Nov 4, 2015

Mormons among the most deeply observant, active and engaged in faith, new study finds

Tad Walch
Deseret News
November 3, 2015

The sun sets behind the Mormon Temple, the centerpiece of Temple Square April 27, 2006, in Salt Lake City.
Mormon Temple
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — By a number of measures, Mormons — and especially young adult Mormons — are the among the very most religiously active, committed and engaged people in America, according to a major new study released Tuesday.

Latter-day Saints believe in God, pray, attend worship services, belong to a local church and read scripture more than members of all but one other American faith, according to the Pew Research Center's 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study.

They also place more faith in religion than members of any other religious group. For example, 97 percent of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints surveyed for the study agree that churches and other religious institutions bring people together and strengthen community bonds. Evangelicals were next at 94 percent.

And 94 percent of Latter-day Saints said churches and other religious institutions play an important role in helping the poor and needy, while 92 percent said churches protect and strengthen morality in society. Both scores were higher than any other group.

The survey of 35,071 U.S. adults conducted June 4-Sept. 30, 2014 sampled 641 Latter-day Saints. LDS results had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The study found strong measures of commitment and participation among young adult LDS ages 18 to 29, who scored as high or higher than middle-aged and older church members in several ways.

For example, 80 percent of young adult Latter-day Saints said religion is very important in their lives, very similar to the 84 percent overall.

Mormons (95 percent) believe in heaven more than any other group, but young adult Mormons (97 percent) believe in the concept more than any other LDS age group.

More young adult Latter-day Saints (81 percent) said they participate in prayer or scripture study groups at least weekly than did their older counterparts (75 percent for ages 30-49 was the lowest).

Overall, 61 percent of both Latter-day Saints and those of the historically black Protestant tradition share their faith with nonbelievers at least monthly, the highest of any group. But again, more young LDS adults (68 percent) said they did so, 7 to 10 percentage points higher than other LDS age groups.

And young adult Mormons also are the most active in attending worship services, at 81 percent versus 75 percent for those 30-49; 72 percent for those 50-64; and 79 percent for those 65 and over.

Overall, 87 percent of Latter-day Saints are absolutely certain there is a God, behind only Jehovah's Witnesses at 90 percent. However, 89 percent of LDS believe in a personal God, with evangelicals next at 80 percent.

More Jehovah's Witnesses (90 percent) and Latter-day Saints (86 percent) participated in daily prayer than any other group. The same was true for belonging to a local congregation (LDS, 88 percent; Jehovah's Witnesses, 77 percent).

Those two faiths also led out in the percentage of members who regularly feel a deep sense of spiritual peace, at 82 percent apiece.

Most of the LDS numbers were notably consistent with those in the 2007 Religious Landscape Study.

The percentage of Latter-day Saints who said homosexuality should be accepted by society rose to 36 percent from 24 percent in 2007, but only 25 percent of Latter-day Saints favored same-sex marriage, while 69 percent opposed it.

No comments: