The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ending its century long partnership with the Boy Scouts of America in order to create its own youth programs that could be implemented in its congregations around the world. This decision was made jointly with the Boy Scouts and will take effect at the end of 2019. The two organizations formed a partnership based on shared beliefs in God and country in order to teach morals and responsibility to boys. The groups are so connected that one of every five Boy Scouts in the United States is Mormon and joining the Scouts is practically automatic among Mormon boys, but lately their paths split.
The Boy Scouts announced that they would allow girls in their ranks and that they are going to change the name to Scouts BSA, to account for girls in their ranks. They also began admitting gay and transgender scouts and in 2015 they decided to allow gay troop leaders. The church reacted to this decision and it stated that it was "deeply troubled" by the policy changes. Like other conservative faiths, the church's teaching says that gay relationships are sinful and the church has separate programs for boys and girls. The church program for girls includes lessons in cooking, grooming, making handicrafts.
“I have very mixed feelings about Scouts,” said Sumer Thurston Evans, the mother of two sets of boy-girl twins who has served as a Cub Scout leader. “I really love the Scouts and think it’s a good program that teaches good skills to the boys. But what broke my heart was the disparity between the boys’ programs and the girls’ programs.”
According to New York Times reports, Eric Hawkins, director of media relations for the church, said that the change, under discussion for more than a decade, will allow the church to institute a youth program that is rooted in church teaching and translatable across countries and cultures. It will also reduce the disparities that have existed in the programs for boys and girls, though it will continue to keep them separate, he said. “The intent is that the resources, time commitment, opportunities, activities and budgets would be the same for boys and girls,” he said.
The question is how can opportunities and activities be the same if the programs are separated? And if the resources, time commitment, opportunities, activities and budgets are the same for boys and girls, why are boys and girls kept separated? This looks just like another example of discrimination of young people based on sex and when the Boy Scouts decided to end this and allow girls in their programs the conservative church decided to cancel their sponsorship.
Photo Credits: U.S. Government