Another week of me thinking I was going to write one thing and God changing my mind last minute. This week I read an article about religion in America and how “Mormons register a high level of religiosity.” There are so many things I could say about the article and the reasoning behind the “religiosity” that Mormons have. There were so many things that I felt were wrong or misleading about the information in the article. But each point is its own blog. But what I do want to address is the term religiosity.
Some of what the article stated is as follows:
A new and important study of religion in America has, among other things, a good deal to say about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Recently published under the title American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, the sociological study was conducted by scholars Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell and yields valuable insight to the nature and social effects of American religion.
Among the study’s findings related to Latter-day Saints are the following:
- Mormons are among the most devout religious groups in the country.
The American Grace study assessed a composite measure of “religiosity” that measured individuals’ levels of religious observance, the strength of their religious convictions about God and their faith, and the degree to which they feel their religion is personally important. As a group, Mormons registered a high level of “religiosity” (American Grace, 23-24).
Dictionary.com defines religiosity as 1. religious;
Wikipedia stated https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity
Religiosity, in its broadest sense, is a comprehensive term used to refer to the numerous aspects of religious activity, dedication, and belief (religious doctrine). Another term less often used is “religiousness”.
When you look at those definitions it’s all about rituals and practicing of religion. No where does it mention a connection to God or worshiping God. It’s all about showing how tied to your religion you are.
I think the reason that “Mormons are among the most devout religious groups in America” is because, in the Mormon world, religiosity = status. The more religious you are, the more connected to God you seem to be.
I think this is the biggest difference between my Christian life and my Mormon life. As a Mormon my worth, my relationship to God, and how good of a Mormon I was, was all based on “religiosity”. Everything was determined by how many church activities and functions I was attending, if I completed my visiting teaching assignments, if I was completing my church calling(s), was I a full tithe payer, a regular temple attendee, and any other things I was asked to do by my bishop or stake president, or authorities in the church.
The Mormon church is filled with ritualistic activities that, on the surface, look like you are connecting to God. But when the relationship with God is reliant on on rituals and prophets, and there is no real connection with God then do you have religion or a relationship?
All of the “religiosity” adds to the requirement of earning your way to heaven and having to be enough. If you do enough religious acts then hopefully you’ll be good enough to earn your place in heaven.
Since leaving the Mormon church I have always said I hate religion. When people ask what religion I am I say Christian in the broadest sense of the word. I don’t want to be tied to any one denomination. I am just that, a follower of Christ. I am not tied to a church or a religion. I follow the Bible. Several years ago I was getting some blood work done and the lady drawing my blood and I got on the topic of religion. When I told her I was a Christian she asked where I worshiped. I loved that because, although I am a Christian, I do have a church I choose to worship at on Sunday’s. I have a church home that I love and I serve in a position at my church. Not because I was called by the Pastor. Not out of obligation to anyone. I worship and serve because of my relationship with my God. It helps bring connection to my Savior. It helps me worship. It has nothing to do with religiosity.
I feel like religion or religiosity is all about check boxes and rituals. Things you do to prove to the world how religious you are. The problem is that this takes away from your relationship with God. With religion you get so caught up trying to show the people around you how religious you are, and, Jesus gets lost.
I don’t need the world to know anything about my religious beliefs. I don’t need the world to be accepting of me. All I need is a relationship with my Lord and Savior. One of the comments on the study was I love the word religiosity. My thought was, you can have your religion, I’ll take Jesus.
I’m just a small town girl…Living in my Jesus world.