Religion can predict sexual behavior, sociologist suggests

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  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    April 25, 2014 6:23 p.m.


    Believe me.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    April 25, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    I'm always skeptical of any scientific research, whether it validates or invalidates my views. These days too much politics and money can influence outcomes. I wish we could live in a world, or at least a country, where we could trust that there is not money and/or agenda behind scientists. However, ever since Carl Sagan came along, science has been clouded by politics. Today we see the same thing going on with the man made climate change debate. Some say it's settled science, some say it isn't. Who do you believe?

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    April 25, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    Despite Regnerus' flawed study of same sex couples and the outcomes for their children, this current study is at best naive regarding sexuality among Mormons.

    Think about it. If a Mormon confesses to sexual immorality outside of marriage, their membership status is at risk. They can be denied access to LDS Temples, disfellowshipped, or even excommunicated. So those Mormons who do engage in sex outside of marriage are incentivized to either lie, or to self-select out of mainstream Mormon membership status.

    A similar phenomenon is at work when Mormons might assert that the prison population has fewer Mormons than other religions. It is Church policy that those convicted of felony crimes and sentenced to prison time must be excommunicated - they are no longer on the records as Mormons! But this hardly supports the implied idea that Mormons are morally superior people, overall. Instead, these"fair weather membership" Church policies create distorted statistics regarding marriage, sexual behavior, and criminal activity. A good ethnographic sociologist would understand such things.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 25, 2014 8:45 a.m.


    One reason I promote marriage equality is because the reserch done to deny it is ineveitabley faulty with its procedures and samples; they just can't be honest about it.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    April 25, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    "The study suggests there’s a correspondence between what people’s religious affiliations proscribe regarding sex and marriage and their behavior."

    WHOA-HO! That blew my mind; I'll have to rethink my understanding of mankind.

    Sorry, I just had to. With the sarcasm out of the way, I appreciate the work these people are doing. One reason I don't support trying to change marriage to include two people of the same sex is because the research done to promote it is inevitably faulty with its procedures and samples; they just can't be honest about it.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 25, 2014 7:13 a.m.

    Regnerus acknowledged that poverty, divorce, and criminal backgrounds of parents were all known factors which predicted worse outcomes in the children they raised. But he did not think it proper to refuse to permit people who were in these categories from marrying and raising children. But he persists in using his study as evidence that gays should not be allowed to marry.

    I think I know an "agenda" when I see one.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    April 24, 2014 5:31 p.m.

    @Liberty For All
    I hope your comment was meant as irony.

    The Regnerus study shows that children from broken homes are worse off than kids from families that stay intact.

    It shows that lots of families formed when gay people married a straight partner later ended up breaking up. Kids raised in those broken families did not do as well as kids raised by parents who stuck together (gay or straight). Takeaway for me is that we should not push/pressure gay people to marry a partner of the opposite sex.

    It does not show that gay people married to each other are any worse at raising kids than straight people married to each other.

    This is not a question of liberal vs. conservative spin. The facts are in the public record and there is consensus among child advocacy groups.

    The state of Utah took disavowed Rengerus' brief because it didn't contribute to their argument against same sex marriage.

    Take a few minutes to search online and it is easy enough to find a non-biased analysis of Regnerus' research.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 24, 2014 5:31 p.m.

    Liberty, the only "agenda" that the gays I know have is to live their lives peacefully and have the same rights that you and I take for granted. As more and more gays are coming out to their families, their neighbors, and their work colleagues, the straights are realizing that gays have the same "lifestyle" as the rest of us--with the minor difference that their significant others are of the same sex. Remember when the Church came up with all of those ads which had ordinary people talking about their lives, finishing up with statement along the lines of, "I'm Sally Jones, I'm a wife, I'm a mother, I'm a programmer, I'm a surfer, and I'm a Mormon"? Mormons aren't weird, and neither are gays.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 24, 2014 5:17 p.m.

