“Survey Reflects Positive Attitudes of LDS Youth,” Ensign, Sept. 1973, 76
Parents and Church leaders are regarded by many Latter-day Saint youths as giving positive advice and representing the right models for future life styles.
In a survey of attitudes of over 5,000 young Americans, more than 41 percent of the 461 Latter-day Saint youths who responded named their parents and leaders as persons they wished to emulate. While this figure may seem low, it is more than twice the percentage of all students surveyed in a national poll on the same question.
The Latter-day Saints surveyed, students at Brigham Young University, were generally representative of all Latter-day Saint youths of similar age, according to BYU’s Office of Institutional Research.
In a summary of the survey, prepared by the Research Institute of America, it was concluded that the students nationally were dissatisfied with the dishonesty, uncertainty, and lack of decisiveness on the part of adults with whom they were associated. They felt a need to find stability and “something worth living for” in the people and the institutions with which they were associated. By contrast, the LDS students indicated that some of the things the national students desired but did not have were the very things they did have and that they felt were solutions to problems.
Religion appeared to be a basic element of life for LDS students in the survey; it was cited by 43 percent of them as the field of endeavor that has made the most significant contribution to the cause of a better life for all in America. Only 11 percent of the students nationally agreed.
Religion was also cited by 26 percent of the LDS students as the aspect in life that has provided the most promising opportunities for their own personal fulfillment. Nationally, 8 percent of the respondents cited religion, while 24 percent indicated business.
The Mormon students were more interested in becoming like their religious leaders and relatives (LDS, 28 percent; nationally, 5 percent), whereas youth in the United States more typically wanted to emulate political and professional figureheads.
Where changes were desired in the American society, Church students were more prone to suggest concrete solutions to problems and apparently had more hope and faith in their leaders, themselves, and the future. Some of the changes suggested were to have more of “God in the affairs of men,” better family relations, higher standards, and stricter laws.
Church members appeared to be less materialistic than students on the national level. It was interesting to note that “immediate salary” ranked lowest of career aspirations listed by LDS students. Sixty-three percent of the LDS respondents indicated that other things are more important than money, whereas the national figure was 49 percent.
The LDS students appeared to be less rebellious and more optimistic; a greater percent of them felt that they had a great deal of control over their destinies compared to students nationwide (87 to 64 percent). There also appeared to be evidence of more faith in themselves on the part of the LDS students than the other youths surveyed.