Mormon Public Opinion: From Bad to Worse

Posted on 19 November 2008 by admin

The Mormons have always been concerned about their public image, as historically it has been a problem and directly affects their ability to convert people to the faith.   So it’s not suprising to see stories about public perceptions of the church in the wake of involvement in Proposition 8.

Two stories were reported on Utah television over the last 24 hours.  One is about a newly released book based on research done before the fallout over Prop 8, which shows a dramatically lower public opinion of Mormons vs. other faiths.  In the other, one of the nation’s leading historians on the LDS Church says the LDS Church is now facing a “perfect storm” of negative publicity this year, after the failed presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, the polygamy controversy Texas, and now Mormon involvement in Proposition 8.

In the report based on research from before Prop 8, KSL TV interviews Dr. Gary Lawrence, a Mormon political pollster and market researcher based in California. His research shows the ratio for people who view those of the Jewish faith in a positive light is nearly 3.5-to-1; the same for Baptists. Catholics’ enjoy a positive ratio of nearly 2-to-1; Mormons are more negative than positive at less than 1-to-1.

The other story was on ABC 4. Dr. Jan Shipps has been studying and writing about the LDS Church for decades, and was also the first non-Mormon to be elected president of the Mormon History Association. She is a widely respected authority on Mormonism both inside and outside of Utah and the Mormon church.

She suggests the Church is now facing a Prop 8 backlash, one which may take years to heal. “It’s a perfect storm. It’s a perfect PR storm” she said to ABC 4 News, which further reports:

“I think they are really astonished that there are demonstrations at temples all over the nation.”

Shipps noted this wasn’t simply a case of the LDS Church saying it opposes gay marriage, but it also actively encouraged members to work for Prop 8′s passage.

Shipps: “By talking to the Latter-day Saints outside of California that could come back to haunt them.”

You can see the stories as broadcast below.

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Targeting Mormons Unfair?

Equality California estimates that Mormons donated as much as $20 million to Prop. 8, while the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal group, gave $1.25 million to the effort and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, $200,000.



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