    VikingZag, you've got it backwards. You said "If the data don't support your theory, then you don't publish the findings." No, no, and no. If you analyzed previously done research and came up with a hypothesis, which was not supported by data, you owe it to the scientific community to let this be known, so somebody else doesn't waste their time repeating a testing of your (wrong) hypothesis. Furthermore, if somebody reading your report sees a fatal flaw in your methodology, it might be worth repeating the analysis to see if your hypothesis actually is correct.

  • Testimony Philadelphia, PA
    April 24, 2014 4:24 p.m.


    Almost nothing in your comment supporting Regnerus and attacking "liberals" is accurate. When published, Regnerus' paper was picked apart by his peers for its erroneous methodology, and he had to retract the part of it that included the basis of his main conclusion. The Michigan Federal District Court, which held a two-week trial to examine his and other conservative-funded "research" papers and academics found that his work and conclusions were "wholly without merit." His own university and university department have issued a statement disavowing his work or any support of its conclusions.

    His school might have dismissed him, but he's one of those tenured teachers that conservatives are always complaining can't be fired.

    You even get the name of the journal, "Social Science Research," wrong. It's one of dozens of equally legitimate academic journals, but as much as admitted that things slip through the cracks now and again. Members of that journal's editorial board reviewed and denounced Regnerus' paper in July 2012 as being so “extremely misleading” that it should have “disqualified it immediately.”

  • VikingZag College Station, TX
    April 24, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    @Furry, actually the correct way to perform social science research is to analyze previous research, use logic, and develop a theory/set of hypotheses. Data are then gathered to test the hypotheses, and results are reported. Your description of incorrect research is actually the right way to do it. If the data don't support your theory, then you don't publish the findings.

  • Liberty For All Cedar, UT
    April 24, 2014 2:42 p.m.

    The New Family Structures Study was peer reviewed and published in the nations most credible scientific journal (The Journal Of Social Science). When liberals find something that discredits the homosexual agenda, they attack researchers and try to spin the results. Regnerus and credible social scientists stand by the results of this very important study. The NFSS was the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, clearly showing horrific child outcomes when child are exposed to their parents homosexuality. Even if the liberals don't like it, his work clearly merits the noble prize in social science research.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    April 24, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    Reading the comments here it is funny to see the liberals actually reading and trying to find ways to pick apart a study. Had Regnerus been a climatologist saying that the Earth was doomed and we needed more government intervention they would be silent and would just nod their head in agreement.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 24, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    Mountanman says:

    "Ranch. I am attracted to women. But I don't have sex with them. See the difference?"


    You left out the disclaimer that you DO (most likely, judging by your 2nd comment) have sex with ONE woman.

    I am attracted to men, but I don't have sex with them (except my partner). See the similarity?

  • Bored to the point of THIS! Ogden, UT
    April 24, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    Do people still listen to this guy?

    I guess reading the comments... yes!

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 24, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    "About 50 percent of younger evangelicals had premarital sex with their spouse, compared to 10 percent of Mormons, his study suggests."

    Given that a number of legitimate studies have placed Evangelicals having premarital sex at more than 90% (with Mormons not that far behind), a more likely conclusion would be that Evangelicals and Mormons lie about premarital sex at a higher rate than do people who do not belong to conservative religions. Almost 15 percent of Utah's babies are born to unmarried mothers. If you check the percent of babies born to moms married less than nine months, it's going to up that percentage a lot more. And these are the ones whose premarital sex resulted in a pregnancy carried to term, which ignores the huge percentage who just didn't get pregnant, or who miscarried or had abortions. Are 90% of these women gentiles? Come on, now!

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    April 24, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    As Regnerus has been discredited in both academia and the courts, seeing anything spoken or written by this person is clearly an act of media disinformation. He is not a creditable source of information.

    Going public with your studies, and disseminating your findings before they are published is also an "ethical" no-no. His study has not been peer reviewed. No one knows if what he found is true, if his methods are correct and if his conclusions hold water. To cite his proposed study in advance is also an act of media disinformation.

    Is this a newspaper or a political/religious operation? Can any crank dummy up a study and get it read into the public record as truth simply because it confirms the dominant bias of its readers? What next...a study that claims conservative religionists have better dental hygiene and escape the agony of ingrown toenails?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 24, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Ranch. I am attracted to women. But I don't have sex with them. See the difference?

