In looking at some research data from a recent Pew study, I concluded that we’ve got a lot of work to do in clearing up misconceptions about the Church and just generally making people aware of what we actually believe. According to this study of 1,461 American nonmembers:

  • 51% have little or no awareness of our practices and beliefs
  • 47% do not have a favorable view of the Church
  • 31% believe that Mormons are not Christians

Those are some sobering statistics. When the study asked participants to provide a one-word impression of the Mormon religion, the top five answers were:

  • Polygamy/bigamy
  • Family/family values
  • Cult
  • Different
  • Dedicated

One thing I noticed was that “Family” is the highest positive on the list. I believe this is partially because of the Church’s investment in Homefront messages over the years. Despite this success, many feel that the message: “We love our families and you should too” does not sufficiently distinguish us from other churches or communicate anything unique that we have to offer the world. I personally believe we should build on the capital we have established around “family” to build on other concepts that distinguish us.

We also need to do a better job of defining ourselves and telling our own stories rather than letting other so-called “experts” define us. We saw a lot of this during the Romney campaign and it was very frustrating. One thing is for certain…we’ve got a lot of work to do.

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