Monday, January 25, 2010

The First Presidency Asks Members To Provide Help To Haiti

The First Presidency has recently released a statement asking members of the LDS Church to continue in providing support for the people in Haiti. The official First Presidency statement is printed below:
Our hearts are filled with sadness as we have watched the suffering in Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake. We turn to the example of Jesus Christ, who reached out to “lift up the hands which hang down” and “strengthen the feeble knees.”  We are keenly aware that many in America are dealing with economic challenges caused by the recession. However, we are appealing to members to donate to Church Humanitarian Services as their means allow in order to help our Haitian brothers and sisters.  Many have already contributed and others are anxious to do so.
Money is not the only need in Haiti. People are frightened, bewildered, and wholly uncertain about their future. In addition to what people can do in helping with food, water, and shelter, there needs to be a calming influence over that troubled nation. We invite our people everywhere to supplicate God for a spirit of calm and peace among the people as urgent aid and reconstruction efforts continue.
 If you wish to help regardless if you are a member of the LDS Church or not by logging onto and clicking on Humanitarian Services Emergency Response.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finding Mr. Right: The Education Gap Is A Problem For LDS Women Too

Finding the right person is a problem in today's world. It doesn't matter if you're LDS or not. There have been so many changes in today's world that has made dating more difficult, confusing and frustrating.
However, the biggest change in our society today is having a huge effect on women inside and outside of the Church. What is it this change? It is the growing education gap between men and women.
The education gap results in a simple problem for women: Well-educated women inside or outside the Church can't find enough equally or better-educated men to marry.
This problem isn’t new. It has been known for a long time now.
However, a recent survey has given us fresh new data to remind us of how this problem is still with us today and how its changed the dating scene. Women are having to adjust to the fact that women are becoming better educated than men.
A Pew Research Center report released this week explains that the
"reshuffling of marriage patterns from 1970 to 2007 has occurred during a period when women's gains relative to men's have altered the demographic characteristics of potential mates. Among U.S.-born 30- to 44-year-olds, women now are the majority both of college graduates and those who have some college education but not a degree."
Richard Whitmere, in his op-ed column for the Wall Street Journal reports that:
today nearly 58% of all bachelor's degrees and 62% of associate's degrees are earned by women."
The Education Gap And Marriage
The result of more women earning college degrees than men is cause for the radical shift in the ratio of educated husbands and educated wives. The Pew Research report demonstrates how radical this change has become:
“In 1970, 28% of wives in this age range had husbands who were better educated than they were, outnumbering the 20% whose husbands had less education. By 2007, these patterns had reversed: 19% of wives had husbands with more education, versus 28% whose husbands had less education. In the remaining couples -- about half in 1970 and 2007 -- spouses have similar education levels.”
The Education Gap Is Changing The Gender Role In Marriage 
The Pew Research report also shows that the education gap is also having impact on the gender roles that take place within a marriage:
only 4% of husbands had wives who brought home more income than they did in 1970, a share that rose to 22% in 2007
The recent downturn in the U.S. Economy is solidifying the gender role changes in marriages with with men losing jobs more often than women:
"Males accounted for about 75% of the 2008 decline in employment among prime-working-age individuals (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Women are moving toward a new milestone in which they constitute half of all the employed. Their share increased from 46.5% in December 2007 to 47.4% in December 2009."
President Hinckley Speaks Out On The Growing Education Gap
As a result of the Pew Research report, I think its important to review what President Hinckley has said about this problem because it appears to be a problem within the Church too. President Hinkley, in the Priesthood session of the October 2006 General Conference points out that the education gap doesn’t begin in college but high school:
"Elder Rolfe Kerr, Commissioner of Church Education, advises me that in the United States nearly 73 percent of young women graduate from high school, compared to 65 percent of young men. Young men are more likely to drop out of school than young women."
The Prophet explained at the time that the college education gap among men and women will continue in the future:
"In 1950, 70 percent of those enrolled in college were males, and 30 percent were females; by 2010 projections estimate 40 percent will be males, and 60 percent will be females."
It is now 2010.

