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Mormons end their relationship with (non) Boy Scouts

This is headline news because it’s basically the death of the (former) Boy Scouts as an organization. The new, politically correct, all-inclusive, gender-neutral “Scouts BSA” committed suicide. Good riddance to them.

The LDS church in the U.S. had already separated itself from two specific programs designed for teenagers. They didn’t say it was because of the Scouts recent history of PC decisions overturning traditional Scout values. In fact the then-Boy Scouts had given the church special permission to conduct its scouting operations in harmony with its religious beliefs. But did anybody believe the church’s claim that the programs for teens were merely “inconvenient”?

As of 2020, Mormons will be completely divorced from the Scouts BSA and its shifting-with-the-political-winds BS.

It’s obligatory to say here that I believe that the Scouts, a private organization, have a right to make whatever peaceable decisions they wish. As do the Mormons.

But for an outfit that’s supposedly designed to turn boys into men, the Scouts have been aggressively betraying their own mission for decades. They’ve gradually replaced fun but “dangerous” activities with wimpy ones. And lately they’ve made major decisions that seem solely intended to appease the very people who want to demolish the concept of manhood.

Think about that: They have denatured themselves attempting to please the very people who most want their historic values and mission obliterated.

My friend Furrydoc and her family have been involved in scouting for years. Both their sons are Eagle Scouts and Furrydoc’s husband is a long-time scout leader (blessedly of the sort who still conducts “dangerous” activities).

When the Scouts decided to admit girls, I asked Furrydoc if they were going to quit scouting (especially since, by then, their boys were in college). They were thinking about it, but planned to hang in there for the sake of three other boys who were still aiming to make Eagle.

Now? They’re out.

Scouts’ membership has declined rapidly in the last few years. Perhaps this is merely a sign of changing times. Or perhaps it’s a response to the Scouts’ earlier decisions to forbid interestingly “dangerous” activities. It’s easy to see why they’re now desperate to reinvent and revive themselves. It’s harder to see why they’ve chosen the course of blurring their identity and abandoning their traditions, seemingly without a second thought.

I had lunch with Furrydoc on Saturday, before the latest announcement from the LDS church, but after the BSA name change. We talked about this. “All it would take,” I said, “is for the Mormons to announce ‘we’re quitting and starting our own organization for boys’ and the Scouts are dead. Don’t they realize that?”

Over half of all Scout troops are sponsored by churches (overwhelmingly Protestant). Of course, some of those churches are liberal and will absorb all the PC decisions.

According to the Washington Post 20 percent of all Scouts are Mormon (or at least in Mormon-sponsored troops). I believe the actual number is higher. But even if 20 is correct, that’s an enormous hit. And it’s certain that Mormons will draw other conservative Christians away from Scouts BSA — especially if they start their own organization and make it open to all).

I believe and hope there’s also a backlash building against the entire “manhood is toxic” mentality that the Scouts have so spinelessly yielded to. The LDS decision will be only the beginning of a very well-deserved end.

In my youth, I was never a fan of Scouts. I considered them a weird, paramilitary organization that promoted moral values the members usually didn’t live by. As a grownup, I came to understand that those values were aspirational, even if imperfectly observed. As an old freedomista, I understand to my bones that liberty needs boys who learn to think and act like strong, good men.

If I ran an organization for boys (which, heaven forbid), I’d certainly welcome atheists and gays as the BSA has — and I’d also understand why Mormons wouldn’t like that. But I wouldn’t wimp that organization out in a twisted effort to turn boys into neuters.

It’s surprising that the Boy Scouts of America failed so dramatically to understand their own mission, the very purpose of their existence. Since they didn’t and don’t, to hell with them.


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  1. Bear
    Bear May 9, 2018 8:05 am

    Private? Not so much; chartered by Congress under 36 USC 311. That gives them special privileges and immunities beyond even normal corporations. And in grants, subsidies, military support…

    Meh. The Scouts lost me in the ’70s when they deemphasized outdoorsy stuff and shifted to “civics.” Never mind that the camping and physical development (for city kids who tended to lack such) was the original point of the Boy Scouts. I distinctly remember boys and parents complaining when that new handbook came out, and I wasn’t the only one to quit.

