LDS Church announces impending split from BSA

May 8, 2018, 7:17 PM | Updated: May 9, 2018, 12:44 pm
Former LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson looks over merit badges of scout Richard Garff Folkers...
Former LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson looks over merit badges of scout Richard Garff Folkerson. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans Tuesdayto sever its remaining ties with the Boy Scouts of America, ending its role as a chartered partner.


The announcement came in a joint statement with the BSA, noting the conclusion of their relationship will occur on December 31, 2019.

” 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,” the statement said.

The split comes as the faith works to unify its programs for boys and young men across the globe, bringing them under one umbrella.

“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,” the statement said.

The LDS Church and Boy Scouts of America have a long shared history dating back more than a century. The Church is the oldest and largest charter organization of BSA troops. A 2017 story in the Deseret News reported 1 in 6 American scouts was Mormon. However, BSA programs are not available to an increasingly large population of Mormon youth outside of the United States and Canada.

Tuesday’s announcement sets a date for the final divorce of two organizations which have closely collaborated since 1913.

Signs of tension have shown between the two organizations in recent years. In 2015, BSA’s National Executive Council voted to allow openly gay scout leaders. The LDS Church then issued a statement saying it was re-evaluating its relationship with Scouting. A follow-up statement said the Church would “go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.”

The same statement though reiterated that the LDS Church was evaluating other options to “better meet its global needs.”

In May of 2017, the LDS Church’s First Presidency revealed they would be dropping the BSA’s Varsity and Venture programs, which are offered to boys aged 14 to 17, effective January 1, 2018. Additional materials from the church noted the Varsity and Venture programs were difficult to implement in the church. However, Mormon boys were expected to continue taking part in Cub Scout and BSA activities through age 13 in the U.S. and Canada. At the time, BSA issued a statement expressing deep appreciation for the LDS Church, noting it was the first sponsor organization for Scouting in the United States.

“We knew that at some point this [announcement] was going to happen. We just did not know the exact timing on it,” said Bruce Hough, President of the Great Salt Lake Council.

The separation comes amid what has already been a season of significant change for Boy Scouts of America.

BSA has struggled with declining participation in recent years. Just a week ago, BSA revealed a new brand for its signature program. The name change to “Scouts BSA” comes as the organization prepared to welcome female participants into its ranks.

An exodus of Mormon scouts will likely come as a financial blow to BSA, however. Youth participants and adult volunteers each pay annual membership dues to BSA. The LDS Church’s impending departure from Scouting will pull many regular dues-paying members, perhaps hundreds of thousands of them, out of the organization.

“It goes without saying that when you have a partner that is as large and dominant that there will be an effect on membership,” Hough said. “We partner with what we call local chartered organizations. So a local ward would be a local chartered organizations. They would sponsor scouting and provide adult leadership and a place to meet. Those three things are very important.”

Even though he expects to see a dip in membership, Hough  said the Council has been preparing for the announcement and is confident youth and adults will continue to appreciate what the BSA programs offer.

“It’s a family oriented values driven program that can really help youth make those moral and ethical decisions that can help youth make those moral and ethical decisions throughout their life.”


— Contributing: Brianna Bodily


Today’s Top Stories


praying football coach...
JESSICA GRESKO Associated Press

Supreme Court sides with coach who sought to pray after game

The court ruled 6-3 along ideological lines for the coach. The justices said the coach's prayer was protected by the First Amendment.
4 days ago
downtown slc general conference temple square...
Simone Seikaly

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reacts to Roe v. Wade

SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have responded to the Supreme Court decision on Friday that overturned Roe v. Wade. Their statement began by reasserting a belief in the sanctity of human life. It also listed possible exceptions for members who may seek an abortion, which include […]
7 days ago
supreme court. it just ended remain in mexico policy...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Justices rule religious schools must get Maine tuition aid

The most immediate effect of the court's ruling beyond Maine probably will be felt next door in Vermont, which has a similar program.
10 days ago
Photo credit: Just Add Chocolate Facebook page....
Lindsay Aerts

Chocolate shop apologizes, renames Book of Mormon-themed Twinkies

A Utah County chocolate shop has renamed its Book of Mormon-theme Twinkies after it was accused of being racist. The shop has also apologized.
21 days ago
hill cumorah monument...
Mark Jones and Aimee Cobabe

UPDATE: Suspect arraigned for reckless endangerment after gunshots fired at Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center

No injuries were reported Wednesday after gunshots were heard near the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center in New York. Police say roughly 22 shots were fired.
23 days ago
Ground Broken for Burley Idaho Temple...
Waverly Golden

Ground broken for Burley Idaho Temple

The new temple will sit on a 10.1-acre land owned by the Funk family. Plans have been in place since April 2021 for the new Temple.
27 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
LDS Church announces impending split from BSA