LDS Scouting Handbook updated

This just in, LDS Scouters: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has updated its Scouting Handbook.

The May 2012 version of the document, only available online (PDF), offers updates on “guidelines and policies relating to Scouting programs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” according to the document’s introductory section.

This handbook isn’t meant to replace the handbook for each individual Scouting program. Instead, it outlines “differences between Church policy and BSA policy.”

“Bishoprics and Young Men, Primary, and Scouting leaders should be familiar with this information as they administer Scouting programs in the ward.”

Sections include:

  • Training and Development
  • Stake Leaders’ Responsibilities for Scouting
  • Ward Leaders’ Responsibilities for Scouting
  • Scouting in the Aaronic Priesthood
  • Scouting in Primary
  • Awards and Recognition
  • Church Policies


Find tons of LDS Scouting resources here.

(h/t to Scout-Wire)

12 thoughts on “LDS Scouting Handbook updated

  1. I am not sure why the LDS has a seperate Handbook. None of the other denominations/faiths have one. It seems elitist to say that one group of members should have a priviledged text that is different from the rest of BSA especially when the majority of BSA is not LDS.

  2. Thanks for the information. As the Committee Chair for units chartered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it’s nice to have updated resources from both the Boy Scouts and the church when questions about activities arise.

  3. Eric: I think you misunderstand the book. It is not published by BSA. It is published by the Church for internal purposes, explaining how to integrate Church programs with scouting. I would be surprised if other faiths that support scouting do not have similar internal guidelines.

    • After talking with others about the topic I am certain that I did not misunderstand the handbook. I know it is not a BSA publication; however, I also know that LDS overrides essential aspects of Scouting. For example, a Venture Crew according to BSA is encouraged to be coed and have both male and female youth leaders. This is not permitted by LDS. It seems to me that if a denomination cannot abide by BSA expectations and guidelines then it should not be involved. I also do not agree that a youth should automatically be registered.

      • Yes, it is definitely essential that a Venture Crew be coed. Therefore, we should not allow any Venture Crew that is all male or all female to charter.

        What other essential aspects of Scouting are the LDS overriding?

      • It is not essential that a Venture Crew be co-ed. That is one of three options that a chartering organization may choose to adopt in chartering a Venture Crew. A Venture Crew MAY be co-ed, but may be exclusively male or exclusively female.

      • Actually….check the facts. NOTHING prohibits a young LDS woman of venturing age to join a venture crew. The LDS faith does not sponsor coed crews because the LDS church has a separate well functioning program that allows many opportunities for them to give service, camp and participate in many Scout similar experiences. I know many LDS YW of venturing age that are currently participating in the LDS faith’s YW program AND a Venturing crew. Some of those crews are sponsored by faith-based organizations and others participate in community sponsored crews. Happy Venturing!

  4. I agree with Eric on this and no, other faiths do not have this. But it’s more than just a “supplemental guide”, it’s is indicative of the control that the LDS wields over the BSA. I may be mistaken but it’s my understanding that unless a parent of a LDS youth opts out they are automaticlly registered in the BSA. So although they are not a majority, they do reperesent the largest single sponsor. LDS leaders have repeatedly and publicly stated they would withdraw support if there were any changes in policy. As the saying goes, follow the money. To be clear this is not an indictment of the LDS, they are simply the ones who decided to get organized about this. I just disagree with the outcome, but it will change eventually.

    • Your comment contain very little substance… What is the “outcome” you allude to and what control do you believe the LDS wields over the BSA? Does the BSA not have bigger issues to focus on than if an organization wants to register each of their 8-17 year old boys in the program? Is this really a problem?

  5. The LDS church in the United States and Canada since 1911 adopted the scouting program as the activity arm of their church sponsored youth program. The Spiritual side of their youth programs are based on the application of the gospel of Jesus Christ in young men and women’s lives. Every young man who is active in the Mormon church is both a member of an age based spiritual group called a “priesthood quorum” and also an age based scouting patrol in a scout troop. These two groups in large part overlap and coexist in the lives of each boy and youth leader. The priesthood quorum focuses in spiritual matters and spiritual growth areas, and the Scouting provides the activity side. Both work in balance together, both are very important in the lives of LDS young men. They work together very well, but, it creates many situations where church members who are administering young men’s programs need direction from the church in how to integrate and accomodate the policies of the Church with the policies of the Scouting movement. This new handbook produced internally by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is intended solely to give guidance to young mens programs in the LDS Church as to how to balance, accomodate the scouting program with approved church policies, doctrines and practices.
    LDS units do not expect others to follow their unique doctrines, much the same way a jewish or muslim sponsored troop would avoid certain practices or behaviors.
    For example, LDS units are encouraged not to travel or camp on Sunday, to not have female Scoutmasters, or to not have co-ed venture or explorer units. These are not practices that we would expect other non LDS units to follow, but in our practice, our Church Doctrine needs to balance with the scouting program.
    I do not speak for the Church, only in my experience balancing these two great movements in my life, the scouting movement, and my religion. I am greatful for this handbook. I am greatful for my religion, and I am very greatful for the Boy Scouts of America.

  6. In browsing the LDS Handbook and various embedded links to LDS policy documents, I found it interesting to learn that (apparently) all BSA registration fees are paid by the church. This seemed to imply that unit dues were not the source of these funds, but rather that they were institutional. I always thought that the Thrifty Scout Law encouraged scouts (or their families) to pay their own way, not the Chartered Organization.

    Additionally, LDS apparently self-insures. What’s up with that?

    • Yes, we definitely need to ban all individuals or organizations, especially charitable organization, from helping anyone to participate in the BSA. This should include registration fees, equipment, camp sponsorships, etc.

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