THE PATH FORWARD: The BSA and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

by | Aug 29, 2018

Dear Scouting Families,

Thank you for your support of and involvement in the Boy Scouts of America. We recognize that for many of you, Scouting is a family tradition that spans many generations.

We are deeply grateful to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for serving as the chartered organization of your Scouting unit as it has for millions of other Scouts over the past 105 years. Because of the Church’s need to provide a global program to its children and youth around the world, the Church has made the decision to restructure its own youth program and to discontinue its sponsorship of your unit after December 31, 2019. This change has left some families wondering how they can participate in Scouting beyond January 1, 2020. Many are also concerned that involvement in the Church’s forthcoming youth program might preclude them from Scouting. Please rest assured that Scouting will continue to be available to all youth and families that desire to participate, and that you may do so with the Church’s blessing. 

At the 2018 National Annual Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made the following statements, “This isn’t a divorce. It’s growth. We’re not in any way disavowing any of those virtues of Scouting. It is just the charter part that we are separating from…We are friends now and we will be friends forever. In 18 months when our charters are finished, we hope that many LDS youth who wish to do so will still choose to be in Scouting.”

Plans are already in motion to establish new unit sponsors in your community in partnership with, among others, PTAs, PTOs, schools, civic organizations, churches, businesses, and neighborhood associations. Meanwhile, please follow the recent guidance provided jointly by the BSA and the Church in which we were instructed that, “Until that date, to allow for an orderly transition, the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8-13 and encourages all youth, families, and leaders to continue their active participation and financial support.” In addition, please remember to continue to enroll your incoming 8-year-old Cub Scouts to ensure that they receive the full benefit from the Scouting program and to ensure that registered Scouts are encouraged to continue to be involved in Scouting activities and advancement. 

Several months before the charters end, you will have the opportunity to select a new unit from among available sponsors. You will then be allowed to multiple register your son—at no charge—in both units for the balance of 2019. On January 1, 2020 you will simply begin meeting with your new Scouting unit.

We will stay in touch with you at each step along the way.

With deepest appreciation,

Michael Surbaugh                                   Charles W. Dahlquist, II
Chief Scout Executive                            Chair, Transition Task Force