LDS/BSA Relationship
By Boy Scouts of America
May 08, 2018

Joint Statement from LDS Church and BSA

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America released this joint statement today regarding the future of their partnership:

A Joint Statement from
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
and
The Boy Scouts of America

May 9, 2018

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America have been partners for more than 100 years. The Scouting program has benefited hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saint boys and young men, and BSA has also been greatly benefited in the process. We jointly express our gratitude to the thousands of Scout leaders and volunteers who have selflessly served over the years in Church-sponsored Scouting units, including local BSA districts and councils.

In this century of shared experience, the Church has grown from a U.S.-centered institution to a worldwide organization, with a majority of its membership living outside the United States. That trend is accelerating. The Church has increasingly felt the need to create and implement a uniform youth leadership and development program that serves its members globally. In so doing, it will be necessary for the Church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA.

We have jointly determined that, effective on December 31, 2019, the Church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world. Until that date, to allow for an orderly transition, the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8–13 and encourages all youth, families, and leaders to continue their active participation and financial support.

While the Church will no longer be a chartered partner of BSA or sponsor Scouting units after December 31, 2019, it continues to support the goals and values reflected in the Scout Oath and Scout Law and expresses its profound desire for Scouting’s continuing and growing success in the years ahead.

Read the Utah National Parks Council’s Response to LDS church Announcement.

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9 thoughts on “Joint Statement from LDS Church and BSA

  1. Jim BethelJim Bethel

    I hope everyone that reads the the letter from the LDS church will pick up on the fact that LDS Scout age boys CAN STILL JOIN Scout units. This is not like the policy that LDS girls cannot join Scouts. I am sure the council will be working overtime to secure new charter partners that will cater to LDS youth that want to continue their Scouting journey.
    Scouting councils across the country have always partnered with all kinds of organizations. It is true that the LDS church is the largest chartering partner and churches in general make up the biggest group of chartering partners, however other organizations like Service clubs, Parent organizations even Businesses charter Scout units.
    I look at this announcement as a statement that will allows all those LDS leaders that never caught the vision of Scouting and complained about Scouting over the years to say ” I told you so”. But I am just a sure that many of those same people will be called to the new organization and will complain just as loudly about that organization. Mean while all of us that do have a testimony of Scouting need to step up and help create the chartering organizations that will continue to bless our LDS youth.

    Reply
    1. Moa

      Two things! Good for the Lds church, and no Jim parents and youth will not still enroll, merely demonstrating what we have known all along….most people are just not interested in the BSA. Plus there is no such thing as a “testimony” of scouting….
      Second me and some partners are already negotiat8ng purchase of several scouting properties that will then be t7rned into real estate investment properties.
      Moa

      Reply
  2. Mike

    Hello:

    What will happen to all of the scout related property in Utah that is funded and managed mostly by LDS scout leaders? There are over 20 scout camps listed in Utah, I presume all of them are essentially run by LDS scout leaders. They have got to be some of the most scenic, if not among the best in the nation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_council_camps_(Boy_Scouts_of_America)

    I grew up in Utah and have relatives there, including nephews currently working on their Eagle scout award. I am under the impression that when it comes to scouting, there is sort of a “rain shadow” effect in Utah. LDS scouting is like towering mountains behind which is a desert of very sparse non-LDS scouting. To look at it another way, if Utah has a population of 3 million people and about half are LDS, then that means over 1 million Utahns are not LDS. If we compare Utah to another state with great outdoor options and something over a 1 million population, how many scouts do they have in comparison to the number of Utah scouts in non-LDS troops? Are there enough non-LDS scout troops to support that many camps?

    The related question (which you describe as those who “have a testimony of scouting”), how many current LDS scout leaders will be able to continue to support scouting with the same level of their time, energy, vision as much as their money? Since the LDS faith is very intense, with high demands on people’s time (missionary splits, now ministering, cleaning the church, temple attendance, and demanding callings, etc.), I doubt non-LDS scouting in Utah can effectively compete with these “higher” obligations.

    When the LDS church announced dropping scouting for older boys one year ago this Friday, the related Deseret News article generated 233 comments. (The SL Trib had even more but that is another matter). One may not comment there unless they have a subscription which means the paper has their name and address where the paper is delivered and therefore presumably their bishop’s phone number, if a commenter should get too rowdy. At any rate, reading those comments was extremely disturbing to me and would indicate that about 90% of those commenters do not “have a testimony of scouting.” Very few defended it or even bothered to wax sentimental about it. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865679711/Mormons-drop-Scout-programs-for-older-teens.html.

