COLUMN: Mormons: What do they think about their life in America?
Editor's note: This post is part of a series by Dr. Baker on Our Values about core American values. This week, Dr. Baker is discussing what has been called the “Mormon moment” in America, what Mormons think and believe, and how they believe other Americans perceive them.
Mitt Romney’s bid for a presidential nomination is a visible element of what has been called the "Mormon moment" in America: the rising prominence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in national politics, media and the arts, as well as the portrayal of Mormons on Broadway and television. This prompted the Pew Research Center to sponsor a survey of American Mormons, focusing on what Mormons say about themselves and their perceptions of what other Americans think of them.
Here are some key findings from Pew’s survey: Almost two-thirds of Mormons (62 percent) say other Americans know nothing or only little about their church. About half Mormons (46 percent) say that there's a lot of discrimination against them. And, more than two-thirds of Mormons (68 percent) say that other Americans don’t think of Mormonism as part of mainstream American society.
However, more than six of 10 (63 percent) believe that the acceptance of their church is rising in America. And, a clear majority (56 p ercent) of Mormons feels that the U.S. is ready for a Mormon president.
Earlier on OurValues.org, I predicted that Mitt Romney will be Obama’s opponent in November. I called a Romney-Obama contest the matchup of the century and, no matter who wins, a political and moral watershed in American politics and society. This matchup is one of the top five values-related topics that I predicted will dominant the media, public discourse and dinner-table conversations this year.
For now, what do you think of the findings I presented today?
If you are a member of the LDS church, tell us what you think.
Do the survey findings repesent YOUR views?
If you are not part of the LDS church, does the survey reflect your attitudes?
Each day this week on OurValues.org, I'll introduce new findings from the Pew survey. Mormons in America was also the topic of yesterday’s in-person dialog in the small-group session I am leading on Civil Discourse. In a sense, we’'re continuing our small-group dialog by expanding it to the online OurValues.org community. (Read about our kickoff of this in-person effort in last week’s column.)
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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue.
Dr. Wayne E. Baker is a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Baker blogs daily at Our Values and can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook.