Mormons and Scouting
[The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], whose members are sometimes nicknamed Mormons, were part of the Boy Scouts of America since 1913. The program seamlessly mingled with the weekly activity program for boys. Children and teens eight and older met one night a week for activities that combine religious training with practical application. For boys, this program was usually carried out through the Boy Scouts of America. The girls had a church-developed program. In countries where the Church elected not to use the Scouting program, the boys utilized the girl’s church program, which was sufficiently generic so as to be personalized to the needs of any nation, gender, and culture, as well as to the desires of the leaders running the program.
The Boy Scout program emphasized those skills and qualities the Church of Jesus Christ strives to promote in its youth. The program taught the boys to have high moral values, to serve others, to expand their horizons, and to set and achieve goals. The Church made some adaptations to the program, but in general, it followed the established program.
The Cub Scout program operated through the Primary, which is the Church's official children’s auxiliary. The program was overseen by the female leaders who run the Primary, but the leaders working with the children may be either male or female, with two leaders assigned to be with the children at all times for safety. When they graduated into Boy Scouts, the program was run under the Young Men’s program, where all leaders are male. Again, at least two leaders were required to be with the youth at all times.
Within the program, young men set goals in a variety of areas that widened their range of interests, allowing them to find out where their talents and passions are. They gradually increased their ability to carry out these goals, culminating in a large service project which they planned and carried out, directing others who volunteer to help. In a church that is volunteer-led, this taught critical leadership skills that served the boys both in church and in their personal and professional lives. Latter-day Saints and Scouting worked together to teach the youth to live lives of service to others. Throughout their years in Scouting, Latter-day Saint Boy Scouts were expected to participate in and carry out a variety of service projects for their faith and also for their communities.
In 2011, Church-run Boy Scout troops were approximately one-third of the organization’s troops. Nearly every congregation had one, although many were smaller than average, since they were largely composed of the boys who are in that congregation and a small number of their friends who were not members of the Church.