It may seem unexpected, but Mormons and the public share similar values than what the average member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might think. The Pew Research Center recently released a list of six facts about U.S. Mormons in comparison to people of other faiths, on Sept 20.
1. “The LDS church typically places very high importance on families and traditional gender roles,” according to pewresearch.org.
“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children,” according to the First Presidency in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
Marriage between a man and a woman has been challenged in recent years with several same-sex marriage laws being passed, according to npr.org.
“The beautiful values regarding families, you know, marriage and family, that is something that we share,” said Father Adrian Vasquez, a priest from Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, a Rexburg local congregation.
Most Christians believe that same-sex marriage is wrong and is condemned in the Bible, according to thegospelcoallition.org.
2. “Only about half of U.S. adults say Mormonism is a Christian religion,” according to pewresearch.org.
Vasquez said he does not believe Mormons are Christian in the same level as Catholics believe Christian means.
“Sure they have wonderful Christian values, but Christ is not a prophet or a Son of God,” Vasquez said.
Rosa Fernandez, who does not identify with any religion and a Rexburg resident, said she grew up in a religious home.
“I was taught that there was only one kind of Christianity and it was just being called a Christian,” Rosa Fernandez said.
3. “Mormons are among the most highly involved in their congregations,” according to pewresearch.org.
There is no paid ministry in local wards or stakes, and the work of the Church is carried out through volunteer service by the members who are called by priesthood leaders to contribute in various capacities, according to byu.edu.
Many other faiths, such as Catholicism and other Christian denominations have paid priests or preachers.
4. “A number of tenets central to the teachings of the LDS church and widely held by Mormons are not shared by other Christian traditions,” according to pewresearch.org.
Most Mormons believe that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God, The Book of Mormon was written by prophets; families can be sealed in the temple; and that God; Jesus and the Holy Ghost are separate beings, according to pewresearch.org.
“Christians believe in justification by faith,” according to bbc.co.uk. “That through their belief in Jesus as the Son of God, and in his death and resurrection, they can have a right relationship with God whose forgiveness was made once and for all through the death of Jesus Christ.”
Cesar Fernandez, a recent convert for the LDS Church and a junior studying art, said he was a catholic as a kid and attended Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“In other churches, members would, pretty much answer your questions,” Cesar Fernandez said. “In the LDS Church; they would encourage you to pray about it and receive your own answer, whether (it) was true or not.”
This is contrary to the LDS belief that one must repent of their sins to be able to be “right” in the eyes of God, according to lds.org.
5. “Mormons are among the most politically and socially conservative religious groups in the U.S.,” according to pewresearch.org.
The LDS Church is a nonpartisan church; however, many members tend to have a conservative ideology, according to gallup.com.
“It is not uncommon for members of the Church to ask how I can be a Mormon and a Democrat,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to The Washington Post. “Some say my party affiliation puts me in the minority of our church members. But my answer is that if you look at the Church membership over the years, Democrats have not always been the minority, and I believe we won’t be for long. I also say that my faith and political beliefs are deeply intertwined. I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it.”
6. “Mormons are relatively young and less diverse when compared with other Christian groups,” according to pewresearch.org.
Caucasian Mormons make up 85 percent of the Church in the U.S., while 8 percent are Latinos, 2 percent are African-American or Asian, and 5 percent are a mix or other, according to pewresearch.com.
Cesar Fernandez said that in his experience in other church organizations, he did not see much diversity like he saw in the LDS Church, especially during general conference.
The LDS church has literature published in over 180 languages and has 30,016 congregations all around the world in over 150 countries, according to mormonnewsroom.com.