SALT LAKE CITY — Gary Stevenson, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commended the Boy Scouts of America on Thursday for its continued emphasis on duty to God, a founding principle "as old and deep as the organization itself."

“Isn’t it impressive that this great organization, so far ahead of its time, established this foundation or mission statement, integrated it deeply into its culture and practiced it beginning in 1910?" Bishop Stevenson said. "Ask any man who was a Boy Scout, and you will find near 100 percent recognition and an ‘off the chart’ recall of this mission statement.”

Bishop Stevenson's remarks were made during a Duty to God breakfast with BSA leadership during the organizaton's national council meeting in Grapevine, Texas. That same day, the 1,400 members of the national council voted on a new Scouting membership policy that would end a long-standing ban on openly gay youth members.

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Bishop Stevenson did not address the vote directly but alluded to the task ahead of the organization's voting members.

“I am very aware of the controversial moral, legal and policy issues that face this great organization," he said. "They are deep and they are wide, and they will test the best in us. Although I don’t speak directly to these issues this morning, I believe it constructive counsel for each of us to pray that divine direction manifest itself upon those who have the weighty responsibility to lead this organization appropriately.”