Mormons and Politics

Readers may be interested in a recent episode of the “Research on Religion Podcast,” featuring Quin Monson (BYU) and Dave Campbell (Notre Dame) discussing their new book Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics (also co-authored with John C. Green). The book is the first full length study by professional political scientists of the place of Mormons in contemporary American politics. Scholarly discussions of Mormonism tend to be dominated by those trained either as historians or else (more recently) in religious studies. The work of Monson, Campbell, and Green is important because it brings in a bit more disciplinary diversity to the discussion. Among other things, they have actual new data on Mormon political attitudes — as opposed to opinions based on political discussions in the foyer at church — and a social scientist’s sense for what is unique about Mormons and what is not.

The podcast provides a nice summary of a some of their research. Enjoy!

3 comments for “Mormons and Politics

  1. Thanks for this info. I wasn’t aware of this podcast, and I downloaded not only the episode you highlighted, but also a bunch of others! Now I have something to keep me distracted while I am raking this weekend.

  2. Some interesting stuff in the podcast, but what surprised me (forgive the troll-like changing of the subject) was that Dave or Quinn gave an example using the Mormon Battalion wherein he described it as the government approaching Brigham Young because the Army needed recruits. Not accurate. Brigham Young had sent two or more “lobbyists” to D.C. months earlier to try and convince the President to accept 1,000 “volunteers,” because the church badly needed money. The President agreed to only 500. Brigham Young lied about this at the time and on at least 3 public occasions later.

    These facts are not all that obscure. They can be found in B.H. Roberts’ History of the Church.

  3. Very interesting stuff. One tidbit: young LDS people are more conservative than older members! Quite unexpected – I’d be interested in some polling on their social views. It would also be interesting to see what the political views of the disaffected youth are; it could be that demographic trends in Mormonism are better described by the larger “God gap” phenomena rather than history or other issues.

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