A Minute With Mark: Looking Ahead to the LDS-BSA Changes with 20/20 Vision

Last week The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it will no longer sponsor Scouting units beginning in 2020. (Read the joint LDS-BSA statement here.)

This change sparked a series of reactions across our nation. Some Church members were thrilled. Others were saddened. As the LDS-BSA Relationships Director, I was immediately submerged with a flood of correspondence as people throughout our organization and religion expressed their thoughts, concerns, and hopes. This past week has been a pivotal time in my career and in my personal life.

As we all know these changes are significant. They will mark the end of a partnership that has lasted over a century. My life has been touched and blessed by Scouting since the days of my youth, and this Scouting legacy has continued in the lives of my wife, our five sons, and our five daughters.

When the news broke we enjoyed some personal family time, reflecting on the many experiences we have shared through our LDS Scouting associations–hiking, backpacking, camping, attending Scout Expos, meetings, conferences, jamborees, and other incredible opportunities that have blessed all of us. Scouting is indeed a family adventure and I am grateful that each of my children and my wife have been touched by Scouting in a positive and meaningful way. We will be forever grateful for all that we experienced through the LDS-BSA partnership.

However, as the LDS-BSA relationship comes to a close it is time to look ahead in a new direction, to the year 2020, with 20/20 vision. As we begin this upcoming era, I invite each of you to move forward in two ways:

First, share the wonderful LDS-BSA Scouting experiences you have had. Share your stories, your photos, your memories in writing, in word, on social media, and with those around you. What a magnificent legacy we have built together. Let’s never forget it.

Second, stay involved. Even though the LDS Church will no longer be sponsoring Scouting after 2019, I invite you to keep Scouting as part of your heritage. My family will always be actively involved in this life-changing program. We will still register in packs, troops and crews. We will still attend jamborees and participate in Philmont adventures. We will continue to work to build bridges between Scouting and good people throughout the world. I invite you to do the same.

During the past few years I have served as the advisor on the National Education Relationships Subcommittee. Our nationwide team has developed materials, legislation, awards, and tools to support Scouting units through public schools, homeschool groups, private schools, and PTAs/PTOs. Serving in this capacity has given me a greater understanding of the benefits of community Scouting and the advantages to sponsoring units through educational outlets. Specifically, the following have been developed: Adopt-a-school program, Outstanding Educator Award, Report to the School District, and School Access Legislation (this information will be released at the 2018 National Annual Meeting).

The structure is already in place for Scouting to continue to thrive! I excitedly anticipate the endless possibilities as LDS Scouting families move from Church units to community units.

Consider the many benefits and advantages that this upcoming change will bring to both LDS members and to the BSA:

  • I believe that this separation—while initially creating a decrease in registration—will actually display more accurate numbers of actively engaged youth, leaders and units. It is exciting to think how these quality numbers will grow when LDS members choose Scouting.
  • This transition will allow these new units to be filled with strong leaders who already love Scouting and are already trained. It will also give LDS youth a greater chance to enjoy all of the benefits of Scouting, instead of just the portions previously incorporated by the Church.
  • It will open doors for people of many faiths within a community to work together in Scouting. Some of our non-LDS friends have chosen not to be involved in LDS units and this will now provide new opportunities for them.
  • And finally, when parents are presented with several choices for extra-curricular activities, I am confident that they will still choose a values-based character-building organization for their child to be involved in. As an icon in our nation, Scouting will continue to be an honorable and commendable part of youth development. Scouting has never been more needed than now. I know that my family will continue to choose Scouting.

A few months ago, I had the unique opportunity to attend the Inter-Religious Forum of World Scouting in Rome, Italy. At the meeting key leaders from many religious organizations were in attendance. During our enlightening and respectful weekend, I was again thrilled and grateful for the amazing connections and relationships that Scouting provides. Scouting brings good men and women of many walks of life together in our communities, in our nation, and in the world. Isn’t this exactly what our society needs at this time?

