Mormons and the Environment in America
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Over the past decade, public opinion research increasingly includes questions about environmental issues. Most social science research examining variations among religious groups’ environmental views focuses on large, easily sampled groups. Research examining views of specific small American populations, such as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (informally known as Mormons, or the abbreviation of Latter-Day Saints, “LDS”), is limited. This master’s project examines American Mormon opinions about the environment generally, as well as LDS views about contemporary environmental issues and public policy proposals related to the environment. Research methods consisted of collecting public opinion polling data through online surveys directed at a general American audience and targeted LDS participants. Using statistical analysis, I measured differences between the views of the two groups. The study reveals significant differences between the Mormon and general American samples, but I do not conclude that variation in religious preference is the only cause of the differences. Due to variables introduced through the online collection methods (including age, education level, political ideology, and perhaps income levels), the observed differences are likely more dramatic than would be observed if LDS views were compared to a more representative sample of Americans. I found that the LDS sample is less concerned about environment issues generally than the non-Mormon sample and more likely to think claims about the environment are exaggerated. Mormons sampled are relatively less confident in the scientific evidence of climate change, but are supportive of stricter emission controls on power plants, a major source of global warming-related gases. Compared to the general American group, Mormons express lower levels of support for increased national spending to protect the environment and less willingness to fund environmental protection through higher taxes or higher prices on consumer products. With respect to energy, Mormons are significantly more supportive of the use of fracking in natural gas exploration and construction of the cross-border Keystone XL oil pipeline than the non-LDS survey group. While LDS respondents are typically supportive of solar power, their expressions of support are not as robust as was seen from the other group.
SubjectEnvironment, Mormon, LDS
CitationRauzon, J.Justin (2014). Mormons and the Environment in America. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8526.
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Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment