SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) The compromise proposal from the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay youths — while continuing to exclude gay leaders — has picked up a powerful backer: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mormon leaders, who sponsor more Scout troops than any other religious or civic group, announced Thursday (April 25) that they are “satisfied” with the BSA’s plan.

Boy Scout Memorial in Penn Quarter - Washington, D.C. photo courtesy Ted Eytan via Flickr (http://flic.kr/p/dRjHBC)

Boy Scout Memorial in Penn Quarter – Washington, D.C. photo courtesy Ted Eytan via Flickr (http://flic.kr/p/dRjHBC)


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“While the church has not launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change,” said a statement on the church’s newsroom website, “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 BSA is scheduled to decide the issue next month.

“The current BSA proposal,” the LDS church statement added, “constructively addresses a number of important issues that have been part of the ongoing 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.”

Kendall Wilcox, an openly gay Mormon filmmaker, sees the Scouts’ proposal as “a step in the right direction, bringing the Scouts in line with the LDS church’s policy of inclusion of LGBT people.”

Wilcox is a co-founder of Mormons Building Bridges, a group of Latter-day Saints dedicated to improving relations with the gay community. The group has been hosting “Community Conversations” at libraries recently about the Scouts’ latest proposal.

“I much prefer the previous proposal that would have left it up to local charter organizations to decide whether or not to include LGBT youth and leaders,” Wilcox said.

Other major Scouting sponsors — United Methodists and Roman Catholics — have not yet announced their positions on the BSA’s proposed policy change. Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, told Baptist Press he wants to see the current policy upheld.

John Stemberger, founder of the Florida-based group OnMyHonor.net that opposes any change in policy, called the Mormon position “both perplexing and non-committal.”

The statement, he said, “tries to dodge criticism from gay activists but still creates a myriad of problems for how to manage and ensure the safety and security of the boys in the program.”

(Peggy Fletcher Stack writes for The Salt Lake Tribune.)

6 Comments

  1. Blacks Ridiculed again by the Mormon Church
    By Lee B. Baker, Former Mormon High Priest and Bishop
    18 November 2013
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    For several years now, every Tuesday evening I have had the great privilege of hosting “Teaching The Truth”, an LDS focused broadcast to the Christian and Mormon listeners of Worship FM 101.7 in Monrovia, the capital City of Liberia, West Africa.

    I have come to know several of the station managers and a number of the more frequent callers to this weekly program. Through their comments, questions and photographs, I have been genuinely moved to see the application of their unyielding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Over the past few months the question of racist teachings in the Book of Mormon and from the past Leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been on the minds of the Black Liberian converts to Mormonism and the many African Christians who struggle to understand how such a Church can be growing in Africa.

    I believe the answer is relatively simple; it has been the perfect merging of a sincere lack of knowledge on the part of the Black Mormon Converts and a disturbing lack of accountability on the part of the White Mormon Leaders. A near total lack of knowledge across Africa specific to the more explicitly racist teachings found within the current Mormon Scriptures, principally that of Black Skin and even less information concerning the racism and bigotry openly and officially taught by the early Leadership of the Mormon Church. These facts, combined with the current Church Leadership’s inability to clearly and specifically reject its own racist teachings both in print and from its past Senior Leadership (liberally using the terms Nigger, Darky, Sambo and Skin of Blackness ), has left the Black Race with only a short irresponsible and offensively juvenile Official Statement that claims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knows very little about its own race-based policy, which lasted for well over 100 years:

    “It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but it has ended.” – Official Mormon Press Release concerning Race and the Church

    Maintaining a detailed and comprehensive history of every aspect and teaching of the Church has been both one of the hallmarks and one of the downfalls of Mormon Church. Within the relatively young Church, authoritative documentation, however corrupt it may have been, has never been in short supply. Each of the Senior Leaders of the Mormon Church has had several official biographers as well as an army of Church approved historians to record all aspects of the History of the Church. In fact, one of my first of many “Callings” in the Mormon Church was that of a Ward (Congregational) Historian, long before I became a Mormon High Priest and Bishop.

    The peculiar assertion that the Mormon Church itself does not know the details of its very own race-based policy of restricting the Blacks from holding the Priesthood is tremendously embarrassing for all Mormons and exceptionally degrading for anyone who actually believes it.

