How religious are Generation Z Latter-day Saints in the United States? The results are different.


A new study of Americans between the ages of 13 and 25 finds that Latter-day Saints in their teens and young adults are traditionalists…and neither are they. And in that, they are like other Americans, who still consider themselves religious but in many ways distance themselves from the traditions of their faith.

“Religious and Youth Situation 2021: Navigating Uncertainty,” conducted throughout 2021 by the Springtide Institute, argues that “for a large and growing segment of young people, religion is increasingly separated from institutions, even as they may be exhibit high levels of religious beliefs, practices and identities.”

During the year, more than 10,000 young people were surveyed, including a total of 470 who identified themselves as Latter-day Saints or Mormons. In that group, 134 people also received an additional set of questions about their experiences and perspectives.

So, as always when interpreting Mormons data, remember that when the sample size is small, the error rate is high. For each finding discussed below, I will specify n or the sample size for that particular question.

Let’s start with the positive findings – which many established members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider good news.

• Mormons reported the highest participation rate in the study called “youth group” activities, at 43%.

This shows that even in a time when many young people leave organized religion, programs such as Youth and Young Women, seminary, and institute are still a factor in the lives of many Saints. Young Owners Later Days.

When attending ceremonies and gatherings, which ones do you attend? (Youth group?) (N = 396)

Mormon 43%

Protestant 36%

Only 33% Catholic

Orthodox Christianity 32%

Jewish 31%

Buddhism 29%

Roman Catholic 28%

Monopoly 25%

Muslim 24%

Hinduism 24%

Agnostic 16%

Nothing specific 14%

Atheists 12%

(Jeremy Harmon | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jana Riess speaks during the taping of episode 100 of the “Mormon Land” podcast in 2019.

• These Mormons also report attendance at religious services above the national average.

Only 1 in 10 said they never attended, compared with more than a quarter nationally. And more than a third (36%) young Mormons say they go to church almost every week or more often, compared with 23% in the entire sample.

How often do you attend religious services, for example, at a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or any other religious place?

Mormon (n = 396); all Respondents (n = 10,274)

Never 10%; 27%

Once a year or less than 25%; 25%

1 to 3 times a month 25%; 19%

Weekly or near weekly 28%; 18%

More than once a week 8%; 5%

I do not know, or do not apply 6%; 7%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

• They are somewhat more confident in organized religion.

About 57% of those questioned about Latter-day Saints said they believe in organized religion “totally” or “very much,” compared with 35% in the national sample.

How much do you believe in organized religion?

Mormon (n = 396); all Respondents (n = 10,274)

Distrust at all 7%; 19%

Somewhat confident 31%; 33%

34% more trust; 21%

23% full confidence; 14%

Not applicable 5%; 13%

On the other hand, the research also reveals some findings that should give Latter-day Saint parents and leaders pause. Before diving into that, let me provide a bit of context. In most data on religion in the United States, two things are consistently true about Mormons: They are unaffected by national trends toward discord and reduction in orthodoxy, but they remain religious. than other Americans. Overall, they said they had stronger faith in God, more attendance at religious services, and a clearer sense that religion was important in their lives.

In fact, last month when I reported on Vertical data from the Collaborative Electoral Study on Mormons’ Religious Abandonment, some readers complained that I did not provide enough context about the decline that is occurring in other religions.

But with Springtide data, it is not necessarily the case that Generation Z Mormons hold the same position that I have used over the years when I speak of millennial Mormons: “They less religious than their parents but still noticeably more religious than they are. peers. The picture is clearer here, especially in a smaller sample of Mormon respondents, who were asked a series of additional questions about their faith.

• Their faith in God is average.

(Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was displayed by 17,000 girls and young adults in celebration culture marks the completion of the Temple of the Jordan River. The celebration was held at the Convention Center on May 19, 2018.

I find this very surprising. While some of the young Mormons surveyed were outspoken atheists (only 7% versus 16%), they exhibit a significant degree of agnosticism, with most falling somewhere in between. . Only one in five say they have no doubt about the existence of a higher power equal to Gen Zers across the country.

“Which statement comes closest to expressing what you believe about a higher power — whether it is God, the gods, or some divine cosmic energy?”

Mormon (n = 470); all respondents (n = 10,274)

I do not believe in a higher power. 7%; 16%

I don’t know if there is a higher power, and I don’t believe there is a way to find out. 24%; 18%

I doubt the existence of a higher power than I believe. 22%; 13%

I believe in the existence of a higher power than I suspect. 23%; 24%

I know a higher power exists and I have no doubt about it. 20%; 23%

I do not know. 5%; 7%

• Mormons rank highest of all faith groups when it comes to saying they have personally been harmed by their religion, faith or a religious leader.