  2. Comrade X
    Comrade X May 9, 2018 8:39 am

    I was a cub scout but being that we moved way out into the country as I got older going to Boy Scout meetings was out of the question.

    One of my sons lives in St Louie, he has become Catholic due to his wife’s family (I’ve never seen so many Catholic’s as what I’ve seen in St Louie), years ago their particular church (I bet most Catholic churches ain’t like theirs where their monk when on man retreat’s goes shooting with the boys) broke from the BSA and started what they called “The Rangers” (over 100 kids are in it). When back there I’ve gone on some of their hikes (They encourage Dad’s and even Granddads to participate too), the way they ended the last hike I was on was to have the Boys practice carrying out the wounded, two kids would make a stretcher out of their back packs and walking sticks and carry a third.

    In walking behind them the Dad’s and Granddads would pick up what the kids might drop, I found laying in the path a flash marked “Holy Water”, I picked it up and made a joke to the others; I hoped we didn’t need this, the other Dads and Granddads kinda looked at me as if they didn’t get my joke as if it was perfectly normal, you see the only thing I thought Holy water was good for was keeping the Vampires at bay but obviously there must be other uses too.

  3. Ken Hagler
    Ken Hagler May 9, 2018 8:59 am

    I was a member briefly in the 1980s, but by then they never did any outdoorsy stuff _at all_. It was just guys throwing balls at each other the whole time, and I left as soon as I realized that was never going to change.

    Interestingly, all the stuff that the culture warriors like to fuss over never even came up. The meetings were in a church, but no religion ever came up–it was just an available room. Nobody ever spent event a minute groveling to invisible sky monsters, and nobody cared that I was an atheist. There were enough people involved that at least one of them had to have been gay, but I never knew who it was. The subject never once came up. I never even knew that there had ever been any policies on atheists and gays until I read about culture warriors squabbling over them years later, and I suspect that the vast majority of the people squabbling _on both sides_ had never been members and never had any interest in joining.

    Back then girls couldn’t join, but I don’t believe for a minute that anyone would have cared if they could. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most of the boys would have been happy about it.

  4. fred
    fred May 9, 2018 9:26 am

    I’ll side with the Mormons on this.The boy scouts are through.Even they have figured it out,they just dont know it yet.

  5. ~Qjay
    ~Qjay May 9, 2018 10:40 am

    The organization has been pretty crappy for awhile. I laugh every time some jackass brags “I’m an Eagle Scout!” at a campout or bonfire; I know I’m going to have to make the fire, because he can’t, even with gasoline.

    It makes me sad, I used to do it without using a lighter, just to rub it in, then I realized they didn’t understand the difference. I’m not even a big outdoorsman, I hate camping.

  6. Claire
    Claire May 9, 2018 10:54 am

    “The organization has been pretty crappy for awhile. I laugh every time some jackass brags “I’m an Eagle Scout!” at a campout or bonfire; I know I’m going to have to make the fire, because he can’t, even with gasoline.”

    I think that’s the real problem. It’s not whether gays or atheists are admitted (as Ken Hagler points out, they always have been). It’s that all the latest, much more public, moves simply reveal how denatured the organization has long since become.

    Furrydoc’s husband is an oldstyle scout leader. His scouts do know how to light fires and do many other seriously outdoorsy things. They go camping in wintertime on islands that have no “facilities” at all. But they’re not typical.

    Even the local Mormons, in their scouting programs, more or less run “badge mills” in which boys, aided by adults, quickly do the minimum needed to qualify.

    It’s sad, though that the one organization that could and should have stood strong for helping boys grow into responsible, resourceful men was so quick to cop out.

  7. elnorte
    elnorte May 9, 2018 1:31 pm

    The tone of a Scout troop is set by local leadership – Scoutmaster and supporting staff. Scouting BSA management sets the tone, but for the most part are not that involved. Clubs vary a lot in interest and ability.

    “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” Scouting BSA is a high adventure, young-person development organization. Scouting, at its core, is a merit based learning system that encourages any and every child to learn these fundamentally good skills taught by a program we know will do it right. Allowing girls to become Eagle Scouts does not diminish the meaning of Eagle. It strengthens the community that Eagle Scout touches.

