LDS families demand end of gay scout ban

They aren’t getting a lot of press, but one very dedicated group of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is working very hard to convince the Boy Scouts to end their ban on gays in scouting.

The group is Mormons Building Bridges, the ad hoc group that wanted to put half a dozen marchers in last year’s Gay Pride Parade in Salt Lake City. When word got out what they were up to there was a spontaneous rising of support among other LDS families and they ended up with more than 300 people.

The group now has several thousand members. Exclusion of gay youth is the leading cause of teen suicide and homelessness, not to mention incredible family discord and unhappiness. The group has had zero opposition from the LDS Church in its work, too.

Because, really, isn’t loving our children — all of our children — one of those family values things we all talk about?

Anyway, the group’s facebook page (click) is full of testimony supporting doing away with the ban as well as ways to tell the BSA what they want done. A few extracts:

– We had lunch with a very devout family last Sunday. They said learning that same-sex attraction is not a choice was really eye-opening for them and has completely changed how they feel about this topic.

This concept alone ought to lead to a huge change in how our gay members are treated.

 

I also had the opportunity to dispel the myth that someone who identifies as gay is choosing to pursue a same-sex relationship. A single sister who also joined us for lunch talked about the devotion and sacrifice required to remain in the church as a single member, and she sung praises about how valiant and dedicated celibate gay members are.

We also talked about welcoming gay couples to church and pondered what things may look like in the future when more and more legally married same-sex couples and families desire to attend church.

– Please support the policy change to allow gay youth and leaders to participate. I am a leader in my LDS ward’s troop. I work with the 16-18 year old boys in our priests quorum. My son is 15 years old and working toward his Life rank advancement. The BSA policy needs to change to be better in line with LDS church policy. There is a boy [details removed to protect identity. I told him about a boy I know who is very spiritual and popular, who has some tendencies that make me think he may come out someday]. If he comes out of the closet at some point, I can not imagine telling him he can’t participate. It would be a huge loss. How ridiculous would it be to tell him “The church loves you. We want you to participate. You can hold a temple recommend and we can take you to do baptisms at the temple. We just can’t take you to scout camp because the boy scouts of america don’t agree with our church policy.”

Thank you for the work you do. I know this change is not popular among a lot of people in Utah, but it is the right change to make. Sometimes standing up for what is right means standing up to our friends.

– Former Bishop Bob Bradley and Eagle Scout Taylor Bradley welcomed their out gay former Scoutmaster and former First Counselor to the Mt. Airy ward this Sunday. Other scouts from troop 551 joined in, too. It has been 8 years since I left. It was great to come back as an honest man knowing I was probably the first person to come out in a Sunday School and Elders’ quorum meeting in the Mt. Airy Ward. I perjured myself for 30 years to accept callings as Ward Mission Leader, Scoutmaster, First Counselor and other callings.

After 8 years I returned to my ward in Mt. airy, NC where I had served as Ward Mission Leader, chorister, Elders Quorum Teacher, first councelor and Scoutmaster for almost 30 years. I explained that I was participating in Mormons Building Bridges / Sit with me Sunday and asked if they would mind my posting pictures with their out gay Scoutmaster. Since I had come out to a former bishop after the SLC Affirmation Conference …several years ago, I hoped I would not have to tell my story again. We shook hands again and again, hugged and hugged again; yes I was welcome and would I like to attend the next Eagle Scout ceremony? My former Scouts now dwarf me and have taken their rightful posts in church leadership. After Sacrament I had opportunity to speak briefly in Sunday school and Elders Quorum…”in my true identity.” I don’t know if these brothers and sisters realize that I had to live a lie in order to serve them, which I did with all my heart. How wonderful it would be to think that that quarter century of my life might not have ended in the defeat of an outcast, but might serve as an example to welcome other LGBT youth to an opportunity for acceptance and self realization within the Mormon fold. Certainly they cannot know how deep the wounds, how bitter the griefs I gave buried nor how long it will take to dismantle the walls of self defense I have built in order to survive. In fact, I have been forced to move on and find sanctuary within. The simple truth is that I loved them first, knowingly and believe that they cannot be made perfect until they can accept and cherish all of God’s children as I know He does. At least my brothers and sisters tried to convince me today.

