outcome of the current influences are sorted out. Regardless, I’m confident that the LDS church will continue to hold to its doctrines and values as it determines what is best for the YM of the church, wherever that leads regarding BSA affiliation.

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      3. roger

        When young men in Canada were asked if they were scouts by a US missionary serving there, they replied “No way! We’re not gay!”. Your pointing to other regional methods of dealing with the problem are not logical reasons why we should not oppose corruption.

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    3. Dennis Freeman

      Your boys will be effected by a gay leader from another troop? Are you concerned about your boys being negatively effected by being around boys from another faith tradition? One of my concerns is about my boys being exposed to prejudice, so I hope that courteous and kind guide your speech and behavior when you are around units who have a different attitude about adult leaders.
      D. Freeman, SM, Troop 312, Green River, WY

      Reply
      1. Bryan Grisham

        Well said. Our children are already being exposed to so many more things in school than they ever will at Boy Scout Camp. Remember this resolution changes nothing in regards to the resolution passed in 2013 that states that sexuality has no place in Scouting. We should focus on serving the boys.

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        1. roger

          It’s poor logic to rationalize that since exposure to corruption occurs in other places it should be accepted everywhere.

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      2. roger

        The answer to your question is: yes, of course leaders’ sexual immorality effects our youth, and yes if other scouts are sexually immoral, it effects faithful scouts. We have all taken oaths to be morally straight, clean, reverent and to do our duty to God. Choosing leaders and associates for our youth who do not live up to these standards – no matter what their religious background – is in conflict with our objectives.

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        1. Alan

          Roger,
          So who gets to decide what is moral and what is not? You? Me? Someone else? Ultimately, I think we can all agree that whichever deity one believes in will be the final arbiter of that question.
          The 12th point of the Scout Law requires us to be Reverent, and that includes being tolerant of differences in religious beliefs. We all need to follow the teachings of our own religions, and be respectful of the differences between religions. A problem with your statement is that you assume your Faith is the One True Faith. However, it’s likely that not everyone agrees with you – I certainly don’t – but I celebrate your right to believe what you do.
          There are religious institutions that do not consider homosexuality a sin. There are religions that believe that eating pork and shellfish is sinful. Some find card playing, dancing, female religious leaders, abortion, drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, and divorce to all be sinful. For better or for worse, not everyone is required to believe the same thing!
          I think we Scouters need teach the Youth in our care to live by the Scout Oath and Law. As parents we should teach our children to grow up to be responsible adults in a diverse society. We don’t necessarily have to agree with everything that goes on in our society, but we need to teach our children how to decide, based on family and religious values, what is right and what is wrong for them.

          Yours in Scouting,
          Alan

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    4. Derrick

      Dave,

      You worry about your son in Scouting? Why? Because there may be a leader or boy in the program of another troop that believes differently than he does? Scouting has many plans put into place (youth protection) that do great things to keep Scouts safe. I am sorry that you take the stance that any gay is a pedophile, which is not true. On another note, you should probably not send your kid to school because his gym teacher is gay. Don’t send him to football practice because the quarterback is gay. Oh and don’t let him get on facebook or the internet because there are gay people out there. I for one support any organization that supports individual freedom and religious freedom. I live in America and am an American and believe in people being free. Unfortunately our federal government is a lot less American these days but that is a whole other topic. Good luck to you and your son, oh, did forget to mention that your sons are far more likely to be exposed to homosexuality and pornography in school and on the internet than in Scouting? I will continue to support Scouting and the LDS Church in our stance to defend life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

      Reply
      1. roger

        Derrick, your position is not logical.
        You imply that because immorality exists at school or on athletic teams, etc. we should tolerate it in BSA.
        You also imply that we should endorse homosexual leaders since BSA has systems and protocols to protect youth from sexual abuse.
        You miss the point entirely. We are opposing immorality everywhere we can (yes, even at school and in the gym), and that we are against endorsing homosexual leaders to (yes) reduce the occurrences of homosexual molestation at BSA activities (which do occur) AND to avoid the implication of an endorsement of homosexuality itself.

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        1. Trent

          Roger, you miss the point. Who’s morality are we enforcing? Yours? What about the Bahai scouts that participate with us that don’t believe it’s wrong? What about the Buddhist’s What about the Unitarians, Presbyterians (PC USA), Jewish (many denominations)? what about all of them? I could go on, but I think you get the point?

          You want to enforce your moral perspective on an organization that is non-sectarian. We have people in scouting from every religion across the world. What makes yours so much more valid than all the rest? Scouting is not an evangelical Christian organization, and it never has been.

          I don’t know your faith, you don’t know mine, but I am sure you believe what you believe for a reason (because, you think it’s the right one), just as much as I believe what I believe for the same reason. It’s called faith for a reason. Why would you want to force your morality on a person, or an organization? Jesus certainly did not. He said, “behold I stand at the door and knock.” not, “I stand at the door an kick it in.”

          Reply
          1. JR

            Trent,

            If morality is subjective, then the Scout Oath means absolutely nothing. What happens when a group of Satanists want to be Boy Scouts, is their version of morality okay too?

            Wrong. Morality in Boy Scouts has always referred to the Christian definition, based upon Biblical principles. It’s founders were Christians and those that revised and wrote the rules for Scouting used Christian ideals. Morality isn’t just some subjective idea to mean whatever you want, that’s 100% anathema to what the Scouts have always stood for.

            What you preach is called moral nihilism. The BSA does not stand for nihilism, and neither did Jesus. He taught, “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”.

