Monday, September 6, 2010

Bye-bye Church. We're busy, Teens Say

In a recent article on the Beliefnet, Mormon Teens, Protestant Teens: A Review of Kenda Creasy Dean's "Almost Christian", Jana Reiss looks at what the book has to say about Mormon teens.
Did you see this article in USA Today a few weeks ago? The upshot is that Protestant teens are skipping church in record numbers. They rarely even come for the pizza anymore....

One of the researchers in the National Study of Youth and Religion, Princeton Theological Seminary professor Kenda Creasy Dean, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church, says that if teenagers don't have a firm grasp of core Christian doctrines and instead worship at what she calls "the Church of Benign Whatever-ism"—or don't worship at all—it's because youth pastors and other leaders have watered down the message....

In a chapter called "Mormon Envy," Dean further indicts Protestant churches by holding up Mormonism as an example of a religious group that is doing right by its teenagers. She makes it clear that she has serious theological disagreements with Mormonism, but from a sociological perspective, Mormonism is succeeding in creating young adults who firmly understand what they believe and why their faith needs to have a claim on their behavior.

She says that Mormonism is giving teens the four things they need in order to have a growing adult faith. They need sufficient teaching in beliefs by their own parents and by a spiritual community, to acquire a personal testimony, concrete religious goals and, hope for the future.

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