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27 Responses to LDS families demand end of gay scout ban

  1. laytonian says:

    “They said learning that same-sex attraction is not a choice was really eye-opening for them….”

    This has been common knowledge for years, but was not believed until their church said so.

    • Charles Trentelman says:

      that’s really not surprising. There are a lot of people who won’t believe something unless told it by a person or institution they consider an authority. All the climate scientists on the planet can’t convince someone that evolution is a valid theory, but if their father (for example) who they know and trust sits them down and says “no, really, it is” then they believe.

      • rose harris says:

        if boyd k pecker said being gay is a crime then theres no more to say cause hes lucifers spokes person on earth and no god didn’t create iou gay it was joseph smith that did that..just like the blacks we don’t want them in our holy church..we are so much better that them

  2. Jared says:

    I want the ban in place and I’m an LDS Family.
    I overcame homosexuality. I paid the price.
    I wanted a wife and children and they bring me the greatest joy.
    I actually believe that I and my wife will be married forever.
    I suffered immensly for what I believed to be true and in the end I got what I wanted, what I hoped for. I am not ashamed of my life or my beliefs. So very few understand what I endured and even fewer understand the reward to create life. Call me names say I’m a bigot or whatever Ive been called them by straight and gay alike with nowhere to fit in holding onto every iota of strength pushed to my limits, refusing to give in, cruelly treated by society for being a mormon and by mormons for being gay.
    I know where I stand and I am not ashamed. I paid the price. The title should not read LDS Families want…. It does not represent me nor my family, who all know of my struggles. I didn’t ask for these feelings but I am and always will be accountable for my choices to act. You cannot escape acountability. Let all choose what they may but I chose. If they scouts remove the ban I don’t want my son’s associated with it. Not after everything I endured to bring them here. Not after everything I suffered at the hands of everyone just to be able to marry a woman and have children with her.
    No.
    I am proud of my accomplishment, so few have the strength to endure and I did which means it can be done you are not a slave to your passions. You are not an animal. You have agency. There is no, “Its not my fault”, “I was born this way” There are no excuses for the choices you make only accountability. Whatever that may be so make your own choices but understand they are yours to make and you will be accountable for them. I made mine and am acountable for them.
    I have a right to talk about this enduring it my whole life and I don’t care how unpopular I sound. The Right thing has never been and is never the popular thing. I did scouting and worked at a camp for over 5 years. Gay Mormon and Boy Scout Married to a Woman active in my Church and try to live what I believe. I don’t speak for everyone but I do speak for me and my family. I hope the BSA has the strength to hold on and not go down a slippery path of which there is no turning back. Why put a leader in charge of a youth group that is physically attracted to that gender in which they lead? The same reason you don’t have girls in the scouts. It has disaster written all over it. How many additional children need to suffer before it’s decided it was a bad idea? Why let wolves into the field when they’re are already wolves in sheeps clothing?

    • Jared says:

      There has to be safe haven’s in the world for youth fighting as I did. The Scouts were my haven. I would not have my children, they would not exist. This life would not be here.
      Thats the prize.

    • Heather says:

      Jared, I know I’m not going to change your mind about the life you have chosen, but let me tell you why I disagree with it.
      You shouldn’t have to “overcome” being gay and force yourself into a lifestyle that doesn’t feel natural to you. You shouldn’t have to endure bigotry by anti-Mormons, or anti-gays either. We are working toward a society where you are accepted for who you are as long as you aren’t hurting anybody.

      It makes me sad that you think that you couldn’t have a family unless you changed yourself to fit a mold that you weren’t born to fit. I know many happy gay and lesbian couples who have children. Their own children, as well as adopted children.

      It makes me sad that you think that an adult cannot lead a group of children if they are “attracted to that gender” and not be tempted to molest them. This is simply not true. If it were, then no teacher could teach a co-ed class without their students being in danger. If you are a man attracted to men, it doesn’t mean you are attracted to little boys. Please do not perpetuate the myth that homosexuality means that you’re a pedophile or that you cannot control your urges and will assault anybody you come into contact with. Homosexuals want relationships with other consenting adult homosexuals. There is nothing wrong with that.

