By Annaleis Smith
Aug 11, 2015

Cub Scouting in the LDS Church—What’s the difference?

Have you ever wondered what is different about Cub Scouting in the LDS Church and Cub Scouting in a traditional unit (often called Community Units)?  I recently came upon a list that I had found and saved on my computer over 10 years ago.  I have updated it a little to align with current policies. I don’t know who wrote the original version but here is my revised version, in no particular order.

1 – The LDS Cub scouting program begins at age 8. Not before. (Traditional packs may sponsor programs for younger boys like Tigers)

2 – Boys enter and leave dens on their birthdays and according to age: 8 yrs old = Wolf, 9 yrs old = Bear, 10 yrs old = Webelos. (In a traditional pack is based on their school grade: Tiger = 1st Grade, Wolf = 2nd Grade, Bear 3rd, Webelos 4th & 5th)

3 – The LDS Webelos program is one year – Age 10. (Traditional Webelos is 4th & 5th grade)

4 – The LDS church does not sponsor Scouting for girls.

5 – LDS Church policy states “No Scout sponsored overnight camping should be planned for boys under age 11”. The BSA requirements state “If your chartered organization does not permit Cub Scout camping, you may substitute a family campout or a daylong activity.” Seek the Bishops council for permission for scout related activities at a ward campout or father-son campout. Family camping is always allowed. (Traditional Cub Scouts may attend Resident Camp, Webelos Den Overnighters, and/or Pack overnighters)
cub-scouts-den-mother6 – The LDS Bishopric calls men or women (they do not have to be members) to serve as Cub Scout leaders for Primary age boys. Parents are always welcome to volunteer on committees and with activities. (In a traditional packs leaders are recruited)

7 – No DUES are collected. (Traditional packs often assess dues for each boy.)

8 – If the LDS ward budget does not have sufficient funds to pay for an annual day camp … leaders may ask participants to pay for part or all of it. A single possible fundraiser for this purpose (day camp only), would need to be approved first and follow church guidelines for fundraisers. (In the traditional BSA program there are no limits on how many fundraisers a boy or pack may participate in, but BSA approval is required.)

9 – The LDS Church does not approve of hiking (or other such scouting activities) on Sunday. And Scouting events are not held on Monday evening, the night designated for family home evening.

cub fun 310 – Boys and leaders do not wear their uniforms to regular Sunday meetings (Traditional packs often attend Scout Sunday services in uniform)

11 – It is against LDS Church policy to light candles inside the building. (Many BSA ceremonies use lit candles)

After looking over this list I hope you will realize that there are actually more similarities than there are differences.  There are some things we do differently as LDS Cub Scouters but we run the same program and the boys learn the same things, do the same activities and earn the same ranks.  If you still have questions or want to read the official answers for yourself you can find more clarification on any policies specific to LDS Scouting you can find all the answers in the “Green Handbook”  (Scouting Handbook for Church Units in the United States)

Annaleis SmithAuthor: Annaleis Smith | Assistant Council Commissioner for Cub Scouting, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

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6 thoughts on “Cub Scouting in the LDS Church—What’s the difference?

  1. AvatarJoseph

    Pretty decent comparison. The only thought I have on it is that your comment that “Traditional Cub Scouts may attend Resident Camp…” should reference Packs. As an individual scout, they can go camping with their parents to Resident Camp, etc. However, the Pack cannot plan it.

    1. Annaleis SmithAnnaleis Smith Post author

      True – It was hard to write it out in a short form (that’s why I linked it to my past article about Cub Scout camping.) A traditional pack will plan pack campouts, den campouts, etc. together. LDS Cub Scouts can still do these things with their families (including Resident Camp) they just won’t be planned and/or sponsored by their packs.

  2. AvatarRay

    “It is against LDS Church policy to light candles inside the building.” This applies only to LDS Church owned buildings, correct? My understanding is that this is an insurance/risk issue, not a blanket prohibition against using lit candles. Just want to make sure I’ve got it right 🙂

    1. Annaleis SmithAnnaleis Smith Post author

      Yes, I believe you are correct. If holding your pack meeting at another location I would check with the owner of that building/space to see how they feel about you lighting candles just as you would get permission to build a fire.

    2. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder

      The LDS handbook does have a prohibition to candles in their buildings. Check with your Priesthood approval for outdoor use, but I have done it at Young Women’s camp and along the Honor Trial at Scout Camp for years


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