I have been shocked with the joy and gladness people are having with the LDS Church’s diminished involvement with the Boy Scouts.

Today the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it would no longer be adopting Boy Scouts as the activity arm of the priesthood for teachers and priests quorums in the US and Canada. Thus, disbanding the Varsity and Venture program’s affiliation with the church. I get it and I understand it, but I don’t get why people are so happy about it.

In reality, the cultural division from scouting when youth reach the teenage years has been on the decline anyways. How many times with the quorum presidents stand up and simply say, “we will plan what we are doing for mutual in quorum.” Not to anyone’s surprise, Wednesday night comes along and it is basketball again.

The excuses are many; youth are too busy with high school, they have jobs, they aren’t interested in the program, etc. I do not see how a new program will solve these issues.

The problem partly comes from our youth. They are disconnected and many want nothing to do anything that takes effort. But there are also many who are amazing and stalwart. Coincidentally they are also the ones who come to the Court of Honor in their uniforms, they earn their Eagle, and they have strong moral character.

All that being said, I would say the leading cause of the decline in scouting for our older youth is weak youth leadership. I loved my scouting years when I was 14 and 15. Our advisor was actually my Dad, but that wasn’t what made it great. All the young men loved it. One of the members of our quorum has since gone inactive. He said if he had kids old enough, he would put them in an LDS Boy Scout troop because of the growth and experiences he had.

Once I turned 16 the quality of the program nose-dived. The disorganized mutual nights often just became basketball night. Since I don’t care for basketball, I stopped going as regularly.

The end result is, Boy Scouts is a fantastic program. The aims of scouting are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Those are wonderful things. It focuses on Duty to God and country. It pledges young men to keep themselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

“Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation.”
Lord Robert Baden-Powell

The disconnect comes when we have uninvested parents and uncommitted leaders. If we cannot change those two things, it does not matter what program the church uses.