Utah Boy Scouts not losing leaders, troops following change in membership policy

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  • Critterman Santa Clara, UT
    May 30, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    As a long-term scout leader and member of the LDS faith I have observed boys in our scouting organization who have displayed gay tendencies but who also displayed great enthusiasm for the aims of scouting and who conducted themselves with honor and distinction. Like the other boys in our units, they are sons of God and deserve our love and support for the many good things that they do. Sexual misbehavior by any of our youth, gay or otherwise, has been unacceptable from the beginning of the Boy Scouts of America and will remain so in the future. There is no need to deny a young man membership in the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood when he has done no wrong. As for me and my house, we will continue to support the Friends of Scouting initiative till the day we die. I am grateful for Church leaders who saw the light in this matter and saw no reason to change course. I sustain them. I hope that the disaffected among us will eventually see the light and come around to the same conclusion.

  • Contrarius Lebanon, TN
    May 30, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    @suzyk# --

    "our boys are vulnerable to even more chances of being exposed to thoughts and feelings of the homosexual scout. ...It only takes one time for something to be said or be done that will negatively affect our scouts lives forever."

    What do you think a gay scout could possibly say that would so seriously traumatize a straight one?

    The LDS church recognizes that being gay isn't a choice -- so it's not like a gay scout is going to somehow "convert" a straight one.

    And, jeez, if you can't stand for your straight son to even HEAR about homosexuality, then you'd better lock him up in his room and take away the TV and computer.

    What, precisely, are you worried about that gay scout saying?

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    May 30, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    I've given this decision a great deal of thought. My biggest concern still is the ever present fact that our boys are vulnerable to even more chances of being exposed to thoughts and feelings of the homosexual scout. It natural to say what you think and feel especially when you have been brought up to believe it is "okay" and you are no less better than anyone else. But they are the minority and will most likely use this opportunity to express their feelings. It only takes one time for something to be said or be done that will negatively affect our scouts lives forever. I pray that will not happen.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 29, 2013 11:35 p.m.

    I think to some extent the discussion involved here have people talking around eachother. To some people the term "openly gay" implies acting on feelings and attractions, while it is clear from various statements that as interpreted by scout leaders in Utah, they will continue to discorage sexual actions of any kind by boyscouts.

    The debates are not helped by the fact that some people use bait-and-switch tactics meant to paint the views of others in a bad light. I have not seen that much done in this specific discussion but its prevalance in other discussions has hurt this one.

    I still think a big problem is the whole rhetoric of "so and so is gay". It is much more helpful to say that they have same-gender attraction and related things. Of course it robs some people of their ability to be sensationalistic, but it makes it much clearer what people are actually discussiong.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 29, 2013 11:29 p.m.

    I am not sure why people are up in arms about this at all. From what the scout executives interviewed in this article said, I have the impression that there will be virtually no change for how boyscouts actually experience boyscouting. The organization was not searching out and expelling people who were alleged to have same-gender attraction in the past, so I am not convinced the new policy will really change anything.

    I think we should continue to support the organization as we have in the past, because for the vast majority of cases this has not really changed anything at all.

  • Go 273 river miles Draper, UT
    May 29, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    There have been gay scouts in troops for years. They have just had to hide for fear of being persecuted. I have a gay son that was just starting his eagle project as this controversy began rearing its head. He made the decision that since the BSA didn't accept him for who he is inside, then he didn't need the title or badge or pin to indicate that he is a leader and a young man with integrity. So good LDS folks, I have a question for you. Since the church has come to the conclusion that same-gender attraction is not a choice (see mormonsandgays.org) and Scouting is the Young Men's program for the church, how can you in good conscience take a stand that young men dealing with same-gender attraction should be excluded from the Young Men's program? Shall we cast them out? Shall we cut them off from the benefit of strong male role models? Sexuality and Scouting should have nothing to do with each other. That said, it is my opinion that gay men should not be boy scout leaders, nor should straight men be leaders in the Girl Scouts.

