We will now look at our findings in each of these categories for both LDS teenagers and LDS college-aged young adults and compare them to national surveys of young people who are not LDS.Not until recently has there been any serious in-depth tracking of the religiosity of adolescents across the United States.The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account.The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become. 41; emphasis in original) So how are Latter-day Saints doing at “becoming”?Youth who have higher rates of religious involvement or beliefs have better physical and emotional health, including better habits of eating, sleeping, and exercising; higher self-esteem, self-adjustment, and pro-social development; and lower distress and thoughts of suicide.Adolescent religiosity is also positively correlated with academic achievement, moral development, and community volunteerism and negatively linked to social delinquency, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, as well as illicit sexual activity (Regnerus, Smith, & Fritsch, 2004).
In Chapter 1, we discussed several dimensions of religiosity that we examined in our research, including such factors as professed religious beliefs, spiritual feelings and experiences, public and private religious behaviors, social acceptance within a congregation, family religious activities, and future religious plans.
Over a period of years, studies were made of LDS youth living in four places in the United States—Utah County and Castle Dale, Utah, the East Coast, and the Pacific Northwest.
We also surveyed LDS teens and young adults in Mexico and Great Britain.
To learn more about the studies and how they were conducted, see Appendix A. The first measure of religiosity we assessed was religious belief.
Religious belief was measured by seven statements about traditional Christian beliefs, as well as beliefs unique to Latter-day Saint theology.
Latter-day Saints are known to be an industrious and hardworking people, particularly when it comes to their spiritual development.