2012 Pew Report:Mormons in America, Part 2 — Focus on Marriage and Family

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In January 2012 the Pew Forum released a major study of Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is Part 2 of the summary of the study. For Part 1, click the following: 2012 Pew Report:Mormons in America.

Focus on Marriage and Family in the Mormon Faith

Mormon family marriage focus
Mark and Jane Clayson Johnson Family

Part 2 of the Deseret News coverage of the Pew Forum report concentrated on Mormon attitudes toward marriage and family. According to the new survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life — the first survey of Mormons about Mormons, by a non-LDS research organization, 81 percent of Mormons say being a good parent is "one of the most important things in life."

"The survey of more than 1,000 self-identified Latter-day Saints from across the country asked how accepted Mormons feel in American culture, as well as their thoughts on religious practices, political issues and family roles."

Mormons are more likely than the general population to be married: 67 percent, compared to 52 percent of the general American population. Eighty-five percent of married Mormons married other Mormons. Protestants marry other Protestants 81 percent of the time, and Catholics marry each other 78 percent of the time. Mormons also have more children than the general population — 2.6 to 1.8.

""Family is at the core of our faith," says Jane Clayson Johnson, a Latter-day Saint and former anchor of CBS's "The Early Show" who prefers the title of mom to two young children and stepmom to three older ones. "There are so many distractions today that all force us outward, away from core relationships. What our faith does is turn us back toward deep, rich, meaningful relationships in families."
Among the general public, 50 percent list being a good parent as "one of the most important things in life," with 44 percent listing it as "very important but not most important."

In Mormonism family success has a spiritual and emotional definition, rather than a financial, material, or vocational definition. The recommendation of the LDS Church to its members is the same for men and women: "No success can compensate for failure in the home." That means material or vocational success cannot be bought by sacrificing quality time with family, and being there when a child needs a parent is what defines quality time. This might be at any moment day or night. Quality time, by this definition, is hard to schedule around work outside the home.

The Pew Forum study found that nearly six out of 10 Mormons would prefer a marriage where the man works and the woman stays home to care for the home and the children. LDS college graduates liked this marital structure more than any other subgroup, with 71 percent of them preferring the man to work and the woman to stay home. However, nearly 4 in 10 Mormons in the study preferred that both parents work and share equally in parenting responsibilities. In the general population, only 30 percent of Americans would prefer a marriage where the husband works and the wife stays home. Among religiously unaffiliated Americans, it drops to 15 percent who would pick such a scenario.

View the wiki page for part 1 of this series.

Go to Part 3 of this series.

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