This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
American millennials born in the 1980s and '90s are getting married somewhat later than their parents only 26 percent are married by age 32, compared with 48 percent and much later than their grandparents' generation 65 percent.
Most of the LDS apostles come from that older cohort.
"Mormons as a group are delaying marriage and millennials as a generation are delaying marriage," says Mormon blogger and writer Jana Riess. "And even though we don't yet have data that breaks out marriage delays among Mormon millennials, I would be very surprised if Mormon millennials weren't delaying marriage as well."
Riess analyzed these findings in a speech given this week at Utah Valley University in Orem.
These millennial couples are "also delaying childbirth, having fewer children," Riess writes on her "Flunking Sainthood" blog, "and living at home with their parents in greater numbers than previous generations."
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though, "still have the highest rates of marriage in the United States, extremely high self-reported findings about belief in God and religious practices such as daily prayer, and low incidence of high-risk behavior."
Only 64 percent of Mormon millennials are sticking with the faith. That's down dramatically from the 90 percent reported three and four decades ago and has steadily slipped from 72 percent in the early 2000s to 70 percent in 2007.
"Mormonism's retention rate has been dropping, though not at the precipitous rates experienced by other groups like mainline Protestants ... [64 percent is] not half bad, considering the times we live in," Riess writes. "But I doubt many LDS leaders are going to throw a Munch-n-Mingle to celebrate those numbers."
The Religion News Service blogger goes on to describe some of the ways Mormonism continues to engage its young adults sending them on 18-month and two-year missions and clustering them in congregations for singles, where they are given responsibilities and leadership opportunities.
Parents retain their influence by "simply modeling ... the beliefs and behaviors we hope to inculcate," she says. "Parental influence is still, statistically, the single most influential factor in determining whether people stick with the religion of their childhood."
Still, the Utah-based faith could lose many Mormon millennials with its "hard-line stance on LGBT issues," Riess warns. This is "a generation that, as a whole, accepts inclusion and diversity as a way of life."
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Note: This blog has been corrected to show that the recent statistics do not break down whether Mormon millennials are delaying marriage.