Mormon church pulls older teens out of Boy Scouts

Evrard Martin
Mai 13, 2017

In an announcement on Thursday The Church said they will continue to use the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs boys and young men ages 8 through 13.

Thursday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints announced that as many as 185,000 youths would be leaving the Irving based organization and starting their own program.

The timing of the church's withdrawal has some people looking toward a policy change the Scouts made in 2015, when the organization chose to allow gay troop leaders.

The Mormon church announced today it is no longer participating in two Boy Scouts of America programs for older teenagers.

Can young men in these age groups continue to earn the Eagle Scout award?

The religious organization said in a statement on Thursday that the extractions from the program are because they are developing their own youth program.

He also said the Grand Teton Council would work to broadly expand programs for older teens.

The Boy Scouts of America Golden Empire Council, which serves Sacramento and surrounding areas, released a statement saying in part, "We fully support the LDS Church and want to help them be successful in serving their youth". The Church is always evaluating what is best for our youth and families, and will continue to do so.

But the organization has been grappling with declining membership for years and has enjoyed an unusually close bond with the Mormon church for more than a century due to their shared values.

Younger Mormon Scouts will still be allowed to remain active in the program.

Even without the involvement of older Mormon youths in Boy Scouts, there will still be more than 2 million Boy Scouts in the United States. Joining the Boy Scouts is practically automatic among Mormon boys.

Still, the Mormon church - which has held a relationship with the Boy Scouts for more than 100 years - has a history of animosity toward the organization's more progressive policies.

"When he turns 14, I'll leave it up to him to decide whether he wants to continue with Scouting or join the church program - or, if they're on separate days, he can do both", she said.

Recent talk of expanding the BSA ranks to include girls and young women did not factor into the church's move either.

What has been the reaction of the BSA leadership to this decision?

"As one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations, the Boy Scouts of America is deeply heartened by all of our religious partners' ongoing commitment to Scouting", Delimarkos told NBC News. "Sure I do", Farrer said.

Still, the move marks a significant shift for a church that has always been interwoven with the youth institution - so interwoven that The Associated Press reports the decision could mean that between 130,000 and 180,000 teenagers will leave the organization.

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