The Mormon Church is ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. The alliance had lasted 105 years, but will officially end on Dec. 31, 2019. This is according to a joint statement released Tuesday night by the BSA and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
The decision by LDS leadership is a part of the “restructuring of the church’s programs for all Mormon children ages 8 to 18.
“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. “That trend is accelerating. 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.”
A Blow to the BSA
“It’ll be a blow,” said Mark Griffin, president of the BSA’s Great Salt Lake Council. “We can’t say that it was a total surprise. Maybe the timing is a surprise, but we knew the church was working on a program for a worldwide church but that any changes would be based on the need to do the same program in Paris, France, as they have in Paris, Texas.”
Tuesday’s announcement came six days after BSA announced that it will drop the “boy” from its name for Scout programs. This change will effect programs for those age 11 to 17. The new name will be Scouts BSA in February 2019.
The Mormon Church did not publicly object when the Boy Scouts began admitting gay Scouts in 2013. And again remained silent when the allowed transgender Scouts last year. But the Mormon Church said it was “deeply troubled” by the Boy Scouts’ decision to lift the ban on openly gay adult leaders in 2015. Mormon Church leaders considered parting ways then with the organization.