Our LDS youth are not able to join TrailLife USA because of our unique beliefs
regarding the Trinity. But hopefully our LDS leaders will take a stand and
emulate the moral courage that the good men who have formed TrailLife USA have
demonstrated. We can do something similar in the church and make it GREAT!! No more tired, uninterested scout leaders playing basketball with the
boys on Wednesday nights. But energetic priesthood men leading boys in a
uniquely LDS program that isn't afraid to put God first and teach young men
the truth regarding the evils that are raging in society.I know
it's not easy to break away from 100 years of tradition. But it's not
that the church would leave scouting , it's that scouting is leaving the
church. Lets do what is best for the boys.
There is still a lot of misunderstanding regarding the BSA policy. It is simply
that a youth with same sex attraction issues can still be a scout, but if a boy
participates in immoral activity of any kind or promotes immoral activity, then
he's out, without regard to sexual orientation. The Trail USA organization
has the same policy. The Trail USA organization was being put together long
before the gay issue hit the BSA. Per Trail USA leadership, the real reason
behind it is that they wanted an Evangelical Protestant only organization, their
chief complaint being that there were too many Mormons in BSA and they
didn't want their youth associating with Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Muslims.
etc. I got that directly from the Trail USA leadership in conversation with
It may be that Utah doesn't have a problem with some of the more
troublesome/discriminatory practices and policies of the BSA...on another note,
I do hope more training and expertise will be expected of BS leaders in Utah.
Over the years, the string of forest fires, search and rescues, vandalism and
other costly mayhem caused by the Utah Boy Scouts has resulted in some notoriety
amongst other states. Please let's try to do a better job!
I think "Lilljemalm" has it right.From comments made by
several BSA officials in the last decade or so, it was clear there was an
increasing sense of uneasiness among some evangelical BSA members and leadership
with the expanding influence by the LDS church on the BSA.If the
decision by the BSA to include gay scouts had any part of the decision by the
former BSA evangelical members to form Trail Life USA, it was primarily that of
being the "last straw".
Scouting is dying most places in the USA with which I am familiar because it has
become perceived as an arm of the Mormon Church.
Scouting is declining in areas where there is a lack of adult volunteers and
sponsors. The scent of bigotry hasn't helped.
Let's get behind our Priesthood leaders and enthusiastically support the
BSA as they have. Doing so will strengthen both the boys and the program.
There is nothing in BSA policy that goes against gospel principles. Boys of BSA
ages shouldn't be engaging in any kind of sexual contact anyway so as long
as they abide by that rule they should be allowed to participate. Adult leaders
who are openly gay cannot, because they are engaging in immoral conduct that
violates BSA rules. Let's support this stand and make this organization
stronger so it can continue to bless boys across this great land!
I recognize that scouting hasn't fully left its partnership with the church
yet. It has only put one foot out the door. But after having read "Duty"
the memoirs of Robert Gates, I'm confident that it won't be long
before scouting completely turns it back on morality and probably not much
longer after that before it abandons God as well. Don't get me wrong, Mr
Gates is a good man overall, but with a lifetime of work in higher education and
the federal government he is steeped in the pernicious doctrine of moral
relativism.I hope as a church we don't sit idly by hoping that
the BSA will go back to its glory years. It won't. Unfortunately the
iceberg it is sitting on is melting at a startling rate. And after 100 years,
that is truly painful to see. But it's real, and we need to get out ahead
of it and create something similar to TrailLife USA. It requires courage. But we
can do it. Pray for our LDS leaders. Think of the boys. They need us
to be courageous.
According to the Trail Life USA website, non-Christian religious groups are not
allowed to charter organizations. Neither are "non-Trinitarian"
Christian groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses and LDS.Their very
reason for being is to discriminate, not just against gays, but against
religions.Why would anyone want to belong to such a group?
@Understands Math"Why would anyone want to belong to such a
group?"Indeed. Sadly, I think we know the answer.
The LDS Church should drop scouting. Scouting lost its way a few decades ago
when they had instances of enrolling people who didn't exist so that they
could get more United way funds. Is there anyone who is happy that they have to
donate a huge amount of funds for the friends of scouting fund raising so that
the district guys can make 6 figure incomes doing virtually nothing?Haven't most of the lawsuits against the church come from Scouting
mishaps? But as long as the leaders of the church receive
scouting's highest honors the church will keep the program.
It is important to note that the growth of Boy Scout numbers in Utah aren't
linked in any way to the BSA's recent policy changes officially allowing
gay youth to participate as Scouts. Participation in Utah has increased because
of nothing more than demographics within the local LDS communities. There
happens to be a lot of LDS youth reaching Scout age, and that's all there
is to it.As long as the BSA is used as a default youth program by
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, youth numbers in the BSA will
shift along with the youth demographic shifts among the memberships.A few years from now that 4.56% increase in the Utah National Parks Council
will reflect a similar increase in LDS missionaries from the same region.
Thank you Lilljemalm and Mormon Ute for understanding and explaining the
church's position. In the LDS church, we do not push away our brothers who
experience same-sex attraction. We realize that having those feelings is not a
moral failing and not a choice. People who experience SSA, while not advocating
for sin, are free to talk about what they feel and be honest with their friends,
family, and priesthood leaders without fear of reprisal. People who are open
about their SSA hold the priesthood, serve missions, serve in the temple, attend
BYU, and yes can be a part of our youth and scouting programs.I cannot
understand how anyone thinks it would be moral to stigmatize these people and
try to to force them out of our organizations because of their sexual
orientation. If we want to help them live according to the gospel, we need to
love them and include them in the church. This is what the church teaches and I
hope all members will get on board.
