Poll: Utah Mormons Support LDS Church Keeping Relationship with the Boy Scouts

Now that LDS Church leadership has decided to stay in the Boy Scouts of America, a majority of Utahns who say they are “very active” Mormons have done an about face and now want their church to stay in the scouting program, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.

Earlier this summer, after the national BSA board voted to allow gay men to be troop leaders, Dan Jones & Associates found that 63 percent of active Utah Mormons wanted to leave the scouting program.

At that time the LDS Church issued a statement saying their leaders were out of their Salt Lake City offices for a month and upon return would consider the new BSA stand on gay troop leaders and make a decision on the program’s future in the church.

Several weeks ago Mormon leaders announced the church would stay in the scouting program – while not an official part of the Church, indeed a very important voluntary activity for Mormon male youth.

Now in a new survey Jones finds that “very active” Mormons say – following their leaders’ decision – their church should stay in the scouting program – 81 percent in favor, 17 percent opposed, 2 percent don’t know.

So, it is clear most active Utah Mormons have changed their minds on the Boy Scouts after their leaders – including President Thomas S. Monson, who is considered a prophet of God – decided to stay in the scouts.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t still some complaints about how the Mormon scouting program is run.

This summer’s UPD poll on scouting drew a large number of comments and views on the Internet.

Many commentators said Jones should have asked those who wanted out of the program why? Adding that they didn’t think it was because of the BSA stand on gay leaders, but rather other aspects of the LDS scouting program were lacking, long felt by many of those who had themselves, or had sons or grandsons, in the program.

So, following those requests, in the new Jones poll we asked those who wanted out of scouting why they felt that way – and gave some of the common complaints we’ve heard about the LDS scouting program.

We found among “very active” Mormons who wanted out of the program these results:

  • 9 percent said it was too costly financially.

Every year Mormon wards (their individual congregations) conduct a special scouting fund raising drive – which some members feel puts pressure on them to meet the financial goals of the local troops.

  • 47 percent said their church could devise a better program than scouting that would teach young males character, leadership, proper morals and other church-related ideals.
  • 0 percent said scouting was unfair because LDS girls don’t have a similar strong program within the church.
  • 22 percent said recent Boy Scouts national decisions – including the gay leader board vote – no longer reflect the values of the LDS Church.
  • 11 percent said “all of the above” were reasons they want their church out of the Boy Scouts.
  • 11 percent mentioned some other reasons.
  • And 0 percent didn’t have an opinion on why they wanted their church out of scouting.

Now, Jones didn’t ask respondents – including the “very active” Mormons – who wanted the LDS Church to STAY IN scouting why the church should leave scouting since those folks DIDN’T WANT the church to leave scouting.

Clearly, comparing the results from the summer poll with the results of the new survey show that by far most active Mormons who wanted out of scouting before their leaders spoke on the issue, now wish to stay in scouting now that their leaders have decided to stay in.

When the Brethren speak, loyal Mormons listen – which we knew all along.

Still, there are 17 percent of “very active” Utah Mormons who still want their church to get out of the Boy Scouts of America.

Jones asked all respondents to the poll about the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts.

While the “very active” Utah Mormons are the most interesting demographic group to examine, Jones finds that:

  • 78 percent of those who said they are “somewhat active” Mormons want the church to stay in scouting, 18 percent said get out and 4 percent didn’t know.
  • 76 percent of those who said they are “inactive” Mormons said stay in scouting, 20 percent said get out, 4 percent didn’t know.
  • 73 percent of Catholics said the LDS Church should remain in scouting, 9 percent said get out, and 18 percent didn’t know.
  • 67 percent of Protestants said the church should stay in, 26 percent said get out, 7 percent didn’t know.
  • And 76 percent of those who said they have no religion at all said the church should stay in, 6 percent said get out, and 18 percent didn’t know.

Among all those in the poll, 78 percent said the church should stay in scouting, 16 percent said it should get out, and 6 percent didn’t know.

Apparently, church leaders didn’t follow the wishes of most of their active Utah members in deciding to stay in the Boy Scouts, at least for now.

But it doesn’t matter since after that decision an enormous majority of their Utah members go along with that decision and support the church staying in scouting – the two polls find.

In the latest poll, Jones questioned 604 adult Utahns between Sept. 8-17, with a margin of error plus or minus 4.0 percent.