The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints announced last Thursday that it will be cutting most of its ties to the Boy Scouts of America, allowing younger boys aged 8-13 to remain in scouting while pulling the 185,000 older boys aged 14-18 from all scouting activities.
The Mormon Church has maintained that the move does not follow the Boy Scouts’ recent decision to allow gay troop leaders, a topic the church still rebukes, but instead wants a new program run by the church worldwide and more closely tailored for Mormon teenagers, ABC News reports.
For decades the Mormon Church has been allied with the Boy Scouts, being that the two organization’s values have been closely aligned. However, in the cultural shifts the country has seen, the Boy Scouts have diverged from Mormon principles.
In Thursday’s announcement, the church stated that the scouts have been discussing allowing girls into their ranks but remained fervent that the decision was separate of such talks.
“The church is wedded very much to traditional gender roles and they see the Boy Scouts of America increasingly move away from that,” Matthew Bowman, a Mormon scholar and history professor at Henderson State University said. “That means that they have come to see it as less of a hospitable place.”
For as long as most can remember, the Boy Scouts of America has been synonymous with Mormon culture. It is almost a requirement for the young boys to become apart of the organization. The withdrawal will deal a heavy blow to the Boy Scouts, whose numbers have decreased in recent years.