May 12, 2017
The Mormon Church has been one of the single biggest supporters of the Boy Scouts -- until today. After years of watching the BSA turn into an arm of LGBT indoctrination, the LDS Church -- the "oldest and largest charter organization of the Scouts" -- is beginning to walk away. When the BSA bled members over its decision to welcome boys and troop leaders who identify as gay, the Mormons stood by the group. Now, after a strong undercurrent of controversy, the church is finally changing that, announcing that it would no longer sponsor the program for teenagers aged 14-17. It's a decision, experts say, that could cost the Scouts as many as 180,000 members.
In a statement, LDS leaders said, "In most congregations in the United States and Canada, young men ages 14-18 are not being served well by the Varsity or Venturing programs, which have historically been difficult to implement within the church," the statement said. "This change will allow youth and leaders to implement a simplified program that meets local needs while providing activities that balance spiritual, social, physical and intellectual development goals for young men."
Although church officials didn't draw attention to the BSA's radical social policy, the reality is that LDS leaders have been struggling with the group's leftward lurch for the last few years. In 2015, it hinted at a possible withdrawal, saying, "The church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation," the statement said. "However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America." The Mormon Church is coming to the same conclusion that so many evangelicals already have: this isn't your parents' Boy Scouts. As a vehicle for building character, the BSA is having a lot of engine trouble -- thanks in large part to its capitulation on core values. Trail Life USA is a much better option for Christian parents looking to turn their sons into faithful men worthy of respect.
In the meantime, it would be instructive for other cultural institutions to learn from the Boy Scouts compromise of their charter principles -- what remains is a hollow core of a once thriving institution that has lost its true north.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.