Friday, February 1, 2013

Satan's Touche

If you haven't realized, there is a war going on.  Anyone that wonders why we have the war chapters in Alma needs to read it again in light of our day, and the fortifications and creativity we need to have to keep ahead in that war.

It especially seems that boys are under attack.  Google "war on boys" and you'll find article after article.

I wrote this post a few months ago regarding the LDS church's announcement lowering the missionary age by a year and pointed out that I image Satan was surprised and angered by that announcement.  "I'm sure he's pulling out all the stops, and will be doing all he can to get our kids even earlier.  Time to be far more watchful, prayerful, and careful than ever."

This week it was announced that the Boy Scouts of America will be voting next week to make a huge policy change.  Let's just say I was surprised and angered by this, as I know a lot of other people that love scouting were as well.  I had an ah-ha this morning - this is Satan's touche!  I wish I had all the amazing statistics in hand, but scouting is a huge benefit to boys.  In the LDS church we even go as far as calling it the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood.

One of my favorite musicals, "The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band," has a song at the beginning that includes the words, "Twas a time for a man, and he was a man for the time."  That song as been in my mind regarding the fact that Thomas S. Monson is the current president of the LDS church and is the longest serving member on BSA's executive board.  He will be at the deciding meeting.  I love that, knowing that whatever decision is made there, he will come home with the proper direction for the church.  I'm currently the Webelos leader in our unit, and if the LDS church stops its association with the BSA, I imagine I would become the Faith in God for Boys leader and do many of the same things we do now.  And if he says we stay, I will definitely support that too.  Incredible how the Lord works, having President Monson in place there for this current battle.  We've had prophets that support scouting, but none that love it as much as him.

One of the stickier issues involves all the amazing employees of BSA in our area.  If the church pulled out of scouting right now, our district would have one scouting unit left.  I don't know the statistics for the other districts in our council or for councils in the area, but in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming I imagine that BSA membership would become comparatively almost non-existent.  What that means for all the great paid scouters, I don't know.  Maybe sent to another area?  Maybe laid off?  Regardless, it stinks, and a really awful side effect.

I've had people tell me, "Each unit will be able to decide for themselves, so it would be fine, right?"  I don't think it would.  When you have units holding to the historically strong values of scouting, and others that . . . don't . . . there would be plenty that would take it to the total extreme in the opposite, and the face of scouting will be tainted.

This isn't about money.  This isn't about support.  It's about boys.  And OUR future.  Remember, the boys today will be our leaders tomorrow.  Without leaders that make strong moral and ethical choices based on the Scout Oath and Law, the war on boys will be even more in the hands of those that wish to tear boys down.

Pray.  Write.  Fight.  HARD!

  Oct. 2012 conference - missionary age lowered
  Jan. 2013 - announcement about the 1st BSA membership change
  July 2015 - another BSA membership change announcement


  1. Hi Marni,

    My oldest son just turned 8 last week and was invited to join BSA in our ward. However, I have had the strongest promptings to NOT have him join. I have had much opposition to say the least. I am not sure WHY. Maybe it has NOTHING to do with this current announcement and maybe it does. However, I did let him go to his first scout meeting last week. He was so excited! I am not sure what to think now... Guess I should have listened to the Holy Ghost.

  2. Thank you Marni. These are some of my same thoughts and feelings! --Amy

  3. Amy, lead me here...
    I like your take on it. Well said.

  4. Thanks! Here's a post from a brand new friend of mine (met her last night) that I really enjoyed too. It was great how many of her experiences echoed mine (except for working at scout camp, which if I had known about I TOTALLY would have done).

  5. Found you through an LDS Women's Facebook page...

    I have five brothers who are all Eagle Scouts. My dad served in scouts many, many times over the years as well. I'm pretty familiar with scouting. I have four sons. The two oldest are in Cub Scouts. When I heard this was going on, I had a long talk with my dad about what the possibilities were. He thinks that unless the BSA is going to force all units to allow openly gay members, the Church will withdraw. However, being that scouting is a church calling, he doesn't think that even if the BSA changes it's policy to include gays, it will affect the Church's affiliation with scouting. He (and I agree) think that the Church will continue as it has, issuing callings to those worthy to serve. To consider what could be the course of events, you must also consider the Church's position on homosexuality, which has always been that we love them and accept them. Yes, if they act upon their feelings, they are in sin, but that worthiness is for the bishop to determine. I would then assume that if a man is called to a position in the boy scouts, he is worthy to serve in that capacity.

