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Prince Research Excerpts on Gay Rights & Mormonism – “30 – Boy Scouts”

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30 – Boy Scouts


“An official [Elder Jack Gosalind] of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Tuesday he would recommend that the church withdraw from the Boy Scouts of America if the church is forced to register homosexual scouts or to register those who will not adhere to ‘Duty to God’ provisions of the Scout Oath and Law.…

But he said he would recommend the church, which adopted the Scouting program three years after Scouting was chartered by Congress in 1910, withdraw from the Boy Scouts if it is forced to follow court rulings on the admittance of girls, homosexuals and atheism.” (“Scouters Advocate Strong Defense,” Deseret News, June 26, 1991)


“If the Boy Scouts of America is forced to accept gays as scoutmasters, the LDS Church will withdraw from the organization and take more than 400,000 Scouts with it.

That’s the contention of Salt Lake City Attorney Von G. Keetch, who has filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting the Boy Scouts’ ban on homosexuals on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and four other religious organizations.…

‘The Scouting movement as now constituted will cease to exist.… The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints … would withdraw from Scouting if it were compelled to accept openly homosexual Scout leaders,’ Keetch said in the Feb. 28 brief filed on behalf of the LDS Church.…” (Mark Eddington, “LDS Ultimatum on Gay Scouts?” Salt Lake Tribune, April 26, 2000)


“The top five faith-based organizations that contain the largest Scouting membership—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Lutheran Church—have members on the BSA’s national board and have also voiced their support for the BSA’s ban on gays.

In 2000, when the Supreme Court heard arguments in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the case that allowed the BSA to maintain its exclusionary policy, the LDS Church announced it would withdraw from Scouting if the Supreme Court ruled that the BSA must allow gay members. In an amicus brief filed by attorney Von G. Keetch on behalf of the LDS Church and other religious organizations, Keetch wrote:

If the appointment of scout leaders cannot be limited to those who live and affirm the sexual standards of BSA and its religious sponsors, the Scouting Movement as now constituted will cease to exist…The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the largest single sponsor of Scouting units in the United States—would withdraw from Scouting if it were compelled to accept only homosexual scout leaders.

Church leaders have denied the LDS Church would part ways with the Scout program, despite rumors that the Church’s Duty to God program was prepared to replace Scouting.…” (Traci G. Lee, “Religious leaders divided over Boy Scouts anti-gay policy,” msnbc.com, February 5, 2013)


“Caught in an ideological crossfire, the Boy Scouts of America is delaying until May a vote on whether to ease its policy of excluding gays as Scouts and adult leaders.…

Michael Purdy, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says the organization ‘acted wisely in delaying its decision until all voices can be heard on this important moral issue.’

The church will continue to closely monitor the proposed policy change, Purdy said.

The Great Salt Lake Council — one of the largest in the country with 5,500 troops and 73,400 youth members — had joined 32 other councils in writing a letter urging the national organization to delay the decision.

‘We want to make sure we sit down with them and understand their perspectives and what they need in order to run a good scouting program, and then we will do what we need to support them,’ said John Gailey of the Utah National Parks Council.

In Utah, nearly all scouting troops are sponsored by the Mormon church, which teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman, and same-sex relationships are sinful.

Nationally, the Mormon church has more Boy Scouts than any other denomination, with 37,000 troops and 420,000 youth members, according to figures from the Boy Scouts of America.…” (Nomaan Merchant, “Boy Scouts delay decision on admitting gays,” Associated Press, February 6, 2013)


“We believe BSA has acted wisely in delaying a vote on this policy issue until the implications can be more carefully evaluated.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is carefully assessing the consequences of this policy change on the Church’s program to build and strengthen young men, but it has not commented on it and 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.” (“Church Cautions Against Speculation On Scouting Decision,” LDS Newsroom, February 6, 2013)


“While the Church has not launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change we have followed the discussion and are satisfied that BSA has made a thoughtful, good-faith effort to address issues that, as they have said, remain ‘among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today.’…” (“Church Issues Statement on Boy Scouts of America,” LDS Newsroom, April 25, 2013)


“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Thursday indicating it is satisfied with the Boy Scouts of America’s proposed policy compromise on membership and leadership.

The BSA proposal, released last week, says ‘no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” It does not change the existing policy for Scout leaders of not granting “membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.’…

The LDS Church is the largest sponsor of Scouting, with more than 430,000 Scouts currently registered in various Scouting programs. According BSA statistics, 38 percent of all BSA Scouting units are affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.…” (Joseph Walker, “LDS Church satisfied with Scouting membership compromise,” Deseret News, April 25, 2013)


“The compromise proposal from the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay youths to join local troops — while continuing to exclude gay leaders — has picked up a powerful backer: the LDS Church.…

Kendall Wilcox, an openly gay Mormon filmmaker, sees the Scouts’ proposal as ‘a step in the right direction, bringing the Scouts in line with the LDS Church’s policy of inclusion of LGBT people.’

