Nearly precisely five years after Boy Scouts of America (BSA) changed its membership policy to allow openly gay youth members, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), which ultimately endorsed the policy change, announced it will end its century-old relationship with the scouting organization at the end of next year. Therefore, it said it needs to start its own youth program that "serves its members globally".
The Mormon church will terminate its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America at the end of next year. Any boy who was part of a congregation of Mormons, automatically becomes a boy scout.
The religion has always been the biggest sponsor of Boy Scout troops in the United States.
Back in 2015, BSA made a decision to allow gay troop leaders. The church said this did not influence its decision to pull out of the programs.
The Mormon Church's press office said officials had been conducting an "extensive review" of existing youth programs, and addressing the church's need to "fortify all children and youth with gospel-centered growth and learning experiences".
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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.
More than half of the church's 16 million members live outside the United States and Canada. "In so doing, it will be necessary for the church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA", the statement said.
Boys still would be able to join Boy Scout troops that are independent of churches.
The LDS Church said that Scouting's Varsity and Venturing programs did not serve LDS young men of those ages well, according to Deseret News, and the change would allow youths and leaders to implement simplified programs that balanced "spiritual, social, physical and intellectual development goals for young men".
Reactions to the news were mixed from Mormons who grew up scouting, working their way toward becoming Eagle Scouts. Both of those decisions appear to be at odds with the Mormon Church's conservative dogma.
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