The End of a Legacy

Today is an historic day. 


December 31, 2019, marks the end of the legendary LDS-BSA relationship. For the past 106 years the Church and the Boy Scouts of America have partnered together in one of the most iconic and powerful relationships in history. 


The Latter-day Saint Scouting relationships office—which officially closes today—was initiated in 1951 by President David O. McKay.

I am grateful to be one of the good men assigned during the past seven decades to support the leadership of the Church and the leadership of the BSA in their combined quest to strengthen young men. 

During the past eight years as director of Latter-day Saint Scouting relationships, my family and I have been blessed with incredible opportunities. We have become close friends with both Church and BSA leaders. 


For the past 18 months I have been asked daily—by both friends and strangers—about my feelings as this legacy ends.

Here is my answer: I AM GRATEFUL AND THRILLED. 


I am grateful for 106 years of Scouting in the Church. I am grateful for the millions of young people and leaders who have learned skills and been blessed and strengthened through Scouting. I am grateful for the good missionaries, fathers, community leaders and priesthood brethren who have been trained and taught through Scouting programs. I am grateful for the good people I have met all over the world who believe in God, family and country; and have been led to the gospel through this partnership. Scouting is a bridge that has benefitted millions of lives.


However, I am also optimistic as we begin this new year and embark on a new era. I am excited that the Church now has a worldwide youth program. And, I am encouraged that those now registered in BSA units will be there because they CHOOSE to be there. I am excited that Latter-day Saint Scouting families will associate more with those not of our faith–good people who also believe in doing their Duty to God and in strengthening youth. 


While the end of the LDS-BSA partnership vastly affects Scouting along the Wasatch Front and in several western states, I invite my Latter-day Saint friends to have a larger vision, and realize that the Boy Scouts of America is still active and thriving all across the nation. Scouting is still a conduit for citizenship, leadership and outdoor adventure. And, I believe, Scouting is needed now more than ever in our apathetic indoor world for our struggling youth.


Scouting provided opportunities for me as a boy and taught me skills which built my confidence in ways no other organization did. My association as a youth in the Boy Scouts of America was a key factor in my development into adulthood and my success as a priesthood brother, father, and citizen. Scouting has blessed all of my family—my daughters and sons—and we are excited about the continued opportunities ahead.

I will be eternally grateful for the prophets and Church leaders who brought Scouting into the Church, and I am excited about the new frontiers ahead. 


I whole-heartedly echo the feelings and words of President George Albert Smith: “I feel grateful to the Lord that Sir Robert Baden-Powell was impressed, may I say ‘inspired,’ to give Scouting to the world.”


Happy New Year and Good Scouting to all.

Most sincerely,

-Mark

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