Skip To Content
Free consultation Text or call 312.553.4900

How the Mormon Church and the Boy Scouts of America are Linked

March 16, 2021  ·  By HM&M

TAGS: , , ,

For more than a century, the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (formerly LDS or Mormon Church) nurtured a partnership so deeply that one out of every five BSA members was Mormon.

Then, in the spring of 2018, the BSA and LDS jointly severed their ties. By the end of 2019, the mutual separation was complete—but decades of damage was inflicted on adolescent members of the Church and the BSA.

What Happened with the Mormon Church and Boy Scouts of America?

A few years before the Church and BSA decided to go their separate ways, the Church stated that it was “deeply troubled” when the BSA announced that it would reverse its long-held position that gay men could not serve as troop leaders.

Though unhappy with the decision, the Church remained aligned with the BSA after receiving reassurance that it would be able to appoint troop leaders that held the same religious and moral beliefs.

Just three years later, the two organizations split. And, in 2018, the BSA announced a name change to more accurately reflect its openness to allowing girls to join, becoming Scouts BSA.

In 2019, the Church inflicted a massive change to Scouts BSA and removed 400,000 troops. Like Scouts BSA, the Church announced a new program of its own that would allow girls to join, and to more closely align with its beliefs and growing international presence.

HMM’s Chris Hurley shares an overview of the Boy Scouts of America’s relationship with the Mormon Church.

Tens of Thousands of Sexual Assault Allegations

The rift that emerged over the BSA’s acceptance of gay scout leaders was a major point of contention. However, deeper issues came to light.

As tens of thousands of sexual abuse claims were filed against the BSA, the Mormon Church was already in the midst of reckoning with years of systemic sexual abuse cases and cover-ups.

Throughout the entirety of the partnership, the Mormon Church encouraged young boys to join the BSA and attend sponsored functions. With roughly 20% of BSA members practicing the Mormon faith, this not only meant that BSA enjoyed a reliably large membership, but that members of each group were well connected.

The closeness of the relationship, coupled with the Church’s insistence on having young boys join the BSA, only added to the sexual abuse that was (and remained) largely unchecked for decades within the Mormon Church.

What’s more troubling is that many victims who were brave enough to come forward claimed that, when BSA members approached bishops about sexual abuse instances, these bishops insisted that BSA leaders keep the abuse to themselves, so the Church could perform an internal investigation rather than reaching out to law enforcement.

Instead, victims’ attorneys claim these bishops and other Church leaders never reached out to proper authorities. This systematic covering up enabled abusers to remain in the BSA for years without being held responsible for their actions. More than 90,000 suits were filed against the Boy Scouts before the deadline in late 2020, and more were filed against the LDS Church for its involvement.

If You Missed the Deadline, We Can Still Help You

The BSA bankruptcy deadline passed on November 16, 2020. This deadline was set for those filing a suit against the Boy Scouts of America in Bankruptcy Court. However, you may still file a claim against your abuser(s) in the BSA.

The difference is that you may file against local councils and sponsoring organizations, like the Mormon Church. Many states have extended their statute of limitations, which allows you and other victims to come forward when you may have otherwise been unable in your state. These states include:

  • California: October 13, 2022
  • New Jersey: November 30, 2021
  • New York: August 14, 2021
  • North Carolina: July 22, 2021
  • Washington, D.C.: May 3, 2021

Contact Us Today to Receive the Justice You Deserve

We understand how challenging it may be to file a claim against your abusers, especially if the pain you suffered occurred years or decades ago. We’ve helped many others who suffered similarly, and we can help you each step of the way.

Reach out to us today for your free consultation to learn more about how we can help you get the justice you deserve.

March 16, 2021

Can I File a Sexual Abuse Claim Against the Mormon Church Anonymously?

One of the most challenging aspects of filing a claim against the Mormon Church for sexual abuse is readying yourself to do so. Taking action against your Church community may be difficult and feel like an act of disloyalty—especially if you wish to remain a part of the Church. Often, one of the biggest hurdles... Read More

March 16, 2021

Why the Mormon Church Abuse Hotline Hasn’t Helped Victims

As more cases of systemic sexual abuse at the hands of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to come to light, so too does the handling of its sexual abuse hotline. Nearly 20 years ago, the Mormon Church established a 24-hour hotline that was seemingly intended to be a helpline for bishops... Read More

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.