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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 16, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Mar01

By Kent Larsen

'Largest Ever' Survey of Congregations Includes LDS Wards & Branches

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT -- The Hartford Institute for Religious Research has completed its Faith Communities Today survey, calling it the largest survey of American religious congregations ever conducted. The results of the study, made available Tuesday on the group's website, include responses from nearly 1,000 wards and branches of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who were part of the more than 14,000 congregations representing 41 faiths and denominations participating in the study.

The impetus for the survey grew out of a 1995 meeting of researchers. Working from a basic set of questions, denominations and faiths surveyed their own members, and contributed the data for the basic questions to a common database. The data was then weighted to reflect the makeup of the religious population in the US.

In all, the survey results included 969 LDS congregations, out of 999 randomly selected wards and branches in the US to whom a survey was sent. At the time of the survey, there were a total of 11,206 wards and branches in the US. Like many of the participating denominations, the LDS Church's Research Information Division included many additional questions in their survey that were not part of the basic questions agreed on for the project. That data was not released to the Hartford Institute, and was presumably used internally by the LDS Church.

The Institute's website allows the public to access the results of the survey through an "Interactive Workbook" that allows looking at responses for each denomination. The data should indicate how local LDS leaders feel their congregations are doing in areas like public worship, spiritual growth and community outreach.

While Mormon News was not able to access the data for technical reasons, news reports on the survey and information on the institute's website show positions that both support traditional LDS assumptions and are at odds with those assumptions. For example, the survey showed that strong public stands on morality by a congregation was linked to financial soundness. But the survey also showed that changing the worship service to include electric guitar, electric keyboard and maybe drums were associated with a vital, growing, fiscally strong congregation.


Profiles of Faith
Atlanta Journal-Constitution 14Mar01 I1
By Gayle White: Staff
Picture emerges of religion in America in megastudy of 14,000 congregations

Claim of 'Post-Denominational Era' Defied
Washington Post pgA03 14Mar01 I1
By Bill Broadway: Washington Post Staff Writer

See also:

Faith Communities Today


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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information