In Utah, July 24 is Pioneer Day, a state holiday commemorating the day in 1847 when the first Mormon settlers, led by Brigham Young, entered the Salt Lake Valley. Today, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Mormon groups make up 58% of Utah's population and 1.7% of the total U.S. adult population, according to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life in 2007. The religious tradition, founded in the United States in 1830, has come under increased public scrutiny in recent years as a result of prominent Mormons in the news, such as Mitt Romney, a 2008 Republican presidential primary candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader in the U.S. Senate, as well as the involvement of the LDS church in political issues, such as the recent debate over gay marriage in California.3 comments on this story
A new analysis of the Landscape Survey data reveals that as a group Mormons are among the most devout and conservative religious people in the country. The Mormon community is also internally diverse, with differences according to levels of religious commitment and educational attainment, regions of the country where Mormons live, and between lifelong Mormons and those who have converted to the faith. This report explores Mormons' unique place in the American religious landscape and is divided into three parts: demographic characteristics, religious beliefs and practices, and social and political views.