    I am looking to retire soon. I have over 15 years of experience in scouting in a Presbyterian Troop along with some in my local ward. I am preparing to go on my 6th high adventure this summer (Northern Tier, Philmont, Grand Canyon, Bahamas, Matagamon Maine x 2 ), not counting the 4 father-and-son only high adventures (Glacier, Tetons, Uintahs x 2). My wife has been the Troop committee chairperson for a large (80 scouts) troop and really understands the administrative aspects of scouting (“parlor scouting”). My son was given a scholarship and named the best scout in Georgia by the American Legion in 2011. This was based on awards, leadership positions, number of nights camping, miles backpacking- canoeing- bicycling, and number of service hours. We are thinking about options.

    YIS,

    Mike Heninger
    Dunwoody GA

    Reply
  3. Merinda Reeder

    Jim Bethel, What policy is it that you speak of forbidding LDS girls to join scouts?
    I have heard nothing of the sort and I’m concerned that you are misinformed.
    I’m pretty sure I’m not getting my temple recommend revoked for putting my girls in a community pack.
    For my part, I’m excited to see the new youth program, and I’m committed to scouting in 2020 and beyond. My daughters, my sons, my husband, and I.

    Reply
    1. Jim Bethel

      I was referring to the policy of LDS girls not being included in the ward scouting units. You are right many LDS girls have joined Scouting units chartered by other organizations. My bad. I am just having a hard time getting my head around all the changes that will occur in those councils that are mostly LDS. I have worked or served as a volunteer in 5 BSA councils. 2 of then had only about 10% LDS membership. They will adjust just fine. The 3 Utah councils will undergo a vast re-organization.
      I also want to respond to the concern about camp properties. All camp properties are either owned by a council or operate under the direction of the council. It is true that many LDS leaders are very involved at Scout camps- but most camps properties legally belong the a BSA council or operate on public lands..

      Reply
  4. Steve Faber

    Today I suspect the UNPC needs to brace for the impact of proportionate decreases in the following (to name a few):
    – Current Roundtable attendance
    – LDS adult volunteers for district positions
    – Youth Protection Training
    – New Leader Training
    – Leader Specific Training
    – Number of Timberline NYLT, Akela’s Council and Wood Badge courses offered in 2018-2019 and beyond
    – Participation in 2018-2019 summer camps / high adventure
    – 2018-2019 FOS drive
    – Number of Eagle Scout applications and projects.
    – BYU merit badge pow-wow attendance
    – Headcount at Orem Scout office (I wish the best for you and your future employment)

    Although we are encouraged to “continue (our) active participation and financial support” (which, by the way, has always been voluntary, not expected), as an LDS adult leader who has been blessed by the principles of Scouting in my youth and as an adult, as of yesterday, the wind that might have been in my sail since the BSA began to decay 5 years ago this month, is now gone.

    I suspect that as of yesterday, a sizable number of LDS adults currently called to scouting positions who reluctantly accepted, now have less reason to feel guilty about what they’re not doing in scouting.

    I look forward to learning and adopting the LDS church’s new activities program for youth, but doubt the young men portion of the program will provide the leadership opportunities equal to what was afforded to young men in Boy Scouting. Hopefully I’ll be proved wrong.

    Reply
  5. R gilbert

    I make a nice Damascus blade knife, antler handle, and custom leather sheath for each boy in our ward that earns an Eagle award. I have wondered how to possibly end that tradition as I get older or even move from the ward. I have really enjoyed doing it, and have made about 20 knives for Eagles. The church’s decision to end the program makes a nice 18 month transition for all of us in our varied Scouting roles. And, as has been pointed out, the eagle award is still available for church members who want to achieve it.

    Reply
  6. Joseph Moody

    I love scouting and have seen it change the lives of many boys. In inner-city Albuquerque where I was a scout master many years ago, scouting was the only effective organization for good in the lives of many youth. I will continue to support it in any way I can. But I am also glad to see the LDS church break with it. LDS troops for years have been getting “tired” and seem to go through the motions compared to troops chartered by other organizations where boys attend more out of interest than obligation. Too many LDS boys get Eagles because they are hounded by mothers or as a condition for getting a driver’s license, etc. Such approaches demean scouting ideals and drive the boys’ hearts away. I trust the new LDS program will address this. I also trust, or at least hope, that scouting itself will strengthen as a greater percentage of the boys really want to be there.

    Reply
  7. Scott Bird

    Is the LDS Church selling the properties they own? How can we find out about these properties available?

    Reply

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