By Madison Austin
May 18, 2018

Top 4 Comments on LDS – BSA Announcement

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced this past week that, starting on Jan. 1, 2020, it will shift the focus of its youth programs toward serving an increasingly global membership. There was a mixed response as many Scouters began wondering what this news means for the BSA and reflected on their time in the program. From what we have experienced since this big announcement, it seems that many LDS church members are still positive about Scouting and will continue the Scouting experience.

Across the internet, these are our favorite comments we’ve found from Scouters as they share their thoughts about this change. 

Blessed by Scouting 

Timothy Brady, a member of the LDS church and an avid Scouter emailed us and said “I have been involved one way or another in Boy Scouts since 2nd grade. Best thing that ever happened to me. I still have my Bobcat pin. I feel that much of who I am and my success can be attributed to Boy Scouts. I am a BOY SCOUT! I’m proud that I earned Eagle Scout. “Earned” is the key-word. I’m also proud that my brother and two sons and many of their friends also earned Eagle Scout. This is not a coincidence. I’ve lived Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers, both as a participant and Leader. I’m proud of that and Blessed by that. Very blessed. THANK YOU BOY SCOUTS!” 

Brady’s gratitude to the program shows the positive impact that Scouting has had on many lives. He is an example of how the lessons learned from being a Scout last a lifetime. 

Thank You Scouts 

On our Facebook page, Michael Terry explains his understanding of and excitement about Scouting’s future. “The Church will no longer charter Scouting units because they will be launching a new program that meets the needs of their increasingly global membership,” he says, quoting the statement from the LDS church. 

“That sounds very exciting,” Terry remarks. “I hope the Church’s new program will also meet the needs of [all] members as well. Thank you Scouts BSA and the Utah National Parks Council for your efforts and willingness to do so.”

A New Adventure

One commenter on this Bryan on Scouting article about the LDS Church’s announcement, Jessica Hankins, says that she is “Praying for the success of every leader who chooses to make the change to a community unit. Learning new ways to implement familiar programs isn’t easy but it’s an adventure!” 

Hankins makes a great point about this change. The LDS church’s decision to no longer charter scouting organizations means that there is a huge opportunity for involved leaders to form community units. And it will definitely be an adventure! 

Still A Quality Youth Program

Finally, on the same Bryan on Scouting article, LDS Scouter David Stein shared his thought about the matter. 

“I am an LDS Scouter fortunate enough to serve as our Troop’s Scoutmaster for 14 years.” He says. “I believe in the Scouting program – but perhaps ‘believe’ is not the right word. Since I’ve actually seen & witnessed the benefits and fruits of Scouting, you might say I ‘know’ Scouting to be a great organization for providing character development, skills & leadership training, numerous adventure opportunities, and association with high-quality individuals.”

“I’m thankful my Eagle Scout son grew up during the time frame the Church chartered a Troop,” he continues. “He’s had so many fun adventures, opportunities, & experiences he wouldn’t have had without Cub & Boy Scouts – including two National Jamborees & multiple high adventures. He is 18 and graduating in a few weeks and Scouting has been a big part of his preparation to go be successful in life. If I had another son (let’s say 10 years old), he would be a Boy Scout too – we would just participate in one of the many fine units chartered by another local church or organization.”

Stein says that, as a parent, he “wouldn’t treat this as the church suggesting LDS youth not participate in Scouting.” That is a great way to put it, as the LDS Church is still encouraging youth to participate in Scouting. 

 He continues: “The church also doesn’t sponsor Cross Country Teams, Track Teams, ROTC units, Swim Teams, Music Lessons, Academic Teams, etc. but all of those have also been components of my son’s development. If families don’t think twice about signing their kids up for soccer, football, art, or drama outside of the church, they should have no reservations about getting them involved in Scouting.”

“I’ve had many former Scouts ranging from college students to adults with families express gratitude for the role Scouting played in their growth & development and the many happy memories of their adventures. This is not limited to church Scouting. My son participated in Cub Scouts both at our church and in the Pack chartered by his school (where I served as his Den Leaders). Earlier this week, I attended my son’s senior awards night and I smiled when I recognized that four boys from that Den were among those presented with prestigious awards or scholarships. Not that I’m crediting myself or Cub Scouts for their success, but it speaks to the quality of the program and families who choose to involve their children in Scouting.” 

The Utah National Parks Council is Still Committed

 David Stein’s comments are a great example of why LDS members everywhere are still positive about Scouting. And all of these comments show that even during times of change, there are always people who are excited about Scouting and willing to participate. This change creates a great opportunity for passionate Scouters to lead the charge on creating community units. 

The Utah National Parks Council is still committed to serving LDS youth through the next 19 months by helping them continue their Scouting experience, even after 2020. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to support youth to either help them earn their Eagle rank or set them up for success when transferring to another troop.


If you have questions about this change, what opportunities are still available or how to form your own community unit, leave a comment below!


