Pre-Survey: Popular Mormon Belief

April 1, 2010    By: Matt W. @ 10:56 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

I am going to do another Survey soon, but as I have no peers with which to review my question set, I thought I’d pass them by any readers out there for thoughts on the phrasing of the statements.

Each statement will be answers with a Likert scale ranking from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

Statements will be as follows:

There is no contradiction between the theory of evolution and my religious beliefs

Mankind has a common ancestor with other forms of primates

The spirits of man have always existed

God fashioned the spirits of man from a substance we call intelligence

Before God gave us our spiritual bodies, we were eternal beings called intelligences

Christ suffered as a punishment for our sins

Christ suffered to gain understanding to help us

Christ suffers because it hurts him to be in a relationship with sinful creatures

Adam is our Father in Heaven

God the Father has a Father

There is an infinite regress of Gods

Our spirit bodies were created via spirit birth

There is a Heavenly Mother

Heavenly Mother is Heavenly Father’s perfect equal in every way

Polygamy will be restored to the church

Polygamy was a necessary concept to go through in order to reach the higher law of eternal families

The Bible is literal and not figurative

The Earth was created in 7 24 hour periods

People who are excommunicated from the church are doomed to outer darkness

People who are baptized via proxy in the temple can go to the celestial kingdom

The Husband is the ultimate leader of the family, and the wife submits to him

Women will someday hold the priesthood

Portions of the temple which make men and women seem unequal are either misunderstood or misstated currently.

Please let me know if you feel like any of the phrasings here are leading questions which would skew the results. Also, if you have any suggestions for questions for the survey, let me know.

34 Comments »

  1. The Bible is literal and not figurative

    Seems hopeless to ask such a broad question. Pretty much everyone agrees that some parts of the Bible are figurative and some parts are literal, so I can’t imagine what useful information you will get from this.

    The Husband is the ultimate leader of the family, and the wife submits to him

    Did you intentionally capitalize husband and not wife in that question? This seems phrased in such a way that even the person who would want to agree with it couldn’t do so comfortably. First, it says “the wife submits” which is demonstrably false, but even if you change to “the wife should submit” it seems a bit tough. How about something more like “The husband’s role is to preside, which includes the making the decision in the event of an impass” or something like that.

    Women will someday hold the priesthood

    If you have this, I think you should add one that says “Women who have been to the temple hold the priesthood”

    God fashioned the spirits of man form a substance we call intelligence

    I think you mean “from” and not “form” here.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 1, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  2. There is a Heavenly Mother.
    This is assuming you mean God does not follow the doctrine of plural marriage. Perhaps, this would be a question best left alone. We do not have enough information to make even an educated guess.

    Comment by Jay — April 2, 2010 @ 6:27 am

  3. Some questions would be very hard to answer, especially the Women & Priesthood question (does someday include today? and what is meant by Priesthood?) Like Jacob, I think women who have made temple covenants already do hold the “priesthood”, but not in the sense that the average Saint might mean (and not in the sense I’ve heard some use about “holding” their husbands).

    The question about restoring polygamy overlooks the fact that the Church still retains serial polygamy as an option, so it’s hard to say that it needs “restoring.”

    Comment by Coffinberry — April 2, 2010 @ 6:39 am

  4. Adam is our Father in Heaven

    My guess is that you will get different responses based on how you word this assertion.

    Adam is Elohim — nobody will agree with that
    Adam is our Father in Heaven — you might get some agreement, or you might not
    Adam is God — you will almost certainly get some agreement with this version

    Which reflects your intent best?

    Women will someday hold the priesthood

    You will get more agreement to this than you would if it read “Women will someday hold the Aaronic and Melchizedec priesthoods. If the latter is your intent, spell it out.

    Comment by Last Lemming — April 2, 2010 @ 6:40 am

  5. It’s spelled Likert.

    Comment by Owen — April 2, 2010 @ 7:20 am

  6. One your figurative/literal question, how about choosing an example like the Flood:

    All land animal species that exist in the world today were saved from a world-wide flood by Noah.

    Comment by Owen — April 2, 2010 @ 7:24 am

  7. Item 1:
    You’ve phrased this in a binary way, but want responses on a scale. I’d ask it in the form of ‘evolution and religion contradict’.

    The bible is literal and not figurative:
    This is both double-barreled and lopsided. Split this into two questions.

    Comment by brady — April 2, 2010 @ 7:46 am

  8. Jacob J
    For the Literal/Figurative Question

    How about this phrasing, since it is what Gallup uses to determine if someone is “really” an Evangelical

    “The Bible is the actual word of God, to be take literally”

    Can you suggest a better phrasing for the question on patriarchy? Maybe “In a normal family situation, the husband should be the head of the household.”?

    Good points on the other two, I will change the typo and add the temple question.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 7:50 am

  9. Jay: That’s the point of the survey…

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 7:51 am

  10. Coffinberry, good point re: Polygamy. How would you rephrase the question?

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 7:52 am

  11. LL, the latter is not my intent. (ie- never though it through)

    I think I will go with “Adam is God” as it is the most generic.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 7:53 am

  12. Owen: I can’t spell, and good suggestion on the flood question.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 7:55 am

  13. Brady: good suggestions, look at my rephrase of the literal/figurative I gave to Jacob J.

    I was trying to be a bit leading on the evolution question, to be honest.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 7:57 am

  14. Be sure to allow for answers like, “perhaps” or “I don’t know” or “maybe”.

    Comment by Aaron — April 2, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  15. If you want responses from regular people you may have to define “infinite regress of Gods.” I don’t think most LDS have that phrase on the tip of their tongues.