  2. Tennys Bird

    Thank you for taking time to explain everything in such detail! You stated everything very clearly and I understand the information and the reasons behind the decision even better now. I greatly appreciate the fact that my chartered organization is not going to be forced to change and accept leaders without regard to sexual orientation. They will still be allowed to choose the leaders they feel will be best for the boys. Then I as a parent will need to take responsibility to find a chartered organization that aligns with my personal beliefs and preferences. The responsibility and choice is up to me as a parent. As a parent I have the power to decide which chartered organization I want to belong to and ultimately how my sons will be influenced.

    Reply
  3. Unhappy

    I’m disappointed to see the BSA cower to the gay agenda in the name of political correctness.

    There is no way that I’d consider sending a troop of girls on week long camp with two straight leaders. However the BSA thinks it is just fine to send boys into the woods for a week with gay leaders.

    Do what is right for the boys instead of what makes you popular in your perverted social circles.

    Reply
    1. Melece

      I myself am having a hard time with this change, but you are wrong about the girls. Girls have been going to camp with straight leaders, for years. It doesn’t matter that their leaders are female, they are still out in the woods alone with them. There’s a double standard there.

      Reply
  4. Garth

    The BSA has capitulated on the moral standard for sexuality established by God. All of the pontificating in this post just beats around the bush. God didn’t change, we did.

    “Morally Straight” means something, and the BSA either forgot or surrendered to relativism.

    Reply
  5. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder

    I just found this insightful piece of Americana in Chuck Wills’, Boy Scouts of America: A Centennial History (Published by DK Publishing, 2009) pp. 44–45. During the early 1900’s in the USA there was “… considerable tension between Catholics and Protestants and not much in the way of ecumenical cooperation. The leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in America, for example, was wary of allowing its boys and young men to participate in Scouting because of the movement’s close identification with YMCA, then a staunchly Protestant Protestant organization. … then in 1917, the Church finally allowed Catholic boys to join the Scouts, but only on the condition that ‘there shall be distinctly Catholic troops under Catholic Scoutmaster, and that there shall be a chaplain appointed by the proper ecclesiastical authority for each Catholic troop.'” Interesting to see BSA’s third largest Charter Partner exercising it’s right to select Scout leaders who adhere to moral and religious principles consistent with their Church doctrines and beliefs and at the same time excluding others. I wonder if they camped with Scouts from other faiths?

    Reply
  6. It was great while it lasted

    The Girl Scouts never recovered from its feminist take over in the 70’s. If it was not for the cookies they would have totally disappeared. When core values are discarded you have no foundation. Unfortunately for the BSA, they don’t cookies to keep them alive.

    Reply
  7. Andrew

    The BSA is not protecting chartered organizations at all with this change, they are throwing them under the bus. What this policy does is allow the BSA to say to the gay rights groups, “Hey, it’s not us that’s discriminating against gays, it’s those homophobic Mormons (or Catholics, etc)”. They can thus avoid being the defendants in a lawsuit and instead the groups will go after the chartering organizations directly. The head of Scouts for Equality said so in news coverage when this vote was announced. He said it was a step in the right direction, but that they would continue pushing for chartered organizations to be forced to allow gay leaders: “While this policy change is not perfect—BSA’s religious chartering partners will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay adults—it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement.” So this policy change does nothing to settle the issue, it only allows the BSA to wash their hands of it.

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  8. Dave Johnson

    Mel, very well stated! I am impressed at the way you were able to define why the BSA needed to make this move in this changing world. We are not cowing down to special interest groups, but taking our future into our own hands by moving to a solid position that defends Duty to God and the right of churches to determine who their leadership will be. Given the current Supreme Court’s recent decisions and likely future decisions, this is the best position we can place ourselves in.

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  9. JR

    As an Eagle Scout, I’m removing all affiliation with the Boy Scouts along with my 3 sons. These are simply excuses for an organization that is not courageous enough to stand up for its own Oath. This is like supporting a casino and bar while not gambling or drinking there. It’s still wrong and sends the wrong message to boys and young men about morality.

    Watch your thoughts, words and deeds. Evil doesn’t just begin with actions, it starts in your mind, and promoting a mindset like as normal and okay doesn’t help anyone.

    Shame on the Scouts and shame on those who refuse to take a firm stand.

    Reply
  10. Edgar Tooley

    Thanks for taking the time to explain the BSA position on this. It isn’t an easy topic. I especially like your point five. Living morally straight is key to the safety of the boys not sexual orientation. I hope the BSA will continue to require training including Youth Protection to build leaders that know the program and follow it.

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  11. Scott

    I completely agree with Dave. The whole, painful, way through the article, my constant thought was “Wow, I cannot believe how the words from the Scout Oath are being used to represent exactly the opposite of what they were meant to stand for.” I cannot believe that anyone could actually swallow the ‘local unit gets to choose the leaders that best represent their ideals’ pill. When the BSA adopts this resolution, it is saying only one thing, the BSA changes and adopts the popular trends of the era–and will not stand against an opposing standard if it means it would most certainly be defeated. I certainly believe that the BSA would lose its’ tax exempt status and popularity if it stood against gay leadership. It would likely be out of business within 5 years or so. Even so, the right thing to do is to go down standing for the BSA standard–not to change and adopt, and redefine the meaning behind the BSA. To me, the BSA is dead the day they adopt this resolution.