  • MJM522 Draper, UT
    May 29, 2013 11:31 a.m.

    This article is statistically premature to draw any conclusions. The fallout from this decision will take years to unfold. The LDS church will buffer the real consequences for some time. Local boys still deserve our support, but "friends of scouting" will see a precipitous drop.

  • sak62 Irrigon , OR
    May 29, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    As a single mother of four children, three of them boys all in scouts. I'm thankful for the new ruling. Because one of my sons is gay. I've known for several months now and have been heartbroken for the challenges that he faces. He's always wanted to be an eagle scout and has struggled with his identity and integrity in the scouting program. Now there is a place for him to keep his integrity and yet acknowlege himself. As a mother, I am grateful that he still has the opportunity to learn from his scout leaders the skills and moral values that he'll need to grow up to be a strong man. I shed tears when I read comments from people who think that my son is not worthy to be lead by righteous, strong men and wonder why they think he's someone who doesn't deserve to have great leaders. But I'd rather those leaders exit scouting so he doesn't become a victim of their ridicule or bias. A huge THANK YOU to all those men who are willing to stay and be great examples to those young men who need them!

  • themdg Saratoga Springs, UT
    May 29, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    This article is a bit premature, especially as it applies to Mormons. While the LDS Church isn't leaving the BSA (exactly the opposite), some of us Leaders (and our kids) are. We just don't exactly know how. I talked to my Bishop about it last night, and agreed to stay on through Scout Camp (next week). Even then...I'll be released, but still on the BSA membership roles. Have to call the district, I guess to be removed, and make sure my son isn't automatically added to the charter next year.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    May 28, 2013 11:12 p.m.

    The ink is still wet from signing this new policy. It is premature to announce that this change will have little to no impact. Several evangelical and conservative Christian churches have announced their withdrawal from the program. The Catholic Church is mulling this over...but is clearly not endorsing the policy.

    Only the LDS and Methodist Churches remain.

    The LDS Church has been working feverishly over the past four years to paint itself as gay friendly. You can't expect such a stance to not have a negative impact on some people. Not all Mormons are in lock-step with this move. I know many who are aren't.

    Give this some time. I am certain collections for the Friends of Scouting effort will drop dramatically. Again, give this time.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    May 28, 2013 10:21 p.m.

    Interesting that a church in Kentucky, I believe, which seems to have the 4th largest congregation in the country (30,000 members) has dropped all association with the BSA.

  • Manzanita Las Vegas, NV
    May 28, 2013 10:06 p.m.

    The headline is misleading. It states, "Utah Boy Scouts not losing leaders . . ." And then goes on to mention that "several" leaders have quit their leadership positions over the change in policy. It seems like an agenda-driven headline rather than one that seeks to be accurate. How about, "Only a few Utah Boy Scout leaders leave organization . . ." See, that was easy. And more truthful.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    May 28, 2013 9:16 p.m.

    I, too, will be contributing to the BSA this year when asked. I support this decision and am grateful that the sponsor of the majority of the BSA troops in the State does as well.

  • Go Big Blue!!! Bountiful, UT
    May 28, 2013 8:13 p.m.

    I applaud the decision. This year I'll increase my donation to $200 to FOS to help make up for the intolerent. That's how this eagle scout and father of en eagle scout feels about it.

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    May 28, 2013 6:35 p.m.

    I serve as a leader in a troop, but my $50 annual contribution will no longer be heading their direction!!!

  • Utah Observer West Jordan, Utah
    May 28, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    Why does the Deseret News keep publishing photos of various non-Utah scout organizations when articles relating to Utah scout organizations are printed. Is the photo library of the Deseret News so lacking of Utah Scouts that it has to use non-Utah photos? Why not assigned DN photographers to take pictures of the numerous activities and events of local scouts to build up an inventory of local photos. Be prepared!

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    May 28, 2013 5:17 p.m.

    I will no longer support BSA financially at all -- not a dime more. I believe the leaders misread the level of discontent that is out there over this compromise. It will not go well for BSA after this decision.