Why Millennials Choose to Stay with Religion

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This article was originally written by Lindsey Williams for The Daily Universe.

This is the last article in a four-part series. Part one explores the rise of the ‘nones,’ part two examines why millennials leave religion, part three discusses the efforts different religions put forth to keep millennials, and part four explores why millennials choose to stay with religion. The following is an excerpt from part four. 

As a 26-year-old returned missionary, Devin Willie attends Sunday services at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But he does not necessarily embrace all LDS principles.

He openly admits he struggles with the practice of polygamy by the prophet Joseph Smith, with his perception that women are less valued in the church, and with his idea that fear and shame drive LDS practices. These struggles have created what he calls his faith transition.

“You can question aspects of your faith and not have to give up on the entirety of your faith,” Willie said. “I tried leaving the church and I didn’t like it. I felt far away from God.”

LDS millennials like Willie are some of the least likely to completely abandon their religious membership. Pew Research’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study found 64 percent of people who were raised in the LDS Church remain Mormons as adults. In November 2015, Pew reported that Mormons are some of the most religious people among all religious denominations. Seventy-seven percent of Mormons reported they attend church every Sunday compared to 45 percent of those affiliated with other faiths.

In spite of these findings, the LDS faith still has its own generation of “nones,” those who mark the “none” box when asked to indicate religious affiliation. Like many others of their generation, some LDS millennials choose to abandon the religion for what they term a “spiritual lifestyle.”

Read the full article at universe.byu.edu.