About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

LDS Church to leave scouting

Very few people who follow the news will be surprised at this development.

From the Deseret News:

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church is ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.

The expiration date for the remarkably robust, 105-year alliance is Dec. 31, 2019, according to a joint statement released Tuesday night by BSA and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Read the joint statement from the LDS Church and BSA here.

The decision by LDS leaders is part of a broader restructuring of the church’s programs for all Mormon children ages 8 to 18.

“In this century of shared experience, the church has grown from a U.S.-centered institution to a worldwide organization, with a majority of its membership living outside the United States,” the joint statement said. “That trend is accelerating. The church has increasingly felt the need to create and implement a uniform youth leadership and development program that serves its members globally. In so doing it will be necessary for the church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA.”

The quiet advancement of women’s voices in the Church

With all of the changes in the Church over the weekend, I am struck by how Church leaders have quietly increased the role of women in the Church.

The merging of Elder’s Quorum and the High Priests means there will be one fewer man at ward council. Women’s input will become more prominent.

The ending of Priesthood Executive Committee (usually just men) means ward council becomes even more important.

The Church has quietly signaled that more input from women is expected at the ward level.

The institution of ministering visits (rather than home and visiting teaching) also includes more involvement in ministering from young women. These young women will be trained at an earlier age how to minister in the Lord’s way. In our ward, and I would imagine most wards, visiting teaching numbers are much better than home teaching numbers, and a lot of the reason has to do with the dedication of women to ministering to the needy in the Church. Will the institution of ministering visits increase the outreach of active ward members to the less active? I would guess yes.

The Church continues to build new temples, even as membership growth stalls in the United States. Temples are the places where women are guaranteed to use the power of the priesthood to bring blessings to their ancestors, and women are more likely to go to the temple than men.

Like most active members, I welcome and embrace any changes announced by the prophets. We are living in amazing times, and it will be fascinating to see how this all plays out.

Random thoughts on Conference and racial obsessions

Like most people, I celebrated with the naming of two new apostles on Saturday morning. Unlike some people, I would have celebrated no matter who was named an apostle.

Many people seem obsessed with the race of the new apostles. Can I please point out that God is no respecter of persons and that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin?

I have seen commenters call the two new apostles “people of color” and “minorities.” Elder Soares is a white Brazilian of mostly European descent. Most white Brazilians do not consider themselves “people of color” or “minorities.” Brazil is a proud country larger than the continental United States. It has a long and brutal history of racism, just like the United States. It was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery (in 1888). Europeans conquered and mistreated the indigenous population in Brazil just as they did in the United States.

Elder Soares is, by all accounts, a wonderful, humble man who went on a mission and has served in the Church most of his adult life. He has three children and three grandchildren. I am sure these facts are much more relevant to his life than being designated a “person of color” by virtue signalers in the United States. Important point: Elder Soares is also not “Hispanic.”

Meanwhile, Elder Gong has been a GA for eight years. He also went on a mission and has served in the Church most of his adult life. Continue reading