    1. Hi Royalbird! If the church were to stay with scouting even with the change being made, I know that within the church the way scouting is run wouldn't change. My concern isn't with the church-run units, but how others would choose to run things. Venturing already regulates that girls and boys sleep in different tents. Would it be any different to have your son in a tent with a boy that considers himself gay? Rather than just leaders and boys in separate tents, would it become separate straight and gay tents as well?

      Again, I'm glad President Monson will be there to hear the discussion and will be able to discern the intent of those present. Keep him in your prayers!

  6. I have to say that your blog post bugged me a bit because it completely ignores that most wards and branches outside of the United States do not have Boy Scouts and use the program for the Young Men that is already in place. And gasp, they do just fine without Boy Scouts. Young men develop through the current program and come away devoted to the gospel. I've lived in three different countries outside of the United States over the past 10 years and I can tell you that Young Men program without Boy Scouts is excellent. While living in Sweden, we had a large Young Men group and 95% went on missions and are now home, marrying and starting families. And they did that without the Boy Scouts.

    While I think the Boy Scouts is a fine program and has much to offer boys and young men, especially those without mentors or good male role models, I don't think we as a church need to have scouting as a manditory part of the Young Men's program in the United States. In fact, I think if we dispensed with the program it would be a good thing because it only serves to highlight differences between the church in the United States versus in the rest of the world.

    Just so you know, I'm not anti-scouts. My sons are active participants in a troop in Saudi Arabia. I just prefer that scouts and church remain separate. I don't think my sons are at risk for losing their testimonies or failing to go on missions if they don't participate in Scouts. And I think if the church really believed that Scouting was that integral to the spiritual well-being of young men, they would have mandated that the program be used outside of the United States.

    I personally believe that the church supports scouting in the U.S. as a means to support all young men in the United States, especially in helping boys and young men develop character, moral strength, and integrity. This is important, especially as so many young men in the United States are without good male role models.

    But again, we already have a good program in place to support Young Men. And scouting, as such, could easily be replaced without harming young men within the church.

    1. Hi swedemom. Thanks for joining the conversation.

      I understand that the church doesn't use scouting in the majority of the areas outside the USA, but I also understand that some of the other programs are adjusted to work best for other areas as well (like having RS activities monthly and sometimes more often vs. just quarterly where it's harder to meet).

      I don't know the reasons why the church chose to partner with scouting in the USA and not widely elsewhere, but with the time and money spent on scouting, I would conclude that thus far the results with scouting are better than just the Duty to God program alone, or it would have been dropped long ago. I've never lived anywhere that scouting wasn't part of the church program, but I can't imagine the leaders would provide the educational, outdoor, and personal growth opportunities that happen within the scouting program.

      Speaking of which, there are plenty of benefits of being part of scouting, since the support, materials, and training provided through that are quite impressive. I know I've become far more from the time I've spent in training provided by the BSA than I would have without it, and the people I've associated with through that are some of the very finest people I know. Anyone that is selfless enough to spend time winter camping with boys when they could be home sleeping in their warm bed has a special place in God's kingdom, and I love my sons associating with people like that.

      Regardless, if the church ever does drop scouting, I hope we have people like you to teach people like me how to do it well and keep the program meaningful to the boys enough to keep them coming. But I have to imagine that that will include some elements of scouting as well.

  7. I too found you through the Facebook page mentioned above and love what you've said. It doesn't "bug me" as the commentor above brings to mind the story of one of the General RSI presidents who was asked by the prophet not to quit her membership in NOW but to stay in and

    1. Stay in and make it better. Whatever happens with Boy Scouts we are to contribute to society and uphold good standards. Who will do it if we don't?

    2. I did some searching to find out who that was but couldn't see anything. If you have more info on that, please pass it on.

      That's definitely been one of my qualms through this, since not only do I serve in my own unit, but at the district and council level as well. But I know in my area, if the church pulls scouting, there won't be a whole lot of scouting left. I have a son that works at scout camp in the summer and LIVES for that all year long, and I can't imagine him being without that. So if it means helping that happen, I'll do what I need to.

    3. I believe,it is in the "new" Daughters of the Kingdom book (still "new" for me since I haven't finished reading it yet :)...)


