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Contemporary Mormon Religiosity and the Legacy of “Gathering”

Rick Phillips and Ryan Cragun
Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions
Vol. 16, No. 3 (February 2013), pp. 77-94
DOI: 10.1525/nr.2013.16.3.77
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nr.2013.16.3.77
Page Count: 18
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Contemporary Mormon Religiosity and the Legacy of “Gathering”
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Abstract

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the LDS, or Mormon church—has dominated the state of Utah both culturally and politically since joining the Union in 1896. Scholars note that LDS majorities in Utah and other parts of the Intermountain West foster a religious subculture that has promoted higher levels of Mormon church attendance and member retention than in other parts of the nation. However, after rising throughout most of the twentieth century, the percentage of Utah's population belonging to the church began declining in 1989. Some sources assert Utah is now less Mormon than at any time in the state's history. This article examines the degree to which this decline has affected LDS church activity and retention in Utah and adjacent environs. We find evidence suggesting church attendance rates may be falling, and clear evidence that rates of apostasy among Mormons have risen over the past decade.

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