The Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS)—Mormonism’s central church body—is seriously considering creating “its own international program for boys separate from the Boy Scouts of America,” after the Scouts revoked their ban on openly gay scout leaders this week, church spokesman Eric Hawkins told Religion News Service.
The committee voted unanimously on Monday to overturn the ban, which had been in place for 105 years.
That same day, the Mormon Church released a statement saying it was “deeply troubled” by the decision and was going to “re-evaluate” its relationship with the Boy Scouts.
With its status as a “global organization with members in 170 countries, the church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available,” the church said in a press release. “Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the [Boy Scouts’] National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the church in the weeks ahead.”
The church and the Boy Scouts have had a long relationship: as of 2010, the church’s troops counted 142,085 Cub Scouts and 205,990 Boy Scouts.
A breakup with the church could have serious financial repercussions for the Boy Scouts, which earns about $10.5 million a year from Mormon-affiliated groups alone, based on a $24 annual registration fee per Scout and leader.