  8. To all Great Salt Lake Council officers,

    “We are approaching the most pivotal decision in the 103-year history of the BSA. We have given our lives for the traditional family values of this great movement. We respect all walks of life and give them the right to live how they choose. We also ask for the same right as we live the way we choose.

    “Our national key 3 and board need divine assistance as they wrestle with the BSA policy on sexual orientation. For those of you who would so desire, we are asking you to join us in a special fast this weekend for our national leaders. Call upon Father in Heaven to help these great leaders make the right decision for the movement and for the youth of our country.”

    Bry, Jack, and Rick


    I heard through another friend that 40 councils have signed a petition asking the executive board to postpone the decision until the ramifications can be discussed further.

  9. Good conversation. I just keep wondering what they're going to do with the "To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight" in the oath. But, I suppose "morally straight" doesn't necessarily mean heterosexual, but just in making good choices/being a moral person, etc. ??

  10. I have to say I completely disagree. I have four boys. Two of them are very active in scouting. The others will follow suit when there are old enough. I think it is a great organization where boys can grow and learn to be men. But I have to say that until about 2 weeks ago I was unaware that gay men and boys were unwelcome in the boy scouts organization. When I found out my gut reaction was to ask myself whether or not I even wanted my boys to continue in scouting if something doesn’t change. We live in a world where not everyone one is the same but I believe that everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities. I feel very strongly about that. Why should a boy be turned away from an organization just because he might have a different genetic make-up than you or me your maybe even my son?

  11. Hi Jodi! I also believe in equal rights and opportunities, but that doesn't include equal things. Scouting has the right to create an organization based on values that they define, just like a bunch of runners could create an organization based on physical ability requirements. If they decide that someone can only join if that person can run a 4 minute mile, is it my place to say that I'm physically incapable of that and sue to make them let me? I don't think so. The structure is there from the beginning. Choose to fit yourself to the requirements, or choose not to be a part of it. I have a right and the opportunity to be in that group as long as I fit their requirements. But I don't have the right to mess with the way they defined it. Simple as that.

    Personally, I think you're brave. Scouting has enough youth protection issues with the policy as it stands. If they make the change, that will be a logistical nightmare on campouts.

    1. Marni, you have a great point. It is interesting that you chose to compare this to a running organization because I love to run. Yes, a running organization could start up with such rules and standards that you have to meet and abide by in order to join and stay apart of and be included in. That same organization may grow and change over the years. They may even decide to change their standards in order to reach more people. That is all I am hoping for with the BSA vote next week. There are so many boys out there who aren't choosing to be gay or different. I can imagine that they just want to feel loved and accepted for who they are. I believe that this change might even save some lives of some boys who feel different and aren't feeling loved and accepted, especially with in the LDS church.

      You mentioned that you think I am brave. I don't feel any bravery is necessary. Personally don't think that this change would logistically change very much. The boys already can't sleep in the tents with leaders and my son has been able to pick who he tents with on almost every camp out that he has been on. I have complete confidence in my son and his choices. I also am very confident in my parenting and educating my children on the choices they will have to make in their lives. If my son was friends with a gay scout and felt comfortable camping with him I wouldn't mind at all.

      This post (and its title) left me wondering why you would want your boys apart of an organization that you seem to think is so easily influenced by Satan? Just a thought.

  12. Scouting did create an organization based on values that they defined. Now scouting is considering changing that definition. This is not based on only one lawsuit. If scouting is willing to possibly lose LDS support (I've heard numbers like 40% of scouts are LDS), then there must be enough support outside of the LDS church to keep it running.

    Many people in the South were just as adamant that Satan was behind the Civil Rights Movement and that allowing for equality of races would lead to moral decay. A Mormon example would be the letter from Apostle Delbert Stapley to Governor George Romney as he put his weight behind the civil rights movement.

  13. Wanted to add: What does it mean that you think Jodi is brave? Reading between the lines from the rest of your paragraph, I'd say that you believe that gay people are predators or pedophiles. That is a common belief. It's a harmful one and it's wrong. You are well educated and love to learn. I think your fears could be assuaged by reading up on the subject.

