39: Responses to the Boy Scouts of America Decision



Brandt, Paul, Troy, and Heather react to the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to lift the ban on gay youth participation and discuss statements from: the BSA, the LDS Church, Mitch Mayne, and Kevin Kloosterman.

References & Links:

Official Statement from the Boy Scouts of America

Response from the LDS Church (from the “Mormon Newsroom”)

Kevin Kloosterman’s Blog Post (he referred to an “op ed” in his statement)

Mitch Mayne’s Blog

Paul’s Rational Faiths Blog

Ally Patches for Boy Scouts


  1. Chris

    This was very quick turn-around. It took you just a few hours to pull together, record, and publish. Good work.

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 04:20:08
  2. Brandt Malone

    We don’t sleep around here to make sure you get the breaking news coverage when you need it. :-)

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 06:41:24
  3. Gail F. Bartholomew

    Brandt do you really believe that the churches statement really means that gay scouts can be open? Mitch would not be able to serve in most areas. The church is talking out of both sides of their mouth. In most geographical areas the churches statement will be interpreted that anyone acting gay is not obeying the gospel. The true is the scouts spent all this time asking for peoples opinion is to find out how far they can go and still have the Mormon church involved in scouts. I believe this policy was dictated by the church. This statement is vague and ambiguous by design.

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 09:54:07
  4. Bryan Smith

    It is not all that complicated. The Church is treating homosexual relations as any other sin. If you do not act on the temptation you are OK. You can be a scout, serve a mission, can be a bishop. If you on the other hand act on same sex attraction. You can not and you are not able to hold leadership positions or be a scout. The same standard holds true for heterosexual relationships. Adultery or premarital sex not OK

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 10:02:24
    • Heather C.

      So, Bryan, you agree with the church that homosexuals aren’t held to any different standard than heterosexuals?

      Reply May 24, 2013 @ 10:05:31
    • Brian

      On paper it looks like equality, but in reality it would be silly to think that gay people are held to the same standard of morality that straight people are. While one is expected to “not act on temptation” until marriage, the other is expected to take a lifelong vow of chastity and loneliness. If I had to chose, I would take the former, wouldn’t you?

      Reply May 26, 2013 @ 12:07:02
    • seasickyetstilldocked

      Bryan, you really should come back and defend your statement because it is nothing more than regurgitating the kind of corporate tripe that tbms just love to lap up. Saying homosexual and heterosexual members are held to the same standard in the LDS church is offensive not only to homosexual members but likely to every person on this planet with a brain.

      The same of course goes for the statement that came from President Newsroom. How members don’t see through statements like these, well, I’ll never know. The agenda is always so transparent and self serving. Incredible.

      And yes, if you could not tell already, I am a big fan of Heather. Love that Heather!

      Reply May 28, 2013 @ 17:52:13
  5. WonkyAngel

    Thank you, Heather for stating exactly how I feel about the BSA and the church!

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 10:31:56
  6. jeanikins

    Heather is not “funny” she is right on the button with the truth of this matter. You guys sounded dismissive of her opinion and though you may call it progress, come on, it is just a placebo. It is hugely insulting to gay people, young and old. I so agree with you Heather. I think it reinforces the stereotype of homosexuals being perverts and child molesters.
    The only analogy I can come up with right now is going to university for years and years to become a pediatrician and then being told that all your schooling was for naught because, ‘sorry you are gay and we cannot trust you with children’. That is a step in the wrong direction. Full acceptance is the right direction.

    You asked for it and I’m speaking up. Total and complete acceptance is the only way this is going to work.

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 11:03:09
  7. Gail F. Bartholomew

    Bryan I disagree. Have you read the pamphlet “God loves his children”. This recommends that you don’t tell anyone but your bishop and one close family member that you experience same sex attraction. This implies that not only is being out a sin, but the attraction is a sin in and of itself. Because my understanding this is placing the attraction as something like confession.

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 11:42:50
  8. Gail F. Bartholomew

    I also think you are deluded when you say that the scout rules are more strict than the church’s rules. The Church’s statement is not a statement of rules. They are hiding behind the scouts on this one. They have engineered this statement to sound very open without making any commitments. Most things that the church put out on this subject is double speak. The Proclamation says nothing about homosexuality or gay marriage, but most members believe it does. This is by design. The church did not say gay kids can be out and be in scouts. They did not say that out gay adults can and will be called into scouts. They have engineered it to make it sound to liberal Mormons that they are making progress, and at the same time not tell homophobic Mormons things are as they always were.

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 15:21:11
  9. Michelle

    In my mind, this is a PR move. Relgious groups that don’t want guy scouts can kick them out via a morality clause; community sponsored groups that were already allowing gay scouts can now do so more openly. This policy will have little effect on any LDS scout, but will allow the scouts to fundraiser more easily.

