Weekly Religion News with new findings from a Pew survey on Mormonism, "God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World" by Cullen Murphy and more.

A comprehensive survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, questioned 1,019 respondents who describe their religion as Mormon. The goal was to explore Mormons’ attitudes toward faith, family and society.


The survey found that 62 percent of Mormons say the American people as a whole are uninformed about Mormonism. Nearly half (46 percent) say that Mormons face a lot of discrimination in the U.S. Two-thirds (68 percent) say the American people as a whole do not see Mormonism as part of mainstream American society.


When asked to describe in their own words the most important problems facing Mormons living in the United States today, 56 percent cite misperceptions about Mormonism, discrimination, lack of acceptance in American society and the like.


Here are some more key findings:


 • Mormons share many of the religious practices and beliefs of traditional Christianity. Three-quarters of Mormons (77 percent) say they attend religious services at least once a week, 79 percent say they donate 10 percent of their earnings to the church, 83 percent say they pray every day and fully 98 percent say they believe in the resurrection of Jesus.


• Mormons are nearly unanimous in describing Mormonism as a Christian religion, with 97 percent expressing this point of view. When asked to volunteer the one word that best describes Mormons, the most common response from those surveyed was "Christian" or "Christ-centered" (17 percent). By contrast, many non-Mormons do not see Mormonism as a Christian faith. A November 2011 Pew Research Center survey found that one-third of non-Mormon U.S. adults (32 percent) say the Mormon faith is not a Christian religion, and an additional 17 percent are unsure whether Mormonism is Christian. And in an open-ended question asking what one word best describes the Mormon religion, the same survey found that the most commonly offered response was "cult."


• Mormons and white evangelical Protestants resemble each other and stand out from the broader public in that majorities of both groups exhibit high levels of religious commitment. Nonetheless, Mormons perceive hostility directed toward them from evangelical Christians. Fully half of those surveyed (50 percent) say that evangelical Christians are generally unfriendly toward Mormons, compared with 21 percent who think evangelicals are neutral toward Mormons and 18 percent who say evangelicals are friendly toward Mormonism.


-- ReligionNews.com


Week in Religion


- Jan. 18, 1846, Taylor University was established in Fort Wayne, Ind., under Methodist sponsorship.


- Jan. 19, 973, Pope Benedictus VI elected.


- Jan. 20, 1788, pioneer African Baptist church organizes in Savannah, Ga.


-- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church


Survey Says


Six-in-ten Mormons (62 percent) say the American people as a whole are uninformed about Mormonism. Nearly half (46 percent) say that Mormons face a lot of discrimination in the U.S. today.


-- Pew Research Center


Good Book?


"God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World" by Cullen Murphy


We think of the Inquisition as a holy war fought in the Middle Ages. But, as Cullen Murphy shows in this provocative new book, not only did its offices survive into the 12th century, in the modern world its spirit is more influential than ever. Traveling from freshly opened Vatican archives to the detention camps of Guantanamo to the filing cabinets of the Third Reich, he traces the Inquisition and its legacy.


-- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Quote of the week


“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because he loves us.” ? C.S. Lewis


The Word


grand mufti: The most supreme religious leader. One can be a grand mufti of a city, region or country. It is a title used mostly by Sunnis. Capitalize when used before a name.


-- religionstylebook.com


Religion Around the World


Religious makeup of Venezuela


Roman Catholic: 96 percent


Protestant: 2 percent


Other: 2 percent


- CIA Factbook


GateHouse News Service