These Scouting relationships and experiences don’t need to end, even if we are bidding farewell to our largest chartered partner. Instead, this is a jumping off point, a beginning to strengthen those relationships even further. I firmly believe that our continued interactions with good people will bring us strength and light in an ever-darkening world. Our youth need this now more than ever.

Just five years ago we celebrated a thrilling centennial of the LDS-BSA partnership. Now we are experiencing another historic change. Isn’t it exciting to have front row seats at both of these events?

Thank you for your continued support of Scouting as we navigate the last year and a half of this historic partnership. I invite you to remain fully engaged and also prepare to begin a new era of Scouting as we transfer and transform our youth.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if I can help in any way. I will do my best to assist you in your efforts during this pivotal, historic, and exciting time.

Yours in Scouting,

Mark R. Francis, LDS-BSA Relationships Director

Mark R. Francis

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  1. As always, wise counsel, Mark! Thank you for your devoted service and that of your family over the years. Scouting has had a profound impact on many inside and outside of the Church and we will never forget those experiences.

    And, we will make the most of the remaining year and a half of this exciting adventure with the Church and BSA and beyond for those Church members who choose to move forward in community units.

  2. bob bedont says:

    Thanks you for your crystal-ball observations. I am LDS but not active as a youth so my scouting came through another denomination – and it was a WONDERFUL experience that has shaped my life and my work in scouting as an adult leader.
    Scouting is still “true” and has value in the lives of youth and families. My 4 boys are grown and all sit in Eagle Nests – I hope that my grandchildren will do likewise

  3. KevintheScout blogger here …
    What a great article, Mark. Thanks so much. Yes, this is something that we should all think seriously about.

  4. James Taylor says:

    I wanted to share an email that I have sent to the Stake YM Presidencies in the two Stakes in our District. I am District Commissioner for the District and am very concerned about the direction and options we offer to LDS Scouts and Scouters, but the Stake Presidencies will desperately need direction before I think they’ll be able to move forward.

    I think Stakes and Wards have three possible options for members that wish to continue in Scouting, going forward:
    – “You are on your own”, that is, each member must find a traditional, community unit that suits them
    – Create traditional units, chartered by the Stake or the Ward
    – Create traditional units, chartered by members, through their business or community groups

    To be boringly detailed, I want to make a few distinctions:
    Sponsored unit – the organization pays for and charters the unit
    Chartered unit – the organization “owns” the unit, but funding, paperwork and operations are managed by the committee. Funding comes from the Scout families and Unit fundraising events. The Charter organization just provides space, with direction and advice depending on the Innstitution Head’s interest.
    LDS unit – BSA manages the paperwork and billing for for an LDS unit with the Stake. Size and organizational requirements are not fully enforced for LDS units.
    Traditional or Community unit – Funding and paperwork is managed by the Unit Committee, 10 or more youth required, fully staffed committee, recruiting, normal funding: FOS, popcorn, Adventure cards, Scout O Rama, etc.
    I think that a number of organization changes have been left vaguely defined in the announcements and FAQs I have read, and at least a couple of problems that I think we’ll need to resolve.

    – The 18 month count down. As the program changes have been anticipated and discussed over the last 2 years encouraging members to be actively engaged in their Scouting callings has been terribly difficult. Training rates have fallen from about 1 in 3 fully trained to less than 1 in 5, and fewer of the boy facing leaders are fully trained. Few units are doing committed outdoor activities. Worse is that more often than ever we’re seeing units “gift” Eagles to young men, YM not receiving any of the required instruction in leadership, and not actually having responsibility in their leadership positions. Adult leaders are and now are publicly “short timing” the Scout positions they have as callings. Allowing that to continue is good neither for the boys, or for the adult leaders.
    – The distinction between sponsoring an LDS unit, and chartering a traditional unit. I think the direction I’ve seen from the first Presidency leaves open whether the Stake and Wards may charter units, “on their own dime”. I think the LDS unit is gone, and sponsoring under Ward and Stake budgets is gone. But, our direction does not forbid a Stake President or a Bishop from chartering a unit as institution head. Our direction does not forbid a traditional unit from meeting at an LDS building.
    – Whether the Church breaking ALL ties with the BSA. Locally LDS Churches provide many of the meeting places for other BSA events: Roundtable, Eagle Boards, training, Merit Badge Events and so on. To me it is unclear whether the intention is the break every tie with the BSA. It is now unclear, should the District Committee be looking for a new District home?
    – Members joining traditional units. We are going to have several cultural challenges. Our non-LDS community units camp, travel and participate in Scout Camp on Sundays. It will be difficult to participate in many, or for some units, any activities without participating on Sunday. For many members that will be a deal breaker, although opinions vary. Other minor challenges will be coffee, tea, fast days, which won’t be well understood or supported. With all that, many traditional units will welcome our Scouts, and they’ll have a first rate experience. The district can and I think should work with families to identify those units.