    For what it is worth, here is the actual reorganization, as opposed to someones opinion as to how the Scouts are now organized. The new designations are Cub Scouts (grades 1-5) which are coed, Scouts (ages 11-17) which are now to be gender separate clubs with all scouting activities and achievements available separately now to boys AND girls (this is the change), Venturing (ages 14-20) which are fully coed clubs, and Explorers (ages 10-20) which are also fully coed. Clubs are free to choose their designation.

    World over, since inception, Scouting has for the most part been a coed organization. America is the exception, and there have been some historic reasons for that. I don’t see how this changes with the reorganization as Scout clubs are still separated into boy and girl.

  8. Dana
    Dana May 9, 2018 1:39 pm

    Why not just rename “Scouts BSA” the “Young Pioneers” and be done with it?

  9. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran May 9, 2018 1:41 pm

    I was in Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts in the 1960s to 1970. In Boy Scouts we did a lot of camp outs including a two week camp in the Adirondack Mountains at a Scout camp there. Hiking, canoe trips, training with knives, hatchets and axes, orienteering, knot tying, mile swim. I enjoyed that, but in high school I played sports and that conflicted with the regular Scout meetings that I didn’t really care for anyways, so I quit. My rank was Star Scout when I quit.

  10. Claire
    Claire May 9, 2018 2:05 pm

    ” I don’t see how this changes with the reorganization as Scout clubs are still separated into boy and girl.”

    Well, I can’t speak for anybody else, but my concern isn’t about the sexes fraternizing. They do, anyhow, of course. My concern is programs being watered down and boys having fewer and fewer ways to learn to be capable men. And all this happening at a time when the very concept of manhood is under attack while opportunities for girls and women have already expanded tremendously.

  11. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson May 9, 2018 4:23 pm

    Want to turn a boy into a man? Don’t have him hang around with a bunch of other boys…that just brings out latent infantile impulses in boys…instead, have them work and play shoulder to shoulder with adult men.

    Today, there are a thousand impediments to raising boys to be men. They are dragooned into schools and forced to sit still against their nature, prohibited from working until half-way through their teen years, denied apprentice status by child labor laws, shamed for their physicality, deemed guilty of a myriad of original sins for the mistake of having the wrong sex organs, and told their successes are a result of their privilege, not their competence. That most boys DO grow to be men, albeit 10 years too slowly, is a miracle.

    In my teens I did not have a high opinion of the BSA, but my exposure to Boy Scouts was very limited. The ‘townies’ that marched around in their uniforms didn’t impress me. They did, however, get to go camping and hiking whereas I only got to hunt and work. OTOH, joining the BSA was probably better than nothing. Certainly the current crop of fragile boy/men in their 20’s (no, not all of them) would probably have been improved by having a firm Scout leader and some good outdoor time. Sounds like that those days are over.

  12. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 9, 2018 7:35 pm

    I earned my Eagle about 1961, and my father and brother were both Eagles. We camped out in the Mojave Desert, up in the Sierras, then in West Texas and around the Texas Hill Country, and did so year-round. Back before that, as a Cub Scout, we carried our pocket knives to school, which was expected. I still carry the same compass I learned to navigate with.

    Our troop was sponsored by a Methodist church, but the only religion I got was when I studied for the God and Country Award. We had kids earn the equivalent from many different churches, and no one cared what denomination you were, or weren’t.

    Back then “gay” meant happy.

    Baden-Powell is spinning in his grave. When my grandkids get to be nine, I’ll recommend 4-H.

  13. Why
    Why May 9, 2018 10:36 pm

    Trail Life USA has been growing steadily since the BSA pushed things too far.

    A shame that it had to happen, but I’m glad that many have had the courage to walk away from a dead horse.

    It was a wonderful organization for generations of boys, and it has been murdered.

    Eagle, Class of 1993.

    And yes, I can build a fire without gasoline.

  14. fred
    fred May 9, 2018 10:38 pm

    Inclusion,working with the opposite sex,whatever.One thing I’m sure of.Mormons know how to make men that are men,and women that are women.

    Boys and girls do have different roles in society,at least in mine, and segregation to learn that role sounds reasonable to me.

