Beginning in 2018, LDS Church will no longer participate in older Boy Scout programs
SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday it will no longer participate in the Varsity and Venturing programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America.
On its website, the LDS Church said it doesn't believe young men between 14 and 18 years old are not being "served well" by the Varsity or Venturing programs. The Church will, however, continue its relationship with Boy Scout programs for those between the ages 8 and 13 years old.
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. 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.
The Church continues to look for ways to meet the spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual needs of young men around the world. The current decision is consistent with those efforts. The Church will continue to use the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs for boys and young men ages 8 through 13.
The Church did not directly answer whether or not the decision was based on the Boy Scout's policy change to allow gay and transgender scouts and leaders to participate. Instead, it said, "The BSA has always allowed the Church to operate its programs in ways that are consistent with our standards and beliefs, and they have been very supportive. This change is to address the needs of young men ages 14 to 18. The Church is always evaluating what is best for our youth and families, and will continue to do so."
As for those who still wish to work toward an Eagle Scout badge, the church said they will be "registered, supported and encouraged."
The Church will continue to make the same payment to the BSA for registration of its young men through 2018.