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Cub Scout color guard saluting
How The Mormon Church Is Connected To The Boy Scouts Of America
In the years following World War I, the popularity of The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) grew significantly. Part of its success was thanks to a partnership with the Mormon Church.
Senior Mormons saw the benefit of scouting as a focus for young boys in the church, due to its emphasis on morality and the promotion of Christian values.
The church became one of the BSA’s major early sponsors, encouraging Mormon boys to become scouts, and fostering scouting chapters attached to Mormon churches throughout the U.S.
According to The Washington Post, The Mormon church and the BSA became so well connected that nearly one in five American scouts came from a Mormon background.
The partnership between the two institutions remained firm for a century before coming to an end in 2015 when the BAS announced a polarizing policy shift.
As reported by The New York Times, the Scouts announced for the first time that gay men were allowed to be scout leaders, overturning a century of heteronormative policy.
The separation between the Mormon Church and the Scouts began around this time. The BSA went on to allow women and transgender scouts and rebranded themselves Scouts BSA.
The Church of Latter Day Saints announced that it was severing its ties with the Scouts as of December 2019, and that it would pursue its own youth development program.