LDS religious commitment high, Pew survey finds

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  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Jan. 16, 2012 1:29 p.m.

    Gracie's comment about R-Rated movies being too arbitrary a measure is correct. The Pew survey should have asked something like, "Do you monitor media and adhere to specific standards that discriminate against media deemed unacceptable?"

    While it is true that some G, many PG and most PG-13 movies are not in line with LDS teachings, you can bet that there is something in EVERY R-rated movie that is not in line with LDS teachings. Shall we dig out the conference talk about cockroaches in the ice cream?

    It is astounding that even most TV shows that start out innocuous enough become unacceptable as entertainment within a dozen or two dozen episodes. Remember, if it is not OK to do, it is not OK to be entertained by.

    To suggest we know better than the brethren in this regard, or that we are able to fend off the negative influence of media better than our neighbor is to invite decay into our moral lives. But y'all go on and enjoy.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 16, 2012 8:48 a.m.

    Steve Warren's numbers are closer to the true numbers of the LDS Church. However, it also is not entirely accurate. Over the years a more careful examination is that if Home Teaching is 48% then Sacrament attendance is aprroximately 48%. This holds true almost all the time. Where Home Teaching is higher, sacrament attendance is higher. There is a coorelation. Some fault this but it holds true in almost every instance. Where sacrament meenting attendance is higher, tithe payers are higher, temple recommend holders are higher and so on. This shows that where the Priesthood is doing their responsibilities better, the better the blessings of the Ward/Branch/Stake/District. So the PEW though a niceity is not accurate nor will it ever be. It does show that LDS Members who are active hold to the teachings of the Church and its leaders. You will find that many of the less-active as we call them still hold to its teachings and its leaders, they just for one reason or another don't attend. There is a small percentage of these individuals who want nothing to do with the Church or its teachings.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 5:43 p.m.

    The funny thing is as hard as the LDS church tries in getting exposure for the church, what it really heppened through these effots is underseed of what the church is all about. The exposure is not good, it has made the environment much worse.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 15, 2012 3:45 p.m.


    I have lived in several stakes in four states. I have known bishops who were electricians, school teachers, engineers, therapists, salesmen, printers, appraisers, and technical (computer) guys. In over 35 years at church I can only recall one bishop (and I did not know him that well) who practiced one of the three careers you name.

    For stake presidents, I have known CES directors, therapists, small business owners (and not always the suit and tie type of business), surveyors, various corporate business folks, and one lawyer (but he did not actually work as an attorney).

    I am sure I am missing some and probably also overlooking a few of those in the professions you name. But, in my own experience, it has been a pretty wide array of careers represented.

  • M Edwards Heber City, Ut
    Jan. 15, 2012 2:05 p.m.

    Sorry Keith 43 I have to disagree with your conclusion. I have known bishops and stake presidents who have been farmers, school teachers, mailmen, painters, construction workers only to name a few.

  • NightTrader Nanaimo, BC
    Jan. 15, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    @Mr. Warren and others:
    The survey was of 1000 self-identified Mormons. That fact that they were a)professing to be LDS, and b)willing to participate in a survey about their religion, would naturally skew the results toward active, believing, participating members of the church. It would naturally exclude pretty much any that have distanced themselves from the church.

    I think that the survey reflects a reasonably accurate cross-section of the active membership of the church. At no point does it state that 79% of members of the church pay tithing... I think a more accurate interpretation of the results would be "79% of those members who profess to be active members of the church pay tithing" .. which is probably pretty close.

  • Keith43 Springville, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    The results of the study that suggests that the more educated you are, the more faithful and active a member you are, is interesting. I suppose that's because they are probably better off financially, and somewhat more content with their lives and the direction they're pursuing. I have observed as well, that most bishops and stake presidents that are called, are either doctors, dentists, or lawyers. We shouldn't aspire to any position in the church. However, We'd be safe in assuming that unless we're in one of those three professions, we shouldn't ever count on being called to some high position in the Church. Just my observation however.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Jan. 15, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    Mormonism is a commitment to the Church. It has nothing to do with a commitment to spirituality.

  • crunchem Cedar City, Utah
    Jan. 14, 2012 10:10 p.m.

    So after this process of being self-identified as a Mormon, how is it possible that even 2% said they don't believe in the resurrection and 3% don't think they are a member of a Christian church? Me thinketh one in fifty forgot about watching the Simpon's rerun and took the phone call and had fun with the surveyor. Really????

