God loves all His children. “All” is an inclusive word, including homosexual and heterosexual individuals, including you and me.
I have been told by some the Scout oath will need to be changed should the BSA in fact decide to openly welcome gay individuals within their ranks, particularly the wording “morally straight.” I have discussed the moral issues regarding the inclusion of gays in previous posts (part 1 and part 2), but not the word “straight.” To be clear, “morally straight” does not mean what these individuals are inferring. Whether one is “straight” or not is slang, and totally out of place in the scouting program. The official definition of morally straight by the BSA, straight out of the scout handbook, is as follows:
To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.” (Boy Scout Handbook, 11th ed. 1998, pg 45-46)
There is no need for the Boy Scouts to change anything in the scout law, oath, or motto if they are to change their policy. On the contrary, excluding gays should exclude this tenant, to be morally straight, from the oath.
It is criticisms like these about including gays in the Boy Scouts which makes me grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, because Christ and his true church are so much more accepting and inclusive than the BSA, although that is speaking of the church collectively and not individually (D&C 1:30).
The following is from an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “God Loveth His Children” published in 2007:
“The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi voiced feelings we all have when he acknowledged that he did not ‘know the meaning of all things.’ But he testified, ‘I know that [God] loveth his children’ (1 Nephi 11:17). God does indeed love all His children…”
“Everyone has temptations, but one of the purposes of mortality is to learn to overcome them. President David O. McKay beautifully defined spirituality as ‘the consciousness of victory over self’ (in Conference Report, Oct. 1969, 8). These temptations, which are generally uninvited, may be powerful, but they are never so strong as to deprive us of our freedom of choice….”
“Some people with same-gender attraction have felt rejected because members of the Church did not always show love. No member of the Church should ever be intolerant. As you show love and kindness to others, you give them an opportunity to change their attitudes and follow Christ more fully.”
“No one is, or ever could be, excluded from the circle of God’s love or the extended arms of His Church, for we are all His beloved sons and daughters. As President Hinckley said: ‘Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and sisters’”
Any Latter-day Saint Christian, or any other follower of Christ, who discriminates against those with same gender attraction, who wish to deny them fellowship in the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12, 25-27), needs to get over that little dust speck in the eyes of others, particularly that mote lodged in the eyes of those who are gay. Their time and efforts would be better spent purchasing a chainsaw to help get that beam out of their own eye (Luke 6:41-42). I could probably use a chainsaw of my own, though for a different beam.
We all have our own set of challenges, our favorite sins, and they render us all equally unclean, equally unqualified to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The best we can do is repent, and hold on to the hand of grace which Christ is reaching out to us, and hope those around us will help us on our journey. We do not need any more stumbling blocks in our way, Lord knows we have enough. But more importantly we do not want to be or place stumbling blocks or offenses in the paths of others as a result of our own unChrist like actions. It would be better to go shopping for a millstone and some rope (D&C 121:17, 19-22, Luke 16:1-2). The Lord loves his children, ALL of them, and has promised ALL who will believe and endure to the end ALL the blessings of eternity.
In short it is not the church of Jesus Christ or the humble follower of Christ which needs to change, but rather the Boy Scouts of America.