The Boy Scouts of America will soon be voting on its policy to include or exclude gay leaders and members from the organization. I have recently become a Venture Scout Adviser for the young men in my local congregation and I have been learning more about the wonderful program and the positive impact it has on the young men of this nation. I am an Eagle Scout myself and very proud to hold that title. As a youth leader scouting has come to mean even more to me and I believe it is a program inspired by God. I believe wholeheartedly in the inspired words of the scout oath and law:
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
A Scout is:
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful,
Friendly, Courteous, Kind,
Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty,
Brave, Clean, Reverent
I wanted to make my voice heard concerning the decision currently underway. Ultimately, the stance of the LDS church is my own:
“People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).
Considering these words, I have written to the National BSA Council and I recommend anyone else who treasures scouting as I do should do the same (firstname.lastname@example.org). Here’s what I have to say:
To Whom it May Concern,
I understand that this is an email address I can send my thoughts concerning the decision that is currently underway concerning the acceptance of homosexuals into the Boy Scouts of America. I am currently a Venture Scout Adviser in an LDS crew as well as an Eagle Scout. I wanted to make my voice heard concerning the matter. Perhaps I do not understand the full issue, but I am going to assume that the the distinction has been made between active/practicing homosexuals and non-practicing homosexuals. We believe (and have taken an oath) in being “morally straight.” That is a challenge extended to heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. Either is fully capable of being morally straight (keeping sexual relationships within the bonds of marriage, within the bounds that God Himself (who is the center of scouting) has set, having moral thoughts and actions, etc) and either is also capable of poor moral choices. I hope the distinction is being made that we, as scouts, do not reject those with homosexual tendencies but we do reject all people who abuse and make a mockery of sexual purity – homosexual or heterosexual. Above all, I fully and completely back the stance that the leaders of the LDS Church have taken. I hope and pray that the National Scout Leaders will be inspired to make the correct decision and stand as an example to not give way to the pressures of the world.
Thank you for your time and your dedicated service to these young men.
Jesse Randall Hyde