      If the BSA wants to accept all boys regardless of their sexual orientation, that is a good thing. There are countless gay men who already passed through their ranks and it did not “end in disaster.” Since the Boy Scouts are so closely associated with the LDS church in this state, it will be good for them to agree on policy so that the BSA and the local scout leaders are in accord.

      • Artcore says:

        “It makes me sad that you think that you couldn’t have a family unless you changed yourself to fit a mold that you weren’t born to fit. I know many happy gay and lesbian couples who have children. Their own children, as well as adopted children.”
        _____________________________________

        You cannot be serious? For Jared to have children of his own, the only mold that would work is being married to a female. You know, it’s called procreation.

        Really, so you know gay and lesbian couples who have “their own children, as well as adopted children”? Care to tell us how two gay men or two lesbian women could have “their own” children since they both have the same plumbing?

        What’s truly sad is your politically correct nonsense.

        • Heather says:

          Oh, Artcore, do some friggin’ research, would ya? There are several ways to have babies that don’t include being married to a member of the opposite sex. Artificial insemination, surrogacy, some people even have intercourse with a person they aren’t in love with, just to make a baby.
          I wasn’t referring to imaginary people in my first comment, I was talking about real humans that I really know, who I saw when they were pregnant, and then they really had a baby, and they weren’t married to a man, ever. Take off your religious blinders and look around.

          • Artcore says:

            Jaren said:

            “I wanted a wife and children and they bring me the greatest joy.”
            _______________________________

            Nuff said. ;-)

          • Heather says:

            If he’s gay, what he really wanted was a husband. But he settled for what was deemed acceptable by his religion. He would be happier if he were accepted for who he was and had a relationship with a man. That’s what being homosexual means, it isn’t just about sex.

    • J. Allen says:

      I too am a gay Mormon, and have raised a family. Life hasn’t been easy and I don’t wish the hardships I went through on anyone. That is why I don’t understand your position here. Why would you want any gay kid to go through the feeling of not being normal, not being accepted having to hide who you are. I have met a few people who think just because they had to go through something that everyone else should have to go through it. I don’t agree…. Pull you head out of your…… and re-evaluate your position before it is too late. If you are a Mormon follow the bretheren, I can’t believe I said that. But it works here. My parting comment is what an ignorant statment to make, and the sad thing is you believe it.

      • Anita says:

        That is so true. IT is not about your struggle and what you have chosen. It is about inclusion and not exclusion. It is about love not judging. We won’t judge you for how you have chosen to live your life, but by the same token, those who choose to live otherwise, or even choose to be Celibate, but are gay, deserve to participate in scouting if they choose. Aren’t we trying to raise men, good responsible adults? Scouting is a great way to do that. Gay or straight. I think the best guide to follow is “what would Jesus do?” HE would include and love everyone, yes even the “sinner”

  3. Artcore says:

    Good for the Boy Scouts. I hope they do not cave to the demands of the militant Homosexuals. Homosexuals no longer want just acceptance of their lifestyle, now they demand approval.

    Let’s not pull any punches here; Homosexual men engage in the act of sodomy. Whether one believes in God or not, there is something at the core of every human being that knows instinctively that these acts violate the laws of nature. So, to those who like to only refer to the Homosexual lifestyle as loving, caring, beautiful etc., let’s not forget, at the core of Homosexuality is the unnatural and unhealthy act of sodomy. I do not want these men having any type of influence over my children. Sorry if this sounds strong, but it’s Homosexuals who want to be identified by their sexuality.

    Hmmm, why is it that Homosexuals are hell bent on trying to make a private organization change their standards? Why don’t they start their own organization if they don’t like the Boy Scouts standards? Sorry, but this has nothing to do with Homosexuals wanting to be Boy Scouts, but everything to do with pushing an agenda.

    Stay strong BSA! Don’t let political correctness force you lower your standards.

