Roundup: LDS Church discontinuing relationship with Boy Scouts

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Jake May
Effective Dec. 31, 2019, the LDS Church will be discontinuing its 105-year partnership with the Boy Scouts of America. A new youth initiative program that will better suit a global church audience will be installed in its place. (Jake May/The Flint Journal – MLive.com via AP)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the discontinuance of its century-long partnership with the Boy Scouts of America. The change will be implemented as of Dec. 31, 2019, and will affect hundreds of thousands of Mormon boys.

Since the announcement broke May 8, multiple news sites have added to the discussion.

CNN

In a news story published last night, CNN quoted the official statement and emphasized the joint nature of the announcement.

“The Boy Scouts serves about 330,000 Mormon youths, and the Mormon church is one of its largest sponsors. ‘We have jointly determined that, effective on December 31, 2019, the church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world,’ the statement said. The Mormon church said it made the decision because it’s expanded outside the United States, and wants to explore new youth programs that serve its international members,” CNN wrote.

Deseret News

Deseret News quoted the church’s press office, reinforcing the church’s need to better serve a global audience.

“In this century of shared experience, the church has grown from a U.S.-centered institution to a worldwide organization, with a majority of its membership living outside the United States,” the joint statement said.

Deseret News reported that the church is discontinuing its relationship as a chartered organization with BSA because of an increasing “need to create and implement a uniform youth leadership and development program” for youth and children globally.

The change will also affect young girls in the church.

“A new worldwide initiative for all Mormon boys and girls will debut in January 2020, replacing all existing activity and achievement programs, including the Personal Progress program for Young Women and the Activity Days, Faith in God and Duty to God programs for younger girls and boys, according to an email sent to church members,” Desert News wrote.

Read about the new worldwide initiative here.

The initiative will greatly impact the 30,500 congregations around the world.

“Millions of young men and women will see changes to both their Sunday meetings and activities they attend one night a week. The church’s Young Men program no longer will focus on supporting boys on a journey to becoming Eagle Scouts. The Young Women program no longer will emphasize personal progress for girls with its eight values — faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, virtue — and earning the Young Womanhood medallion,” Desert News reported.

The Salt Lake Tribune

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the new curriculum is said to “focus on helping youths set and achieve goals so they grow ‘spiritually, socially, physically and intellectually as they seek to follow Jesus Christ.’”

“Tuesday’s announcement comes less than a week after the Boy Scouts of America said it would change the name of its Boy Scouting program to reflect its welcoming of girls, who  were recently allowed to join the ranks of their male counterparts. The program will be called Scouts BSA, starting in February,” reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

The Great Salt Lake Council, northern Utah’s Boy Scouts of America council, also released a statement Tuesday night, expressing their gratitude for the organization’s partnership with the church.

“We will continue to devote our efforts toward supporting our council’s stakes, wards, families and young men with a vibrant, strong Scouting program over the remaining 20 months of the partnership — and beyond for all youth who wish to be Scouts,” The Salt Lake Tribune quoted from The Great Salt Lake Council’s statement.

The Washington Post 

The Washington Post also wrote an article on the church’s split from the Boy Scouts of America.
“For 105 years, the relationship between the Boy Scouts and the Mormon Church has been important to both groups. Any boy who is part of a Mormon congregation automatically becomes part of the Boy Scouts. The Mormon Church has been the largest participant of the Boy Scouts in the United States, making up nearly 20 percent of all of the Boy Scouts’ 2.3 million youth members,” The Washington Post reported.
Mormon boys can still join Boy Scouts after the change goes into effect and are even encouraged to do so.

“While about 70 percent of chartered Boy Scout troops are sponsored by faith-based organizations, Mormon boys will still be able to join Boy Scout troops independent of their churches,” The Washington Post wrote.

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