Salt Lake City, Utah — The leadership of the Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City have issued a statement expressing their approval of a proposal created by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that would permit openly homosexual boys to serve in the organization.
“Over the past several weeks BSA has undertaken the difficult task of reviewing its membership standards policy,” the statement begins, noting that the establishment has had a relationship with the Boy Scouts of America for 100 years. “In their own words, this undertaking has been ‘the most comprehensive listening exercise in its history.'”
It noted that Mormon officials have not expressed their opinion either way on the matter heretofore, but believe that the Boy Scouts have given the issue careful consideration and are “satisfied” with the conclusion.
“While the Church has not launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change we have followed the discussion and are satisfied that BSA has made a thoughtful, good-faith effort to address issues that, as they have said, remain ‘among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today,'” the statement said.
The Mormon establishment then outlined that Scouting is designed to assist youth, and not adults, referring to the Scouts’ proposal to retain its ban on openly-homosexual leaders while lifting the ban on members who have decided not to fight homosexual temptations.
“The current BSA proposal constructively addresses a number of important issues that have been part of the on-going dialogue including consistent standards for all BSA partners, recognition that Scouting exists to serve and benefit youth rather than Scout leaders, a single standard of moral purity for youth in the program, and a renewed emphasis for Scouts to honor their duty to God,” it outlined.
The statement concluded with the assertion that the new policy, if enacted, will help to deepen the morality of scout members.
“We are grateful to BSA for their careful consideration of these issues,” it said. “We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth as we work together in the future.”
As previously reported, the Boy Scouts of America announced its proposed policy change earlier this month, noting that it will go before the National Council in May for an vote.
“While perspectives and opinions vary significantly, parents, adults in the Scouting community and teens alike tend to agree that youth should not be denied the benefits of Scouting,” the organization outlined in a statement, adding, “The proposed resolution also reinforces that scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of scouting age is contrary to the virtues of scouting.”
However, reaction to the proposed policy has been mixed.
“I agree with banning male adults from supervising young boys just like I do heterosexual men who probably are not pedophiles from supervising overnight stuff with young girls. No different,” stated one commenter. “I’m glad they are allowing gay children to be in Scouts. … I am a devout follower of Christ and believe our children are to be protected and loved and not used or rejected for any reason.”
“If this passes the membership will decline to the point BSA will fold within 2 years. If you want an organization that panders to less than 2% of the population that will be the participation level and unless there is a liberal democrat in the WH to subsidize it there is no way it will survive,” another wrote. “Just as I believe all parents have a right to discern what the sexual orientation of the people their child is sleeping (camping) with, if the only way I can prevent my son from sleeping with a gay kid is to not let him belong to the scouts, so be it.”
The Boy Scouts of America advised that it came to its conclusion largely because of feedback from a survey which was issued to approximately 1 million affiliates. An estimated 200,000 individuals submitted their input.