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Church leader: We didn’t leave Boy Scouts, they left us

M. Russell Ballard, a senior leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and acting president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, speaks during an interview, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, at the Associated Press headquarters in New York. (AP Photo/Emily Leshner)

NEW YORK — President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is offering more details about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints choosing to end its formal relationship with the Boy Scouts.

“The reality there is we didn’t really leave them; they kind of left us,” President Ballard tells the Associated Press. “The direction they were going was not consistent to what we feel our youth need to have…to survive in the world that lies ahead for them.”

In May, the First Presidency of the Church announced that existing youth programs would be replaced with a new global initiative.  The church has utilized programs like scouts, Duty to God, Faith in God, Activity Days and Personal Progress as part of its youth instruction.

Previously, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve expounded on the new youth program.

“This is going to be an exciting, wonderful enhancement to everything we have done before,” said Elder Rasband. “This new initiative is not only going to point them all to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, it’s going to give opportunities for large gatherings and personal development through goals and achievement of goals.”

Church leaders have also stated that the faith’s For Strength of Youth conference program would be expanded to include the United States and Canada.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland previously explained the nature of the changes made by church leaders.

“This isn’t a divorce. It’s growth,” Elder Holland said. “We’re not in any way disavowing any of those virtues of scouting. It is just the charter part that we are separating from … We are friends now and we will be friends forever. We hope that many youth who wish to do so will still choose to be in scouting.”