The Mormon Church Is Severing Ties With Boy Scouts After More Than 100 Years

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.

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 BSA can now focus on teaching human values and wilderness survival rather than religious doctrine. A win for all.

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