Pew! Glad that’s OverBy: Jeff Spector
Now that the â€śMormon in Americasâ€ť survey has been published (You can read the whole survey results here), the boobirds and naysayers are reacting. The survey results are quite clear in that they represent 1000 people who self-identify as â€śMormon.â€ť The Pew Research Center used a group of Mormon scholars to assist them in their research, which, of course, make it suspicious to those critics as well. As far as Daymon Smith is concerned, it is a conspiracy by the Pew Group and Church Leaders. You can read his take here. He fancies himself quite the expert on the Church because he â€śworkedâ€ť in the Church Office Building.
I was under the impression that the Pew Group was somehow connected to the Church because all the people I know with the name â€śPewâ€ť are LDS. But it turns out that the Pew Charitable Trusts, which funds the Research Group was started by family members of Joseph N. Pew, founder of Sunoco Oil and they were Presbyterians. So that theory is over.
I do not attempt to rehash the results of the survey, but provide some of my own commentary about it and a few interesting bits..
My own take is that Mormons are generally â€śpleasersâ€ť who like to give answers that people expect of them.Â So I am not so surprised at the results. If the majority of these â€śself-identifiedâ€ť are active Church members, then the answers are to be expected and it is what they believe!
However, the one answer I found that sort of breaks the mold for me was the question:
|Being a Good Mormon?|
|How important is each of these for being a good Mormon?||Essential||Important, but not essential||Not too/ Not at all important||DK/ REF|
|Believing Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ||80||13||6||2=100|
|Working to help the poor||73||24||3||*=100|
|Regular family home evenings||51||45||4||*=100|
|Not drinking coffee and tea||49||32||17||1=100|
|Not watching R-rated movies||32||47||19||2=100|
|2011 National Survey of Mormons, Oct. 25-Nov. 16, 2011 Q411. Figures may not add to 100% because of rounding.PEW RESEARCH CENTERâ€™S FORUM ON RELIGION & PUBLIC LIFE|
While I expected the Joseph Smithâ€™s First Vision and helping the poor to be high on the list, I would have thought the bottom two, Word of Wisdom and R-rated Movies to be considered more essential since Mormons tend to value their â€śobservancesâ€ť very highly.Â The fact that observing the WoW is not considered essential by a majority is bizarre to me. And saying that FHE is essential when most of us struggle with that one is also strange.
I do agree with Daymon on one point, I though the answer on Polygamy was also a bit odd, but certainly reflects the fact that mainstream LDS want people to disassociate Polygamy with the LDS Church, in spite of the fact that is remains a doctrine of the Church albeit, a suspended practice.
The rest of it pretty much fell in line with what I would expect Mormons to answer.
So, this is by no means an exhaustive survey of the attitudes and religious practices of folks who are on the roles of the Church. Â The Church would have had to fully cooperate with the Pew Group to conduct a survey like that. But it is interesting to the general public, if not the members themselves as to what this group of self-identified “Mormons” think about religious practice, politics, etc.
So, what is your impression of the results? Are you in the â€śInterestingâ€ť camp, the â€śDaymon Smith Dismissiveâ€ť camp? Or somewhere in between?
Ok, letâ€™s hash it out.