Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

LDS Church discontinuing relationship with Boy Scouts

LDS Church discontinuing relationship with Boy Scouts

The Mormon church have announced that they are to end their partnership with the Boy Scouts of America next year, after over 105 years of working together.

According to CBS News, Mormon boys who will be leaving the Boy Scouts represent approximately 18.5 percent of the 2.3 million young boys enrolled in the organization.

In terms of membership numbers, this is a blow to the Scouts.

In 2015, the church said it was "deeply troubled" by the BSA's decision to lift its ban on openly gay troop leaders. In May 2017, the church said it would partly end its participation in Boy Scout programs for youths between the ages of 14 and 18, but it would allow members ages 8 through 13 to continue to participate.

Boy Scouts - Beginning Feb. 1, 2019, there will no longer be Boy Scouts.

Last year, the church ended its participation in Scouting for those over 13, saying that in most of its USA and Canada congregations, "young men ages 14 to 18 are not being served well" by its programs.

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The still to be developed program that will likely include outdoor activities and character building similar to Boy Scouts, but it won't be modeled after Boy Scouts or use ranks. It maintains temples all over the world and boasts a membership of over 16 million adherents.

Unhitching from Boy Scouts will trigger nostalgia for American Mormons who grew up aiming for the important life milestone of Eagle Scout, said Mormon scholar Patrick Mason, professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University in California. The announcement comes just one week after the group, whose flagship programme will be renamed Scouts BSA from next year to reflect the change, launched a major marketing campaign to attract more girls.

The organization already has started allowing girls into the Cub Scouts.

For the past several years, we have made our camps more available to youth in the area who are not involved in traditional year-round Scouting units. Both organizations have released statements regarding the change, expressing gratitude for the century-old partnership (see scoutingnewsroom.org and mormonnewsroom.org).

The Boy Scout movement had been entrenched in Mormon culture for as long as anyone can remember. Others welcomed the news, criticizing the bureaucracy and costs of the Scouts and voicing a need to create a new, flexible program to meet the needs of the church.

The decision is not unexpected, as the two organizations have moved in different directions in recent years.

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