Two years after the Boy Scouts lifted its restriction on gay and transgender troop leaders, Mormon teens aged 14 to 18 will no longer participate in BSA activities.
Writer: Carly Terwilliger
Mormon teens aged 14 to 18 are saying goodbye to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that serves approximately 330,000 Mormon youths.
Starting next year, a relationship that has stood for more than a century will come to an end, with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) citing local implementation difficulties related to the BSA’s Varsity and Venturing programs. Varsity “challenges boys who want a rugged outdoor experience,” while Venturing is open to both sexes. The LDS church was the first sponsoring partner of U.S. Scouting, continuing to support the organization to this day.
The Utah-based church will continue to partner with the larger Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs for boys and young men ages 8 through 13, but said it will begin a new activities program for boys ages 14 to 18.
The church said in a statement Thursday that it hasn’t completed its “global program” that will replace the BSA activities currently serving Mormon teens, it does has a program of activities already in place that can be viewed at lds.org/youth/activities and ymactivities.lds.org.
“When followed, these activities can provide better opportunities for spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual growth,” the church’s statement said.
The church said the move was meant to shift focus to “spiritual, social, physical and intellectual goals outlined by the Church,” as reported by CNN. The Boy Scouts’ decision to allow gay and transgender troop leaders gave the church pause. At the time of the change two years ago, Mormons said they were “deeply troubled.”
Worldwide Mormon churches will be unaffected, as the decision only impacts congregations in the U.S. and Canada.
The change goes into effect January 1.
Photo courtesy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints