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Is The Mormon Church Behind the Boy Scouts' Cop-Out?

By Lucas Grindley

The Mormon Church at first seemed to cheer as the Boy Scouts opted not to allow gays to join the organization. But now it's getting strange.

The LDS Church's first statement praised the news that that Boy Scouts' executive board had delayed any decision on changing its discriminatory policy until May at the earliest.

"The church is following this proposed policy change very closely," a spokesman said, or warned. "We believe the BSA has acted wisely in delaying its decision until all voices can be heard on this important moral issue."

The Salt Lake Tribune points out that the church issued yet another statement on the matter that afternoon, and the "moral issue" language had disappeared. The church now said it backs efforts to "strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of young men." But it claimed to have "not commented on" the Boy Scouts policy and said "a decision will not be made until we have assessed all of the implications. We caution others not to speculate about our position or to assume that individual Latter-day Saints inside or outside the Scouting movement speak for the church. Neither has the church launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change."

Mormon members of Utah-based Boy Scouts troops have been on television vocally opposing lifting the ban. The proposal underconsideration would lift the ban only at the national level and would allow them to continue discriminating in their own troops, essentially shifting the decision to local troops.

Watch The Advocate's editor in chief, Matthew Breen, who grew up in Salt Lake City, discuss the Mormon Church's influence on The Stephanie Miller Show today.

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