Mack2828, you might be surprised to know that the BSA is NOT a religious
organization. I can easily see why you would get that idea--the LDS sponsored
troops to not have any outreach programs to enroll boys in the community so the
troops are generally 100% LDS. But four of my sons belonged to LDS sponsored
Boy Scout troops--and they were warmly welcomed, and never made to feel that
they were token heathens although they were the only non-LDS boys there. Save your doctrine lessons for Sunday school and keep your scout troops
open to all, believers and nonbelievers. Your promotion of the idea of " a
uniquely LDS program that isn't afraid to put God first and teach young men
the truth regarding the evils that are raging in society" is, to put it
mildly, startling. Intolerance and discrimination for those outside
your comfort zone is as much an evil as any other, and it "rages" in
Imagine that..enrollment up in a State with an every expanding number of young
kids/youth and population growth.Go figure.
Apparently quantity trumps quality.
The comments on here about discrimination are startling to me. Don't we
still live in a country where private citizens can form private groups that are
based on shared beliefs and exclusive of others?? For instance there
is a gym in my town that is exclusively for women. No men allowed. That's
fine with me. It's a private group they ought to be able to define their
membership standards.If you stop and think about it their are hundreds of
such groups around our country from all different sides of the political
spectrum and belief systems. Can a white male congressman be a part
of the congressional black caucus? Can a male chauvinist join the national
organization of women?These shrill talking points about
discrimination and equality that have been pounded at us for the past few years
are really getting old. Please stop.
It would be interesting to note the demographic growth compared to scout growth
in Utah. There were many who predicted that when the BSA openly accepted gay
scouts that there would be a mass exodus from Mormon parents pulling their kids
out of BSA troops. That has clearly not happened which is a great sign that the
LDS membership is coming to grips a step at a time with what it means to enjoy
life in an environment where gays have equal rights with others. As a member of
the LDS church, I am personally pleased with that reaction.
It sounds like Trail Life USA is the Boy Scout version of the new GOP, recently
hijacked by the Evangelical South.
@Mack2828Yes, private organizations like the BSA and churches can
discriminate about who is allowed membership. The right of the BSA to exclude
gay leaders was upheld by the supreme court in Boy Scouts of America et al. v.
Dale. The Daughters of Utah Pioneers requires members to be women and a
direct-line descendant or legally adopted direct-line descendant with a pioneer
ancestor.The question is not whether or not an organization can
discriminate, it is whether or not it should. The fact that you think that a 15
year old boy who gets enough guts to tell a few people that he experiences SSA
should be kicked out of scouting is what is scary. I was a gay Mormon teenager
not too long ago and glad no one kicked me out. I ended up earning my eagle,
going on a mission, staying faithful, and have served in many callings in the
church. There is no reason to exclude kids who deal with SSA from the full
program of the church.
@Tiago,I have looked back over my posts and can't find anywhere
where I have even remotely suggested a 15 year old boy with SSA should be kicked
out of scouts. All of my posts have been encouraging the church to be
prepared with a new program (like TrailLife USA, who also doesn't kick out
your hypothetical 15 year old) as scouting continues to migrate away from our
Mack2828,I guess I don't see how scouting is migrating away from our
church standards then. Can you give examples? In my ward's troop we
still recite the scout oath and law in every meeting and end with a scoutmaster
minute focused on a gospel lesson. At scout camp in Washington the prayers in
the dining hall are a bit silly and irreverent, but there are daily vespers
focused on general religious concepts. I have never heard anyone in scouting
advocate against the law of chastity, or against faith, repentance, families, or
any other of our values.I'm concerned about the message we send to
gay people among us when we treat them like a threat and write policies
exclusively to exclude them, stigmatize them, and discourage them from being
honest.On Wednesday night I sat in my church foyer and heard and older man
talk for several minutes about how "the gays" are out to destroy
scouting and take advantage of young boys. That kind of rhetoric is wrong,
hurtful, and divisive. We don't need to characterize gay people as the
enemy to maintain our commitment to moral standards.
Mack, any number of gay LDS men have said that they were told by their bishops
to not come to church anymore. Do you think that this isn't happening?
There is no reason to assume that a 15-17 year old boy who was openly gay
(let's say he took another boy to the prom, but still wasn't sexually
active) would be welcome at an LDS sponsored troop. And he wouldn't be
welcome at Trail USA either.Lilljemalm, when was the last time you
heard of a straight boy (with a pregnant girlfriend) getting kicked out of the
Boy Scouts? When a (straight) scoutmaster divorces his wife so he can marry his
girlfriend, he gets to stay. Gay youth (and certainly, gay adults) are welcome
in the BSA only if they are in the closet.
Laura: "...any number of gay LDS men have said that they were told by their
bishops to not come to church anymore." Is this anecdotal, or
have these "any number of gay LDS men" spoken to you directly, and how
long ago was that? While I can't say that this may not have
ever taken place, I think it is just as fair to say that "any number of gay
LDS men" are serving faithfully in a number of LDS church callings around
the world without repercussion. And, as attitudes continue to change, probably
more so now than ever before.
@Mack2828"Don't we still live in a country where private citizens
can form private groups that are based on shared beliefs and exclusive of
others?? "Sure, but that doesn't mean they won't be
criticized for it like Augusta National.
No way would I go camping and sleep in a tent with a gay scout. It'd be
like a boy scout sleeping in a girl scout's tent.
@Mr. Bean:And that's the kind of attitude that keeps gay people
in the closet. The stereotype that gays are so sex-mad that they'll go
after any male, even (or especially?) if he's straight.Needless
to say, there's no empirical evidence to support that kind of stereotype.