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Mormons sever ties with Boy Scouts

by Leigh Jones
Posted 5/09/18, 10:25 am

Mormon leaders announced late Tuesday their religion will sever all ties with the Boy Scouts, pulling 425,000 boys from its ranks. Mormon youth make up 18.5 percent of the Boy Scouts’ membership. Although not a surprise, the Mormon defection deals a serious blow to the organization roiled by major changes in recent years. In 2015, the Boy Scouts announced it would allow openly homosexual men to serve as troop leaders. That change prompted many religious groups to look for faith-based alternatives, including the Christian Trail Life USA. Earlier this year the Boy Scouts announced it would open its ranks to girls and change its name to Scouts BSA. Mormon leaders initially stuck with Scouting but began mulling over a new program for its young members. The program, still in development, will focus on character development and religious instruction for boys and girls and will launch in both the United States and internationally. More than half of the world’s 16 million Mormons live outside the United States and Canada. Mormon ties with the Boy Scouts date back more than 100 years. Former Mormon President Thomas S. Monson, who died earlier this year, served as a longtime member of the Boy Scouts executive board.

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Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.

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  •  Andrew Gilmore's picture
    Andrew Gilmore
    Posted: Wed, 05/09/2018 01:52 pm

    "Trail Life USA" not "Trial Life USA."

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Thu, 05/10/2018 09:30 am

    Thank you for pointing out our error. We corrected the spelling of the name.

  • RC
    Posted: Wed, 05/09/2018 02:18 pm

    It is too bad. In their efforts to turn around a dramatic fall in membership, the Boy Scouts have kicked the door open to practically anyone joining.  This has resulted in driving many of their core members away, which will increase the shrinkage even faster. From a peak of around 7.0 million in the 1970’s to around 4.0 million members in the 2000‘s, now down to 2.3 million in 2016. Assuming nothing changes, at the current rate of decline, they will have no members in about 13 years.   

  • Joe M
    Posted: Wed, 05/09/2018 04:27 pm

    The BSA chose to lose 18 percent of its membership and the most ardent part of its base to... placate the spirit of the times? Incredible and depressing. I wonder how that will work out for them... It's pretty easy to imagine them fading fast. As an Eagle scout and someone who owes scouting a lot, part of me hates to see it all happen. Another part of me thinks it can't happen fast enough. Boys need character amd conviction, not contemporary relevance. The BSA sold the pass sveeral years ago.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Wed, 05/09/2018 06:02 pm

    Only surprise with the Mormons pulling out is that it took so long. 

    Yes, very sad. I was a Scout, learned a lot, and my world-view significantly and positively influenced. 

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Thu, 05/10/2018 06:38 am

    Why is it the Mormon's are the only ones in this country with the intestinal fortitude to make the right decision? What happened to the mainline Christian denominations? Oh yeah, I know the answer.