Mormon church to end 105-year relationship with the Boy Scouts
(CNN) — The Mormon church is parting ways with the Boy Scouts of America after more than a century.
In a joint statement Tuesday night, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America announced their decision to end their relationship next year after 105 years.
The Boy Scouts serves about 330,000 Mormon youths, and the Mormon church is one of its largest sponsors.
“We have jointly determined that, effective on December 31, 2019, the church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world,” the statement said.
The Mormon church said it made the decision because it’s expanded outside the United States, and wants to explore new youth programs that serve its international members.
It will continue to work fully with the organization and support its goals and values until the end of next year.
The announcement comes a week after the Boy Scouts announced it’s dropping the word “boy” from its main program as girls prepare to join. The new name will be Scouts BSA, and only applies to the Boy Scouts program, which is available for teens ages 11-17. The Cub Scouts program, for children ages 5-10, will not undergo a name change.
Last October, the Boy Scouts opened the scouting program to girls, both a reflection of growing progressive attitudes as well as a business decision.
The Boy Scouts of America has seen declining numbers for years. The organization says it has nearly 2.3 million youth members, a decrease from the 2.8 million members in 2012.
The Mormon church announced that older teens in the United States and Canada will no longer take part in two Boy Scouts programs starting in January this year. The church said it will begin a new program for boys ages 14 to 18.
The church said the move aims to shift focus to “spiritual, social, physical and intellectual goals outlined by the church.”
But it comes as the church expressed reservations about the Boy Scouts’ decision to allow gay and transgender troop leaders.
Two years prior, in 2015, the Boy Scouts said it will allow gay troop leaders, a decision the Mormon church said it was “deeply troubled by.”
At the time, the church said it’s decided to continue its affiliation with the Boy Scouts after written and verbal assurances that the church can choose their own troop leaders.