    Reply May 24, 2013 @ 18:02:55
  10. JennWestfall

    I love Heather’s summary. Amen.

    Reply May 25, 2013 @ 11:28:39
  11. Brian

    As someone who is an Eagle Scout and Gay I have to admit I find myself on team Heather in this discussion. I was completely outraged by the decision, for many of the reason’s Heather so eloquently stated. In fact, I think the scouts are worse now than they were before. Prior to this decision, the organization only insinuated that homosexuals grow up to be pedophiles, but now they are teaching it directly to their members. Thus, it doesn’t create a more inclusive environment, it only furthers their bigoted prejudices. The scouts is all about adults acting as role models for younger boys, teaching them how to be responsible, honest, and hardworking members of society. How is a gay kid supposed to react to the message that the adult version of himself is not to be tolerated? I feel like i’m an echo chamber here, but this change was a PR decision, it was a sad attempt to appeal to both sides of the argument while maintaining their bigoted views, and as others have stated, this is not a complicated issue. Some may smile and get teary-eyed that the church and the BSA is progressing, but this 2013 for God’s sake, and all I see is a stubborn, arrogant horse being pushed (last place) across the finish line. End rant.

    Reply May 26, 2013 @ 12:18:12
  12. Brian

    If anyone’s interested, there was a great article on Slate today about this issue: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/05/boy_scouts_keep_ban_on_gay_adult_leaders_the_bsa_s_new_policy_will_fail.html

    Reply May 26, 2013 @ 12:20:51
  13. cam

    I agree with Heather. I’m angry too. As a woman I am more than familiar with the church’s talk of equality to appease people while in reality teaching the opposite. Kind of a mixed message to tell boys that being gay is ok- just not ok enough to continue in scouts in a leadership position as an adult. The real take away is that gays are not to be trusted.
    And for what it’s worth, telling Heather she was “funny'” was pretty cringe worthy. Kinda like a pat on the head with a nonverbal “oh little lady, you’re adorable.” So patronizing.

    Reply May 26, 2013 @ 22:09:57
    • Brandt Malone

      Hi cam,

      I actually consider Heather to be the big sister I never had. I have a very close relationship with her, and I always value the insight that she brings not just to the podcast, but to life in general. She is usually so calm and collected, and hearing her upset (or “feisty,” as I put it) was very different form the Heather that I’m used to broadcasting with.

      As she gave her final thoughts, she ended it very abruptly with a “The end,” which, again, caught me off guard, as it’s just not a usual Heather thing to do. “You’re funny” was directed more towards the way she ended, not her statements.

      If I went over the line, Heather would let me know.

      Reply May 28, 2013 @ 20:48:22
      • seasickyetstilldocked

        If you had to take a guess, why do you think Heather was so frustrated? Why do you think she was so frustrated during the conference podcast with you and Mike? What do you think it is that is frustrating about talking with tbms, even polite and nuanced tbms?

        Reply May 28, 2013 @ 21:41:34
    • seasickyetstilldocked

      I’ll tell you what is funny, Brandt talking about how he was basically crying when he heard the news (reminded me of Romney talking about pulling on the the side of the road and crying with the announcement of blacks/priesthood) and then reading the press release that basically said the church has always allowed gay boys to participate in Scouting etc. Now that is funny. I have to ask, I mean is this the kind of progress worth crying over?…..I mean if the organization is led by Jesus, can you even call it progress?

      So what do you call what just happened and how is it any different than some HR announcement from Walmart or GE? At least those CEOs are not masquerading as people who actually represent what Jesus wants.

      At the end of the day, are gay young men within the LDS church any better off today than they were yesterday? Well, according to the LDS church, no…….because it has always been sunny in Philadelphia.

      See, this is why the church is so great, even when you think things were bad and getting better, your reminded that actually, well, things were never bad!

      Reply May 28, 2013 @ 21:04:14
      • Brandt Malone

        To be quite honest, I was pretty overcome with emotion because this is something that I’ve been working hard to fight for over the last little bit. I was overcome with emotion because equality was being given to people, and the pain and hurt from being told “You’re not good enough for our boys club” was starting to leave. Like Mitch said, there’s a LOT more to this journey, but sometimes it takes a small step.

        It’s getting better – the fact that the church has recognized that homosexuals aren’t deviants that is one step next to beastiality, the fact that the membership is being informed about this topic from a rational perspective, and the fact that the LDS church didn’t turn and run the other direction. For me, that was a big step forward.

        Reply May 29, 2013 @ 06:46:29
        • seasickyetstilldocked

          Brandt, when you say church in your response, you mean Jesus right?

          Reply May 29, 2013 @ 07:32:27
          • Brandt Malone

            I said what I said.

            May 29, 2013 @ 08:50:50
  14. Angiem

    Great podcast everyone! Heather, oh sweet, Heather, I’ve loved you since the first time I heard your voice and since you were the first exMo to be nice to me at an event but I’ve never loved you as much as this podcast. Amen to everything!

    Reply May 28, 2013 @ 17:41:02
  15. seasickyetstilldocked

    If I had one guess as to why Heather was so frustrated, then I would say because she is constantly talking to people who are ignoring the elephant in the room. The elephant being that the LDS church is the one true church on earth personally led by Jesus Christ through a living prophet.

    So the tbms get to carry on talking about progress within their beloved church while at the same time ignoring the fact that Jesus is supposed to be directly leading His church. This is black and white. I mean we are not talking about what color carpet to replace the cultural halls with this year, we are talking about peoples lives and we are talking about the Savior.

    So then, what is the percentage that the Savior would be involved in managing this issue within His church? 80%? 60% 30%……and what would 60% involvement mean anyway? Is the current stance of the church regarding homosexuals reflective of the way He wants it? Why or why not? Should we really think that it is hard for the church to actually change or manage this issue any way other than the way He wants it?

    As a former sincere believer, I remember being on my mission and telling investigators that God loves us so much that he has restored his church and leads His church through His prophet. That God’s house is a house of order and Amos 3:7 and all that. I would go on and talk about how lucky we are that our church is led by a prophet because the problems we face today are so different than those of the past therefore, we must have a prophet to guide us in the latter days!

    These podcasts always give Jesus, prophets and the one true church paradigm a free pass by nuanced or more sophisticated tbms when Jesus, prophets and the one true church paradigm should be at the center of every single discussion. TBMs don’t want to own it.

    Brandt, (who I do think is smart and all class) mentioned he was going to have to recuse himself from participation from Scouting because of the possible upcoming discrimination etc. If Jesus is not directly and actually leading this issue through His chosen representatives on earth, then what difference is there from recusing yourself from participation from BSA or LDS inc? If God will not allow the prophet to lead us astray, then how is the way the church handles homosexuals NOT reflective of the way God wants it. Are we just supposed to believe that nobody gave God a key to the newsroom office? If your God is leading this church regarding this issue, then own it and defend it straight up.

    I apologize for hammering on this but THIS is THE reason we get pissed tbms.

    Reply May 29, 2013 @ 16:47:00
  16. Ozpoof

    Brandt, you seem very intelligent, but to me as a gay guy your defence of the church on gay issues sounds like a KKK member saying the Klan has really come a long way now they don’t lynch any more, and aren’t they great for advancing the cause of black people.Whatever crumbs the Church flicks off the table to gay people on the floor below is for PR. We’re not stupid. We know if there was no public backlash to Mormonism’s politics they would still be treating gay people like excrement, and be proud of it.

    For the life of he I cannot understand how someone like you can allow Mormonism to place a shadow over your reputation. Nice people who know better don’t belong to hate groups.

    Reply Jun 04, 2013 @ 19:10:13
    • brandt

      We know if there was no public backlash to Mormonism’s politics they would still be treating gay people like excrement, and be proud of it.

      Oz, it’s taken me a while to get to this point. I’ll fully admit that 6 years ago, I was sanctimonious and belittling to the homosexual community. I thought it was something that people did for attention, that it was something you could just “get over,” and all of those typical things that you have heard so often.

      It wasn’t until I started getting involved in these communities, and more importantly, putting names to faces, hearing the personal stories come from the lips of those involved, and more importantly, have the things that my religion has said about homosexuals thrown back in my face with all the hurt and anguish that they’ve caused people to force me to take a look around at what the effect of that is.

      While Mormonism as a movement may or may not have changed their position on homosexuals due to public pressure from politics, from the homosexual community, or from those within the faith affected by it, personally, I want to be a voice for the kind of change that should happen.

      There might be some that still treat homosexuals like excrement, but I won’t.

      Reply Jun 05, 2013 @ 07:03:40
      • seasickyetstilldocked

        What does that say about Mormonism when you have to take years to migrate to something resembling compassion and empathy for homosexuals? Brandt, I was the same way as you were. Most every tbm is the same way. They only way I have seen members become able to treat these human beings as equal human beings is when they throw off many of the beliefs of Mormonism. In other words, the less they believe in the church, the less they think and act like the Brethren, the better person they become with regards to compassion, empathy and understanding of others not like them.

        So what does that say about Mormonism? What does that say about the kind of people the restored gospel produces? Do you consider the Church a hate group? Why or why not?

        I stopped believing in the Church 7 years ago because after over a year of research and praying and going to the temple I realized it was just another made up religion. I mean it is laughably not even close man.

