SALT LAKE CITY — The lifting of the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adult leaders prompted some gay Eagle Scouts to quickly rejoin the movement on Tuesday. But the Mormon church – the nation’s largest sponsor of Scout units – warned that it may split away to form a global scouting organization of its own.

The contrasting reactions followed the BSA national executive board’s 45-12 vote on Monday to lift the nationwide ban while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to continue excluding gay adults.

Across the country, scores of gay Eagle Scouts signed forms with the advocacy group Scouts for Equality, expressing interest in rejoining the Boy Scouts as volunteers.

Among them was Charles Spain, a 56-year-old attorney in Houston who had not worn a Scout uniform since his post-college years as an in-the-closet Scout employee before he entered law school. On Tuesday morning, he registered as an adult leader with the local Scout troop that his 13-year-old son belongs to, then hurried out to buy a uniform and posted a photo of it on his Facebook page.

“I haven’t worn a Scout uniform in 30 years,” said Spain. “I support and believe in the Scouting program. It’s the best youth program that’s ever been invented.”

The mood was different at the Salt Lake City headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which described itself as “deeply troubled” by the BSA’s decision to lift the nationwide ban.

Just two weeks earlier, Mormon leaders indicated they were comfortable with the pending policy change. But in a strongly worded statement issued after Monday’s final vote, Mormon officials described the admission of openly gay leaders as “inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church.”

One possibility, church officials suggested, would be for the Mormons to form their own worldwide scouting movement.

The Mormons’ statement noted that the church has members in 170 nations, many of them without scouting programs. “Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead,” the statement added.

At Boy Scout headquarters in Texas, reaction to the Mormons’ declaration was muted.

The BSA issued its own statement expressing appreciation for its long relationship with the Mormon church, and asserting, “America’s youth are better off when they are in Scouting.”

Brad Daw, a Republican legislator in Utah who’s been involved in Scouting since he was 11, said he was disheartened by the BSA vote to allow gay leaders, but also saddened about the “pretty big hint” by church leaders of a Mormon exodus from Boy Scouting.

Given that most units in Utah are Mormon-affiliated, Daw said, being part of the BSA is “an opportunity for us to welcome boys from other faiths to be part of the Scouts.”

After the Mormons, the next largest sponsors of U.S. Scout units are the United Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

The Methodists’ General Commission on United Methodist Men said decisions on whether to accept gay adult leaders would rest with individual churches.

Catholic Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, South Carolina – who helps oversee Catholic scouting programs – said he and his colleagues were “cautiously optimistic” that ties with the BSA could be maintained even though the church is wary of accepting adult leaders who are open about being gay.

“We’ve always had the right to select leaders for the units that we charter,” Guglielmone said.

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