  15. Curt
    Curt May 10, 2018 5:09 am

    I am LDS and have been involved in the BSA for a very long time. From what I have observed, the Leftists aren’t interested in changing the BSA – they wanted to destroy it. And destroy it they did. I hope the LDS leadership can come up with something to bring back the male training program of yesteryear.

    The only reason the LDS separation from the BSA didn’t come earlier was because of our former President Monson (passed away in January of this year). Tom Monson was a big supporter of the BSA, which is obvious in the BSA’s 100th anniversary celebration. The rest of the LDS already knew this was coming but it took the new President Nelson to pull the trigger. We all knew it had to happen but the final act still brings tears to my eyes as I remember the BSA of old.

    I guess I’ll peruse my old BSA manuals and teach my grandsons.


    a former Scout of the 70s.

  16. deLaune
    deLaune May 10, 2018 2:16 pm

    Scouting in the 60s, lot’s of good memories. Our scout troop concentrated on woods skills and fitness, not merit badges. I made first class in less than a year and stopped. Wasn’t interested in taking merit badge tests.
    We had one “Life Scout” in our troop – I was his patrol leader. He was too much of a rule-follower to be put in charge of 8 sons of Roman Catholic factory workers (“tough crowd”).
    Our rules were simple: no foul language, no fighting (each other – the Methodist troop was fair game), no stealing, no bullying. We were only allowed to smoke cigarettes included in our WW2 surplus C-rats.
    We were out in the woods year round, rain, shine, snow, or ice. The Scoutmaster, Carl, illegally carried a pistol “just in case.” Assistant Scoutmaster carried a flask to share with any dads brave enough to join us. Carl always kept us supplied with illegal fireworks and military pyrotechnics.
    And no one died. I can only remember one broken bone.
    Anyone else have fond memories of Klondike Derbies?

  17. Technomad
    Technomad May 10, 2018 2:45 pm

    You’d think the BSA would have learned from their debacle in the 1970s. About six months or so after I joined up in 1972, they revamped the whole program—new uniforms, skill awards (brass ringlets on the belt), and de-emphasizing outdoors skills. It was now possible to earn First Class rank without having slept in a tent or having cooked over an open fire. And (at least in my local council) only First Class and above were grandfathered in…Second Class and below had to start all over again. This, to put it mildly, did not go well. The temper of the times was already not friendly to Scouting, and the shoals of urban boys they’d hoped to attract did not materialize.

    They got rid of almost all the changes in about 1980, but by that time I was long gone. My troop had imploded sometime around 1975, after we lost our Scoutmaster and couldn’t get another one (my troop did have some known behavior problems in the ranks, which did not help in getting a new Scoutmaster.)

    Like it or not, most growing boys want to spend time apart from girls and women, doing “boy” things. And most teenage boys loathe homosexuality no matter how much propaganda is expended on trying to make them accept it. The Scouts already have a problem with older boys losing interest due to the “fumes” (perfumes and car fumes); PCifying the program will not help. I don’t know if this will spell the end of the BSA or not; it’s been around a long time and has a lot of inertia. But it won’t help any.

    The best way—the only way—to deal with social justice warriors is a flat “No.” As in: “No, we will not change our program or our beliefs. No, we will not heed your stupid protests. No, we do not care what you want—you won’t join no matter what we do, so why should we? And since when does ‘no means no’ not apply to us?” The SJWs have managed to take over the venerable Hugo Awards in SF fandom, and now it looks like they’re after the Scouts, all in the name of their insane equality fetish.

  18. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran May 11, 2018 5:33 am

    Technomad wrote:

    The best way—the only way—to deal with social justice warriors is a flat “No.” As in: “No, we will not change our program or our beliefs. No, we will not heed your stupid protests. No, we do not care what you want—you won’t join no matter what we do, so why should we? And since when does ‘no means no’ not apply to us?”

    You’re absolutely right! This is the best and only way to deal with self-righteous SJWs, refuse to comply with their busy-body demands! Too bad the Boy Scouts didn’t do this and because they didn’t, they’re self-destructing!

  19. Claire
    Claire May 11, 2018 7:47 am

    Very good — very sad — article, John. Thank you.

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