He pointed out, however, that any distinction between gay Scouts and their adult leaders does not match the church’s own views.

Mormonism does not consider homosexuality a ‘sin’ and allows chaste gays to hold ‘callings,’ or positions in its organizations, when chosen by local LDS leaders, and its written guidelines do not exclude Scouting.

Separating gay Scouts from gay leaders ‘sends a troubling message to youth,’ Wilcox said Thursday. Such a move essentially says that after gay Scouts earn their Eagle awards, if they want to turn around and volunteer in Scouting, ‘they are no longer considered worthy.’…” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Mormon church endorses Scout plan: let gay boys join, keep out gay leaders,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 29, 2013)


“As a Mormon, and a currently serving bishop of the church from Illinois at that time, I decided that I needed to do more to stand up against hate and support the civil and human rights of our LGBT sisters and brothers.  As a result of that decision, I flew to Salt Lake City and ‘came out’ as an LGBT ally.…

The ban of gay boy scouts and leaders also seemed incongruent with current church policy that allows openly gay young men to bless and pass the Sacrament (communion), receive ordination, and perform the ordinance of baptism.  And 18-year-old young men are allowed to serve as missionaries and be ordained to the high priesthood if they are openly gay.  Yet, if my son or any other Mormon parents’ son is gay they could be excluded from Boy Scouts under the current ban.  Gay adults and parents would also be ineligible to become Boy Scout leaders under the ban.  This gap in Mormon culture between church and activities is not sustainable and does not make sense.…” (Kevin Kloosterman, “Boy Scouts: Change is good – and Mormons agree,” Washington Post, May 22, 2013)


“This policy applies to Church-sponsored Scout units. Sexual orientation has not previously been—and is not now—a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops. Willingness to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest.…” (“Church Responds to Boy Scouts of America Policy Vote,” LDS Newsroom, May 23, 2013)


“The Boy Scouts of America voted Thursday to open its membership to all boys, regardless of sexual orientation.

Scouting officials announced that the organization’s national council adopted a new membership policy resolution by a vote of 61 percent to 38 percent.…

There is no change in the policy concerning Scout leaders and volunteers. The BSA says it does not ask would-be volunteers about their sexual orientation but does not permit openly gay adults from serving in volunteer or leadership positions.…” (Benjamin Wood, “Boy Scouts open membership to all boys, regardless of sexual orientation,” Deseret News, May 23, 2013)


“What has been largely missing from the mainstream media coverage of all the lobbying, placard waving and rhetoric on that day in Grapevine, Texas, was one fact that should have been inescapable.  Rather than representing another episode of slippage in a very long culture war, as some religionists claimed, or a ‘step in the right direction,’ as some gay advocates defined it, BSA in reality reintroduced and reinforced some of its century-old core values and nailed those colors firmly to the mast in an unmistakable message.…

One key line in the new resolution that the scouting body approved is worth citing:  ‘…any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of scouting age is contrary to the virtues of scouting.’  That is it, in a nutshell.… Sexual orientation has not previously been—and is not now—a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint scout troops. Rather, it has always about teaching moral behavior to all boys, and instilling the core values that are part of responsible adulthood.…” (Michael Otterson, “Why Mormons back the new scouting policy,” Washington Post, May 31, 2013)


“Scout leaders, gay activists, religious conservatives and historians of Scouting point to five key factors to explain the shift: a dramatic turnabout in public opinion about the morality of gay relationships and same-sex marriage, a groundswell from corporate leaders insisting on equal access for gays, shifting attitudes inside the two largest religious denominations within Scouting, a steady decline in troop membership and a sense that Scouting’s image had morphed in the public mind from Mom and apple pie to an exclusionary group with a narrowing appeal.…

But in an eight-year legal odyssey, Scouting prevailed. A New Jersey judge said the Boy Scouts of America was within its rights as a private, ‘quasi-religious’ group with ‘a God-acknowledged moral foundation’ to oppose sodomy and, therefore, exclude gays. And in 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 for the Scouts, saying the government may not force a private organization ‘to accept a member it does not desire.’

