August 2nd, 2015

The LDS Church Should Abandon the Boy Scouts—But for the Right Reasons

At the Boy Scouts of America’s annual meeting in 2014, the organization’s president, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, stated that he strongly believed that to allow homosexual leaders to participate in the program “would irreparably fracture or perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement,” and declared that he would “oppose any effort” during his presidency to consider the issue. A year later, however, he reversed course, pushed for the policy change, and now the fracturing he previously feared may be coming true.

Following the BSA’s announcement that it would no longer prohibit openly gay adult leaders, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made an announcement of its own. As the largest sponsoring organization of the Scouting program, constituting 17% of membership nationwide for the BSA, the LDS Church stated that “the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church” and as a result, “the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined.” Many believe the writing is on the wall, and the relationship will soon end.

Let’s ignore, for now, the confusing part of this announcement—the declaration that an openly homosexual leader in the BSA is “inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church.” (Did I miss an announcement in general conference?) As an Eagle Scout myself, and as the son of a dedicated, decade-long Scoutmaster who ran a functioning program providing memorable experiences for dozens of young men, I have spent the last few years pondering whether I want my son to participate at all. The Church’s potential separation—one which I previously believed would never occur under the presidency of Thomas S. Monson, an über Scouter who has an award in his name—may make my decision easier.

I’ll say it outright: I believe that the Church should separate from the BSA, but for the right reasons.

My argument can be best explained, perhaps, by contrasting it against its opposite. Noah Feldman, a law professor writing in Bloomberg, claims that the LDS Church needs the BSA in order to retain its Americana image. The Church, he says, has long “striven to integrate into American society” and that “Scouting has been an important vector for LDS integration into mainstream American life.” Leaving the BSA, argues Feldman, would change the Church’s general policy from one of “integration” with Americans to “separation.”

“To be a Boy Scout is to be proudly American,” Feldman writes—never mind the fact that Scouting is of English heritage, not American, owing to its creation by Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant general in the British Army who wanted to teach boys about reconnaissance and military scouting. For its part, the LDS Church made clear in its announcement that as a global organization, it had “long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available.” (And what about all the girls?)

While the issue of homosexual leaders is a concern to many, myself included, there are significant issues with Scouting more generally that lead me to believe that the LDS Church would be better off on its own. Feldman’s article almost makes the point for itself. The awkward association between American nationalism and The Church of Jesus Christ—whose kingdom was not only not connected to The United States of America, but not even “of this world”—is reason enough to part ways. Young men and women should be educated and encouraged to become dedicated followers of Christ, and not the American flag. Fixating their view on both God and Caesar—encouraging loyalty and fidelity to both, despite being taught that no man can serve two masters—is a paradoxical program in desperate need of realignment.

Or, abandonment. The Scouting program is steeped in statism. Baden-Powell himself was an authoritarian whose vision of his fledgling program was to train boys in militaristic fashion with the virtues that militaries focus on and foster. “A Scout is loyal to the King” and his subordinates, Baden-Powell wrote. “He must stick to them through thick and thin against anyone who is their enemy, or who even talks badly of them.” Unsurprisingly, unquestioning and submissive obedience is another “Scout law” Baden-Powell created. “A Scout obeys orders… without question. Even if he gets an order he does not like, he must do as soldiers and sailors do, he must carry it out all the same because it is his duty…” (emphasis in the original). Present in Scouting are the virtues of a good soldier: courage, patriotism, self-discipline, and obedience; absent is emphasis on humility, love, knowledge, individual expression, etc.

Scouting youth train in an anti-terrorism military exercise

Spencer W. Kimball noted four decades ago that Americans tend to “train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching” of loving our enemies. Does Scouting foster the former, or the latter?

While Baden-Powell encouraged his young followers to “work for the good of the State” and to not “think of yourself, but think of your country and your employers,” the American program encourages becoming a citizen of the community, nation, and world. Youth are still seen today as they were in the progressive industrialist era in which Scouting was born: cogs in a machine that need to be molded, refined, and polished to become a well functioning component, subordinate to the interests and goals of the collective.

