The Boy Scouts of America will present an important proposal at their meeting next month, that if passed will become effective January 2014, which will allow openly gay youth to fully participate in the scouting program; but will continue to ban openly gay adults. In my initial, positive response, I quickly came to realize that I was among very few who share similar feelings; and this, surprisingly, coming from both the left and right; Mormons and gays.

The instigating of this potential change in BSA policy

Due to increased pressure from the homosexual community and many of their commercial allies, who some have either already withdrawn funding or are threatening to withdraw monetary support if gays are not allowed to fully participate, BSA have been compelled to spend a considerable amount of time, since February, on an extensive journey with the intent to mine the best possible solution; so as not to compromise their long held conservative, religious values.  This process has resulted in excellent feedback from those who are longtime supporters of the scouting program, and the general public, who have a great interest in the future of scouting in America; some who are strongly opposed to any changes and some who feel changes are a must.

But even with all of the input that BSA received, they freely admit the issue to be "among the most complex and challenging issues facing BSA and society today" and acknowledged the extreme difficulty in determining the possible impact of policy changes, of any kind, will ultimately have; but most agreed that youth should not be denied the benefits of scouting. 

In regard to the proposed resolution, BSA made this statement: "The proposed resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting is contrary to the virtues of Scouting."

The message I hear in that statement, is that although openly gay youth would be welcomed to participate in BSA, they will be required to adhere to the existing standards of BSA; which I can't imagine anyone would find an unreasonable requirement for those wanting to participate in a group with a known expectation.

BSA proposal being viewed as caving into social pressure

This seems to be the popular, initial opinion that I'm hearing and reading online, from most... that BSA with this proposal is conceding by allowing openly gay youth to participate, but not allow openly gay adults to be leaders; is just a way to meet the gay community half-way.

In fact, some conservative Christian groups are promoting a specific day to get behind BSA and send a message of support. It is their belief that by doing so, perhaps BSA will have the strength to stand up against being bullied by the gay agenda and not allow openly gay youth to participate. (see video below)

Video: Stand With Scouts Sunday

Let me say publicly, that I'm opposed to this response. Not because I think that my fellow Christians are necessarily wrong.  I just feel that they've not really thought this through completely, and that currently they are acting out of fear.  Because once they do think it through, I honestly believe that they will begin to see this proposal, allowing gay youth to participate in the BSA program, as an opportunity to emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ.

As we've heard from BSA, the extensive research that they've conducted to reach this proposal is what brought them to this conclusion. Reuters reported that, "A report on the matter found religious groups linked to the Scouts were concerned with homosexual adult leaders, not with youth, and concluded "a change in the membership policy specific to youth only would be consistent with the religious beliefs of the BSA's major chartered organizations."

I think this is significantly, significant!

How I think BSA proposal could work for the LDS Church (Note: These are just my personal thoughts, as I am not in any way speaking on behalf of the LDS Church)

I'll admit, perhaps, that I probably view this BSA proposal through a different lens than most; due to the fact that I frequently blog about issues relating to gay Mormons. In other words, I see this proposal as a positive for faithful gay Mormons in the LDS Church; and from that perspective, I can see this as a very, very good thing! And not only for gay youth, but for faithful gay Mormon adults, too.

I also see this as a positive for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their outreach to the homosexual community in general. Of course the Church will wait to give any official response or decisions until after BSA have taken their vote and made a final policy decision. Meanwhile I imagine the Church will prayerfully consider every angle of what accepting this proposal would mean for the Church.

Michael Purdy, Church Spokesman made this statement, "The Church has been provided a copy of the new resolution regarding membership standards for BSA. Church leaders will take the time needed to fully review the language and study the implications of this new proposal. We note that BSA will make a final decision on this matter at their National Annual Meeting next month."

Anything we discuss at this point is simply speculation about what hasn't even been decided by BSA, nor accepted by the LDS Church. If the first does occur, it would be very surprising, at least from my perspective, to imagine the Church not supporting BSA considering the current outreach to the homosexual community and the feedback BSA received.  Again, I absolutely see this as a potential positive and even a brilliant proposal by BSA; almost tailor made for the Mormons!

Let's imagine....  

Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, faithful gay Mormons, could potentially be called, if their bishop or branch president felt inspired to do so, to serve as leaders in the scouting program of their branch or ward; because although they are same-gender attracted, they do not practice homosexual behavior. Faithful gay Mormons, most single, have chosen a life of complete celibacy, in making the choice to be obedient to God by keeping His commandment to stay morally clean. In my opinion, these individuals would make excellent leaders to serve with our youth!

In considering gay Mormon youth, it's important to remember that all youth, 12 through 18 (Usually the time when we would be concerned about most morality issues.) homosexual or heterosexual, regularly meet with their bishop for worthiness interviews to discuss personal spiritual challenges and growth. And certainly issues of gender identity require spiritual guidance.

All youth need the youth programs of the Church. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all inclusive, and in my opinion if this push by the homosexual community has forced BSA to include gay youth, then perhaps we are seeing the Hand of the Lord in action; as I can't imagine He would want it any other way. So in this case of gay advocacy, it has worked in favor of God's children; in my opinion.

I am not a scouting expert and so this post is not addressing many of the issues that those of you who are, may be concerned about. I realize that there are many of you who are thinking of the many logistics of having openly gay youth in the program. I understand your initial fears of things you don't fully understand and/or are not comfortable with. And one thing you probably don't understand, think about, or realize, is that more than likely, your son has already shared a pup tent with a gay boy that you just didn't know was gay at the time; or will in the future, regardless of whether openly gay youth are permitted or not. Also, there are equal concerns about pornography, masturbation, and sexual promiscuity regardless of sexual preference.

If this does go forward, and I personally pray that it does, I would hope that we will trust LDS leaders making the decisions about how to make it work, and that the program will be setup in such a way to help all involved feel comfortable, so that all of the youth involved will feel the inclusion that their Heavenly Father would have them feel as they participate in BSA.

Every child of God should feel included in His Church programs

Last week, in my stake we had Stake Conference. In the adult session, my Stake President took some time at the close of the meeting to informally speak to us about some of the current issues going on in the Church. In particular, he brought up the new website:, which I blogged about here.  He read the LDS Church position on homosexuality, posted on the website, and shared that he had recently spent some time with two gay members, recently baptized in our stake, and encouraged us as members to reach out and help them to feel of our love. He also commented on how the gay community, in general, see Mormons as the "enemy" and, although I don't recall his exact words, inferred that we needed to work to change that perception. I was deeply touched that my stake president wants to help the members of my stake learn to become more Christlike, and challenged us specifically relating to gay members.

"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters." 

I realize that I have not addressed every concern, not by a long shot, that have many of you upset with this 'half-way' proposal, as many of you see it. I know that some of you wonder what will happen when these gay young men reach 18 and would 'like' to become scout leaders? There's a simple answer to that: Individually they will need to make a life choice. right? I don't think BSA is required to worry about that in lieu of making the right decision for BSA; where youth are the priority and not the desires of adults. I think the statements BSA have distributed make that point pretty clear.  I have to say, its kind of nice to see adults actually putting children first. It's truly a rarity in our day. So thanks, BSA --  much respect.

I have no clue what will ultimately end up happening in about a month from now with BSA, and less of how the LDS Church will respond. Heck, I probably shouldn't have even speculated about it. I guess I just have a tender spot for gay youth and our faithful gay Mormon members, and anywhere I see an opportunity to include them in ways that I believe Jesus Christ would do so, I would really like to see that happen; awkward as I am at it.

"As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach."   
Elder Quentin L. Cook

Kathryn Skaggs

Note: In regard to any comments you'd like to leave, make sure they are respectful in every way, and on point to what I've written about and not other facets of BSA that are not pertinent to this  particular conversation. Thanks! President Monson Discusses Strengths of Scouting

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