Yesterday’s Salt Lake Tribune carried a story about Kenny Thomas, a YM president in Herriman, Utah, who was released from his calling after criticizing high pay for BSA executives in an email to ward members who had been asked to donate to the Friends of Scouting fund.
Thomas felt it was important for ward members to know that their contributions to this fund would not go to the boys in their ward nor to maintain what he called “awful” scout camps with “literally unusable” latrines. Much of the donations would fund executive salaries—$228,000 for the Great Salt Lake Council exec and over one million for the national scout chief.
Not surprisingly, the stake president objected to Thomas’s effort of conscience. From past bishopric experience, my husband George knows that wards are given a specific amount to raise which must be met—no excuses. No doubt, stakes receive the same kind of pressure from Church headquarters.
While I agree that bishops and stake presidents have the right to release people from their callings for any or no reason, the rationale Thomas’s stake pres gave for his action troubles me. His statement in an email to Thomas following his release contains the following paragraph:
Scouting is endorsed by the prophet. He knows more than you and I about the efficacy and worth of scouting. I trust he has received revelation regarding this. For me, it is an easy and straightforward concept. I follow the prophet.
Does this good stake president really believe that God reveals the details of the BSA use of funds to President Monson? Or is his statement just a cop out for refusing to personally examine the situation? As far as I know, Mormon doctrine does not presume infallibility for Church leaders, and it supports the notion of honest inquiry and speaking up for wrong practices. A slogan I’ve heard repeated from the pulpit many times is, “All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
Kenny Thomas followed his conscience in alerting ward members to where their donations might go. For that he was accused of “unwillingness to support scouting in general.” The upside to all this, of course, is that Thomas now has more time to spend with family and friends.