Author: Madison Austin | Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council 

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5 thoughts on “Top 4 Comments on LDS – BSA Announcement

  1. Melany GardnerMelany Gardner

    Thank you for pulling some of these comments together. It’s nice to see that others feel the same way I do. There is a lot of good that Scouting can do in our community and I’m excited to see how it adjusts in the future.

  2. AvatarAnn

    Some of my fondest memories come from serving in a community Pack. The boys loved the program and so did the parents. I can’t wait to do it again!

  3. AvatarTimothy Birt

    My concern and suggestion about LDS Church decision to not allow LDS churches to charter scouting units is that is a one size fits all policy and doesn’t address the fundamental challenge LDS Scouting faced, that the peogram was not voluntary but apart of the expected participation in the church.

    The LDS Church could allow wards, branches, and stakes that have adult volunteers willing to support a voluntary scouting unit that is not part of the young men’s program or the church program for youth, to charter a Cub Scout, Boy Scout or venture unit and LDS and non LDS youth who want to participate to join and pay their own dues and run the organization on a volunteer basis like most every non LDS troop or pack or crew. LDS congregations that don’t have adult Scouters or youth interested in scouting outside organized LDS activities, would choose not to charter a scouting unit. Those wards or stakes that have adults willing to volunteer to support scouting would not be prohibited by the world wide Church policy and programs from sponsoring scouting units and leaders would volunteer rather than be called to serve in scouting.

    With a voluntary program outside church programming , only those youth and adults who want to participate would do so, and only those units that could sustain themselves financially without funds from the LDS Church would continue to function. There is no reason the LDS Church has to prohibit chartering of scout units when it changes its youth programming to not involve scouting as part of its standard program.

    A number of alternatives are avalaible to allow LDS Scouters and scouts to continue scouting when the LDS Church no longer encorporates scouting as part of its standard programming on 1/1/2020.

    A) The LDS Church could revise its policy and allow volunteers to continue to operate existing scout units as volunteers outside of correlated church activities but still having local church leaders as the charter organization representatives and using church facilities during times outside correlated LDS youth or church activities.

    B) The LDS Church could allow adult volunteers to create their own charter organization (only 5 adults are needed to create a charter organization and no affiliation with a mother organization is required) and these adult volunteers can request local LDS church leaders to allow this group of adult volunteers to use local church facilities (Chaples and storage ) as a meeting place for youth who volunteer to join this scouting unit. This option complies with the released policy of the LDS Church and provides a way for LDS youth and Scouters who want to continue participantion in scouting outside LDS correlated youth programming to do so with little financial or resource dean on the LDS Church. It should be noted that the LDS Church can and does allow outside organizations use its church facilities as it has allowed BSA and Red Cross to do so for many many years. The only challenges are logistical and scheduling which most every non-LDS scout unit handles easily with its charter organization.

    C) LDS adults and youth can create their own Charter Orgsnization (with 5 or more volunteer adults) and find another place to meet if their local LDS church leaders are prohibited by the LDS Church to allow them to meet in their local LDS meeting house outside of Church programs.

    D) LDS scouting units can negotiate with other community or non LDS churches that charter scouting units in their area to see if LDS Scouters and scouts who wish to continue scouting can join in mass the outside chartered scout unit.

    E) If all the above fail or are not feasible or allowed, LDS Scouters and youth can on their own find another community organization or non-church that has a chartered scout u it and is willing to allow them to join and on their own continue their scouting experiences complete away from their previous affiliation with other LDS youth and adults involved in scouting.

    In my opinion. I see no reason the LDS Church needs to prohibit voluntary charters of local scouting units when it ends scouting as a part of its correlated youth programming. Nearly every non-LDS charter organization and scout unit operates with volunteers without active involvement in choosing leaders and restricting scout programs. I see no reason LDS adults should not be allowed to create their own charter organizations and ask to use LDS church facilities to meet outside correlated church programming and LDS youth and adults couldn’t volunteer to participate if they want to do so.

    It is a shame that after 100+ years of affiliation with BSA, the LDS Church can’t find a voluntary way for those who want to continue scouting to do so even when the church no longer encopoates scouting in its correlated programming. I encourage LDS leaders and adults to find a way for the LDS Church to continue to be part of their local communities and allow thier facilities to be used for scouting and to assist in the transition of scouts and Scouters from correlated program to a voluntary opportunity for those who want it.

  4. AvatarJames Ellsworth Knight

    my kids will do scouts not wednesday night babysitting.You can get the Duty to God in scouting and Boy scouts the adult leaders are trained in safety, protection, and laws. LDS leaders no training whatsoever. Putting you were member of a boy scout troop increase your employment chances by 50% I also will hire for my company a person that puts they were part of a scout troop over everyone else application cause I need people that can work as a team.

  5. AvatarLarry

    @Timothy Birt I am involved in the LDS scouting program since 1988. I have not seen anything from the LDS church prohibiting members from participating on a voluntary basis or forming their own units. The church has only stated that it will no longer be a sustaining member. I’m not sure where you are coming from with your comments.


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