Within minutes of The Boy Scouts of America releasing the victorious news that voting members have made history with the passing of their controversial proposal, which will allow openly gay youth to participate in the scouting program, effective Jan 1, 2014, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Mormon Newsroom, promptly released an official statement of support for the the policy vote; clarifying how the moral standards of the Church will be maintained. 

The Church’s long-established policy for participation in activities is stated in the basic instructional handbook used by lay leaders of the Church: “young men … who agree to abide by Church standards” are “welcomed warmly and encouraged to participate” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 8.17.3). This policy applies to Church-sponsored Scout units. Sexual orientation has not previously been—and is not now—a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops. Willingness to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest. 
These standards are outlined in the booklet For the Strength of Youth and include abstinence from sexual relationships. We remain firmly committed to upholding these standards and to protecting and strengthening boys and young men. 
See complete Newsroom release

This statement should not only make it clear to any media who are interested in knowing how the LDS Church will address the new BSA policy, but also be comforting to many members who have been concerned about how the Church would uphold standards of morality while at the same time allow openly gay youth to participate in the scouting program; which to my surprise, after writing this post: Boy Scouts of America Propose Brilliant Plan: Upset Pretty Much Everyone -- were more than a few. In fact, my referring to the proposal as brilliant went so far as to elicit a friend to message me and ask if I was smoking crack? And yes, that actually happened. 

Not to minimize, but I realize that such a response was likely of the knee- jerk type, as were many of the first responses, and of those, many I'm sure have since had the time to reconsider the overall issue and perhaps, by now, or in the near future, will come to feel differently. I think that the Church news release (brilliant), that promptly followed, giving BSA the thumbs-up, so to speak, definitely helped turn the tide toward helping members, and others, to see the positives of the proposal. From what we've witnessed today, I think it's probably fair to say, that the little tip of the hat helped pave the way for the many positive responses that I've seen in today's announcement when the proposal passed; a much different response. I suppose we'll never know for sure, but I don't suppose it hurt any.

In discussing this issue with some, critical of the proposal, there seems to be a single, major frustration in the BSA proposal process: a seeming refusal to acknowledge the overall homosexual agenda involved, by both the LDS Church and BSA. I bring this up because it has been brought up in conversations I've had a few times, and frankly I think it's both an important and positive point; and one that I feel is intentional on the part of both parties. And, because I think it is answered easily in today's BSA statement:

"The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter. 
"While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America's youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve."

Read entire BSA statement

And in the case of the LDS Church on this matter: this is a BSA decision on how they will decide policy on homosexuality within their organization.  Also, it is my opinion that it was never necessary for the Church to make any statement about its policy on homosexuality, as it is already clearly defined, and anyone who is interested in knowing the position of the Church can easily visit the Mormon Newsroom, or the new website mormonsandgays.org for updated information. And in fact, the same standards found online are also the same emphasized in the sources cited in the LDS Church BSA official response.

Speaking to the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, at a breakfast prior to the controversial vote later in the day, Gary E. Stevenson, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave a powerful address to a crowd of around 1,500, wherein he emphasized the foundation upon which BSA began and solidified the necessity that duty to God is where it must remain.

"We live at a time when there is great need for youth to look outward, focusing less on themselves and more on others. This is a time to reinforce and defend duty to God. That is the message of Scouting. It always has been, and ever should it be."

As I continue to hear the various responses to the BSA vote, this time around there are no surprises. Pretty much the lines were drawn when BSA presented the proposal initially and passionate folks drew swords in defense of what they felt they needed to defend, and still do, and are; even feeling that those who support the vote have been deceived and have bought into a lie all in the name of  'the children'.

It’s an odd feeling to be a Christian and find yourself standing as you feel Jesus Christ would if He were here, even knowing solidly that He would no way turn away a young gay boy from participating in the scouting program; especially if he said he would keep your commandments. It’s that simple. 

And that is how truth cuts through all the agendas so easily. It’s that clean. It’s that quiet. It’s that… yes, simple.

Kathryn Skaggs

Bishop Gary E. Stevenson Boy Scouts of America National Annual Meeting Keynote Speech

Photo: Wikipedia Norman Rockwell

Continue reading at the original source →