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Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

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As everyone here knows by now, the LDS church is discontinuing their participation in the Scouting program as they roll out their own youth development program.

Motives for the LDS leaving scouting have revolved around whether policy changes in BSA motivated the change, or whether it was simply time for the church to have a program they controlled that was more tightly focused on their core values.  Now a prominent church leader is speaking out, saying that "BSA abandoned us..."

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/11/15/lds-church-leader-we/

 

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I'll have to disagree....When it comes to the social agenda, the Mormon Church has never respected separation of church and state. This course of action that the Mormon hierarchy decided to pursue was purely punitive,  their original intent was to force BSA to back down from social changes that they strongly disagreed with. Recall Prop 8, California's Equal Rights amendment where the Mormon church illegally used the pulpit and deceptively named grassroots groups to enlist supporters against the amendment.  It should be obvious that the Mormon church placed the BSA in a no win situation... to either conform to Mormon values to keep the dollars flowing into BSA coffers; or, to adjust the program to current societal changes and loose LDS support.  As I see it, BSA took the right course by standing on principle and refusing to be exhorted by the LDS   

Edited by le Voyageur
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Hot Take: The LDS has been strongarming the BSA for too Long. I think their exit will overall improve the Program. IMO, We didn't abandon the Church, we just realized we were being taken advantage of. I remember being a young Camp Staffer and hosting an LDS only week. Nothing about it, other than the tan shirts, felt like scouting. 

As a Pro, I don't have a lot of sympathy for the Pro's in councils out west. They've been riding easy streak for far too long. You have councils where the membership makeup is 95% LDS in a population area that's only 40% LDS. Roll up your sleeves and get out in the field like the rest of us. 

Edited by carebear3895

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I can accept that the BSA and the LDS have drifted apart. The little bits of their new program I've understood seem like a bunch of priorities that just won't fit with the BSA program. 

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33 minutes ago, malraux said:

I can accept that the BSA and the LDS have drifted apart. The little bits of their new program I've understood seem like a bunch of priorities that just won't fit with the BSA program. 

Agreed.  It often felt like a square peg for a round hole.  Never really fully matching.  It was more LDS used BSA as a youth program as the program was 70% matching.  It seems more a left-over relationship from the 1920s-1960s.  But as society evolved, the LDS faith development program needed something else.  

I don't view it as LDS strong arming or BSA leaving LDS.  Rather, society changed.  LDS could have chosen to use BSA within the context of LDS but instead decided it was finally time to create their own branded youth faith development program.

It may have a huge financial impact, but it should not be surprising or even debatable.  The program and needs drifted apart over many decades. 

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I don't think one could disagree with this statement:

“The reality there is we didn’t really leave them; they kind of left us,” said M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The direction they were going was not consistent to what we feel our youth need to have ... to survive in the world that lies ahead for them.”

One could certainly argue whether they agree with stated positions of the Mormon Church, but they are what they are.  Fact is the BSA has made changes in membership requirements.  

The BSA felt they needed to make changes to be more inclusive, the Mormon Church feels they need to adhere to their values.  In this case both groups are in many ways correct.  The outcome (in my opinion) is not good for either group.  BSA is losing 20% of their membership while the Mormon Church is becoming more insular and interacting less with non-Church groups.

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2 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

...  The outcome (in my opinion) is not good for either group.  BSA is losing 20% of their membership while the Mormon Church is becoming more insular and interacting less with non-Church groups.

I disagree about the outcome. It is very good for LDS. They are no longer throwing $$ toward an organization for which a large portion of their male youth weren't actively involved, and the adult leadership demands were overtaxing. The potential for the LDS to attract non-LDS families is as high as it's ever been. If TL/USA is any indication, they are poised to vacuum up a lot of youth in families with a restrictive sexual ethic.

On the other hand, those tens of thousands who might want their boys to be brought up with a mind toward a more permissive sexual ethic have not flocked to BSA.

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Back in 2013 it seemed that the major motivation behind the admission of gay youth was that corporate donors to BSA were reducing or discontinuing support because of BSA's discriminatory policies.  BSA had the choice of compromising on that issue and hoping that it could do so without alienating its religious institution partners, or sticking with its "right to discriminate" and facing continuing public disapproval.   And BSA was relatively successful in avoiding a mass exodus of religious organizations over the gay issue.

