The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America have been partners for more than 100 years. In a statement Tuesday the LDS Church announced it will conclude its relationship with the scouting program by 2020.
Thomas Lyon is a Mormon and scoutmaster of Troop 70 in Logan. His father Bruce was in scout leadership before Thomas was born. He loves scouting – achieving more than the popular rank of Eagle Scout.
“I earned my Eagle. I earned five Eagle Palms. I actually went on to work on the William T. Hornaday Award, an environmental scouting award,” he said.
By the time he finished, Thomas completed three Eagle Projects. It wasn’t the scouting awards that helped Thomas get to where he is today in life, but what he learned along the way.
“I think Boy Scouts really is the reason I went into English,” Thomas said. “I struggled with English, was in special [education] English all through high school and severely dyslexic. It forced me to stretch a little bit. I had to do a lot of reports, which stretched me. I didn’t enjoy it at the time, but I actually gained a love for it. I found that I was actually pretty good at it. I found a talent I didn’t know I had.”
Scouts BSA, formally known as The Boy Scouts of America, and the LDS Church have moved in different directions over the years, with the scouts agreeing to allow gay people to serve in leadership positions and more recently, opening troops to girls. The LDS Church is creating its own program for youth worldwide.
“The Boy Scouts of America is a vehicle,” Thomas said. “It’s an organization that is fantastic, but the people who have gotten behind the wheel of that vehicle have taken it down a road I’m not necessarily excited about.”
By continuing with Scouts BSA until the LDS Church implements their new program, Thomas believes the young men will make an easier transition to the church’s new program in 2020.
Thomas said his family will participate in the church’s program but is excited to continue serving in the community, a value he says is shared by both organizations.