For many former Mormons, it’s hard to be “spiritual but not religious”

Religion News Service | 4/21/2018 | Staff
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A defining feature of today’s American religious environment is the rapid rise of the “Nones,” those who have no religious affiliation. Many of these Nones claim a “spiritual but not religious” identity, arguing that it is not necessary to attend a church or formally affiliate with a religion to have a connection to God and a meaningful spiritual life.

While this is undoubtedly true for many, the 2016 Next Mormons Survey allows us to examine this question more closely among a specific religious subgroup: Latter-day Saints. Members of the LDS Church are in many ways an ideal test case because they rank extremely high compared to members of other American faiths when it comes to their levels of religious behavior and spirituality.

Survey - Mormons - Level - Spirituality - Fold

In short, our survey reveals that former Mormons don’t generally maintain this high level of spirituality when they decide to leave the fold, unless they become actively involved in another religion.

Let me explain. In the Next Mormons Survey, Jana Riess and I surveyed 1,156 self-identified Mormons and 540 self-identified former Mormons about how often they have certain experiences that have been defined by social scientists to constitute “spirituality.”

Specifically, we asked them to report how often they:

feel guided by God in the midst of daily activities or in answers to prayer.

Answers - Zero - Spirituality - Scale - A

To simplify, we combined these four answers into a single zero to one “spirituality scale.” A “1” score means that the individual reported each of these experiences on a daily basis, a “0.5” means a few times a month, and “0” means never.

Former Mormons have less frequent spiritual experiences than current Mormons. Notice in the graph how most respondents clump toward the high end of the scale for current Mormons while respondents are more spread out among former Mormons. A full 30% of current Mormons report each of those four spiritual...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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