    One of our Stakes has already chosen to charter Venturing units with member businesses, after Venturing disbanded, to support Philmont trips, as well as adding young women’s crews. I think this is a possible solution here as well. Our public schools, or community groups like the Elks may be willing to provide space for a larger pack or troop. The size of a Stake based troop may be too large to be easily accommodated, but this is a possible choice, particularly if we are welcome to meet on Church properties.

    For myself, I would strongly advocate chartering traditional units at the Stake level, with the Stake President as Institution Head. I would suggest chartering those units now, and transitioning or dual registering youth who are interested in continuing in Scouting, now. The Ward units would remain for those who are a few months from Eagle and not interested in continuing, and for the last 18 months of faux-Scouting. The Stake unit can be staffed with those members who are trained, who have stepped up to advanced training, and have a personal interest in and passion for Scouting. I would also encourage those units to begin recruiting Scouts from the community, to help maintain a wider base and stability through the eventual leadership changes among Church Members. But that advocacy is hypothetical until there is a clear statement to our Stakes clarifying the ultimate stance of the Church vs. the BSA.

  5. Bob Mersereau says:

    Thanks, Mark, for sharing this insight and wisdom. As both a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a Scouter your thoughts are especially helpful and appreciated. More and more I think the coming years will show this change to have been good for the Church and Scouting and that both with thrive in their shared dedication to raising up young men and women of character, integrity, values, and with a strong commitment of duty to God and others.

  6. Allan Campbell says:

    I guess my question would be as we have more LDS youth join “traditional” troops how will the no camping on Sundays going to work out. Will we see more Bishops excusing Scouts from Sunday services or duties? Will families just elect to have their scout miss Sunday mornings.

  7. Trina says:

    Thank you for your comments!! My family and I have already decided to continue supporting Scouting after 12/31/19. We spoke just yesterday of working with the school that my daughter goes to and work with them to sponsor a Venturing unit, hoping to encourage them to sponsor a Troop and Pack as well. We love what Scouting has given our family and agree that the youth of today needs Scouting now more than ever!!

  8. Sheila Foraker says:

    Well written, Mark, and thank you. I have felt sadness and a deep sense of loss since the announcement. I got my start in LDS scouting through a Stake Primary calling. Since then I have learned and grown in scouting and strongly support the values and character development for youth – and the adults who serve them. As we move forward I am hopeful that there will be many LDS families who will continue to support scouting, and as you noted, in ways that previously were not possible. I am also hopeful that the new youth programs that the Church will offer will be lead by engaged leaders who will see to the development of youth in a world-wide church. I will continue to support scouting and the church and we’ll make the most of this final chapter in the LDS-BSA partnership. Thank you for your leadership in LDS-BSA relations. All the best to you as we move forward in scouting.

  9. Jason Lichfield says:

    Mark. My friend your insight is enlightening. Thank you again for your thoughts. I’m rolling some ideas around in my head now… thank you for your direction and I hope to see you on the trail along the way!
    Btw. I’ve got 18 life Scouts in my unit. And three soon to be… it’s going to be a long year and a half of great service projects lol!

