LDS church scraps Boy Scouts for its own gospel-focused youth program

Andrew Garrison, 11, of Salt Lake City, looks over the Rockwell exhibition at the Mormon Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 22, 2013 | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church said Tuesday it will sever all ties with the Boy Scouts of America at the end of next year and place its remaining 425,000 boys into a gospel-focused youth program it is developing. The move ends a nearly century-old relationship that was based on their shared values.

A group of Boy Scouts march during the Salt Lake City’s annual gay pride parade in Salt Lake City, June 8, 2014 | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

The announcement by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Boy Scouts didn’t come as a complete surprise after the church last year removed 185,000 boys between the ages of 14 and 18, signaling that an end to the long-time alliance was near.

Joining the Boy Scouts is practically automatic among Mormon boys, and the religion has long been the biggest sponsor of Boy Scout troops in the United States. The Mormon boys who will be leaving represent about 18.5 percent of the 2.3 million youth in the organization.

The Mormon church said in a statement that the move is about creating its own youth program that it can use for its increasingly global membership, but the two organizations’ values clearly have been diverging in recent years.

The Boy Scouts decided in 2015 to allow gay troop leaders and announced last year it would allow girls in its ranks. The Boy Scouts last week said it will change its name next year to Scouts BSA.

Like other conservative faiths, the Mormon church opposes gay marriage and teaches that being in a homosexual relationship is a sin. The church initially said it was “deeply troubled” by the Boy Scouts’ policy change on gays but stayed with the organization after receiving assurances it could appoint troop leaders according to its own religious and moral values.

The religion has also traditionally used separate youth programs for boys and girls.

The Mormon church said in a statement the new program that will start in 2020 will “help all girls and boys, young women and young men discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God.”

The still-to-be-developed program will likely include outdoor activities and character building similar to Boy Scouts, but it won’t be modeled after Boy Scouts or use ranks. The 14-to-18-year-old boys that left the Boy Scouts already focus on church-related activities and community service.

More than half of the church’s 16 million members live outside the U.S. and Canada.

The Boy Scouts of America in a statement thanked the thousands of Mormons who have served as scout leaders and wished the religion well on its new program. The organization said individual Mormons who wish to stay in Boy Scouts would be integrated into other troops.

The Boy Scouts’ move to allow girls, announced last October, marked the organization’s latest momentous policy shift.

The organization already has started allowing girls into the Cub Scouts. So far, nearly 4,000 girls have joined roughly 170 Cub Scout packs participating in the first phase of the new policy, and the pace is expected to intensify this summer under a nationwide multimedia recruitment campaign titled “Scout Me In.”

In 2013, the church staged an extravagant theatrical production inside its 21,000-seat auditorium in Salt Lake City to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its alliance with the Boy Scouts.

A Boy Scout training complex in West Virginia is named after former Mormon church President Thomas S. Monson, a longtime member of the Boy Scouts’ executive board and a major supporter who died earlier this year.

Written by BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • comments May 8, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    i’m glad to see this happen.

  • NickDanger May 9, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Scouting has come a long way since my days in the scouts. A long way down.

    What most people don’t seem to understand about the Boy Scouts is this: parents put their boys in Boy Scouts because they want them to conform to society. The Boy Scouts are not a renegade group, they will ALWAYS go with the flow. These days, society seems to be moving toward full inclusiveness (“full inclusiveness” is always code for women and gays) so the Boy Scouts are just tagging along like they always have.

    When I was a scout, the Cold War was happening. You can bet we got a head-full of anti-Russian rhetoric dished out to us, ALONG WITH, as I recall, a good bit of anti-gay talk. That was back when gays were still shunned and called names in public, of course.

    I don’t know what people expect from the Boy Scouts, but whatever it is, they’re never going to get it. The Boy Scouts always have been, and always will be, a preparatory organization for becoming a silent follower of wherever the mainstream media juggernaut decides to take America.

    • Brian May 9, 2018 at 8:22 am

      I completely disagree. I love the ideals of Scouting and what it used to stand for. Teaching young men (and frankly lots of adults) to be good citizens, to try to live up to worthy ideals and to better themselves is very different from teaching them to “conform to society”. I got way more out of Scouting as an adult leader than I did as a boy in the program. I still agree fully with Scouting as it was envisioned and created by Baden-Powell.

      Unfortunately the BSA became top-heavy with super-inefficient practices, massive amounts of bureaucracy, 10 lawyers for every person with common sense, watered-down values and mixed messages, etc. Serving in an LDS-sponsored unit was even harder because the difference between the LDS church and the BSA is huge. The LDS church is ridiculously responsible with money, very lean in its organization, makes excellent use of technology (the BSA rechartering website is unbelievably bad), makes all of their documents and manuals openly available as PDF’s or online or in apps, sells clothing and other supplies at cost, etc, etc. The contrast was especially difficult as each new BSA compromise and policy change came along. That downhill slide has continued until no one was surprised (and everyone I’ve talked to is relieved) that a separation has been announced.

      RIP BSA. Though the legal entity will continue, the Boy Scouts of America is gone and the world is worse for it.

      • comments May 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm

        Not sure you should be “tooting the horn” of LDS inc. too loudly Brian. I’m not sure if they’re efficient with money or just flat-out niggardly. Is the “every member a janitor” policy still in effect?

        The problem with BSA is they are run like a for-profit corporation. Basically they are one. Paying multi-million dollar salaries to the top dog executives. Last I checked the BSA company is headed by the CEO of AT&T or some such thing. Ol’ Baden-Powell must be rolling in his grave, because BSA has become a disgrace. The organization has become so corrupt and mismanaged we may see it die off within a decade. Gays and transgenders and now GIRLS! hahaha. And they want to call it scouts BSA. That is in such poor taste. It’ll be interesting to see what LDS inc. cobbles together for a program. It can’t be any worse than BSA though. At least I don’t think it can.

  • Striker4 May 9, 2018 at 6:51 am

    I’m sure you are comments considering you are LDS yourself

  • No Filter May 9, 2018 at 8:12 am

    This just makes it easier for the church to brainwash the kids without following the Boy Scouts rules. I feel for sorry for the Mormon youth. When is the church going to stop living in the 1950’s?

    • stg-anon May 9, 2018 at 9:30 am

      The old bigoted hardliners are losing the fight

      > Public Religion Research Institute researchers reported this week that LDS opposition to same-sex marriage, legalized in all 50 states in 2015, had dropped by 15 percentage points — from 68 percent in 2013 to 53 percent in 2017. Among younger Mormons, ages 18 to 29, most (52 percent) support allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed.

      A majority of LDS under 30 support gay marriage, but the leadership in SLC still has their hateful heads buried in the sand. They’re doing everything in their power to shame and bully the LGBT community, but in the end, acceptance and compassion WILL win out, even if it requires turning against supposed faith leaders.

      • No Filter May 9, 2018 at 10:36 am

        The state of Utah will be a better place once these old fashioned church leaders die off and are replaced by the younger more reasonable people you speak of, which we have to be honest is happening all across the country. You can follow your beliefs without infringing on others and I am glad the youth of America are seeing this. Thanks for the link to your article.

        • Gcia May 9, 2018 at 8:34 pm

          You mean the same way that the lgbtq….xyz or any other letter they decide to add on their way to freaky fairy land. I’m sick of hearing how it’s old fashioned to not accept all the gay, tranny, whatever’s of the world. They can follow their beliefs without infringing on others as well, but no, they have to make sure we all accept their crazy ways. News flash! We DO NOT have to agree or support it.

          • No Filter May 10, 2018 at 8:14 am

            And that is why your kind will eventually die away with the rest of the world that is unwilling to except the way the world is changing. You are correct you don’t have to agree with it, but news flash the luddites tried to stop the industrial revolution in Britain and guess what? They lost, because progress happens no matter how hard you fight against it, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but it always wins in the end. Take your 19th century cult and stick it up your …

          • John May 10, 2018 at 9:12 am

            You can put all the lipstick you want on a pig and it will still be just a pig ! Just like perversion will always be perversion and you can’t make normal people accept your sickness. Take your PC crap and stuff it libtards !

