Some are upset, some are thrilled. The Boy Scouts of America may soon be rejecting its ban on homosexuals. While this is great news for freedom lovers, I cannot see why members of the LDS Church care one way or another. The BSA is a man-made organization, not one inspired by God. God has called an openly gay man as a counselor in a bishopric, so there is no reason one could not be called by man as a “volunteer” Scout leader. (The Scouting program is not a part of the Church, thus the Lord would not be issuing the call when Scout leaders are picked, regardless of any “calling” or “setting apart” we may do as a formality.)
The Scouting movement was started around 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell, when he published a book designed to help young boys prepare for military service. Aids to Scouting re-written to further indoctrinate youth. Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys was published and the “scouting” fad took off with both boys and girls. Baden-Powell’s hatred of communism and love of fascism helped drive Scouting and made it what it is today. His idea that Scouting should promote “a coherent ideology stressing unquestioning obedience to properly structured authority; happy acceptance of one’s social and economic position in life; and an unwavering, uncritical patriotism” is likely why the program is so loved by conservatives today.
In 1909 Scouting was brought to America by Chicago publisher W. D. Boyce. He read Scouting For Boys and other materials in Africa that he gained from a scout he happened upon in London. As a man that thought sex was evil and was thought by some to be a closet homosexual, it is no surprise that the BSA would be apposed to homosexuals for so long.
The LDS Church joined the BSA in 1913 and stuck with it after America rejected it due (in part) to it’s fascist roots. When the BSA was revived as a part of the American propaganda against communism during the Cold War, the LDS Church was still faithfully using the uninspired program. This has lead to some controversy as it is both politically right leaning and the Church really left the young women out as their program never gained the kind of solid foundation from an outside, man-made organization like the BSA.
This leads us back to the question, why should LDS members or the Church care what a man-made organization does? Didn’t Nephi warn us in a prophecy concerning our day:
they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. – 2 Nephi 28: 14
We should congratulate the BSA for rejecting bigotry (should they change their policy on July 27th). Yet there is no reason for an inspired religion to continue to rely on man’s finite wisdom. Rather than rely on the precepts of men, it is time the Church looked to the Lord for an inspired program that fits the modern needs of both young men and women in the Church. We should not rely on outsiders, nor should we judge their failings. Rather, we should create a path to the Higher Priesthood for our young men and a path to leadership for our young women. The BSA does nothing to teach our youth to be guided by the spirit or how to use the priesthood. If the Church wishes for leadership training, the Aarronic Priesthood quorums would be better served.
Photo by Bernie Kelley. License: CC BY-SA 2.5