  10. Derrick Larsen says:

    Mark, Thank you for your continued service and vision. I firmly believe that Scouting is a wonderful organization that provides amazing experiences for our youth. What better way for our youth to invite their friends to adopt higher ideals by having them join neighborhood Packs and Troops. Scouting is a wonderful tool and will continue to be so!

  11. Brett Bybee says:

    There are ways to participate fully in a community unit and still attend Sunday meetings and honor the Sabbath Day. It will probably require extra effort and sacrifice, in the same way my daughter chooses to miss Sunday games with her club basketball league. That said, in some cases, it may be desirable and more convenient to start new units that are more sensitive to Sabbath Day priorities.

  12. Robert S Schleich says:

    Well Said! Although I will faithfully support the new direction of the Church, I will continue to lead, mentor and inspire the youth of the community in another Troop. It might even lead to missionary experiences with the parents!

  13. John Sanders says:

    I am a scoutmaster and Eagle scout. I have spent 10 years of my adult life in Cubs and BSA leadership roles. I think there will be some awesome troops out there but I also believe that it is overly optimistic to think scouting will emerge stronger than ever. They just lost 30% of their dues paying members. The transition time line is only to keep from leaving boys hanging and to allow the church time to untangle all the real estate ventures

  14. Gail Schaper says:

    Mark , what a great article , I have met many fAbulous LDS scouts and leaders which I would have never had met if they were not associated with BSA .

  15. Priscilla "Pat" Thompson says:

    Mark, First thanks you for your service and vision. For over 20 years I have been involved in both community and LDS Scouting programs. Your thoughts serve as both inspiration and encouragement to continue to do so. Scouting changes lives both individually and vicariously. As we move forward to create more community units it is my hope that that we will be embraced by others as we embrace them to accept our differences, because at the end of the day, Heavenly Father and Scouting make us all equal.

  16. Gary Sanford says:

    Thanks for the inspirational message. I live in the Utah National Parks Council where there are approx 40 community units. I am from the Cascade Area Council where I have spent the better part of 40 years in scouting both in District and Council positions. How can I assist?

  17. Ed Morrow says:

    Thanks for your inspired, positive reflection as we transition. I am thrilled that we can still move ahead and demonstrate our charity as we embrace other community Scouters. I am grateful that my choice led me to seriously seek to strengthen the units around me. There are so many spiritual LDS Scouters, who like me, recognized the Lord’s hand in Scouting. The Scouting community is full of wonderful people of many faiths. They all focus on building youth so they can be our future servant leaders. God bless you Mark. I have also chosen to stay loyal to the Scouting movement. I can’t wait to see you at the NAM in Dallas, Texas.

  18. R. Chip Turner says:

    Thanks, Mark! Well said. You are appreciated so much!

  19. Regel says:

    We in the Philippines are also saddened by the announcement. We have just finished our woodbadge course last year and had produced quality boy scouts in our stake (Novaliches Stake). Our boys are still exited to our upcoming activities. And we are still hoping we can produce eagle scouts before 2020.

  20. Allen Johnston says:

    I do not think Scouts will be stronger than ever. LDS youth and families will have difficulty attending Scout troop activities as well as the Church’s activity night, not to mention athletics and school activities all in the same week. Something will have to go. I think it will be Scouting.

  21. Jennifer Parker says:

    I am so glad to read all the positive remarks to your article. I too have been involved with scouting for almost 25 years and my husband and I do not have children. The scouts are our kids. It is definitely a worthwhile program. I have served (all volunteer positions) from the Pack level all the way through Area 1 Western Region for a period of time. My biggest fear is that some leaders will stop the program now, versus giving the youth an AWESOME 18 months of program.

  22. James Francisco says:

    Thank you for your comments. I’ve been involved with the BSA for 26 years as a volunteer and in LDS unit positions. I am one of those that will be continuing on as a volunteer, trying to build my council and the strong district of traditional BSA units in my area. There are a couple of things that would help us out in the field. First, strong public reinforcement from the General Authorities that the termination of the LDS-BSA relationship is an operational decision. I’m already hearing in my area comments to the effect that “if the church is dropping scouting, there must be something morally bad about it.” If it takes a First Presidency letter to get the point across, so be it. The second help would be some thoughts and guidance on how to gracefully sunset our troops and packs. Transitioning the families that want to continue in scouting to transition to remaining units and to ease those who have no interest in continuing gracefully out of the BSA.

