SALT LAKE CITY — Mormons’ faith, beliefs and practices translate to satisfaction with their lives according to a report studying members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United States released today by the Pew Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The study, a nationwide survey of 1,019 Latter-day Saints, sought to determine the levels of religiosity among Church members and found that 77% of members say they attend religious services at least once a week, 83% say they pray every day, 98% say they believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and 97% describe their faith as a Christian religion. The study confirms that Mormons exhibit higher levels of religious commitment than many other religious groups and believe firmly in the distinctive tenets of their faith.
"The nationwide survey ... finds that Mormons share many of the religious practices and beliefs of traditional Christianity," the study says.
The survey also found, as one might expect, that Mormons place an unusually high priority on family life. Being a good parent and having a successful marriage are high priorities.
"The results of this study regarding satisfaction for life, religiosity and faith are not surprising. Latter-day Saints have a deep faith centered in Jesus Christ, which brings contentment in life," said Church spokesman Michael Purdy.
Satisfaction "with the way things are going in their life" was particularly high among younger Mormons. Of those under age 50, 92% say they are satisfied with their lives (compared with 79% of the general population).
Public events including two Mormon candidates running for president of the United States, commercial productions depicting Mormons and their faith, and other Mormon-related stories in the press have created a period of noted interest in the Church, which some have called the "Mormon moment." The preface to the Pew report explains that the study intended to better understand what Mormons believe, how they practice their faith and how they see themselves and their place in American life.
As one might expect, the study found that many Mormons (54%) feel that the way their faith is portrayed in television and movies hurts society's image of them. Recent television programs have confused the public with misrepresentations of what Mormons actually believe and practice.
But more than half of Mormons (52%) said the treatment of their faith in the news media is fair, while 38% said the treatment is unfair.
"As we have spoken with hundreds of reporters from throughout this country and met with their editorial boards, we sense a real desire on their part to provide accurate information about our faith," Purdy said. "Television and other commercial productions, however, have tended to skew and misrepresent Mormonism, to the detriment of the general public and members of the faith."
Six in ten Mormons (62%) surveyed feel that America, as a whole, is uninformed about their faith, but a majority of Mormons (63%) feel acceptance of their faith is rising.
"While the study asks about acceptance, what we really hope for is accurate understanding. On the whole, information and understanding about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is increasing," Purdy said. "The more people learn about our faith, the better they will come to understand who we are and the values and beliefs we cherish."
Listen to and download audio soundbites of Church spokesman Michael Purdy discussing the Pew study: