On December 31, 2019, the LDS Church will officially unplug from the Boy Scouts of America. Wow, this is pretty historic and something that I wholeheartedly endorse and I’m sure we all saw coming from miles away. I am an Eagle Scout myself and while I acknowledge the tremendous impact for good that the organization has had in the world, I’ve believed for a long time that we could do better for our own people.
Since the changing of the guard, we have the consolidation of the high priests and elders and the discarding of the home and visiting teaching programs with their definition of success set at the bar of a visit and a reading of a message.
Personally, I find these changes very refreshing as our people are being focused on better service to one another and prepare our youth for these crazy times and the unique challenges they will need to face. Right now we have Cub Scouts, Webelos, Boy Scouts, Young Women’s Personal Progress, Activity Days, and all kinds of programs that require many callings, time, and resources to manage. To simplify everything and unite it all under a single umbrella and a vision that ties into our doctrine is going to be a refreshing and monumental change.
Here is an excerpt from the Church’s FAQ on this matter:
Over the past several years, the Church has been conducting an extensive review of all existing children and youth activities and personal development programs. As a global church with millions of children and youth, we need to address diverse needs and fortify all children and youth with gospel-centered growth and learning experiences now more than ever.
The focus of this new approach for children and youth is to help young people strengthen faith in Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This approach is intended to help children and youth discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills, participate in outdoor activities and service opportunities, and strengthen their ability to fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God.
In the new experience, children and youth will be encouraged to focus on setting and achieving goals to develop spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually as they seek to follow Jesus Christ. This approach is intended to reduce burdens on families, with greater flexibility to adapt to the needs of individuals and families around the world in many different circumstances. [Source]
Another reason I welcome the change is that I have long been sympathetic to the view that Scouts is given more respect than the Young Women’s program. A special ceremony is held for a boy that receives his Eagle rank, it’s a big deal and they’d put it in the newspaper back in the day. I have four daughters and the oldest of them just entered the Young Women program this year. She may be the only one to have earned her Personal Progress and whatever achievement this new program has offer so that’s interesting to me.
I think this change will allow our young men and women to participate in a program with equally respectful achievements that promote a unity that falls more in line with our doctrine and the Family Proclamation.
Bring it on.