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  12. Gailen Vick

    In the San Francisco Bay Area Council at a Summer Camp that I took our troop to as Scout Master, it seemed that one troop’s adult leaders (age 22 & 23) had difficultly with controlling their scouts from groping other scouts as we left the camp-fire one evening. We had a Scoutmaster Conference (within minutes) and the Camp Director made it very clear that if anything similar to what had happened that evening occurred again, then those scouts, troop and leaders would be asked to leave. He stated “sexual conduct, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting”.
    Now here is the good part, a few of the scouts from that wayward troop started “hanging around” with our troop and told us they were uncomfortable with their troop surrounding, we told them to call their parents and let the Camp Director know.
    It is sad to say but years after I left the Old Colony Council, I found out that one of our LDS scout leaders hadn’t followed Youth Protection Training.
    Be a watchman over our YM in and out of the scout unit and have more than the required 2 deep adult leadership in your troop, we are sentinels and must watch over our troop.

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  13. So Over It

    BSA has been heading down a slippery slope for years. My mother used to ask me, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” Apparently, BSA’s answer is a resounding “yes.” I have fought with everything I have in me to teach my boys their duty to God, and to defend the family. BSA should have been an organization that backed me up in that. Now, instead of teaching our youth to stand firm and immovable in the service of God, they are teaching them to do whatever the devil everyone else is doing, so long as it keeps them from getting made at us. Shame on BSA. So to this article: say whatever makes you feel better about the horrible reality. In my view, this has nothing to do with discrimination or whether a gay leader would make a great leader. It’s about diving headlong off of that cliff. I can tell you right now, none of my 5 sons (and counting) will be Eagle Scouts. It means nothing any more.

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  14. Carl Parker

    Interesting discussion. I just returned from Scofield Scout Camp and couldn’t help but think what impact the decision will have in the hiring practices for staff positions. It was clear to me that it is becoming more difficult to attract and retain quality staff at camp. What has not changed however is the tremendous impact the staff has on very impressionable boys. They idolize many. The Chartering Organization may be able to control who they select as leaders but BSA will not be able to reject employment to a otherwise qualified member of the LGBT community.
    Attendance at traditional camp will plummet and I fear BSA will soon follow.
    Sad

    Reply
      1. Alma T. Wilson

        The EEOC issued a relevant decision earlier this week:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/18/business/us-agency-rules-for-gays-in-workplace-discrimination.html

        Between that decision and Obergefell v. Hodges, it seems likely that Utah’s LGBT anti-discrimination laws will ultimately be unable to protect BSA in the way that you assume.

        BSA’s requirement of belief in God might have afforded some protection, except that chartered organizations have very different views on practicing gay leadership.

        BSA allows each chartered organization to practice most or all of those views in the BSA context, it seems rather unlikely that the courts will continue to recognize constitutional religious freedom protection for excluding practicing gays from BSA employment at its non-denominational levels, such as councils and summer camps.

        In the end, it will come down to what the judges want to do on policy grounds. We can already make guesses about how that will turn out.

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      2. roger

        Are you saying that the local council will not hire LGBT employees as camp staff? No, you’re not are you? What is your policy? Why don’t you explain it?

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      3. JR

        I was a staff member for a BSA summer camp when I was a teenager. I was employed directly by the BSA, as were all the camp directors and leadership. There was absolutely no requirement to go through the LDS Church. It is absolutely naive to think that boys won’t be directly exposed to gay leadership through camps and other events run by the BSA.

        I guess a lot of people think that the Church runs everything, and we can keep this behavior out of the program. Think again. The non-LDS sponsored BSA has a huge amount of influence on our kids.

        Utah’s anti-discrmination law is only good until a federal judge overturns it, just like the one that overturned Utah’s marriage law. Just give it time, lawsuits will be coming to get rid of that law too.

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  15. Garth

    The BSA has capitulated on the moral standard for sexuality established by God. All of the pontificating in this post just beats around the bush. God didn’t change, we did.

    “Morally Straight” means something, and the BSA surrendered to relativism.

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  16. Jared S

    A Scout is morally straight. You are now defining “morally straight” as anything “committed”. You might as well just pull it out of the Oath entirely–and “Duty to God” along with it. There is nothing “brave” about this move. Only sheer cowardice and greed. I will never donate another penny to your organization if this passes. As an Eagle Scout and former Scoutmaster I am saddened by this obvious sellout to political correctness.

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  17. C am Pearson

    I have submitted my resignation as Webelos leader and my oldest boy, who has only one step to Eagle has decide it does not align with his mortal values. My other boys will no longer be in scouting.
    I am unable to lead boys in “Oaths” and “Laws” that contradict the teaching that Homosexual acts are sin.
    The Oath is to the Scouts of America. To state that a Scout is Morally clean is not in harmony with those teachings.

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  18. Kenneth C

    BSA said: “Scouting inherently teaches to be tolerant and respectful of different religious and moral beliefs, acknowledging that reasonable minds may honorably differ, without sacrificing their own deeply-held beliefs.”

    I beg to differ on one principle here. Yes, “Scouting inherently teaches to be tolerant and respectful of different religious… beliefs.” I agree with this…but when it comes to our “duty to God” there is only “one” moral belief system! And that is to be “morally straight.” Let me define that from the Bible, Gods word on “morality” to the world and not “opinions” of morality as the BSA is pushing in its new agenda and not being a “good moral” role model for impressionable young boys.

    BSA said: “Even among the religious organizations, there are differing opinions on the subject of sexual orientation which deserve respect.”

