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iweartanktops

Mormon Church to leave Boy Scouts

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iweartanktops

USA Today

Quote

SALT LAKE CITY — The Mormon church, the largest sponsor of Boy Scouts troops in the United States, announced Thursday it is pulling older teenagers from the organization as the religion takes a step toward developing its own global scouting-like program.

<snip>

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 The faith said the decision wasn’t triggered by Boy Scouts policy change in 2015 to allow gay troop leaders since Mormon troops were allowed to run their groups to adhere to church teachings.

<snip>

Quote

 Boy Scouts is a rite of passage for Mormon boys. The church covers the cost of troops for congregations, known as wards, and strongly encourages participation.

[Boy Scouts of American spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said the organization is saddened about the decision but understands the need for the religion to customize its programming.<

snip>

Quote

Like other conservative religions, the Mormon church still opposes gay marriage and teaches its members that being in a homosexual relationship is a sin.

 

I had no idea participating in Boy Scouts was such a significant part of growing up in the Mormon faith for boys. I don't believe for a second that this has nothing to do with Boy Scouts choosing to embrace LGBTQ+ youth. 

Edited by Coconut Flan
Moved comment out of quote.

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hoipolloi
49 minutes ago, iweartanktops said:

I don't believe for a second that this has nothing to do with Boy Scouts choosing to embrace LGBTQ+ youth. 

It has EVERYTHING to do with this.

Getting to Eagle Scout is a big deal and always has been, rightfully so. It's an achievement in and out of the LDS church.

What kind of "scouting-like" alternative could the Mormons create that would have the prestige that the Eagle rank does?

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nausicaa

My understanding is that in the Western U.S., the LDS church has essentially taken over the Boy Scouts. I wonder how this will affect the Boys Scouts out there. 

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Bad Wolf

We have 2 Mormon troops in our town. They've always been great about using their church building for the merit badge fairs. The boys do the flag ceremony for our interfaith picnic and help pick up the trash.

The boys can stay in scouts until they're 14. Why bother? They can't make Eagle at 13. Wolf boy was an Eagle scout, and grand wolf (wolf girl's son) is on his way to star. Whatever alternative the Mormon church comes up with, it won't be recognized in the same way. It's going to be a loss to the community.

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December
52 minutes ago, hoipolloi said:

It has EVERYTHING to do with this.

Agreed, it certainly seems related regardless of what they're saying. Given the importance of scouting in the church, if they wanted to do something like this change, why not do it years/decades ago? 

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FeministShrew

Mr. Shrew was an Eagle Scout, & a Scout leader in college. I could never get my son interested in scouting. An LDS man I used to work with kept pushing for him to join the troop at his church, and used to complain that local non-LDS people wouldn't let their sons join that troop, but put them in one of the other local troops instead (at United Methodist & Southern Baptist churches). He couldn't understand why. 
Oddly enough, oldest kid & I were talking about Boy Scouts this morning. They work at a local cafe/ice cream parlor, and said two adult men came in the other day wearing Christian Service Brigade vests, but didn't have any boys with them.  Evidently the Christian Service Brigade is a Christian alternative to the ebil Boy Scouts.
From their website:
 

"Parents today are becoming increasingly concerned with the world and culture that their sons are growing up in. They see their boys being exposed daily to television, radio, and online content that is unhealthy from a Christian spiritual, ethical, and moral perspective. In fact, it’s hard to not go a day without being showered with news about greed, violence, or LGBTQ or transgender lifestyle.

Even organizations like Boy Scouts of America are adapting their programs and policies in response to some of these cultural changes. It used to be that Boy Scouts of America had a sound Christian, moral, and ethical foundation on which they based their programs. The Boy Scouts of America has moved from it’s Christian, moral and ethical roots to embrace the changing cultural norms. This is why many parents are searching for Boy Scouts alternatives because they want their sons to be involved in a program that compliments their own biblical world view."

