[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.
- 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.
- Read “Run, Boy, Run,” which is included on this card, and write your feelings about this story in your journal.
- Complete at least two requirements toward earning the Genealogy merit badge.
- Complete at least two requirements toward earning the Family Life merit badge.
- 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.
- 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
- Share your feelings about doing your duty to God with your family, a friend of another faith, or a leader.