    Yes we can respect “differing opinions on the subject of sexual orientation” but not “fall into” the “pit” by accepting “gay leadership” in any of the BSA programs or charters. BSA needs to stand on a “solid foundation” of “moral morality” as taught by godly men of the Bible! Let’s review Gods word on “sexual orientation:”

    “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
    23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
    24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
    25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
    26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
    29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
    30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
    31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
    32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

    (New Testament | Romans 1:21 – 32)

    “THIS know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
    4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
    6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
    7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    (New Testament | 2 Timothy 3:1 – 7)

    Wake up BSA… I hope the LDS Church wakes up too… especially …
    Members of the BSA National Executive Board—including four members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints general officers, President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Brother Stephen W. Owen and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom

    It is clear that BSA is caving into the “gay agenda” and “political correctness” which is wrong and immoral, a complete decay of integrity!… Robert Baden-Powell would roll over in his grave. I hope the LDS Church will do the “right” thing and have a back bone come July 27th and be a proper role model for all to see… that we should stand on principles of righteousness, one Nation under God.

    Reply
    1. JR

      Right on, Kenneth.

      Homosexuality is consistently taught as wickedness from Genesis to Jude. Many ancient laws Moses were later changed or done away with by the New Testament, but not homosexuality. The first thing God taught his children on earth was to multiply and replenish the earth to a male and female.

      There is absolutely no way you can allow this kind of behavior and still uphold the Oath. “morally straight” and “Duty to God” isn’t some subjective idea for anyone to define. It means something.

      I honestly don’t know if I can hold another calling in the LDS Church or pass the temple recommend interview. By definition, the LDS Church itself is affiliated with an organization whose teachings go against its core doctrine.

      Reply
  19. Chad Wilson

    I come from a family of 7 proud to be Eagle Scouts. Me being the eldest. We have all continued in the scouting tradition as leaders and merit badge counselors. My brothers and I have discussed this situation over the past few of years. And we all share the same feelings!!!!!!! You asked for my personal opinion via email on this subject a year or so ago. I am sure it was not ignored, rather disregarded. We are Oath Keepers! Sadly the scouting program has decided to set aside it’s moral compass. Along with this once great nation, you have chosen to be a once great youth program and example of strength. The current war this world is facing is between good and evil! You have chosen the ways of man, forsaking the ways of god! For this reason my brothers and I can no longer support this program! Though you haven’t noticed, or for that matter even care, we are all now rescinding our memberships. We can no longer, and will not, encourage participation in the scouting program We hold fast and firm to the scout oath we took decades ago. The road you have chosen to take will lead to a dead end! In our strength, my brothers and I stand for righteousness! Your buckling under evil pressures show no strength! Thank you for what you use to stand for! It was a true blessing to be involved with while it lasted!

    Reply
  20. Nick Poulson

    I find myself torn. I am an Eagle Scout, and I am still proud of that fact. My two older brothers are both Eagle Scouts. The oldest was in the OA, and we are all three proud of what we did. I have worked joyfully at several scout camps, been a Cub Master, and was just recently released as our local Scout Master. I want to say that I do not support the BSA’s decision, which I feel amounts to nothing less than a copout, but at the same time, I still have hope that my one son will one day become an Eagle Scout. When I recite the scout oath and law I do it with the vigor and respect that I developed as a young man. The young men in my troop are all strong, dedicated young men that I have grown to be very proud of, and their strength and dedication is in large part due to their involvement in the Boy Scouts of America. There is good there.

    At the same time, however, I am quite opposed to the rising level of acceptance of gay marriage. It goes against everything I believe in. I am LDS, and I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, period. The LDS church runs its scout programs with that same belief, and will continue to do so for as long as it legally can. When the day comes that it can no longer legally do this, I have no doubt that it will withdraw its participation from the BSA. I have friends who are gay, and they are good people, but that doesn’t mean that I accept their choice. That being said, I WOULD TRUST THEM TO TAKE MY KID TO CAMP without hesitation. They know my beliefs and, as I said, I trust them. There are scout masters that smoke and drink alcohol. How does this fit in with the scout oath and law? It does not. I had leaders growing up who smoked and drank, but not while around us.

    Where do we draw the line? I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer that, but what I can say is that I don’t think the BSA drew this latest line in the right place. I will remain loyal to the scouting movement, for the good that I see coming from it at the local level, but I must sadly admit that I am becoming less and less committed to it as the months go by.

    Reply
    1. roger

      Nick, we draw the line by choosing leaders who embody the principles of the Scout Oath and Law.

      Drinking and smoking are bad examples to youth who swear to be physically fit. By the same token, gay scout leaders are bad examples to youth who swear to be morally straight.

      Deciding that someone is not fit to be a scoutmaster does not mean we do not love and support them, it simply means that there are decisions, addictions, habits, or attitudes that we do not want to endorse to our children implicitly through endorsing such a leader.

      Reply
  21. Bob Shawgo

    From a business stand point, this may be seen as a wise decision. Unfortunately, as much as it acts like one, at its core Scouting is not a business. Scouting is an organization founded on moral principles that once tied very strongly to reinforcing the ideals that lead to strong families and healthy relationships. I am disappointed in scouting’s executive board. I remember a time when that body had some level of moral fortitude. I am disappointed that our local council would try to sell us on a poor decision. This is not a debate class assignment where you are required to support the assigned position. Shame on those who are going along with it because it is their job. This is capitulation to an agenda carefully crafted to destroy the family along with any meaning behind phrases like “morally straight.” I do hope that the decision fails to be ratified by the national board and that the national board sees fit to replace the executive committee. I no longer have confidence that scouting at a national or council level is being run by the right people.

