The Mormon church is officially splitting with the Boy Scouts of America after more than a century of partnership.
The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day saints and the Scouts announced the decision on the 8th May 2018, with the Mormons saying they will be setting up their own independent scouting scheme.
The decision comes a week after the Boy Scouts said they would change their name to Scouts BSA and include girls in their ranks.
‘The Church has increasingly felt the need to create and implement a uniform youth leadership and development program that serves its members globally. In so doing, it will be necessary for the Church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA,’ a joint statement said on Tuesday.
‘We have jointly determined that, effective on December 31, 2019, the Church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organisation with all Scouting programmes around the world. Until that date, to allow for an orderly transition, the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8–13 and encourages all youth, families, and leaders to continue their active participation and financial support.’
It also comes after a number of rows between the Boy Scouts and different church groups over decisions last year to admit gay leaders and also to allow transgender boys into the ranks.
But the Mormon Church insisted the decision was not related to the Scouts’ decision to allow gay troop leaders in 2015 but because it wanted a new programme more tailored to specific Mormon teaching.
Even after the Mormon’s pulled 185,000 13-18-year olds from the movement last year, around 280,000 younger Mormon boys aged 8-13 remained and the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints remained the biggest sponsor of the Scouts in the US. The two organisations have had close ties for 105 years.
It is part of a more widescale exodus of The Boy Scouts to other, more fringe, ideological youth organisations after the century old movement became embroiled in a row over gay leaders. The latest decision will be a major blow to its future amid rapidly declining membership. The organization says it has nearly 2.3 million youth members, a decrease from 2.8 million members in 2012.