Only one week after the century-old Boy Scouts of America claimed that it would soon be changing its name in an attempt to accept and attract women to all levels of scouting, the organization got hit with some bad news.
According to the Western Journal, one-fifth of scouts have announced that they will be leaving.
Perhaps the most notable group that will be leaving is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known popularly as the Mormons, who announced on Tuesday that they would be completely severing their ties with the Scouts beginning in 2020. The Mormons made this announcement in a statement issued jointly by the church and the Scouts, where the church explained that their membership is global. Therefore, they say, the church needs to begin taking a more global approach.
It is likely that their statement is true — that they are severing ties because their church is increasingly global. It may be the case, then, that the scouts changing their name and bringing in girls was simply the factor that urged them to officially take action.
“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,” the joint statement said.
“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.”
Desert News writes that LDS leaders want to take part in a broader reconstruction fo the church's programs for Mormon children ages 8 to 18.
As a result, a new worldwide initiative for all Mormon boys and girls will begin in January 2020, replacing the existing activity and achievement programs. This decision will, according to reports, impact roughly 30,500 congregations throughout the world, including millions of young men and women who will see changes to their Sunday meetings and activity. The church's young men program will no longer focus on supporting boys on their journey to become Eagle Scouts. And young women programs will no longer emphasize personal progress for girls with its eight values — "faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue."
“It’ll be a blow,” said Mark Griffin, president of the BSA’s Great Salt Lake Council, according to the Western Journal. “We can’t say that it was a total surprise. Maybe the timing is a surprise, but we knew the church was working on a program for a worldwide church but that any changes would be based on the need to do the same program in Paris, France, as they have in Paris, Texas.”
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