There are some surprising parallels between how Mormons feel about their place in American society and how Muslims do, according to an earlier Pew survey. »We do see a remarkable degree of similarity about what it’s like to be a minority in society, » Smith said. « They are under no illusions » about how the broader public currently feels about them, and know their religions are not widely understood, but they remain optimistic at heart, he said.They recognize the challenges, « but both groups are relentlessly positive about their future in the United States, » said Luis Lugo, the director of the Pew Forum.As Romney’s and Huntsman’s ability to win evangelical votes in the approaching South Carolina presidential primary has become a major question in the presidential campaign, the Pew survey finds that half of Mormons believe that evangelical Christians are unfriendly toward them.
In fact, Mormon and evangelical political opinions match closely on almost everything except immigration, the survey found. (Mormons are much more likely than evangelicals or the U.S. population overall to see immigrants as making a positive contribution to society, said David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame, who helped advise the Pew Forum on the survey.)Mormons also subscribe to key tenets of mainstream Christianity, despite the sense many evangelicals have that Mormons are not Christians. Previous Pew surveys show that about half of white evangelicals say Mormonism is not a Christian faith. »Nearly all Mormons say they believe Jesus rose from the dead and that Mormonism is a Christian religion, » Smith said.But the Mormon-evangelical divide is not simply one of theology, a leading evangelical said. »Evangelicals are – famously or infamously, depending on your perspective – very evangelistic, » said Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.
« And so Mormons are out there going door-to-door trying to convince folks to become Mormons, and evangelicals are out there going door-to-door trying to convince people to become evangelicals. »By comparison, most Mormons said that Americans who are not religious are either neutral or friendly toward them.Mormons and evangelicals are politically similar, the survey found, with three-quarters of Mormons saying they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party.And the survey showed that Mormons are more devout in their faith than evangelicals, who are more devout that the public at large.Three-quarters of Mormons report attending religious services at least weekly, while eight in 10 pray daily and give 10% of their income to their church.The Pew Forum says the nationwide survey, conducted in October and November, constitutes the biggest survey of American Mormons conducted by an organization that’s not connected to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Pew surveyed 1,019 self-identified Mormons for the project.