SMITHFIELD — After dinner, three baths, four bedtime stories and a half-a-dozen goodnight kisses for 2-year-old twins Brock and Isaac and 6-year-old Ellie, Erin and Brian Thompson finally sink into the couch with weary smiles.
Being parents is just what they always wanted. And they love it.
“Of course we have our crazy moments,” Thompson says, “but for the most part we just try to find the good things in the day and remember that they’re only going to be little for so long.”
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Thompsons 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, 81 percent of Mormons say being a good parent is “one of the most important things in life,” according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life — the first survey of Mormons about Mormons, by a non-LDS research organization.
The survey of more than 1,000 self-identified Latter-day Saints from across the country asked how accepted Mormons feel in American culture, as well as their thoughts on religious practices, political issues and family roles.
A recent The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted an in-depth survey of Mormons in the United States. Mormon is a nickname sometimes used to describe members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fourth article in a series that appears in Deseret News is evaluating the results of this survey and providing context for the results.
Immigration is a controversial topic in the United States. The survey asked one question on this topic. They were asked which of two statements most closely matched their view, even if they didn’t completely agree. They were asked whether immigrants strengthen or burden the nation. No distinction was made between legal and illegal immigration, leaving those polled to decide for themselves what the question meant.
In the general U.S. population, 45 percent of Americans feel that immigrants strengthen the country, while 44 percent burden it. 12 percent feel that neither or both are true or they have no opinion on the subject. Mormon views closely mirror these statistics. 45 percent of Mormons also believe immigrants strengthen the nation, although a smaller number, 41 percent, consider them a burden on society. The number of Mormons who accept both or neither or who have no opinion is higher, at 14 percent.
These numbers put them at odds with evangelical Christians, one of the few political areas in which they disagree. Within the white evangelical population, 59 percent believe immigrants are a burden, and 27 percent believe they strengthen the country. Like Mormons, 14 percent answered both, neither, or no opinion.
The statistics for Mormons shows a strong divide based on age, income, and education, as well as on religious commitment. Only 36 percent of highly committed Mormons see immigrants as a burden, while 50 percent of those who are less committed see them as a burden. This largely correlates with economic status. 84 percent of Mormons who are highly committed to their religion are college graduates. (The church strongly encourages Read more
From a very young age, Mormons are taught to look towards the temple and to have the desire to be married in a temple. This is because Mormon doctrine teaches that a Mormon wedding, or a marriage performed in a Mormon temple is for time and all eternity, not just “until death do you part.” Many people believe that when they marry, they will be with their spouse again after they die. However, no church doctrine teaches this. It is always a union which dissolves with the death of one spouse.
Mormons believe that, through the power of the priesthood, a Mormon wedding performed in the temple can last forever. There are still conditions which must be met in order for this to happen: the couple makes promises to God and to each other, and if either of them fails to keep these promises, then God’s promise to them that their marriage will last forever may not hold true. God promises blessings which are conditional upon our faithfulness (Doctrine & Covenants 130:20–21). If both parties keep their promises, however, this is one of the greatest blessings one could imagine. Mormon doctrine also teaches that any children born to a couple who have been previously sealed in the temple are “born in the covenant,” meaning they are automatically sealed to their parents and to each other, again conditional upon the faithfulness of the parents.
With these blessings available, it is hard to imagine that anyone would choose to not get married in the temple, but there can be sacrifices. If a parent, both parents, grandparents, siblings, good friends, etc., are either not members of the Mormon Church or are members but are not worthy to enter the temple, then they cannot be present at a temple wedding. This is a lot to ask, and often, if they do not understand this Mormon doctrine, they can have their feelings hurt or may even be angry. There is simply no replacement for a temple marriage, though. The blessings, protection, and peace which come with being sealed in the temple are unparalleled in the world, and it is worth any sacrifice in order to be worthy to participate in this beautiful ordinance.
Mormon temple marriages, or Mormon weddings, take place in sealing rooms. The bride and groom kneel across from each other at an altar and face parallel mirrors, which create infinite reflections. This image symbolizes the eternal nature of their union. It is stretching out forever. Here each person makes promises to each other and to God. They receive promised blessings in return for their faithfulness.
The bride does not walk down an aisle, is not “given away” by her father. The ceremony is very simple, but beautiful. The exchange of rings is in fact not a part of the temple ceremony, though in countries where it is traditional to exchange rings, this can be done quietly. Some couples, who have relatives or friends not able to enter the temple, will choose to hold a separate ring-exchange ceremony at the location where their reception is held. This allows their loved ones the opportunity to feel part of the marriage union.
In order to be worthy to have a temple marriage, individuals must remain chaste before marriage, in addition to keeping several other high standards. They must continue to keep these high standards after their marriage in order for the wonderful blessings to remain in force in their lives.