July 8, 2020

Major New Study of Religion Has Much to Say About Mormons

LDS_Conference_CenterA new and important study of religion in America has, among other things, a good deal to say about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Recently published under the title American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, the sociological study was conducted by scholars Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell and yields valuable insight to the nature and social effects of American religion. Drawing from in-depth new surveys, the study’s authors affirm that in many respects, religion in America exerts a healthy influence upon American society — one that typically promotes generosity, trust, neighborliness, and civic engagement. And while Mormons are a relatively small component of American society, the study data reveals that they play a conspicuous part in American religious life.

Among the study’s findings related to Latter-day Saints are the following:

  • Mormons are among the most devout religious groups in the country.
    The American Grace study assessed a composite measure of “religiosity” that measured individuals’ levels of religious observance, the strength of their religious convictions about God and their faith, and the degree to which they feel their religion is personally important. As a group, Mormons registered a high level of “religiosity” (American Grace, 23-24).
  • Mormons are among those most likely to keep their childhood faith as adults.
    In an age of American religion where people often depart from the religion of their upbringing and where switching between religions is becoming more common, the study indicates that individuals raised as Latter-day Saints are among those most likely to keep their faith (137-138).
  • Mormons are unusually giving.
    Among the study’s larger conclusions is the fact that, in general, religion in America contributes to civic virtue, altruism, and good neighborliness. Study data, meanwhile, indicate that collectively Mormons are among the most charitable of Americans with their means and time, both in religious and nonreligious causes (452).
  • Mormon_Church_MeetingMormons are relatively friendly to other religious groups.
    The study also reports that Mormons are among those most friendly toward those of other faiths. Relatively speaking, the United States has not been the scene of deep religious conflicts; it is and has been a place of remarkable religious tolerance and pluralism. Nevertheless, the study’s authors point out that Americans are divided by religion, and hence, American society is susceptible to religious discord. Indeed, American religious (and nonreligious) groups have various feelings about one another. While data suggest that Mormons are among those viewed least positively by many American religious groups, they themselves hold relatively positive views toward members of other faiths, including those outside of Christianity (505-508).
  • Mormons are among the most likely to believe that one true religion exists, but also that those outside their faith can attain salvation or reach “heaven.”
    The scholars behind the study conclude that while many American religions make claims to being exclusively “true,” few religionists in the United States actually believe that “one true religion” exists. Of all American faiths, Mormons are most likely to affirm that there is a “true” faith (546). However, in what might seem a paradox to those unfamiliar with Mormonism, study data also indicate that while many Mormons believe that there is a “true” religion, Mormons are also the most convinced of any group that those outside their faith — including non-Christians — can “go to heaven” or gain salvation (535-537). While this belief is general among American believers, it is, according to the study, strongest among Latter-day Saints.

By Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010).

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  1. utahismystate2010@gmail.com says

    I am so happy to know the truth. I am here to have body, freedom and the whole truth.
    I am a member of the LDS Church. I am who I am. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I am a devout, practising Roman Catholic. I practice my faith through the traditions of my church and share my faith with my congregation. I also believe that all faiths are valid and should be respected. God is our creator, our friend and our guide. He is far too powerful and all knowing for any of us to understand Him. Whether people choose to express their faith through Mormon, Jewish, Catholic or any other religion is not important. Whether we adore Jesus, Allah or an Earth Mother makes no difference. There is one God, the name we use or the way we show our love for Him is a matter of personal opinion. I don’t need to understand God. I’m happy with the knowledge that He understands me. What is important, is that we can share our faith, declare our faith and profess our faith fearlessly. We should defend the rights of people of other faiths to enjoy the same freedom and acknowledge that all faiths are valid. It’s the same God, only the name is different.

    • If you know your bible well or a devoted Roman Catholic you will never never compare Jesus to Allah or an Earth Mother because Jesus was sent by God our Heavenly FATHER TO DIE for you and me and only through Him the name Jesus you can return to our Heavenly Father …that is a big big difference …. JESUS STANDS ALONE AND NO ONE STANDS WITH HIM !!

    • You say you believe all faiths are valid, but what does that mean? If two faiths directly contradict one another, they cannot possibly both be true.
      As a devout, practicing Catholic, you remember the time Jesus asked His apostles: “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replied that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. As Catholics, we believe in the truth of the Holy Trinity. We believe that Jesus is God. Either Jesus IS God, or He is NOT. We can’t have it both ways. Catholics believe in the content of the Catholic faith. Because it is true. The events of the life of Christ really happened in history. It’s verifiable. Embrace the Truth.

      • Herb O'Fallon says

        Patty Bennett When Jesus Christ asked Peter, Who do you say that I am?, And Peter said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Savior responded, Blessed art Thou, Simon Barjona, FOR FLESH AND BLOOD ( Mortality) HATH NOT REVEALED THIS UNTO THEE, BUT MY FATHER IN HEAVEN HATH REVEALED IT UNTO THEE. Thou art Peter, AND UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH. What Rock was the Savior referring to? Catholics think he referred to Peter. Not true. Jesus Christ was referring to the Rock of Revelation which Peter had just received, confirming that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. There is one true Church on the Earth which receives modern-day Revelation from the Savior: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the same Church of Jesus Christ that the Savior organized 2000 years ago, but which fell away and, therefore, needed to be Restored in the latter day. God and Christ both personally appeared to Joseph Smith in the Spring of 1820.

