Most Utah Mormons want their church out of Boy Scouts, poll shows

SALT LAKE CITY If most Utah Mormons got their way, the LDS Church would split with the Boy Scouts of America.

A new survey shows 63 percent of respondents who termed themselves “very active” in the LDS Church — both men and women — said Mormon leaders “definitely” or “probably” should bolt from the BSA and launch their own group for young male Latter-day Saints.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “declined to comment” about the poll, spokesman Eric Hawkins said Monday (Aug. 17).

Well, the LDS already has (more or less) their own version of Scouting - while part of the BSA, as I understand it, they have their own ‘program’; ranks are the same, etc., but the way the program itself is run is different from mainstream Scouting.

I don’t know if this is actually true or not, but from what I’ve been told, Scouting is a vehicle used as a sort of training/recruitment for their missionary work.

No offence intended, but at least in my neck of the woods, LDS Troops are sort of regarded by mainstrean Scouters to be “on the fringe” of the BSA - they’re part of the BSA, but at the same time they’re not, is the best way I can put it.

Doesn’t surprise me that many want to split off.

There are about three or four Troops in my Council that are LDS. Be interesting to see how many remain after December’s re-chartering.

BSA troops serve as the standard youth program for Mormon young men- every single boy is automatically enrolled. They do campouts, badges, derbies, lots of basketball, and follow all the national guidelines. Scouting is viewed as part of church: EVERY meeting begins with a prayer, leaders are selected by local church leaders, logistics are integrated (like Courts of Honor are announced in church), and you will have lessons on serving Jesus and other religious topics. The primary focus on developing the boys spirituality.

A lot of Mormons (myself included) are huge fans of ditching BSA. Some reasons include:

  • BSA is ultimately a secular organization and it showing more and more.
  • BSA dues are rather rediculous
  • As majority of Mormon young men aren’t American, the church did introduce a non-BSA young men’s program a few years ago. Trying to do both in the USA is just headache inducing. Ditching BSA in the US would standardize and simplify things.
  • This latest gay leader thing.

Isn’t scouting tied in with the priesthood for Mormon boys?

Yes and no. (Before I go further, I’m going to assume that the reader knows how Mormon priesthood differs from Catholic)

Yes: all Mormon young men, whom go through the beginning ranks of the priesthood starting at age 12. In the US they also at the same time go through the scouting ranks (12 year olds are this level of priest, this level of scout, etc).

No: you can enroll in a Mormon BSA scout troop and not being Mormon, so obviously you won’t be a priest. Non-Mormons can also lead Mormon troops.

No: you can be Mormon priest and have never been as scout. Example: non-Americans, adult converts/reverts.

No: earning your Eagle (for example) doesn’t effect your rank in the priesthood at all. But if you do, they will announce it in church so people can support you.

Yes, correct – the BSA is not a religious organization; it’s purely secular. It neither supports nor endorses any one religion or belief system. That said, duty to your religious beliefs, whatever they me be, is a big part of Scouting.

Dues -? – not sure what they are in your neck of the woods, but here in northern New England, dues are minimal at best.

Again yes – thanks for the further clarification, i.e. that Mormon Scouting is a very different animal than mainstream BSA Scouting.

The whole current issue - in a nutshell, is “corporate” officially acknowledging something that’s been going on virtually since day one. Depending on your point of view, I guess one could say it’s about time……or not.

I think it’s a common misconception that the BSA is somehow an extension of a given church (i.e. a sort of “para-religious” organization) simply because many Troops are chartered by a church – at one point in time it was common for Troops to all have kids from the neighborhood who all attended the same church, etc., etc. (more or less how it was when I was in Cub Scouts way back when), so it just made sense to charter with a church.

That’s not the case today where there are kids in any give Troop from all over the city or from various towns, and not all from the same religious background or beliefs.

From what I’ve read above, it’s kind of surprising that “LDS Scouting” has not become a separate entity, apart but similar to the BSA – I suspect, as I’ve heard on various Scouting forums, it all unfortunately boils down to the “almighty dollar” and the bottom line; LDS Troops bring in significant revenue to the BSA.

The reason I mention this is that many people assume Mormons are in scouting for the wholesome values but it is actually mandatory priesthood training for Mormon youth.

According to The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, scouting is directly related to the Mormon priesthood and the training of the boys in this area, in the United States or in other countries scouting programs are developed at the ward level.

*As scouting evolved, the Church adopted scouting programs in the United States that correspond with specific age groups and Aaronic Priesthood quorums. Currently those programs include Boy Scouts for deacons quorum members, Varsity Scouts for teachers quorum members, and Explorer Scouts for priests quorum members. In each case, the scouting program serves as a part of the activity program for the Aaronic Priesthood quorum.

Although scouting has become an integral part of the Church’s activity program for young men in the United States, it is less prominent in Church units in other countries. Many Scouting organizations throughout the world follow principles and policies incompatible with Church standards. As a result, the Church authorizes wards and branches to associate only with scouting programs affiliated with the World Scouting Organization. In countries where this organization operates, Church units are urged to affiliate with, and develop, full scouting programs. Because scouting institutions are rare in Western Europe, the Church there has developed its own scouting organization, known as Aaronic Priesthood Scouting, as part of the activity program for the Aaronic Priesthood.

This article highlights the historical and religious relationship between the BSA and the Mormon church, and other churches are mentioned as well.

It is worthy to note that this “old fashion scouting” is how Mormon church scouting is still run: all the kids attend the same church and live in the same neighborhood (Mormon congregations are organized geographically). They espouse belief in God, helping community, being a good citizen, etc. BSA and the Mormon church have been partners for 100+ years (back when BSA was a baby organization), and until recently have worked together symbiotically.

But the relationship has been very strained over the last decade and with the gay leader thing (something that goes very against Mormon values)… yeah, it’s time for a split (in my opinion).

And yes, money does play a factor into it: Mormons charter 1/3 of troops (but only a 1/6 of scouts) so their leaving would be a mega blow to BSA finically. On the flip side, Mormons are tired of paying for a program which less and less reflects Mormon values and being a disciple of Christ.

Except where we live in Utah, these same kids are the ones vandalizing our neighborhood, throwing eggs at people’s houses and all of the other unsavory activities that the non-BSA kids are doing.

Let’s not sugar-coat the Mormon boy scouts, please.

Don’t leave out that there is Mormon priesthood training going on in these boy scout meetings! To portray that Mormon boys are only learning to be good citizens is very disingenuous.

Lax16, I don’t sugar coat Mormon boy scouts (in fact I can tell you hours of tales of their stupidity).

And the first thing I mentioned them doing was learning about beliefs in God, so I hardly left that out. (And part of being a Mormon priest is helping grandmas cross the street and other good-citizen things).

My point is, and was, that the reason it is MANDATORY for Mormon boys to join the BSA isn’t because they want to help old ladies cross the street but because it is for **priesthood training.
Most people do not know that it is mandatory for Mormon boys to join and that they are automatically priests just because of gender and age and that they learn about becoming a holder of the priesthood at boy scouts.

That’s what I mean by sugar-coating. I am a bit weary of the image Mormons try to portray of being good citizens, clean cut, all-American kids when in actuality, that is not so.

Any non-Mormon boy invited to a scout meeting (as my son was REPEATEDLY) was not to teach him how to help old ladies across the street. It was an attempt to convert him and I know it.

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