They were formed in 1937, though.

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?
2 hours ago, hoipolloi said:

Getting to Eagle Scout is a big deal and always has been, rightfully so. It's an achievement in and out of the LDS church.

One of the complaints/snide remarks I've heard non-LDS Boy Scout leaders make about LDS troops is about how many boys they have who make Eagle at the earliest age allowed. (14 maybe?) An occasional outstanding 14 year old Eagle Scout is impressive. Churning out one after another after another makes you wonder how much those boys are really learning. 

2 hours ago, nausicaa said:

My understanding is that in the Western U.S., the LDS church has essentially taken over the Boy Scouts. I wonder how this will affect the Boys Scouts out there. 

It will be interesting to see. I'm only familiar with 2 troops in my (Western US) city that are non-LDS; one sponsored by a Presbyterian church since the 50's and one sponsored by a Methodist church since the 60's. (When I mention my family members who volunteer with a troop, I usually end up having to explain that we aren't LDS.) I'm not sure how many LDS troops there are/were here, but way more than two. I hope the remaining troops manage to survive without the LDS ones.

Edited by WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?
clarity

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hoipolloi
11 minutes ago, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

One of the complaints/snide remarks I've heard non-LDS Boy Scout leaders make about LDS troops is about how many boys they have who make Eagle at the earliest age allowed. (14 maybe?) An occasional outstanding 14 year old Eagle Scout is impressive. Churning out one after another after another makes you wonder how much those boys are really learning. 

This is very interesting.

No personal experience here, just knowledge of family & friends who have attained Eagle rank themselves or had kids do so. My impression is/was that the Eagle Scout process is rigorous one in which you can't cherry pick steps or do haphazardly. Guess I was wrong!

Maybe a "scouting-like" equivalent won't be so different from what the LDS church is said to be doing already.

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Cleopatra7

There's an ex Mormon podcast called Mormon Expression that isn't updated anymore, but you can still access the archives. They did a really good episode on Mormonism and scouting from the perspective of ex or liberal Mormon men who had done the program that I highly recommend. The men echoed what @WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? was saying, namely that Mormon stakes treat Scouting as an assembly line and there is a whole infrastructure involved in ensuring all Mormon scouts get Eagle, even if it means doing lousy projects and cutting corners. They also said that when they were scouts, the non-LDS troops they would meet at camps and jamborees all seemed more focused, responsible, and safety conscious, presumably because the adults and kids were doing scouting because they enjoyed it, not because it was a given that one had to endure by virtue of being a Mormon male (there seem to be more injuries and deaths in LDS troops). Priesthood meetings for boys are folded into Boy Scout meetings, so it kills two birds with one stone as far as the LDS church is concerned.

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hoipolloi
1 hour ago, Cleopatra7 said:

Mormon stakes treat Scouting as an assembly line and there is a whole infrastructure involved in ensuring all Mormon scouts get Eagle, even if it means doing lousy projects and cutting corners.

Well, well, well. Looks as though a "scouting-like" program IS what the LDS church has been doing for years.

This is sad on several levels. I had a cousin who achieved Eagle Scout status and I know that it was not an easy or given thing to do. 

Way to cheat your youth, Mormons.

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Hane
3 hours ago, Cleopatra7 said:

There's an ex Mormon podcast called Mormon Expression that isn't updated anymore, but you can still access the archives. They did a really good episode on Mormonism and scouting from the perspective of ex or liberal Mormon men who had done the program that I highly recommend. The men echoed what @WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? was saying, namely that Mormon stakes treat Scouting as an assembly line and there is a whole infrastructure involved in ensuring all Mormon scouts get Eagle, even if it means doing lousy projects and cutting corners. (snip)

This is something I've read about more than once in an ex-Mormon forum I sometimes visit. Folks involved in scouting, in heavily LDS areas, have said that the Mormon troops have greater participation but lower standards than secular or other religious troops.