    Reply
  22. Steve Mallory

    As an Eagle, I find these comments about moral absolutism particularly troubling as I’m not a Christian.

    I am an adult leader in a Cub Scout pack that is not chartered through a religious organization. We have a tremendously large cross-section of religions represented in our unit – we epitomize the diversity the Scouts strive to attain. We have boys who are Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Reformed Judaism and Unitarians – for the last two years, we have fantastic presentations for their religious awards.

    So many of the responses here seem to take the idea that the idea of “morally straight” comes from a specific set of scripture or code of ethics espoused from one specific sect. Such a view is blatantly violating the Scout Declaration of Religious Principle and the 12th point of the law.

    A moral person by the Unitarian standard (for example, as my family are UU) is quite different than a Catholic or a Mormon, yet from the comments above, the four boys in our unit who identify as Unitarian are not “moral” or not scouts. Our faith teaches and expects us to uphold the inherent worth and dignity of every person we meet and to use justice, equity and compassion when dealing with others. For us, excluding gay leaders is not treating them with inherent worth and dignity as expected when dealing with other human beings, nor is such treatment just or equitable.

    The morality taught by scouting goes far beyond specific religious doctrine.

    Reply
    1. Kenneth C

      Steve Mallory, I respect your “opinion” and that is just what it is. The founder of BSA, Robert Baden-Powell established the scouting with a “Christian morality” background. Re-read the scriptures above, as it lays out the morality of scouting. (New Testament | Romans 1:21 – 32) and (New Testament | 2 Timothy 3:1 – 7). It’s focus is around wholesome family relationships with a Father and Mother and children who are “morally straight.” The “gay lifestyle” falls short of this big time…
      ” men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly,” I don’t want my boy and girl influenced by this lifestyle… it is hypocritical and morally wrong.
      The “gay lifestyle” as the good book says, is… “Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,” they have an agenda and it is unholy. If scouting goes this direction I am out and so is my family, our support will go elsewhere where “morals” are “straight.”

      Reply
      1. Keith S

        Kenneth,
        I have another scripture for you. Mark 10:10-12
        “10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” ”
        I guess that means that we can’t have anyone who has divorced and remarried to be Scout Leaders either as they are not “morally straight”…
        Keith

        Reply
        1. JR

          Keith,

          There are few valid reasons for a divorce in the eyes of God. Severe abuse and unrepentent sexual infidelity are two of those reasons. When someone’s life is at risk, or if someone’s spouse commits adultery and refuses to repent, then the marriage is voided by the violating partner. I don’t know any Christian who would disagree with that. I would hope no Boy Scout leader is chosen who is divorced for a trivial reason, and has hurt his family because of it.

          Furthermore, God didn’t destroy an entire city for people divorcing. That also doesn’t change the fact that homosexuality is wrong and not in alignment with our “Duty to God” and keeping ourselves “morally straight”. This is clear from Genesis to Jude.

          Reply
    2. roger

      Your morality actually falls short (to technical) of specific religious doctrines, which go beyond your narrower interpretation.
      Also, I believe that all of the groups you listed above espouse teachings against homosexuality. Selecting a gay leader as a role model contradicts the beliefs of such scouts.

      Reply
  23. Captain Obvious

    The author, as do all the full time paid employees sees scouting as a business and a way to put food on the table. This article was obviously written by someone in charge of marketing for the BSA. (Am I wrong?)
    I, as do most of the readers of this blog, volunteer countless hours to further the cause. Scouting is in our hearts not our pocketbooks, yet we have absolutely no say in the matter.

    Reply
    1. Joel Zabriskie

      I invite Captain Obvious and anyone else to come to the Council offices in Orem Utah and visit with some of the employees. They are welcome to visit with me as well. They may discover that many of the full time paid employees have a passion for Scouting and how it has affected their lives and the lives of their sons for good. Many of us have volunteered to help in local units, districts and the council level for a number of years. I have volunteered in Scouting in many different capacities before becoming an employee. And I’ll continue to volunteer after I retire.
      If Orem is not your Council office, visit the one closest to you. It might be enlightening. True, it is a business and puts food on my table. It is much more than that!

      Reply
    2. Keith S

      I believe that ALL of the Board Members that will vote on this resolution ARE VOLUNTEERS too. My understanding is that the resolution was put forth by President Gates (the HIGHEST VOLUNTEER).

      Reply
  24. John Anthony

    In 1998 Exploring became all inclusive and world did not end. For a time the membership decline but that was because the BSA removed it as part of the quality council award. Since it has become part of JTE award growth has returned. The proposed change will make chartered partners stronger and more responsible. I can’t count the many times I heard the head of the church say “I don’t know anything about the Scouts, they only meet here.”

    Reply
  25. Ben

    I stand with the prophet. Until he says we are out, I will support Scouting with the same enthusiasm that I have historically done.
    My kids look to me for guidance on how to react. They will reflect my attitude. This is an opportunity for me to re-teach our values. I can accomplish more good with an imperfect BSA at this point than without it.
    To those who are pulling your kids out of Scouts, where are you going to send them? What will they do for young mens? How will you cut off Scouts (the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood) without harming their spiritual development?
    I don’t agree with the modern trends, but I will support the virtues of Scouts until the prophet says otherwise.

