Mormon Church pulls older teens from Boy Scouts program

Mormon church making changes to partnership with Boy Scouts

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - For more than 100 years, the Mormon Church and the Boy Scouts of America have created a strong partnership. 

"The partnership will continue for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts that's ages 8-13 to be exact," says Darren Hulstine, Stake President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Santa Maria.  

Starting next year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be making changes to that partnership. 

Specifically for it's older teen members who are 14 to 18 years old. 

"The way we will proceed is to inform all the young men and scout leaders that this is how the church will handle this that the church won't be chartering these units," says Hulstine. 

He says teen members will be encouraged to shift their focus. 

"In the church they are preparing to serve a mission so the church does want to focus on their spiritual, emotional, and physical advancement and progress," he says. 

He says the church will not discourage any of the young men to participate in Boy Scouts. 

"It's a little bit challenging because we have two organizations overlapping each other we have the church and the Boy Scouts and as they get older they have different interests," he says .

More than 300,000 LDS youth are currently part of the Boy Scouts. 

In a statement the Boy Scouts of America says: "Although thousands of youth and leaders who participate in venturing crews nationwide embrace and support the program, we recognize that not all programs are a perfect fit for all partners. We anticipate that many youth from the LDS church will continue to participate in scouting."

As a former scout master himself, Hulstine says the Boy Scout's decision to allow openly gay leaders in the group is not influencing their church on this decision. 

"I would say no the church doesn't discriminate against anyone and we are in favor of the way that Boy Scouts have handled issues in the past," he says. 

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