Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
On 2019-DEC-31, the LDS Church will
connection with the BSA:
A brief description of the LDS Church (Repeated):
Christians who trace their origins back to Joseph Smith's original founding of the Church of Christ in 1830 are commonly referred to as Mormons. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a.k.a. the LDS Church is by far the largest of the dozens of currently active Mormon denominations.
The LDS Church has been closely integrated with the Boy Scouts over a century. However, many LDS members had experienced unease over the BSA's gradual terminations of membership discrimination against gay, bisexual, and transgender male boys and youths, girl scouts, and adult gay or bisexual Scout leaders during the 2010's.
The BSA had historically discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity against many groups by prohibiting certain children and youth to join as members, and refusing to allow some adults to act as scout leaders.
Since 2013, the BSA has gradually dropped various forms of discrimination and opened various groups to joining, including:
They plan to open membership to:
- older girls and female youths in 2019-FEB.
Many LDS members have disagreed with these changes.
During 2017-MAY, the church decided to terminate its association with the BSA's Varsity and Venturing programs for older Mormon youths who are typically of high school age. They decided to continue to enroll younger (8-to 13-year-old) boys in Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts, at least for the immediate future. 1
The LDS church issued a statement saying that their partial withdrawl from the BSA is not because the latter has included LGBT males as members. They said:
"The BSA has always allowed the Church to operate its programs in ways that are consistent with our standards and beliefs, and they have been very supportive." 1
However, the Church wants to develop their own program for teens, that will concentrate on preparing them to go on church missions around the world as young adults.
BSA spokesperson, Effie Delimarkos, said:
"We’re sad to see that decision, but we understand. ... "we're just not ... aligning with what the church needs men to focus on."1
Church spokesperson Eric Hawkins indicated at the time that leaving the Varsity and Venturing programs will allow the LDS Church to test its own youth programs, and that they might eventually leave the BSA entirely. 1
The most recent removal of discriminination within the BSA happened in 2017-OCT-11: The BSA decided to admit girls into Cub Scouts. By 2018-MAY-03, more than 3,000 girls aged 7 to 10 had joined approximately 170 Cub Scout packs. Starting in 2019-FEB, older girls 11 to 17 year-old females will be admitted to Scouts. At the same tme, they will drop "Boy" from "Boy Scouts of America," and start using the name "Scouts BSA."
Mike Hoder, writing for WQCM-FM in Greencastle, PA said:
"Scouts BSA will largely be divided along gender lines, with single-sex units pursuing the same activities, earning the same merit badges, and having the same pathway to the coveted Eagle Scout award. So who’s not happy? The Girl Scouts. 'Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls,' says CEO Sylvia Acevedo.
One regional leader, Fiona Cummings of Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, believes the BSA’s decision to admit girls is among the factors that have shrunk her council’s membership by more than 500 girls so far this year. She said relations with the Boy Scouts used to be collaborative and now are "very chilly."
2018-MAY-08: LDS Church announces that it will sever ties with Boy Scouts of America at the end of 2019:
After more than ten decades of close association between the BSA and the LDS Church, the latter will be abandoning its ties with the BSA on 2019-DEC-31. The Church will create a separate youth program. The Church and BSA issued a joint statement, saying:
"As a global church with millions of children and youth, we need to address diverse needs and fortify all children and youth with gospel-centered growth and learning experiences now more than ever."
The church has currently has about 435,000 youths in Cub and Boy Scouts. They form about 19% of the total membership of the BSA, and are currently the largest religious group within the BSA.
The news release states that the new program will be designed to:
"... 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 curriculum will help youths set and achieve goals so they grow:
"... “spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually as they seek to follow Jesus Christ."
BSA spokesperson, Effie Delimarkos, said that the BSA "deeply appreciates" the relationship it’s had with the LDS Church and that it is grateful to Scout leaders who have served in the church-sponsored troops. She expects that many LDS families will continue with the BSA past the end of 2019. 3
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Mormon Church will leave Boy Scouts’ teen programs," The Washington Post, 2017-MAY-11, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
- Mike Holder, "Boy Scouts Now Admitting Girls, Change Their Name to Scouts BSA," 2018-MAY-03, at: http://www.wqcmfm.com/
- Paighten Harkins, "Mormon church to cut ties with Boy Scouts and start its own gospel-driven youth program," Salt Lake Tribune, 2018-MAY-09, at: https://www.sltrib.com/
How you may have arrived here:
Copyright © 2017 and 2018by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted during: 2017-MAY
Latest update: 2018-MAY-09
Author: B.A. Robinson