After reading the Oct. 18 local Community Extra brief, “Mormon church celebrates Scouting ties,” I feel the need to I guess vent, for the lack of a better word. I was raised a Mormon in Idaho, I also was very much a devout Boy Scout; I got to the point where I only needed two merit badges to make Eagle Scout, which was something I dreamed of.
Before I could complete the final requirements, my family was transferred to Salt Lake City; as soon as possible after we arrived I began the search for a Scout troop to finish my quest. I inquired at the local Mormon ward and was told yes, they had a very large Scout troop. The local Mormon bishop made arrangements to come to my home to get me in the new troop. What he did not tell me was that he was bringing along missionaries; when they arrived at my home I was told that I could be in the Scout troop provided I joined the priesthood and basically immersed myself in the church. I was always led to believe that the Boy Scouts of America was open to anyone. Where was the separation of church and state; to that end I never completed my Eagle Scout or have I ever set foot in a Mormon church again. I do not know if it was church policy to pressure potential Scout candidates, or if it was a matter of an over-zealous bishop imposing his will on a young man. I would say to all Scout leaders of any faith — help the young men to achieve their goals but leave the religion out of it. To this day, some 41 years later, I resent the fact that I had my dream taken from me.
Kevin L. Kennedy