To me, this is a startling and potentially disturbing finding. (Remember, n here is 134 people, so I’ll take all of this as a grain of salt, as I’ll explain at the end.)

I have been harmed by religion, faith, or a religious leader in the past.

% The group agrees

Mormon 59%

Atheists 52%

Jewish 45%

Muslim 45%

Orthodox Christians 45%

Buddhist 43%

Hindus 35%

Evangelical Christians 39%

Agnostics 38%

Roman Catholic 38%

Only 33% Catholic

Universalists 28%

Nothing specific 26%

Nationally, 39% of respondents said they have been harmed by religion. For Latter-day Saints, this is a full 20 points higher. It’s hard to digest that number, honestly: More than half of young Mormons say they’ve been harmed by religion? For a similar question, 60% of Mormons said they did not feel safe in religious or belief institutions.

This is especially confusing when you put these findings alongside the convincing results reported above: The majority of young Mormons say they have been harmed by their religion or religious leaders. religious beliefs (59%), but an almost identical percentage (57%) say they have multiple beliefs in religion. It was a head scratch.

• Young Mormons don’t feel like they can bring themselves to church.

Mormons rank fifth overall on this question, so on one hand, you can see them taking the middle of the group in the table below. But compared with other Christian groups, they were more likely to say they could not be themselves in a religious organization.

I don’t feel like I can be myself in a religious organization.

% The group agrees

Atheists 82%

Agnostics 76%

Nothing specific 75%

Universalists 66%

Mormon 57%

Jewish 56%

Buddhist 56%

Muslim 52%

Orthodox Christians 52%

Roman Catholic 51%

Hindus 47%

Evangelical Christians 43%

Catholic only 43%

One possibility, of course, is that respondents are reflecting on the idea that they cannot be themselves in any religious organization, not just their own. Unspecified question. But in any case, it presents an annoyance, worry that the community may not be large enough to keep whoever they are behind the facade.

• Half of Mormons don’t think religious leaders care about their concerns.

I don’t think religious leaders will be interested in what I mean in times of uncertainty.

% The group agrees

Atheists 72%

Agnostics 66%

Nothing specific 65%

Jews 58%

Mormons 50%

Orthodox Christian 50%

Universalists 50% Unity

Muslim 48%

Buddhist 44%

Roman Catholic 40%

Hindus 38%

Only 37% Catholic

evangelical Christians 35%

The question doesn’t clarify what type of leader, so it’s hard to tell if these Mormon respondents were thinking of the apostles in Salt Lake City or a bishop closer to home.

So there’s the potential for good news and bad news. I think we should be cautious in interpreting the results from the small subsample and also note that post-survey weights are applied to data that are representative of the national population by sex, race, and region. area may skew the results somewhat for the Mormons. The nation is more racially and geographically diverse than the Mormons, and this can make all the difference. Eg, The Mormons in Utah are more religiously orthodox in both beliefs and practices than the Latter-day Saints elsewhere in the United States, and they make up about 30% of the Mormons across the country. But in a national survey weighted to reflect each state’s total population, Utah accounts for only 1% of the US population, meaning the weighting after the survey could dampen responses from some. most orthodox respondent and artificially inflated the reaction of Midwestern heretics like myself. However, that holds true for every national survey that includes the Mormons, not just this one.

Despite the limitations of the data, I also think that Springtide’s data is especially valuable to those interested in young Latter-day Saints, as it could exploit something that Studies that include only adults are often missed. By targeting people between the ages of 13 and 25, Springtide unconsciously includes a number of Mormons who will likely leave the church later on.

Think of it this way: Some of the respondents are still living at home, possibly going to church with their parents (or not). They still consider themselves Mormons and would identify themselves as Mormons in a survey, but they are not strong believers. After a number of years if they are inactive in the church for a long time, they are less likely to identify themselves in a survey as LDS.

I think that’s a major part of why Springtide’s data looks different from what we’re used to seeing from stores like Pew and PRRI, which focus only on adults over 18. Since the average age to leave the LDS Church is in the late teens (19 in The next Mormons survey, and apparently 18 in internal data from the church itself), the Springtide data gives us a glimpse of young adults who may have just walked out the door but haven’t been .

We need to learn from what they say.

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/12/27/jana-riess-how-religious/ How religious are Generation Z Latter-day Saints in the United States? The results are different.

Mike Sullivan

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