If as you claim the LDS church is so alienating for women then why does it seem from all I have ever read that there are more active women then men? It would seem to me that men are being more alienated.
This seems like a reasonable point. My experience, anyway, agrees with it. It seems like there are more women than men in the Church, most obviously when you look at singles wards. And there are data to back this up. In his article titled “Vital Statistics” in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Tim Heaton said (based on 1981 data) that there are about 95 men for every 100 women in the Church (in the US; all discussion below is based on US data). As a woman to man sex ratio, that’s about 1.05:1.
So does the Church appeal more to women than to men? Is that why there are more women? Actually, Heaton pointed out that this sex ratio was in line with the sex ratio in the population, where there are more women than men. For example, according to the 2000 census, there were about 108 million women and 101 million men in the US, a sex ratio of 1.07:1.
Given the sex ratio in the population, then, is it fair to say that the Church appeals equally to women and men? I don’t think so. Surveys consistently find that women are more spiritual and more believing than are men.
|Spirituality or belief question
|Pray daily or more often||70%||45%||1.56:1||GSS 2004|
|Prayed in last week||89%||79%||1.13:1||Barna Group, 2006|
|Believe in an afterlife||77%||67%||1.13:1||GSS 2004|
|Believe the Bible is inspired/word of God||84%||76%||1.12:1||GSS 2004|
|Believe God is all-powerful creator||78%||64%||1.22:1||Barna Group, 2006|
|Consider yourself deeply spiritual||68%||55%||1.24:1||Barna Group, 2006|
|Consider religious faith very important||75%
|Barna Group, 2000
Pew Research, 2001
|Set spiritual goals||41%||29%||1.41:1||Barna Group, 2000|
Given women’s greater belief, churches in general should find it easier to draw women than men. The figures in the table above suggest that a 1.20:1 or higher ratio wouldn’t be unreasonable. And in fact, this is what survey data shows about women’s church attendance as well.
|Attend church at least weekly, age 30-49
Attend church at least weekly, age 50+
|Pew Research, 2001|
|Attended church service past week||50%
|Barna Group, 2006
Barna Group, 2000
|Attended Sunday School past week||27%
|Barna Group, 2006
Barna Group, 2000
|Median congregation adult sex ratio||-||-||1.50:1||National Congregations Study, 1998 [item 305]|
The National Congregations Study is worth a little more examination. Congregations were asked to report the percentage of their regularly attending adults that were men. In only 49 of 1159 that responded (4%!) did men outnumber women. In 22%, the percentage was estimated at 50/50. So in the large majority of congregations, women outnumbered men. As noted in the table above, the median percentage of men was 40% (60/40=1.50). Even adjusting this for the population sex ratio noted above (1.07) leaves a ratio of 1.40, which suggests substantially more regular church attendance by women than by men.
Women are more believing and spiritual than men. They attend church more than men do, substantially more. Women are more religious all around. While I hesitate to draw firm conclusions from survey data, and I would like to have more recent LDS sex ratio data, these results certainly suggest that the LDS Church is not doing a good job of appealing to women. Merely keeping up with the population sex ratio is a pretty poor showing given women’s overall greater religiosity.
- 25 September 2006