The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced additional details of it upcoming program for youth and children, which will be implemented in January.
In a letter sent Monday to church leadership, mission, district, and stake presidents as well as bishops and branch presidents, the church outlined some of the details of its upcoming program that titled in the letter as the “Children and Youth effort.”
The church also launched a new website at http://ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org where additional details will be released through the launch of the new program at the beginning of 2020.
The website includes introductory guides for children, parents and leaders outlining highlights of the new program, a schedule for information that will be released between now and January and an introductory presentation.
According to the letter, the church will discontinue its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America as of Dec. 31, and they will also discontinue the Personal Progress program for young women aged 12-18 and the Duty to God and Faith in God programs for children aged 8-11 at that time.
“Young women who wish to receive the Young Womanhood Recognition, young men who wish to complete the Duty to God program, and children who wish to complete the Faith in God program should complete the requirements before January 1, 2020,” the letter states. “As an exception, if children or youth need additional time, the awards will be available to order until March 1, 2020.”
The new program will officially begin on Jan. 1, 2020.
The letter sent Monday outlines some of the new features of the Children and Youth effort. Starting in January, students in the church’s Seminary program will begin studying the same book of scripture as that year’s Come Follow Me curriculum follows.
The program will continue to include activities and service for Primary-aged children, as well as overnight camps, conference and other multi-day activity activities for youth, as current program does, and the church states that those activities are to be held as appropriate for local circumstances.
However, those activities “should be based on helping children and youth grow spiritually, socially, physically and intellectually.”
The program will still encourage youth and children to achieve personal goals, however, unlike previous programs, children and youth will “choose their own goals to help them grow spiritually, socially, physically and intellectually.”
The letter also states that new books titled “Personal Development: Children’s Guidebook” and “Personal Development: Youth Guidebook” will be shipped to wards in November and December.
On May 17, the church sent out a letter letting local leaders know that on Sept. 29, the fifth Sunday of the month, a broadcast from President M. Russell Ballard, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, would be made available to all congregations.
In that meeting, for those 8 years of age and older, the program will be unveiled.
That will be followed by a devotional on Nov. 17 with Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve and the general presidencies of the Primary, Young Men and Young Women.
At that time, they will provide more information and hold a Q-and-A segment as part of the devotional.
The program changes come as the church makes a split from the Boy Scouts of America program, originally announced on May 8, 2018. The church had previously been in partnership with the BSA for more than a century.
The worldwide growth of the church, and the fact that the church only uses the BSA program in the U.S. and Canada, were part of the provided explanation.
At that time, the church announced it intended to design its own youth program for children ages 8 to 17 to be adopted on a global level.