The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has withdrawn its teenagers, between the ages of 14 and 18, from the Boy Scouts of America programs. The Church has elected to start their own scouting program beginning January 1, 2018.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will continue to support Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America program for boys between 11 and 13. Only Mormon teens will be affected by the change at this time.
The Boy Scouts of America has enjoyed close ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for over 100 years, so the decision is quite a surprise. Latter-Day Saints have routinely enrolled their children in the Boy Scouts of America for a century.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints even pays for the children’s scouting expenses and has highly encouraged participation in the past, so people are asking, what changed? Nothing really, other than the fact that the Latter-Day Saints are pulling their teens from the Boy Scouts of America in favor of a program that more closely follows their own unique needs.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been working to design this new Church program for years, citing that they want a more simplified program tailored more toward Mormon children, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not alone in providing an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America. The Assemblies of God Churches, despite distinct theological differences from the Latter-Day Saints, have provided the Royal Rangers program for boys and Missionettes program for girls since 1962, according to their website, preferring a more Jesus Christ-centered scouting experience.
The decision of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to withdraw their teens from the Boy Scouts of America is obviously not related to the sexual abuse and fraud lawsuit filed in Boise, Idaho, since the plan has been in the works for many years.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was named in the lawsuit, however, along with Boy Scouts of America. Five men have filed suit alleging childhood sexual abuse and fraud. Their attorney, Ashley Vaughn, told KLEW News that the Boy Scouts of America knew about the dangers.
“For decades, BSA misled families about the safety of Scouting by covering up the known danger of sexual molesters targeting Scouting to access victims.”
Apparently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was named in the lawsuit solely due to their association and partnering with the Boy Scouts of America. The filing of this recent case could not be the motivation behind the Latter-Day Saint’s decision to pull their kids out of Boy Scouts of America since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been planning this for a long time.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints did not make their decision based on the desire of girls and young women to join the Boy Scouts of America in order to achieve the coveted rank of Eagle Scout, nor is it related to LGBT concerns, according to statements from the church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been planning their new program long before any of that became an issue, according to the Desert Times who cite guidelines for the program that were written in 2013. The Boyscouts of America Varsity and Venturing programs are just too complex and expensive to implement according to their statements.
The Boyscouts of America are not able to serve the Varsity and Venturing programs well in Latter-Day Saint areas, and it has become difficult to implement their guidelines, according to this statement quoted in the Desert News.
“[Latter-Day Saint teens] are not being served well by the Varsity or Venturing programs, which have historically been difficult to implement within the church. This change will allow youth and leaders to implement a simplified program that meets local needs while providing activities that balance spiritual, social, physical and intellectual development goals for young men.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints plan to support Boy Scouts ages 14 and over who wish to continue participating in the Boy Scouts of America, if that is what they desire, but they encourage students to consider their church’s alternative.
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is pulling their overarching support for the Boy Scouts of America’s Varsity and Venture programs in favor of their own program.
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