  • donn layton, UT
    April 24, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    RE: A Quaker,For those who are getting married later, say age 28 and up, virginity is either difficult to maintain, or if maintained would raise questions as to whether there was something wrong with you?

    Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each Man should have his own wife, and each Woman should have her own husband.”(1Cor 7 1-2).

    RE: Mountanman I am just glad that Mormons are the least likely religion to be in a sexually inactive marriage! Currently,
    Prior to the 1890 Manifesto. Polygamy was openly practiced in Utah
    “An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his *wife and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious.” (Titus 1:6 NLT)*Greek, must be the husband of one wife

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 24, 2014 8:35 a.m.


    Your first comment to Tiago commends him for remaining celibate; you second comment, to Quaker, indicates how much you enjoy your marriage (and the physical relationship right along with it). Why would you deny Tiago the same joy you enjoy?

    SSM is NOT a burden to bear. It is NOT a cross to carry. It is NOT something to be afraid of or hide away. It IS as natural to an LGBT person as opposite sex attraction is to a heterosexual person.

    After years of "praying the gay away" with no success, the only conclusons were (1) god doesn't exist, (2) if he exists, he doesn't care, (3) churches are lying to us. All 3 conclusions = best to leave religion behind.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 24, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    @ Quaker. I am just glad that Mormons are the least likely religion to be in a sexually inactive marriage! lol

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 24, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    Tiago. Thank you for your comments. Too many people are too eager to judge persons who experience same sex attraction and for whatever it means to you, I admire your courage. I have things in my life that I constantly struggle with too but I think yours are more difficult than mine. I have to believe life in the short term is not fair but in the long run, it will be, for all of us. I think my "cross" to bear, as irritating as it is, is easier than yours. God bless you!

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    April 24, 2014 7:47 a.m.

    @ThidBarker: Neither you nor Regnerus are accounting for a person's age at marriage. Yes, if you marry young there's a chance you might not have had sex before marriage. But, people are marrying later and later these days, in part because they know that to afford themselves, their spouse, and their children a better life, they need to have earning power. So, upwardly-mobile people are getting more education and trying to establish a career before considering themselves in a financial position to marry.

    For those who are getting married later, say age 28 and up, virginity is either difficult to maintain, or if maintained would raise questions as to whether there was something wrong with you.

    Virginity at age 18 is sweet. At age 35 it's a little worrisome. On average, Mormons marry younger than most. In America, I think only Orthodox and Hasidic Jews marry younger.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    April 24, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    Another Deseret News article calling the rising number of single people a "disaster."
    How can you tell gay people they can't marry then at the same time complain about the rising number of single people?
    I'm a faithul, single, celibate Mormon who experiences same-sex attraction. Can you see how this kind of talk could be hurtful to me?
    No matter what I do--stay single, find a partner--people like Regnerus will regard me as contributing to the destruction of society.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 24, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    "About 50 percent of younger evangelicals had premarital sex with their spouse, compared to 10 percent of Mormons, his study suggests. Mormons are the least likely religious group to be in a sexually inactive marriage, the research suggests." Speaks for itself!

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    April 24, 2014 6:54 a.m.

    Once again, Regnerus shows that he has no idea what "causality" is. If he is positing that religion "causes" heterosexuality, he is once again alone in his field.

    A more likely "cause" of his observations is that those non-heterosexuals who find that no matter how hard they pray to be made "normal," no matter how sincerely they believe, after seeing absolutely no results, come to question the condemnatory teachings of their churches, and leave.

    Put in more scientific language, his subjects are self-selecting religion, based on their sexuality.

    Meanwhile, everyone should know that there are churches who accept gays and lesbians as equal children of God, with the same spiritual needs and gifts, and are prepared to treat them with the same dignity, love and celebration they afford all people.

    In his next study, Regnerus will measure how much Jello he can make stick to the wall, and what it means.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    April 24, 2014 6:48 a.m.