I would hope it would be different in the Church of Jesus Christ. I believe my son, as a spiritual son of God, has an identity shaped over eons of premortal study, interaction, and progress. I believe he has talents, interests, and priorities that need not be programmed, but discovered. I don’t want him to become an “upstanding citizen,” since this pathetically low benchmark has produced, throughout the world’s history, droves of mindless drones that follow tyrannical orders “because it’s the law” or “because it’s their duty” or “because they were ordered to.” I want my son to discover his true identity and mission in life, use his agency to fulfill his divinely appointed stewardship, and pursue his path where it leads him. He is an individual—a child of God. He is not a “citizen” whose duty is to King or country, especially since one’s duty to God often requires defying Caesar’s demands.

Flag worship and nationalism are core aspects of Scouting

There are myriad other reasons to abandon the BSA: high costs and aggressive fundraising programs annually annoying Church members; piles of paperwork and frequent training, discouraging adult leaders from full and enthusiastic participation; a split focus, with youth and leaders struggling to find the balance between the Church’s program for young men and the BSA; and an obsession with rank advancement and micro-managed measurement of progress, causing many to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Feldman writes that Mormonism’s separation from the BSA would be “an act of secession for the church—secession from the evolving American way.” Homosexual leaders or not, I contend that this would be a good thing, since the “American way” is hardly an ideal to be inculcated in every child, let alone one that has received a divine stamp of approval. “It will always be necessary to have institutional ties and practices to the American mainstream,” he continues, “in order to be accepted by it.” Perhaps the time has come to stop prioritizing cultural acceptance and focus more on being a peculiar people.

I’d love to see a Church program for both boys and girls that features many of Scouting’s praiseworthy components, but with a Christian individualist twist:

  • Regular camping and other outdoor adventure activities, with a focus on God as Creator, appreciation for the beauty of nature, and exploration of the abundance and diversity in the world around us.
  • Weekly exposure to life skills from a variety of areas, taught by those with expertise and experience in the field.
  • Fellowshipping with and service to fellow youth and others in the community.
  • Discussion groups on how to be faithful to God, encouraging youth to share their struggles and support one another.
  • Teamwork and leadership training opportunities, with a focus on building skills to build the kingdom of God.

I regularly speak to homeschooling groups, and sometimes share my concern that many homeschool families are literally creating school at home—implementing the awful aspects of government institutions within the four walls of their own home. If one is to homeschool, one should do it right and not merely replicate public schools within one’s own house. If the Church is to separate from the BSA, I would likewise hope that radical change is on the table, rather than retaining some of Scouting’s more systemic issues.

For me, the issue of homosexual leaders in the BSA is a small concern compared to those listed above, yet it may be the driving force that leads to the separation I strongly support. As a former Scouter myself, and as the father of a son who is more than a cog in a machine, I hope that his future opportunities as a young man within the Church are conducive to the plans God has for him.

27 Responses to “The LDS Church Should Abandon the Boy Scouts—But for the Right Reasons”

  1. Antodav
    August 2, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    It had never occurred to me before that the Boy Scouts themselves might be the source of the destructive, counter-doctrinal, conformist, jingoistic, ultra-conservative Mormon culture that I detest so much and that causes so many people to leave the Church, or to reject its teachings before even really hearing them. This is actually a very powerfully persuasive argument.

  2. Thomas Dyches
    August 2, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Yes! This is exactly how I feel. And can we please drop the US flag and pledge from the new program? I’m so tired of seeing youth indoctrinated into nationalism. They have no defense against it.

  3. Iimx
    August 2, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    How could nationalism be a problem for the LDS faith? Many Mormons think that this nation was formed for the creation of Mormonism, and that its constitution is almost Mormon literature. LDS hymnals contain songs specific to American nationalism, like ‘my country tis of thee’.