I think the decision of the LDS church to cut its ties with the BSA was much more about admission of girls into BSA's programs for younger kids.  That meant that boys-only LDS units would be running into girl dens and girl troops at district and other events and that general Scouting publications and information would continually be discussing girl programs.  This would be a much larger and more open divergence of BSA from the traditional LDS structure than the occasional gay Boy Scout or adult leader.  

 

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9 minutes ago, Navybone said:

For the life of me, where does a families permissive or non-permissive sexual ethic come into BSA? I do not equate being an inclusive organization as being a reflection of any sexual ethic.  

I use the terms "restrictive" and "permissive" because they adequately neutrally describe the polarized views on this issue. Either one asserts that authoritative figures (e.g., church, state, youth organizations) should "restrict" which forms of sexual expression should be held in honor by society, or one asserts that a wide varietey of forms of sexual expression should be "permitted" to hold equal standing by society.

One may be inclusive of race, creed, or sex, yet still want their children to aspire to restrictive or permissive norms regarding sexual ethics. If one aspires to restrictive sexual ethics, they exclude those with permissive sexual ethics ... and vice versa. (E.g., it was said by a member of this forum that we [scouters who stuck with BSA] were better off without them [scouters who spun off TL/USA for the sake of those in the restrictive camp].)  At least for now, there are precious few venues where both sit comfortably in the same room together for long.

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2 hours ago, Navybone said:

For the life of me, where does a families permissive or non-permissive sexual ethic come into BSA? I do not equate being an inclusive organization as being a reflection of any sexual ethic.  

"Where" ?  It's about resolving the contradiction between "charter orgs" and BSA.  Who defines sin ?   Most of our charter orgs are churches who specialize in defining right and wrong.  The trouble is not really BSA's membership as much as how publicly the issue is debated right now.  

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What many miss in this discussion is that it's not a question of sexual ethics, it's a question of equality.  A growing number of people today have reached the conclusion that neither sexual preference and gender identity are questions of choice - they are part of who we are.  So, more and more people were reaching the conclusion that the BSA was discriminating in it's membership based on factors not in the control of the individual.

Further, sexual preference and gender identity are separate topics.  I've seen youth we historically would label a boy go through Scouting who clearly identify as a girl. This was well before they were even thinking of sexual preference.

Permissive or restrictive sexual ethics have nothing to do with this topic.  You can have a youth who identifies as a girl or is attracted to the sane biological sex who is not sexually permissive at all.  

I look at my kids schools - most of the high schools have Gay-Straight Alliance groups.  My kids openly discuss topics of sexual preference and gender identify - yet complain when a movie gets too raunchy.  That one boy likes another boy is no more a big deal than that a boy likes a girl. 

So, as the BSA was continuing to exclude people for reasons of gender identity & sexual preference, more and more people were reaching the conclusion that the BSA was out of touch with contemporary American values.  Basically the BSA was in the middle of the evolution of our understanding of equality and had picked the wrong side.

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14 hours ago, le Voyageur said:

I'll have to disagree....When it comes to the social agenda, the Mormon Church has never respected separation of church and state. This course of action that the Mormon hierarchy decided to pursue was purely punitive,  their original intent was to force BSA to back down from social changes that they strongly disagreed with. Recall Prop 8, California's Equal Rights amendment where the Mormon church illegally used the pulpit and deceptively named grassroots groups to enlist supporters against the amendment.  It should be obvious that the Mormon church placed the BSA in a no win situation... to either conform to Mormon values to keep the dollars flowing into BSA coffers; or, to adjust the program to current societal changes and loose LDS support.  As I see it, BSA took the right course by standing on principle and refusing to be exhorted by the LDS   

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.

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This whole thread was started because some high ranking person in the LDS church made the statement that:

Quote

“The reality there is we didn’t really leave them; they kind of left us,” said M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The direction they were going was not consistent to what we feel our youth need to have ... to survive in the world that lies ahead for them.”

I wish the LDS church all the best in their new youth program.  Now that they've left, I'd encourage church leaders to stop talking about the BSA and move on. 

3 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

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.

Yep - guess the BSA just got caught up in that new fangled idea of the worth of the individual.  I'm quite comfortable that the BSA left the LDS church because the restrictions it placed on the BSA were causing too many other issues.  I'm glad the BSA for once stopped pandering and chasing membership.

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6 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

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.

As one who spent 30 years of my life as a TBM (true blue Mormon) before being excommunicated, I've a perspective that you lack based on research and experience thus the reason for my comments. But, I do respect your vigorous defense of your faith. All I ask is that at least you make an effort to explore my comments with your own research independent of what you're being told by the Mormon church.

 

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