As a result of this growing trend, the Prophet rebuked the men of the Church for falling behind in education:
"It is plainly evident from these statistics that young women are exceeding young men in pursuing educational programs. And so I say to you young men, rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities. Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own?"
After his rebuke, President Hinkley ends with the important advice that husbands and wives to be equally educated:
"We speak of being “equally yoked.” That applies, I think, to the matter of education."
I think its important that both men and women ought to pursue the highest degree of education they can.
But the men of the Church have a lot of catching up to do

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How You Can Help The LDS Church In Providing Relief To Haiti

If you want provide donations to the LDS Church so that they can help the people in Haiti, please make a donation to LDS Philanthropies.

For news on how the LDS Church is assisting the people of Haiti, you may visit the LDS Newsroom.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why Mormons Are The Most Conservative Religious Group in America

Gallup has released a poll reporting that:
"Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, are the most conservative major religious group in the country, with 59% identifying as conservative, 31% as moderate, and 8% as liberal.

The 59% of Mormons who identify as conservative is the largest such percentage of any major religious group included in this analysis. The next-most-conservative group are Protestants (including non-Catholic Christians), with 46% identifying as conservative. (This review does not include analysis of specific denominations into which Protestants can be subdivided, of which there are hundreds.) Thirty-nine percent of Catholics are conservative. Less than a quarter of Jews, Muslims, those who identify with other religions, and those with no religious identity identify as conservatives."
Additionally, Mormons are also most likely to identify themselves with the Republican party than any other major religious group in America.

However, the most interesting part of the poll is the ideological difference between "active" and "less active" or "inactive" Latter Day Saints. The ideological divide between active and non-active LDS isn't small either. Gallop found that "lapsed Mormons" (or inactive members in LDS terminology)
"are substantially different in ideology from their fellow Mormons who remain active in the church (as defined by attendance at church services). In fact, lapsed Mormons are essentially no different from all other non-Mormons in terms of their basic ideology."
This is quite apparent as seen in the graph below:

Lapsed Mormons are also more similar to all other non-Mormon Americans than to active Mormons in terms of the party/ideology categorization as seen in the chart below:

The basic conclusion is that the more active the LDS member is, the more likely they are to be conservative and Republican.

However, the correlation between activity in the Church and political ideology isn't new. The general observation that the more active a person was in their faith, the more likely they were to identify with the Republican Party is confirmed in a December 2009 Gallup poll which found that
"the basic relationship between religiosity and party identification is quite strong and quite straightforward. The percentage of Americans who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party drops from 49% among the highly religious to 26% among those who are not religious. The percentage who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party rises from 37% among the highly religious to 56% among those who are not religious."
If the the basic relationship between religiosity and party identification is based on how religious a person is, then why are Mormons the most Republican and ideologically religious group in America?

The answer is found in that Mormons go to Church a lot more often than han the general population:
Seventy-nine percent of Mormons attend religious services weekly, almost every week, or monthly. That compares to 53% of the overall American adult population who attend this frequently.
Thus, its the frequency church attendance that separate Mormons from other conservative groups. I would argue that its not just Church attendance but other activities such as temple attendance, listening/attending General Conference and going to institute that makes Mormons so more likely to lean to the right politically and ideologically.

More specifically, given that the teachings of the LDS Church are religiously conservative in doctrine (Agency, Accountability, etc) and life style (Word of Wisdom, modesty, Chastity, etc), it is the frequency of these doctrines that are taught each Sunday or in each temple visit that makes Mormons such a conservative group of people.

I'm interested in hearing why YOU think Mormons are the most politically and ideologically the most conservative religious group in America.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Harry Reid In Trouble For Racist Remarks About Obama

Harry Reid must be having a very difficult week. He has learned from a recently released poll that his chances of being reelected is growing very slim.

