“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet. When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined. The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation. However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.
As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available. Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead.”This statement is obnoxious on so many levels. First and foremost it is an affront to LDS gays and lesbians who continue to be marginalized within their faith. But, for the sake of efficiency, I'll confine my sarcasm to (feminist that I am) the part that pissed me off the most:
"As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available."
I admit this poorly chosen wording probably doesn't reflect the Brethren's intent. Most likely it's the work of some underpaid sexist ding-a-ling in church PR. Nevertheless, there is a Freudian resonance to it. If by "youth" the Mormons mean "boys" one must assume that, in similar church statements, by "adults" they mean "men."
And why not? When a Mormon girl turns twelve, she goes straight from Primary to a boring, grown-up regimen of marriage and motherhood. Then, when she finally grows up and gets married, she's relegated back to the standing she enjoyed in Primary. I understand that nowadays, girls as young as 8 are required to attend mind-numbingly boring "women's" conferences, making the Mormon female's experience bizarrely backwards - robbed of her childhood as a girl, robbed of her adulthood as a woman.
But, back to the "limitations of fully one-half of (LDS) youth."
LDS scout troops are notorious for being unenthusiastic and poorly run. But at least they've had the fallback of the BSA's established rules and requirements, as well as their great camps and jamborees. Back in the early/mid 1990's, our son ended up in one of the better LDS troops, thanks to some competent leaders, including his dad. Our son loved scouting, so much so that he and his dad continued to attend troop activities even after we'd quit attending the LDS Church. When I think back to the good things about my life as a Mormon, two things come to mind: 1. Meeting my husband, Mark. 2. Our son's scouting experience.
A few years ago I paid a visit to my son and his wife in Austin, bringing along some of his childhood possessions. By far, his favorite was his old scout sash. He spent the better part of an evening identifying all of the badges and recalling the memories surrounding them. But later he lamented that, if he were to have his own son, he couldn't, in good conscience, allow him to participate in the BSA - because of the organization's policy banning gays.
I am happy for the BSA switch in policy and I'm happy for the dedicated gay scout leaders who may now openly serve in the organization. Also, I'm happy for my son and my little 11 month-old grandson who may someday carry on the family tradition of scouting - in a troop that welcomes gay leaders.
But I'm sad for Mormon boys. If the LDS Church is serious about dropping out of the BSA, whatever program they put in its place is bound to be an unenthusiastic, poorly run, mind-numbingly boring grown-up regimen - leaving what is left of the church "youth" without any youth after all.