Three cheers for Mormon decision to stay with the Boy Scouts of America

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Boy ScoutsThe LDS Church will continue its longstanding association with the Boy Scouts of America, even though the two organizations have agreed to disagree about gay leaders.

The BSA now allows them, but has offered Mormons the right to select their own troop leaders “according to their own religious and moral values,” according to the Associated Press.

I was pleasantly surprised by this news, given the much-publicized public opinion poll from last week showing that a majority of active Mormons in Utah favored severing ties with the BSA — and the fact that the Church confirmed to the Salt Lake Tribune that it was investigating the possibility of inaugurating its own international program for boys to replace Scouting.

Three cheers for the Church for being willing to compromise. Other than “guilt by association,” there was no reason not to, since the BSA was already making accommodations to allow Mormon troops to select their own local leaders.

The Boy Scouting program has been an important part of Mormon life for more than a century, and it’s good to see that this relationship will continue.

Now if we could just implement an equally amazing and well-funded program for Mormon girls . . .

READ: Mormon Church Sticking with Boy Scouts




  • Joel

    I’m sure the children of Israel cheered when they found the promised land. It took their prophet a while to get them there. Moses probably made a unwise turn or two. And—similar to this blog—I’m sure that any Israelite who dared to ever suggest a different path was castigated for pride.

    I respect Jana’s love and allegiance for the tribe, even when it wanders and when other members instinctively berate her for questioning the leaders’ navigation.

  • Dean Bender

    I have had ambivalent feelings about the church leaving the Boy Scouts. For one, it seems more important to parents for their sons to become Eagle Scouts than to earn the Duty to God award. From a deeply religious standpoint, that just seems backwards. Yet, I too, am happy that the Church Leaders have decided.
    As for an equally amazing program for the young women – Young Women’s Camp almost burns out the young women leaders now. You want more? If so, my bet is the anxiety prescriptions will surely rise. (smiles)

  • David

    This comment either indicates that the young men leaders aren’t burned out from scouting (perhaps one reason behind the near constant shuffling of men in those callings) or that the Church wouldn’t make the young women’s equivalent program as well staffed as the young men side.

  • Larry

    Either God was a practical joker or Moses was lousy with directions. “The Promised Land” was the one spot in the Middle East which didn’t have oil. 🙂

  • Larry

    From a religious standpoint it is meant to be backwards. The Boy Scouts was never intended to be a sectarian religious organization. Far from it. It was meant to respect the religious beliefs of its members and encourage an overarching notion of citizenship. The organization was founded to create something to appeal to youth regardless of religious allegiance.

    This is why religious awards are not required for Eagle Scout but citizenship merit badges are. Turning the Boy Scouts into a church’s private youth organization has been damaging to the organization.

  • Larry

    Well also the LDS is deliberately staying away from the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts categorically refuses to discriminate against gays. The Boy Scouts is letting them to continue to discriminate at least against adults in the organization.

  • I agree that it’s a bit odd to be congratulating organizations for doing the obvious, socially just and right thing but I think Jana likely is trying to give some positive reinforcement where deserved— to hopefully encourage similar actions in the future. Sure I get that the Church and orthodox LDS will bristle at the idea that pressure— positive or otherwise from outside the LDS hierarchy— will affect the outcome but actually history shows that it does. That said I think vocal critiques are more effective in creating change. Polygamy, P-hood ban changes seem to suggest this.

    In any case I think the bigger question is, what do people want? To be right OR to affect change….and are the two mutually exclusive?

  • While I think the decision to stick with Scouts is a good move on the LDS Church’s part, I wonder if it is permanent. I wonder if this move (or lack of one) is short-term…and if the Church just need more time to roll out an LDS alternative to the BSA sans gay leaders. Rumors of such a program aside, LDS teachings and the concerns LDS have over gay leaders in scouts (UtahPolicy poll) seem to suggest that the core of the LDS Church is not going to accept the change.

  • Danny S

    Bungled. Threaten to leave BSA and alienate LGBT supporters. Then end up staying and upset diehards. Well done. You’ve made everybody angry. Yet the faithful will spin another fiasco into something inspired.

  • “Three cheers for the Church for being willing to compromise.”

    The LDS church has had a lot of experience with compromise, specifically compromising the truth:

  • EG

    FYI: If people did not see this look it up.
    A father and thirteen year old son (last name Finalay, that is only name I remember) were hiking in wilderness in Idaho. The father was struck by a boulder. The son rendered first aid, hiked for two days to find help, and saved his fathers life.

    They are big time BSA scouts. Look it up and read it. Impressive thirteen year old. ( No religious affiliation of family mentioned)