This episode of Mormon Stories features Peter J. Brown, Chief Financial Officer for the Grand Teton Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In this interview, we discuss the history of the relationship between the Boy Scouts of America and the Mormon church, and also discuss various historical controversies including BSA policies regarding girls and LGBT youth.


  1. C Austin October 19, 2017 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Interesting podcast. Although I recognize Peter’s perspective represents US scouting, with regards to the church’s global relationship with scouting, I’d like to correct a few statements and point out a few things from the discussion:

    1. Gay Issue: Peter mentioned that the church was not making much noise or writing policy around gay youth and leaders until around 2012. This may reflect the US, but I lived in London in the early and mid 1990s. I attended the Hyde Park Ward which is less than a mile from the Baden Powell House, the birthplace of Scouting. In 1994, Pres Monson came to the UK to officially “shut down” the church’s affiliation with UK scouting. Thi.s was due to a policy change to allow gay youth and leaders to participate. The church felt threatened and broke ties with UK scouting across the country. The church’s affiliation literally stopped overnight.

    2. Scouting funds: Not only does scouting financially benefit young men more than young women in the church, it unfairly disadvantages youth outside of the US in terms of the kinds of programs and experiences on offer. I grew up in the US, and then lived 20 years in the UK. As a bishop (on 2 separate occasions), I was appalled by the meager funds (<$100 per youth per year) with which to host/fund activities. Scouting has always meant that YM in the US church have an exceptionally unfair advantage over YM and YW in the international church (e.g. white water trips, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Disneyland, Scuba….etc – all activities scouting kids of my LDS friends in the US have enjoyed). Youth in the international church rarely if ever get these sorts of opportunities due to lack of funds. I don't agree that tithing funds should be used to create an unfair advantage for US based Mormon YM which is the case as scouting registration is funded through tithing dollars….but only for US based YM. I'd love to know that figure.

    3. Gender inequality: Scouting in the church reinforces the gender stereotype differences and priveleges between YW and YM which already exist due to Priesthood. This adds to the message of who is valued more. It also

    4. Gender separation: Scouting separates YM and YW. In the international church where youth numbers are tiny. We had 6 in total in my last unit in England. How feasible is it really to run a structured program for YM and YW separately. We ran most of the programs combined, which I think created a more healthy environment for developing male/female relationships in the church. Since coming to the US my girls equate the YW program to joining a convent. Mixing of the genders is frowned upon until after missions. So 1950s.

  2. EDiL13 October 20, 2017 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Interesting discussion about the ins and outs of the relationship between the LDS church and BSA, as well as the Girl Scouts and where they all might be going in terms of what’s available for girls…

    This reminded me of an LDS girl’s camp that I went to in the summer of 1971 when I was 14. At the time, I was still an “investigator” — I was baptized later that summer. I’m not sure if I remember correctly, but I do recall bits and pieces of something called “Campcrafter(?)” that vaguely resembled what the Boy Scouts do with merit badges (according to my limited understanding, since I have never been directly involved with either the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts). There was a checklist of things that the girls had to do in order to earn some sort of awards or certifications of various levels. There are only a few that come to mind after all these years. One was knowing how to build and maintain a campfire, and another was “something new in nature” — you were supposed to notice something that you hadn’t seen before and describe it to your leader, and a friend told me that many of the girls would make fun of that one and pick up a rock or some such other mundane thing and joke that it was “something new”. I participated in some of these things, and I believe that records were kept for me even though I wasn’t a member of the LDS church yet. As far as I recall, I was not able to consistently participate enough to complete any more of the requirements after I joined the church and started high school later that year, so I don’t remember anything more about it that would likely be of any significance.

    I tried googling this but couldn’t come up with anything except an LDS girl’s camp manual from at least 20 or 30 years later, which may or may not have been a later version of what I remember.

    So my question is: Does anyone know anything about this program that I remember? And if so, what was its relationship to the LDS church’s other scouting and/or camping programs at the time? And was it discontinued, did it morph into something else, or is it still around in some form or other?

    EDiL13 (Elohim’s Daughter in Law)

  3. Den October 29, 2017 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    It was indicated that the BSA headquarters is in Dallas – it’s actually in Irving, Texas (pop. 240K – nearly 50K larger than Salt Lake City).

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