Mormon church ends century long relationship with Boy Scouts

  • Mormon church ends century long relationship with Boy Scouts

Mormon church ends century long relationship with Boy Scouts

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Wednesday it's cutting its 105-year relationship with the Boy Scouts of America, as part of a new global initiative.

The Mormon Church has announced that it will end all association with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and other worldwide Scouting programs, a week after the BSA announced it would cut "boy" from the name because it now accepts girls. It plans on continuing to enroll 8-13-year-old boys in the Cub and Boy Scouts programs until December 31, 2019, at which time the Mormon Church will be finalizing a new youth program to launch in 2020. The Scouting program has benefited hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saint boys and young men, and BSA has also been greatly benefited in the process.

Joining the Boy Scouts is practically automatic among Mormon boys, and the religion has always been the biggest sponsor of Boy Scout troops in the United States. Until then, "the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8-13 and encourages all youth, families, and leaders to continue their active participation and financial support".

The Christian denomination and the scouting organization have been at odds since 2015 when the Boy Scouts agreed to allow gay troop leaders. "That trend is accelerating", the statement said. Mormon Church leaders considered parting ways with the organization.

The BSA convinced the church to stay with assurances that it could still choose troop leaders aligned with its values, but religious conservative leaders said it should have pulled out entirely. He is Mormon, and a former Boy Scout himself.

The church has been phasing out its involvement in scouting over time. Some of its programs for older youths already allowed young women, but in October, the Boy Scouts said girls would be allowed to join Cub Scouts and was creating a program by which girls could pursue the rank of Eagle Scout.

In an official press release, the church announced its intent to focus its efforts on a "worldwide initiative for children and youth" that their leadership has been preparing "for years".

Despite the controversy that's erupted by the addition of girls to organization, Steven Boyer says he couldn't be happier with the decision. At the time, that sparked a significant debate within the church, but Mormon leaders made a decision to stay because the BSA said religious groups could pick troop leaders in line with their faith.

"We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children", the organization said.

It is unclear at present what form the church's new leadership and development programme will take.

"It'll be a blow", Mark Griffin, president of the BSA's Great Salt Lake Council, told The Deseret News.

The LDS Church's departure from Scouting is significant.