A Concerned LDS Mother is Asking for Your Help

boy scouts of america[Ed. Note: This is a letter submitted to us via an anonymous member of the LDS Church. She is concerned about raising her daughter in a church that treats boys and girls differently and views this as a worthy demonstration. We agree!]

The church is celebrating its 100th anniversary of being associated with the Boy Scouts of America and as part of the celebration is offering a religious award with a pendant necklace.

Here is a quote from the churches LDS-BSA relationships office website:

“The Thomas S. Monson award may be earned by youth and adults of all ages. It will be introduced at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, and will then be available for others to receive after July 2013. Pre-orders are accepted immediately, and will be shipped August 1, 2013.”

What is notable about this is that there is no restriction whatsoever based on gender (There are LDS girls in Scouting in the form of Venturing for the 14+ group). My idea is to generate a word of mouth campaign that encourages girls and women to complete the requirements and apply for the award. Their was a post on the LDS-Scouts Yahoo Group where someone said they called the LDS-BSA relationships office and was told their was no restriction whatsoever and anyone at all could earn it.

I believe that if a sizeable number of girls earned and completed the award it would demonstrate to church leadership that girls want and need these same types of recognitions and gospel encouragement every bit as much as the boys.

I have concerns raising my daughter in a church that has such disparate allocation of resources between girls and boys (money, time, organizational support). Where can I send my “Friends of YW donations?” I view this similar to the pants movement. It doesn’t break any church policy and would draw publicity to the disparity. The argument for scouting has long been that it is to prepare boys for missions and that has helped justify the discrimination. With girls leaving for missions in unprecedented numbers they need similar organization training and support.

This is an area that many women in the church who don’t consider themselves feminists frequently complain about and this could help broaden the movement for equality with the church.

So that is my idea, I hope someone finds it valuable.

To earn the Thomas S. Monson Award, complete the following two requirements and at least four electives.


  1.  Read “100 Years of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” which is included on this card. With your family or a Scout leader, discuss two things you learned from this history.
  2.  Read “Run, Boy, Run,” which is included on this card, and write your feelings about this story in your journal.

Electives :

  1. Complete at least two requirements toward earning the Genealogy merit badge.
  2. Complete at least two requirements toward earning the Family Life merit badge.
  3. Memorize the thirteenth article of faith, and discuss with your family or a leader how this article of faith and the Scout Law support each other.
  4.  Meet two youth outside of your area and discuss with them how Scouting has benefited your life or the life of a Scout you know
  5. Share your feelings about doing your duty to God with your family, a friend of another faith, or a leader.

For more information, visit the LDS-BSA Relationships site. 


  1. I would love for my daughters to do this 🙂 How would we go about it though? The only venturing programs in the area are run by the church and the church does not allow girls to register with their units.

    • I think maybe the concerned mom is asking girls to complete the award anyway. Like without registering in the BS.

      I’m trying to spread the word to other Mormon feminists. A few women love this idea and are sharing with their daughters!

  2. You don’t have to be registered with the BSA to get it! You can earn it to!

  3. A lot of cub scout leaders and boy scout leaders, (women and men) earn BSA awards. Looking at tge requirements, all I would personally need to do is read the things for tge first two items. I am still a registered scout merit badge councilor. It would be great to start a FB group where women and YW can “discuss” the items with us, and get items quickly checked off. Maybe a goal of 100, 000 YW and girls earning the award?

  4. This isn’t a BSA award, it is an LDS award honoring the LDS-BSA relationship. Just like the faith in god award isn’t a BSA award even though BSA allows someone who has earned their faith in god to wear it with their uniform. Also, You don’t have to earn the merit badges, only complete two requirements of the merit badges and you don’t have to be a scout to do that. I love the facebook idea.

  5. This is backwards. The church has an AWESOME program for girls. Achievement days and the personal progress programs do great at preparing girls for missions, motherhood, the workplace, and life.

    Scouts, however, is a way outdated, old fashioned program that sucks up too much money, time, and attention without adequately preparing boys for anything except becoming scout leaders. I think we need to ask the church to drop scouts and do their own program for boys, as awesome as the program for girls.

    • I am sorry to hear your thoughts on what scouting can do for boys. It teaches them many skills to becoming productive and compassionate citizens; and leaders of more than just other scouts. There are many prominent and successful people who where and still are scouts. It also is an effective missionary tool. I also think people under rate the importance of a scout related calling. So many boys need the scouting program and their lives are effected by those who lead. In our community it may be the only structure they have outside of school.

  6. For anyone interested I developed and had approved international requirements for the Thomas S. Monson Scouting Award. These take into acount that most national scouting programs do not have the same merit badges as the BSA program does and that some cultural issues need to be addressed when moving a program from the U.S. to the rest of the world. These international requirements can be found at my International LDS Scouting page http://sites.google.com/site/intldsscouts

    Here in Australia church sponsored scouting is almost unheard of. However we have many LDS scouts, both boys and girls as our scouting program is by and large coed now.