  23. Robert Sanchez says:

    I’ve been the Scoutmaster for my wards troop off and on for over 10 years. Our charter form says our troop is 81 years old and now it faces oblivion. Should I have the support of the parents and can identify a new chartering organization will the church allow me to “take it on the road” so to speak and recharter the troop elseware?

  24. Carlos Nicho says:

    Mark, thank you for your help. Three years ago, I was an LDS parent with little to none Scouting experience called by the Lord to serve as troop Scoutmaster. You helped me. Especially, you helped me to understand the clash of cultures (LDS-BSA) which was very frustrating for me to do the job the Lord assign me to do with the 10-young men in the troop. As I learned more about Scouting, I discovered that Scouting could very well be a synonym of Priesthood which centers in service. Service continues both in Priesthood and in Scouting. It is not a religion-owned virtue but God’s.

  25. Steve Markham says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the positive effect scouting has had on me and my family. Nevertheless, I have to admit I was relieved the church ended the relationship. Not that I don’t love scouts because I do – we have a wonderful opportunity to reassess the needs of our youth. I look forward to a more integrated program. A program more interesting to more of our youth. I have to admit I will sorely miss scouting but I look forward to something even better.

  26. Sheldon Laird says:

    Thanks for your insight and points. I enjoyed them very much. As I neared the end if the article, it kind of reads as if the Church is just dropping scouting and is not going to have a program that is as good or better than scouting. As a long time scouted, it is hard to imagine anything as good, but that is the intention I have to believe. As we give this new program a chance, many of our efforts may be split if we continue to embrace scouting fully. I appreciate your thoughts and positive points. I guess we’ll just have to see where I can best serve.

  27. Rick Groesbeck says:

    Thanks for the article. I’m an active LDS church member in Virginia currently volunteering as district commissioner. My sons, my brothers & I are Eagle Scouts and value the tradition and things we’ve learned in Scouting.
    Regarding our LDS youth joining community units, it’s a question that leaves me conflicted: what effect will it have on testimonies and church activity of youth who make that choice.
    a) they will gain the benefits of what they learn through scouting,
    b) they will have to choose between church and scouting activities on weekdays and weekends. They will have to cope with troops that camp and travel on Sundays. In areas where I’ve lived, those LDS youth who joined non-LDS troops tended to not serve missions and generally were less active in the church. One can’t make blanket statements, but it has clearly been the case where I’ve lived in Ohio and Virginia.
    So I find myself conflicted & open to feedback

  28. Michael Mulcady says:

    Mark, As with others, you have written well and elevated many with a very optimistic vision.

    I never participated in scouting except as an church leader.

    Question for you Mark …. For all that was good, and for you, all that made very real life building experiences, do you believe that BSA leadership will hold steady on things like the scout oath and law? Would you agree that the external forces that have brought all the recent changes to the fore, will also dilute the very core values of scouting?

    I suspect scouting has been and will yet succomb to these egalatarian movements. Sadly, the war on religious freedom has scouting in their sights.

    Grateful for your character, but I wonder if it will be underappreciated or worse, assailed.

    All the best, and kind regards

    Michael Mulcady

  29. David J Ellis says:

    Will the On My Honor awards still be available for our scouts in non lds units?

  30. David J Ellis says:

    This move is not surprising. As a Unit Commissioner working with lds units for thirty years I really never observed the use of the methods of scouting.I felt very few scouts ever really benefited from the scouting program. In our district we are going to be starting a scouting unit for lds boys following lds guidelines like no camping on sunday or Mondays. We hope this will work

  31. Craig Reeve says:

    Thank you Mark. As I have taken all this in, I realize there is still much to do in the next 18 months. As a District Commissioner of a Mormon Trail District involving 9 stakes, I feel the need to emphasize enduring to the end. The church statement made it clear we were to remain fully engaged, and continue to be active in participation and financial support. Too many have already pulled back, and that is not supporting the Prophet and our leaders.
    On December 31st of 2019 I will still be involved 100%. Why? Because on January 1st I want to be able to say as the Savior did, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Then the next phase begins.