    Also, the USA is supposed to be the actual location of many things mentioned in the Bible, like the garden of eden, in LDS lore. So, I don’t see any problem with the LDS embrace of Amercian nationalism, as long as these other factors remain.

  4. Allen Levie
    August 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

    I am reading “The Spirit of the Laws” right now. I am perplexed about the maintenance of a republic and his definition and methods for perpetuating virtue (his definition) through love of the republic and the equality that it offers. I know that the “republic” he may be speaking of is not the same as the territorial-state, state-nation or nation-state, yet as I continue to learn about what is required from his perspective to stabilize a republic it makes me pause to think. Love and respect for the republic is so important in the context he portrays and I wonder if false love and respect still meets the pragmatic need.

    Patriotism today is often bent toward a flag that primarily represents military victory and not freedom. Connor in your view is there a proper place for Americana style love for a country (almost Russian for home land) that honors the first government created “for the people by the people”? In my life and family’s life this still has a prominent place. Is it right to be an “American” and to stand for American values and ideals? Do you not support having a flag at all? Where is the line your view? I assume you fly under the lowercase and possibly the uppercase libertarian flag, is that the same or different for you, especially after reading this piece on the scout program?

    On a deeper level, I am curious to know if you support the shift from a Nation-state toward a Market-state (Bobbitt’s terms).

  5. Dean Hale
    August 2, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    Nationalism, per se, is a neutral term that can be good or bad depending on the nature of the nation in question. Scouting’s loyalty to the United States of America is based on the freedoms we enjoy and the protection it provides from tyranny. This is no blind nationalism. The BSA is very clear in its teachings about what makes America great.

    Moreover, having served in Scouting for years, I’ve never once sensed any military leanings. I say that as a former member of the US Air Force. Sure, there are uniforms and codes of conduct but lots of organizations have them. Policeman, firemen, doctors and nurses, football players, Salvation Army, and LDS missionaries come to mind. Statism? Not in any troop I was involved in. 120+ merit badges, all the choice, with some exceptions, of the individual scout support the concept of free will and developing one’s own talents. Merit badges for what to do in emergencies, or how to be personally responsible, or physically fit have everything to do with empowering the boy, not turning him into a minion. Ergo, your claim the BSA is steeped in statism is bunk.

    Your claim that in scouting there is no “emphasis on humility, love, knowledge, individual expression.” You obviously know nothing about what your father is teaching or what up until now the BSA stands for. Ever hear of the Scout Law? What about trustworthy, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, friendly, brave, clean, and reverent, to name a few, have nothing to do with humility and love? Just try defining the latter without using the former. What about all those merit badges doesn’t emphasize knowledge? What about the merit badges that focus on music and arts is not about free expression, not to mention patrols designing their own flags, yells, and songs (unless you equate teamwork with fascism, of course).

    Shall I continue? How about your quoting Lord Baden-Powell? He may have said those exact words, but to Scouting’s and the Church’s credit they’ve never used those quotes. I’ve never heard them. And the principles they apparently espouse have never been taught, not even a little, let alone as a primary tenant, as your post implies.

    You obviously have a bone to pick with the Boy Scouts. But you also obviously don’t know as much about it or raising boys as you think you do. If you did, you would know that it actually teaches many of the things that you wish it did. But don’t worry. It’s probably not going to be around long enough for you to worry about.

    The best part about the Boy Scouts and the part that will be missed the most if there is a divorce? How it gives young men so many opportunities to develop leadership skills–something that is sorely needed in today’s society.

    That rant said, I trust you are speaking genuinely and I applaud you for furthing the debate.

    Welcome to My brain. 😉

  6. Kevin McDonald
    August 2, 2015 at 11:32 pm #

    Connor, I’ve always shared many a common view with your perspectives, but your opinion on this has hit me as being highly jaded and a little off the mark.