    Reply
    1. roger

      Great questions Ben. If this stance is adopted by BSA and the Church/Prophet direct us to continue using BSA as the activity arm of the priesthood, then I will only support activities that are exclusive to our local units. BSA merit badge camps/factories will be out. More backpacking. Probably as it should be anyway. I’ll also spend a LOT less at the scout office and even less on FOS.

      Reply
    2. Steve Faber

      Well said, Ben. A song, a song, it’s time to sing a song, heh! “We can get direction all along our way, If we heed the prophets-follow what they say.” – Children’s Songbook, p. 110.

      Reply
    3. Kenneth C

      Being LDS, I have no problem following a “prophet” … the office of a “prophet” is more than the man.
      The path to God is in all holiness of character, in virtue, in honesty and morality of thought, word and deed… to these principles the mantel of a Prophet should stand in valiancy. This is my testimony of the truth and the mantel of the office of a true prophet!

      Every person is accountable for their own thoughts, words and deeds… therefore the carnal nature seeks after these attributes of bondage:

      Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
      20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
      21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
      (New Testament | Galatians 5:19 – 21)

      I am not here to judge the man behind the office of a “prophet” for “God” will be their judge. I have only stated my opinion on how I interpret the scriptures in this matter, using the attributes, character and perfections of godliness and holiness as my standard and foundation for moral truths, moral integrity and what it means to be morally straight! If the LDS Church accepts this “gay agenda” via the BSA organization… I am out. My foundation is in principles of righteousness that Christ taught, not “gay agenda’s.”

      Reply
  26. Wayne Frandsen

    I have read with interest all of the comments made thus far to my posting. We are truly a diverse society from which we cannot escape. Using LDS standards, we are taught to live in such a society, but not to become part of or engage in that which runs contrary to God’s commanndments. I agree that it is often times a slippery slope that we find ourselves on, but as we keep our eye on the leaders of the Church we can find handholds along the way that will keep us out of harms way. I realize that none of you know me, but I know myself and I would not be the person I am today (Eagle Scout included) if it were not for a gay scoutmaster I had as a youth some 55 years ago, before such things made a lot of difference. He was not an activist by any means and went to some lengths to not promote his life style to us scouts. Regardless, scouting has many activities, programs, etc. to offer youth that are otherwise unobtainable that build characeter, patriotism and prepare young men for what the future may hold for them. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater but continue to take advantage of the wonderful program that scouting has been, is, and will continue to be in the forseable future.

    Reply
    1. roger

      I agree that the Church leadership will help guide us along. I disagree with the implied rationale that since you had a gay leader who was safe it is safe to do so as a policy.

      For every such anecdote with happy diversity endings, there are others of very tragic abuse, such as what happened to youth in my family from Oregon: gay molestation perpetrated by the Scout Master over generations.

      Reply
  27. Dan Karl

    It is difficult for me to understand how the leaders of our church can support a resolution that will intentionally put boys in danger. What difference does it make if the kids are LDS or not?

    Having gay scout leaders just isn’t a good idea, for several reasons.

    Reply
  28. Melissa

    Thank you Melany for your thoughtfully written article. I myself, believe that EVERYONE deserves an opportunity to volunteer in Scouting, regardless of sexual orientation. I know, it’s not a popular belief, especially in the LDS church, however if they take Youth Protection Training, which encourages two deep leadership at all times, why should we deny any adult the opportunity to mentor our youth? Scouting is a volunteer position-they’re spending they’re free time to mentor these boys and for that we judge them and persecute them? To me, that doesn’t seem to be what the Boy Scouts are all about. Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, or Kind.

    Reply
    1. roger

      Melissa, you’re wrong. Aren’t you overstating your position a little? “…EVERYONE deserves an opportunity to volunteer in Scouting…”? EVERYONE? REALLY?
      Would EVERYONE who volunteers qualify to be a girl-scout leader? How about Jack the Ripper, Marylin Manson, or our very own Utah boy, Ted Bundy? How about Hitler? Does that shed a little light for you on why we should deny some adult the opportunity to mentor our youth”? I’m sure El Chapo would jump at the chance to supervise a BSA camp.
      Since it’s OBVIOUS that we should discriminate beyond your criteria of those who volunteer, what should our standard for leaders be? I know, let’s decide to choose leaders who are examples of living ALL of the Scout Oath and Law. Beyond being Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, or Kind, let’s also choose morally straight, clean, and reverent leaders who do their duty to God and their Country as role models for our youth.

      Reply
  29. Andrew Olsen

    Scouting is great. I love making Pinewood Derby cars with my family. I enjoyed my time in Scouting as a youth. I am an Eagle Scout, have been a Scoutmaster, Committee Member, Merit Badge Counselor, and have worked professionally for Scouting for the past nine years. Maybe you think that working for the BSA will taint my thoughts, that’s your opinion and that’s fine with me. I’m not going to quote a bunch of scriptures or try to convince you that your ideas are wrong…there are enough of those post already.
    In the recent past, when the BSA changed it membership policy for youth membership I was uncertain how to feel. At first I felt like Scouting had crumbled its values. It wasn’t until a while later when I was comparing the BYU Honor Code and the Scouting Membership Policy that I realized that they were very similar, so I wrote a really popular blog article on it in December of 2013 (it only had one comment). Here’s the link http://blog.utahscouts.org/lds-scouting/bsa-membership-resolution-and-the-byu-honor-code/
    That was a major change in the BSA, yet after the change took place, I didn’t notice too much difference in the local Scout Units around me. The LDS Church maintained its right to select and accept youth members. That same right also applies to adult leaders in Scouting. This proposed change will not remove this right regarding adult leaders for churches that charter Boy Scout units. A Charter Organization can select and approve all adult members. After that all adult leaders must pass a background check and take youth protection training. Safety is and will always be a top priority in Scouting.
    The media covered bits and pieces of the speech that Bob Gates made at the National meeting a couple of months ago, yet I think it is important to listen/read the entire speech to understand the context around the little snippets that were in the headlines. (Here is a YouTube clip with his speech it is just over 15 minutes long, but if you want to jump to the section where he address the topic of Adult membership you can start watching at 8 minutes 40 seconds) https://youtu.be/nAr0XR74b_4
    Take eight minutes and listen to what Bob Gates presents in his speech. I think it is helpful. He says that if we don’t make a change, the courts will change it for us. If the courts make the change they will certainly not be looking after the interest of our Charter Partners. I enjoyed my time in Scouting as a youth and I want other children to have a great experience in Scouting as well. Scouting is the activity arm of the LDS Church for the Aaronic Priesthood. Please don’t let a keyhole view of Scouting blot out all the good that is in it and the potential that Scouting has to help our youth learn how they can do their duty to God and country while serving others.

