Mormon church severs all ties with Boy Scouts

The Mormon church will sever all ties with Boy Scouts of America at the end of next year.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a joint statement with the scouting organization Tuesday night announcing its decision to end the 105-year relationship.

“We have jointly determined that, effective on December 31, 2019, the church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world,” the statement read.

The church is one of Boy Scouts of America’s largest sponsors, and nearly 330,000 Mormon youths are served by the organization.

The Mormon church said it plans to expand outside the U.S. and is interested in exploring new youth programs and initiatives that serve its international congregants.

The decision comes a week after the scouting organization changed the name of its signature group from Boy Scouts to Scouts USA.

The move to a gender-neutral name arrived on the heels of the organization’s decision to accept girls into its ranks next year. 

Girls already started enrolling as Cub Scouts this year, and more than 3,000 have reportedly joined so far.

“We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward,” Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said of the name change. “We’re trying to find the right way to say we’re here for both young men and young women.”