    First, an underlying premise that hit me right off , whether intended or not, is that “the church is misguided” and by the tenor of your thinking, has been for some time. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have always wanted the church to start it’s own scouting program…and schools; using entirely, the Bible and The Book of Mormon in every way possible; using classic English study and American history. I know that many times the church has visited both the education question and the scouting question. And I was told why we haven’t gone down those roads as yet. At this point I trust that on issues of this magnitude, they take it to the Lord.

    Second, I reject the notion that the church’s embracing of scouting was purely an effort to “Americanize” us (and I understand that you were only restating someone else’s position). Surely that is one reason–of course the inspired nature of our nation with its constitution is a good reason to take such a course; but in my readings, and I attempted find the historical explanation but couldn’t–the main reason we embraced BSA was the same reason we started our seminary program–to control the influence of the current change in education with its anti-God perspective (back in the day), which was largely a progressive influence. At that point, we did not have the means or ability to stave off the the overriding influence of the Federal Government, which by that time, was a vulture hanging over us and our way of life–which continued well into the 1950’s; not to mention the influx of Protestant educators who were flocking into Utah to save us by offering free education to our LDS youth. We fought, we lost and now were forced to use our strategy to exist. Quite frankly, in my estimation, diverting and embracing BSA was a brilliant maneuver–at that time.

    While I agree with you, that Baden Powell was a statist and had his objectives, we Americanized the institution, and the LDS church added its influence, making it a much different animal. I am a libertarian at heart, and I would have to say that some of that influence came from my experience in scouting (and of course, my upbringing with the Bible and The Book of Mormon).

    Also, your comment about the church’s statement: “Let’s ignore, for now, the confusing part of this announcement—the declaration that an openly homosexual leader in the BSA is ‘inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church.’ (Did I miss an announcement in general conference?) …” Your answer is in the Bishop’s handbook regarding members with past sexual transgressions and regarding the positions they can hold and cannot hold. Yes, the new policy is in direct contrast to our doctrine, especially when you’re talking about an unrepentant adult.

    There is much that I agree with you, here, but I have to part ways when I sense that there is an indictment of the church’s intent, and assumption–between the lines, perhaps, but none the less apparent–that the church has somehow been misguided. That being said, thank you for creating an institution here in Utah that’s time has come. I am grateful for the work that you do.

    Just cut the church some slack, brother. None of us here get to sit in the councils that are held amongst the brethren, nor do we have the benefit of knowing what devils they must contend with. For me, I’ll just trust the Savior when he says that “his wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil.”

  7. Jason
    August 3, 2015 at 1:15 am #

    My problem with scouting in the church is that we don’t do it right. Basing promotion from on level to the next off of age rather than school year is awkward. Having the positions as callings rather than volunteered positions messes with things too. I had leaders who weren’t scouters and didn’t want to be there. It kills the enthusiasm for the program.
    In our stake, they only go to scout camp every other year. On the odd years they do a priesthood camp where no merit badges are earned. Really hard to advance rank if you aren’t earning a bunch of merit badges at scout camp. I suspect this is likely done in many stakes.
    We should either be all in and follow BSA guidelines or be completely out and make a new program that focuses on the young women core values and renames them youth values.

  8. Joseph Evans
    August 3, 2015 at 5:30 am #

    There are some things in this letter with which I agree. But not all. As a Church leader for many years, I have always looked at the BSA as a program adopted by the Church as a compromise, with enough good things in it that the Lord and His Church found acceptable for our boys. Perfect, it is not. But acceptable enough it has been in making many good things available for our youth, tempered in some needed aspects by the inspired teachings of the Church through which it is administered. For the most part it seems to have served the purposes of the Church well, at least up until now and, possibly, into the future (the latter remains to be seen).

    Regardless of the negative aspects of the Scouting program, and the less-than-positive opinions of some Church members, the issue will be ultimately decided by the higher councils of the Church under the spirit of revelation, through the watchful eyes of the Lord’s current disciples. Perfect or not it will, in my opinion, go the way of the Lord’s will for this current and upcoming generation of boys in the Church. Such will be sufficient for my liking.

