Soon the church will say bye-bye BSA. I remember when I was a District Commissioner and having a discussion with another L.D.S. Scouter about the fate of Scouting and its relationship to BSA. The other Scouter was of the opinion back then (late 1980s) that the church would eventually part company with BSA due to BSA’s relaxing of policy and rules.
At the time, the big issues were (1) camping on Sundays, and (2) adult leaders who were not living the law of chastity. After all, a Scout is morally straight. In our own district, this was an issue. I recall one district award banquet a member of the district committee asking for certain members to leave their girl friends home and bring their wife instead. (Evidently, the guy he was addressing has a mistress on the side.)
I also had it out with the council Order of the Arrow advisor for being overly harsh on L.D.S. Scouts because they would leave the Ordeal on Saturday nights. His words to me were, “As long as I’m advisor, no L.D.S. Scout will earn his sash.”
Skipping ahead, on my later rounds through church/Scouting callings I was seeing an overall relaxation of Eagle Requirements. A merit badge counselor could not change the requirements, however, with a wink and a smile he could sign off on a requirement even though the young man hadn’t really met the standard. This REALLY bothered me. (It’s kind of like how some universities hand out degrees these days.) As a result, the Rank of Eagle began to look more like a participation award than it did an achievement.
The Last Straw
There were contentions about women Scouters, women on camp outs with the boys, and more. While having a woman camping with 11-18 year old boys may not endanger the boys as would having a man camping with girls of the same age group, it was more than impropriety. There was the issue of male role-models. And, as sexist as that may sound to some, it was at the top of my concerns.
It wasn’t long before the idea of allowing gay Scout leaders came up. Many BSA units were sponsored by churches that had moral teachings that sex between anyone other than a man married to a woman is a sin. The Scout Oath says a Scout should keep himself “morally straight”. Many saw allowing gay men in as adult leaders would be a violation of this part of the oath.
Bye-bye BSA, that was the last straw.
My Eagle Award is still valuable. I think there will come a time when people find out someone is an Eagle Scout and ask, “So, did you receive yours prior to 2018?” (Or even some earlier date.)