Edited by Coconut Flan
Snipping quote.

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Bad Wolf

They recently changed the rank requirements, so that kids can't race through. Scout through 1st class is a lot more intensive than it used to be. Everyone is required to use the new book as of 2017. If you had started in the old book, you could keep the rank you'd obtained as of December 31.

I'd also heard that Eagle was easier to get in the Mormon troops.

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nausicaa
3 hours ago, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

It will be interesting to see. I'm only familiar with 2 troops in my (Western US) city that are non-LDS; one sponsored by a Presbyterian church since the 50's and one sponsored by a Methodist church since the 60's. (When I mention my family members who volunteer with a troop, I usually end up having to explain that we aren't LDS.) I'm not sure how many LDS troops there are/were here, but way more than two. I hope the remaining troops manage to survive without the LDS ones.

I live on the East Coast, and we have tons of non-LDS troops, if it's any encouragement. The two I can think of off the top of my head are sponsored by a liberal Episcopal church and a Sunni mosque!

It will be interesting to see how many Mormons heavily invested in scouting stay with the Boy Scouts. I wonder how much they will be encouraged by the church into having to attend the LDS version of Scouts. And if it will be an optional thing, like Awana or CYO, or something all Mormon youths will have to attend. I imagine some would want to stay with the Boy Scouts organization, but don't know how much leeway they will have. I mean, it is on their free time. I'm approaching this as a former Catholic who knows plenty of devout Catholics who stayed with the Girl Scouts despite the comments of church officials. 

Aside, anyone have any firsthand experience with American Heritage Girls, the Christian/Catholic version of Girl Scouts?

Edited by nausicaa

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Coy Koi
5 hours ago, FeministShrew said:

"Parents today are becoming increasingly concerned with the world and culture that their sons are growing up in. They see their boys being exposed daily to television, radio, and online content that is unhealthy from a Christian spiritual, ethical, and moral perspective. In fact, it’s hard to not go a day without being showered with news about greed, violence, or LGBTQ or transgender lifestyle.

Even organizations like Boy Scouts of America are adapting their programs and policies in response to some of these cultural changes. It used to be that Boy Scouts of America had a sound Christian, moral, and ethical foundation on which they based their programs. The Boy Scouts of America has moved from it’s Christian, moral and ethical roots to embrace the changing cultural norms. This is why many parents are searching for Boy Scouts alternatives because they want their sons to be involved in a program that compliments their own biblical world view."
 

Wow, this is horribly written. Spelling errors, grammar errors, redundancy...

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ADoyle90815
8 hours ago, nausicaa said:

My understanding is that in the Western U.S., the LDS church has essentially taken over the Boy Scouts. I wonder how this will affect the Boys Scouts out there. 

It might have a big impact in Utah and other places that have a large LDS population. Outside of those areas, not so much. Some Mormon scouts who join non-LDS troops are going to find out that obtaining the Eagle Scout isn't going to be as easy outside of their church.

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Bad Wolf

Talked to a friend tonight who is a merit badge counselor for several eagle badges. She hadn't heard about the Mormons leaving. She said that they do get their badges easily, and their eagle projects. She's thinking that they will now try for 13 year old eagle scouts. She figured it was the LGBT thing too.

I told grand wolf, age 13, about it and he said  if it was him, he'd join another troop and say he was going to a friend's house. A boy scout is trustworthy?

I'll be interested to see if any boys come over to our troop. We meet at a Lutheran Church. I did notice that when the boys from e LDS Church did the flag ceremony at the picnic, that they had to read everything. They didn't know it by heart which even our youngest scouts can do.

?

 

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SolomonFundy

If they've been massaging the system for years, then the Eagle rank (and other achievements) are essentially meaningless within the context of their congregation anyway. Furthermore, if they aren't willing to adhere to the BSA standards, then it seems like moving into their own pet project would be best for everyone. 

