The Mormon church is ending its century-long relationship with the Boy Scouts to focus on its own global youth leadership and development program as the social views of the organizations have gradually moved apart in recent years.
The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will end its charter partner status with the Boy Scouts and will not sponsor scouting troops after Dec. 31, 2019, the organizations said in a joint statement.
The announcement comes a week after the Boy Scouts of America said it will drop “boy” from the name of its signature program for older youths as it seeks to widen its appeal to girls. The church did not say whether this was a factor in its decision.
The church, which holds socially conservative views, however did say on Tuesday that it needs to reach young people globally as it increasingly becomes a worldwide organization, with a majority of its membership living outside the United States.
“That trend is accelerating,” the church said.
Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs serve about 330,000 Mormon youth ages 8 to 13 in the United States.
In May 2017, the church said it was no longer participating in two Boy Scouts of America programs for older teenagers, a change that affected more than 185,000 boys in the United States and Canada.
That announcement came months after the Boy Scouts began accepting transgender boys into the program. The church said this did not influence its decision to pull out of the programs.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Darren Schuettler