As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereafter referred to as The Church or The Church of Jesus Christ), I have been watching the process the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has been going through the past few weeks. The Church has a century-long relationship with the BSA and how they voted could affect that relationship. As a strong conservative who is actively involved in politics, I have been concerned about the pressure that has been placed on the BSA, and other organizations, to violate their religiously-protected freedoms to endorse a way of life not consistent with their beliefs.

The Boy Scouts issued the following statement:

“For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.

“Based on growing input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an additional review of the organization’s long-standing membership policy and its impact on Scouting’s mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the current policy and those who support a change.

“Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote.

“This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.

“The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.

“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America’s youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.”

What I read as I reviewed this message was that 1) boys are better when Scouting and 2) the behavior of scouts will remain the same.

The Church of Jesus Christ released a statement regarding the changes of the BSA:

For the past 100 years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has enjoyed a strong relationship with Boy Scouts of America, based on our mutual interest in helping boys and young men understand and live their duty to God and develop upright moral behavior. As the Church moves forward in its association with the Boy Scouts of America, Church leaders will continue to seek the most effective ways to address the diverse needs of young people in the United States and throughout the world.

The Church’s long-established policy for participation in activities is stated in the basic instructional handbook used by lay leaders of the Church: “young men … who agree to abide by Church standards” are “welcomed warmly and encouraged to participate” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 8.17.3). This policy applies to Church-sponsored Scout units. Sexual orientation has not previously been—and is not now—a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops. Willingness to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest.

These standards are outlined in the booklet For the Strength of Youth and include abstinence from sexual relationships. We remain firmly committed to upholding these standards and to protecting and strengthening boys and young men.

The Church appreciates BSA’s reaffirmation of its commitment to “duty to God,” which includes service to others and moral behavior—central principles of our teaching to young men. As in the past, the Church will work with BSA to harmonize what Scouting has to offer with the varying needs of our young men. We trust that BSA will implement and administer the approved policy in an appropriate and effective manner.

Many have expressed concern over this decision. Others have expressed disbelief that the Church of Jesus Christ would support the BSA – saying it has lost its way or is pandering. I would argue that neither of these is the case. As a church, “‘young men … who agree to abide by Church standards’ are ‘welcomed warmly and encouraged to participate.'” It sounds as though the Boy Scouts’ policy change is actually more in line with the existing policy of the Church.

The doctrines of the Church help us to understand that we have a Heavenly Father who is concerned for the welfare of His children. He wants us all to have an opportunity to make it back to His presence. During His ministry, the Lord was clear during His time on earth in telling all to “come unto me.” When I separate politics from religion, I understand this decision.

Politically, however, it makes me nervous. I know that gay rights activists are likely cheering this decision and find it as a win. I believe the BSA entered into this decision-making process from outside pressure it was receiving. While I believe each private organization has a right and obligation to set the terms of its membership, it does concern me that that this process appeared to be made under pressure. But just because a process begins under pressure does not mean the outcome is made by that same pressure. The BSA had to evaluate their value system and assess if their policies reflected that. By making the decision they did, I believe they are saying they want all young men to have an opportunity for growth is a value-rich environment. Young men (and women) make powerful decisions that will affect the rest of their lives starting at an early age. By allowing young men to participate in uplifting activities where their confidence is strengthened and positive virtues are reinforced, it increases positive decision-making down the road.

Moving forward, the Boy Scouts have a lot of decisions they will need to make as a result of this decision. This includes if they choose to make changes to the requirements and activities. They will also likely be reevaluating their decision regarding gay leadership. The GLAAD spokesman stated, “Today’s vote is a significant victory for gay youth across the nation and a clear indication that the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay adult leaders will also inevitably end.” The Boy Scouts organization will have to evaluate that as well.

Sometimes, political decisions have an all-or-nothing flavor to them. You don’t want to give an inch lest the other side take a mile or seven. In this case, a private organization has made a decision to redefine its membership. While there was political pressure to do so, this decision was made by the BSA. This process is challenging the beliefs of many strong, valiant Christians who are striving to make decisions, personally and politically, that uphold their value system. Each individual will need to evaluate if their personal value system, not just political beliefs, allow them to continue in their membership or affiliation with the Boy Scouts.

**Please note, the views expressed in this article belong to this author alone and may not necessarily reflect those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I do not speak for the Church. Click here for more information on the Church’s stance.**

– Rebecca @

“Tell the Truth”

Grover Cleveland

“The King’s good servant, but God’s First.”