  9. Tom Boyer
    August 3, 2015 at 6:33 am #

    I agree Feldman was correct – we are leaving American Nationalism perhaps better phrased as Secularism and moving more and more towards being a ‘Peculiar People’. Step by step, legal decision by legal decision, the morals and ideals of this nation move further and further from the doctrines of the gospel. It feels like the inspired foundations of this nation truly do hang by a thread.

  10. ChadFawson
    August 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    This may be a little off topic, so forgive me for diverting the conversation a bit, but I know that we as a church consider the US Constitution as an “inspired” document. However, the question has always lingered in my head, “What parts of the document were actually inspired, and which parts weren’t?” Surely the 3/5 clause wasn’t necessarily inspired by the Almighty. Does this leave room that other portions weren’t necessarily inspired as well? What about Prohibition and/or the repeal thereof?

    I personally think the most important part of the Constitution, the part that Heavenly Father cared most about, was the first amendment and that was it. The first amendment allowed for the establishment of the Church. Sure the way the government was generally organized helped to protect the church, though not so well in the late 1800s, but I think we need to be careful when we attempt to equate “inspired documents” with actual “scripture/doctrine”. I know a lot of church members would argue that the second amendment was also inspired but I’m not so sure. Didn’t the Lamanites bury their weapons of war in the ground as a covenant that they would no longer follow their blood thirsty ideals of the past? Which is closer to the Celestial Law and the directive during the Sermon on the Mount to turn the other cheek? I think we need to be careful to not attempt to mix man’s laws with God’s laws. We know what God’s laws are. Let’s be careful and not attempt to put some of man’s laws which had touches of inspiration above the laws and directives we know God has given. Maybe rather than burying our face in the Constitution and political ploys of man we should be burying our face in the scriptures and those things we know come directly from God?

  11. Pierce
    August 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm #


    Good points on focusing on scriptures more. As to your comments on 2nd amendment, might I say this: in order for the First Amendment rights to exist, the Second Amendment needs to exist.

  12. Marni
    August 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    Good work! You’ve just written about everything that scouting is not. The right reasons? Try again. I wish I could like or hooray! other replies that have already stated my thoughts on the matter. As it is, I’ll add one more element. Obviously you haven’t studied Baden-Powell. His scouting skills came from play as a boy, hanging out in the woods, adventures with family members, etc. In the military, he realized many of those he led didn’t have the same skill level, so he wrote a book, Aids to Scouting. Upon arrival home to Britain, he saw boys eating up what he had written, and many had already started their own groups to practice. BP saw it as an opportunity to give boys the same skills and adventures he’d had, rather than watching life happen (“spectatoritis” as he called it, still a problem today). Yes, also an opportunity then to prepare them for military opportunities, but given the time period, that was on everyone’s minds there. That focus is long gone.

    I’m thankful people like President Monson are making that decision and not you, people that actually understand scouting for what it IS.

  13. Pierce
    August 3, 2015 at 4:41 pm #


    What happened to your responses to comments? Your engagement is what turned me onto this blog originally.

  14. LDS Anarchist
    August 3, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    I certainly hope scouting is abandoned. I’ve wanted scouting ties cut ever since I joined this church, so this news gives me hope that my sons will be brought up in a more Christ-centered youth program.

  15. Another LDS Anarchist
    August 3, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    Christ’s very existence is an affront on governments of Man. To be a true follower of Christ, one must declare independence from nationalism. One must follow Christ alone. Patriotism is a religion, the state is it’s god.

  16. saxoclese
    August 4, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    BREATHES there the man with soul so dead,
    Who never to himself hath said,
    ‘This is my own, my native land!’
    Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d
    As home his footsteps he hath turn’d
    From wandering on a foreign strand?
    If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
    For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
    High though his titles, proud his name,
    Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
    Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.

