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LDS church to go forward with Boy Scouts of America program

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Posted at 9:46 AM, Aug 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-26 19:53:00-04

SALT LAKE CITY - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just announced it has decided to continue to be a chartering organization of the Boy Scouts of America.

The LDS church said in a statement, "at this time, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards."

In July, The LDS Church expressed concerns about the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow gay troop leaders, and there was talk the LDS Church might consider breaking their troops away from scouting to form their own group.

“There was a lot of uncertainty that we’ve been dealing with,” said Rick Barnes, a scout executive for Great Salt Lake Council.

David Pack is the scout executive for Utah National Parks council, and his council includes 90,000 youth and 47,000 leaders. He said 99 percent of their scout members are in troops chartered by the LDS Church.

“We're humbled and excited by the announcement coming from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” Pack said of the announcement from LDS Church leaders.

Memebers of the LGBT community are also applauding the decision.

“I think the LDS Church is listening carefully and that they want all the citizens of the United States to feel accepted and feel safe,” said Marian Edmonds-Allen, who is the Executive Director for the Utah Pride Center.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Wednesday from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the Church’s relationship with the Boy Scouts of America:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth. As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.

In the resolution adopted on July 27, 2015, and in subsequent verbal assurances to us, BSA has reiterated that it expects those who sponsor Scouting units (such as the Church) to appoint Scout leaders according to their religious and moral values “in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.” At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.

With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.

In response to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' decision to continue its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, Zach Wahls, co-founder and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, issued the following statement:

"We are heartened by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' decision to continue working with the Boy Scouts of America and to continue offering the program to its young men. We have maintained from the beginning of our campaign that the values and life lessons of Scouting are universal, and we would have been saddened to see hundreds of thousands of youth denied the opportunity to participate in the Boy Scouts. We hope to continue to work to build a stronger and more welcoming Boy Scouts of America with friends and allies across the religious and political spectrum."