The Mormon church announced it will be ending its century-long relationship with the Boy Scouts of America, an organization deeply tied to the religious life of Mormon boys and one which the church has supported as its largest sponsor.
In a joint statement released Tuesday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that it will be working towards developing its own “youth leadership and development” program due to the fact that more and more church members are living outside of the United States.
Though international growth is the only reason given for the split, the Mormon church’s decision to sever ties comes just one week after the Boy Scouts of America announced it will change its name to Scouts BSA as it begins to integrate female members.
This seems to have been the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for the church. According to The Washington Post, the church said it was “‘deeply troubled’ by the Boy Scouts’ decision to lift the ban on openly gay adult leaders in 2015.” Church leaders had considered parting ways at this junction, but decided against it when the Scouts said they’d allow individual troops to choose their own leaders – meaning the church didn’t have to let openly gay people into its affiliated programs.
“The Mormon Church opposes same-sex marriage, teaches that sex outside of marriage is a sin, and does not allow openly gay men or women to hold church leadership roles,” explains WaPo.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts said it would continue to welcome any Mormon scouts who wished to remain in the program: “There are many religiously-affiliated programs that are offered alongside Scouting, and as such, we are confident that many LDS Scouting families will go on to enjoy Scouting for years to come—continuing the legacy of LDS youth who have become Eagle Scouts and community leaders.”
Though there were those who felt the church was justified and correct in their decision, the overwhelming majority (including WaPo writer, Mormon, and former Scout Stephen Stromberg, who calls the church’s “attempt to seal the bubble” around itself a “retreat from reality”) see this as further evidence of the church’s intolerance.
The Mormon Church has broken ties with the Boy Scouts so they can get back to focusing on their core values of disowning gay children and treating women like baby factories.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) May 9, 2018
So the Mormon church doesn’t like gays ….But yet thinks Boy Scouts should only hang out with other boys alone in the woods ????
— j.edel (@jedel20) May 9, 2018
People from the Mormon Church still knock on my door every month trying to recruit me. I can’t wait to say ‘Sorry. I’m a gay Boy Scout. Just not a good fit’ and slam the door.
— beth, raising attack bear awareness (@bourgeoisalien) May 9, 2018
Mormon Church Ends Relationship With The Boy Scouts
“The last straw,” said a Church spokesman, “was when they eliminated the merit badge for polygamy.”
— Michael (@MichaelBense) May 9, 2018
The Mormon Church balked at allowing gay people in, but finally said enough’s enough when they decided to let girls into the Boy Scouts. At least they are on trend. pic.twitter.com/yGau6pXWkJ
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) May 9, 2018
Many on Twitter expressed how much better the Scouts will be now that they are freed from the cloud of religious oppression hanging over the organization for the last century.
The Mormon church cuts ties with the Boy Scouts who now allow girls to join! No jokes on this yet, just think it’s cool!
— Allie Goertz (@AllieGoertz) May 9, 2018
the mormon church leaving the boyscouts is probably the best thing for the boy scouts, now the boyscouts can flourish and grow as an organization and modernize with the times instead of being anti gay and misogynist
— Shep Dad Stomak (@solidstomak) May 9, 2018
This is great news for the Scouts. It frees them up from cultural recalcitrance (oppression/exclusivity) and resistance to more progressive, inclusive policies. https://t.co/53r2JykZzm
— Callan Bentley (@callanbentley) May 9, 2018
The BSA can now focus on teaching human values and wilderness survival rather than religious doctrine. A win for all.