St Thomas Moore July 6th 1535  his last words before being executed

In the days before instant communication it was not uncommon for surrogates for candidates touring the west to not just tailor their message to fit a particular community, but to bluntly declare a candidates support for a hot button issue in one town while in another proclaim his undying opposition to the same issue.

With no way to check and with the likelihood of a tiny local paper’s report not going beyond the area it was pretty safe. Even if an individual noticed the voice of that individual ability to call out such behavior was generally limited to the individuals they saw in person.

Well years have passed and lo and behold some tactics have not changed one bit and the target seems to be Catholics:

While the campaign denies that faith will be used to hammer on Romney, campaign callers are pushing Mitt’s Mormonism as a reason for Catholics not to vote for Romney.

Now anyone who has paid attention to this blog or Stacy McCain’s is not the least bit surprised to see the “Mormon” card but while that is despicable, what followed really shocked me:

Just a week ago, I reported a call from an Obama supporter received by a Catholic in Pennsylvania. The caller, identifying herself as Catholic, insisted Obama was not pro-abortion and Planned Parenthood did not encourage abortions.

And if you think this might have been a rogue caller, think again:

“Well, I could not believe that I had received another call from the Obama campaign looking for another of my college aged children in less than a week. I informed the caller that my son was a practicing Catholic and would not be supporting a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage candidate who did not respect the Catholic faith in his HHS mandate that would force all Catholics to pay for birth control, sterilization, and the abortion pill.”

At that point, the Obama supporter started reading from the same script that Joy had heard from the first call.

Mind you at the very same time we have Democrats running ads in New England attacking Republicans for their opposition to abortion. Stacy McCain:

This is a scripted attack, which seems to be a “push poll” specifically targeted at Catholics registered as Republican, with the purpose of suppressing the pro-life vote for Mitt Romney. Exactly how widespread it is or who is funding and directing it, we don’t know.This is what is called Push Polling

There was a time when such tactics might fly under the radar, but in the days of the intenet and Fox news.

It’s just not as easy.

Now if these people had taken Artur Davis advice and actually watched the Democrat convention they likely wouldn’t be substitutable to this nonsense, but as things are I expect the same MSM that had no idea how SNL could parody the 1st Obama/Romney debate to not touch this except as part of their post election analysis

As warned

Catholics across the nation should be prepared to receive these deceitful and dissembling phone calls. They should learn from this Catholic mother, this pro-life warrior and RN, to speak the truth, with charity, to those who are willing to tell lies in support of their favored political candidate.

These Catholics for Obama calls are coming your way — the scripts are written, their call centers are ready, and they are well-funded.

What really amazes me is the people identifying themselves as Catholics saying things they know are simply not true. Stacy McCain again

“This is Chicago thugocracy on display. Demoncrats have no morals. Their hero Saul Alinsky taught that the ends justifies the means.”

Indeed, and — remembering that Alinsky dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to Lucifier — these tactics are quite literally Satanic.

Well that being the case, for my fellow Catholics I suggest invoking St. Thomas Moore. & St. John Fisher in that spirit I have composed the following prayer:

St. John Fisher & St. Thomas Moore at the cost of your own lives you defended the truth of the faith. We beg you in this election season to aid us. Help us to hear the truth as taught by the holy church that you died to defend, defend the right in the face of opprobrium and give us the strength to reject the temptation to deceive for any worldly gain or goal. Through your intercession, may the same Holy Spirit that sustained you in trial inspire us to the right . We ask this through Christ our Lord


And remember we must pray not only for those who are the targets of deception but for those trying to deceive.

…Whereby the press carries the “Look a Mormon” ball for the administration:

The Obama team won’t touch this stuff with 10-foot poll. And so long as they have press people who will carry the message (and retweet and link) questioning Romney’s views on race and gender because he is a Mormon, it doesn’t have to.

In an Twitter exchange Coppins insisted the piece was not anti-Mormon (“I’d hardly classify that story as ‘anti-Mormon.’ ”) You judge the portrayal of Mormon views and whether the piece (consistent with Coppins’ other efforts) portrays Mormonism as a liability for Romney.

Well it’s not like they are doing it on television, is it?

Via Glenn who is as surprised at this as he is shocked at “feminists” attacking conservative women.

