Comments about ‘LDS religious commitment high, Pew survey finds’

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Published: Friday, Jan. 13 2012 6:00 p.m. MST

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American Fork, UT

If you're gonna buy in, you might as well go all the way.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

I thought one of the most interesting observations was that religious commitment among the LDS increases with education.

So often religious folks worry about education destroying faith. Also, the religious are often portrayed in the media as less educated or somewhat simple minded.

This provides a refreshing real world view. It also goes hand in glove with the many admonitions from the prophets and other general authorities to pursue education.

All truth is ultimately of a piece. Religion and education can (and apparently do) work well together.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

One thing is clearly shown by this. Latter-day Saints don't just say they are Christians to try to confuse other people, they say it when they are in situations where they can say basically whatever they want and no one will know that they said it.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

The line "Mormons believe in Jesus Christ" is not really enphatic enough. Some people who question the Christian qualifications of Latter-day Saints would respond "so do Muslims".

More correctly "Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World, God the Son, and the only way to Salvation".

One issue some people have with the LDS Church is that its claim that all other Church's went astray puts it outside the Christian fold in some way. This ignores the fact that the Church of Christ and other Campbellite "Restorationist" movements also sought to reestablish the Church as it existed in the time of Christ and while not clearly declaring new manifestations of God, clearly do not see high Church creedism as important.

I also wonder if we might get a better understanding of what this 32% of the population who thinks Mormons are not Christian if we compared it to what percentage of the population things that Catholics are not Christian. Also what percentage of Catholics think Catholics are Christian?

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

Well I did find multiple websites advocating that Catholics are not Christian. From my knowledge there are some people in the US who treat "Christian" as a synonym of "Evangelical Born-again Protestant".

On a website that argued that Catholics are Christian I came upon the statement "Christian means follower of Jesus Christ". This would seem to indicate that if someone accepts that Jesus of Nazareth is Savior and King they are a Christian. I do not really see how you can be a Christian and reject Christ's divinity, but I know there are many who have basically done that, and in general they were accepted as being Christians.


NO success can compensate for FAILURE in the home...David O. McKay.

LDS Church structure is like scaffolding that is used until the family unit is complete. The family is also viewed as the fundamental unit of our society.

Put as an astronomical metaphore, a family can be viewed as:
A constellation in the immensity of space,
with our married children as expanding swirling galaxies,
cleaving yet away from one home, glowing bright at the center.

Knowledge about the value of families comes from living Prophets who reveal a God who is just, who is merciful and kind forever.

Fern RL

Having recently read most of pollster Gary C. Lawrence's book: Mormons Believe ... What?, I would be very interested to hear his interpretation of the results of this new Pew research survey.

very concerned
Sandy, UT

Personally, I appreciate the positive tone of the article. Might I pose some questions? Are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints more faithful because they are educated, or are they more educated because of their faith? Also, do Mormons pay more tithing because they are more educated or vice versa. Which is the cause and which is the effect? I believe that Mormons are more educated because they believe in prophets who encourage education.

Steve C. Warren

Re: 77 percent attend church at least once a week; 79 percent pay tithing; 65 percent hold temple recommends

If these numbers purport to reflect the entire church, they are entirely inaccurate. Perhaps the Pew people surveyed people attending general conference.

More accurate numbers would be 40-45 percent attend church once a week, 35 percent pay a full tithing and 30 percent hold a current temple recommend.

The Pew data are truly John McEnroe numbers, i.e., "You cannot be serious" or "You have got to be kidding"

South Jordan, UT

Agree with Steve.. I'm an active LDS member, love the tone of the article and have nothing bad to say about the church... but no way are nearly 80% of church members attend church weekly and pay full tithing.. no way..

