Mormons To Stay With Scouting

August 27, 2015       Mark Hrywna      

The largest sponsor of Boy Scouts councils in the country will remain a chartering organization, according to a statement released yesterday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a statement about its relationship with Boy Scouts of America (BSA) a month after the organization adopted a resolution that removed a restriction on openly gay adult leaders and employees. The statement read, in part: “We want the Boy Scouts of America to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.

“At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will go forward as a charting organization, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards,” the statement read. “With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.”

After the July 27 resolution was passed by BSA’s National Council, LDS issued a statement describing itself as troubled by the vote and vowing to examine its relationship with Scouting when it leadership meets this month. The Salt Lake City, Utah-based organization had requested a delay on that vote since members of its governing councils did not meet in July.

If LDS were to leave Boy Scouts, membership would be halved, representing all of the current church membership, according to a BSA study compiled ahead of a 2013 resolution to allow openly gay scouts.

In the resolution and “subsequent verbal assurance,” BSA reiterated to the church that “it expects those who sponsor Scouting units to appoint Scout leaders according to their religious and moral values ‘in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program,” the statement read.

Zach Wahls, co-founder and executive director of Scouts for Equality, said in a statement that he was “heartened” by the decision to continue working with BSA. “We have maintained from the beginning of our campaign that the values and life lessons of Scouting are universal, and we would have been saddened to see hundreds of thousands of youth denied the opportunity to participate in the Boy Scouts,” he said.