Sunday in Outer Blogness: Boy Scouts Edition!

Peeved about the inclusion of gay scout leaders, the CoJCL-dS is toying with dropping the Boy Scouts as a component of the church’s official youth program for American boys. (I guess it’s not good enough that they still allow discrimination against atheists and women.) The LDS Newsroom released the following statement:

“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.”

What’s wrong with that statement? Well, for one thing:

“The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation.”

Really? It would certainly have come as a surprise to Elder Jack Goaslind, who in 1991 said that he “would recommend that the church withdraw from the Boy Scouts of America if the church is forced to register homosexual Scouts.” Openly gay Mormon youths could not officially be BSA Scouts until 2014, when the BSA’s policy changed (a move which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints admirably did not oppose, having distanced itself somewhat from the attitudes of 1991). It would be better to say that “The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation for as long as the BSA has had that policy,” which, of course, is pretty meaningless.

Plus a lighter point:

First, I was not aware that the church gets an entire month long vacation every July. What is this? Europe??

BTW, Europe is awesome, and I heartily agree that the US should adopt more reasonable vacation policies. Practically everybody here is astonished/horrified that Americans (not including the church leaders) get so little vacation.

Anyway, the biggest gaffe in the whole passive-aggressive statement was the bit where they said “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.” Pro-tip:

Pssst – Brethren, just for the record (and not that you care) but half of your “youth” are actually…

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.

Many people noticed that it’s pretty strange of the CoJCoL-dS to be worrying about a few gay leaders at boys’ camp when they insist on having straight male leaders at girls’ camp, not to mention having straight men asking teenage girls about their sexuality in closed-door interviews.

Even the more orthodox believing blogs smell a rat:

The part of this that is driving me crazy is that the national BSA is allowing religious backed troops to continue to discriminate. This announcement doesn’t affect LDS troops At All. Nothing has changed for the church.

The church’s problem with the announcement is that they don’t want anyone ELSE to have inclusive troop leadership.



We have no business telling others how to run their Boy Scout programs. No secular Boy Scout group has insisted that the Mormon troops run the same program they do.

Actually, not all of the faithful had a problem with the statemant. Comments include “I will agree with whatever decision the church decides” — see Expert Textperts for more!

In the end, maybe a split would be better for both sides.

The polarization was strong this past week. The folks who think Mormonism is the key to happiness took issue with the following:

By contrast, a few days ago the sidebar had a link saying:

Kate and John don’t want you to be miserable anymore

I assumed this piece must be a parody, it was so over-the-top and offensive. But as I have seen others comment as though this is real, perhaps I was wrong to presume that Kate and John had more decency and self respect than to pen such a piece.

Here is an excerpt, speaking of those who are not fleeing Mormonism:

“Because it really is your choice. A weird choice, to be sure. To be frank, literally impossible to comprehend that you would choose–actually choose–bondage and darkness and humiliation when you could be an actual person, breathing the euphoric air of freedom and jubilation and glee and ecstasy and euphoria and rapture.

I read the piece, and I think it’s not serious — it’s a parody of the way apostates are “loved” by believers. Nonetheless, in an unrelated article, the empire struck back with the following remarks about the Book of Mormon Musical (now playing in Salt Lake City!!!):

Mormons should find this show offensive. Well, yes, they should.

But not because they’re Mormons. They should be offended because they’re human beings.

OK, so this is my all-time favorite musical, not just because it’s brilliantly funny but also because of the way it profoundly expresses some of my own experiences growing up Mormon. But I guess I’d be offended by it, if only I were a human being. Thanks a lot, Deseret News!! Can’t we all just get along? Guess not…

The faithful are presenting their own musical in Salt Lake City as well: Nephi and the Sword of Laban by Sherry Allred. Interesting choice of subject matter for someone who ostensibly wants to make the church look good. I suppose next she’ll be doing a musical Rom-Com featuring Joseph Smith and Helen Mar Kimball…?

Also, the CoCJoL-dS has a new rogue prophet, Julie Rowe. Any bets on how long before she gets ex’d?

In non-Mormon-related weirdness, some people put together a video to make it appear as though Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts, and somehow this nonsense is being treated as serious political discussion (pushing out hard issues we seriously need to address). Knotty analysed the connection with Cecil the Lion. In other not-exactly-Mormon-related, Hermia Lyly wrote a great bestiary of bad allies — be sure to read it all the way to the punchline at the end!!

But let’s get back to the Mormon news and commentary! Kevin Barney wrote a good explanation of the tribe-of-Israel lineages in Patriarchal Blessings. And if you want to know more about real Mormon lineages, you can participate in the Mormon genome project! Eyewitness testimony’s connection with the gospel. And a student’s portrayal of Heavenly Mother mysteriously vanished from a display at BYU.

In life journeys, atheist Mormon housewife has been learning to answer moral questions for herself. The Sinister Porpoise is expressing gratitude. Chelsey Sidler-Lartey explained mixed episodes. candidecando offered some good advice on making a mixed-faith marriage work. Steve Bloor wrote an allegory with a similar point to ProfXM’s post. AnotherClosetAtheist designed a flow chart illustrating the path of getting locked into Mormonism. Steve Otteson started questioning the church while sharing the great Plan of Happiness… with already happy people. And the Wicked Witch helped a gay Mormon kid come out!!

And in fun stuff, Froggey found a place that contains “elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.”

In closing, I hope you’ve enjoyed our three articles here this past week — stay tuned for some book reviews and more in the weeks to come!!

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C. L. Hanson is the friendly American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! See "letters from a broad" and the novel ExMormon for further adventures!!

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