Meanwhile Stacy says this:

Jen, seriously: Have you bothered to investigate the history, beliefs and practices of LDS? Because there is a metric buttload of this stuff just laying around out there, and those tolerant and enlightened liberals in the press corps are gonna unload it all.

Do you really think they’ll stint to use the dirtiest tricks in the book? Remember how your liberal friends learned to sling around “neocon” as an epithet (nudge, nudge) during the Bush years?

As the race gets more out of hand expect it to become more brazen.

On ABC’s this week during his interview with Pastor Rick Warren Jake Tapper asked this question concerning the Mormon church:

TAPPER: Mitt Romney will almost certainly be the Republican nominee, and if that happens, as it looks like it will, he’ll the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be the nominee. A lot of evangelicals have been talking about whether or not Mormons are Christians. Are Mormons Christians?

WARREN: Well, the key sticking point for evangelicals and actually for many is the issue of the Trinity. Orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, Protestant Christians, evangelical Christians and Pentecostal Christians all believe in the Trinity; that’s the historic doctrine of the church, that God is three-in-one. Not three gods; one God in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

WARREN: Mormonism denies that. That’s a sticking point for a lot of Catholic Christians, evangelical Christians, Pentecostal Christians, because they don’t — they don’t believe that. Now they’ll use the same terminology, but they don’t believe in the historic doctrine of the Trinity. And people have tried to make it other issues. But that’s really one of the fundamental differences.

In terms of the question of how what would be called “Mainstream Christianity” it’s a pretty good answer and frankly it’s not a bad question, but if you are going to ask the question I think the better question would be: “Based on your definition of salvation by faith, does a believing Mormon qualify?”

This is likely the most benign “Mormon” question we will hear over the next few months.

I can’t find the full interview online yet but you will want the catch the entire interview with Rick Warren, it was pretty good and he is one of my favorite protestants…

…still theologically wrong a bit, but gotta love him.

Update: On NBC David Gregory went so deep into the Mormon question with his panel including the Cardinal designate of Baltimore and Billy Graham’s daughter that she eventually asked when they would get to Easter since this is “our day”.

The Graham family might be informed religiously but if they seriously believed that Gregory would talk about Easter on Easter Sunday rather than try to support Obama, they certainly aren’t paying attention.

My post on Mormonism two days ago drew the following comment from regular reader Foible:

You’re once again mistaking the left for some sort of a hive mind. Some of us liberals are against any politicians basing laws on their faith. When Romney uses his religion as his excuse for changing his political positions then his religion is up for discussion.

Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers, don’t you think that is information the evangelical Christian voters should have? I know that if he is the republican nominee I’m going to politely use his title whenever I mention him; High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek, Mitt Romney

and as Stacy McCain notes this from Lawrence O’Donnell yesterday:

Mormonism was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it. Forty-eight wives later, Joseph Smith’s lifestyle was completely sanctified in the religion he invented to go with it.

If O’Donnell thought there were votes in it, he would be accusing Mary of a tryst 2000 years ago.

and the with Politico:

“Let’s be honest, this is the core of who Mitt Romney is,” he said. “He was a missionary in France for two years. He has been a bishop in the church, which, in the Mormon church, is effectively like a a priest. Philanthropically, he’s made huge contributions. He’s had a big impact on the church. And yet he doesn’t talk about it. It’s the core of who he is, and yet he doesn’t feel like it’s safe to talk about.”

Let’s start with the given that Mormonism is theological nonsense in many ways. Let’s also take it as a given that it has no bearing on his qualifications be president, none of this matters, the Democrats knowing this president’s record need a different subject. Mitt can say things like this every day:

“…and while I understand the president doesn’t want to run on his record, he can’t run from his record…

…We know what Barack Obama’s vision for America is, we’ve lived it these last three years.”

and twice on Sunday. It won’t matter, Moe Lane and Kevin Williamson not withstanding Stacy knows what is coming:

And my friends, this has just barely begun. That little shot from O’Donnell? It was like the signal gun to start a massive barrage.

Maybe you have never done any research into the history of Mormonism. Maybe you have no idea how much material there is to work with. Maybe you are unaware of how many ex-Mormons and other critics of Mormonism have already gotten in touch with national news producers and reporters, eager to help them with “research” for all those in-depth feature articles and multi-part series about the LDS church.

If you don’t know any of that stuff, you can be forgiven for thinking that any negative media focus on Mitt Romney’s religion would automatically be seen as unfair and bigoted by independent voters. But just wait and see: If Romney actually does win the Republican nomination, and if it ever appears that Mitt poses a serious threat to Obama’s re-election, then the gloves will come off and you will be disabused of your naïveté.

Meanwhile to my friend Foible will almost certainly be voting for this guy:

Obama says he’s among those who sometimes question God’s plan for him. But he says that’s precisely when he recalls the “triumph” of the Easter story, and Jesus overcoming his doubts and fears before the crucifixion.

I suspect many on the secular left won’t have a problem voting for this “Christianist” because like supporters of Gay Marriage, they assume he is lying through their teeth.

To my friends in the GOP who insisted we needed Romney: You have made your bed, I hope you find it comfortable.

Update: Stacy sees the method of this madness for the media:

By using evangelicals as the “hook” to talk about Mitt’s Mormonism, the media cleverly raise an issue that hurts Romney more among secular liberals than it does among religious conservatives. (Dude, if you think Santorum’s Catholicism offends feminists, wait until the media start doing their Serious Journalism coverage of what Mormon doctrine teaches about women.) There are all kinds of angles from which to fit the “Mormon Mitt” meme into the media narrative, and yet some Republicans are so stupid they can’t imagine how the liberal MSM will manage to turn this stuff into legitimate news.

The possible story angles are numerous, the basic materials are plentiful, and how far the media might go with this meme is purely a function of whether they view Romney as a serious threat to Obama in November.

Earth to Stacy, You’d be a serious threat to Obama given his record, let alone a competent businessman in a bad economy like Romney so of course the MSM will be playing this card and it is going to trickle down to congressional races. In fact I guarantee the left’s War on Women meme will be used against Romney based on his church in a way the left wouldn’t dare go after a Muslim, and congressional candidates down the ticket will be made to answer questions concerning it too.

I still don’t think it will be enough to keep Obama in the White House but it will not only be damn close it will be some of the ugliest stuff you’ve ever seen.

The left will pound the Mormon religion on its history and on opposition on Gay Marriage in California DaTechGuy 2/1/12

It doesn’t matter how “moderate” any GOP candidate is, said candidate will be painted as a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, religious fanatic. DTG 2/2/12

if Romney is the general election candidate the left and the media will be going whole hog on the “Mormons are creepy” business and they will be playing it in the south in an attempt to depress the GOP vote while trying to excite Black voters, particularly in the south (remember the African American’s for Obama business) in the hopes of stealing a state or two. DTG 3/7/12

Can’t you see the five-part New York Times series on the history of Mormonism? Can’t you see Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News and David Gregory on Meet the Press doing Serious Journalism about all the beliefs and practices of the LDS, and ponderously asking What It Means for America? Robert Stacy McCain 3/6/12

And Right on cue….

Washington Post 4/2/13: Romney confronted over Mormon doctrines

CNN 4/2/12: Romney fields hostile question on Mormonism

Politico 4/2/12: Romney bats away Mormonism question

The Hill 4/2/12: Romney pressed on Mormonism, race at Wisconsin campaign event

Mediate 4/2/12: Romney Quickly Shoots Down Audience Member’s Question About Book Of Mormon

ABC 4/2/12: Mormon Question Sparks Tense Moment During Mitt Romney Town Hall

From the ABC story:

Hatch later told reporters that he is a Ron Paul supporter and had come to the Romney event to find out if the candidate believed in the Book of Mormon. “Either he believes the Book of Mormon, or he doesn’t,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to. So either he believes it, and he believes what these things say right here, or he doesn’t. And from what I understand he just denounced his faith up there.”

“I think that’s an important issue,” said Hatch. “He’s going up against a black guy! He’s going against Obama. This is a racial issue.”

For those naive enough or foolish enough to actually believe defeating Santorum would make sure Religion would not be an issue in this campaign Stacy McCain provides the explaination:

As long as the media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) saw the GOP nomination being in doubt, Romney’s status as a bishop in the LDS church was treated as off-limits, except when it was used as a club to clobber evangelical Christian voters for their supposed anti-Mormon prejudice.

By contrast, recall how often Rick Santorum’s support for Catholic doctrine — especially his church’s opposition to artificial contraception — was a frequent subject of mainstream media “controversy.”

Now that Democrats are near-certain that Romney is the nominee, however, the media is going to start covering Mitt’s Mormonism in a very serious way — “Oh, look, he’s a fringe kook!” — as if this were an entirely legitimate topic of political discussion.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.