Most Utahns and an overwhelming majority of active Mormons agree with the decision of LDS Church leaders to disassociate with the Boy Scouts of America, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows.
This is not a surprise, but the size of the majorities may be.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds:
-- 69 percent of Utahns “strongly” or “somewhat” agree with Mormon leaders that the church will end its Boy Scout program at the end of 2019.
-- And a huge 94 percent of “very active” Mormons agree with dropping the Boy Scout program.
Instead of Boy Scouts, Mormon leaders will develop their own faith-based programs for older boys and girls.
The church did not associate with Girl Scouts of America – having programs for older girls already.
But the Mormon Church dropping Boy Scouts is really a big deal – for while the church has been moving away from the Scouts recently – historically being a Boy Scout was a rite of passage for boys before they went on church missions.
And almost every ward (church congregation) in the U.S. had Boy Scout-sponsored troops.
A boy who got his Eagle Scout badge was seen as a successful LDS youth, and many future male lay leaders in the religion earned that rank.
The LDS Church getting out of the Boy Scout organizations in Utah will certainly have a detrimental effect on remaining Scouting operations here – for financial support of the local Scout camps and other facilities will drop dramatically.
The split was clearly coming – after the national Scouts allowed gay youths and troop leaders.
And when the Boy Scouts recently announced that it will start accepting girls and be known only as Scouts of America, the end with Mormons was done.
Some of Jones’ numbers:
-- Utahns as a whole agree with the split, 69-20 percent, with 10 percent undecided.
-- Those who said they are “very active” in the LDS Church, generally meaning they pay tithing and have temple recommends, agree with their church leaders on dumping the Scouts, 94-5 percent, with only 2 percent undecided.
-- Those who told Jones they are “somewhat active” in the LDS Church – meaning their boys may now or have been in Mormon troops – support the break, 82-16 percent.
-- Those who said they used to be faithful Mormons, but no longer are, agree with the break, 51-38 percent.
However, other religious groups have problems with the split – most likely because the Mormons leaving will harm non-Mormon church related troops financially:
-- Catholics are split over the break, 46 percent opposed to it, 43 percent in favor, with 12 percent undecided.
-- Protestants – who historically in Utah have had their own church-related troops – are opposed to the Mormons’ break, 45-28 percent with 26 undecided.
-- Those belonging to other religions are split, 43-43 percent.
-- And those who said they have no religion oppose the move, 50-23 percent, with 26 percent don’t know.
Most Utah active Mormons are Republicans and conservatives – so it makes sense that they, too, would tell Jones they support the LDS Church’s move – and those numbers show that with large majorities.
Democrats, however, are against the separation, 49-31 percent.
Political independents – who still tend to be more conservative in Utah – agree with the Mormon Church’s move, 67-23 percent.
One reason rank-and-file active Mormons may agree with cutting out Scouting – beyond, of course, the faith’s strong support of their leaders – is that in many lower-income wards across the state, the financial burden placed on members for Scouting has become an issue.
Local wards financially support Scouting outside of – or in addition to – the 10 percent church tithing.
Jones polled 615 adults from May 15-25. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.