How much do you know about the subject of…religion? Not necessarily your religion, but religion in general.
Earlier this year the Pew Research Center attempted to answer this question as far as Americans go. They designed a 15 question quiz that they asked 3,412 randomly selected adults in the United States last May.
Then, as usual, they sorted all the information gleaned from the survey by age, race, geography, religion, etc. Here are a few highlights from their study:
- Atheists/Agnostics scored the highest on the quiz on religion…go figure.
- Jews came in second
- Mormons came in third
- Hispanic Catholics and Black Protestants came in last
I took the 15 question quiz and missed one. Maybe if I converted to Judaism I would known a little more about the First Great Awakening. You can take the quiz here. Feeling brave? Leave your results in a comment.
The question reminds me of the verse in Matthew 16:25:
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Except I would change the second lose to give, which is at least one of the meanings of Jesus’ saying.
It also reminds of something taught by Elder Neal Maxwell:
The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give’ are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. (If Thou Endure It Well, pg. 54)
There was one last piece of information from the recent Pew Study of the Mormon Faith that I wanted to share and then ask for some opinions, especially from members of the faith.
For just about every religious denomination the more education an adherent gains, the less belief in spiritual things he exhibits. EXCEPT for Mormons. For Latter-day Saints the REVERSE is true. The more education a Mormon has the more committed he or she tends to be to his or her religious convictions. Here is a quote from the study:
Looking at religion’s importance through the lens of education level, patterns among Mormons are the reverse of what is seen among the general population. For example, among the public, 60% of those with a high school education or less say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 50% among those with a college education. But among Mormons, the reverse is true: More college graduates (89%) than those with a high school education or less (76%) say religion is very important. It is important, however, to note that both groups among Mormons place a higher importance on religion than either group among the general public. A similar pattern emerges on belief in God, frequency of prayer and religious exclusivity. On each of these questions, Mormons with more formal education are more religiously committed, whereas in the general population the opposite is true. (emphasis is mine)
I posed a question a while ago, based on this study, that asked why Latter-day Saints are so politically conservative and I enjoyed the responses of the commenters. However, I think that question was pretty easy to figure out. My question this time, I think, is a little less obvious and I am really curious about the responses we will get.
Here is the question:
Why is it that Latter-day Saints become more committed as they gain education versus other faiths where the reverse is true?
A little more than a week ago the Pew Forum released a study of Mormons in the United States.
Here are some reasons I find the study interesting:
- I think it should be a good measure of actual allegiance, belief, and practice since it is conducted by a neutral third party trying to get a picture of what things are like. It’s not done by the Church or even “at Church.” I would expect that plenty of baptized Mormons who are disassociated with the Church for one reason or another may not have even responded that they were Mormon. I would expect the same thing to be true for other faiths. In other words, I expect that it fairly accurately portrays what is.
- The study fans out from religious practice, to social and political trends.
- It is comparative in that it shows one faith’s characteristics against the backdrops of other religious bodies.
- I studied political science (don’t tell my math students) in college so I’m naturally inclined to these sorts of things.
Here are a couple of graphs from the study I want to share:
The graph shows that, according to their polling, Mormons have the highest “intensity of belief” of any denomination and the second highest “frequency of practice” (second to the Jehovah’s Witness faith.).
Here we see that Mormons stand out for their conservatism and affiliation with the Republican political party.
A few other notable facts:
- There are about as many Mormons in the United States as Jews
- 76% of Mormons live in the West
- Mormons tend to be married more than any other religious faith (including unaffiliated persons)
- there are some demographic differences between Mormons who converted and those born in the faith
There is lots more information in the study so if this is up your alley our you have some curiosity you can find the whole thing here. It is a fairly easy read and not to jargony.
Anyone can comment on anything they want here. I would like any readers out there that are members of the Church to comment if they have one on this question:
- Why are Mormons, as a group, so conservative and Republican?