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New LDS Guidelines for BSA recruiting beginning 6/1/19

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March 15, 2019: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Priesthood and Family Department sent a list of four new instructions effective June 1, for the Dec 31, transition to general and local church leaders around the world.

First, boys are encouraged to remain in their Latter-day-Saint-sponsored Scouting unit through Dec. 31, after which no church units will sponsor any Scouting BSA units.

Second, BSA volunteers may provide a church-approved flyer for recruiting Latter-day Saints boys to their packs and troops beginning on June 1. The flyers must be provided to bishops and branch presidents, who will direct them to be posted on bulletin boards in church meetinghouses from June 1 through Dec. 31.

Third, BSA recruiting of church members should be done directly with families and not in church meetinghouses.

"Bishops and others should not provide BSA with member information," the notice said.

Finally, youth registered in Scouting through church-sponsored units who choose to join a community Scouting unit before Dec. 31 will be registered in both units through that date.

More at Source link:

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900060718/new-rules-about-how-boy-scouts-can-recruit-latter-day-saints-issued-by-church.html

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An interesting note further down in the article referring to the FAQ transition document. (Any one seen this?)

"it instructed local church leaders not to recruit adults or youth or distribute materials to those interested in remaining in scouts"

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Maybe it's just me, but this policy sounds remarkably unfriendly to me.  

Other religious denomiations I know of seem to have no problem with fliers being up in the church and leaving it to local churches to decide if they want to sponsor a Scouting unit.  Not sure I see the need to be so unfriendly to Scouting.

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I don't really take it as they are being unfriendly to Scouting with intention.  I see it as an issue that they want to avoid confusion at the moment amongst the church membership.  

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2 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Maybe it's just me, but this policy sounds remarkably unfriendly to me.  

Other religious denomiations I know of seem to have no problem with fliers being up in the church and leaving it to local churches to decide if they want to sponsor a Scouting unit.  Not sure I see the need to be so unfriendly to Scouting.

I'm not sure if I'd use "unfriendly", but totally see what you mean.  It's almost like the church leaders are trying to tell non-LDS people what to do with their own troops.  Of course, when it concerns church buildings, membership data, etc. it's understandable, but this seems to cross that line a bit, and I'm having a hard time articulating why, exactly, it's bothering me.

It's encouraging to see, from those comments in the original link, that there are a number of families who've joined community troops and have found the programs to be engaging for their scouts.   It's understandably a hard thing to admit that when Scoutmasters are called, rather than being volunteers, that scouting can suffer as a result.  Getting ward members to step out of their comfort zones can lead to great personal growth, but it can also let down a significant number of youth.  I have no idea what the answer is, but wish LDS the best of luck with their new program.  (Not being sarcastic or flippant here.)

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I think it needs to be made clear that our church simply doesn't have "community bulletin boards" where people can come and post whatever events or programs they wish. So if somebody wants to recruit LDS boys into Scouting, it has to come from people acting for themselves, and in venues apart from the Church's facilities. Those who wish to remain in Scouting are perfectly welcome to go and obtain the information they need, but that is outside the parameters of Church leadership and responsibility, and it to be done outside of our properties to ensure that the separation is both amicable and unmistakable. 

As a new commissioner considering the idea of starting up a new unit specifically designed to continue LDS-minded Scouting (but obviously open to ANY boys who wish to participate), I understand that I need to be careful explaining that our unit will follow LDS values and ideals, but will NOT be an "LDS unit" in that it will neither be sponsored nor operated by the Church. If youth from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or from any other religious background, are interested in joining the unit, they will need to come to me or to other adults who are part of forming that unit. I cannot, nor would I wish to, use the Church or its leaders as ad-men to try and promote my unit. The Church will have its own, involving program to get off the ground, and Scouting would only be a distraction to that cause. And who knows? I may find I become so invested in the new program that I don't have time for Scouting. I can't say. But I must be guided by my duty to God first above anything, and right now there is no conflict between that duty and my duties to Scouting that I am aware of. ;)

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It sounds like an average church announcement policy, which is what many of our CO's have. What many of us may not be used to is the national church leadership mentioning bulletin boards specifically.

But it does give councils an "invite" to promote scouting along the lines that they do with other organizations.

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That's very much the expectation of the idea. Our boys will be treated as kids from any other faith or organization after 2019, and we welcome council and district efforts to recruit from our families in the future. But the restored Church of Jesus Christ has been a global religion for many years now (as our new Temple complex in Rome demonstrates), so our leaders have to be mindful of its membership all over the world, and notices like the ones mentioned are necessary in order to keep policies and doctrine consistent. 

But as mentioned, it has nothing to do with being "friendly" or not. It's simply about using the appropriate means and venues to promote Scouting in the future. It should regularly reiterated that the Church still supports Scouting, even if it will no longer sponsor it. Now we're just defining the terms, procedures and limitations for moving forward. :happy:

Edited by The Latin Scot
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7 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

That's very much the expectation of the idea. Our boys will be treated as kids from any other faith or organization after 2019, and we welcome council and district efforts to recruit from our families in the future. But the restored Church of Jesus Christ has been a global religion for many years now (as our new Temple complex in Rome demonstrates), so our leaders have to be mindful of its membership all over the world, and notices like the ones mentioned are necessary in order to keep policies and doctrine consistent. 