Now he faces criticism for a statement he made abou then-presidential candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 elections.

The comments are being reported in a book that will be hitting the bookshelves soon titled "Game Change," written by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. The authors report that Senator Reid made a private comment during the 2008 campaign that
"the country was ready for a light-skinned African-American president with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." (Source.)
Responding quickly to this bombshell revelation, Harry Reid quickly apologized:
"I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans, for my improper comments."
Obama has accepted Harry Reid's apology but that isn't enough for some Republicans who are calling for the Senate Majority Leader to step down from his position just as Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott did in 2002 for making a statement about a statement about racial segregation at a 100th birthday party for then-Sen. Strom Thurmond.
Despite his racist remarks, Harry Reid doesn't plan to step down at all or withdraw from running for reelection:
A spokesman for Mr. Reid said the senator wouldn't resign his leadership post. "He has no intention of stepping down," Jim Manley said. "Unlike others who advocate moving our nation backwards and viewing this moment for political gain, he's move our country forward."
Harry Reid may survive this political firestorm, but it remains to be seen whether or not he will survive the 2010 election.

UPDATE (1/13/10): Harry Reid's poll numbers have dropped 7 percentage points since he made his comments about Obama went public.

UPDATE #2 (1/13/10): Harry Reid's son, Rory Reid, is attempting to become governor of Nevada but his father may be dragging him down in the polls too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Harry Reid Not Likely To Survive 2010 Election

The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that Harry Reid's chances of being reelected in 2010 is very low.

Reid's numbers are pretty ugly, according to the latest survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which interviewed 625 registered Nevada voters by telephone Jan. 5-7. The margin of error on the poll is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

According to the survey:
• 52 percent had an unfavorable opinion of Reid, 33 percent had a favorable view and another 15 percent said they're neutral. In early December, a Mason-Dixon poll put his unfavorable-favorable rating at 49-38. The lowest Reid's popularity had slipped before in the surveys was 50 percent -- in October, August and May of 2009, when Mason-Dixon started tracking the senate race for the Review-Journal.
The poll also took a snapshot of how Reid would do against three potential GOP opponents. In each case -- as in past Review-Journal surveys -- it showed the senator would lose with only four in 10 voters supporting him. The potential match-ups would look like this:
• Sue Lowden, former Nevada Republican Party chairwoman, would get 50 percent of the vote to Reid's 40 percent with 10 percent undecided.
• Danny Tarkanian, a businessman and former UNLV basketball star, would gain 49 percent of the vote to Reid's 41 percent.
• And Sharron Angle, a former Reno assemblywoman, would get 45 percent of the vote to Reid's 40 percent, a strong showing given her low name recognition statewide -- 42 percent don't know her.
Of course, with numbers like these, most politicians would bow out rather than go ahead with an election. But not Harry Reid:

"I am absolutely running for re-election," said Reid, 70, in a statement. "These are difficult times for Nevada and as the majority leader of the Senate I have been able to take action to address those challenges. But I know there is more work to do to turn our state's economy around and create jobs and I am committed to seeing it through."
Even Reid's campaign manager Brandon Hall is optimistic about the 2010 election:
''He's never backed down from a fight,'' said in an interview when asked whether Reid would retire instead of seeking a fifth Senate term. He added, ''We're not trying to win a beauty contest here.''

Reid's campaign manager Hall said internal polls show the senator winning the general election against any potential opponent, but he refused to share any details.
Despite the optimism of Harry Reid and his campaign staff, Brad Coker, the managing partner of Mason-Dixon, said this about his chances of winning in 2010:
The senator's negatives are so bad that he will have a tough time making a comeback and earning more than 40 percent of the vote come November.
The 2010 election is only ten months away. Harry Reid could make a last minute comeback but the poll numbers for Harry Reid is pretty grim.