    • J. Allen says:

      Art,

      There are plenty of closeted Gay men and gay scouts in the BSA, don’t kid yourself. Not everyone is a militant and I don’t agree with that either. But a gay man really doesn’t want his child, anyone’s child to go through feeling rejected, not normal, having to hide their feelings and questions of who they are. You keep so many things a secret why would you want that? By the way not all gay men want to sodomize! On the flip side of that, straight men would all want to have sex with every young female they see. That isn’t so is it? Your generalized opinion of what a gay person is disturbing. I hope you never are put in a position of authority I wouln’t want my kids near you!!!!
      By the way I am a married parent of 4 straight kids.

      • Artcore says:

        Oh, I have no doubt there are Gay persons in all facets of life who are “closeted.” But tell me, why does the world (or the BSA) have to know if someone is a homosexual or not? What relevance does homosexuality have to being a Boy Scout? Why does one Scout have to know the sexual choices of another Scout or Scout Master? The only thing the inclusion of openly Gay Scouts will do is cause others to be uncomfortable.

        Homosexuals, by definition, are attracted to the same sex. As a strait guy this makes me very uncomfortable in certain situations. Again, what relevance is this actually serving?

        As I said previously, this has nothing to do with homosexuals wanting to be Boy Scouts, but has EVERYTHING to do with pushing an agenda.

        Stay strong BSA!

  4. Edward says:

    The hypocrisy of Lesbians and homosexuals is truly their denial of the natural marriage by rejecting the very spouses required to make the children they take into their perverse relationship. Children will always want to know who their true parents are as they grow older so for two men or two women to try and convince a child that their biological parent matters not is corrupt in itself. Homosexuals and Lesbians are living a lie and as such are attempting to push the lie on the rest of America even though millions of God fearing Americans refuse to except this perverse way of thinking.

    Remember, True North will always remain True North no matter how many profess otherwise!
    Stay strong BSA!!! Your principles are right and true!

    • J. Allen says:

      Neanderthal…… Gay men and women have feelings, they are able to love and care for others without sexual desires. Do you want to have sex with your kids? Then what makes you think that Gay couples can’t love and raise normal kids. They have to explain why there family is different but they can tell them that they adopted them because they loved them and wanted them to have to love and support of loving parents. Would you rather the children without parents stay in foster care, or the unwed mother have an abortion? You people amaze me……

      • Artcore says:

        J. Allen said:

        “Gay men and women have feelings, they are able to love and care for others without sexual desires.”

        Okay, then why is it they ALWAYS demand to be identified by their sexual preference? Ever seen one of their filthy and degenerate Gay Pride events? Why is it they feel the need to push this on the rest of society?

        I ask again, what does one’s sexual preference have to do with being a Boy Scout? How is it relevant to learning outdoor skills and earning various Merit badges? Let me answer that for you: NOTHING! This has nothing to do with homosexuals wanting to be Boy Scouts or Scout Leaders; it has everything to do with Gays trying to push their agenda and lifestyle on the rest of society (or in this case, an American Institution like the Boy Scouts).

        Homosexuals want to redefine God’s institution of marriage between a man and woman; they demand special laws for themselves; they now insist that theirs is a “Civil Rights” issue (Yeah, I’m sure Blacks and other minorities will buy that notion…not!); and now they demand to be included as open practicing members of the BSA. Sorry, but they are going full bore trying to push their agenda down American’s throats.

    • Ken Dahl says:

      Last time I checked, a spouse is not required to create a baby. An egg and a sperm are all that’s needed. How do you want to explain the many unwed LDS girls over the years who put their children up for adoption? Are they somehow irrelevant in this discussion?

      By the way, due to the precession of the Earth’s axis, true north rotates in an arc with respect to the stars that takes approximately 25,000 years to complete. So that statement, along with a number of others you made, simply aren’t true.

      • Bill Burton says:

        Reading these comments is fascinating. It’s apparent that people believe what they want to believe, not what the facts are. To pick on a less controversial fact, true north is a fiction. There is a point on the earth that we call the North Pole. Compasses do not relate to that point. They relate to another point, Magnetic North. And yes, Ken, you
        are absolutely right about the wobble in the earth’s rotation that shifts the starts around. Polaris was NOT the “pole star” 10,000 years ago.