    As a former local leader of the Mormon Church, I have repeatedly assured the African members of the Mormon Church that the documents and “Scriptures” I have read to them over the air are both Authorized and Official for the time period they are relevant to. I clearly state the current position of total acceptance of all Races by the Church, but I must highlight the fact that the Book of Mormon still carries it’s obviously racist message that dark skin was a curse from God. I have said many times on-air that like the Mormon Missionaries, I too believe that every African should have a copy of the Book of Mormon, if only to learn the truly racist teaching of the Mormons, directly from the Book of Mormon.

    I have and will continue to teach the African Nations from the authentic Mormon Scriptures and the official Church History documents, which I had been provided by the Mormon Church to know my responsibilities as a Mormon Bishop. The Official Records of the Mormon Church include many jokes and sermons given within the Official Semi-Annual General Conference of the Mormons, using freely the terms Nigger, Darky and Sambo. Additionally, these LDS Church documents record nearly 100 graphic sermons and lessons that clearly teach the principle, practice and policy that Black Skin was, is and will remain forever the Curse of Cain.

    Only in the recent past has the “Complete History” of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come to the attention of its own membership, much less to the under developed regions of the world. As this information is discovered, an ever increasing number of members of the Mormon Church have come into a personal crisis of faith, most notably Elder Hans Mattsson of Sweden, a General Authority of the Mormon Church who has gone public with his doubts and questions concerning the appalling treatment of the Black Race by the Mormon Church.

    Not unique to Africa, has been the Mormon Church’s training of young Missionaries to strictly avoid any discussion of several of the more embarrassing, yet true, teachings of the 183 year old Church. Among the prohibited subjects to discuss have been, becoming a God, the practice of Polygamy and religious racial restrictions on the Black Race.

    With the smooth talent of a skilled politician, the Mormon Church has ended its Official Racial Restrictions with the following hypocritical and deceitful, but technically accurate Statement:

    “The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.”

    As a former Mormon Bishop and member of the Mormon Church for over 32 years, let me be of some help with the translation of this very carefully crafted, yet deceitful message. The two key and noteworthy phrases are: “in the absence of direct revelation” and “These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.”

    I will address the most obvious first, clearly the “previous statements” from the Church and its Leadership “do not” represent the Church doctrine today. The policy was reversed in 1978 and there is no question as to the current policy of today. The hypocritical deception is that between 1830 and 1978 those “statements” did, very much “DID” not “DO” represent past Official and Legitimate Mormon Church doctrine. Yet, I do give full credit to the clever Mormon authors and editors of today for their most skillful use of the English language.

    And finally, the most revealing and enlightening statement from the Mormon Church is: “in the absence of direct revelation”. So then, it is incredibly true and accurate that without any mockery or sarcasm to state that; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had for nearly 140 years, restricted a significant portion of the human race, millions and millions from what they teach is God’s intended blessings of Eternal Marriage, Salvation and even Godhood, without knowing why they did it, all without “direct revelation”?

    This Official Statement of religious shame and embarrassment comes from the Headquarters of a Church that claims to be guided in all things by “direct revelation”. How then, did such an exclusive doctrine based on prejudice, bigotry and racism become so widely accepted, so authoritative, so convincing and so commanding for so long, without any “direct revelation”?

    As a former Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I give testimony that what they have stated is true, in that, they are racist and do not hide the History of the Church from its members or the public, this, their Official Statement on Race and the Church demonstrates that fact.

    I believe that the truly wicked teachings as well as the repulsive history of the Mormon Church concerning Polygamy, Polyandry-(sharing wives among the men), Blood Atonement, as well as restricting the Blacks from the Mormon Priesthood is available for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

    It is my prayer that all Mormons and non-Mormons alike will come to know the true history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I wish that every adult around the world could find the time to read the calculated racism and bigotry found within the Book of Mormon. My hope is that all mankind could discover the contemporary Mormon Teachings, to see the deception they hold, and then… to read the True Word of God with the eyes of a child, and follow the True Jesus, the True Christ found only in the Bible.

    Sincerely,

    Lee B. Baker
    Former Mormon High Priest and Bishop

  2. Most other Christians, and many other faiths, bieelve this, as well. Christians bieelve everyone has an eternal soul and will live forever, regardless of what you did here on Earth. That’s why there’s Heaven AND Hell. +16Was this answer helpful?

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