    • Sean,

      While I do not share all the beliefs that you do, I think what you believe is beautiful.

      Some might say that what you believe is false, but I think they missed your point.

      I also think that some of your expressed beliefs are not true. I think some of them are true. I am so very grateful that we both have the freedom to believe whatever we will.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and beliefs.


  3. I am not Mormon but have friends who are Mormon. One thing I would like to point out and you can correct me if I am wrong. But the LDS is the only religion that I know of that do not have the original text that was translated into their Book of Mormon. All other religions have some type of manuscripts that are available to scholars to digest, but not the LDS. Don’t get me wrong their beliefs are theirs and I do not judge, not my place. But thought I would throw that out there.

    • While it is true that the original plates that the Book of Mormon was translated from are no longer available, it is also true that there are no original manuscripts of the Bible. All manuscripts of the Bible are copies of copies. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are true scripture and can lead the reader to Christ and that is what is important.

    • Actually there are some manuscripts available. Joseph Smith Translated a piece of paper found in a tomb near Egypt. From it was written the Pearl of Great Price…. One problem however is that Since the finding of the Rosetta Stone the same paper was proven to be just a burial ritual and nothing religious. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham

      • The LDS faith has many challenges regarding its history. One being the comment from Paula above. Joseph did not use the Golden Plates to create the Book of Mormon. The LDS church has confirmed that he actually used a rock he found in a neighbors yard and put that rock in a hat. He would then burry his face in that hat and the stone would light up with words. Joseph Smith would then read off the words to his many different scribes including his wife, and they would then write down what he would say. It is documented over and over that the plates were either covered or not even present at all during the translation process. As is evident from Paula’s comment many of the Active members of the LDS faith are not aware of this actual translation and tell a entirely different narrative from what actually happened. Sorry Paula, by no means am I trying to jab at you,but rather the two narratives that are out there. It is stories like this along with Joseph’s many wifes (Some younger than 15) that he denied he had to his own wife because she was against it. Couple that with the fact that the canonized Pearl of Great Price mentioned above and you have only a few of the MANY issues that don’t hold a drop of water in the LDS Faith. This is not coming from an “Anti-Mormon” either. I am a Returned Missionary, Married in the Salt Lake Temple Active Mormon. I have learned all these things and after a long spiritual journey I have come to a great place in my heart, where I have accepted Jesus Christ as my own personal Lord and Saviour , and I try to live my life following his example. That means allot of things to me, from serving others, to showing unconditional compassion for those around me and loving them.

        What I am trying to get at is this, the LDS Faith is not the “One and Only true Church”. It teaches some amazing principles, and the Book of Mormon is more of a good story book with great parables rather than written by the hand of God or his “Prophets”

        • Dale Christensen says

          ​​​​​21 ​For the ​​​prophecy​ came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God ​​​spake​ ​as they were​ ​​​moved​ by the ​​​Holy Ghost​.

          Everything you said proves that the Book of Mormon is indeed scripture by definition. No one who has read the Pearl of Great Price or the Book of Mormon with true intent and has received that witness from the Holy Ghost can doubt that it is inspired by God. Whether Joseph Smith read the actual words or received the inspiration directly from heaven, by passing the engravings, makes no difference whatsoever. Either process is miraculous! The proof is in the pudding!

      • to charlesbadjr – burials typically are religious in nature and as a ritual certainly so. The question is whether the facsimile is only for a common ritual or that it relates to a particular person.

    • Us LDS read and teach from the Bible (KJV) as well as The Book of Mormon.

  4. Bud Peters says, THIS ARTICLE IS RIGHT ON I have been Mormon all my life and I have studied and even preached religion and I have found no other that comes up to it.

  5. I love being a member of the LDS church

    • Most people who are brainwashed think they’re happy being brainwashed.

      • No brain washing here. We all have choices in life. Having been inactive before and having gone to other churches, I am happy to be “Mormon”. My choice not only based on what I learned as a child, but what I have learned as an inactive adult

      • The teachings from LDS doctrine is all about free choice, of course children who grow up with LDS parents might believe from so called ‘brainwashing’ but at some point all have to have a personal witness and make decisions all their own about faith. Forced righteousness is not righteousness. History of our beginnings are not secret, from Joseph Smith on it’s a story of human failings and disappointments, but out of these same beginnings came the most comforting and amazing understanding of what earth life is all about and what we should be doing with this short and precious time.

  6. Members of the occult will never enter God’s Kingdom(Gal.5:19-21); Only Jesus brings salvation(John14:6); JC is the only way, the truth & the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus.; Many will claim to be God’s messenger(Matt.24:5).

    • Mormon here. I agree with you.

      • Tina Spendlove says

        That seems like a very myopic view to me. What is the point of Paradise except to preach the gospel to the dead. Those who were devout in their beliefs (Christians and non-Christians) and loved God as they understood Him will surly embrace the fullness of truth when they have a chance to learn it. So, while I agree with your scripture reference 100%, I don’t think that this earth life will be the the last rodeo. LOVE! I really do and want to love everyone, and I don’t want to judge anyone. I used those scriptures to teach me my responsibility as a Christian, but not to judge others, just to love them : ) I’ll let Christ choose who will and who will not enter into the Fathers kingdom.

        Informative article. Thank you : )

    • Just wanted to let you know that we believe in those scriptures as well. Jesus Christ is the way. The bible is paired with the book of Mormon. We don’t put one above the other.

  7. It is refreshing to read an article that is pro-LDS and is honest.

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