Mormons say they feel misunderstood and discriminated against to a higher degree than African-Americans, according to a comprehensive survey.
With Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, poised to be the first Mormon nominee for the presidency, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the religion’s formal name, has been highlighted far more prominently in the news.
The survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life indicated that nearly half of the respondents said that Mormons face discrimination in the United States today, compared with less than a third who said that African-Americans are subject to greater discrimination.
The Pew Center report reflected surveys of more than 1,000 Mormons for their study.
The report said that nearly two-thirds of the respondents believed that Americans as a whole are uninformed about Mormonism. Similarly, roughly two-thirds said that Americans generally do not see their religion as a part of mainstream society in the United States.
And more than half say they are the victims of widespread misperceptions, discrimination and a lack of acceptance in American society.
However, the report states, “Mormons also think acceptance of Mormonism is on the rise, with 6 percent saying the American people are becoming more likely to see Mormonism as part of mainstream society.” It adds that more than half of those surveyed say the American people are ready for a Mormon president.
The report also indicated that nearly all Mormons describe their religion as being Christian, with 97 percent of the respondents expressing that view. However, many non-Mormons fail to see that faith as being a Christian one, according to a previous survey conducted by the Pew Center.
The Mormon faith dates back to the 1820s, having been founded by Joseph Smith Jr. There are a number of religious tenets that are central to the teachings of the Latter-day Saints Church and widely held by Mormons that are not shared by other Christian traditions.
More than 90 percent of Mormons believe that the president of their church is a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets.
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