Boise, ID

It's frustrating that one of the questions asked LDS members was whether they do or do not watch R-rated movies. That injunction--not to watch themused to be a useful tool to prevent watching movies totally out of line with LDS standards for entertainment, especially for a family with young children. When "Ordinary People"--quite acceptable to the standards--was granted an R rating through extraordinary pressure on the movie industry so it would be "taken seriously" as adult fare, a Pandora's box opened as far as useful ratings is concerned. Over time they became increasingly irrelevant and needed overhauling. Today there are some G, PG, and many PG-13 movies that aren't in line with LDS standards. Too many members still adhere to an outmoded test for movies (R rating or not) as if that settles the appropriateness issue. It also tends within congregations to classify dedication to living LDS
standards at all. However there are now quite good and stated means of determining what's appropriate which work well. I read all the messages and make viewing choices based on them and on experience with how this worked in the recent past.

Orem, UT

I agree with Steve too. They must not have polled in my ward where some 40% of folks on the record don't come to church. This has been typical for all of the various wards I have attended. Perhaps when I move in, people stop coming? ;) It looks like Pew's sampling methodology was slanted to favor the "active" Mormon which--call me cynical--does not perfectly represent the demographic. It makes for a feel-good story, though and paints us all as nice, religious people. Mission accomplished!

Northern Lights
Louisville, KY

Mr Warren,

The Pew Survey generally explains where/how they collected their information. Where did you collect yours to come up with a difference? I'm only curious...

Salt Lake City, UT

@John Pack Lambert
"One issue some people have with the LDS Church is that its claim that all other Church's went astray puts it outside the Christian fold in some way. "

I feel like there should be some sort of compromise everyone can come to that says "you're Christian... I just think you're wrong". When I was LDS and the question of "are Mormon Christian" came up by non-members I would sometimes explicitly note that "I'm not trying to claim the LDS church is right, just that it's Christian... even if you still think of it as that uncle you don't really want to acknowledge at family reunions but darn it he's still related to you".

Cedar Hills, UT

Yes I am a Latter-day-Saint, and I believe in Jesus of Nazareth. But even though I make an obvious statement like that...there are still people out there who will continue to dogmatically stick to the old line that "Mormons are not Christitans." What more can I say?

Provo, Ut

There's a lot that could be said here, but the thought I keep having is how remarkable it is that DNews and the Church haven't thrown their arm out with all of this self back patting that they do.

Corona, CA

Most of the mormons I know are Conformists. It seems like many of them lower their standards to fit in or whatever.

Steve C. Warren

To: Northern Lights

"The Pew Survey generally explains where/how they collected their information. Where did you collect yours to come up with a difference? I'm only curious... "

Good question. My estimates are merely based on my experience serving in ward clerk and assistant ward clerk positions as well as a variety of leadership positions in wards and branches for several decades. Also, it's pretty easy to figure that when there are 500 or so members in the ward and Sacrament meeting attendance is about 175 that the 77 percent figure might be inflated.

The Pew researchers say that they obtained their data from phone calls and that their "final composite response rate" was 20.4%. In other words, most people refused to participate. I suspect that those who responded by completing the 25-minute survey tended to be active LDS. Also, only "self-identified" LDS were contacted. Less-active members or ones who haven't attended for decades might tend not to identify as LDS. Another problem with the Pew survey is that the stories, as reported, don't mention that only adults participated.


Steve Warren's numbers are correct (based on 2008 information given by a friend who is currently a stake partriarch).

Within his stake in another state, slightly more than 50 % are full tithe payers and slightly more than 60 % attend sacrament meeting.

Along the Wasatch Front, 33 % of the members pay a full tithing and average sacrament meeting attendance is 30 %.

Our ward has 60 to 65 % attendance at missionary farewells or homecomings (if all the visitors are included) but also 40 to 45 % regular attendance.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

As to the activity levels reported in the study. The following is from the Survey Methodology section of the report:

"For both freshly sampled households and those in the recontact sample, the survey began with a screening interview. Respondents reached by landline were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female currently at home. Interviews on cell phones were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. The screening interview consisted of a few short warm-up questions (about the respondents level of satisfaction with their community and their life), followed by a question about the respondents religious affiliation: What is your present religion, if any? Are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or nothing in particular? Those who described themselves as Mormons in response to this question were then administered the main survey, while the interview was discontinued for non-Mormons."

These are folks who self-identify as LDS. It is likely at least some less active members no longer do.

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