Future of LDS Scouting: Problems and Proposals

Slowly the Boy Scouts of America is turning its back on the core mission of raising up boys to be men, and slouching toward who knows what. Following after “no tolerance” policies of many state run schools, the Boy Scouts has banned water guns and balloons excepted for in designated areas at specific targets. They are treating them as dangerous weapons. Later there was a declaration by the BSA president Robert Gates that there should be gay scout leaders. This leadership requirements change will have to be come to a vote, but the signs are leaning toward passage. The organization is starting to morph into something that founder Baden-Powell and scouts of the past simply would not recognize or perhaps approve.

The response of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the main supporters of the BSA, has been silent on the water projectile issue. There really isn’t much of a moral component, but certainly there are intelligence flaws. Widespread ridicule by more conservative members has been scathing. In contrast, the few liberal news articles on the subject indicates they are supportive of the more official clarification. They quote the BSA at length on how it isn’t a new policy while mixing in quotes from ban supporters.

A different, but cautious, response was issued by the LDS Church toward the possible gay leadership acceptance:

We have noted the comments by Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates in relation to possible policy changes in the Boy Scouts of America. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will, of course, examine any such changes very carefully to assess how they might impact our own century-long association with the BSA.

Assuming this does pass, there is a possibility the association could end. It is no secret that some members would welcome the severing of the relationship. Even a few in the BSA see the LDS Church leaving as a mutual benefit since they don’t consider how it runs scouts as proper. There are risks to both sides if such a split is to happen. Continue reading

‘Personal Prophetic Epistles’

I recently read a striking blog post written by a member of the Church who wrote about her experiences with same-gender attraction. I thought the content of the article itself was notable in part because I think that the discussion of same-gender attraction in the Church is often dominated by the male perspective and it was great to hear from a female member. Ultimately, this individual married someone of the opposite sex and is now happily married to her husband. Although this is absolutely not the course for everyone, I really appreciated her perspective. I’d recommend reading her article in full.

However, I don’t really want this article to be about same-gender attraction or same-sex marriage or anything else of the sort. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Discipleship and “Staying Mormon”

I recently read a blog post that was posted or liked by a few of my Facebook friends: “How to Stay Mormon When You’re Tired of Mormons.” The intended audience of the post is those who wrestle with questions about some of the things that the Church teaches, or with elements of Church culture, but who nonetheless still believe and want to attend — but who feel out of place because of their questions, and their dissenting opinions on some elements of Church teaching and culture.

Today I would like to echo the message of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf in a recent General Conference: all are welcome and wanted, wherever they stand. He explains, “There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty.” He goes on to say:

If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose. You might be surprised to find that we have yearnings and struggles and hopes similar to yours. Your background or upbringing might seem different from what you perceive in many Latter-day Saints, but that could be a blessing. Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church.

I think that it is vital that we reach out to those who sometimes wonder if they fit in, who struggle some elements of Church teaching, who are irritated by other members or some elements of Church culture. We must ensure that all feel welcome here. We should each examine our own words and behaviors and ensure that we are doing all we can to invite, not to exclude, those who are not as convinced as we are of some of the teachings of the Church and its leaders. We must do all we can to make sure that those who don’t feel they fit in are made to feel wanted and welcome. Because these are brothers and sisters — not strangers or foreigners. Continue reading

A Word of Wisdom Primer

gfob_bfobReligious restrictions on food is not uncommon, and exists in every major faith. Both what can be eaten and and how food is prepared and served can be part of the dietary teachings. Islam, for instance, follows similar restrictions to Jewish law and includes prohibition of alcohol. Buddhism and Hinduism both avoid eating cows like Judaism and Islam are to avoid pork consumption. They also both teach not to eat meat, with Buddhism generally more vegetarian in practice. Christianity seems to be the least food conscious religion having nearly no rules other than moderation. Catholicism will have meat off the menu on Fridays, but that seems to be the extent of any rules. Perhaps Seventh Day Adventism with its adherence to Leviticus is the most stringent Christian denomination. Living in a predominantly Protestant and laissez faire Western democracy makes the very simple dietary teachings of Mormonism seem more strict than reality. Continue reading