LDS Church members think Church should cut ties with BSA, poll shows

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the church should end its support of the Boy Scouts of America, according to a new Utah Policy poll.

It comes just a month after the BSA announced it was lifting its ban on gay scout leaders, while providing an exemption for religious institutions.

The study found 63 percent of “very active” church members think the church should probably or definitely sever ties with BSA.

In contrast, only 23 percent of similar members want the church to remain in BSA.

Amongst non-active members, the numbers were more evenly split. Forty-six percent believe the church should continue its relationship with BSA, while 47 percent do not.

“It’s discouraging and kind of disappointing to see those kinds of numbers coming in,” said Mark Lawrence director of LGBT rights group, Restore Our Humanity.

Following the policy change by BSA, Lawrence announced his organization was filing an application to start an all-inclusive scouting troop in Utah.

Thus far, they have 15 scouts and five leaders signed on to participate.

“Inclusion is never a bad thing. Inclusion is important, and it’s always good,” Lawrence said. “It’s best for society, and it’s unfortunate that they feel like that they have to distance themselves from this.”

The LDS church would not comment on the poll Monday. They instead referred back to a previous statement, which said the BSA policy change was deeply troubling. ​

4 comments

  • Cheryl

    It’s not that the LDS Church doesn’t believe in inclusion, it’s just that on various sides, the program is very expensive and cumbersome to maintain, costing the Church thousands of dollars and man-hours in training. When coupled with the fact that it is available to boys through the LDS Church charters only in the US, and the Church has membership growing all around the world, it becomes very exclusive to its own membership as well. I have 3 daughters, and was always told that the Church didn’t support Girl Scouts because they, too, supported lesbein leadership (way before this was an issue), and my girls and I participated in our local troop and sold the cookies. It was horribly underfunded and directionless compared to the way the BSA is run. If the Church decides to continue to sponsor the BSA with this new ruling, they better plan to do the same for the girls. I don’t really think this is the true issue as much as BSA has become an outdated program and the LDS Church has outgrown it long ago. This is a great time to phase out and make something that will work for all the young people around the world who belong to the LDS Church, and create a program that is more relevant to today’s problems that kids are facing.

  • Miles

    Five years ago, it would have been fine to create a separate program for the LDS youth. I’m an Eagle Scout and a trained LDS Scoutmaster and Cubmaster currently serving in a church-chartered Cub Scout pack, and if the church ditches the BSA, I have no problem finding another BSA unit. But I will not participate in a church-run separate program now that they have made it clear that the new program would exist specifically due to a hate so strong that they feel that is their right to dictate who other units could let lead those units. I can’t let myself be counted as a member of that kind of youth program.

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