Mormon church severs some of its ties to the Boy Scouts

Mormon church severs some of its ties to the Boy Scouts

Mormon church severs some of its ties to the Boy Scouts

The Blue Mountain Council plans to continue serving as numerous 3,666 Boy Scouts that want to remain, following the Mormon church's decision to pull its 14- to 18-year-old youth out of the Varsity and Venturing programs and start its own organization. "We anticipate that many youth from the LDS Church will continue to participate in Scouting beyond the age of 14 as young men work to earn the Eagle Scout rank". It also says that it will continue to support Cub Scout and Boy Scout activities for kids ranging from eight to 13 years in age.

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.

David Kemper, Scout executive for the organization's Boise-based Ore-Ida Council, said it will certainly have an impact on membership in Southwest Idaho and eastern OR - the council counts 14,500 members among that age group.

Farrer said he can envision the LDS church's replacement program for Boy Scouts paying to use Boy Scout facilities such as the Salmon River High Adventure Base northwest of Salmon.

Boy Scouts of American spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said the organization is saddened about the decision but understands the need for the religion to customize its programming.

The announcement, made Thursday, is significant.

A few weeks later, the church said that it would stick with the Boy Scouts for the time being but would "continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs".

Yet, as the church explains in an accompanying FAQ, "young men ages 14 to 18 are not being served well by the Varsity or Venturing programs, which have historically been hard to implement within the Church".

"Scouting was the one thing Wednesday night still had going for it", she said. Though the answers below are specific to the Boy Scouts of America, the same principles apply to our association with Scouts Canada.

Is this due to changes in Scout policy in the past few years to allow gay and transgender Scouts and leaders?

They are the Varsity and Venturing programs, both of which aims to prepare teens for adulthood.

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. And officials said the church will continue to register and support teens working to become Eagle Scouts.

Ellen Kahn, an official at the Human Rights Campaign, criticized the decision and linked it to the transgender issue.

"The programs are not utilized well in the LDS church", said Michael South, a Venturing and Varsity Scouts leader.

The church said in its statement it plans to create its own programs that "focus on spiritual, social, physical and intellectual outlined by the Church".

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