Ask an Expert: Statistics on Mormon families November 15th, 2013
Q: Where can I find current statistics on the demographics of LDS family structures? Specifically, I am wanting figures on percentages of LDS families that fit the heteronormative nuclear family model prescribed in LDS texts such as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” 1995.
A: Tim Heaton, the leading expert on the demographics of Mormons, suggested several of his publications:
- Heaton, Tim B., Stephen J. Bahr, and Cardell K. Jacobson. 2005. A Statistical Profile of Mormons: Health, Wealth, And Social Life. Edwin Mellen Press.
- Heaton, Tim B., Kristen L. Goodman, and Thomas B. Holman. 2001. “In Search of a Peculiar People: Are Mormon Families Really Different?” Pp. 87–117 in Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives, vol. 2nd, edited by Marie Cornwall, Tim B. Heaton, and Lawrence A. Young. Illinois: University of Illinois Press.
Additionally, he recommended an article from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism that is available online: Vital Statistics.
Ryan T. Cragun provided a couple of figures from the General Social Survey to illustrate the current statistics (well, relatively current statistics; in order to have sufficient cases he aggregated data from 1990-2012). The first figure shows the marital status of Mormons. Using the Mormons in the GSS from 1990-2012, 60% were married, 16% were never married, 2% were separated, 12% were divorced, and 10% were widowed.
The second figure looks just at the married Mormons in the GSS and shows that 87% of those who are married have kids; 13% do not.
Ryan also recommended his co-authored report with Rick Phillips: Mormons in the United States 1990-2008: Socio-demographic Trends and Regional Differences and the Pew survey and report: Mormons in America – Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society. While the Pew survey may have some sampling issues, the data on the family may be helpful.
2013 – Autumn Newsletter November 5th, 2013
The 2013 Autumn Newsletter of the MSSA is now available.
Ask An Expert: Research on Home Teaching? September 12th, 2013
Q: Are you aware of any studies or research relating to LDS home teaching, its history, relationship to similar home visitation that John Calvin instituted, or setting it in a sociological or anthropological background?
A: We received three responses from members of the MSSA.
Benjamin Pykles noted five publications in Mormon History on home teaching at the BYU library, including:
- Home Teaching–Attempts by the Latter-day Saints to Establish an Effective Program during the Nineteenth Century by Phelps, Gary L. 1975
- Changes in the Numbers and the Priesthood Affiliation of the Men Used as Ward Teachers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1908-1922 by Israelsen, Vernon L. 1975
- A Documentary History of the Lord’s Way of Watching Over the Church by the Priesthood Through the Ages by Anderson, Rex A. 1974
- Elijah F. Sheets : The Half-century Bishop by Pace, D. Gene 1985
- Home Teaching by Hartley, William G. 2000
Jeffery Johnson recommended a book with important research on the history of home teaching (formerly called “Block Teaching”):
- My Fellow Servants: Essays on the History of the Priesthood, by William G. Hartley, (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies, 2010)
Armand Mauss suggested that you also contact Reid Neilson or another librarian at the LDS Library/Archives. You can ask a librarian here. He also suggested you consider contacting a member of the Church Research Information Division.
If you need another reason to attend the 2013 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion meetings in Boston, where the MSSA also meets, attending the Glenn Vernon Lecture is a pretty good one. The Glenn Vernon Lecture will be given by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the Pulitzer-prize winning author and Harvard scholar. Her lecture is titled, “A House Full of Females: Faith and Family in Nineteenth-Century Mormon Diaries.” It promises to be an excellent presentation.
Case study on Young Single Adult Ward in Utah available August 30th, 2013
Working with the Faith Communities Today, a case study was recently published that details the inner workings of a Young Single Adult Ward in Herriman, UT. You can download the report here.
The latest Leonard J. Arrington lecture by Gregory A. Prince has been announced. See the full announcement here.
2013 – Spring Newsletter May 30th, 2013
The 2013 Spring Newsletter of the MSSA is now available.
Research Information Division hiring April 2nd, 2013
The Research Information Division of the Correlation Department is hiring. The position announcement can be viewed here.
Q: Having recently read Johnnie Glad’s study of the Latter Day Saints’ missions to Norway in the C19th I have become intrigued by the idea that the English Quakers who advised and supported the tiny number of Norwegian Friends in the C19th may have been aware of the LDS missions both in Norway and in England. I would therefore like to ask if there is evidence of LDS-Quaker interactions or indeed, of any LDS missions in North-east England in the C19th. There are several LDS churches in the North-east at present, but I have found it difficult to locate relevant archival material in order to date their congregations. I am trying to gain a sense of whether Quakers viewed the LDS as a rival both in Norway and in the NE (as they may have seen Methodists some decades earlier) or if they were unlikely to have known much about them (although I find this less likely, at least in the Norwegian context, as the LDS were in Stavanger, Norway at around the same time as the Quakers).
A: This was a tricky question for the MSSA as it is more historical than social scientific, but we had some excellent responses.
First, Benjamin Pykles noted that there is a very nice resource on the LDS Church’s website for historical queries: Ask a Librarian. For individuals asking historical questions in the future, this is a good resource.
Second, Michael Nielsen contacted several individuals who are better connected on the historical side of things (Michael Van Wagenen and Matt Bowman) and here was the response from Matt Bowman:
Hey, folks – Mormon missiology is a sadly underdeveloped field. I don’t know this off the top of my head either, alas; the people it seems to me would be best to ask are David Whittaker (who just retired as manager of the Mormon collections in the BYU library’s special collections) or Ron Esplin (director of the Joseph Smith Papers documentary editing project). Whittaker’s done the most work on early Mormon missions of anybody I know, and he and Esplin co-wrote a history of the 1837-1841 mission of several Mormon leaders to the British Isles, which was both the first Mormon mission to the country and wildly successful. As I said, Whittaker just retired; the search to replace him is underway right now. His email at BYU was email@example.com; I don’t know if he still checks it or not, alas. Esplin’s email, I believe, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, another MSSA member, Shawn Bennion, received a very helpful response from Michael Bennion, who provided a number of very useful links:
- http://www.naha.stolaf.edu/pubs/nas/volume21/vol21_5.html (links to a specific page of Mario S. De Pellis’s book Cleng Peerson and the Cummunitarian Background of Norwegian Immigration
- http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/NORWAY/2012-09/1347308233 (links to an online forum discussion about this issue)
http://secure.peterlang.com/download/datasheet/41552/datasheet_60179.pdf (links to a book titled The Norwegian Experience with Mormonism, 1842-1920
http://lib.byu.edu/digital/mmd/readings/europe_readings.php (links to a list of Mormon Missionary Diaries from Europe)
As well as a citation to a book that should be of help:
- William Mulder, Homeward to Zion: The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia, (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1957).
While the MSSA may not have answered the question directly, hopefully this will provide some useful directions for finding out more information.
Historian/Writer Job with Joseph Smith Papers Project March 2nd, 2013
There is a job opening for a historian/writer position with the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Full announcement can be viewed here.