    The common flaw of the Regnerus NFSS study was the failure to account for the fact that many of the subjects who were raised in same-sex households experienced prior incidents of family instability (e.g., divorce or separation) or were initially placed in the foster care system. Regnerus acknowledged that poor school performance could result from a child’s exposure to divorce or parental separation. Regnerus’s NFSS study also suffered from another defect in that it failed to measure the adult outcomes of children who were actually raised in same-sex households. Regnerus acknowledged that “any suboptimal outcomes may not be due to the sexual orientation of the parent” and that “[t]he exact source of group differences” are unknown.

    The Michigan Court found Regnerus’s testimony ENTIRELY unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 “study” was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it “essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society.”

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 24, 2014 6:11 a.m.


    Regnerus couldn't find a stable same-sex household because he didn't look very hard. Your comment indicates that you haven't looked very hard either. I can name a dozen stable same-sex households off the top of my head (mine being just one of them).

    As for his "peers" who reviewed the study, they were just more of his anti-same-sex fellows; even his University has disavowed the study. The original publication in which it was published disavowed the study.

    Regnerus is a crank and anyone who thinks his work has any validity at all is simply ignoring the facts.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 23, 2014 9:28 p.m.

    @ Hold

    Regnerus failed to account for the fact that over half of the study participants never lived in a same-sex household at all, some of them lived in one for only brief periods, and nearly all of the participants were the offspring of failed heterosexual marriages. Just two of the participants met the criteria it is claimed he was studying - children raised throughout their childhood by parents in a same-sex relationship - and measures of these kids came out comparable to those of children raised by stable heterosexual parents.

    So it is misleading to say that Regnerus "found...that children who reported to have a parent who had had a same-sex relationship had poorer outcomes" because this isn't what he in fact was studying. It is also misleading to say that "he found very few same-sex relationships that were stable" because he didn’t go looking for stable same-sex relationships. He instead seems to have gone looking for confirmation of his belief that gay parenting leads to poor child outcomes. Despite his efforts, all that he actually found was the impact of divorce.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    Completely agree, the problem with the study is the lack of proper context when used by others (not sure how much Regnerus does it himself) when referencing it. Then there's the side-issue of whether averages should be used to generalize/stereotype entire populations when it comes to the policy debate it's brought up in.

  • Hold Rexburg, ID
    April 23, 2014 2:51 p.m.

    Re: Furry 1993- Actually his work was deemed credible by the peers who reviewed his paper and recommended that it be published. And considering the fact that it hasn't ever been retracted, it is still considered credible.

    Here is the issue with the Regenerus study: What he found was that children who reported to have a parent who had had a same-sex relationship had poorer outcomes. What his study did not address is whether children in stable same-sex relationships have poorer outcomes. This was because he found very few same-sex relationships that were stable, so his numbers simply couldn't reach significance. This isn't because the study was poor, but because he just didn't find that many stable same-sex households.

    The problem with all the other studies on this is that they aren't credible because the surveys they are based on have not been random and/or large enough to be meaningful. Regenerus's study was both large and random.

  • Ohio-LDS NE, OH
    April 23, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    "The state of Utah recently filed a letter distancing itself from the study in defending its statewide ban on same-sex marriage. The state cited a recent federal district court decision dismissing Regnerus’ views as 'not worthy of serious consideration.'”

    The State of Utah did more than just distance itself from the Regnerus study, it expunged all references to the study that were included in Utah's original appellate brief. The State of Utah also admitted to the 10th Circuit that the Regnerus study does *not* establish the fact for which Utah had cited the study; namely, that raising a child in a same-sex household produces outcomes that are inferior to those produced by man-woman parenting arrangements. By redacting this study from its argument, the State of Utah conceeded that there is no evidence to show that homosexual couples are inferior to heterosexual couples in raising children.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 23, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    A proper study collects and analyzes data, and reaches a conclusion based on the data. Regenerus, on the other hand, gives the very real impression that he decides on his conclusion and then tries to select data to support his 'conclusion'. I have no problem understanding why his work is not deemed credible.