Sunday, November 6, 2011

LDS Diversity and religious differences

CNN visits an LDS congregation in Washington DC and finds a very mingled, multicultural group:
On this Sunday, the Sacrament - what Mormons call the remembrance of the Last Supper and what other Christians call Communion - is said in French, a nod to the area's burgeoning West African population.
It is not a special multicultural celebration Sunday. For this growing Mormon congregation in northeast Washington, it's just another weekend.
“It’s 30% Caucasian, 30% African-American, and the rest is a combination of first-generation immigrants from around the world,” says Bishop Robert Nelson, the lay leader of this congregation. ...
“We’re in most of the free world right now,” Allen says. "We have a presence in Russia and Ukraine and the Baltic countries. We have a growing presence in Africa ... Nigeria, Kenya … then we have, Japan, Korea, Taiwan. There are small congregations in India, and the church is growing in those places.”
The church's membership has doubled since 1988, to 14.1 million Mormons worldwide.  Six million Mormons live in the United States. ... But like many other churches, there has been explosive growth in the LDS Church in Latin America. There are more than a million Mormons in both Mexico and Brazil. There are nearly a million Mormons in Asia and 300,000 in Africa, according to church statistics.
This was a lovely article describing the Church's growth in India an the faith of the members there [some of them, pictured right.]
Yglesias reports on a paper analyzing differences between Protestant and Catholic Swiss cantons, though he is also somewhat skeptical. "“Our empirical results suggest that ceteris paribus in a Reformed Protestant electorate support for increasing leisure time will be about 13 percentage points lower than in a Catholic electorate, and that support for government intervention will be about 11 percentage points lower."
Another study finds that LDS and Protestant youth who are active in their religions are much more likely (over 90%) to marry someone from their faith than are active Catholic or Jewish youth (60-70%). There is also a sizeable difference between less-active LDS and Protestants (60%) and less-active Catholic and Jewish youth (45%). Active LDS youth tend to marry earlier and are much less likely both to have multiple sexual partners or to cohabit before marriage than other youth and less likely to divorce or separate.
"We have this really unusual thing that is happening in America now," Brother Busby said. "The majority of the people don't marry until they are in their later 20s. Many of these churches have strong values and opinions about abstinence, but then couples feel like they can't get married until they are almost 30, causing more and more to eventually cave in and become sexual. Eventually they are worn down, something happens, and they don't stay together and then an individual begins to have multiple sexual partners."
Research shows that the timing of sexual relations in a relationship varies immensely within specific beliefs, but LDS couples stood out with waiting almost an entire year longer than other groups.
The interesting pattern, Brother Busby said, is that despite other religions' statistics dropping, the LDS couples and statistics are staying the same.
"The LDS faith is holding, while the rest of the world is declining," Brother Busby said. ...
Using the variables in the study, researchers saw a correlation between the sexual timing and overall satisfaction in a relationship — with LDS couples ranking higher than others in better communication, higher opinions of agreeableness of their partner, higher emotional connections and stability. 

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