My view: Voting member's perspective on the BSA policy change
I am just back in my hotel room reflecting on the envelope that was just opened by Wayne Perry, the National President of the Boy Scouts of America in a packed convention room in Texas. It’s one hour later.
The world just changed.
Perry started right at 5 p.m. by saying, (I’m paraphrasing) “If ever there was a time for us to begin with prayer, it is now.” And he called for the Reverend Chip Turner to open the meeting with prayer.
He then asked the third party polling company to come forward and attest to the accuracy of the ballot count. They said every ballot was accounted for.
I can attest to the fact that the voting process was very well defined. I had my ID checked twice against a special card I was issued as a voter with a bar code before voting.
The ballot was a full piece of paper with the resolution at the top and a big box below to check and indicate we voted “Yes” and another box indicating whether we voted “No.” One of these was to be marked by a large Sharpie magic marker and then put into a slot in a big box.
No mistakes here.
After the representative from the polling company spoke, Perry took the podium again and said that before he opened the envelope delivered to him by the polling company, he wanted all Scouters to stay together no matter which way the vote went.
He was emotional.
He opened the envelope and said 61 percent for the resolution, and 38 percent against.
(He had it to the decimal point, but I don’t remember.)
The audience immediately began to speak. Cell phone pictures were being taken.
I noticed the national council key three (Wayne Brock, Wayne Perry and Tico Perez immediately left the room. I was sitting right behind Charles W. Dahlquist, the former-Youngmen president of the LDS Church, and he was swarmed with questions.
David L. Beck and Larry M. Gibson, of the current LDS Youngmen general presidency gathered to discuss things with Rondo Fehlberg, the council president of the Utah National Parks council.
Right next to them was Dave Pack, our council executive, and the council executives of the Trapper Trails Council and the Great Salt Lake Council. They noticed within a few minutes that the LDS Church had already issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to “duty to God” which includes service to others and moral behavior.
Last night at 5 p.m. we had discussed the resolution for two hours. I received a chance to be the second to last person to speak. I expressed my support of the resolution after carefully reading and realizing that it was very thought out and opened up an opportunity for all youth to participate in scouting if they would follow the guidelines of morality and duty to God that the BSA stands for.
Any of the 1,400 voters were eligible to move the microphone and voice their views. They were allowed three minutes. Strong positions and arguments were presented on both sides. Every single person was cordial, professional and acted with courtesy.
A comment was made that everyone present wished our legislature and political bodies could do the same.
Those for the resolution seemed to be about twice as many as those against. Early on, more spoke out for, and later, those against began to voice their opinions.
In other words, any young man with same-sex attraction that does not act on those feelings sexually can be a member of the Boy Scouts.
But there is no change in the standards for adult volunteers in Scouting.
This morning there was another hour and a half discussion. This was not open to the voters to speak, but instead, there was one representative for and one against on the issues from each of the four regions. Each again had three minutes and delivered extremely compelling cases for their positions.
The voting began at 11 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m. The results were announced at 5 p.m.
The world of Scouting just changed.
How will it affect Utah Scouters? I don’t think it will affect them much once they understand the details of what happened. The LDS Church responded very eloquently right after the vote was announced. We all thought the vote would be very, very close.
How will it affect Scouters around the U.S.?
That remains to be seen.
I was impressed with how many Scouters last night and this morning affirmed their complete support of Scouting whatever happened.
I’m exactly the same way. I’m fully behind this change. I’m fully behind the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America.
Ken Krogue is a member of the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America and one of the members who participated in yesterday’s BSA memberships standards vote. Krogue is the president and co-founder of InsideSales.com, and a Deseret Connect and Forbes.com contributor.