Monday, 10 December, 2018

Mormon Church to pull teens from Boy Scouts to start own program

LDS Church to end participation in Varsity Venturing Boy Scout programs LDS Church to end participation in Varsity Venturing Boy Scout programs
Francis Olson | 16 May, 2017, 19:06

All young boys who attend Mormon congregations are automatically enrolled as Boy Scouts. "At the end of the year, if they only have five merit badges left to earn, they're not going to walk away". Although the church will continue to pay registration fees for older boys through 2018 in order to ease the financial transition. "I really don't know the answer to that".

John Gailey, spokesperson of the Utah National Parks Council, said the announcement is the result of continual adaptations between the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts to find the best solutions for LDS youth.

Brother Dahlquist, former Young Men general president (2004-2009), said chartering organizations such as the Church can choose which Scouting programs to utilize.

The change affects young men in the United States and Canada.

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. Joining the Boy Scouts is practically automatic among Mormon boys.

Clarke Farrer, head of the Grand Teton Council, said there are just under 3,400 boys in the local Varsity Scouting program and about 3,700 boys and girls in the Venture Scouting program, almost all of them Mormon.

"The LDS Church remains committed to using the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program, and we look forward to providing scout programs to all interested youth, including those age 14 and older", the statement said. The Boy Scouts estimated the number at 330,000.

"Instead, young men activities will focus on spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual outlined by the church", the statement said.

Like other conservative religions, the Mormon church still opposes gay marriage and teaches its members that being in a homosexual relationship is a sin.

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The church insisted that this wasn't a reaction to a recent change in Boy Scout's policies that allowed gay adults to serve as leaders and transgender boys to join the organization.

Although the LDS church previously expressed concerns about the Boy Scouts' changing openness to gay and transgender Scouts and leaders, church leaders claimed that didn't factor into Thursday's announcement.

"As they've stated, they are still a very big supporter of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts", Scouts spokesman Charles Mead said.

In southern Nevada, there are about 1,300 teenagers this change will impact, according to Mike Marchese, the director of the Boy Scouts of America's Las Vegas Area Council. "That means that they have come to see it as less of a hospitable place".

No timetable for when the program will be unveiled has been announced.

Boy Scouts is only available in the US and Canada and more than half of the religion's almost 16 million members live in other countries.

Boy Scouts stand on stage with a US flag during the Pledge of Allegiance to begin the inaugural Freedom Summit meeting for conservative speakers in Manchester, New Hampshire April 12, 2014. The church plans to create it's own programs.

"We express honest appreciation and gratitude to all adult leaders who have supported young men in these programs and are grateful for our long-standing and continuing partnership with the Boy Scouts of America and Scouts Canada", the letter added.

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