BYU Study Finds Correlating Relationship between Religion and Education

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BYU graduation
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A recent Brigham Young University survey reveals that education is linked to how involved members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are in their religion.

Throughout the study, Sociology professors Tim B. Heaton and Cardell K. Jacobson researched the social lives of Church members. Their research shows that individuals who have received a higher level of education tend to be more active in the Church, providing support for the different actiities, functions, and meetings. 

The Universe reports that Latter-day Saints tend to have higher educational levels than the nation’s population as a whole. The survey shows that 83 percent of Latter-day Saints claim religion to be a “very important” part of their life, whereas only 56 percent of Americans of other faiths say the same. While attending religioius services is declining in America, Church attendance for Latter-day Saints seems to be slightly increasing within the past 40 years. 

Jacobson states that this could be partly due to the fact that many people of other faiths, or no faith at all, use their education to get ahead in the world, where it is necessary to understand the philosphies of man. Sometimes, when individuals focus so much on man’s philosophies, they come to believe that they no longer need God in their lives. On the contrary, when it comes to the LDS Church and its lay ministery—unpaid leaders—people feel more needed at Church, resulting in increased activity.

Jacobson explains,

My sense is that since we have a lay ministry, it is really your calling that really integrates you into the LDS Church. You get to know people and feel like you’re needed. It requires you to be there every week to take care of your responsibilities.

Having a lay ministry requires a greater committment from Church members. Heaton added that people with higher levels of communication are, on average, more likely to magnify their callings due to their ability to intelligently lead discussions, organize activities and to keep track of budgeting.

Heaton further explained,

So the link goes more education, more able to do callings and so more integrated into the LDS community. So that’s what creates this stronger, positive correlation between education and church attendance among Mormons than among most other groups.

This goes to show that education will not only affect an individiaul’s ability to succeed in business, but education also affect’s an individul’s involvement in religion. Jacobson told the Universe that one reason education can affect the LDS Church so much more than others is the strong correlation members believe to exist between religious education and secular education.

Many members believe that education is meant to continue even past the days of formal schooling and help individuals develop skills and talents. The Church teaches that members should use their skills and talents to help bless the lives of others through love and service.

Jacobson said, “We come to learn so we can be prepared to serve.” Latter-day Saints believe that education is important to strive for as it is a blessing that has eternal influences. 

Kylie is a writer at LDS.net and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.