  32. James Francisco says:

    There have been a number of comment about continuing on with scouting while trying to retain some of the existing LDS Church policies like Sunday Camping. Consider this, those policies go away on 12/31/19. Having a Friday evening through Sunday noon BSA camp out does not deprive youth from the opportunity to worship God. Every outdoor activity plan in Troop Program Features has a worship service built into Sunday morning. (https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33111.pdf) In all honesty, there is an operational, but no doctrinal, reason for the “no Sunday” rule. That is that Leadership wants Deacons passing the sacrament on Sunday. Not withstanding that it would be good for the souls of the Teachers Priests, and even Elders who would have the opportunity to render that service in the absence of the Deacons.
    It won’t hurt the souls of the young men who remain in scouting to worship out in nature on occasion. In fact, it might just help them fine their own “Enos in the wilderness” experience.

  33. Justin Miravalle says:

    Looking forward to the changes. Would be nice to have some guidance or just verbiage from HQ saying, feel free to recharter your current troops elsewhere…. bla bla bla…. I worry that most local leadership will stand around like sheep waiting to be told what to do with scouting. Otherwise, the fire will just smolder out into nothingness. Not everyone has the same drive to continue scouting, nor does everyone see the same level of value it provides a young man.

  34. John Sorensen says:

    Here is an interesting question:
    For troops that do Fundraising as a troop, and receive donations for the Troop; what do we do with the money?
    We can’t put it towards the YM program, due to not all the donations are from church members.
    Do we set a goal to spend it by the end of next year? Or do we try to find a troop to donate it to?
    We don’t have a community troop closer than 40 miles away; and I haven’t talked to our community to see if they/we want to try and start a community troop.

  35. Ray Joesten says:

    I am Course Director for a “Sunday Friendly” Wood Badge Course this Fall, designed to meet the needs of LDS Scouters in Stakes across southern New England. The news of the LDS ending its charter partnership with the BSA in the midst of our recruiting campaign was devastating. How do I respond to a participant’s question like, “what’s the point of working my ticket to strengthen my Pack or Troop, when it’s charter ends 14 months after I leave Gilwell?” On reflection and after reading Mark’s blog, I realized that the answers are in the questions perennially asked in our promotional materials, “Why Wood Badge?, Why Now?” and in the theme of our closing session, “What legacy will you leave?” If the vision is that of the young men of the Ward continuing to benefit from the best of Scouting, tickets might involve a plan for rechartering the unit with a new community partner and building a new adult leadership team, or a plan to see that each Cub or Scout who wishes to continue is placed in the Pack or Troop that is right for him. Of course, Mark has asked us to extend our vision beyond 2020. I would suggest to a potential Wood Badger that, based on his or her commitment to youth and their leadership experience in Scouting, it is likely that they will be called to a leadership position in the Church’s new youth programs and that application of the project planning, team building and problem-solving skills learned at Wood Badge will definitely contribute to their success. Wood Badge isn’t about Boy Scouting, Wood Badge is about leadership. I like to think that good works that this freshly minted class of Beavers, Foxes, Bears, etc does for the youth of their Wards will stand as a lasting gift from the BSA for the successful launch of the new youth programs in the LDS Church.

  36. mick Epperson says:

    Mark. We appreciate you and your families as Scouters. Your commitment to LDS-BSA Relationships is amazing. You are a true “friend of Scouting” and a friend to us whenever you came to serve us.
    To those who are worried about Sunday and no overnights with the girls and only two overnighters with the 11 year olds. STOP. We represent The Church of Jesus Christ. Let your light so shine. Don’t follow. LEAD. I hope you do involve yourselves in Scouting Packs, Troops and Crews. But do not let them shape your values. Stick to what your know is true. Keep the Sabbath Day Holy. Protect your Youth. Remember the age of accountability and the Age of becoming a holder of the Priesthood. Now go and serve where you are called.