    Sir Walter Scott

  17. Cari Clark
    August 4, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    You mean, make Scouting more like girls’ camp? Frankly, I think girls would benefit from more Outward Bound-type experiences, and it would be very easy for the Church to transition to its own boys’ Achievement Days and Girls’ Camp-style activities, as these are essentially modeled on Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. I am not the least bit concerned about the “nationalistic” aspect of Boy Scouts, since it is balanced with a lot of religious instruction. Do you really think Boy Scouts is in danger of creating a generation of Hitler Youth-type kids? No way, especially in the Church, where most kids just go along to get along, and are not the enthusiastic participants you see in some troops outside the Church. And while I don’t think that allowing “openly gay” men to be leaders will impact the Church program at all (and this depends on how you define “openly gay.” I think in this context it means living a gay lifestyle and treating it as normal, which the Church does not do. We do not exclude gays from holding callings in the Church, but those who are actively sinning by having sexual relationships outside a legal and lawful marriage between a man and a woman are excluded from holding callings because they are not living the Gospel, regardless of sexual orientation.) I don’t want a guy who cheats on his wife or is living with his girlfriend to be my son’s Scout leader either. In this way “allowing openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church.”

  18. Michael Stewart
    August 6, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    Conner: Very on to the point. Nice presentation. Keep up the very well thought out and intelligent comments. Sonja and I will always support your efforts at attempting to not only educate but to bring common sense and the Lord’s purpose. Love your enemies and the ignorant.

  19. Enki
    August 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    I am not sure I understand the comparison. Its not an equal comparison to compare an adulterer and someone that is gay. Given that the LDS church does not accept any context of sexual expression for anyone gay, but does accept a limited context for heterosexual couples.

  20. Patricia
    November 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    I would like to have your comment about CFR member,Ted Koppel, and his new book, “Light’s Out” where he almost tells us that we are going to have a Cyber attack, and then tells everyone where they can get food, water and other supplies…the Mormon church membership, who will not try to defend themselves and their property.

  21. Burb
    January 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    Some very good points Connor. I agree that the Church could benefit from abandoning BSA and going on it’s own IF they do it right. However, I see no real likelihood that the Church will do it any better.

    As it is, I think that the Church’s version of Scouting is a poor substitute for the actual scouting program which troops sponsored outside the Church enjoy. In those troops, the boys actually do provide leadership to other boys, but in the Church’s quorum-centric version, there is only lip-service paid to leadership.

    In non-LDS troops, boys are given actual responsibility to lead younger, less experienced boys. In the Church Boys are typically assigned a rotating leadership title/position over boys their own age, which is almost meaningless in practice, so that having held the requisite title for a period of time they are “qualified” for rank advancement. Boys are rarely expected to train or lead other boys. Few troops actually involve the boys in planning, so it becomes another program that is prepared for the boys which they are simply expected to consume.

    Rank advancement under the LDS system is seldom rigorous. Anyone who has sat on Eagle Scout board of reviews can attest that regardless how unprepared and disinterested boys are, they are advanced as long as the paperwork can possibly support it. True, there are boys who are prepared, qualified and enthusiastic, but Eagle’s nests are filled with many more who are not fit to be in their company.

    The LDS Church today has lost much of it’s capacity for grass roots innovation that characterized it a century ago. So, it’s hard to see that a program imposed from the top will be innovative. Although there are individual exceptions, the Church is no more inclined towards Liberty than are average Americans, so there is little certainty that the ideals of Liberty will be foremost in it’s youth programs either. It could happen, but I haven’t seen many lessons in any Church setting which gives me much hope that it will become a priority. In most instances the flag is equated with Liberty, while actual Liberty is ignored altogether, so Liberty itself becomes symbolic, rather than real.

  22. Val
    March 30, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

    I’m a convert though I grew up in the church in an inactive family. My conversion happened when I was a senior in high school just before I turned 18 October 1971. I attended church a half a dozen times before an experience fortunately ended up in conversion.

    I did attend Mutual routinely and was involved in Scouts somewhat. I went on campouts where some of the most outlandish conduct by boys my age and a year or two older took place. If showing off private parts was redeeming I might consider scouting as a positive but overall I learned nothing of lasting value.

