Photo: Mark and Jane Clayson Johnson and their children, ranging from 20 to 6 years old.
Data from the “Mormons in America” survey, recently conducted by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, reinforce what many people already know: marriage and parenthood matter a lot to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The focus on marriage and family in the Pew survey results are the topics of this second installment of the “Mormons in America” series at the Deseret News.
[M]embers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…believe that maintaining a strong marriage and raising and teaching children are essential keys to happiness and their most important responsibilities on earth.
In fact, [according to the Pew survey] 81 percent of Mormons say being a good parent is “one of the most important things in life.” …
Mormons are more likely to be married than the general population…[and]…Mormons surveyed also had, on average, more children (2.6) than the general U.S. population (1.8).
Understanding Mormon beliefs helps explain why there is such an emphasis on marriage and family.
[The data] shouldn’t be taken to mean that the average American doesn’t value marriage or family, just that they don’t “go to church every week and get told that’s what they’re supposed to do,” says Marie Cornwall a professor of sociology at Brigham Young University [and adviser for the survey]…. “For Mormons, there’s a spiritual aspect brought to that (definition of success),” she said, “an effort, in terms of sermons, to try and downplay the material and place more emphasis on the relationships.”
Jane Clayson Johnson, ” former anchor of CBS’s “The Early Show” who prefers the title of mom to two young children and stepmom to three older ones,” explains further:
“Family is at the core of our faith…. There are so many distractions today that all force us outward, away from core relationships. What our faith does is turn us back toward deep, rich, meaningful relationships in families.”
“It teaches us that families are where we find meaning,” continued Clayson from her home in Boston. “The work I do in my family is the most important work that I’ll ever do.”
Speaking of Jane Clayson Johnson, enjoy her “I’m a Mormon” video, where she talks about leaving network television to be a mom, about how much that role means to her.
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For more information about the data on Mormon beliefs and attitudes about marriage and family, see New Pew survey reinforces Mormon’s top goals of family, marriage