        Gay members are committing suicide because the church won’t let them off the hook. Instead, the Church continues promoting its one true church agenda at the expense of the lives of real people.

        So how much should we really celebrate as church members when the church finally comes around and treats their homosexual members as equals? You and I both know that when they do this that it will be for selfish reasons. The time will come when their agenda of selfish institutional self preservation will align enough with treating gays as equals to you know, finally treat them as human beings. Sorry, but I won’t be around when you are popping the Martinellis.

        Brandt, the church is not what it claims. The top 15 don’t take direction from God and the only thing really amazing about the LDS church is how much money it has.

        Ozpoof said it perfectly, “Nice people who know better don’t belong to hate groups.” If you can only make excuses for the church and not defend it, then what is that really telling you about this organization? How do you not feel like a hypocrite when you sustain the Brethren every year? How can you sustain and support Church programs that destroy the lives of young gay members? How does the human rights record of the church not clearly expose it as a sham?

        Reply Jun 06, 2013 @ 20:32:02
  17. partyallday

    I bought the “Ally” rainbow patch and sewed it on my scout uniform just in time for scout camp…placed it on the top right hand pocket. The black patch really stands out. I don’t know of another black scout patch and it doesn’t just blend in. I was glad for this because I could see the inquisitive eyes scanning that portion of my uniform. The patch was perfect. Why? It started conversations regarding this highly sensitive subject with other scouts and especially scout leaders. When asked what the patch meant, I indicated that I was a friend to all scouts regardless of their belief, customs or sexual attractions. One particular scoutmaster immediately asked me if the BSA should let atheists and agnostics into the program, I assumed by his question that he was struggling with this issue (thank you internet, thank you Dawkins, thank you Hitchens). The BSA professes diversity of beliefs and respect and tolerance for all beliefs – this is part of their training. Is atheism a belief or a non-belief? Are they tolerant of everyone including those who don’t believe? Can I tell them that I believe in Zeus and remain in their program? These were some of the bits of conversation. This particular scoutmaster was concerned that putting a gay scout in the same tent with a hetero scout was like putting a boy and a girl in the same tent. Any comments on this one? I told him that generally same sex attracted youth (12-14 years old) are just waking to some of the things their bodies are telling them and very rarely are they totally aware that they are gay at this point of their lives. I am very close to an eagle scout that I helped through the program years ago. He is now 30 years old, gay and very conflicted due to guilt, shame and fear laced into his life by his belief in the church. It rips my heart out to see him not follow his heart…I have seen first hand the biological vortex that he has tried to elude his entire life (thank you LDS church). “Pedophilia is a psychological disorder not a biological condition”….the BSA needs to grow a firmer back-bone and figure it out (the money issue between the BSA and the LDS church is a bitch). Heather..keep speaking your mind. Brandt, avoid saying “I’m going to be perfectly honest”…we assume that you are already honest…you don’t need to give us the impression that you weren’t at some point (just a small pet peeve).

    Reply Jul 08, 2013 @ 17:24:27
    • brandt

      I’m going to be personally honest with you, partyallday…. ;-) I’ll work on it. I’m sure it’s the same as people overusing the word “literally” (which is my pet peeve) – of course I’m going to be honest, why wouldn’t I??

      Re: Homosexuals in the same tent with other boys…

      I’ve heard this one bandied about, and it just doesn’t make sense with me. For one thing, there might ALREADY be homosexual youth in a tent with other boys, they just haven’t come out yet. And I don’t think we’re hearing stories of mass sexual orgies because of that, are we? But now we should be concerned because they can openly come out about their sexuality?

      Re: Atheists and Agnostics…

      Even as someone who is still quite involved from an adult leadership perspective, I would be OK allowing atheists and agnostics in the BSA. To me (personally – since I know you like my redundancies ;-) )it’s less about the “higher-power” and more about living a Scout Law that talks about being things like trust, loyalty, reverence (not just in personal beliefs, but I would submit for other beliefs as well), courtesy and being helpful. To me, those things should matter much more than a belief in deity.

      But then again, that’s just me personally ;-)

      Reply Jul 10, 2013 @ 07:16:09
      • Expositor's Heather

        Think of it this way, Brandt, at least the godless heathens could encounter some morality SOMEWHERE. ;)

        Reply Jul 10, 2013 @ 08:40:06
    • Expositor's Heather

      Everyone has verbal “tics” that come out on the podcast. Given the amount of time I spend editing, I can tell you pretty much what everyone’s is. Mine happens to be, “do you know what I mean.” I also say “like” WAAAAAY too often. It’s hard, if not impossible to control. Just be forewarned that if Brandt stops saying, “I’ll be honest,” he’s going to start using another phrase.

      Reply Jul 10, 2013 @ 08:44:47

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