This “Getting It Right” includes a Deseret News article that gives context to a recent Pew Research Center study, as well as a story from The Journal in Ireland about local Latter-day Saints.
Reporter Tad Walch provides helpful context to a study last week from the Pew Research Center about how Americans feel about religious groups. The study shows Mormons with a neutral score of 48 on Pew’s “feeling thermometer.” Although the score is in the middle, one scholar tells Walch that a more longitudinal view shows a gradual warming toward Latter-day Saints.
J. B. Haws, author of The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception, references a similar Church-commissioned study in 1998 with a thermometer score of 40.3 and another such study in 2002 with a score of 45.3. The Pew score of 48 in 2014 “seems to point to a slow and steady increase in favorable feelings toward Mormons,” Haws says.
Haws also points to Pew’s finding that 53 percent of those who personally know a Mormon have more positive feelings toward the Church, compared to 44 percent for those who don’t know a Mormon. "Knowing a Mormon tends toward favorability," Haws says.
David Campbell, co-author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, agrees.
“What matters most in these surveys is not what people experience through the news media but what they experience in their personal relationships," Campbell says.
- Pew Research Center study, “How Americans Feel About Religious Groups.”
The Journal (Ireland): “What Is It Like to be a Mormon in Ireland?”
To kick off its series on minority religions in Ireland, The Journal focuses on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in that country.
“The religion is a Christian faith and teaches the Old and New Testaments, but also uses other texts, most notably The Book of Mormon,” The Journal writes.
A local member tells The Journal that the Church teaches the Bible and believes Christ died for the sins of all people.
The Journal also notes that the Church does not practice polygamy.