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 14, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    If you google Pew Study Mormons you can find the actual study and read the methodology they used. Since most Mormons in the U.S. live in the Mountain West (Idaho and UT) they oversampled in those areas, but didn't survey just those areas. People who are inactive may/may not identify themselves as Mormon to a phone survey.

    Sample Questions:

    "Hello, I am ___ calling for the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan research group. We are conducting a survey for leading newspapers and TV stations around the country. This is not a sales call."

    "What is your present religion, if any?" (gives multiple choices)

    "And is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Community of Christ, or some other Mormon church?"

    "We do a lot of surveys of different religious communities,... Could I please speak with the youngest (male/female), 18 years of age or older who is Mormon?"

    "Do you pay tithing, that is donate 10% or more of your income to the (LDS Church/Mormon Church), or dont you do this?"

    "How active are you in (the LDS Church/ the Mormon Church)?"

    Jan. 14, 2012 5:47 p.m.

    These survey results would be extremely interesting compared with survey results for other religions where the respondents self-identified as Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Church of Christ, Methodist, etc. That's when we'd really see if the level of commitment among active members of the LDS church differed from others, or not.

    Also, the results relating to education have been consistent for at least a decade. I read the 2000 Pew results in detail and there it was reported that members of the LDS faith in the United States have more college degrees per capita than other religions and that their commitment level to their church and its doctrine went up with higher levels of education as opposed to other religions in the US. The methodology of this survey seems different than the one I read a decade ago, but it appears that that result hasn't changed.

  • Uncle Charles Where freedom and liberty reign, utah
    Jan. 14, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    It's comical to me that so many arm-chair quarterbacks are so heck bent on making sure that the REAL numbers are reported. The claims on here about how many are active, how many actually pay a full-tithe etc are so adamant that their numbers are correct.

    It's a survey folks -- that's it. No one's salvation will hinge on it.

    But let's make sure that we post the "real" numbers for every ward in the church!

    btw, patriarchs don't get any information on stake numbers. Their calling has nothing to do with it. Just wanted to make sure that information was correct.

    Time for all of you to go outside and enjoy the weather and exhale to contribute to the global warming going on.

  • goldfever St. George, U
    Jan. 14, 2012 3:36 p.m.

    Many Mormons have put on a false sense of commitment, I would say half of every ward is inactive or close to it. The LDS church say they have what 13 million member? I would say maybe 5-6 million are full tithe paying, attend every almost Sunday and do all their callings. Mormons are just like everyone else they put of a fake front but when you dig a little deep you see the holes.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    Jan. 14, 2012 1:21 p.m.

    As a participant in the survey. Let me try to clear up a few questions that might help. No Pew question said 100 percent attendance. The questions were geared to weekly attendance or near it in a number of different questions. Please also remember some members attend out of their ward consistently like myself and also numerous members work Sundays as well and maybe just fulfill assignments or callings during the week. On tithing the questions ranged from a set number of choices to a percentage including 10 percent and also more. In addition, another question asked how much you pay in tithing, later in the survey, after asking your household income.

    Participants were also drawn from those who have participated in other third party surveys so those who postulated that we were possibly participants before would be correct in that assumption. Having a background in survey structuring and in setting up Geographic and Economic surveys I found this survey to be pretty straight forward and clear. However, one could manipulate your answer especially if the surveyors thought they were measuring a Mormon(LDS) follower of President Monson's line, when in fact they were not.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 14, 2012 1:08 p.m.

    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.

    Jan. 14, 2012 12:51 p.m.

    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.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    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.

  • crowntown1 Corona, CA
    Jan. 14, 2012 12:28 p.m.

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

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 14, 2012 12:12 p.m.

    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.

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    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?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 11:36 a.m.

    @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".

  • Northern Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 14, 2012 11:14 a.m.

    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...

  • pmccombs Orem, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    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!

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Jan. 14, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    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.

  • Timp South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    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..

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    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"

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 8:34 a.m.

    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.

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    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.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 6:00 a.m.

    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.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Jan. 14, 2012 4:29 a.m.

    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.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Jan. 14, 2012 4:17 a.m.

    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
    Jan. 14, 2012 4:11 a.m.

    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.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 13, 2012 10:24 p.m.

    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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 7:16 p.m.

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