The Mormon church will remain affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America
The church had expressed concerns over Scouts' decision to allow gay troop leaders
The Mormon church will remain affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America despite the organization’s decision to allow gay troop leaders, church officials announced Wednesday.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it’s decided to continue its affiliation with the Boy Scouts because of written and verbal assurances that the church can choose their own troop leaders according to their own religious and moral values “in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.”
The Boy Scouts of America national executive board voted July 27 to remove the national restriction on openly gay leaders and employees. The LDS Church said at the time it was “deeply troubled” by the decision, saying the admission of openly gay leaders was “inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church.”
While the Boy Scouts’ change will allow chartered organizations to select troop leaders without regard to sexual orientation, it also allows religious chartered organizations to continue to choose leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.
That seemed to satisfy the LDS Church, which has some 15 million members worldwide and is the nation’s largest sponsor of the Boy Scouts.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth, the church said in a written statement.
“As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.”
Zach Wahls, co-founder and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, said he was heartened by the decision.
“We have maintained from the beginning of our campaign that the values and life lessons of Scouting are universal, and we would have been saddened to see hundreds of thousands of youth denied the opportunity to participate in the Boy Scouts,” said Wahls in a statement.
“We hope to continue to work to build a stronger and more welcoming Boy Scouts of America with friends and allies across the religious and political spectrum,” Wahls added.