Although the Scouts were winning in court, the publicity surrounding those disputes ‘started the process of outing the Scouts’ discriminatory policy,’ said Jon Davidson, legal director of Lambda Legal, which advocates for gay rights. ‘The consequence was that over time, more and more people decided, okay, you have the right to discriminate, but we don’t have to support that policy.’…” (Marc Fisher and Michelle Boorstein, “Long road to Boy Scouts’ shift on gay policy,” Washington Post, June 1, 2013)


“A Mormon Church spokesman on Friday offered the Church’s first official comment since the vote, saying the new policy was a reinforcement of ‘century-old core values,’ and that sexual orientation was never a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join. Scouting is the main youth program for Mormons; almost all congregations have troops.

However advocates for full GLBT equality say the Mormon policy has been akin to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and that it wasn’t possible to remain easily if one was openly gay.

The language in the Mormon’s basic handbook, dating back to the 1970s and ’80s called ‘homosexuality’ a transgression — with no distinction about actual sex — and as recently as 2006, said someone who has same-sex ‘thoughts or feelings’ should be helped with ‘the process of repentance.’

Later editions began to focus on ‘behavior,’ and the 2010 Mormon handbook is the first to state explicitly that a gay person ‘if worthy and qualified in every other way’ may have full rights and privileges in regular worship life.…” (Michelle Boorstein, “Religious groups who supported gay Scout ban now are okay with changing it. Why?” Washington Post, June 3, 2013)


“About 400 people from Mormons Building Bridges faced the 80-degree sunshine to march behind a loud Ska band playing on the Downtown Farmers Market float. For about 90 minutes, the parade meandered up 400 East and took a left onto 200 South for six blocks before ending at West Temple.

Marching under a banner reading Family Reunion, organizer and founder Erika Munson said the group and others have helped change attitudes in the past year: Bishops no longer excommunicate members who come out, and the Boy Scouts now allow openly gay scouts to participate.…” (Ray Parker, “Utah Pride Parade filled with pageantry and politics,” Salt Lake Tribune, June 5, 2013)


“On May 20, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was elected as a member of the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board during the BSA’s National Annual Meeting.…

Elder Holland is the fourth member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to receive this appointment.…” (Nettie Francis, “Elder Holland accepts key Scouting assignment,” LDS Church News, May 28, 2015)


“The future relationship between the Boy Scouts of America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now uncertain after the Scouting body voted Monday to rescind a nationwide ban on gay Scout leaders, prompting strong words of concern from the church and a promise to re-evaluate its century-long affiliation with the organization.

‘The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation,’ church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a prepared statement. ‘However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.’

Boy Scout leaders said the decision, which passed by a 45-12 vote of its National Board and is effective immediately, will allow religious organizations to continue appointing adult leaders using their own criteria. But the LDS Church statement said church leaders are ‘deeply troubled’ by the vote by the National Board to allow gay Scout leaders.…

‘As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available,’ he said.…

Hawkins told KSL on Monday that church leaders Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Young Men’s President Stephen Owen and General Primary President Rosemary Wixom, all of whom belong to the BSA National Board, voted against the new policy.…

The Boy Scouts of America issued a prepared statement following the vote:

‘This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families. This change also respects the right of religious chartered organizations to choose adult volunteer leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.’…

Stan Lockhart, president of the BSA’s Utah National Parks Council, which is responsible for all of the state’s Scout troops south of Salt Lake County, said he was unsurprised by the policy change but stunned by the LDS Church’s initial response.…

As a whole, the number of BSA youth membership declined almost 6 percent from 2012 to 2013, the most recent year full data is available.…

In May, National President Dr. Robert M. Gates said he worried about the future of Scouting if the BSA didn’t change its stance on gay leaders.

‘Due to the social political and legal changes taking place in our country and in our movement, I did not believe our adult leadership policy could be sustained,’ Gates said in a video announcement Monday. ‘Any effort to do so was inevitably going to result in simultaneous legal battles in multiple jurisdictions and at staggering cost.’…

Gates, who became the BSA’s president in May 2014, said at the time that he personally would have favored ending the ban on gay adults, but he opposed any further debate after the Scouts’ policymaking body upheld the ban. In May, he said that recent events ‘have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore.’…

The BSA’s right to exclude gays was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. But since then, the policy has prompted numerous major corporations to suspend charitable donations to the Scouts and strained relations with some municipalities.

More recently, the BSA faced a civil rights investigation in New York and lawsuits in other states over the ban.

Kenneth Upton, a lawyer for the LGBT-rights group Lambda Legal, questioned whether the BSA’s new policy to let church-sponsored units continue to exclude gay adults would be sustainable.

