News / USA

US Mormons Say They are Misunderstood Despite Romney Candidacy

It is story time at the Cook home.  Two-year-old Tristan gets his work-weary father Dave Cook to read him one book after another before going to bed.

As Dave and his wife Andrea sit on the sofa with their two small children on their laps, the Cooks have the look of the all-American family.  But they belong to one of the least understood faiths in America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon church is officially known.

"Some people know a lot about our church.  Some people don't know anything about our church,” Dave Cook says.  “There's a lot of misperceptions about Mormons."

Mormons make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, around 6 million people.  Another 8 million Mormons live abroad.  But in the United States, some of the misperceptions Dave Cook speaks of are being challenged.

With presidential hopeful and Mormon Mitt Romney gaining momentum in the bid for the Republican Party nomination, many LDS members are excited by the prospect of a president from their faith.  They are also conscious of the attention their faith is getting from media coverage about the award-winning Broadway show, The Book of Mormon.

A new survey by The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that Mormons on the whole are satisfied with their lives.  "This is a group that in many ways is thriving,” says researcher Greg Smith.  “And this is a group that in many ways perceives a growing level of acceptance of themselves, of their faith on the part of other Americans."  

But he adds that they are aware of the misgivings many Americans have about their faith.  "Lots of Mormons tell us that Mormons are discriminated against in the United States.  And two thirds of Mormons say they are not accepted, they are not seen as part of mainstream American society," Smith said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in America in the 19th century.  But Mormon prophet Joseph Smith was murdered in 1844 and his followers were persecuted.

Last year, Texas pastor Robert Jeffress made headlines when he suggested that Mitt Romney is not a Christian and that Mormonism is a cult.  The latter comment reflects a view held by about one-third of Americans, mainly evangelical Protestants, according to the Pew Forum.

"To me, it's just mind-boggling why people would be that disrespectful of anyone," says Dave Cook, adding that a Mormon president would be good for America.

"We're very patriotic.  In fact, we even believe that the Founding Fathers [of the United States] were inspired of God to found this country."  

The Pew survey found that three-quarters of Mormon who are registered to vote lean toward the Republican Party and hold conservative social views.  Nearly twice as many Mormons as other Americans prefer a family in which the husband is the wage earner and the wife takes care of the home and children.


Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid