Mormon church provides new details on program to replace Boy Scouts

In this July 3, 2010, file photo, Boy Scouts salute during the Stadium of Fire in Provo, Utah. The Mormon church's new youth program it will roll out in 2020 when it cuts all ties with Boy Scouts of America will still include outdoor and adventure activities even as the initiative becomes more gospel-focused, the faith confirmed Sept. 21, 2018. | Photo by Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune via Associated Press, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church’s new youth program, which will roll out in 2020 when it cuts all ties with Boy Scouts of America, will still include outdoor and adventure activities even as the initiative becomes more gospel-focused, the faith confirmed Friday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a few more details about the initiative in a news release that said a full and detailed description will come later because different aspects of the program are still being tested.

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

The church announced in May it was leaving the Boy Scouts of America at the end of next year in a move that ends a nearly century-old relationship between two organizations that were originally brought together by shared values but diverged in recent years.

Amid declining membership, Boy Scouts of America recently opened its arms to openly gay youth members and adult volunteers as well as girls and transgender boys. The Mormon faith, which has long been the biggest sponsor of Boy Scout troops in the United States, has clung to its opposition of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

The church has also seen significant expansion in countries outside the U.S. where Boy Scouts wasn’t offered and said it wanted to create its own uniform youth program it could use around the world and tailor specifically to its gospel. More than half of the church’s 16 million members live outside the U.S. and Canada.

The news release reiterates that the faith’s program will be similar to Scouting with an emphasis on outdoors, service work and character building. It won’t have a ranking system like the one culminating in an Eagle Scout recognition that many generations of Mormons strived to achieve as a life milestone. It will be for boys and girls.

“Camps and other outdoor activities have always been and will continue to be a prominent part of gospel learning, building relationships, and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ,” the release said. “Leaders, youth, and parents will be empowered to identify and provide outdoor activities that invite spiritual experiences and meet the unique needs of their children, young women, and young men.”

For now, the faith is referring to the program as its new “children and youth development initiative.”

The May announcement that it was unhitching from Boy Scouts didn’t come as a major surprise. The faith removed 185,000 boys between the ages of 14 and 18 last year, signaling that an end to the long-time alliance was near. The remaining 425,000 boys will end Scouts at the end of 2019.

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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  • xbcmc059 September 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    LOL! What a fantastic trade-off; the Church takes offense to “Openly gay youth members, adult volunteers, as well as girls, transgender boys, opposition of homosexuality and same-sex marriage” as opposed to having “Chester the Molester” down at the local Ward teaching a youth group. It’s like putting the Catholic Church in charge of youth camps, and orphanages. Lord knows nobody has more experience with pedophilia than the Catholics and the Mormons.

    • 42214 September 21, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Instead of scouts they can be called “Rump Rangers”.

  • Arcana September 21, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    This makes total sense. Consenting adults in a homosexual marriage? No way. We don’t do that. Letting pervert men have sexually explicit conversations with our CHILDREN? Sign me up! Mormons are cancer.

  • stevenxfiles September 21, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    100% in support! I’m not Mormon but I totally agree, if the snowflakes want to make Boyscouts a PC hunting ground for pedophiles, then just start your own group! Some bishops in the Catholic church are trying to clean up our mess and they better do it quick otherwise we’re going to see a split in that organization as well. God bless us all!

    • comments September 22, 2018 at 12:18 am

      I’d say over 99.9% of BSA’s child molestation problems have occurred while they followed their traditional model of (supposedly) heterosexual adult men leading groups of only young boys. In recent times BSA has written in some of the most thorough anti-molestation policies, and these have come about because of all the lawsuits they’ve incurred because of their “straight” male leaders molesting the scouts. So your “PC hunting ground for pedophiles” is just idiotic nonsense from someone with an overactive imagination. cheers 😉

  • Kilroywashere September 23, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Based on the comments above I’m kind of glad my folks couldn’t afford to enroll me in the scouts. Kind of bummed I missed out on Little League. Just once got to go to a YMCA outing over the weekend. Girls came along too, guess YWCA needed to share the bus.
    Now that was fun.

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