Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mormons already have a" no gay leadership" in place for Boy Scouts. Or do they?

The LDS church has a program for the young men aptly called...wait for it... the Young Men's Organization. Scouting is a key element to that program. 

Those in the program are asked to:
  • Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live its teachings; 
  • Serve faithfully in priesthood callings and fulfill the responsibilities of priesthood offices; 
  • Give meaningful service; 
  • Prepare and live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and temple ordinances
  • Prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission
  • Obtain as much education as possible; 
  • Prepare to become a worthy husband and father; and 
  • Give proper respect to women, girls, and children.
All members of the Young Men are asked to participate in Aaronic priesthood and complete the Duty to God -- a goal-setting and achievement program tied to scouting that is supposed to help them make progress spiritually, physically, educationally, as well as assist with their careers, citizenship and social development.

The YM have been involved with scouting for generations -- as far as the US and Canada go. England has the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. Scouting and the Mormons have gone hand in hand for some time. Here is why I am posting about scouting again.

The LDS church has has the practice of not letting known gay men act as leaders for the scouting programs. This is not a policy -- something written in the handbook -- but is a reality nevertheless. Known gay men are not called to work as advisers or leaders of the young men's groups. Someone in the comments says that he knows of someone.  I do not.

Last year the BSA ended its policy of denying membership to openly gay youth. The decision followed years of internal debate and had been seen as a milestone for the Boy Scouts of America.

The decision put scouts in tune with public acceptance of homosexuality, especially among younger supporters currently being courted by the organization.

Robert Schwarzwalder, senior vice president of the Family Research Council -- who is a conservative Christian group and a father of two scouts in Northern Virginia -- had stated (regarding the future of the BSA) “I think there will be a loss of hundreds of thousands of boys and parents.”

Well, there wasn't. Conservative leaders of scouting and right wing parents threatened to withdraw themselves or their boys, but they did not.

Current turns of events in Scouting indicated that as boys turn into men, they will not be asked to leave scouting. Will the LDS church grant openly gay men the same privilege?

It would seem consistent with the churches teachings to allow those with homosexual inclinations who are members of the church in full standing to serve in leadership positions with the young men.


  1. Your information is incorrect. A worthy gay man may hold leadership positions with the young men's program. He just cannot be a scout leader.

    1. Worthy men who are known to be gay are allowed to serve as leaders in the young men's program? Benji Schwimmer (gay man who won "So You Think You Can Dance" and has an LDS background) was told something very different by his stake president. To quote Benji: "my stake president said, that asterisk will stay forever on your record. You can still become active after this year, but there are some limitations. You won't ever be able to serve with the youth of the church. And I thought to myself, I am no pedophile, and in no way does homosexuality equate to pedophilia. I never doubted one thing in the Mormon church until they changed that policy." Was his stake president lying?

  2. My response would be that he was incorrect. I have a good friend who is gay, active and worthy. He has served in many young men leadership positions. He just cannot currently be a scout master or anything involving the scouts.

    (Not everyone reads or fully understands the handbook of instructions)

    1. Thanks for the reply. At the very least there is great inconsistency in how senior priesthood leaders treat gay members. If Benji's stake president was incorrect it was a huge mistake because Benji says this was a deciding factor in his leaving the church. Benji was led to believe this was a recent policy change. Without access to the handbook or instructions given to stake presidents hard to know who is right or wrong, but in Benji's case he was clearly told he would be banned from being a youth leader the rest of his life, regardless of his worthiness.

  3. The asterisk is real. The church puts an annotation on the membership record of adult members who engage in repeated homosexual behavior. Only the First Presidency can remove an annotation. You can read this in the Church Handbook of Instructions Volume I. (I think you can google and download a copy from WikiLeaks. It's an interesting read.) I believe previous Handbooks specifically stated that members with annotations were not to serve in callings with children or youth.

  4. Thank you all for your responses. As you are well aware, there are many things that happen in the church that are not in the handbook. While gay men are not excluded by policy, they are in action. The Bishop is the man who receives revelation for his ward. I believe this will all of my heart and support it. Practicaly, callings go through his office. If he has any preconceived notions he cannot overcome he won't consider a gay man for a position in the Young Men's. And as we all know, there is not much of a practical difference between those in the Young Men's and the scouting leaders. They are all present at all activities. Public perceptions are still key. Many associate gays with pedophilia -- so wrong. Until that is resolved, there will be a discrepancy in the handbook and what is really art hand. Makes me a little sad. I will have to be content to lead the choir.