  37. Well stated, Mark. I look forward to seeing you next week in Dallas.

  38. Well stated, Mark. I look forward to seeing you in Dallas next week.

  39. Michael Gordon says:

    I sense a theme emerging to step back away from some sacred cows, figuratively speaking, where some traditions and guidelines have taken on a life of their own and have become inviolate.

    When I first became a troop committee chairman we were going to Camp New Fork, Wyoming. That is a substantial distance. Most of the troop were intending to start the trip around 2 a.m. Monday so as not to violate the Sabbath; and yet, by so doing put the boys and drivers at risk. I took my son on Sunday afternoon to a public campground in the area, so that Monday morning he, and I, were alert and refreshed ready to start a week of learning and adventure. Furthermore it allowed me to drive in daylight and obtain better emergency service should it become necessary. The rest of the troop, having observed the Sabbath and its many requirements, arrived exhausted, some with no sleep at all the night before.

    Subsequent to that the stake decided no more Camp New Fork, thus depriving young men (and adults!) from a glorious experience in the Wind River mountains.

    Abraham worshipped God on a mountain. So did Moses. So have I. Man was not made for the sabbath; the sabbath was made for man. Your mileage may vary.

    Whatever replaces Scouting in LDS wards will face pretty much the same obstacles that have faced LDS Scout troops all these years: Wide variety in application of the program and still no volunteers.

  40. John Sorensen says:

    Years ago when I first moved to Indiana, the LDS troops went to a camp (Ransburg Scout Reservation) in Central Indiana.
    The LDS troops would all go the same week and go down on Saturday afternoon (camp would run Sunday Afternoon to Saturday morning). Camp was empty, we would have a nice evening with about a 2 hour service project for the camp in the late afternoon.
    Sunday Morning we would have Sacrament and Priesthood at camp before the staff showed up. We were awake refreshed and ready to go.

    Happened that way for about 10 years, then it stopped, and we would show up Monday mornings, and get the leftover classes (whatever wasn’t filled up).
    I don’t know why it stopped; if it was the church or the camps that stopped it.

  41. Bryce says:

    Thank you for the ariticle Mark. For those of us who want to take seriously President Nelson’s challenge to be more effective ministers to our church, community and the world – I believe that continued participation in scouting post 2020 for both youth and adults will open many great doors to build testimonies, youth of character, and expand the Kingdom of God. There is not reason why people cannot do both LDS and BSA in 2020 and beyond.

  42. Stacy Holton says:

    Mark, thank you for this article! We are currently working to create units for our boys to continue with scouting in 2020. Our biggest obstacle in creating these units seem to be parents who want to “wait and see what the new church program is going to be”. Do you have anything you can share that could possibly help us overcome this hurdle? Should parents feel like scouting and the church’s program will be competing with each other or just the same program but a different name? Thanks!

  43. Rob says:

    It will be difficult for many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints to move forward without Scouting. But our prophet is asking us to do it. He is asking us to eventually get involved with and focus on the new youth initiative when it comes out. While I agree that agency comes into play and that individuals and families can decide to continue with Scouting, it also creates a conflict if the youth decide to go to a community Scout group and not participate in the new direction from the Church.

    It is a similar situation the Israelite’s found themselves in. Moses was asked to lead the people in a new direction. While visiting with God on Mount Sinai, some individuals ran around asking the people to hold onto that with which they were familiar. They were asked to bring the gold and silver and precious things to make an idol; to, in fact, hold onto and worship that which had held their hearts in the past. Moses came down with the higher law and saw what the people were doing and realized that the people were not ready to follow him as their prophet in exactness.

    When the new youth initiative is released, I hope that our good youth and good youth leaders will embrace it, and focus on it, and dedicate their time toward it, and follow the prophet.

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