Mormon Church cuts ties with Scouts over LGBT-inclusive policies
The Mormon Church has formally severed its ties to the Boy Scouts of America, after years of protesting LGBT-inclusive reforms.
In 2015, the Boy Scouts of America removed its long-held ban on gay scout leaders, after first lifting the ban on gay youth members in 2013.
More recently trans boys have been accepted into the BSA for the first time, and the organisation announced it would drop ‘Boy’ from its name.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) pulled some funding last year to protest LGBT inclusion and, this week announced it would sever ties entirely and set up a rival Scouting organisation to promote religious conservative values.
The statement said: “The Church will no longer sponsor any Scouting programs after December 31, 2019.
“Over the past several years, the Church has been conducting an extensive review of all existing children and youth activities and personal development programs.
“As a global church with millions of children and youth, we need to address diverse needs and fortify all children and youth with gospel-centered growth and learning experiences now more than ever.
“The focus of this new approach for children and youth is to help young people strengthen faith in Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
“This approach is intended to help children and youth discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills, participate in outdoor activities and service opportunities, and strengthen their ability to fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God.
“In the new experience, children and youth will be encouraged to focus on setting and achieving goals to develop spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually as they seek to follow Jesus
“This approach is intended to reduce burdens on families, with greater flexibility to adapt to the needs of individuals and families around the world in many different circumstances.”
The BSA said: “The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) deeply appreciates the long-standing relationship we’ve had with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a chartered organization.
“While Scouting remains a beloved program for many LDS families, the Church has decided to pursue programming that helps it meet the needs of their increasingly global membership and will no longer charter units after December 31, 2019.
“We jointly express our gratitude to the thousands of Scout leaders who have selflessly served over the years in Church-sponsored Scouting units and wish the Church all the best as it prepares to introduce the new program in 2020.”
“At the same time, the Boy Scouts of America is excited about our future and the opportunity to grow by providing families more options for their children to benefit from the incredible character-building experiences we provide.”
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The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, known as the Mormon Church, preaches a rejection of homosexuality unless members remain celibate for life.
Church guidance also rejects the children of gay couples unless they actively disavow their parents’ “lifestyle”, and has been linked to a number of dangerous gay ‘cure’ practises.
A clampdown on LGBT people in the church has been linked to a surge in Mormon youth suicides – while the church has also used its influence to block LGBT rights legislation in Utah and channel funding to anti-LGBT campaign groups.