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Race, Religion & Social Justice

LDS Church To Cut Ties With Boy Scouts of America

Amy Kerk

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Tuesday that it will part ways with Boy Scouts of America. This announcement comes just days after the Boy Scouts welcomed girls into their ranks and changed their name to “Scouts BSA."

In a joint statement issued late Tuesday, the church and Boy Scouts of America said the two organizations would cease their century-old partnership by 2020. 

"The Church has increasingly felt the need to create and implement a uniform youth leadership and development program that serves its members globally. In so doing, it will be necessary for the Church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA," the statement said. 

This is a major shift for the LDS Church. For over 100 years, Mormon boys in America have been expected to be scouts. It was their primary, church-sponsored youth program. Now, that’s coming to an end and it will affect the Boy Scouts too.

The LDS Church is their top sponsor. Meaning, it traditionally had the most dues paying scouts of any organization in the country.

This time last year the LDS Church announced it would end Boy Scout programs for older teens. Before that, there was friction caused by the Boy Scouts' stance on gay leaders. The welcoming of girls appears to have been the last straw.

The official separation will take place at the end of 2019. In its place, the LDS Church will provide a new youth program that will serve both girls and boys worldwide.

A spokeswoman for the church said their new initiative, aimed at strengthening young people's faith, had been in the works for years. 

"This new approach is intended 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," wrote Karlie Guymon in an email. 

An FAQ about the decision was posted to the church's website.

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