          • comments May 10, 2018 at 10:04 am

            LOL no filter, sometimes i wonder what the end game is for so-called leftist “progressivism”. Sometimes i wonder if your type won’t be satisfied until gay men are allowed to openly copulate in public. I mean really, where do we draw the line? How degenerate to we have to go to satisfy the leftist mind? I see you ranting about Jesus again. Ironically, pederasty and homosexual sex were very well tolerated in roman culture in Jesus’s time. The original xtian movement played a big part in ending the accepted practice of pederasty. I guess ol’ Jesus really rolled back that progressivism, huh?

      • comments May 9, 2018 at 11:46 am

        ordinary millennial-age mormons are not immune to a society that is ‘trending’ to accept all forms of sexual degeneracy, and the powerful mass media apparatuses that push degenerate agendas.

    • No Filter May 9, 2018 at 9:42 am

      But I do agree with most people the BSA is not the same as it use to be. And it is not because of its support for gay people, it is because it is just an old concept that doesn’t work well in today’s world.

      • comments May 9, 2018 at 3:34 pm

        I’m not sure that’s the whole story. At the ground level it’s totally volunteer led, and I looked into it and the amount of hoops one has to jump thru and the amount of work it takes to be a volunteer make it not a very appealing volunteer “opportunity”, especially if a potential volunteer doesn’t have their own kids in the program, and on top of all that YOU HAVE TO PAY THEM TO BE A VOLUNTEER! NO THANKS!. And it is true that kids have less interest in things like scouts, with the video game/iphone culture, and also, parents are enrolling kids in ultra competative athletics, thinking way ahead to athletic scholarships, etc, rather than things like scouts. The organization has set it up in such a way, that for volunteers, it’s a ton of work with very little reward. And until you get the troop to sell a bunch of popcorn or whatever crap, you’ll be putting in your own money for troop activities. The organization at the nat’l level is greedy and mismanaged, and unless a volunteer troop leader is extremely dedicated and loves scouting they are going to feel abused by the organization. I don’t think the girl scouts is quite as bad, but they also make people pay to volunteer. But if I was going to volunteer for any of them (hypothetically), I believe GSUSA treats volunteer leaders slightly better (i could be wrong). But one thing the LDS troop leaders had is support from LDS inc., and I’m not sure they had to pay to volunteer, and they had support from ‘the ward’, etc. Just some random info I guess………

        • comments May 9, 2018 at 3:52 pm

          The point is: a lot of today’s kids and youth would love the opportunity to get outdoors and do camping and hiking, rafting, etc etc that these type of programs offer. It would be a great thing to get kids away from their social media, and violent video games and give them good adult role models that can mentor them and teach them. So things like scouting are needed more than ever by today’s youth, and they provide a much different and I’d say very good experience compared to just athletics programs. The problem is the BSA makes it REALLY SUCK FOR VOLUNTEERS, and without the LDS organization backing the program it will just suck even more. As stated above, it’s a ton of work and very little reward for the leaders. You basically are on your own to run the program with ZERO actual support from BSA, and without LDS support it’s just flat out too much work to expect from volunteers. BSA has probably outlived their usefulness. It’s a company that sucks in A LOT of funds (in several forms, including outrageously high membership fees) and doesn’t actually provide, really, at a practical level, ANYTHING! like I say the ENTIRE THING IS DEPENDENT ON VOLUNTEER EFFORT! AND YOU PAY TO VOLUNTEER…… IT’S ABSURD, ACTUALLY.

      • RadRabbit May 9, 2018 at 5:13 pm

        I’d hope self reliance and preparedness aren’t dead but looking my fellow millennials that may be the case sadly. Then again they will be the ones screaming for FEMA the next time we have a natural disaster.

      • Anejo May 10, 2018 at 6:50 pm

        Solid comment, No Filter.

        Scouting is attempting to remain relevant in the 21st century and has been involved with controversy since it’s inception from angering labor unions in the early 1900’s, religious differences between Protestants, Catholics, and Mormons, segregated packs until the 40’s and right up to today with the current contention surrounding gender and sexuality. They simply cannot win. They’re damned if they do and when they change their policies they’re damned if they don’t.