But as mentioned, it has nothing to do with being "friendly" or not. It's simply about using the appropriate means and venues to promote Scouting in the future. It should regularly reiterated that the Church still supports Scouting, even if it will no longer sponsor it. Now we're just defining the terms, procedures and limitations for moving forward. :happy:

It may be true that the youth that are members in the LDS church will be treated like any other Scout in the future.  However, the LDS church is not acting like other church with respect to it's relationship with Scouting.  It's not just how the LDS leadership permits Scouting to interact with it's members, but also how the LDS leadership acts towards Scouting that is important.

If I read the above LDS statement and extract that restrictions they are placing, I see:

  • The Church (including individual stakes, wards, or branches) will not be a sponsor for any newly formed packs or troops
  • Church leaders should not refer adults or recruit adults or youth at any time; neither should Church leaders distribute materials to those who might be interested in remaining in Scouting.
  • Church buildings or grounds should not be used for any form of recruiting for community packs and troops.
  • After December 31, 2019, the Church will no longer be an official charter partner with the BSA, and Church meetinghouses and properties should no longer be used for Scout meetings or activities

I fully, completely, and without hesitation respect the right of the LDS leadership to make decisions about how it engages with community organizations.  If the LDS leadership believes these steps are appropriate to further their ministry, then good for them.  However, appropriate and friendly are not neccessarily the same thing.  Friendly in my book would mean that the LDS leadership would encourage local leaders to help Scouts to organize LDS sponsored units if they so choose.  Friendly would mean that local LDS leaders would be guided to hold meetings and encourage members interested in continuing in Scouting to do so.  This statement sounds more like one company severing a business relationship with another than it does a religion interacting with an activity for youth.

Edited by ParkMan
grammer

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It's important to note that the definition of friendly in "your book" is entirely subjective, and there seems to be a strong suggestion from your comments that you feel that if our faith were truly "friendly," it would conform to your ideas of how a religious organization should interact with the BSA in the future - your ideas of what "friendly" means. But that would be an unfair conclusion, and it may be misleading to those who read these forums and don't understand much of the actual situation. 

Our Church will not sponsor Scouting in the future. So to suggest that leaders should "organize LDS sponsored units if they so choose" reflects a very large misunderstanding of how our Church operates. Local organizations are not very far removed from the central, global leadership of the Church, and no local unit is authorized to allocate its budget towards things like Scouting without approval from the central Church organization. It's simply not an option, and frankly, that's a good thing. It allows our units to focus on making the new program a success, and it reflects the imperative need of the Church to be prudent with its funds. Spending it on multiple youth activities when there will already be a large new program to roll out would be financially unwise. Friendly would mean that others who are not of our faith understand these things, and not pass judgement on how our faith chooses to serve its youth. 

The Church still does encourage its members to continue in Scouting if they so choose, as the latest roll-out of information makes clear. Just because they won't use our facilities or recruit in our halls does not mean we are in any way being unfriendly, unless other choose to interpret it as such. But that is the subjective view of those who are coloring these events according to their own prejudices, and I hope that as we continue to move forward with the changes in this relationship, we will be mindful of the need for courtesy, objectivity, and optimism in the face of a bold new future.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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@ParkMan Perhaps there is misunderstanding of how scouting has worked to this point for LDS? For LDS units, scouting is a youth ministry, not just an “activity”. It would be like the Catholic Church directing each parish to charter units, and having those incorporate Catholic religious education into the unit program- thus allowing scouting to fulfill the religious education requirements for our faith.

After December, LDS youth (and adults) can continue in scouting, it just no longer fulfills the LDS Church requirement of ministry. It will be just an activity a youth can take part in, akin to soccer, band, karate, etc. And an individual ward (parish, in the Catholic vernacular) cannot be a CO of a unit post December. I see no issue there. The LDS is not saying no, you can’t be in scouting, they are simply saying they are not going to be the conduit to scouting as they have been. I am sure there will be plenty of LDS Church members buying popcorn, candy bars, etc. from scouts after December, so the support of the members is still there. My councils’ President is an LDS Church member, and he was part of a non-Church troop for years with his son, so he isn’t going anywhere.

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@HashTagScouts Thank you - much appreciated.  I do understand the history of how Scouting has worked for the LDS church.  I am glad that the LDS church is now defining their own youth program.  As they grow internationally, I think this is a good thing for them.  I just thought this statement from the LDS leadership and the way that they will not charter Scouting units, not allow Scouting activities on their faciliaties, nor faciliate the seemless transition of youth to non LDS units is turning a pretty cold shoulder to Scouting.

More broadly - just because it's no longer their youth program doesn't mean that they need to kick it out of the building.  They have smart members and I'm sure people would adapt perfectly well if the local leaders had said "On, January 1, 2020, you need to start attending our new youth program.  If you want to continue in Scouting, it is your choice and is optional.  Those meetings will be on Thursday nights at 7:30pm."  This works fine for all other kinds of denominations around the country.  But, they didn't do that, and they are in essence saying "On January 1, 2020, Scouting ends.  If you want to continue Scouting you need to go do it somewhere else."  Ouch!

That there are so many outstanding Scouts & Scouters who are members of the LDS faith is another great reason for the LDS church to be willing to charter units like just about every other religious group in the US.  Given how central the church is to many LDS members, I would have to imagine it would be a popular option for a local LDS church to sponsor a Scouting unit.  I expect that it would only serve to further strengthen the community of their congregation to have yet another activity their youth and adults can do together.

 

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