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  • LATEST POSTS

    • I hope and pray my thoughts here will be articulated in a way that will generate a positive response and greater unity of understanding and discourse by those who read it. I notice that the impending separation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America has garnered much discussion about the motivations, ideology and mechanics behind this process. However, as I member of that faith, I also see that there has been an unfortunate trend by some to use this as an opportunity to make sideway comments voicing their opinions about our beliefs, our organization, our doctrines, our history, et cetera.  It is entirely appropriate and healthy to maintain an open dialogue about how these coming changes will affect Scouting, the youth, the programs, and all other such related issues. It is also good to ask questions about why our church is making these changes and where our thoughts and feelings come from. However, is it appropriate for these discussions to be used as a platform for members to express incorrect information or inflammatory opinions about our faith? Is that a Scout-like thing to do? Is it ever right to deride in any way a religion or its leadership, to make accusations or spread calumny about another's faith? I cannot believe that it is. I do not only express this concern as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I speak thus on behalf of any and all faiths - Judaism, Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, Protestant, Evangelical, even atheist - whatever it may be, it behooves us to speak with nothing but respect and kindness about the religions of others - especially those of a fellow American.  I think we can do better in these forums in regards to preserving goodwill between all faiths. I will gladly strive to improve my discourse here in regards to the ideals and thoughts of others, but that means I hope for the same from all here. That concept, the concept of fighting to preserve the right of all people to live and express their faith, is central to Scouting. A Scout is brave; a Scout is reverent. Those go hand in hand. Joseph Smith Jr. himself one wrote: So as we discuss at length the tremendous wave of changes that both the Church and Scouting face with the coming of the new year, let's keep the discussions kind and civil, and not use them to put down ANY faith or religion, whether explicitly or subtly. This website, filled with the thoughts of Scouters, leaders, and good people, should be an example of goodwill, grace, and respect. Let's watch what we say, and how we say it. I hope I am not too forward in sharing my feelings about this here, but know that I commit myself to do better from here on out before asking it of any of you. I hope others might be willing to do the same.
    • If you think we perceive men and women as unequal, then you are grossly misinformed as to what we believe about the divine nature of both men and women, and it would do you well to study your words before putting false accusations online. I worry you may have many incorrect perceptions about our faith which I would be happy to discuss at any time. However, this forum is not an appropriate place for you to express your opinions about our doctrines and beliefs.
    • Much of your information is incorrect, and I must take a moment to clarify the false allegations of this post. Clearly you have a vendetta against our people, so I must as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counter your claims so that the facts can be weighed to the benefit of the members here and the discussion at hand. We have a PROFOUND respect for the separation of church and state - but that idea is not, as some might assume, the right of the state to prohibit religions from taking political stand on issues that have moral and civil ramifications. You need to study what the separation of church and state really means. It does NOT mean that the two exist in separate worlds. Rather, it is a means of living in harmony together. Religions need government - and government needs religion. They cannot be utterly divorced, nor were they meant to be.  The concept of freedom of religion, including the right to practice that religion, means that we have to right to our values and principles, and to proclaim them as well. To use our pulpits as platforms to declare our moral positions and effect social change is not, in fact, illegal. Nothing the church did during Prop 8 was illegal - I know, because I was there, and I was a part of it. The freedom of religion as defined in the constitution protects our right to preach our values and to work to effect social change and preserve social values. We participate in civil discourse entirely within the parameters of the law, and for you to make these broad false claims in this forum is both inflammatory - and off-topic. So let's get back to our relationship with the BSA, and leave Prop 8 to a discussion elsewhere, where the true facts can be considered without bias. As for our position in the BSA (since that IS what we are discussing here), there was never any "punitive" action taken by the church - we do expect our youth organizations to support our beliefs and standards, and when the BSA started making dramatic changes to its central values and membership standards, we had to make a choice between accepting these changes and being complicit with the fundamental change of moral ideology that would express, or standing by our beliefs and values at the cost of our long and treasured partnership. We held to our beliefs, yet also tried to do whatever we could to save that partnership, because we have loved it and helped millions of boys through it - but we can't cling to something forever when it just doesn't align with our core values anymore. The BSA, on the other hand, did not "stand on principle" - the very opposite - it changed and conformed and let itself be swept along by the tide of current social and political ideologies. It didn't "refuse to be exhorted" by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - first of all, because that's not really what the word exhort means (I suppose you mean something else but can't quite ascertain what it might be) - secondly, because in our day The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needs a global program that adheres to the values and ideals for which we stand and in which we believe - and the BSA no longer fits that description. Our principles have stayed the same. Those of the BSA have been adapted to fit the current climate. If anybody moved, it was they. On top of all this, our new program has finally been released in tremendous detail, and it is exciting, inspired, and can be shared by the millions of Latter-day Saint youth all over the world. Youth who wish can use Scouting as part of their own personalized program of goals and learning if they wish, but now they have a whole host of options before them, with a program that will build faith and help them grow physically, spiritually, socially and intellectually. With all this in mind, BSA just doesn't fully serve the needs of our youth anymore, and so we have amicably, and with great love and tenderness, closed our official partnership. But as another one of our church leaders also said, "we have been and will always be friends." If there is resentment, then it is unwarranted. 106 years of partnership was a wonderful thing for BOTH of our organizations, but it cannot have been expected to last forever. Why this is happening no longer merits discussion. It's happening, so let us part ways as friends, and move on with love and kind feelings and hopes that both organizations will continue to thrive and grow in the future.  The youth of today deserve to see with these changes faith and goodwill from both parties. Even if you have doubts, or concerns, or even fear or resentment - put on a smile, then look back with fondness, look forward with courage, and press on with hope - for their sakes. In the end we'll all be the better for it.
    • The question is::  Given that Scouting actually happens at the local unit level, what value is actually provided by the layers of corporate bureaucracy at the Council level and above?  I would suggest:  Liability insurance protecting Scout leaders when claims are made against them  Medical insurance protecting Scouts and other participants injured in Scouting activities  Uniform youth protection and conduct policies  Adult applicant background checks, screening, reporting, and enforcement of conduct policies  Uniform health and safety policies, incident reporting, and research  Relationships with local, state, and national agencies and organizations that can enhance Scouting programs  Scouting news and policy publications and communications  Local Scout properties available year-round for camping, hiking, campfires, and other basic Scouting outdoor activities  And that's about it.  We need an insurance agency, a disciplinary unit, communications office, and camps with Rangers to maintain them.  Uniform nationwide programming decisions that bind everyone make the entire program vulnerable to a single mistake or misjudgment at the national level -- or a series of them -- that can drag the whole organization over a cliff.   
    • I respect your passion on this, but we're never going to get anywhere in building Scouting back up again if all we do is simply bemoan what once was. I think the biggest thing that impacts our outdoor program is the fact that we're a few generations away from a time when most adults served in the military.  I'm not sure what council you're in, but I'm in a pretty big one.  There's no-one on our council training committee or any of our program committees that got there through a big check. They are all experienced Scouters who showed an interest and networked enough to be asked.  The Council Board - sure, those guys are there because of money.  But, our council board is way more about raising money for the program than it is about anything to do with the program itself.   So, instead of talking about whether Wood Badge should use the "old school" approach or whether council boards should be composed of "grey beard" scouters, I would encourage us to focus on specific, measurable things we can do as volunteers.  
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