The Salt Lake Tribune, Sunday, August 11, 2002
BY HILARY GROUTAGE SMITH
“You may not want to hear that, but maybe we should be building on the similarities we have with them rather than the differences,” said Tim Heaton, speaking at the 4th Annual FAIR conference, where about 100 people, mostly members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had spent two days listening to ways to defend their faith against non-believers.
The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) chose a theme of “turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones” for the two-day meeting held at Utah Valley State College.
Heaton is a professor and research associate at the Center for Studies of the Family at Brigham Young University. He and a colleague took results of six national surveys and gleaned the information about Mormons from them. Some 2,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were surveyed from coast to coast. The results have been compiled in a yet-to-published book.
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Taking a break?
* Mormon couples who attend church together are far less likely to get divorced than couples who do not attend church. The divorce rate among Mormons who worship together is about 20 percent. When one spouse attends church without the other, however, the divorce rate skyrockets beyond the national divorce rate which is about 50 percent.
* In the area of adolescent research, 80 percent of teens nationally have had sex by the time they turn 20. Among Mormons, the statistic is 50 to 60 percent. “It’s lower than the national average, but higher than a lot of people would like it to be,” Heaton said.
But overall, Heaton discovered that more-religious people seem to lead a more family-oriented life and be happier, and the religion with the closest moral structure to Mormon homes were evangelical Christian groups.