  5. I would like to clarify that there is a very wrong misconception about Gays in the BSA. There has never been a ban on any Gay Youth participating in the Boy Scout program. There has been a ban on Gay leaders.

    I have been a Scout master, Bishop, Stake Presidency member and many more callings in my life. As a Scout Master I had a gay youth in our troop and he achieved the rank of Eagle.

    We need to get away from the emotion of this argument and stick to the facts. Youth may be Boy Scouts and also be Gay, but there is only a restriction on adult leaders being gay.

    We love all people but even if a gay youth comes to scouts or comes to church they still must keep themselves clean and unspotted from the world.

    Just as we don’t permit single heterosexuals to engage in inappropriate matters, we don’t permit the homosexual individual to do it either. If either one of these groups breaks the laws of morality they will be handled in the very same way through repentance.

    Lets get our facts straight and run this with emotion.

  6. Glen says:

    You know, all of this gay discussion about the Mormon Church “accepting” their lifestyle is bogus. The Mormon church accepts the gay lifestyle about as much as they accept pedophilia — it is wrong and yes those folks have feelings (as J.Allen suggests above, that God is probably incorrect because rules might hurt someone’s feelings, so let’s not talk about right and wrong), but if they don’t act upon it, are we now suggesting that these deviant behaviors are okay too? The organization: NAMBLA (see http://www.nambla.org/) would argue that pedophiles are “born” as such (just as the gays suggest their deviant immoral behavior is excusable) and that it “is” okay to act upon their urges. I’d suggest that this is just another affirmation as Isaiah says in the Bible: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Yes God (and the Mormon church) loves gays/pedophiles/and those who have all sorts of deviant sexual desires; but to suggest that because He does love them, that he also supports their cause of liberating their evil actions. A lot of folks don’t want to hear this but don’t be confused for a second: He loves the gay sinner and abhors the gay sin. These gays, when they are suggesting that they should be given increased respect only because they think a specific way (sexually-speaking), are pushing an agenda and are more concerned about themselves individually than the young men of the Boy Scouts of America. Since the beginning of time good and evil has existed. It will continue as long as the devil is free — but these types of discussions will help usher in a new and everlasting kingdom on earth. …as for me and my house, we’ll be old-fashioned and out-dated prudes and serve the Lord.

    • J. Hartwell says:

      Ed,
      Just curious if you know how many underage brides Joe Smith had? I guess when you can talk to the salamanders all “deviant immoral behavior is excusable.”

  7. Barbara says:

    Well said Glen. My house of one will also remain an old-fashioned, out-of-date prude and serve the Lord.

  8. ZEN WORDSMITH says:

    …”Some men are not to marry. For they are neither given nor
    taken in marriage. Some men are borne of there Mothers womb,
    Yet other men are borne of other men, why other men are borne
    of the Kingdom…And when they have completed fulfilling there
    Father’s will, move on to live and thrive a “little bit below the
    Angels”…

    Writings of [Saint Paul] the Apostle
    [LDS-NKJV 1611 Thomas/Nelson trans] {Study Guide}

  9. Ben Geiger says:

    The only thing that is important here is that the BSA gets to make this decision on there own (without a law). People who dont like the decision can choose to not participate. The same should be held true for each religion to have a choice on gay marriage. LAWS should not prohibit or require religions to treat gay marriage a certain way. The religions should get to make those decisions and people will choose to participate based on weather or not they agree. If we go with this line of thinking, everyone should be satisfied. If the mormons want to be biggots and spew hatred for gays, that is there religion and there right. If another church chooses to accept and love gays, that is there right. Isn’t that the point of freedom?
    The Civil Rights movement has gone too far and is now at war with freedom by creating laws that force private institutions to compromise there beliefs. The churches are guilty of this as well by supporting a lawful ban all gay marriage. Why should the LDS church get to tell all churches what kind of marrriage is acceptable by law? Lets start seeing freedom as the common thread that makes us American.

  10. Eventually, this will be a non-issue.

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