With the contest for the GOP Presidential nomination leaving the more tolerant American northeast (New Hampshire) and heading back into evangelical territory with the South Carolina Primary, Mitt Romney’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint faith (aka “Mormonism” or the “Mormons“) is back in the news. The Pew Research Center, in anticipation, has released a new poll on Mormons.
…or rather, a poll of Mormons themselves. Essentially, it’s an outside look at how Mormons see themselves.
I know. Interesting, right? Who doesn’t love a good case of ompholaskepsis? I mean, besides the Kardashian sisters and the Jersey Shore crew? (Yes, I did just manage to get a ten-dollar word in the same line as a reference to the Kardashians and Snooki. There must be some kind of blogger bingo reward for that).
Tell us more about that poll…
According to Washington Post, it is “[t]he first major independent poll of U.S. Mormons” and it “describes a conservative, devout community highly concerned about being accepted even as it embraces beliefs about gender roles, premarital sex and religious commitment that are well outside the mainstream.” Auspicious, eh? There’s a reason Mormons often find comfort in the biblical description of God’s people as “peculiar” relative to those around them.
“This sample looks like very busy, hyperactive Mormons,” said Marie Cornwall, a Mormon sociologist at Brigham Young University, to the Washington Post. “Who are these people? Many of us are really surprised at how religious this group is.”
- “Seventy-four percent of Mormons say they lean Republican, compared with 45 percent of Americans overall.” (Shocker…)
- As it regards the presidential contest, “Romney has overwhelming support among Mormons: 86 percent view him favorably. Even Mormon Democrats view him as favorably as do Republicans overall.” That doesn’t apply to just Romney. Less ardent in his LDS faith, but a Mormon none-the-less, Jon Huntsman gets favorable views from half of Mormons. Not surprisingly, President Obama only gets a nod from 25%, which matches up well with previous bullet point.
- Seventy-nine percent said sex between unmarried adults is wrong, compared with 35 percent of the general population. Others have pointed to this high level of pre-marriage chastity as a reason for Mormons’ lower than average levels of divorce. Which leads to the next observation:
- “Two-thirds of Mormons are married compared to just over half of all Americans, and eighty-one percent of all members say being a good parent is one of the most important life goals. Only half of Americans in general say the same. Almost three-quarters of Mormons put the same high priority on marriage, compared to one-third of the general public.”
- How do Mormons feel about perceptions of their faith? 97% see themselves as Christian, but “the fact that many Americans — one-third, polls show — don’t see them as Christians is one of their primary concerns.” Ironically, “white evangelicals, with whom Mormons share many attributes, are the group least likely to see Mormons as Christians.” Could that be a result of competitive envy?
Looking at the specific findings, LDS Church spokesman Michael Otterson notes that Mormon’s embrace a distinctiveness, as in “peculiarity,” that they cherish and that is not unlike the “committed evangelicals or [...] our Catholic brothers and sisters who show special devotion to their own understanding of the Christian faith.”
Wait! There’s more!
The poll isn’t the only place where the Mormons are making headlines. Today has seen a small burst of LDS centered news.
- The Alliance for a Better Utah hosted to two Republicans and two Democrats yesterday in a discussion about how their faith informed their politics. Check out the story about Holly Richardson, Howard Stephenson, Ben McAdams, and Carol Moss in the Salt Lake Tribune here.
- Fox News looked through the Pew Poll and found the tidbit that Mormons are ready to see a member of their faith in the White House and they believe the country is ready, too.
- Not surprisingly, Politico looked at the same poll and described LDS confidence in the country to select a Mormon for Commander-in-Chief as “ambivalence.”
- The LA Times calls it the “Mormon Moment.”
- So did the Chicago Tribune.
- Survey: US Mormons feel discrimination, hope – CNN (blog) (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
- Pew Survey: Majority of Mormons Lean Republican; Half Cite Discrimination Against Their Faith (abcnews.go.com)
- President Romney Could Go a Long Way Towards Fixing That, Eh?: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Mormon Perspective and 2012 (swampland.time.com)