    1. I meant that it only takes a moment to change a child from innocent to not-so-innocent. No need to read between the lines - I stated that we already have youth protection issues with the rules as they stand. Part of that requires that every leader registered and every parent that attends an activity (we've talked about having every parent do it regardless) take youth protection training. That covers rules to protect boys from leaders, leaders from boys, and boys from boys. And yet we still have problems that happen, sometimes even when those rules are followed. You could say boys will be boys, but if it was one of my sons (or daughters for that matter) that answer would never fly with me no matter what side of the coin they were on. Again, it only takes a moment for that innocence to be gone, and the violation has to happen before it can be addressed. I'm not saying anyone is a predator or a pedophile. But with youth protection in mind, if it adds one point towards issues more likely to happen, then they shouldn't do it.

    2. Marni, I can definitely empathize with your position since I was there myself. I remember what it feels like.

      I think as parents we all try to protect our children. I work to protect mine and a large part of that is education. What I have learned is that I carried a tremendous amount of fear around with me that was unnecessary. Having taken the time to face and learn about the things I feared, I realized that many of them aren't as scary as I thought. Some of them are as scary and maybe even more than I thought, but I teach my kids what I've learned, trust the head they have on their shoulders, make adjustments as necessary and live a lot happier. But, just so you know, Joseph drove three hours to arrive at Boy Scout Camp at 2 am to pick Nathan up b/c our scout leader had left him with a scout leader we didn't know. I get it!

      However, above you are still making the assumption that allowing openly gay boys and leaders will have a negative impact. How can you know that? What if it actually took away a point or two?

      Obviously you know more about youth protection issues in scouting than I do. But, I'd go out on a limb to say that there are already homosexual leaders and boys that aren't "out" or choose to stay silent on the matter b/c of bullying ramifications. There are atheist boys and leaders who also choose to stay silent because they just want to be in the program. There are pornography addicts and other types of addicts who are either scouts or leaders (stats say that up to 30% of LDS congregations (men) have problems with porn--maybe more in Utah). There are people attending from troubled and perhaps violent homes. As quiet as people are about these things, it's all there.

      But, what if allowing people to be openly gay and in the program actually decreases problems? What if taking it out of the realm of morality (where it doesn't belong, imo), takes away the shame and actually causes higher general morality? I believe it's a possibility.

  14. Just wanted to let everyone know what the official Church statement is!

    Church Cautions Against Speculation
    On Scouting Decision

    Salt Lake City —

    For 100 years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has enjoyed a strong, rewarding relationship with Boy Scouts of America as both organizations have worked to build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of young men.

    The recent announcement that BSA planned to make a policy change in its standards for membership and leadership has triggered intense debate from many segments of society. We believe BSA has acted wisely in delaying a vote on this policy issue until the implications can be more carefully evaluated.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is carefully assessing the consequences of this policy change on the Church’s program to build and strengthen young men, but it has not commented on it and a decision will not be made until we have assessed all of the implications. We caution others not to speculate about our position or to assume that individual Latter-day Saints inside or outside the Scouting movement speak for the Church. Neither has the Church launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change."

  15. Marni,

    The thing that I find interesting most of all is the fact that we have to change our views. We as non supporters of homosexuality are the ones that have the problems. To me that is where the real travesty lies.

    When does it hit a point where I can live by my beliefs and values and not be attacked as politically incorrect or inconsiderate.

    In a situation such as this, BSA has the opportunity to stand up for its' moral standards, or to cave in for the sole purpose of getting more money.

    The only reason this vote was postponed is because friends of scouting is going on right now, and all scout camps will be paid for within the next two months. BSA has obviously chosen the path of money of morality, and that is why I will not support them further. It pains me to think that at one point my Eagle Scout award meant that I had worked hard an proved to my self that I could do the right thing in the face of hardship. Now I see that those who control the fate of this storied enterprise would gladly throw that out the window.

    I know the backlash is huge but I do not support homosexuality in any shape or form. When we make choices we face consequences. Just as the alcoholic must make a choice to drink or not, we all must fight the natural man and overcome temptation, whatever that temptation may be.

  16. Thanks to all that have joined in. If I had more time in my day I would continue this, but I have a family to take care of, not to mention the variety of other responsibilities I'm involved with. We all have the opportunity to make a difference in whatever way we see fit, and outside my home I love to do that partially by serving both boys and leaders in scouting.

    The decision has been postponed, but my prayers are still with the values scouting has traditionally held. Baden-Powell is one of my personal heroes. He's left a great legacy behind him, and I hope to see that continue.

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