Published at | Updated at
IDAHO FALLS — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ending its longtime relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.
In a joint statement with the Boy Scouts of America, the church announced that effective Dec. 31, 2019, its relationship as a chartered organization with all scouting programs around the world would end, according to a church news release.
“Until then, the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8–13. All youth, families and leaders are encouraged to continue their active participation and financial support of scouting until that date,” the church said.
Last May, the church announced it was partially ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts. At that time LDS Church eliminated the program for 14 to 18 year olds in lieu of creating its own youth program.
Last week, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would be dropping “boy” from its title, becoming Scouts BSA.
The LDS Church has historically been biggest sponsor of the program in the United States.
The Grand Teton Council has over 23,000 scouts participating in its program. The majority are Latter-day Saints and the change will drastically impact the future of the council.
Grand Teton BSA CEO Clarke Farrer issued a statement following Tuesday’s announcement encouraging all youth currently enrolled in Scouting to continue after 2019. Click here to read it.
What will replace the program in the LDS Church?
The Mormon church announced it is creating a new initiative to replace all existing activity programs for male and female youth between the ages of 8 to 18 by 2020.
The church released this statement about the new program:
“For years, Church leaders have been preparing a new initiative to teach and provide leadership and development opportunities to all children and youth, to support families and to strengthen youth everywhere as they develop faith in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This new approach is intended to help all girls and boys, young women and young men discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God. The initiative is designed to allow local leaders, families and even the young people themselves to customize their efforts, while providing service opportunities and activities, fostering healthy relationships and supporting communities. Details will be shared at childrenandyouth.lds.org as the implementation date approaches.”
Additional questions about the program are answered here.