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

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10 hours ago, ParkMan said:

This statement sounds more like one company severing a business relationship with another than it does a religion interacting with an activity for youth.

Relationships, whether they are between two people, two for-profit organizations, or two not-for-profit organizations, are voluntary and based on mutual benefit.  When one party no longer perceives benefit they break off the relationship.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has broken up with the BSA and they are setting the boundaries for their personal health.  They have no obligation to the BSA.  The fact that they gave 18 months notice says much about their character and concern for scouting.  If you break up with your girl friend, do you have an obligation to find her a new beau?  As the old song goes, "breaking up is hard to dooooooooooo."

5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

"On January 1, 2020, Scouting ends.  If you want to continue Scouting you need to go do it somewhere else."  Ouch!

This isn't materially different than the United Church of Christ removing their endorsement of the BSA after the Dale decision.  Quite a different polity in the UCC so the impact was different, but there were certainly churches that refused BSA support in any manner.  We can agree or disagree on first principles, but, it's not the first time the BSA has heard this.

5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

More broadly - just because it's no longer their youth program doesn't mean that they need to kick it out of the building. 

I don't know the BSA has standing to complain here.  If the church allows their Ward/Stake houses to be used for the community garden club then maybe BSA can quibble.  Again, they have no obligation to the BSA.

Seems to me the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America have set their respective new courses.  We should be greatful for the support they showed the BSA and the folks who advocated for change in the BSA should step up their leadership for their vision of the BSA.

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I have not had much contact with LDS Scouting as a program in my 30+ years as a Scouter, as it had often been conducted in a somewhat separated manner -- such as LDS-only weeks at camp when non-LDS units were not present.  I have had many pleasant interactions with LDS adult leaders in activities above the unit level.  I have nothing but gratefulness for the many years of LDS support for Scouting and wish them the very finest as they go a different way to serve their own membership.  For all sorts of reasons, they have established a firm cut-off, and that is appropriate from a legal and program standpoint.  Businesslike action and language used sever Scouting from their church is unambiguous and fine with me.

Those of us who are religious and belong to other faiths know the unstated reasons why they are departing us, because LDS Scouters with informed leadership roles in their church have been expressly telling us for many years.  The contest of wills regarding whether the BSA should embody the views of particular faiths (not just LDS) is now over. No longer will Scouters be discomforted by seeing those arguments play out within an organization that respects and requires faith among its members -- but is neither a church nor the arbitrator of particular beliefs.

For those LDS folks who remain with us, you have our continued and fast friendship.  You will love our program just as much as you always have -- and maybe a bit more. 

For anyone still trying to conform the BSA generally to a particular religious, political or "cultural war" view, you will be unsuccessful, disappointed and should probably reevaluate your personal rationale for continued membership.  We have decided to welcome everyone.

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On 3/18/2019 at 12:41 AM, The Latin Scot said:

...I understand that I need to be careful explaining that our unit will follow LDS values...

What type of organization is the CO of the new unit?  Isn't it the CO who decides what "values" the new unit follows (in addition to the values of Scouting, of course.)

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My comment goes to the BSA organization broadly.  Individual COs and the COR continue to be able to assure unit operations are expressive of the particular faith values of the CO.  

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17 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

My comment goes to the BSA organization broadly.  Individual COs and the COR continue to be able to assure unit operations are expressive of the particular faith values of the CO.

That's right, and since neither the LDS Church nor any of its subdivisions will be CO for any BSA units, I can't see a situation where the CO would impose "LDS values."  Well actually, I can see one, but to my understanding it is discouraged by the BSA.  That is to have the CO be "Friends of Troop 123, Inc."  If the majority of the directors or trustees of the corporation happen to be members of LDS, acting in their individual capacities and not as part of the church, then yes, I suppose they could say the unit will follow "LDS values."  What's interesting is that the unit is not chartered to a religious organization (even though everyone involved in the CO may be of the same religion), and therefore it would not be able to follow "local option" on a certain membership issue.

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What an individual unit does is within the control of the CO.  COs that prefer specific program operations will ultimately drop the unit if it is inconsistent with their fundamental values.  It s a "bottom up" practice none of us disagree with -- and has been a fundamental part of our business model since our beginning.  My comment is centered on no longer using the national organization to force particular religious or political views from the "top down".  It is a relief for many Scouters to no longer be in the middle of that.

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After reviewing this topic, there’s nothing orthy of it being in I&P. It’s going to open discussion program. 

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One does not have to read between the lines of the precisely-worded announcement.  They are severing Scouting from their faith in every meaningful manner and that is their right.  They want their youth to participate in their program, and will not overtly encourage Scouting.  With that will be a discontinuation of support and the faith’s dominant presence in the operational and policy-making committees of our organization.  We will no longer need to be concerned that our decisions will run afoul of the preferences of the faith’s leadership.  I thank them for their past interest in the BSA and wish them well.  We will be fine as an organization

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21 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

One does not have to read between the lines of the precisely-worded announcement.  They are severing Scouting from their faith in every meaningful manner and that is their right.  They want their youth to participate in their program, and will not overtly encourage Scouting.  With that will be a discontinuation of support and the faith’s dominant presence in the operational and policy-making committees of our organization.  We will no longer need to be concerned that our decisions will run afoul of the preferences of the faith’s leadership.  I thank them for their past interest in the BSA and wish them well.  We will be fine as an organization

I agree with that.  My question was about @The Latin Scot's statement that he was looking into forming an "LDS-minded unit" that follows "LDS values."  I am not sure what values he has in mind.  If it is things like The Golden Rule, help the poor, thou shalt not steal, etc., great, because those are Scouting values as well.  If it is things like, the troop doesn't camp on Sunday so the members can fulfill their religious obligations according to LDS church, that's fine too, but it is usually up to the CO to impose something like that, and I don't know what CO would impose something like that other than the LDS church itself, which by definition is NOT going to be the CO after the end of the year.  If it means no girls in a pack, and/or no "girls' troop", that's up to the CO as well.

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Any CO can impose its preferences on its units.  If a group of LDS members wish to form a "community-owned" unit and generally follow the previous practices of formerly-LDS units, they certainly can do so. 

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On 3/18/2019 at 10:47 PM, ParkMan said:

[...]  However, the LDS church is not acting like other church with respect to it's relationship with Scouting.  [...].  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. [...]

The LDS church already was "not acting like any other church", by having a policy stating that all congregations had to have a Scouting program. Some of the winding-down requirements that might seem harsh are probably a necessary reaction to that. The Church has decided it can't prudently be yoked to the BSA any more, so it's making sure there's a clean break; no back door where a Bishop or Scoutmaster or former Area Authority Seventy can say "my troop is really the same old LDS troop as such-and-such, even though it's no longer sponsored by Salt Lake", and then actually use funds from Salt Lake to run it, or have so many members from the same ward supporting the same unit that when something bad happens liability comes back to the Church.

The May 2019 Joint Statement was sent by e-mail to local leaders (not sure exactly who, but I got it directly, probably from calling as Committee Member), and a Church News article about it quoted the closing paragraph “it continues to support the goals and values reflected in the Scout Oath and Scout Law and expresses its profound desire for Scouting’s continuing and growing success in the years ahead.”

To paraphrase @HashTagScouts, members of the Church are welcome to continue to participate with BSA programs just as they can already participate in city soccer, karate, YMCA, 4-H, even GSUSA... but the Church just won't sponsor it.

I see the prohibition on leaders "referring" or "recruiting" people, and the rule about the bulletin-board posting, as ways to be fair between existing community packs and troops, not as an attempt to shut Boy Scouts down. As someone with callings into an LDS-sponsored pack and troop, my interpretation is that I can't walk up to a parent and say "Brother or Sister So-and-So, your son would do great in pack X" (not that I've had much success with similar pitches of the LDS pack), but if someone asks me "what can I do?", I can say "go to the Be a Scout website and search for your zipcode" or "look at the bulletin board", and if a parent asks me point-blank "I'm thinking about Troop X; what do you know about them?", I can give an answer based on my actual experience.

I know there's one branch in my stake where a non-LDS troop had already been using the LDS meetinghouse as their usual meeting-place, well before last year's announcement. Arrangements like that may have to stop, but then again maybe they can get an exception as long as they're not "recruiting" at those meetings.

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David:  Do you anticipate personal continued engagement with Scouting after the termination?  If so, what would motivate you and similarly situated church members to do so?  One would expect all of you to get conflicting callings from your church to open your new program.

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1 hour ago, DavidLeeLambert said:

I know there's one branch in my stake where a non-LDS troop had already been using the LDS meetinghouse as their usual meeting-place, well before last year's announcement. Arrangements like that may have to stop, but then again maybe they can get an exception as long as they're not "recruiting" at those meetings.

There was an email sent with instructions on that matter.

Quote

4. Can Church buildings be used for Scout meetings or activities?
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

 

44 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

One would expect all of you to get conflicting callings from your church to open your new program.

We don't have the details yet, but the new program will probably not require as many adults as a troop or pack does. Anything that's not a direct youth contact position probably won't be needed.

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Admittedly, if I find myself being pulled in too many directions next year, I will choose the Church's new program over Scouting. I think it will be important for families of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to manage their time wisely, and if my involvement in the Church's new program conflicts with my involvement in Scouting, Scouting will have to take a back seat. After all, it's in Scouting that I learned to prioritize my duty to God above all other things.

The hope is that both will be manageable, and that neither will have to take a cut. But depending on how much time each consumes, that may someday need to be considered. 

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