        Has anyone ever read one of the early scout handbooks? The 1911 edition is available out of copyright online and I doubt anyone reading this would be able to earn many of their merit badges. One of the requirements for the Agriculture badge is to have a knowledge of Campbell’s Soil Culture principle, and a knowledge of dry farming and of irrigation farming! For Angling, you have to make a bait rod of three joints, straight and sound, 14 oz. or less in weight, 10 feet or less in length, to stand a strain of 1-1/2 lbs. at the tip, 13 lbs. at the grip AND make a jointed fly-rod 8-10 feet long, 4-8 ozs. in weight, capable of casting a fly sixty feet… They’ve had to constantly evolve in the last century and this is no different.

        The fact of the matter is that kids today do not want to do what scouting involves and this is why its policies fluctuate as rapidly as it’s member base. With around three million members it’ll stick around for a while but its long-term legacy will be dependant on the whims of the youth and its ability to adapt to a changing world.

        So they let gay kids join, they let girls join. So what? Indonesia’s scouting organisation was found in 1912 and boasts over seventeen million members and they’ve allowed girls since the early 2000’s. The kids will decide and all they want to do is have a bit of fun. Lighten up a bit.

    • An actual Independent May 9, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      They’re going to have to reach the 1950’s before they can move beyond them.

      • No Filter May 10, 2018 at 8:15 am

        Best one liner I have heard in long time! I love it!

    • mesaman May 10, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      Do you think the “Trib” is a trustworthy source of information? I tried to locate the article and see if there was any credible source beyond the usual nonsensical survey based on poorly developed subject criteria. Until I find the source I leave your source on the kitty litter box.

  • theone May 9, 2018 at 10:51 am

    No surprise the leaders of cult LDS want to once again freeze the hands of time in order to keep the flock dwelling in the dark ages.
    Progress is a sin in the eyes of their ignorance.

    • comments May 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm


      • theone May 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm

        You okay?

        • Lee Saunders May 9, 2018 at 9:12 pm

          “comments” is almost never okay. That person is basically only one step above “John”.

          • comments May 9, 2018 at 10:27 pm

            If I recall, ol’ lee saunders, aren’t you that LDS’er that is perpetually offended by nearly everything. Are you like one of those bugs that only crawls out of the ground every 10 years or what?

          • John May 10, 2018 at 8:31 pm

            Lee Saunders, if you must talk out of your butt please stand up, you’re mumbling again!

  • mctrialsguy May 9, 2018 at 11:59 am

    They need to disband the Boy Scouts (I was a Boy Scout and loved it, and no….I am not LDS). It will only now become a gay boys cult and since it needs to allow girls (they have their own Girl Scouts to join), the Boy Scouts will end up being all girly-boys before long. Sad!!! As for the LDS, it is good that they want to start their own group, maybe that will bode better… at least for awhile.

  • commonsense May 9, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    No filter you are so clueless. The Mormon Church leadership will always be old because the president is always the senior apostle. Get it?

    Homosexuality will never be negotiable because the ultimate reward in heaven is a solemnized union of a man and a woman in a temple where men and women don’t even sit together. The Church has painted itself in a corner on homosexuality and there is no wiggle room.

    • No Filter May 10, 2018 at 8:38 am

      Well since you want to be nit picky, I ‘ll rephrase it, the old men who are still living in the 19th century with their beliefs will be replaced by old men and maybe one day women (not holding my breath) who have embraced the 21st century, while still holding to their belief values, but have compassion for all people just like their messiah treated people in the fictional book “the bible”. As far as the ultimate reward goes, I hope the Mormons are good at being disappointed, because your planet kolob or where ever you think you go when yo die is as believable and provable as getting 72 virgins when you die like the terrorists believe. Question does your temple in the sky let anyone else besides white people in or do you just take money from the 3rd world countries you invade with your lies and say sorry “whites only”.

      • John May 10, 2018 at 8:32 pm

        THC depository…that’s all you are cloggy !

  • Dennis May 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Will the new LDS program still allow leaders to topple Hoodoos for the sake of safety for the public?⚡

  • Mike P May 10, 2018 at 10:01 am

    The whole damn thing is a shame.

  • John May 11, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Just start a 3rd organization and call it the rainbow scouts, where they can indulge in all their progressive foolishness.

    • John May 11, 2018 at 9:54 am

      They won’t do that because there would not be enough support, there really aren’t that many liberals.

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