With a Mormon candidate, Mitt Romney, as one of the front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination, perceptions of the religion, also called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, is also coming into the spotlight.
Now, a new survey by the Pew Research Center explores how Mormons themselves feel about the media spotlight, the election campaign and their place in America. While many Mormons reported feeling misunderstood, discriminated against and not accepted by other Americans, a majority also said they think acceptance of Mormonism is rising.
The results are based on a survey conducted between Oct. 25 and Nov. 16, 2011, of more than 1,000 Mormons in the United States.
About 97 perent of Mormons described Mormonism as a Christian religion, while a November 2011 Pew survey found 32 percent of non-Mormon U.S. adults say the Mormon faith is not a Christian religion. In fact, the survey reveals that Mormons share many of the religious practices and beliefs of traditional Christianity, with 77 percent indicating they attend church at least once a week, 79 percent reporting they donate 10 percent of their earnings to the church, 83 percent saying they pray every day, and 98 percent indicating they believe in the resurrection of Jesus.
Family life came out on top of their life goals, with 81 percent saying that being a good parent and having a successful marriage (73 percent) are among their most important goals in life, compared with 50 percent and 34 percent of the general public saying the same of those two goals, respectively.
And although most Mormons indicated they are satisfied with their lives, more than half said society's image of Mormons is hurt by the way their religion is portrayed in television and movies; fifteen percent said their image is helped by the portrayal of Mormons in entertainment media.
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