  7. Linda Rue Wood says:

    As a LDS mother of a son and three daughters I have wondered why the Church has not developed the young men’s program along the lines of the young women’s. My husband and I believe that the Church has the experience and resources to accomplish an equal or even superior program to the BSA. We support the President of the Church as a Prophet of God and know that he is guided by the Lord. We believe that at this point the Churches support of the BSA is making it possible for non LDS young men to have this good training. Our young women are not being denied anything, their program is one of excellence and is equally acknowledge by the Church. I stand by this statement and will not make it anonymously, respectfully Linda Rue Wood.

    • IF you put Scouting and Duty to God together you have Personal Progress. Spiritual requirements and experiences and physical projects and elements. Lets not look for a reason to alter what is in place but appreciate what our leaders are doing with the inspiration they receive from the Lord. HE knows all.

      • After reading my comment I want to make it clear that I am in support of the comment above and below and just got it in the wrong spot. Thank to all those that see the vision and support out leaders.

  8. Mary Herrmann says:

    Linda, I agree with your comments. I am the mother of two sons. I have been an active scouter for many years as my sons have grown in the church BSA programs. I have also been a leader in the Young Women’s program for many years. They accomplish similar things in helping prepare our youth to be accomplished, self-confident people who willingly and capably serve others. Both programs are admirable, neither is superior.
    Mary Herrmann

  9. Occasionally I come across these types of post that I find most baffling. Just like the pants movement, they seem to find offense where none is given… unless you look hard enough and stretch the reality to find some. Regarding the pants issue… The church has never taken said women must not wear pants or that they would not be welcome if they did. Your dress and attire is one of respect, you should choose to dress for church in a way that would remind you that you are entering the house of the Lord to renew your baptismal covenants each week. If you owned one outfit to your name but you made an extra effort to wash your hands to help you be mindful in preparation that would be enough. Now people, we are all imperfect, just trying to learn and improve each day. So you cannot blame the church for how people may treat you. The church teaches to show LOVE and kindness to everyone…Clothed or not! Regarding the BSA Award, I remind you, NOWHERE did it say that a girl or woman could not earn the award. In fact, the church itself encouraged ALL to earn the award. I quote you: “I believe that if a sizeable number of girls earned and completed the award it would demonstrate to church leadership that girls want and need these same types of recognitions and gospel encouragement every bit as much as the boys.” The church would love for you and the 100 or so other woman and girls to earn the award! The church DOES have equal programs for both girls and boys. Therefore, the church HAS met your requirements for want and need. If you are familiar with the programs of the church, as you claim, then I am left to wonder, Why are you offended and what are you talking about? I am not trying to upset you further, I am asking you to consider that maybe it is you that is looking to be offended. I love the quote, “Perception is Reality” if evryone would consider what that means, the world would be a much better place. There are ALWAYS two perspectives, you MUST try to consider both perspectives before you can arrive at a logical and intelligent conclusion. Next time, if your initial reaction is being offended, ask yourself, “What could the other side have intended?” Once an honest and sincere consideration of both sides has been given, the conclusion will be that although you may have presented something differently, the way you received your information may not have been the true intent. It is our differences that cause misunderstandings and yet it is those same differences that we fight to keep. I hope you take some time to research your facts, even if it is in an attempt to prove me wrong. Because of course, you will then prove me right. May you begin to look for all the wonderful, wonderful things in the world and try not to spend too much time or pay too much attention to those things that bring you unhappiness of any kind. Have a fabulous day and a magnificent future!! 🙂

  10. you don’t have to be a scout to earn this award. Earn it and receive it. enough said. My wife and little girls can earn it along with my Cub Scout and I.

  11. Could someone please share with me photos of girls LDS or not that have earned and are wearing this award? I need a case study to take with me to our YW people and scout leaders that it is indeed OK. Does someone know of a young woman who blogged about it? I think having data or pictures of girls who are not LDS would motivate my local peoples to realize this is OK and our YW can do this, too! Please help!

  12. Meredith Coryell says:

    Historically, the Girl Scouts of America was the comparable organization for women. Unfortunately, over the years that organization received a lot of negative endorsements.

    The Young Women’s Program and camp is what the Lord provided for His daughters.
    There’s no rule that says we can do American Hertiage or Venturing. I will be the Venturing Leader I have to and make sure my women are strong. Who are the majority of the breadwinner s nowadays? I don’t think it is the men.

    ThE LDS church did not adopt the Girl Scouts of America like it did the BSA.
    Please understand that President Monson loves the girls and women of the church. We can do much within our own sphere of influence. I have three girls and three boys and I the difference. The GSA curriculum is not as good the BSA. My daughters are becoming Venturers as soon they earn the Gold Award.

  13. Gilvert says:

    Why dont you concerned mom. Talk to your leaders that’s whyt htey are there for or get i vol ed in the round tables for that purpose there is alot that can be do e about the matter instead of doing it thae way you are doing it. I see that there is an act of bad faith associted with here as to jeopardize the churche’s reputation it is very evident specially with the help of those who are just waiting for any opportunity to pointlt the finger. What a jerks.

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