    Reply
  30. Sheldon

    Jesus taught that he who is without sin should throw the first stone at the women caught in adultery and by extension, to all sinners. Therefore, I will not be throwing any stones at individuals as I realize my own flawed nature may not be any better than my homosexual brothers and sisters in the larger scheme of things. However, the point is, as has been alluded to in some comments above, that those who wear the title of gay or homosexual do so with great conviction and pride. They are not coming to the BSA saying we understand that we are flawed and in need of help and repentance like all other sinners. To the contrary they are saying the opposite; we are part of a movement that teaches that we are the good guys and should be accepted because we don’t have any relevant flaws. Furthermore, it appears that the leaders of the BSA are very naïve about the gay agenda. The homosexual/gay lifestyle activists are actively and knowingly assaulting the core of that which is good and that which teaches and promotes eternal truths and values. Many of these activists are already openly stating that the real objective with getting gay marriage legalized is not the end game but rather the destruction of the institution of marriage itself. The sheeps clothing is starting to come off. Similarly, I hope that no one is surprised to hear that the end game for the BSA gay activists isn’t that gays be included in the BSA but rather that the BSA’s mission of creating great men of fortitude be destroyed or hijacked. Thanks to the help of Bob Gates and the other leaders of the BSA the gay activists are one step closer to achieving their goal of crippling and denigrating a once great institution. Please help me understand how rubbing shoulders or affiliating with men who openly oppose core teachings of all the greatest religions and thousands of years of human history is going to help my boys have greater passion for following God. Why would anyone in their right mind want to be part of moment that promotes greater reliance and understanding of God but also wants to affiliate with groups that at their core actively fighting or at a minimum standing in direct opposition to such teaches. I and my boys will happily continue to support the BSA if this case can be made, otherwise, we are done with the BSA. We wouldn’t be done with the BSA for merely supporting sinners in general as we all are but for effectively acquiescing or giving up on its core mission to build men of honor and moral fortitude that understand the difference between right and wrong and are prepared to act in defense of the right. Essentially Dr. Gates is saying that it is more important to go along with the political currents than to stand up for what we organized to do. The BSA will be relegated to outdoor club for youth under the Gates doctrine. My boys and I have more important things to do than learn outdoor camping and cooking skills. The world is desperately in need of young men that understand the battle and are willing to stand up for what is right and true. The BSA leadership has decided that they are just as lost and confused as so many others in the world. We need another Baden-Powell not a capitulating Chamberlain.
    Finally to my good friends at the Utah National Parks Council, shame on you for throwing out principal for political and economic expediency with this nonsense propaganda article in support of those leading the coup in Dallas.

    Reply
  31. Leah Overson

    Elder Maxwell said that all the easy things the Church had to do had already been done, that from here on it was going to be high adventure. I imagine he said it with a twinkle in his eye and the sound of dry wit in his voice.
    One of the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Engals Wilder is called “The Long Winter”. The blizzards started early and ended late and the snow piled up in the railroad cut which left the small settlement on its own for those long, dark months. Laura’s mom was a clever woman and she had saved a bit of butter for a special occasion. So even when the milk dried up and the skinny cows were crying for more than the bit of coarse prairie hay to eat, the family enjoyed toast with butter for one meal. It was so memorable to Laura that it made it into her book.
    We are looking at what may be hard times coming, harder than most of us can imagine. The wisdom of the Church leaders in prolonging the goodness of times of peace is something we can be very grateful for. The Lord is at the helm. The last week of His mortal life was spent with friends and a Triumphal entry (when the very rocks would have cried out if the people had kept silent). He taught and held on to those most dear and cleansed the temple. He didn’t try to clean Herod’s palace.
    Don’t let anger and hatred strip you away from following the leaders of the church. It isn’t good for you or your families or your neighborhoods. Remember Elder Nelson’s view of things, “It’s high adventure.”
    The boys and leaders NEED to know how to help people in times of trouble. We need Scouts and Scout leaders to prepare more now than ever. They really stepped up to the plate for the World Wars.
    Time and resources would be tied up endlessly in courts because the media has fed people a steady diet of the gentle road to hell. The time is now to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. Let the Lord decide when it’s time to pull out the whip and we will continue to do our duty with a strong, good will.

    Reply
    1. Mike

      Leah, thanks for the great comment. I got really excited when you mentioned a quote by Elder Nelson! I haven’t been able to find any Scouting quotes by him. After searching for “It’s high adventure” I think you may have meant Elder Maxwell. Is this the quote you were talking about?

      Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “All the easy things that the Church has had to do have been done. From now on, it’s high adventure, and followership is going to be tested in some interesting ways.”
      https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/wanted-hands-and-hearts-to-hasten-the-work

      It’s still a good one!

      Let me know if you find any Scouting quotes by President Nelson. Thanks!

      Reply
  32. CF

    “Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?”

    If I continue supporting the BSA, the answer is yes. It doesn’t matter if the Church gets to choose its own leaders, it’s still affiliated with a group that teaches contrary to it. I would encourage each Latter Day Saint to carefully consider your support of it. As for me, I’m not going to take any chances, I’m no longer participating in it. If I want to stay clean, I feel I shouldn’t be standing next to it, better to stay as far away from sin as possible.

    Reply
    1. Josh

      You are also asked if you sustain the President of the Church, members of the presidency, the apostles and other general authorities. If you are LDS, as long as the prophet says that scouting is the activity arm of the priesthood, then you are wrong if you choose to no longer support or participate. Do encourage others to carefully consider their support of this organization. Ask members of the church to follow the prophet.

      Reply
  33. Rich Jensen

    When I heard the disappointing news, and that National again failed to stand up for long existing values. My personal thoughts when as followed, it’s never enough, for those who want to destroy our values, next it will be an attack on our belief in God. If the BSA had any honor at all they would just shut down now instead of giving in, just using the metaphor fight to the dead and if I am losing a battle before I go down burn all my assets. Please do something HONORABLE the boys can look up to.

    I had to calm myself by telling myself that the scouting program, really is not about the National Council, or the Local council for that matter, although the local council does its best to support me, and there are many great people that work there that are really making an effort to support us in a way that would uphold our values, and make the scouting experience more well-rounded. But I am getting the feeling they are fighting a losing battle staying chained to the National BSA Program. The BSA rationalizes away their old values saying that they can be upheld by the charter organizations.

    I am thinking maybe there is some truth to the statement keep it local right; at least from the prospective on how I am going to fight this battle for me it really is local, the battle to stand up for my values and what I feel is right starts with me and our charter organization, our concern is only about my boys, our boys in our neighborhoods that’s my reach and that what I can do, and what our local leadership can do. The programs we run in our neighborhood are only as good as we make them;

    Right now it seems to me that our young men are getting the worst of what the world can throw at them. It pains me to see this. Yes, I feel betrayed and abandoned, and very conflicted on what I can do or should do, but the church wants me to set aside my feelings and keep our focus on the boys right now and asks us to step in and do our part, and not run from the fight, but join in the battle with our youth, that are already exposed at every front, they need a group of peers that they can bond with that hold common principles while they develop and are taught correct principles, they need a leader that can give them advise and be a role model or mentor, I have seen what we can do for the boys, when we make a good effort, and for me, right now I have been asked to join in and fight the battle alongside my boys and don’t abandon them, I will give my focus to the boys and our local programs as long as my local church leaders ask me too, if we hesitate for a year we lose boys they need active committed leaders and then when the time comes I will be ready to move on and when I do I will not be alone but with twenty or so more boys that will join the battle with me.

    Reply
  34. Dan Peay

    Melany,

    It has been a remarkable experience to obtain person to person feedback on Scouting as a neighborhood volunteer for Friends of Scouting.

    Your July newsletter article (that included this article and Elder Leavitt’s) was and is a tremendous resource to help bring further light and understanding to those who have sometimes very pointed feelings toward this issue.

    Thank you for your valuable contribution to Utah National Parks Council and the National Boy Scouts of America.

    Your voice represents the honor and respect deserved by Scouting and all sponsoring organizations.

    Thank you!
    Dan

    Reply
  35. Wayne Perry

    Nicely done Melany. I remind my non-LDS friends we effectively operate in the BSA on a Chartered Partner option today. While the BSA many years ago authorized female Scoutmasters there are none in LDS units. You can be a great Catholic Unit leader who drinks a six pack of beer every weekend but it would be very unlikely you will be called as an LDS Unit leader. Moslem troops pick faithful moslems as their leaders-as it should be.

    I am convinced the Chartered Partner option can work both legally and practically.

    Our BSA Bylaws (as amended last week) provide:

    “In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctly religious organization shall members of other denominations or faiths be required, because of membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.
    However, no church or religious organization holding a valid charter shall be required to accept as youth or adult leaders any person whose espoused personal beliefs are in conflict with the chartered organization’s
    religious principles.”

    Reply
  36. Bradley Gibbs

    Thank you for your article. It was the vehicle for a 90% change in my opinion. I do have one question. In your article you state that BSA will “defend to the full extent possible” any lawsuit…indicating that BSA will stand with any chartered religious organization that gets a lawsuit. However as I read directly on the BSA website I find nothing stating they will take/remain part of any lawsuit. As I read on The BSA website it states that the BSA itself would be dismissed from any such lawsuits. Will you please send me the source of the statement that the BSA will “defend” such lawsuits.

    Once again thank you for the article it was very helpful.

    Reply
    1. Melany GardnerMelany Gardner Post author

      Now that the resolution has been finally voted on. I have attached the entire resolution to the top of the article.

      Reply
        1. Melany GardnerMelany Gardner Post author

          It was voted and approved by the BSA National board back then. It was not a unanimous vote, however. You can read the full approved resolution in the link at the top of the article.

          Reply

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