The Mormon Church announced that it was ending its relationship with the Boys Scouts of America after more than a century of close ties.
A joint statement was announced by both that said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as the Boys Scouts of America said the membership of the church is living more and more outside the U.S. and it felt there was a need to create as well as implement a uniform youth development and leadership program that would serve its members worldwide.
The church said that the new development program for its youth will include boys and girls will start in 2020. Until that time, the Church’s intention is to remain fully engaged as a partner in Scouting and encourage all leaders, families and youth to continue actively participating and supporting the program financially.
The move by the Mormons is important due to them making up a large part of the membership of the Boy Scouts. The church has been the Boy Scouts’ single largest sponsor in the U.S.
Mormon boys, reported the AP, leaving the Boy Scouts represent approximately 18.5% of the more than 2.3 million in the organization.
The Boys Scouts of America, in its own statement, said it was confident that many LDS families that are members of the scouts will continue enjoying Scouting for many years into the future. The statement said that for LDS families wanting to continue the Scouting traditions after 2019, the BSA can ensure their smooth transition to units that are community sponsored that will welcome the youth that previously served in units that were LDS sponsored.
The Mormon church for many years has called the Boys Scouts its official program for adolescent males, said a professor of political science at BYU in Utah.
The professor added that simply put if you are a young male who is Mormon, you joined the Boy Scouts.
This decision does not come as a surprise as both organizations moved in different directions of recent.
Last year, the church announced that it would not participate any longer in the programs the Boy Scouts had for older teens saying that in the BSA in the U.S. and Canada, the young males between 14 and 18 are not being served well by the programs the organization offered.