Spokesman Eric Hawkins confirmed Tuesday that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “considering creating its own international program for boys, separate from the Boy Scouts of America.”
This is in response to the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board to no longer ban openly-gay adults as leaders within the organization. That decision though, left an opening for local troops to continue to ban GLBT adult participants, which many considered a loophole primarily for the benefit of LDS sponsored troops. The LDS Church the nation’s largest Scouting sponsor, serving 437,160 boys in 37,933 troops, making up 37% of all troops (though only 18% of all scouts). For Mormons, Boy Scouts are their official youth program for young boys.
In their news release, LDS leaders suggest that they have been considering such a move for a while because Scouting isn’t available in many places where the church is;
As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available. Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead.”
However, as many commenters have pointed out, this isn’t strictly true. In many countries, Scouting isn’t specifically for boys, but is gender inclusive which is contrary to the LDS church’s goals for scouting as a youth program for boys.