‘There will be a period of time where they’ll have some legal protection,’ Upton said. ‘But that doesn’t mean the lawsuits won’t keep coming. … They will become increasingly marginalized from the direction society is going.’…” (“BSA ends ban on gay adults; LDS Church to ‘examine’ long-time association,” www.KSL.com, July 27, 2015)


“Ultimately, the federal government wasn’t willing admit to the Union a state that permitted polygamy. In a series of statutes passed before Utah could become a state, the federal government essentially outlawed the Mormon religion, by prohibiting polygamy or membership in an association that allowed it. This was the most overt, legalized expression of religious persecution in U.S. history.…

The Boy Scouts have tried to broker a federalist compromise, allowing church-connected troops to use their own religious criteria in choosing scoutmasters, which would allow LDS churches to exclude openly gay scoutmasters in their troops. Rejecting that proposed settlement amounts to a statement that the church cannot tolerate association with an organization that doesn’t share all of its values. After a century, this would be an act of secession for the church — secession from the evolving American way.…” (Noah Feldman, “Mormon’s American Dream Includes the Boy Scouts,” BloombergView.com, July 31, 2015)


“I have been contacted by a friend, who wishes to get this very important story out to Mormon Feminists of all stripes, in the hopes that the crumb that will soon be offered will not serve to mollify those on the fringes.  She cannot risk her relative bing ‘outed’ by this story, so she has asked that I share it on her behalf.

It is a long story, but well worth the read.

My relative is a big-wig at Boy Scouts. We are talking very high up in the company. Prior to the announcement that the Boy Scouts will now be allowing gay leaders, the big-wigs at Boy Scouts had a meting with their lawyers. The following occurred. No further information will be given as I do not want my relative to lose his job (this is all very confidential) and I am having someone else post this for me so that it hopefully protects him further.  But I 100% trust that he was telling me the truth.

  • Boy Scouts has lost considerable funding since gay marriage has become legal. Many, many big donors no longer want to be associated with them because their stance is not politically correct.
  • They have lost their nonprofit status through litigation over discriminatory practices in several states due to not hiring homosexuals. They were also fighting in the courts in several other states for the same reason and the attorneys feared they will lose. Other lawsuits were being threatened in additional states.
  • The attorneys also mentioned that the LDS church was facing the very same issues and were being forced to consolidate much of their businesses in SLC because they were losing or being threatened with losing their nonprofit status in many states due to discrimination. They stated that the church was going to continue to fight, but when a certain line in the sand was crossed, the church’s attorneys had already written up a new revelation to help the church keep the nonprofit status. I couldn’t get any more information about what this new revelation was but basically it was enough to keep the church’s nonprofit status. My relative insinuated that the church was being forced by the government into another revelation like the ending of polygamy.
  • The attorneys strongly recommended ending the ban on gay leaders so that the Boy Scouts could maintain their nonprofit status and stay alive.
  • The Boy Scouts KNEW that if they did so they would lose the LDS church as the church had been extremely clear with them that they would break ties if the Boy Scouts allowed gay leaders. The LDS church is a major client.
  • Many of the big-wigs at the meeting were LDS (including my relative). This was a terribly difficult decision as they wanted to vote in the best interest of the Boy Scouts but doing so would mean they would have to go against the direct wishes of the First Presidency. They were in agony.
  • It was decided to allow gay leaders, despite knowing this would mean losing the LDS church as a client. They hoped that they would regain donors to help compensate for the loss.
  • In order to make the announcement as easy as possible, they chose not to include the LDS church in the decision and they chose to announce it in July (when church leaders were on vacation).
  • The LDS church ahs come down HARD on the LDS members who were part of the decision. My relative has not been able to eat or sleep as he says that he was told by a member of the 12 that his very salvation was now at stake due to his participation in the decision. He is devastated and deeply worried he will no longer make it into the Celestial Kingdom.
  • The LDS church has already told Boy Scouts that they are leaving them. But due to their own lawsuits, they do not want it to be ‘about the gays.’ So they are waiting a little bit. He has been in meetings with PR strategists who told him that the spin they were planning on putting on the split is that the LDS church wants to create more equity in the church. And since Boy Scouts unfairly takes so much of the resources and money from the ward (leaving the girls without as much), the LDS church has designed a church program for both boys and girls that is the same and equitable. The PR department explicitly said that this is an attempt to stop the flood of feminists from leaving the church. IT IS 100% UNTRUE, they are leaving over gays becoming leaders in Boy Scouts. But they are hoping it will make them look good and keep feminists on the edge happy.
  • This makes my relative mad because he doesn’t think the LDS church should be catering to feminists and gays but should just allow them to leave. He basically spoke as if they were some evil plague.