Mainstream Mormonism in and around Utah is a virtually self-sustained enterprise. Creating their own version of Boy Scouts may never carry the prestige of the original group, but... that won't matter. They are generally content to just impress each other. Why worry about what an outsider thinks?

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livinginthelight

This is sad on a lot of levels. My youngest is an Eagle and I'm very impressed by the variety of leadership experiences he had along the Eagle trail.

I live in California. In my area, the LDS boys are mingled with non-LDS at the cub scout level and then they separate into their own boy scout troops. We have many non-LDS troops in my area. The problem is at the district level. Our district is basically run by the LDS crowd, which has basically chased away any outsiders who want to participate.

I think there are possibly enough non-LDS leaders to fill in the gap. But it is worrisome.Because the gap is a gaping hole.

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Hmmm_idolatry

I grew up on the west coast, and basically any time someone made Eagle Scout (it was always posted in the newspaper), I knew they were Mormon.  

I now live in the midwest, and last week I went to a tulip festival in Pella, Iowa.  Their parade participants included Boy Scout troops AND a weird fundy type scout group for boys.  I cannot for the life of me remember what they were called, but their float had a bunch of crosses on it.  My eyes were rolling hard as they floated by on the route.  

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keen23

My Dad was a scout master, camp master, and everything else in between. Both of my brothers got their Eagles. In our area, Troops that were quick to pass boys through the ranks to Eagle were called "Flight Schools." Because the boys would both "fly" through the ranks and then "fly" out the door after getting Eagle, never to be seen again.

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?
19 hours ago, nausicaa said:

It will be interesting to see how many Mormons heavily invested in scouting stay with the Boy Scouts. I wonder how much they will be encouraged by the church into having to attend the LDS version of Scouts. And if it will be an optional thing, like Awana or CYO, or something all Mormon youths will have to attend.

If they have been including their priesthood training (I'm not sure of the proper name) in their Boy Scout meetings and they use their new group to do that also, I imagine it will be well attended. I suppose a few overachievers might try to belong to both groups. It will all be very interesting to see.

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Bretta

Maybe they will borrow on the Alert and Alert Cadets model. In the Alert Cadets you do some projects to be part of the leadership training corps when you're about 13-14. You get an extra piece of insignia. I suppose that's their version of eagle... 

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Howl

I read a CNN article titled Mormon church is pulling older teens from Boy Scouts' programs that clarified a few things.  First, this applies only to the US and Canada.  Second, it only applies to the older boys, ages 14-18.

Quote

The Utah-based church will continue to partner with the larger Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs for boys and young men ages 8 through 13.

Read into the following what you will: 

Quote

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it will begin a new activities program for boys ages 14 to 18. It said the BSA's Varsity and Venturing programs, both of which aim to prepare teens for adulthood, were difficult to implement on the local level. Venturing is open to boys and girls. The Varsity program "challenges boys who want a rugged outdoor experience."

If you click on the embedded link above for the Varsity program, you'll read that BSA says that 

Quote

Varsity Scouting is an exciting program for older boys that offers the same ideals and principles as Boy Scouting. However, its flexibility allows community organizations to design a program that fits its own needs...

...The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has customized the program to fulfill its needs. Although the program is designed for young men ages 14 to 18, the LDS Church uses Varsity Scouting only for its young men ages 14 to 15.

There is still a tremendous opportunity to expand Varsity Scouting within the LDS Church. All LDS wards should have a Varsity Scout team as part of their youth program.

I suspect they will continue to do Boy Scouts, and simply give it a different name.  Sad about the LDS Eaglet approach. I'm stepmom to an Eagle and aunt to another.  It was very hard work and an important accomplishment   for both of them. 

Edited by Howl

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DarkAnts

All I can say is good. The BSA in Utah have one critical or fatal accident each year. I think its partly due to lack of training for the troop leaders and lack of supervision for the boys.

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anachronistic

Scouting is an activity kids *die* doing? I've never heard that. How awful!

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