Mormon Church severs all ties with Boy Scouts

May 10, 2018, 11:15
Mormon Church severs all ties with Boy Scouts

But as the calendar flipped to the 21st Century, the longtime partners originally drawn to each other by shared values began drifting apart.

The Mormon church is cutting all ties with the Boy Scouts of America after 100 years. The Mormon Church has been the largest participant of the Boy Scouts in the United States, making up almost 20 percent of all of the Boy Scouts' 2.3 million youth members.

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

"We jointly express our gratitude to the thousands of Scout leaders and volunteers who have selflessly served over the years in Church-sponsored Scouting units, including local BSA districts and councils", a joint statement from the two organizations, released late Tuesday, said. The LDS Church initially said that it was "deeply troubled" by the decision, and later said that it received assurances that it would be allowed to ban gay troop leaders in programs it sponsored.

Conservative radio and television talk show host Glenn Beck, a member of the Mormon Church, thought the withdrawal of support from the religious group will spell the "collapse" of the Boy Scouts.

"We've had a great partnership with the church for 105 years and losing that membership is sad for us", said Mark Griffin, scout executive for the Great Salt Lake Council.

The church has long spent more money on Boy Scouts than the internal girls program and given more recognition to boys who earn Eagle Scout than girls who earn the highest medallion in their program, they said.

According to Kemper, about 80 percent of those 500 troops are chartered by the LDS Church - a sponsorship that will be ending in about a year-and-a-half as the church plans to move on with their own program.

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.

In the last couple years, the boy scouts have opened their doors to welcome a more diverse group into the program.

Being a part of the Boy Scouts of America has been an important part of Neal Robison's life since he was a young boy, himself.

One way the Boy Scouts is recruiting news kids into their program is by now allowing girls to become scouts.

The church did not cite any changes in scouting policy as motivating factors to end the relationship, but the Scouts, founded in 1910, are ever-evolving.

The Boy Scout movement had been entrenched in Mormon culture for as long as anyone can remember.

"We have approximately 500 troops chartered to various chartered organizations, the LDS Church, community organizations, civic organizations", Kemper said. This move could have major ramifications for the organization.

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