    Comment by Hal — April 2, 2010 @ 9:22 am

  16. There is a Heavenly Mother.

    In response to comment 2 I would say just leave this question as is. You already have other questions addressing polygamy and polygamy in the Celestial Kingdom. I would be interested to see how many people and to what degree people believe in one Heavenly Mother. I would guess that this belief is widespread. I actually hear it talked about in church quite often.

    Comment by Todd Decker — April 2, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  17. This all looks great. Looking forward to the final. I, myself, hope to score 100% on it!

    Comment by larryco_ — April 2, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  18. There is a Heaven Mother

    I think this is supposed to be There is a Heavenly Mother.

    Comment by Kim Siever — April 2, 2010 @ 10:47 am

  19. Perhaps you could ask instead, or in addition to your present question, “In the future, will women be ordained to priesthood offices such as elder, deacon, etc.”

    Also, perhaps, “God fashioned the spirits of man (men, humans?) from a substance we call intelligence, or from ‘spirit element’”?

    That seems to get at your distinction.

    And yes, the infinite regress might need a little explanation.

    Cool, Matt W. Looking forward to the results. Can we get it on LDS.org? (grin)

    Comment by WVS — April 2, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  20. Here’s another, probably unhelpful addition:

    “All that man is derives from the fact of being a child of God. Individual life begins with that status.”

    Now that I look at it. Not really good at all. Ok I’m done.

    Comment by WVS — April 2, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  21. Aaron: There will be a “neutral” response.

    Hal: That’s Why I am including both “God the Father has a Father” and “infinite regress”, so as to distinguish between the groups that understand term B and those who don’t/ Does that suffice?

    Todd: I agree

    larryco_: Unfortunately, grades will only be given post-mortally.

    Kim: I am grammatically challenged, yes.

    WVS- Good suggestions, I’ll take them.

    I am also going to add “There is the possibility for progression between the telestial, terrestrial, and celestial kingdoms.”

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 11:14 am

  22. Unfortunately, grades will only be given post-mortally.

    Nice!

    Comment by Todd Decker — April 2, 2010 @ 11:44 am

  23. I lied. I’ve got another one.

    “The earth was created in 7 1000 year periods.” Or maybe 6.

    And maybe, “It is necessary to engage in plural marriage to achieve the highest glory in the hereafter.”

    Comment by WVS — April 2, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  24. “Unfortunately, grades will only be given post-mortally.”

    Yah, although there is a chance of knowing some of this stuff before that (D&C121:26-32), I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

    Comment by larryco_ — April 2, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

  25. Actually, the thing I’m looking forward to in taking the survey is to see how many times I will contradict myself from one question to the next.

    Comment by larryco_ — April 2, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

  26. Matt,

    Maybe throw in a question about humans on other earths and another on whether they could have different colored skin, different bodily features, etc (think Avatar).

    Comment by Riley — April 2, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  27. Matt,

    Can you suggest a better phrasing for the question on patriarchy?

    Yes, I did in #1.

    I should add that I have a big spreadsheet full of questions like this (if you’re looking for more) which my brother and I put together. We made our family members take the survey at a family reunion a few years back. Ours was designed to give each participant an orthodoxy score so that we can identify the heretics in the family. Turns out I am the biggest heretic, but I suspect that is because my heretic-brother lied on some.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 2, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

  28. I think it would be cool to fire up a little if-then branching map.

    As in “There is only One God in existence”

    If yes, “The One God consists of multiple divine persons”

    If yes, “The One God is comprised of male and female divine persons”

    Of course you could have branches that result from no answers to all those as well…

    Comment by Geoff J — April 2, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

  29. Jacob: my survey is going to measure a few different things, but I am hoping to have 20-30 of these type questions. If you want to email me your list, I’m always willing to take a look.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  30. BTW — I fixed several of your typos for you Matt

    Comment by Geoff J — April 2, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

  31. Jacob(27

    That is awesome.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — April 2, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

  32. Thanks Geoff:

    Sadly, Survey Guru and Survey Monkey both don’t seem to handle if then scenarios. I’ll double check though, as it would be fun to try.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 2, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

  33. The Creation myths in the LDS scriptures speak to 6 creative periods. Biblical literalists consider these 6 24-hour days.

    The seventh day/period was a rest day/period. IMO, this should be considered time “off the clock,” making the creation 6 days/periods.

    Comment by Paul — April 4, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  34. I don’t know if this is out of your scope, but maybe you should add some statements specifically about Jesus?

    Examples:

    Jesus lived a previous life as an ordinary mortal.

    Jesus died to pay for the sins of all mankind.

    Jesus died and rose again.

    While Jesus was dead, he descended into spirit prison.

    Jesus died so that he could break the bands of death for mankind.

    Jesus was co-eternal with the our Heavenly Father.

    Jesus was created by our Heavenly Father.

    Jesus was created at the same time our spirits were created.

    Jesus is God.

    It was Jesus who led the children of Israel through the wilderness.

    Jesus helped to create the world.

    Jesus is Jehovah.

    Jesus hears our prayers.

    Jesus is a mediator between our prayers and our heavenly father.

    … Hope these help.

    Comment by Jeff Day — April 12, 2010 @ 9:28 am

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