    The only caveat I would add is that I grew up on a small farm of 20 acres, milked cows by hand, grew a garden, raised and butchered our own chickens, raised hundreds of pigs, watered our land via ditch irrigation, owned and repaired my own car and worked to buy all of my needs from the time I was 9 on. Scouting again taught me nothing.

    PS A pet peeve of mine is that almost every Eagle Scout I see is simply an extension of a kids mother.

  23. james
    April 3, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

    I actually hated boy scouts. Most of it made little sense to me. Driving for hours to a beautiful outdoor location, only to sit on a table and tie knots, something that could have been done indoors anywhere. Also standing for lengthy periods of time holding a flag, marching and turning as if part some military squad. The worse part was taking directions from some 16 year old dictator, a mini Hitler, Napoleon or Stalin.

    A friend reminded me that scouting was actually modeled after paramilitary programs, so no wonder it was something I found unpleasant.

  24. Dick Hatzenbuhler
    December 25, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

    You seem to be ignoring the fact that we as LDS members have a lot of freedom WRT how we run the Boy Scout organization as scoutmasters and other leaders. I have been a scoutmaster a couple of times and never felt confident that I was doing enough, or that the boys were doing enough under my leadership. If different scout leaders choose different areas of the plan to emphasize, they may be able to provide the benefits of the organization while remaining true to their own standards of morality and personal development.

    As far as I have heard, the national BSA is not requiring local sponsoring organizations to appoint gay men as leaders. I think it would be better to avoid having gay men as scout leaders, just as we might prefer not to put heterosexual males in charge of girl scouts.

    As for fear of nationalism, one of the greatest causes of war and oppression in the world of the last century or so has been our failure to adequately preach the gospel of democracy to the other nations of the world. When we look at the various countries today we see that where the people are more free they are generally more prosperous. There used to be a joke that there were three basic causes of the worldwide shortage of food: Russia, China and India; those three have moved in the direction of freedom (still may have far to go) and the problem of feeding the people has mostly been solved. We as Americans should not be ashamed of our success; as other nations move toward freedom, we should be careful not to move toward tyranny. Our citizenship merit badges should include education about the danger of excessive reliance on the government. If the BSA sometimes includes “taking directions from some 16 year old dictator, a mini Hitler, Napoleon or Stalin” that may be some of the best education anyone could receive at that age.

    So, I do not see any problem with the BSA that would prevent us from enjoying the improvements that some of the writers herein have proposed. Instead of arguing about the organization, we should work to accomplish good things wherever we are. Most of the complaints I have read here are in reaction to failure on the part of leaders and boys, failing to do things that could be done now; we will not be perfect in this life, but that does not mean we have to quit trying – or that we should wait for a new order from headquarters to rescue us.

  25. Dan
    January 31, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

    Why is having a gay scout leader a problem? Being gay has nothing to do with being a pedophile. Being gay means that a man is attracted to the same gender. Cub scouts allows women to be den mothers… Den mothers who are attracted to men. No one is concerned about this because it doesn’t matter. Again, being attracted to a man does not make someone – male or female – a pedophile.

    There are LDS youth who struggle with homosexuality (shocking, I know) and feel that there is no one they can turn to for advice or support because of the ingrained shame and judgement of the church. If there was an openly gay member of the LDS church who is living the standards of the church – maybe that person could be a support for youth who may be struggling with the same issue. As a LDS youth, leaders often related their life struggles to me – explaining how they chose the right and why. This should be no different who has been dealt the hand of homosexuality.

    These kinds of discussions – over gay leaders or transgender scouts – are currently fed by fear and closed-minded misunderstanding. If there really is a place for all people in God’s church, we need to be able to understand the trials and struggles that others are going through – not shame them and prevent them from participating.

  26. Jorge
    February 1, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

    Remember brethren, not everything that is legal is moral.

  27. Burn
    July 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

    Wow! All I can say is WoW!

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