SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church, the largest sponsor of Boy Scouts troops in the United States, is pulling older teenagers from the organization as the religion takes a step toward developing its own global scouting-like program.

The Utah-based religion’s announcement Thursday means an estimated 130,000-180,000 teenagers ages 14-18 will no longer participate in Boy Scouts starting next year, a significant loss for the Boy Scouts of America.

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The Boy Scouts, with 2.3 million youth, has been grappling with declining membership in recent years and has enjoyed a close bond with the Mormons for more than a century.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a news release that it will keep some 280,000 younger boys in Boy Scouts while it continues to develop a scouting-type program that it could implement for members around the world.

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