Please do not believe the rhetoric that will shortly come from the church that they are trying to bring more equity between the sexes.  It is a lie. This is a crumb being thrown to the feminists in hopes of appeasing the women and reducing the activism. “This is homophobia, not equality.”

(Verlyn Henrie, Feminist Mormon Housewives Facebook Group, August 23, 2015)


“The Mormon Church announced Wednesday that it would continue its close association with the Boy Scouts for now, ending speculation that it would sever ties because of the Scouts’s decision last month to let openly gay men and women serve as leaders.…

But the latest statement did leave the door open to future change. Church officials noted last month that half their global membership is in countries where scouting is not available and said they were considering whether to start their own global youth program.…”  (Erik Eckholm, “Mormon Church Will Keep Ties With Boy Scouts Despite Objecting to Gay Leaders,” New York Times, August 26, 2015)


“In the resolution adopted on July 27, 2015, and in subsequent verbal assurances to us, BSA has reiterated that it expects those who sponsor Scouting units (such as the Church) to appoint Scout leaders according to their religious and moral values ‘in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.’ At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.…” (“Church to Go Forward with Scouting Program,” LDS Newsroom, August 26, 2015)


Tom: When the first Boy Scout press release came out, which was the second one after marriage came out, I was talking to Mike Otterson.  I said, “Are you having your interns write the press releases now?”  He did not find that amusing at all.  I was with Todd the same afternoon and I said, “Todd, don’t they have to listen to you?  That’s the worst press release I’ve ever read.”  He said—and this was probably the one time I’ve ever seen him be really annoyed—“The press release that they issued was not the press release that we wrote.”

Greg: So even as head of Public Affairs, he has to send it up the chain?

Tom: That one wasn’t finalized until it came back from the First Presidency’s office.  Whoever was so annoyed about the Boy Scouts meeting taking place during their vacation, who demanded that be included in the press release, I don’t know if he was in the Twelve or in the First Presidency.  But when it came back from the First Presidency, that was in the statement.  I said to Todd, “It reads like a bunch of spoiled brats.  You don’t think other people who go on vacation aren’t still reachable?  It was a silly thing to say, and it makes you look petty.”  Todd said, “What came back is not what went up.”  

But it was so bad on the heels of the marriage statement.  I was talking to all the Public Affairs people the day before, because we all thought it was coming out that Friday.  I was talking to everybody on Thursday and said, “Could you please let it be?  Could you just say nothing?  There is nobody in America who doesn’t know where the Church stands.  Let it go.  And if you do say something, couldn’t you say something like, ‘We realize that this is an occasion of celebration for our gay brothers and sisters and families.’  Just acknowledge that it’s a happy thing for them, and then say, ‘We have an eternal perspective about marriage that we would love to share with all who are interested.’”

Greg: And instead, they just keep reminding people why they hate us.

Tom: It’s all through Kirton, McConkie.  The Public Affairs guys will say, “We don’t write the statements.  They all come out of Legal.”

(Tom Christofferson, October 10, 2015)

Tom: The hint was that that line in the press release about Boy Scouts, that “they had the temerity to take this vote while we were on vacation,” was also President Monson’s.  He wanted that language.

(Tom Christofferson, November 5, 2015)

Gray: Friday’s lunch guest has worked for the Church for an extended period of time, and his assessment of Monson is that he has always been kind of reactionary.  He’ll decide on something that concerns him, and he’ll do it without looking for detail and a lot of thought.  It was said by this individual that Monson took the Boy Scouts issue personally and with the U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.  So that may, indeed, have been the catalyst to be able to have Monson’s ear and find a receptive ear and say, “This is what we ought to do, President.”

(Darius Gray, January 11, 2016)

Rosky: Now, I’m not saying that I love the exemptions that exist under Utah law, but they are what they are, and equality is what it is in this state.  And obviously, the Boy Scouts.  I’m sure that Steve [Urquhart] talked to you about the Boy Scouts.

Prince: He did, and he said, “In a strange way, it’s more embarrassing to the Church and the State of Utah to have it in there, than not to have said anything.

Rosky: The Boy Scouts can discriminate against gay men who want to be Scoutmasters.  They won that right.  I don’t think the Boy Scouts want to discriminate against gay men who want to be janitors at the Boy Scouts facility.  So what was gained by putting it in there?  And now, under Utah law, the Boy Scouts can fire an African-American janitor because he is African-American.  They would be subject to federal law, but not Utah law.  Why are we doing this?  It’s very strange.  But it was important, and it’s in there.  It wasn’t my request that it go in there.

Prince: I can see them playing to their base.

Rosky: Yes.

Prince: “We haven’t forgotten you.”

(Clifford Rosky, March 31, 2015)