Monday, July 21, 2008

Preach My Gospel: Mormons in Texas

The Church Seeks to Address Confusion over Texas Polygamy Groups

Perhaps you may have noticed among your non-LDS friends, that some confusion has arisen between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the FLDS, a small polygamist sect with property in western Texas. The Church has taken several steps to dispel the misconceptions, and to that end has posted this page in the public affairs section of The videos below can also be found on YouTube. These interviews with Texas Mormons (primarily of the greater Beaumont area), as well as Gifford Nielsen and other notables shine a bit of light on who we are and what we believe, and could prove very useful as you discuss the FLDS situation with your interested friends.

Following is an excerpt from a study cited on the site which demonstrates some of the confusion among the public regarding the Mormon Church.

The effort to more clearly distinguish Mormons from the Texas polygamist group follows a survey commissioned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that found a high level of public awareness of stories about the polygamous compound near San Angelo, Texas. Allegations of child abuse led to a raid by the state's Child Protective Services earlier this year. Some 91 percent of respondents had heard or read stories surrounding the religious compound.

However, the survey also found that:

  • More than a third of those surveyed (36 percent) erroneously thought that the Texas compound was part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or "Mormon Church" based in Salt Lake City
  • 6 percent said the two groups were partly related.
  • 29 percent correctly said the two groups were not connected at all
  • 29 percent were not sure.

In addition, when asked specifically which religious organization members of the polygamous group belonged to:

  • 30 percent said "Mormon," "LDS" or "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"
  • 14 percent said "FLDS"
  • 6 percent said "Mormon fundamentalists"
  • Nearly half (44 percent) were unsure

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