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Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

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7 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

You make it sound like raising children is somehow a "lesser responsibility" than holding the priesthood, when the two are equally important and are, in fact, shared by both sexes. Also, this is a MASSIVE generalization of an era that my parents also grew up in, and their picture of the times is very different from yours. This kind of depiction is one-sided and derogatory towards the religion of a number of members here. If you have qualms about the faith that is your right and privilege, but it's un-Scoutlike to express such demeaning and biased portrayals here. This is a forum about Scouting, not the culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Let's stay on topic.

Why is it demeaning and derogatory to ask the question?  This strikes me as a question worth some objective discussion.

"A group (LDS church) creates different roles for men & women.  The group has a very visible role (Priesthood) which is limited only to men.  The group highlights traditional roles for women (family focus) and underscores that they are equally as important.  This is a model that is different from what we generally see today in society where there is tremendous momentum to create equal opportunities for women."

A follow up question would be "the group in question is a religious one.  Does the fact that these choices are rooted in theological teachings impact your opinion."

I know I've been a bit tougher in my responses here - but I just don't agree that we shouldn't be able to form opinions or discuss the topic because the ones making the choice are a religion.  I respect the right of the religion to make whatever choices it wants to - but it doesn't mean it's unscoutlike to discuss the topic.

I would go a bit further that it is very appropriate to teach Scouts how to have a civil, issues based discussion on the merits of an idea.  I believe this is an entirely appropriate part of understanding citizenship in our country - a country which is based on the free exchange of ideas.  To me this seems like a great thought question for scouts to ponder.

Edited by ParkMan
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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'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

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 preferenc

3 hours ago, MattR said:

@swilliams, I respect that you don't like how the LDS church wants to run their program. At the same time we need to respect their program. 


1 hour ago, swilliams said:

It's possible to respect what they're doing but still feel a bit hurt by their statement or diminished by how the program was presented.  I've done my best to refrain from what would be considered attack, while still expressing what recent events have meant to me, personally, particularly given some of the teachings I was raised with - and which are not appropriate to go into here.  In any case, it's less about how they are running their program, and more about the presentation.  I wish they would have given different examples of what young women can accomplish.

  I am thrilled that the young women's camp will still be running.  Absolutely the best part of the young women's program for me during the time I was growing up.  I still have my YWMIA certificate somewhere.

I think this is problem a semantic point, but...

respect - n.

1.a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

2. due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.

respect - v. 

admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.


I think we need to show respect for their program (as in noun definition #2 above).  We need to exhibit due regard for their feelings, wishes, rights, and traditions. 

I do not think we need to show respect their program (as in noun definition #1 or the verb definition above.  If you don't agree with their program, I think you don't need to pretend you admire it.  We're all mature enough here to have an open dialog on the merits of their program.

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It seems clear that this church leader's statement is a reversal of the all the previous reasoning provided by the LDS church regarding the split.  I wonder a couple of things.  First, I wonder why someone would make this statement when an effort to portray the opposite seems to have been the plan before now. Second, I wonder what actually changed that they think it mattered.  The LDS troops around here didn't really participate with the rest of us in a way that we would have had much influence on them.  

I hope that this move is good for the BSA in the long run.  While I continue to believe that "morally straight" is important for scouts.  I don't think it should have ever been the role of National to define what that meant. I am also glad that there are many girls getting the opportunities not provided by other US scouting organizations. 


What I think about the LDS or their program doesn't matter.  This is a scouting place and they have decided that their church isn't part of scouts anymore. 

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This seems puzzling.  Prior to this news story, the LDS leadership seemed to be making significant effort to say the departure was not about ANY social justice type issues, and encouraged youth and families to choose Scouting as a complement to the new program.  This seemed to make sense to me, as there were only two countries in the world that the Church used as their official Scouting program- the USA and Canada.  Canadian Scouting has been welcoming of gays, went co-ed fully for over 20 years.  Seems if the Church had issue with the “changes” or values, they would have kicked out Canada SOMETIME in the past 20 or so years.  Kind of confusing why they didn’t take some action if this was the real underlying issue.  

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Noting the Salt Lake Tribune's usual editorial viewpoint, I wonder if the quote is being taken out of context; or if it was a response to a leading question like "out of the two organizations, which one left the other?" Even in the quote, Elder Ballard doesn't specify what the wrong direction was.

I was an adult leader at an LDS Encampment (that is, a summer camp week where all troops were LDS, organized into a provisional troop per stake) this summer, and President Owen visited and spoke; earlier that day, he hosted a smaller sort of roundtable with just adult leaders, which I attended. Someone asked about why the church was leaving BSA, and he said it wasn't about "these political things" (without specifying what they were), but just about the needs of the new program: equality between youth in different countries, and equality between boys and girls.

Of course that prompts the questions "Isn't Scouting international?" and "Didn't the BSA just admit girls?" But BSA isn't international (other than some literature in Spanish, and some units for expatriate Americans), and when the Church started purchasing its recreation properties and otherwise designing a possible new youth program, well before 2015, it wasn't clear how the BSA would integrate more girls or whether it could successfully do so. "And no man putteth wine in old bottles..."

Then he also said LDS families were still free to participate in Family Scouting, just as they might have their children be involved in theater or (some sport, I forget which). When I later read "the new registration fee amounts to $5 a month, which is an enormous value when you consider that many seasonal extracurricular activities often start at $100 for programs that last a few weeks", something sounded familiar. 

I remember when I was a teenager hearing adult leaders chatting with each other and saying things like, "The Church is moving away from Scouting because they let girls into Venturing and Exploring."  But the Church actually stuck with BSA for another 20+ years after that.

I've written elsewhere about what I think the reasons for the disassociation were. In short (and with some more comments):

  • The demographics of a typical congregation aren't sufficient to support a Troop with Patrols that follows the Patrol Method.  (And with the other changes to per-congregation standard organization announced about the same time and since then, the manual for how to align that troop with it would have had to have been rewritten anyway.)
  • But if an LDS troop is made up of boys (or girls) from several congregations, or only run by congregations that luckily have enough boys, it's just an "optional activity" that some people go to, not tightly tied to the program of the church.
  • Mismatch between badges/recognition/"excellence" and Christian virtues like humility.
  • Lawsuits (and now talk of bankruptcy and mortgaging Philmont)

It probably wasn't a factor before the announcement, but it bears mentioning that GSUSA complained loudly about BSA admitting girls after the deed was done. (And I have a daughter who registered with GSUSA shortly after she turned 8, and as a Cub Scout with a pack run by her school's PTA a few months later. So far she's still in both programs;  it's interesting to see the similarities and differences, and how each organization's local Council is selling properties.)

I don't know which consideration was highest in the mind of each of the Apostles when they discussed and voted on the question of whether to take any of the steps that led to the new program without a BSA component. I do know that I've had less success that I would have liked getting parents to fill out registration-paperwork for their kids, or adults in callings that should have had a Scouting component to complete YPT and fill out an application.

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